London – Lima
Your flight departs from London early in the afternoon and arrives in Lima later the same day. You’ll be met and taken to your hotel in Miraflores – one of the most fashionable districts in the City of Kings. A tour of Peru’s capital takes you back through the country’s history with a trip along Peru’s first freeway to the impressive colonial monuments and buildings of downtown Lima.
The 16th century Convento de Santo Domingo, the Larco Museum featuring displays of ancient Peruvian gold and silver, and a visit to Cafe del Museo to sample a local fruit dessert complete your introduction to this fascinating city.
Stay: Two nights in two standard rooms at the Casa Andina Premium Miraflores – bed & breakfast
Today you fly to Cusco and travel back to the time of the Incas. This World Heritage listed city is set high in the Andes and offers impressive remains from the Inca civilisation. Koricancha – the Temple of the Sun – and the massive walls of the Sacsayhuamán fortress give you a vivid picture of the size, ingenuity and sophistication of the Inca empire, as well as a glimpse into their lifestyle. A complete contrast in style is evident in Cusco’s Andean Baroque buildings dating back to the colonial period.
A walking tour around the cobble-stoned streets and charming plazas will show you fantastic structures like the Cathedral and the Church of the Company of Christ. Even more exciting excursions are to be enjoyed over the next couple of days; including an exhilarating white water rafting experience on the Urubamba River, paddling through beautiful canyons and roaring torrents. You can also choose to explore the Cusco Valley on a hiking or horse riding expedition.
Stay: Three nights in two superior rooms at the Casa Andina Premium Cusco – bed & breakfast
The action continues just 45 minutes outside of Cusco. At Pinipampa you can take to the water in inflatable canoes and skim through the rapids. You can also take a short drive into the small town of Pisac to visit the colourful local market and browse for hand-woven fabrics, arts, crafts and leather goods.
Then comes a mountain bike adventure along the Sacred Valley. Your guide will show you the best trails and give you an insight into local life and the surrounding countryside of the Chinchero plateau. You’ll be able to explore Inca ruins with circular terraces at Moray and take classic photos of the gang with the snow-capped Urubamba Mountains in the background, before arriving at the salt pans of Maras.
Stay: Two nights in two superior rooms at the Casa Andina Premium Valle Sagrado – bed & breakfast
Another of the Sacred Valley secrets is a place few visitors get to see. The hidden Patacancha Valley is populated by locals wearing handwoven red ponchos and colourful felt hats, following traditions passed down by generation after generation from the Incas. You can hike to long lost Inca ruins and intricate stone terracing, before following the old Inca Trail along the steeply terraced valley down towards Ollantaytambo with its ancient streets and Inca walls.
Then it’s time to catch the train to Machu Picchu. This ancient citadel is truly awe-inspiring; its stone buildings and terraces straddling the mountain and its geometric terraced slopes tumbling down the steep valley towards the Urubamba River and the town of Aguas Calientes below. Buried in the jungle for centuries, these ruins are the only major Inca site to have escaped 400 years of looting and destruction, and are alone worth the journey to Peru.
Stay: One night in two deluxe rooms at the Hotel Sumaq Machu Picchu – half board
Early this morning you will set off on a guided exploration of Machu Picchu, taking in top sights like the Sun Gate and Inca Bridge. You’ll also have time to wander amongst the old Inca walls on your own, taking in the magnificent scale of the ruins at your leisure. The tour includes a climb up the exposed, time-worn steps of Huayna Picchu for a condor’s eye view of the ruins – a must for keen photographers. In the evening you return to Cusco.
Stay: One night in two superior rooms at the Casa Andina Premium Cusco – bed & breakfast
From Cusco you fly to Puerto Maldonaldo, where you’ll start your Amazon Basin adventure by boarding a motorised dugout canoe to your jungle lodge overlooking a wildlife-rich lagoon. You’ll be staying in 819 hectares of unspoiled natural rainforest between Tambopata National Park – famed for its biodiversity – and the mighty Madre de Dios River. The thatched lodge stands above the ground on stilts and has direct views over the forests.
It is the perfect spot to explore the Amazon rainforest with an expert guide who will show you the forest’s secrets; its animals, insects and amazing birdlife. You’ll have a wide range of excursions, nature walks and activities to choose from, including jungle exploration, canopy walks high in the treetops, canoe rides along the river and birdwatching expeditions.
Stay: Three nights in two standard rooms at Hacienda Concepcion – full board including all excursions
Puerto Maldonado - Lima - London
Depart from Puerto Maldonado Airport in the afternoon to meet your international flight at Lima. You arrive back in London the following afternoon.
Sara could not have been more knowledgeable or helpful. She was very responsive and really listened to what we wanted.- MN, Ecuador & Galapagos, 2014