For a quick trip that hits Peru’s major geographical and cultural sites, there is no better destination than the south. Here, according to legend, the Inca culture sprang out of Lake Titicaca  (the world’s highest navigable lake), developed its base in Cusco  and then spread through the lush Sacred Valley . The Spanish then arrived taking over Cusco and Arequipa , and turning the latter into Peru’s most elegant colonial city.
Surrounding these classic cultures is a landscape of towering Andean peaks, tumbling rivers, and the plummeting Colca Canyon . This 10-day tour hits the high points of southern Peru in a schedule that allows for gradual acclimatization to altitude.
Rise early to explore the ruins of Machu Picchu. In the afternoon, you can either hike to Huayna Picchu  or indulge in a gourmet lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge . Then take the train for a two-day stay in Cusco.
Tour Cusco, taking two days to soak in the sights. Travelers with a bit more time may want to extend this trip from Cusco with a visit to biodiverse Manu Biosphere Reserve  (5–7 days) or a visit to Lake Titicaca  (3–5 days).
Leave early the next morning for Colca Canyon  and keep a sharp eye out for herds of vicuña along the way. The adventurous can mountain bike the final descent to the Colca Lodge , where you will stargaze that night and soak your weary feet in riverside hot springs.
Rise the next morning to tour Colca . See Andean condors and stone villages before returning to Arequipa.
Catch a morning flight from Arequipa to Lima , where you have a chance to see colonial architecture, shop, and have a gourmet meal before catching your flight home.