South America is great for families, but Peru stands out with its wonderful mixture of adventure, wildlife and culture, keeping children of all ages entertained.
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Overnight flight from London to Cusco, via Bogotá. This is the most direct and quickest flight from the UK to Cusco.
In the morning of day 2 you will be met at Cusco airport and driven straight to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The journey takes roughly 1 ½ hours and the Sacred Valley is at a lower altitude than Cusco, so a sensible place to acclimatise when arriving in Peru.
Your base for the next three days is the beautiful Sol y Luna hotel. Set within stunning grounds and with its own outdoor heated swimming pool, it is the perfect base to discover the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The first afternoon is free for you to relax, before a full day visit to two of the Sacred Valley’s most impressive sites. On day three your guide will pick you up and take you to Pisac village, home to a beautiful main plaza and a number of artisan market stalls. At Pisac the ebikes will be unloaded – a fun, healthy and carbon-friendly way to see the Sacred Valley and no prior experience is required. Full safety equipment is provided and a support vehicle is on hand throughout, but once ready you and your guide you will cycle through the valley, past traditional villages and Inca ruins. After a picnic lunch you will continue alongside the Urubamba river towards the ancient Inca town of Ollantaytambo. Home to an impressive Inca fortress, Ollantaytambo is your final stop before you’re driven back to your hotel.
On day four you will be taken to the glimmering Lake Huaypo – home to Andean Flamingos and set amongst cornfields with stunning views of the snow-capped Vilcanota mountains in the distance. After a morning of kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, a traditional Pachamanca lunch is served. Dating back to the Incas, this ancient way of cooking uses hot stones covered in earth as a stove. The end results are delicious!
After lunch there is time to relax in the hammocks on the lake shore, before visiting the incredible Inca terraces at Moray and then ending the day at the salt pans of Maras. For those looking to work off lunch, there is the option of mountain biking to Maras, or you can jump in the car if you prefer.
Stay: Three nights at Sol y Luna – bed & breakfast
Today you will hike the one-day ‘Royal’ Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
After an early breakfast you will board the train towards Machu Picchu, alighting early at km104 where the 12km hike to the ruins begins. Following an ancient Inca trail, you ascend through tropical cloud forest and climb high above the roaring Urubamba River.
An initially challenging ascent is replaced by satisfaction as you reach Wiñay Wayna, a beautiful Inca ruin full of swallows and orchids. Here you enjoy a picnic lunch and, time-permitting, visit these impressive ruins before joining what is generally considered to be the most spectacular part of the Inca Trail. The contour path through the fascinating cloud forest leads to Inti Punku, ‘the gateway of the Sun’ and your first glimpse of Machu Picchu.
With your guide you will explore the vast ruins before taking the evening train to Cusco and your hotel.
Stay: Three nights at Inkaterra La Casona – bed & breakfast
After a fairly exhausting day walking the Inca Trail, your first morning in Cusco is kept free for you to rest, recharge and enjoy the charming setting of your hotel (which dates back to the 16th Century and has had illustrious guests including ‘Libertador’ Simón Bolívar stay).
In the afternoon your guide will take you to a specialist art workshop, where with the help of a local artist, you will decorate your own Pucara Bull. The colourful, miniature ceramic bulls are traditional in Andean homes and are said to bring happiness, protection and prosperity. After making and painting your own Pucara Bull and learning about the art of the Inca and Andean people, you can explore some of Cusco’s other famous attractions, including the chocolate museum!
Your final day in Peru is set to be wet and wild, as you embark on a full day rafting adventure in the beautiful Apurimac canyon. After a full safety briefing you will embark on the mighty Apurimac river, navigating through a 3,000m deep canyon which forms part of the Amazon’s source. Passing alongside the canyon’s walls and navigating the rapids, you will arrive at a deserted beach, which is where lunch is served. After a cold drink and a delicious Peruvian lunch, you will have chance to explore some of the side canyons which make the area so spectacular, before jumping back in the vehicles and returning to Cusco. No rafting experience is required, just a sense of adventure and fun!
Your final morning is free to relax and explore the cobbled streets of Cusco or possibly venture to the artistic San Blas district, before you are taken to Cusco airport for your onward connections.
For those short on time you can fly home from Cusco or for families looking to discover more of Peru, why not head into the Amazon jungle or to the majestic Lake Titicaca. There is even the possibility of doing a multi-country trip and flying from Peru to the enchanted Galapagos Islands.