This two-week holiday showcasing the very best of Peru is perfect for active, adventurous families. Arrive into lively Lima before heading to the beautiful Sacred Valley to discover ancient ruins, traditional markets and breath-taking Andean landscapes.
Blow away the cobwebs with a day’s mountain biking and trek the iconic 4-day Inca Trail to astonishing world heritage site Machu Picchu. Rest up in historic Cusco before heading to the wildlife-packed Amazon rainforest.
Tailor-made Classic 15 days
'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).
Flights are typically an additional $1,413 per person economy class from London
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DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN LIMA
Upon arrival in Lima you will be met at the airport and transferred to your welcoming boutique hotel where you will have a chance to freshen up and rest.
Accommodation: Villa Barranco
DAY 2: DISCOVER LIMA
The best way to get to know Lima is to take a tour of the central area first, followed by some free time afterwards to potter independently around the neighbourhoods of Miraflores or Barranca. So, this morning, enjoy a tour of Lima complete with your own, private guide. You’ll visit both modern and colonial Lima, starting in the districts of Miraflores and San Isidro, and will come away with a good overview of the impressive archaeological site of Huaca Huallamarca. Next, head to the historic centre which comprises the World Heritage Site of Santo Domingo Convent and the Main Square which is surrounded by the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop's Palace, the Municipality of Lima and the Cathedral. Afterwards, sample a ‘pisco sour’ - a traditional Peruvian tipple - and the tour then culminates in a visit to the Larco Museum, an incomparable private collection of treasures from ancient Peru which encapsulates more than five thousand years of Peruvian history. The afternoon is then free to spend at leisure.
Accommodation: Villa Barranco
DAY 3: FLIGHT FROM LIMA TO CUSCO AND TRANSFER TO SACRED VALLEY HOTEL
Fly to Cusco and make the onward transfer to the breathtakingly beautiful Sacred Valley which sits at very high altitude in the Andes. Take plenty of time today to relax and acclimatise in preparation for the impending Inca Trail trek.
DAY 4: DAY AT LEISURE IN SACRED VALLEY
Enjoy another restful day exploring the Sacred Valley at your own pace. We recommend taking a slow morning to allow the hordes of tourists to pass through on their way to Machu Picchu. Once the crowds have dispersed, Ollantaytambo has a real charm and it’s very easy to explore on foot. Traditional Andean ways of life continue to this day and there’s plenty to see from the Inca-era grid of cobblestoned streets, to the traditional adobe buildings and babbling irrigation channels. Ollantaytambo is well known for the ruins of the massive Inca fortress with large stone terraces on the hillside above the village which is well worth a visit.
DAY 5: MOUNTAIN BIKING IN THE SACRED VALLEY
Head out today on a wonderful mountain bike adventure to explore the stunning landscapes of the Sacred Valley, passing through local villages and discovering fascinating archaeological ruins along the way. Routes may vary, but one good example of a half-day excursion begins with a descent to the Moray archaeological complex comprising several concentric terraces that were once farmed by the Incas. Then on to Maras, enjoying the open road and impressive views of the surrounding mountains along the way, followed by a climb to the Maras salt mines, where salt has been extracted for thousands of years. At the end of the cycling route, you’ll be met and transported back to the hotel for a well-earned rest.
DAY 6: COMMENCE THE INCA TRAIL (OLLANTAYTAMBO – HUAYLLABAMBA)
Wake the kids early today for a car transfer to ‘kilometre 82’ where the day begins with a light, easy trek to the first archaeological complex, Llactapata, which will ease you all gently into acclimatising to the altitude. The hike then continues up to Hatunchaca where camp will be set up for the night.
Throughout the four-day trek, there’ll be a combination of wonderful mountain views, lush sub-tropical vegetation and architectural ruins to explore, and porters will carry all equipment and up to 7kg of luggage per person. The porters are local Quetcha people who know the area very well and usually set off slightly earlier to ensure that overnight camps are set up before you arrive.
Approximate walking time: 4 ½ to 5 hours (distance 12 km)
Altitude: beginning of trek: 2,750 m.a.s.l. / ends at: 3,000 m.a.s.l.
Accommodation: Camping (in-camp upgrades possible)
DAY 7: HUAYLLABAMBA – PACAYMAYO (SECOND DAY OF INCA TRAIL)
A carbohydrate-based breakfast on this second day of the Inca trail is the most important meal of the trek in preparation for today’s demanding hike. The hike commences through the Huayllabamba Valley to Yunca Chimpa in Llulluchapampa (3750 m.a.s.l.) and from here you’ll witness the Huayanay Valley before arriving at the highest section of the path known as the ‘Warmiwañusca’ or ‘Dead Woman's Pass’, which sits at 4,200 metres (approx. 14,000 feet) and which can be quite intense and challenging for some given the high altitude. The climb will take most of the morning and then after lunch, there’s a short, two-hour descent to Pacaymayo where camp will be set up for the night. With any luck, the porters and chef will have gone on ahead to set up camp and have your well-deserved, three-course dinner cooking on the fire. Don't be surprised if everyone heads to bed early after a tough but rewarding day.
Approximate walking time: 7 hours (distance 13 km)
Altitude: beginning of trek: 3,000 m.a.s.l. / ends at: 3,800 m.a.s.l.
Accommodation: Camping (in-camp upgrades possible)
DAY 8: PACAYMAYO – WIÑAYWAYNA (THIRD DAY OF INCA TRAIL)
Today is the most diverse day in terms of sites and views. In the morning, there’s an ascent to the second pass, Runcuracay, which sits at 3,680 metres (around 12,800 feet) followed by a short two-hour descent to the stunning archaeological site of Sayacmarca with its far-reaching views of the surrounding valleys and snow-peaked mountains. There will be some time to explore this fascinating spot before continuing along the original Inca stone path to the Phyyupatamarca complex where you’ll have a short tour before descending the 3 kilometres to Wiñaywayna. Here, camp will be set up for the night amongst the mystical ruins.
Approximate walking time: 10 hours (distance 15 km)
Altitude: beginning of trek: 3,800 m.a.s.l / ends at: 2,650 m.a.s.l
Accommodation: Camping (in-camp upgrades possible)
DAY 9: TREK WIÑAYWAYNA – MACHU PICCHU VIA SUN GATE, THEN ON TO CUSCO
After breakfast, you will head to the Inti Punku area, known also as the Sun Gate, where you will enjoy an impressive view of the majestic citadel of Machu Picchu. From here, it’s a short hike to the citadel itself. You will visit these impressive and remarkably well-preserved ruins accompanied by a guide who will explain the history and structure of this wonderful place. Finally, you will board a bus and head to the train station and make the onward journey to Cusco on the Vistadome train. Your hotel for the next couple of nights, El Mercado, is a lovely property nestled amidst central Cusco’s ancient cobbled streets.
Approximate walking time: 2 ¼ hours (distance 6 km)
Altitude: beginning of trek: 2,650 m.a.s.l. / ends at: 2,400 m.a.s.l.
Accommodation: El Mercado
DAY 10: GUIDED TOUR OF CUSCO
Explore the once Inca capital, Cusco, with a private guide. The tour begins at Koricancha Temple, an ancient Inca palace and centre of worship of the sun god, on the site of which the Dominicans built a church which survives to this day. Then on to the Main Square, where you will visit the cathedral, the most important religious building in the city. The climb then continues to Sacsayhuamán fortress, an impressive example of Inca military architecture followed by a visit to Kenko, where the sun, moon and stars were once worshipped. Next, there’s the chance to explore Puca-Pucara, which is thought to have once been a "tambo", or rest and lodging place, for the ancient Inca people. Finally, a visit to the Inkas Expression art workshop, where you will be able to see Andean art being created by artists working in silver, paint and wood.
Accommodation: El Mercado
DAY 11: EXPLORE CUSCO AT LEISURE
Spend today independently exploring bustling Cusco, the breathtakingly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site, at your own pace. Spend some time in one of the many cafes at the Plaza de Armas and visit the chocolate museum and a whole host of ancient Inca palaces, temples and Spanish Colonial buildings.
Accommodation: El Mercado
DAY 12: FLY FROM CUSCO TO PUERTO MALDONADO AND BOAT TRANSFER TO REFUGIO AMAZONAS
Today, make the short flight to Puerto Maldonado and your final destination, Refugio Amazonas, for the grand finale of the holiday, a 3-day, fully immersive Amazon rainforest experience.
Accommodation: Refugio Amazonas
DAY 13: REFUGIO AMAZONAS
Highlights of the activities include visits to the Canopy Tower, Clay lick and Oxbow Lake. The Canopy Tower takes you high above the dense vegetation, and from the top you will see miles of pristine forest stretching in every direction. Because animals are at their most active up in the tree canopy, you’ll also enjoy incredible opportunities to see the local wildlife. The Oxbow Lake visit reveals the most important and distinct habitats in the Amazon. These lakes form when a river bend gets cut off from its main channel, creating calm, fish-filled lakes. After a quick boat trip from the lodge, you hike a short distance inland to the lake where you’ll enjoy pleasant catamaran ride around the lake with your guide to spot wildlife. Due to the lake’s biodiversity and rich abundance of fish, there’s a good chance of spotting the Hoatzin - a bizarre, dinosaur-like bird - along with troops of Squirrel Monkeys, rare Giant Otters, huge Caiman, and majestic Macaws flying overhead. Moreover, if you visit the Oxbow Lake at the Posada Amazonas lodge, you might even get to see the fascinating and much-feared Piranha.
Accommodation: Refugio Amazonas
DAY 14: REFUGIO AMAZONAS
For one of the best tropical bird experiences in the whole of the Amazon, a visit the Chuncho Macaw Clay Lick is a must. Due to particularly rich nutrients, most likely salt, found in the cliff soil, the Clay Lick attracts dozens of species of colourful birds; from huge Red and Green Macaws to Mealy Parrots, the birds flock here to munch on the nutritious clay. The macaws are the largest — and certainly the loudest — of the bunch and the humid jungle air fills with their screeches as they settle into trees above the bluffs, swooping down to feed on the clay. The Chuncho Macaw Clay Lick is one of the most stunning wildlife spectacles in the world, making it a must-see for any nature lover. In addition to the above-mentioned activities, there are several different guided hikes on offer, plus local farm visits, opportunities to take part in scientific research and beautiful sunset cruises on the Tambopata River.
Accommodation: Refugio Amazonas
DAY 15: TRANSFER FROM REFUGIO AMAZONAS TO AIRPORT FOR ONWARD FLIGHT
This morning, you'll be transferred by boat back to Puerto Maldonado airport to catch your onward flight.
Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.
Flight prices, details and operators will vary depending on date of travel, however the below gives an overview of key operators, routes and flight duration from the UK and the US at the time of writing. Note that it’s always possible to fly direct into Lima and overnight there before catching the morning flight to Cusco the following day. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements and obtain a current, detailed quote.
From the UK to Cusco
The fastest flight from London to Cusco is with Avianca airlines who make just one stop en route (Bogota) with a total flight time of around 17 ½ hours. Latin American Airlines (LAN) partner with British Airways to operate flights from London into Cusco via Lima, with flight times varying from around 15 to 24 hours. There are also several other indirect flight options (generally via Lima) with a couple of stops en route which take around 30 hours overall; examples include KLM, Iberia and Air France who all operate in partnership with LAN to operate flights from London to Cusco stopping both in Lima and in Amsterdam/Madrid/Paris respectively. Flights cost in the region of £800 to £1,500 per person depending on season and demand.
From the US East Coast to Cusco
Avianca operates flights from New York into Cusco with either one stop (Bogota), or two stops (Bogota and Lima), and flight times of around 11 to 14 hours. LAN also operate New York to Cusco, with just one stop in Lima and a similar flight time of around 11 hours. Flight costs range from $800 to $1,800 per person depending on season and demand.
From the US West Coast to Cusco
Avianca operates flights from Los Angeles into Cuzco, usually with just one stop in Bogota (and sometimes two stops; Bogota and Lima), with flight times of around 12 hours. LAN also operates on this route, as do Air Canada, Aeromexico and Finn Air depending on the time of year. Flight costs range from $800 to $1,500 per person depending on season and demand.
Peru’s peak tourist season is June - August when the main tourist sites will be at their busiest. The weather at this time of year is lovely, with little rain and clear, sunny days. Nights, however, are cold. The rainy season in both the mountains and the jungle generally lasts from November - March/April, with the wettest months being January & February. It is naturally much quieter in the sites at this time of year - although note that the Inca Trail closes in February for maintenance.
If you want to avoid the crowds, then you might want to aim for April / May when the rains have slowed but the sites are not as busy.
The high season on the Inca trail is from April to September when the conditions are fairly dry and the weather generally sunny. June, July and August (peak season) can see slightly colder night-time temperatures so be sure to bring some layers.
The rainy season lasts from November to March/April and whilst the treks during this period are much quieter, the rain - especially in January and February - can make the trekking harder. Note that the Inca Trail is closed in the month of February every year for vital cleaning and maintenance, alternative routes are available but they tend to be longer and more strenuous.
The Amazon is an area of tropical rainforest which is always humid, and it can rain at any time of the year. There isn’t a huge amount of climate variation from season to season – although the wettest months overall tend to be January and February, with sometimes 5 or 6 hours of rain per day. The main advantage of going in the rainy months is that you’ll see more parrots and macaws on the clay licks, since they’re nesting and therefore particularly active – although do be prepared for more mosquitoes at this time of year.
This exciting 15-day holiday is tailored to energetic, outdoorsy families with a keen sense of adventure who are looking to experience Peru's top cultural, historical and activity highlights. Get to know the cities of Lima and Cusco and the delights of the Sacred Valley with guided excursions, trek the classic 4-day Inca Trail and enjoy complete immersion in the remote Amazon rainforest.
Note that the minimum recommended age for this holiday is 12 years and it's ideal for youngsters with a good level of fitness, a robust determination and a genuine love of nature and the great outdoors.
The proposed hotels are modest yet comfortable and the Inca Trail camping equipment is good and modern but basic, with the option to upgrade to a little more in-camp comfort if preferred.
If you want to participate in a trek where you and your family will push yourselves physically, but at the same time gain an insight into an ancient people and culture, then this will be right up your street.
You do need to be in good shape to participate and it is recommended that you all do some regular exercise in the month before you depart. That said, you don’t have to be exercise mad; children as young as 7 and adults of 68 have completed the trail. You will be hiking at altitude, so this itinerary allows time to acclimatise for a couple of days in the Sacred Valley before embarking on the trip.
Don’t worry about being rushed along too fast, there will be plenty of time for comfort breaks and chances to admire the views along the way. The guide will always walk at the back with the last person in the group, so you really don’t need to be concerned about younger members of the family taking too long.
Due to the huge demand to travel this iconic route, the government only issues a certain number or permits per day to ensure that the trail does not become overcrowded and damaged. This includes all porters, guides and cooks, so it fills up quickly. The high season on the trail is from April to September so we recommend planning ahead; try to book at least 5 to 6 months in advance. If you want to trek in quieter times, you may wish to consider dates outside of the high season (see ‘when is best’).
This trek is organized by a professional and licensed tour operator who has been operating in the region for many years. They know what they’re doing and treat their porters well, ensuring that they are well equipped and fairly paid. To read more about trekking to Machu Picchu, the alternatives and best times to trek, read our guide to the Inca Trail.
If you have any other questions, please refer to our frequently asked questions page or contact us.
To read more about trekking to Machu Picchu, the alternatives and best times to trek read our guide to the Inca Trail.
A visit to the rainforest is best suited to hardy, adventurous travellers who have a keen interest in wildlife. There are of course plenty of insects, wild animals and changeable weather patterns. Make sure you are vaccinated against any jungle diseases and that you are fully medically prepared for your trip - anti-malarials are normally advised. Waterproof clothing and good footwear are a must for a visit at any time of year. We politely remind all rainforest visitors to respect the natural environment by leaving no rubbish behind, adhering to trails and listening to the safety advice given by guides.
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
Driver-guide: Very punctual, except for pick up for airport when he was delayed by >30 mins due to road closures. Vehicle very clean and well maintained- plenty of water and supplies of clothing for religious sites, tissues, postcards etc. Very good at understanding what level of conversation we wanted. Happy to stop for paracetamol, supermarket etc. Took us to signal box at railway since we were early (which was very interesting)
The Walawwa: Lovely place to arrive at and get a bit of rest. Great pool, lovely rooms and food etc. Peaceful oasis so close to town.
Wilpattu Camp: Wonderful food- really enjoyed trying lots of new things in excellent surroundings.Felt like the place had not been visited much recently (which I don’t think it had due to the terrorist attacks) so our safari guide had been brought up from another park and did not know the park too well- it worked out well though and we saw all the animals we hoped to see so no complaints on that front. We did feel that we should have been told about extra things we could have done- when we commented on the great food on final day we were told that they could have done a cookery demo for us, but it was too late at that point. It worked well for us but clients should probably know that they are likely to have multiple wildlife in their tents (eg frogs)- didn’t bother us at all, but others it might do. We were given a questionnaire to fill in at the end whilst all the staff were standing around, which wasn’t ideal as you felt a bit of pressure! Felt really well looked after here!
Water Gardens Sigiriya: Beautiful suites with plunge pools- quiet and peaceful with lovely big swimming pool. Food good
Jungle Beach: Beautiful location on beach. Rooms good. Food a bit limited I would have liked a bit more variety ideally.
Camellia House: Lovely location- beautiful views. Food OK but service below average- our food orders were wrong a couple of times and even pre-ordered food was delayed. Tea factory tour was only an hour and that was the main reason to be here. It was interesting but quite brief seeing it was the main attraction according to our itinerary. Also, we were taken there in a minibus which didn’t have seatbelts on all seats and was quite smelly- not up to the standard of the usual transportation. Rooms were described as having panoramic views- one did have amazing views but the other one definitely didn’t.
Galle Face: Lovely old hotel- but it did have some problems (leaking ceiling and ‘smuts’ coming out of air conditioning.) Weather very bad (spectacular storms). It was a shame the street food tour couldn’t take place but totally understandable given the weather, however we enjoyed our dinner here and free drinks/canopes!). Good choice at breakfast.
Pippa R reviewing Sri Lanka Highlights - Classic on 30 September 2019
Once again you organised a really good holiday for us.
If there was one criticism it was that there were too many flights. I don’t know whether you could do Bangkok first, Chiang Mai, then fly down South?
Your drivers and Guides - all really good. The variety of transport on the tours in Bangkok and Chiang Mai; we all loved.
Tamarind Village - Our room was a bit of a squeeze, with the 3 of us and 3 big suitcases.
Lisu Lodge- I enjoyed our time here. Going forward I would suggest only 1 night or they need to have some more activities. I liked how we ate on the floor, the food was really good. Staff very friendly. We liked the cycling, tea plantation, trekking and white water rafting.
Riva Surya- good location.
Elephant Hills- we loved looking after the elephants, the lake was also a really good experience. The guides were informative and looked after us well. The resort locations and tents were perfect.
Santiburi - amazing; we upgraded to a beach bungalow which was fantastic. The hotel is in a stunning location, the facilities and the service was impeccable. Sam has some private Thai boxing lessons, which he loved. We had cookery lessons and used the paddle boards. A perfect end to quite a busy holiday.
Natasha L reviewing Thailand Family Adventure on 24 September 2019
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Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.
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