Peru family holiday
Travel along the river by motorised canoe to discover the exotic wildlife and lush plantlife of the amazon jungle, staying in an eco lodge. Onwards in Cusco you are in the heart of the Inca Empire. Explore the sacred valley including ancient ruins and busy markets. Then travel to Machu Picchu by train. The lost city of Machu Picchu is an undoubted travel highlight and you have plenty of time to explore and learn about this ancient civilisation.
Fly to Lima arriving the same day. take your transfer to the airport where you are then free to explore until the welcome meeting at 6 pm.
While Peru's capital officially began life in 1535, when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city on the Day of the Three Kings, settlements had been scattered through the valley since before the Incas. The city was built on top of an existing palace and temples that belonged to the local chief who had little choice but to move on. Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days and much of the city's attraction now lies in its well-preserved historical centre.
NM Hotel or similar
This morning you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Puerto Maldonado, the gateway for the Amazon. Upon arrival, the lodge staff will take us to their office in town where you will leave most of your luggage in a safe storage and continue travelling with a small pack with just the necessary items for our next two nights in the jungle. Then take a motorised canoe up river to our jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area.
Head into the jungle with our local, multilingual guides and encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. The guides can also teach us about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants.
The lodge is eco-friendly and combines low-impact architecture with traditional native style. Rooms are simple, but comfortable with flush toilets (en suite), showers (cold water only), mosquito nets and kerosene lamps for light.
Posada Amazonas Jungle Lodge - Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
We transfer by boat back to Puerto Maldonado this morning and board a short flight to Cuzco. On arrival in Cuzco you check into your hotel and enjoy a first evening in this fascinating city.
The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for explorations into the Inca world or to enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
Taypikala Cusco Hotel - Breakfast included
We start our tour of the Sacred Valley this morning with a visit to Pisac.
Part of the Sacred Valley, Pisac is a small town famous for its market (Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday). There are also some Incan ruins spread out on the mountains above the town, dating from about the same time as Machu Picchu.
We will start with a tour to a local farm, and then visit the archaeological ruins before heading onto Awanacancha to see llamas, alpacas and vicnuas and learn about the old techniques of dyeing, spinning and weaving the Alpaca's wool. We spend the night in Pisac.
Royal Inka Pisac hotel - Breakfast included - swimming pool
We continue through the Sacred Valley this morning and onto Ollantaytambo
The town of Ollantaytambo has been built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning. This is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish.Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
We then take a midday train up to Aguas Calientes where we spend the night, in preparation for our visit to Machu Picchu tomorrow. Sitting at the base of Machu Picchu in a picturesque valley, Aguas Calientes takes its name from the numerous hot springs that are dotted throughout the area.
Machu Picchu Hostal - Breakfast included
Early this morning catch the bus up to the stunning 'lost city' of Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is one of those genuinely magical places, and catching your first glimpse of the lost city of the Incas through the early morning mist is definitely a moment you’ll never forget.
The ruins of this forgotten city are stunningly located, perched high in the Andes surrounded by verdant cloud forest, with the river Urambamba running through the gorge far below. Hidden away on a ridge between the mountains, Machu Picchu is invisible from below, so it's no surprise it's ruins remained a secret for so many years. Historians believe the city was probably completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed all it's inhabitants and watered by natural springs. It's thought that the city was the location of a royal palace and estate, home to the Inca emperors, or possibly a sacred religious and ceremonial sight.
Discovered in 1911 by the explorer Hiram Bingham, although the ruins were heavily covered by dense jungle foliage, many of the buildings were well preserved and in excellent condition. The city consists of more than 200 buildings, from houses to temples, storage buildings and public spaces. It's fascinating to be able to gaze down on the city from above and imagine how it would have looked during the height of the Inca empire. You will have a guided tour of the site, as well as some free time.
WAYNA PICCHU: Please note, due to internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
Taypikala Cusco Hotel - Breakfast included
In the early morning you have the option of heading back up to Machu Picchu to explore it further (additional charge, please note this must be booked in advance). As this is before the first train from Cusco arrives you have the site much to yourself with only those people who have walked in or stayed overnight in Aguas Calientes. The best way to explore these fantastic Inca ruins is simply to wander around with a guide, or alone with a map to absorb the grandeur. Machu Picchu feels like it was built in the heavens, on dizzying slopes overlooking a u-bend in the Rio Urubamba. More than one hundred flights of steep stone steps connect its palaces, temples, storehouses and terraces, and command outstanding views not only of the valley below but also the snow-capped peaks around Salkantay (6271m). Wherever you stand, spectacular terraces appear to be suspended from steep cliffs, transforming the mountain into a garden. For the more energetic there is plenty of time to climb Huayna Picchu, the sugarloaf-shaped mountain overlooking the ruins, to be rewarded with expansive views of the site. In the afternoon you return to Aguas Calientes and rejoin the train heading back to Cusco.
Taypikala Cusco Hotel or similar (AA) - 1 night - (B)
Your trip ends in Cusco. Those on group flights will take an overnight flight back to London.
Your big jungle adventure begins as you travel by motorised canoe up river to reach your ecofriendly lodge. Local guides will help you to discover the magnificent fauna and flora in this rich natural habitat. Learn about medicinal uses of plants and at night listen to the sounds of the jungle creatures.
The Sacred Valley
The old Inca capital Cusco is a pleasant place for families to wander around and explore. From Cusco you will travel through the Sacred Valley. You’ll explore the vast, ruined fortress of Sacsayhuaman and visit Pisac’s bustling and colourful market.
The magnificent ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu stands on a high saddle, dominated by the jungle-clad peak of Wayna Picchu. Seeing this iconic site will surely be a highlight.
Our Peru Family Adventure trip is just one of our many Americas Family tours. To find out more visit our Americas holidays page.