Peru is a journey in life that everyone needs to fulfil. It is a land of sublime wonder, from the epic glacial peaks of the Andes to the wildlife-filled depths of the Amazon.
On this tour visit Lima, revitalized by new museums and the source of a gastronomic revolution. Seek out capybaras, jaguars and giant otters in the pristine jungles and cloud forests of the Amazon whilst secretly educating the kids about geographical features. Explore the Sacred Valley, the heartbeat of the Incan world. Wander around the mysterious complex of Machu Picchu dwarfed by the surrounding mist-shrouded green peaks. Let the kids embrace their inner archaeologist. Take in the high-altitude city of Cuzco with its terracotta rooftops, museums, cobbled backstreets lined with cafes and galleries. Drink Pisco Sours and Inca Kolas.
Take this big place in small bites. In Peru the biggest adventure usually lies in the journey.
- International Flights: Flights from UK regional airports to Lima (LIM)
- Domestic Flights: Three internal flights from Lima to Puerto Maldonado to Cuzco then to Lima (a flight supplement may be required)
- Train: Vistadome train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes (return to Cuzco)
- Transport: Private mini-van transfers
- Activities (in the Amazon): Caiman night tour, oxbow lake visit, canopy tower, local farm visit, ethnobotanical tour, parakeet clay lick, Brazil nut hike, mammal clay lick & optional eco-tourism lecture
- Guide: Private guide for Machu Picchu visit
- Accommodation: 10 nights in characterful hotels & Amazon eco-lodges
- Meals: Breakfasts where stated
- Trip Pack: Key family-friendly information about the country you are visiting with recommended activity links, places to eat and fun facts.
- Discover the best sights of Lima, from the colonial architecture and excellent museums to the mysterious catacombs. Introduce the kids to ceviche.
- Stay in an eco-lodge in the heart of the Amazon jungle. Take in the cacophony of sounds whilst exploring clay licks and oxbow lakes.
- Climb up to the rainforest canopy to spot macaws and howler monkeys and spot caiman sunning themselves on river banks.
- Marvel at ancient Incan architecture in the Sacred Valley. Visit sun temples in Ollantaytambo, agricultural terraces at Moray and salt pans at Maras.
- Climb to Machu Picchu’s Sun Gate for a magical view of the Incan citadel.
- Enjoy time in Cuzco to discover the city's Incan architecture. Wander the cobbled streets filled with artisan cafes, craft shops and galleries.
- Engage in a whole host of optional activities from rafting, kayaking, cycling and zip-lining to spectacular hiking in the jagged peaks of the Andes.
- When can we go? All Year Round
- What type of tour is it? Private Family Tour with guided transfers
- Who is it suitable for? For rainforest & wildlife enthusiasts, keen mountain hikers, history buffs and budding archaeologists.
- What is the minimum age? We would recommend a minimum age of 8 years to take full advantage of the range of activities on this trip. If you want to incorporate the full ‘Inca Trail’ as part of this trip then we would recommend a minimum age of 12 years.
We publish ‘guideline prices’ for both the high and low season to give a reasonable estimate of what you might expect to pay per person based on a family of four (two adults, two children). To get an accurate price based on your estimated departure date and party size please contact us directly.
Guide Price: Apr to Oct - £2,495pp
Arrive on your flight from the UK to Lima. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Lima has a cosmopolitan buzz thanks to its flourishing economy and a thriving foodie scene. This is a city where surfers stroll the streets, roller-bladers coast along the Malecón and paragliders spiral past hotel windows. Eat some ceviche, shop for sombreros and visit Mario Testino’s Museo MATE.
We would also recommend visiting the monastery of San Francisco perched above a subterranean world of expansive catacombs. The library, with its huge books, looks like it came straight from the imagination of J. K. Rowling. Afterwards, take your pick of any nearby gastronomical delights, watch the famous Lima sunset then get some rest for the days ahead.
Fun Facts: Lima was originally called La Ciudad de los Reyes which translates to "The City of Kings”.
Optional Activities: Museums, monastery of San Francisco, surfing
After a good night’s rest it is time to start your Amazon adventure. The short flight to Puerto Maldonado will transport you deep inside the Amazon rainforest, where you will be met by a local guide and taken on a spellbinding, two and a half hour boat trip up the Tambopata River. You are now entering the land of jaguars, pumas, toucans, capybaras, turtles and monkeys set amongst a symphony of shrills, howls and croaks of a million insects.
With wooden walkways, open air rooms and kerosene oil lamps your beautiful rustic lodge will transport you back to a time where you could imagine being one of the original intrepid explorers. You will have time to settle in and have dinner before setting out on an evening caiman search by boat. Scan the shores with headlamps and flashlights to catch the red gleams of reflection. Back at the lodge gaze out at the black velvet sky littered with a thousand stars and enjoy a restful night’s sleep.
Fun Facts: It is estimated there are at least fifty Amazon tribes living in the depths of the rainforest that have never had contact with the outside world.
Take an early morning hike through the jungle to the nearby oxbow lake. Along the way keep an eye out for giant leaf-cutter ants carrying ten times their weight in vegetarian delights. Hop aboard a catamaran and search for piranhas, hoatzin, caiman and horned screamers. The hoatzin is locally named the “stinkbird” on account of the bad smell it gives off. Giant otters (our personal favourite!) can also sometimes be seen here.
Later this morning get a spectacular birds-eye perspective of your Amazonian home. A 30m canopy tower provides safe access to viewing platforms to spot toucans, parrots and macaws in the neighbouring treetops. After a delicious lunch, make the short journey to a local farm which grows a variety of Amazonian crops. You will learn the reasons why these plants are cultivated and have the opportunity to touch and taste fruits you’ve never heard of such as the Copuazu, ‘Fish-eye’ Chili, and Cocona.
Afterwards learn about the fascinating relationship between local people and plants on an ethnobotanical tour. As a means of defence against the army of herbivores littered amongst the rainforest many local species of plants have developed an incredible array of compounds to quite simply keep them alive. Staff from a small communal organisation will be your guides. After an exhausting day, spend your evening eating delicious food made from locally sourced ingredients and relaxing on your hammock.
Fun Facts: Leaf-cutter ants collect the leaves to feed to their fungus gardens. It's the fungus they grow from the decomposing leaves that provide their food.
After being awoken by your Amazon alarm clock, it’s time to get involved in some more activities. The nearby mammal clay lick provides an opportunity to spot peccaries (wild rainforest pigs) who play a vital role as seed dispersers and engineers of freshwater habitats. You may also see deer, guan and parakeets. One of the resident biologists will help you set up your own camera trap to catch any action shots.
Afterwards you can take a hike through the lush jungle to explore a Brazil nut forest where the entire process from collection to transportation, drying, and a final consumable product will be demonstrated. The Brazil nut fruit grows in pods up to 15cm wide so make sure not to stand underneath one. In the afternoon, you can take a longer trip to see a parakeet clay lick. Species with exotic names such as ‘Dusky-headed’ and ‘Cobalt-Winged Parakeets’ can be seen here ingesting the clay.
If you find you have some spare time (and energy) during your stay in the Amazon, additional activities such as mountain biking, river kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding are also available.
Fun Facts: Falling Brazil nut tree pods can travel at speeds of 80 km/h (50 mph), and can easily damage things like vehicles.
Following breakfast, you will travel back to Puerto Maldonado to pick up any additional bags. It is then on to the airport for your domestic flight to Cuzco. To help minimise any effects of altitude sickness you will quickly descend the lofty heights of Cuzco (11,200ft) to the Sacred Valley (9,400ft) making it an easier transition for us low altitude dwellers.
You will be met at the airport and driven through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, which stretches some 60 miles from Pisac in the east to Machu Picchu in the west. This was once the fertile and spiritual base of the Incan Empire. Today, the majestic snow-capped peaks combined with the unrelenting spirit of this area make it truly magical.
On your journey into the Sacred Valley you may like to visit the cultural centre with its llamas, alpacas and weaving demonstrations. You may also like to stop at the artisan markets at Pisac, filled with colourful local produce such as Peruvian shawls and hats. After arriving at your accommodation, the rest of the day is free for you to relax or wander into town to try empanadas at the local bakery and enjoy a Pisco Sour or Inka Cola.
You will stay in the Sacred Valley for the next three nights giving you time to acclimatise and enjoy everything this unique valley has to offer.
Fun Facts: On the roofs of houses in the Sacred Valley are small shrines that include a cross indicating the family is Christian, ceramic bulls for strength and fertility, a cask of corn beer to tie them to their ancestors, and a vial of holy water to sanctify the house.
We would recommend spending the morning in nearby Ollantaytambo, a living, breathing Inca town where the engineering genius of the ancient civilisation can still be seen in the corn terraces and the still-flowing irrigation system. The architecture of Ollantaytambo has often been described as just as beautiful as Machu Picchu. If you don’t fancy the ruins, you could simply enjoy the hustle of daily activity from the verandah of one of the cafés overlooking the central square. Latte and chocolate cake compulsory. You could also experience a Pachamanca Farm Lunch which is cooked over hot rocks and served with breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains.
The afternoon is free for you to enjoy the more adventurous side of the surrounding area. Nearby lies Pumamarca, an ancient settlement dramatically perched on top of a mountainside. You may like to ascend the mountain on horseback under the expert guidance of traditional Peruvian horsemen. If you fancy a slightly faster pace, then the ultimate mountain bike course awaits you! 5,000 feet of down-hill cycling whizzing past potato farms, waterfalls and glaciers. Or you could enjoy an adrenaline-surging zip-wire adventure, completing seven zip lines all with amazing views of the valley.
Fun Facts: The stone for the Temple of the Sun in Ollantaytambo was quarried from a mountainside 6km away, across a river. The Incas’ crafty technique to transport the massive blocks meant carting the blocks to the riverside then diverting the entire river channel around them.
Optional Activities: Traditional Pachamanca lunch, horseback riding tour to Inca ruins, mountain biking, zip-lining.
This morning, we would suggest visiting a remote Quechua community, located high in the mountains bordered by Inca terraces and traditional farms. You may like to visit the cooperative's weaving centre and see the transformation of alpaca wool into beautiful, vibrant textiles. Afterwards, enjoy a lovingly prepared home-cooked meal hosted by a weaver in her own family home. An amazing experience.
If you are visiting on a weekend then we would highly recommend watching a local game of football which takes place all over the Sacred Valley. These are usually noisy, spirited, and huge amounts of fun. You could also enjoy a local pottery workshop to create your own work of art. Later that evening, you might like to enjoy dinner accompanied by a Peruvian Paso horse show and Marinera dancers.
Fun Facts: The Quechua people still speak their own distinct dialogue. Quechua words that have been assimilated into the English language include llama, puma, condor, quinoa and coca.
Optional Activities: Peruvian Paso horse show, pottery workshop, Quecha community visit
After a delicious Peruvian breakfast you could opt this morning to engage in an exhilarating white-water roller-coaster ride. The twists and turns of the Urubamba River make it a great place to ride the rapids. Expect epic scenery with some thrilling ‘heart in mouth’ moments.
Next, we would suggest visiting Maras which is home to a myriad of salt-encrusted terraces precariously nestled against the steep mountainside. Salt has been extracted here using evaporation pools since Incan times but today, the pans are owned and maintained by over 300 local families with the pink salt sold locally. Nearby at Moray, are a series of concentric terraces which look like an ancient Greek amphitheatre and represent one of the Incas’ most innovative agricultural experiments for growing crops.
For your iconic journey to Machu Picchu you have the services of a private guide. You will be picked up from your accommodation and transferred to Ollantaytambo train station where you will board the ‘Vistadome’ train to Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is the closest town to Machu Picchu and rests deep in a gorge overshadowed by lush, green mountains. The only way in and out is by train. It is a typical tourist town with restaurants, souvenir markets and thermal baths. Make the short walk from the train station to your accommodation where we would advise a good night’s sleep for your early morning start.
Fun Facts: Guinea pigs (a ) are not considered pets in Peru, but rather a delicious food delicacy. Eating cuy is a tradition from Inca times.
Optional Activities: White-water rafting
Machu Picchu is a potent, stirring high point in the wanderings of any traveller. No amount of hype can diminish the magnificent creation perched on top of a stunning landscape of jungle peaks. No one really knows why or how Machu Picchu was built as the Incas had no writing system so left behind no records. It was constructed at the height of the Incan Empire in 1450 but abandoned just over a century later in 1572 after the Spaniards arrived in Peru. Amazingly, it was only discovered in 1911 when Hiram Bingham, an explorer and professor of South American history from Yale University, happened to come upon it. What a day that must have been for him!
You will have a private guide for your full day at Machu Picchu. For families we would recommend hiking up to the Sun Gate, passing giant orchids, tarantulas and jungle vines along the way. Afterwards, you could explore the main ruins with their condors, sun-dials and exquisite stonework and rekindle those childhood memories of the ‘Mysterious Cities of Gold’. Machu Picchu provides perfect rough-and-tumble terrain for kids with terraces to leap down and courtyards to run around. Your guide will advise you on any particular safety issues and well as being a fountain of knowledge for any Machu Picchu related question you can throw at him.
You have the full day to explore the ruins so a packed lunch is advisable. Afterwards ride the shuttle bus back down the thirteen switchbacks (eek!) to Aguas Calientes where you will board the Vistadome train on to Cuzco. Time to make a huge tick on your bucket list.
Fun Facts: On the Inca Trail, many porters sleep with a shiny metal object beneath them as they believe it keeps away spirits coming up through the earth.
Cuzco is an intoxicating city that exudes rich history and vibrant culture. Framed by the imposing peaks of the Andes, it was the one-time capital of the Inca Empire. When the Spanish invaders arrived, they were so impressed by the city that they chose not to destroy it and instead built on top of its Inca foundations. Its buzzing centre is home to cobbled streets, colourful local markets and elegant squares lined with cafes, bars and exquisite restaurants.
We would recommend visiting the ‘Choco Museo’ for a calorific chocolate-making workshop, exploring the Plaza de Armas and visiting the bohemian neighbourhood of San Blas where the streets are lined with artists’ studios and workshops. If you ever longed for a ceramic alpaca then your prayers could be answered. The excellent Inka Museum is also worth an hour or two with its collection of jewellery, pottery, textiles and mummies.
Afterwards enjoy your last evening in Peru eating Inka trail burgers and sipping Pisco Sours.
Fun Facts: On most menus in Peruvian restaurants you will find a drink named chicha. It is typically made from maize (corn) and includes alcoholic varieties such as chicha de jora (corn beer). Watch out as it turns your tongue red!
Optional Activities: Chocolate musuem workshop
Pack up your ponchos and alpaca-wool sweaters and head to the airport for your domestic flight to Lima and your connecting flight home. Reflect on the amazing journey your family have made in the last 10 days from intrepid Amazon explorers to rocky mountaineers.
Wandering Tribe has travelled to all of the destinations that we feature and we like nothing better than talking about them. If you would like further information about these tours or a tailor-made quote then please contact us on 07392 742333. Alternatively you can fill in the contact form and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.