Our History

Southern Peru Explorers was born from a deep love of history and culture of our own backyard. Here in Peru we have epic scenery to have adventures and a variety of impressive rare wildlife to awe at. Alongside our impressive history and architecture that many travel around the world for. With our 10 year + experience in the tourism industry we want to connect you to these experiences and show them off to you. Were extremely proud of our country and our environment, due to this we boast a diverse selection of experiences that have both a positive impact on the local population and our planet. We are dedicated to being responsible administrators of our trails and native Peruvian personal employees as well as being the best hosts to yourselves.

By choosing the The Southern Peru Explorers, you support sustainable tourism here in Peru and embark on a unique experience of a lifetime. There are literally hundreds of tourism companies based in Cusco but few of these tourism companies can claim that they are 100% locally owned and operated, with a founder who was born and lived in Peru his whole life; Who are stewards of the environment, committed to the community; all whilst giving you that luxury ‘off the beaten path’ experience. If you want the true experience with professional, friendly, experienced guides, were the company for you .

Joel Cardenas
joel cardenas founder Inca

For Joel, Southern Peru Explorers combines three things that he values most: showing others the astounding natural beauty of Peru, honoring the rich Incan culture of the Cusco region, and uniting people from all over the world for mutual learning and fun.

Joel, who is fluent in Spanish, Quechua, and English, is a graduate of the Universidad San Antonio ABAD in Cusco, with a degree in tourism. Immediately after graduation, he founded Southern Peru Explorers to provide visitors with a unique travel experience, drawing upon his travels throughout Europe and South America.

His appreciation of the land dates back to his childhood when he would visit his grandparents’ home near Salkantay mountain. “I remember waking up in the morning to see the snow-capped mountains, the lakes, and amazing views,” he recalls. “When participants on our treks are surrounded by such beauty, it makes them forget about the stress of everyday life and enjoy each moment.” As a photographer who studied at Lima Imagen, Joel showcases his unique aesthetic in the company’s videos and vibrant visual images. While no picture can completely capture the arresting beauty participants will experience on Southern Peruvian Explorers’ tours, Joel’s photos certainly come close.

Our Staff

An excellent guide can make all the difference in providing you with an unforgettable experience. That’s why Southern Peru Explorers invests in recruiting some of the best guides in the region. We ensure that each of our guides is backed by years of experience, proper licensing, updated certifications, and excellent client reviews, all of which are available on our TripAdvisor page.

Expertise, enthusiasm, interpersonal skills, language proficiency, empathy, integrity and a sense of humor are the basis upon which we have built an outstanding and diverse team of guides who consistently provide top-quality service.

We believe that language proficiency is crucial to the quality of our service; and so, we have staff that are fluent in English, Spanish, French, Italian and German to accommodate you. If your language is not within our scope of experience, we are happy to provide a translator.

Our chefs come from all walks of life: most our farmers who grow our food. However, all are in house trained to our exceptionally high standards. Not only this but they carry all the equipment they will need to produce you restaurant quality food in the mountains. We think they must be super heroes!

We have guides that specialize in bird watching, spiritualism, flora & fauna, archaeology, history, architecture, and anthropology. These same guides also run our traditional treks, giving you a rich overlay of thematic expertise in addition to the general explanations you will receive.

Finally, and most importantly, all of our guides are trained in Advanced First Aid & Rescue to ensure your utmost safety on the trails. Our team is regularly updated through international seminars and courses in their respective fields.







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Tour Guide

James is one of our guides here at Southern Peru Explorers. He has been guiding for 8 years within the area and favours the Lares trek above all else due to the rich cultural experience it provides. James is a true local guide whom hailes from The Sacred Valley and studied guiding and tourism here in Cusco. Alongside education and experience with local; culture, history, hiking and medicine he is expanding his skill set to Sherman practices. When James is not with us he is a true adventurer and loves to explore America and Europe for its outdoor pursuits. 


Sales Executive

Lizbeth works in our office as our sales executive, dealing with all your reservations. She is the lovely lady that coordinates your trip and deals with all logistics along side our founder, Joel. She is very experienced within the tourism industry with over 8 years in the field.

Her love of Peru has taken her country wide ; if there is anything you want to know about our culture Lizbeth is the lady to ask! Alongside travel she is extremely creative, with her own business, who loves to write, design and learn new languages.

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Donato Mumani

As a long standing Chef on the Inca Trail Donato first started his culinary training in the famous town of Aguas Calientes. From here he wanted to experience the trail himself, combining his love of the outdoors and cooking he has now been a Chef on our Trails for 15 years. Within his career he has not only been a Chef but experienced the tourism industry within Machu Picchu town, been a farmer in his home town of Paucartambo which provides the treks with their organic food and has also been a porter on the trail learning the ropes. There’s not much this man hasn’t done on trail!


We are a company oriented around excellence service, offering quality solutions with the best alternatives for the needs of our travelers. We unlike others handpick, package, promote and truly provide a quality personalized service, always trying to exceed our customers expectations.We seek to maintain a lasting relationship with our customers with after-sales attention and personalized follow-up care to promote loyalty and ensure total satisfaction. We center around you and communication is key. Our fundamental mission and responsibility is to spread and instill respect for our planet, promoting environmental sustainability and social inclusion.



Our Vision is to be recognized as an agent of change, developing Sustainable Tourism as the only viable form of Tourism. To generate and promote cultural experiences as a sustainable model between society and nature. Expand our services as a Travel Agency & Tour Operator across Peru; maintaining high quality standards with a personalized, warm human touch, distinguishing us apart from others. We will constantly be innovative to aim higher and achieve better every day. We will always value: Loyalty, Honesty, Truthfulness, Respect, Dignity, Development, Collaboration, Efficiency and Moral Responsibility no matter where our Journey takes us.

Our Licenses

Southern Peru Explorers is a 100% Peruvian tour operator based in Cusco, Peru. We are fully authorized to operate, licensed by the Peruvian government and ministry of tourism. You can locate copies of all of our relevant licenses here on our website. We comply with all Peruvian laws, adhering to labor laws that extend rights to all of our staff. We go the extra mile to ensure that your expedition with us is not only enjoyable but safe, organised and professional. We have been recognized for this by our clients through consistently good reviews on Tripadvisor.

inca trail peru licence
Expertise, enthusiasm, language proficiency, empathy, integrity and a sense of humor are the basis upon which we have built an amazing and diverse team. 
We provide flexible and personalized experiences. Why get lost in the crowd with cookie cutter companies when you can be in the emperor of your experience with us? 
We purchase all our produce in local towns straight from the farmers. It’s grown organic, bough fresh and prepared especially for you. 100% Peruvian, 100% Organic, 100% Fair Trade
Your safety is our primary concern, from start to finish. We organize your transport with you, for you and to your specifications. From plane, bus, car to kayak, canoe, boot!
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We have the highest spec gear for all expeditions with brands including: Mountain hardware, The North face and Eureka!
This is your trip so we will come to you! From wherever you are in Cusco and we will drop you back exactly where you want to be. No getting lost, no trying to find us and no taxis.
Unlike most companies we operate in an environmentally sustainable fashion. We are trying to combat negative human impact by using tourism to build up and replenish our environment.
That experience covers a multitude of aspects throughout the industry. We pull expertise from a wide range of personnel to answer any questions and assist
you with what you need.