Expert-Led Group Tour

Peru group tour - Andes to the Amazon 4x4 Self Drive

Accompanied by a guide vehicle throughout

16 days

from £4,145pp
  • Drive your own expedition four-wheel drive vehicle around southern Peru
  • Accompanied by expert guides on two way radio, travelling in a second vehicle
  • Traverse the Andes and drive through the Amazon jungle
  • Spend time in Cusco and visit the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

This Peru adventure tour encompasses the stunning scenery, rich culture, cuisine, and history of Peru. Drive your own expedition 4x4 vehicle on a 16-day adventure around southern Peru with routes spanning the most spectacular mountain ranges and roads that Peru has to offer. Self-driving allows exploration way beyond the normal tourist path and makes for an unforgettable adventure. A guide vehicle will accompany throughout the trip providing communication services, local liaison and back up for driving if needed.

The Peruvian Coast

Begin your journey around Peru in the capital city of Lima, a colonial city on the Pacific coast. Travel south stopping to visit Paracas National Wildlife Reserve, a bird and seal sanctuary before arriving in the oasis town of Haucachina. Here there is the opportunity to ride buggies or sand boards down the huge dunes. Make a stop at the small desert town of Nazca to view the famous Nazca lines before heading away from the dry landscape of the coast and into the Andes.

The Andes

Once in the mountains visit the Pampa Galeras Wildlife Reserve, a conservation centre for vicuna and alpacas, with the chance to see eagles, pink flamingos and if lucky the majestic condor. Three days will be spent in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Cusco allowing ample time to fully explore the former Inca capital city of Cusco, the Sacred Valley with its colourful markets and Inca ruins and the mighty Machu Picchu. From Cusco head north and traverse the Andes ridge high above the Amazon jungle to the east and Pacific coast to the west. This is an area of subtropical forest and huge mountains, home to endangered species such as the spectacled bear and Andean condor. Travel through remote areas where local people still dress in traditional clothing and visit towns dating back several centuries with richly decorated churches.

The Amazon Jungle

From the Andes descend steeply towards the steamy Amazon jungle and the 28,000 acre Pampa Hermosa National Sanctuary, a wonderful place for birds. Here find the colourful Peruvian cock-of-the-rock bird, macaws, parrots and toucans. Spend time hiking through the jungle looking for monkey, river otter and deer.

Head back over the Andes to finish your journey in Lima.


Time at the wheel is variable dependent on road conditions and weather etc. However, for each day you should calculate around 6 hours (except Cusco). You will have picnic and coffee stops along the way.

The roads are spectacular, and mainly tarmac, although you will be expected to do some off-road driving on some days. It is essential that you have full concentration while driving, and can stop for a break at any time if feeling tired.

Will I be accompanied by a guide vehicle throughout?

The guide vehicle will always be at the head of the convoy, and in radio contact at all times. Guides are always available to take over if you feel tired or are not confident with any section of the route.

What are the vehicles like? 

The vehicles are Toyota Hilux 4x4 expedition trucks, professionally prepared for this Peru overland adventure. With smooth and powerful 3.0 turbo diesel engines, and a host of special expedition accessories.

This tour is also available on a tailormade basis, please contact the Steppes Travel team to discuss further options and for a detailed itinerary.

How many people per vehicle?

As part of this tour, there will be three vehicles, plus the guide vehicle, with a maximum of four persons per vehicle.

What will the accommodation be like in Peru? 

The incredible route takes in an eclectic mix of accommodation ranging from historic private haciendas to mountain lodges, some are luxurious, some are rustic, and some are simply unique.

Departing on:
  • 9th May 2019
  • 15th June 2019

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
9th May 2019 24th May 2019 £ 4,145 £ 890 call Local guides Available
15th Jun 2019 30th Jun 2019 £ 4,145 £ 890 call Local guides Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accommodation as indicated
  • Accompanied by a guide vehicle throughout
  • Airport transfers
  • All non-alcoholic drinks (other than whilst in Cusco/Lima/Ayacucho)
  • Expedition Vehicle Hire
  • Fully comprehensive hire insurance
  • Half day city tour in Cusco
  • Machu Picchu day trip
  • Meals as indicated

what is excluded

  • Fuel (Normal fuel cost is around £180 per vehicle for the trip)
  • Gratuities
  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel Insurance (mandatory)


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Arrive in Lima
Meet with your guide this evening at the hotel for a short welcome meeting. This evening is free and there are plenty of restaurants close to the hotel to walk to for dinner. Get a good night's sleep prior to the start of your journey.

Lima, the 'City of Kings', is a vibrant and bustling metropolis worthy of exploration. Nestled on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Lima is known as the 'Gateway to Peru' and combines colonial splendour, prestigious museums and beautiful parks with lively nightlife and ample opportunities for sampling its world-famous cuisine.

You will be staying at Casa Andina Miraflores Select, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Lima to the Deserts of Nazca
Meet your guide at the hotel for a detailed briefing in relation to the routing and equipment, before familiarising youself with your Toyota Hilux 4x4 expedition vehicle, in readiness to leave for the adventure.

Follow the guide/safety vehicle out of the suburbs, south along the busy Pan American Highway. The route follows the Pacific coast and the city gives way to rolling surf and immense desert vistas.

Stop at Pisco for a lunch break out in the desert, at the charming oasis of Huacachina where you can take a fast and furious dune buggy adventure across the giant dunes for an hour (extra cost). From here continue to Nazca. This is a desert city established over 2,000 years ago, and its system of valleys was originally inhabited by the Nazca peoples. This culture was responsible for the mysterious lines in the desert, with viewing points on the route and an excellent museum of artefacts.

At sunset head off road into the desert, to a remote archaeological dig and the recently discovered, perfectly preserved Mummies of Chauchilla.

Driving time: six to seven hours, maximum altitude 591 metres.

Nazca is no ordinary dusty oasis town. Tucked away on the southern coast of Peru and overlooked by the enormous Cerro Blanco (2,078m) sand dune, this sleepy town was hastily awoken in 1939 due to the discovery of mysterious drawings etched into the nearby rocky desert plains. Vast and mysterious, they must be seen to be believed.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Hacienda Majoro, full board

Day 3

Nazca and Desert Mummies
Just after dawn, head towards Nazca and its tiny airstrip. The Nazca culture was responsible for the mysterious lines in the desert, which are best viewed from the air. This morning there is an optional flight (extra cost) over the lines in a light aircraft, for a thrilling start to your Peru experience.


From here, drive towards Puquio which offers both Incan and Spanish architecture, with lots of tradition. The winding trip takes three to four hours and in the first 55 miles, ascend 4,000 metres above sea level. This will be the first encounter with altitude and the Hoja de Coca, which is served as a tea to help with any altitude issues. The landscape gets greener and more spectacular as you ascend.

The wool of vicuñas is considered the finest in the world; some call it the gold of the Andes. Travelling through the Pampa Galeras National Wildlife Reserve, there is ample opportunity to see Peru's iconic animals, seeing as they are well adapated to the extremem cold and altitude of the Andes (60 miles from Nazca and 3,650 metres high). It is also possible to see eagles, pink flamingos and the occasional majestic condor.

Driving time six to seven hours, maximum altitude 3,998 metres.

Chalhuanca is a small town in the southern Peruvian Andes, half way between Nazca and Cusco. It is a great spot for canoeing and rafting.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Tampumaya Lodge, full board

Day 4

The Apurimac Gorge, Cachora and Salkantay
From Chalhuanca, drive ever higher into the Andes and head "off-road" to the tiny hamlet of Cachora for a late lunch. With stunning views of the snow-capped peaks of Mount Salkantay towering over the nearby Apurimac Gorge (the world's deepest canyon), accommodation is a traditional private rustic Peruvian lodge in the Huanipaca countryside. With lush tropical gardens and the buzz of humming birds collecting pollen from the flowers, the peace of this secluded location is quick to charm.

The house offers tremendous vistas, with full length windows and a cosy log fire. Everything served here is freshly produced on the farm from avocados to mangos, and honey to fresh cow's milk, cheese and yogurt.

Driving time four to five hours, maximum altitude 3,400 metres.

Cachora is a tiny hamlet with stunning views of the snow capped Mount Salkantay close to the Apurimac river gorge and the starting point for treks to the Inca ruins of Choquequirao.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Casa Cachora, full board

Day 5

Cachora to Imperial Cusco
This morning, take a precipitous track along the edge of the Apurimac Gorge out towards Cusco, the Imperial City of the Incas.

You will spend three full days in this area. This will allow time to take in just some of the many highlights here, with museums, palaces, and incredible Inca ruins.

Driving time four to five hours, maximum altitude 2,958 metres.

Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas, was founded around 1100 AD. It is a beautiful city of Spanish and Inca influences with endless colonial sights to see including churches, monasteries and convents interspersed with Inca foundations, walls, doorways, and arches. Cusco is a major town, and is one of the cultural centres of Peru.

Breakfast and lunch Included

You will be staying at Casa Andina Premium Cusco, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Cusco Exploration
This easy-going town with its rich colonial and Inca heritage is ideal to explore on foot. Along its narrow, cobbled streets find artisan craft stalls, colourful market places; and peaceful plazas to relax with a coffee.

After a free morning, take a four-hour guided city tour, taking in the cathedral, main square and the sacred site of Sacsayhuamán. The greatest, and nearest to Cusco, of the Inca ruins reveals some of the Incas' most extraordinary architecture and monumental stonework.

Dinners are not included in Cusco, to give the chance to sample the superb range of Peruvian cuisine and street life around the city, without any timetable. Recommendations can be given for a range of great eateries to sample the best of Peruvian cuisine.

Breakfast Included

You will be staying at Casa Andina Premium Cusco, bed and breakfast

Day 7

Machu Picchu
A transfer will be provided this morning for the 20 minute drive by road from Cusco to the train station at Poroy. Board the Expedition train for the three-hour 50 minute journey through the Urubamba valley to the ancient ruins at Machu Picchu. The large panoramic windows offer views of the dramatic canyon.

Upon arrival at Aguas Calientes meet your guide before taking a twenty-minute bus ride up the mountainside to reach the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu, where you will have a guided tour of the ruins. Morning and afternoon permits are being issued to visitors, with morning entries being between 6am and 12pm and afternoon from 12pm to 5.30pm. From the time you enter you are able to explore with a guide for up to a maximum of four hours. Lunch is included (buffet style) and will be served at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.

At the end of the day, travel back down the hillside by bus to the train station in Aguas Calientes. Then take the train back to Poroy followed by a road journey onwards to Cusco. You will arrive back to Cusco in the early evening.

Breakfast and lunch Included

You will be staying at Casa Andina Premium Cusco, bed and breakfast

Day 8

Free Day for Further Exploration of the Area
Today choose to relax around Cusco or leave early for one of the pre-booked optional tours into the Sacred Valley. The Rio Urubamba valley is simply beautiful and is known as the Sacred Valley due its Inca heritage. Dotted by attractive colonial towns and isolated weaving villages, the area is home to many Inca sites of importance and some stunning scenery.

Head to Pisac market, a world-famous cacophony of sounds and colours making this the most vibrant of the Andean market towns, with a nice walk up to the archaeological site.

Visit the majestic Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo, a former royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti.

Travel to the colourful village of Chinchero with its indigenous market or visit Maras with Inca salt mines and Moray with Inca agricultural terracing.

Take a weaving and textile tour of the local communities

If in need of an adrenaline fix then have a day mountain biking, hiking, paddle boarding or white-water rafting in the area.

Breakfast Included

You will be staying at Casa Andina Premium Cusco, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Cusco Ascent to Andahuaylas
After breakfast bid farewell to Cusco and take the road north towards what Peruvians call the eyebrow of the jungle. It's an isolated area of subtropical forest and huge mountains and serves up some truly spectacular roads.

This rarely explored region is home to endangered species such as the spectacled bear and the Andean condor. Lunch today will be a picnic at the ancient stone of Saywite, an intriguing, secluded Inca sacred site, in lovely surroundings.

The route then travels on dirt/mud roads via Piramide Sondor, providing remarkable views along Lake Pacucha before reaching your simple hotel accommodation in the small town of Andahuaylas.

Driving time six hours, maximum altitude 2,930 metres.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at La Mansion, full board

Day 10

Andahuaylas to Ayacucho
Today head into some of the most awesome scenery and roads in Peru, traversing the Andes ridge heading north, high above the Amazon jungle to the east, and the Pacific coast to the West.

Pass through Andean Indian villages located high up on the windswept plains with breath-taking views overlooking the snow-capped peaks beyond. Locals still go about their business in traditional dress and frequently travel by horseback.

Then head down into Ayacucho. Richly decorated churches dominate the vivid cityscape and houses are hung with wooden balconies. Ayacucho has authenticity and history, dating back several centuries to its colonial heyday.

The town with its many churches and cobbled streets is a delight to stroll around and enjoy its colonial atmosphere and culture.

Driving time seven hours: maximum altitude 3,900 metres.

Ayacucho is a town dominated by richly decorated churches, there are 35 in total which represent each year of Jesus' life.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Via Via Cafe, full board

Day 11

Rio Mantaro Gorge to Pampas
Today continue from Ayacucho and follow the spectacular narrow pass along the Rio Mantaro Gorge for some exciting on and off-road adventure.

This road requires concentration and a steady nerve, before a steep ascent on an equally challenging track to the Casa Hacienda San Juan near to Pampas, famous for its butter and dairy production.

This historical colonial building and hacienda sits at 2,743 metres in beautiful countryside and is only accessible by 4x4.

With its own church in the grounds and elegant terraces this is very different from a normal hotel or lodge.

It offers a great optional horseback ride into the mountains in the afternoon or the following morning, with comfortable accommodations and a wood fired oven dinner in the evening, followed by drinks around a roaring log fire.

Driving time six to seven hours, maximum altitude 3,750 metres.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Hacienda San Juan de Pillo, full board

Day 12

Pampas to the Valley of Flowers at Tarma
Depart Pampas early to drive along spectacular roads, before arriving at Tarma mid-afternoon. This area is the centre for flower growing in Peru and is a colourful town set in a lush valley between the high Andean mountains with lovely views on all sides.

An overnight stay at this 17th century hacienda and rustic farm, with its own chapel in the courtyard, includes a hearty dinner in the fresco clad dining room. A log fire, and local Pisco liquor make the ideal nightcap before the descent to the jungle next morning.

Driving time six to seven hours, maximum altitude 3,989 metres.

Tarma is a city that links the central coast, the Amazon basin and the Andes. It has a balmy climate with Inca and pre-Inca ruins in the surrounding area.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Hacienda Santa Maria, full board

Day 13

Pampa Hermosa Sanctuary
This morning descend steeply from Tarma towards the Amazon and La Merced. As the heat rises and the scenery changes, continue downriver, before taking a steep and challenging 4x4 route up to the Pampa Hermosa National Sanctuary.

The precipitous route cuts into the gorge amongst waterfalls and follows a narrow track for two and a half hours.

This 28,000-acre rainforest preserve is teeming with birds. Among many vibrantly colourful species found here is the wonderful Peruvian cock-of-the-rock bird, as well as macaws, parrots and toucans. Peppered with jungle waterfalls, the river gorge makes for a delightful drive with its lush tropical scenery, giving a real taste of the steamy rain forest with its rare bird life, river otters, monkeys, and deer.

Crossing the river, with its sheer cliff sides and waterfalls, this "Jurrasic Park" like route contrasts remarkably with the high Andes earlier in the same day.

Driving time four to five hours, maximum altitude 3,900 metres.

The Pampa Hermosa National Santuary is a protected area of tropical rain forest. It protects unique biological species and communities and some ancient giant cedar trees.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Rio Grande Lodge, bed and breakfast

Day 14

Ascent to Tarma from the Jungle
Late morning, start the ascent back into the Andes. Stop at Sugar Loaf Bridge, park the vehicles and follow a hidden trail into the jungle to a secluded waterfall, surrounded by butterflies and tropical birds in truly peaceful surroundings.

Then continue to Tarma. Pisco is to Peru, what whisky is to Scotland, and you can sample this fiery spirit by the log fire after dinner, with some travellers' tales of your Peru adventure to round off your day. The family Hacienda of Tarma has a rich history within its adobe walls, and even its own tiny museum.

Driving time four hours, maximum altitude 3,090 metres.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Hacienda Santa Maria, full board

Day 15

Tarma to Lima
Return today to Lima, descending across the world's highest railway pass at 4,818 metres and down towards the coastal plain, for the last night in Lima.

Lima has some wonderful markets and some of the world's finest restaurants to sample the wonderful cuisine of this bustling city for the last evening.

Driving time six to seven hours, maximum altitude 5,000 metres.

Breakfast and light lunch included.

You will be staying at Casa Andina Miraflores Select, bed and breakfast

Day 16

With a free morning, it's a great time to do some souvenir shopping at the Indian Market or at smart Sarcoma centre on the seafront. Plaza San Martín, with its colonial churches, promenades and palaces is also an ideal way to spend the morning with free time in Lima and reveals much of the country's turbulent past.

Breakfast included


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Casa Andina Premium Cusco

Casa Andina Premium Cusco

The Casa Andina Premium Cusco is a restored colonial mansion close to Plaza de Armas and the Temple of the Sun....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour Lecturer

Local guides

A 4x4 with two experienced guides will always be at the head of the four-vehicle convoy, and in two-way radio contact at all times. They will give information on the surrounding highlights, answer your questions and offer guidance on driving techniques. A guide is always available to take over if you feel tired or are not confident with any section of the route.
Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 13

Tour Expert:

Local guides

Departure Date (S):

  • 9th May 2019
  • 15th June 2019

  • Active - The pace of this tour will be quite busy, expect long travel days and very little time at leisure.

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