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Family Holiday: Incas, Amazon & Beach

This 16-day Peru Highlights and Beach Family Holiday is perfect for families looking for some relaxing time on the Coast after exploring Peru's highlights of Cusco's Inca areas and the Amazon.

Witness bustling Lima and historic Cusco and visit the traditional markets and Inca ruins of the Andean Sacred Valley. This vibrant and varied Peruvian foray includes a captivating one-day trek to Machu Picchu, a remote stay in the electrifying Amazon jungle and culminates in a restful beach stay in Mancora to kick back and reflect on your family holiday of a lifetime.

Tailor-made Luxury 16 days

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Itinerary

Overview


  • 16-day Peru Highlights and Beach family adventure

  • Stay in elegant yet characterful hotels and lodges boasting superb scenic settings and excellent facilities

  • Explore bustling Lima and cosmopolitan Cusco where ancient Inca and Spanish colonial history meets modern-day life

  • Acclimatise in the charming Sacred Valley before setting the kids’ imaginations on fire with a bite-sized, one-day Inca Trail hike to UNESCO world heritage site Machu Picchu

  • Kick off with a remote Amazon jungle experience packed with colourful wildlife and a superb range of activities

  • Conclude with a lovely beach stay in laid-back surf town Mancora

Day-by-day

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN LIMA
Upon arrival in Lima you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel where you can 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 an excursion around 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’ (adults only!) - 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. Since the tour is privately guided, it can work at your own family’s pace, and the afternoon is then free to spend at leisure.
Accommodation: Villa Barranco

DAY 3: FLY FROM LIMA TO PUERTO MALDONADO AND BOAT TRANSFER TO REFUGIO AMAZONAS
Today, make the short flight to Puerto Maldonado and your final destination, Refugio Amazonas, for a wonderful 3-day, fully immersive Amazon rainforest experience. The remote Refugio is by far the best Amazon offering, with total immersion in nature well away from civilisation. Note that the rooms, however, are open to the jungle – so we can happily suggest alternative options to families who might prefer a little more home comfort and luxury.
Accommodation: Refugio Amazonas

DAY 4: 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. There’s plenty on offer for children of all ages, and for youngsters there are games and puzzles for learning about ecology, wildlife and conservation, plus a fabulous rainforest trail ideal for 4-10 year olds and a lovely on-site playground to keep everyone entertained when back at base.
Accommodation: Refugio Amazonas

DAY 5: 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 6: FLIGHT TO CUSCO AND TRANSFER TO SACRED VALLEY HOTEL
Today you’ll be transferred by boat back to Puerto Maldonaldo for the short flight to Cusco and onward transfer to the breathtakingly beautiful Sacred Valley which sits high up in the Andean mountains. We recommend taking plenty of time to relax and acclimatise to the altitude and the Sol Y Luna hotel - a wonderful Relais & Châteaux property in a superb mountain setting with some fantastic facilities including a pool, gym and full-service spa – is the perfect luxury base.
Accommodation: Sol Y Luna

DAY 7: 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.
Accommodation: Sol Y Luna

DAY 8: 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. For families with very young children or those not keen on cycling, alternative arrangements can be made.
Accommodation: Sol Y Luna

DAY 9: SHORT ONE-DAY TREK TO MACHU PICCHU SUN GATE
Early this morning, join the Inca Trail at ‘Kilometre 104’ for the short trek to ancient Inca citadel Machu Picchu. En route, visit the archaeological complex at Chachabamba and, depending on the weather, make the ascent up to the magnificent waterfall. In the afternoon, hike up to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), a wonderful vantage point from where views of the remarkably well-preserved Machu Picchu can be enjoyed. Once you’ve had a chance to soak up the spectacular scenery, return to the village of Aguas Calientes where you will stay overnight in a hotel. For families with very young children, or those who aren’t keen on trekking, alternative ways for reaching Machu Picchu are available.
Accommodation: El Mapi

DAY 10: EXPLORE MACHU PICCHU
Wake at about 5.30am today to catch a train and bus back to Machu Picchu. You will be accompanied by a guide who will then give you a private tour of this mind-blowing ancient archaeological site which has universal appeal for all age groups. The private tour takes about 2 hours and then the rest of the time is free to spend at leisure. In the afternoon, travel to laid-back, historic Cusco where you will spend the next three nights.
Accommodation: El Mercado

DAY 11: 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. The tour is privately guided and can therefore work at a pace to suit your family.
Accommodation: El Mercado

DAY 12: EXPLORE CUSCO AT LEISURE
Today is all about independently exploring more of Cusco, a 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 13: FLY FROM CUSCO TO TUMBES, MANCORA, FOR A RESTFUL BEACH STAY
Today, take a flight to Tumbes via Lima followed by a two-hour road transfer to Mancora, a small, laid-back hipster surf town in the warmer North of Peru, and one of the best locations on the long Peruvian Coast. While it isn't exactly the Caribbean, being mostly Coastal Desert with plenty of surf and wind laying siege to the beaches in the afternoons, it’s a lovely place to chill out and reflect on your adventure before your journey home. You’ll most likely be swimming and relaxing around the pool rather than in the Ocean, but a stay here makes for some excellent, restorative down time at the close of your Peruvian adventure. For those looking for a more classic beach experience, it’s possible to fly home via Miami where we can arrange alternative stays in Miami South Beach or the Keys.
Accommodation: Arrenas Mancora (alternative beach stay in Miami can be arranged)

DAY 14: DAY AT LEISURE IN MANCORA
Activities in Mancora include kite surfing, quad biking, surfing, horse riding along the desert coast, seasonal whale watching or deep-sea fishing. Surfing is the big deal here and surf culture permeates the atmosphere in town which is at its busiest between December and March when the waves are at their best. Mancora itself provides a good beginner / intermediate wave and is a great place to learn to surf. For more seasoned surfers, it’s a short drive to several world class waves. Note that the surf is best in the mornings before the sea breeze picks up in the afternoon. There are also some seriously good restaurants in the vicinity.
Accommodation: Arrenas Mancora (alternative beach stay in Miami can be arranged)

DAY 15: ANOTHER RELAXED DAY IN MANCORA
Spend another day at leisure in Mancora, enjoying activities on the beach or relaxing back at base at the charming and peaceful Arrenas Mancora hotel with its excellent facilities and lovely outdoor swimming pool which has views of the beach and ocean.
Accommodation: Arrenas Mancora (alternative beach stay in Miami can be arranged)

DAY 16: TRANSFER TO AIRPORT FOR ONWARD FLIGHT
This morning, you'll be transferred to the airport to catch your onward flight.

Accommodation


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.

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Characterful boutique hotel
- Rooftop terrace with excellent views
- Pretty gardens
- Well located for exploring Barranco

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Immersive Amazon experience
- Best for adventurous travellers
- Activities for all ages, great for families
- Mountain biking, cruises, jungle walks

Sol Y Luna

Sacred Valley

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Luxury base in stunning Sacred Valley
- 43 charming stone 'casitas' with views
- Spa, pool, gym, biking, kayaking, riding
- Horse shows, pottery workshops

El Mapi

Machu Picchu & Inca Trail

Our rating

6/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Large, reliable hotel in Aguas Calientes
- Unbeatable location for Machu Picchu
- Facilities include spa and restaurant
- Good value for money, lively and relaxed

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Historic property with contemporary touches
- Excellent central Cusco location
- Near main square, museums, markets, cafes
- Excursions further afield available

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Luxurious beachside property with pool
- Peaceful location near bustling Mancora
- Surfing, kite-surfing, fishing, diving
- Whale watching (seasonal)

Details

Getting there

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.

Price includes

Price includes domestic flights, all accommodation (bed and breakfast basis in Cusco, Sacred Valley, Coast and Lima, all meals in Amazon), transfers and tours as mentioned in the itinerary.

When is best?

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.

INCA TRAIL:
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.

AMAZON:
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.

Is it for me?

If you have young children, or children of various different ages, and are looking for some genuine, outdoorsy adventure coupled with indulgent creature comfort, then this itinerary will work well for you. There's plenty of flexibility and no pressure to participate in treks or rambunctious activities if that doesn't suit certain members of the family and you'll certainly benefit from the fabulous facilities and jaw-dropping settings when staying in the best family accommodation on offer in the area.

This particular itinerary includes a one-day trek which covers a short distance at the end of the classic Inca Trail to reach the 'Sun Gate' from where wonderful views of Machu Picchu can be seen. You'll then stay overnight in a hotel in Aguas Calientes and the following day, you'll catch a train and a bus back to Machu Picchu for a private guided tour of the awe-inspiring ancient citadel, plus there'll be time to explore independently. Thus this itinerary is perfect for families looking to witness the key highlights of the magical Machu Picchu experience without participating in the full 3-day Inca Trail hike, and very young children, or those who don't like walking, can skip the trek altogether.

A visit to the rainforest is best suited to adventurous, outdoorsy 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. The remote Refugio Amazonas lodge offers up the very best Amazon experience with some amazing wildlife well away from civilisation and a broad menu of activity choices. However, the accommodation is open to the rainforest, so do get in touch if you'd prefer us to find you a property with a tad more creature comfort. 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.

While Mancora is a lovely place for a rest at the end of your holiday complete with coastal desert and surf, you may well end up spending more time swimming in the pool than the sea. If you're looking for a more classic beach stay, it's possible to fly back to the UK via Miami and spend some time on the beach in Miami South Beach or the Keys.

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 504 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • Hi Lisa,

    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!

    Best regards,
    Woan Chyi

    MissingWoan 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.

    MissingPippa 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.

    MissingNatasha L reviewing Thailand Family Adventure on 24 September 2019

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Alternative Itineraries

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.

15-day Peru holiday for energetic, outdoorsy families (12yo+) with a keen sense of adventure who want to trek the Inca Trail and experience Peru's highlights. Includes the Sacred Valley, Cusco, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and Amazon.

Tailor-made Classic 15 days

Families from $3,575 pp plus flights

'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 $1,449 per person economy class from London

Luxury 13 day family adventure in Peru offering perfect mix of culture, history and activity. Visit Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu & stay in a remote Amazon jungle lodge.

Tailor-made Luxury 13 days

Families from $5,540 pp plus flights

'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 $1,449 per person economy class from London

The ultimate Peruvian adventure for budget-conscious families. Explore Lima and the ruins of the Sacred Valley, experience vibrant Cusco and trek the Inca Trail.

Tailor-made Classic 12 days

Families from $1,955 pp plus flights

'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 $1,318 per person economy class from London

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