Getting to know the ‘real’ Peru (or anywhere else) isn’t always about going to hard to find and harder to get to places. Sometimes a different perspective is all you need to unlock a wealth of intriguing experiences. This is a true cultural Peru holiday – focusing on two of Peru’s best-loved areas, the Sacred Valley and Amazon Jungle, but your stay will be enriched with local knowledge from indigenous communities, families and local guides to help you dive deeper into the culture and natural beauty of this unique country.
Day 1: Welcome to Peru! You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Depending on what time you arrive, you may be able to explore some of Lima if you have the energy.
Day 2: Lima, the capital and largest city of Peru was founded by Spanish conquerors in 1535 as the 'City of Kings'. Today you will explore this intriguing metropolis on foot with the help of our expert local guides. (B)
Day 3: After flying into the mountain city of Cuzco, check in to your hotel in the Sacred Valley where the afternoon is free to relax. It is important you do very little to allow yourself to adjust to the altitude. (B)
Day 4: The Sacred Valley is an incomparable and beautiful stretch of small villages, acres of colorful flowers, lively local markets and ancient archaeological sites. Spread across broad plains and rugged mountain slopes less than an hour from Cuzco, it has been held in high esteem since the time of the Incas.
Even though the villages in the Sacred Valley have welcomed tourism for a number of years they remain utterly traditional, with Quechua-speaking villagers working the fields with simple tools and ancient methods. Our version of the Sacred Valley tour runs in the opposite direction to normal to avoid the crowds and includes visits to several responsible cafes, shops and restaurants that put their income from tourism to a very good use. (B/L/Snack)
Day 5: The first inhabitants of the Sacred Valley were the Machus, whom the Incas called Chumpi or Chumpe. Upon arrival, the community will welcome you and demonstrate 'Unveiling the Andean Textile' - a trip into the past that shows the close relationship of Andean peoples with nature, interpreted in beautiful pieces of textile. Afterwards you will learn traditional weaving methods and enjoy a tasty local lunch. (B/L)
Day 6: The morning and early afternoon is free for you to explore the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo, perfectly suited to wandering and exploring at your own pace. You can visit the imposing ruins that surround the town or try the delicious eateries, before taking the train up to Aguas Calientes in the late afternoon, ready for your visit to Machu Picchu the next day. (B)
Day 7: From Aguas Calientes you will catch the early morning bus to Machu Picchu. Often referred to as the 'Lost City of the Incas', Machu Picchu is one of the most famous and spectacular ruins in the world - a visit to Peru would not be complete without it. Take a guided tour in the morning, then explore on your own as much as you like before heading back to Aguas Calientes to catch your train back to Ollantaytambo. (B)
Day 8: After breakfast transfer to Cuzco via the ruins at Moray, an impressively deep amphitheater-like system of terraced farming. Different levels of concentric terraces are carved into a huge earthen bowl, each layer of which has its own microclimate according to depth. Continue to Cuzco where the afternoon is free to relax. (B)
Day 9: In the morning join your local guide for a walking tour of the most interesting places in Cuzco. Explore the archaeological sites of Qenqo and Sacsayhuaman, then stroll through the neighbourhood of San Blas and enjoy a coffee break at a wonderful café run by the local community. The tour finishes in the city centre at the famous Qoricancha (Sun Temple) and the afternoon is free to enjoy the city in your own way. (B)
Day 10: Fly to Puerto Maldonado and take a 2.5 hour boat journey into the heart of the Amazon jungle, to one of the world's leading ecolodges and conservation centres. The afternoon is free to settle in then after dinner, join a night walk when the animals are most active and the frogs are easier to see with their fascinating shapes, colours and sounds. (B/L/D)
Day 11: Today you venture out onto the adjacent lake by canoe or catamaran, looking for wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman, horned screamers, macaws and otters that are sometimes seen in the area. Back at the lodge, a 30 minute walk into the jungle brings you to a 25m tower that you can climb to the canopy level platform at the top. After lunch visit a farm to learn about local agriculture and the medicinal uses of the various local plants. (B/L/D)
Day 12: Witness the audio visual spectacle of a clay lick, where brightly-coloured macaws, parrots and parakeets feast on clay to boost their sodium and eliminate toxins. Dusky-headed and cobalt-winged parakeets are common visitors and if you're lucky you may also see yellow-crowned Amazons, blue-headed pionus and orange-cheeked parrots. Later, take a short hike to a beautiful Brazil nut forest where you can learn about the rainforest’s only sustainably-harvested product. (B/L/D)
Day 13: After some more early morning activities and a final jungle breakfast, return to Puerto Maldonado for a flight back to Lima and your last evening in this amazing country. (B)
Day 14: Sadly all good things come to an end... the morning is free until you transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B)
Prices from: £1800 per person
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, entry fees, English speaking guide, 24 hour assistance
Services not included: flights, drinks, tips and personal expenses.
Note: stops can be extended, added or cut - just ask us!