An Amazing Andean Adventure

At the heart of any family adventure is the importance of engaging in educational experiences, and Peru offers a rich and excciting educational experience for families that choose to travel here. An Amazing Andean Adventure is an introduction to some of the most fascinating places in the country and features accommodations and activities specifically geared towards the comfort, safety, and interests of families. With a range of organized experiences including incredible wildlife excursions in the jungle, learning to cook in the kitchen of a local family in the Sacred Valley and a hands-on chocolate-making workshop, you and your children are guaranteed to actively discover the ancient past and vibrant present of a country rich in culture, history and adventure!

Highlights
  • Wildlife watching up-close in the Amazon Rainforest
  • Stand up paddleboarding and biking in the Sacred Valley
  • Riding in a sand buggy in Paracas
Daily Summary

Day 1 Lima Arrival in Lima. Overnight at JW Marriott or Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel.

Day 2 Lima Morning surf class. Afternoon city tour. Overnight a JW Marriott or Belmond Miraflores Park.

Day 3 Lima - Puerto Maldonado - Tambopata National Reserve. Fly to Puerto Maldonado. Transfer to your lodge, Refugio Amazonas.

Day 4 Tambopata National Reserve Activities in the Amazon Rainforest. Overnight at Refugio Amazonas

Day 5 Tambopata National Reserve– Cusco – Urubamba Valley Activities in the Amazon Rainforest. Overnight at Refugio Amazonas

Day 6 Puerto Maldonado - Cusco - Urubamba Valley Transfer Puerto Maldonado. Fly to Cusco. Visit Awanacancha en route by road to the Urubamba Valley. Overnight at Sol y Luna (Superior) or Belmond Rio Sagrado.

Day 7 Urubamba Valley Learn to cook with a local family or how they farm the land. Overnight at Sol y Luna (superior) or Belmond Rio Sagrado.

Day 8 Urubamba Valley Half-day stand up paddleboarding with lunch & bike ride to the salt pans of Maras. Overnight at Sol y Luna (superior) or Belmond Rio Sagrado.

Day 9 Urubamba Valley - Machu Picchu Ollantaytambo archaelogical site & Roots of the Valley lunch at an organic farm. Train to Machu Picchu. Overnight at El Mapi or Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo.

Day 10 Machu Picchu - Cusco Second day at Machu Picchu. Vistadome train to Cusco. Overnight at El Mercado Tunqui or JW Marriott El Convento Cusco.

Day 11 Cusco Cusco On Foot and Choco Loco chocolate-making workshop. Overnight at El Mercado Tunqui or JW Marriott El Convento Cusco.

Day 12 Cusco - Lima - Paracas/Nazca/Ica Fly Cusco to Lima, Transfer to Paracas. Overnight at La Hacienda Bahia Paracas or Luxury Collection Paracas.

Day 13 Nazca Fly over the Nazca Lines and take a Sand Buggy ride. Overnight at La Hacienda Bahia Paracas or Luxury Collection Paracas.

Day 14 Paracas - Lima Tour the Ballestas Islands. Transfer to Lima for your International departure.

  • Day 1

    Lima

    International Arrival

    An English-speaking Aracari representative will be expecting you from your international arrival, will greet you and give you your customized welcome pack with a booklet of your trip itinerary and other useful information before whisking you off to your hotel, assisting you with all check-in procedures.

  • Day 2

    Lima

    Morning surf class. Afternoon city tour

    For years Peru has been well-known as one of the premium surfing destinations in the World, with almost 2,500km of pacific coastline providing wave after crashing wave to surf upon. Following pickup at your Lima hotel, accompanied by your professional surf instructors and guides from the amazing Latin American Surf School, you will spend the day at Lima’s Costa Verde shore, learning safe surfing techniques and riding the waves, with a variety of board options that cater to your specific experience level.

    Later, take a walking tour of Lima's key historical sites. One of the main fascinations of Lima is the concentration of ancient history in the area; not only do the origins of the city pre-date the Spanish foundation of the city by several millennia, its museums are full of the artistic treasures of magnificent pre-Columbian civilizations that flourished throughout the coastal deserts of Peru. Begin to unravel this multifaceted history and discover the complex past of this fascinating city with a visit to the colonial area of Lima featuring the Cathedral (closed on Sundays), the Convent of Santo Domingo, and the Main Square with its beautiful baroque style buildings. You will also have a chance to visit Casa Aliaga, reportedly the oldest home on the Continent and still family-owned after 17 generations.

  • Day 3

    Tambopata National Reserve

    Fly to Puerto Maldonado.

    An Aracari representative will meet you in the lobby of your hotel, 3 hours before your flight departure, in order to assist you with checkout, and then escort you to the airport. After you have checked in your luggage, he will accompany you until you pass through to the departure area.

    Upon arrival, you will be welcomed at the airport and driven ten minutes to the Puerto Maldonado headquarters. Here you will have some time to separate your luggage and pack only the necessary gear for your jungle excursion, helping to keep the boats and cargo light. The rest of your luggage will be stored safely at headquarters. Skirting the town of Puerto Maldonado, you will drive 20 kilometers to the Tambopata River port, entering the native community of Infierno.

    The two and a half hour boat ride from the Tambopata port to Refugio Amazonas will take you past the community of Infierno and the Tambopata National Reserve´s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit. Enjoy a delicious boxed lunch en route to your rainforest lodge. Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips. Following dinner, you will head out to the river’s edge, scanning the shores with headlamps and flashlights to search for caiman.

    • Three nights in Refugio Amazonas.
  • Day 4

    Tambopata National Reserve

    Activities in the Amazon Rainforest

    Following breakfast, you will head out to an oxbow lake where you will paddle around the lake on a wooden raft, looking for lakeside wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman and horned screamers. With luck, you will also be rewarded with overhead sightings of macaws.

    Replicating the daily work of macaw researchers, climb a 30-meter tree with rope and harness. From this vantage point, you will enjoy a macaw’s eye view of the rainforest. This demanding yet rewarding experience requires no previous experience. After dinner, you will have the option of participating in a night hike to view mammals and frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories.

  • Day 5

    Tambopata National Reserve – Cusco – Urubamba Valley

    Activities in the Amazon Rainforest

    A thirty-minute walk from Refugio Amazonas leads to the 25-meter scaffolding canopy tower. A staircase running through the middle provides safe access to the platforms above. The tower has been built upon high ground, increasing your views of the primary rainforest extending out towards the Tambopata National Reserve. Once at the top, enjoy views of toucans, parrots or macaws flying along the horizon.

    A twenty-minute hike will take you to a peccary clay lick where wild rainforest pigs show up in herds of five to twenty. While the chances of spotting them are around 15%, it is well worth the short hike. Other wildlife such as deer, guan and parakeets may also be spotted. Hike back to the lodge to enjoy some downtime. A few minutes hike from the lodge is a beautiful old patch of Brazil Nut forest that has been harvested for decades. Here, your guide will demonstrate the whole process of the rainforest's only sustainably harvested product.

    Following lunch, enjoy a leisurely paddle up the Tambopata River. Along the shores you will observe the rainforest and with luck, will catch a glimpse of birds, caimans and turtles. Afterwards, you’ll stop on a sandy beach and take a well-deserved swim. Following dinner, enjoy an informative presentation on conservation threats, opportunities and projects in the Tambopata National Reserve from a Refugio Amazonas staff member.

  • Day 6

    Urubamba Valley

    Overland transfer to Puerto Maldonado. Fly to Cusco. Visit Awanacancha. Overland transfer to Urubamba Valley.

    Upon arrival at the Cusco airport, you will be welcomed by an English-speaking Aracari representative, as well as your guide, and will begin an approximate 1.5-hour drive to your Urubamba Valley hotel. Along the way your guide will brief you on the activities you have planned and answer any questions that you may have.

    Traveling directly to the Valley (2900m, 9514ft) makes acclimatization easier due to its lower altitude than Cusco; however, we still recommend you take some time to rest upon arrival.

  • Day 7

    Urubamba Valley

    Visit Tierra de los Yachaqs to participate in activities with communities in the Sacred Valley

    La Tierra de los Yachaqs is a community-based tourism initiative whose mission it is to preserve the history and traditions of local people while enabling them to gain access to the economic benefits of tourism by offering sustainable, authentic experiences. The communities welcome visitors by opening a window into their lives and practices, allowing for meaningful cultural interaction that simultaneously provides alternative livelihood options for them to traditional industries, such as agriculture. After lunch you will return to your hotel. You will either spend the afternoon participating in an interactive introduction to Andean cooking or tending to the farmlands for a hands-on taste of rural life.

  • Day 8

    Urubamba Valley

    Half-day stand up paddleboarding with lunch & bike to Maras.

    In the morning, your paddle boarding guide will pick you up at your hotel and together you will enjoy a scenic drive to one of two high-altitude lakes outside of Cusco. Lake Huaypo boasts incredible views of snowcapped mountains and high altitude plains while Lake Huacarpay harbors a wide variety of native birds. Upon arrival, your guide will instruct you in the art of stand-up paddle boarding before you take to the water to practice your newly acquired skills. You’ll spend the morning mastering the different strokes involved in paddle boarding as you take in the awe-inspiring views and the fresh Andean air. After a few hours, enjoy a snack along the shores of the lake before heading back to your hotel.

    Set off down dirt roads and llama tracks, with various paths offering different levels of difficulty, as you enjoy views of the Urubamba mountain range, including the Chicon glacier and the peak of Mount Veronica. Cycle through Andean communities on your way to Maras. Stop for a picnic lunch near Moray before continuing your voyage downhill to the pre-Inca salt mines of Maras. Finish your journey at the valley floor along the Urubamba River before being transported back to your hotel.

  • Day 9

    Urubamba Valley - Machu Picchu

    Ollantaytambo & Roots of the valley. Afternoon train to Machu Picchu.

    Today visit the fabulous town of Ollantaytambo and its ruins. The archaeological compound found here is a remarkable spectacle, and a site of great historical significance. It was here that one of the greatest battles of the Conquest was fought, and one of the few where the Incas defeated the Spaniards.

    Later, you will enjoy a guided tour of El Albergue’s organic farm, before having the chance to prepare uchucuta, a savory and spicy sauce traditionally prepared by grinding a variety of native herbs and chilis on a stone mortar. Afterwards, sit down at the rustic El Albergue restaurant for a 3-course menu made with 70% organic ingredients from the farm. Choose from a variety of dishes such as chicken and vegetable kebabs, pan-fried trout served with a variety of native potatoes and alpaca steak served with elderberry sauce.

    Take the afternoon Vistadome train, featuring spectacular panoramic windows with incredible scenic views, connecting you with the magnificent landscapes and offering you ample opportunities to photograph this amazing journey. The journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is approximately 1.5 hours.

    Upon your arrival in the village of Aguas Calientes, you will then board the bus for a winding uphill journey to your final destination. “Magnificence” is the only word to describe the scene, as you gaze upon the ruins of Machu Picchu. The main destination on many travellers’ lists, the ‘lost city of the Incas’ is a man-made marvel that has become a symbol for the ingenuity and prosperity of one of the most expansive empires in Latin American history. Enjoy a 2-3 hour guided visit of Machu Picchu before spending the remainder of the afternoon exploring the ruins after the majority of visitors have left the site. Afterwards, return by bus to your hotel in Aguas Calientes.

  • Day 10

    Machu Picchu - Cusco

    Machu Picchu. Vistadome train to Cusco.

    This morning, you will have an activity-filled day at the ruins. Depending on your interests, there are a variety of excursions available. Hike to Inti Punku, or “Sun Gate,” the original gateway to Machu Picchu that approaches the site along the Inca trail. Another option is to take a strenuous hike up Huayna Picchu, the mountain behind Machu Picchu, which provides unique and stunning views of the ruins below. From here you may extend your hike to the mysterious Temple of the Moon, an exquisite example of Inca masonry. Alternatively, you may choose to climb to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain, located south of the archaeological site and offering spectacular panoramic views from above.

    Take the Vistadome Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. The journey will take approximately 1.5 hours. Upon arrival at the Ollantaytambo train station, you will be welcomed by an Aracari representative and transferred approximately 2 hours to your hotel in Cusco.

  • Day 11

    Cusco

    Cusco On Foot. Choco Loco.

    Since its narrow alleyways were originally designed by the Incas as a city for walking, start your exploration of Cusco on foot. Begin at the Plaza de Armas, the Main Square, which is marked by the exquisite Spanish Colonial architecture and ornamentation imposed by Spanish colonists to exert religious and political influence. Underneath it all, however, you can clearly see remnants of Inca Cusco in the solid stonework. Visit Koricancha, the most sumptuous “Sun Temple” in the Inca Empire, and the breathtaking Cathedral, a repository for Cusco’s colonial art, as well as many other important archaeological relics and artifacts. You will also stop by the colourful San Pedro market and pass through the charming neighborhood of San Blas. Next, visit Sacsayhuaman, an Inca citadel atop a hill, on the outskirts of the city. Not only are the imposing terraces of masterful stonework a sight to behold, but the vistas overlooking the sienna rooftops of Cusco provide a whole new perspective to the city you traversed.

    You will be collected from your Cusco hotel and transferred to the delightful and informative Chocolate Museum. The museum’s expert chocolatiers will take you on a ride through time, providing you with insight into the ancient history of cocoa in Peru and delivering you to the current understanding of this incredible plant in all of its varieties. Learn about the complex biology necessary to grow and maintain the plant, along with the production process of their organic fair-trade cocoa products sourced from Cusco’s nearby jungle region, Quillabamba. Enjoy the hands-on Bean-to-Bar workshop, and learn how to make your own chocolately delights starting with just a handful of cocoa beans. In this two-hour workshop, you will expertly roast the cocoa beans, use all of your might to grind the nibs, let your sweet tooth help you select your accompaniments, and mold your very own chocolates. Transfer back to your Cusco hotel with your tasty treats in tow, if you can resist devouring them on the ride of course!

  • Day 12

    Cusco - Lima - Paracas/Nazca/Ica

    Fly Cusco to Lima. Overland transfer to Paracas.

    An Aracari representative will meet you at your hotel 2 hours before your flight departure and escort you to the airport for your flight. After you have checked in your luggage, he will accompany you until you pass through to the departure area.

    Today your guide will collect you from your hotel in Lima and together you will transfer by car approximately 3.5 to 4 hours to the quaint fishing town of Paracas in southern Peru. Along the way, you will see the coastal desert sprawling on all sides and will pass through several towns. Upon arrival in Paracas, you will be taken to your hotel to enjoy your evening at leisure or partake in one of our additional excursions.

  • Day 13

    Paracas/Nazca/Ica

    Fly over the Nazca Lines. Ride in sand buggies.

    Today you will visit the world-renowned Nazca Lines, enigmatic, gigantic carvings in the desert that continue to mystify all of those who gaze upon them.

    This morning your guide will collect you from your hotel in Paracas and together you will be transferred by private vehicle about 20 minutes to the Pisco airport for your overflight of the Nazca Lines and the nearby Palpa Lines, giant drawings of animals and geometric figures ranging up to 300 metres in size, scratched on 220km² of desert plains. Upon arrival at the Pisco airport, you will board a small plane for the overflight. The plane is a Cessna Grand Caravan 208B Series with capacity for 12 passengers, and the flight lasts approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes of which 20 minutes are spent circling over the Nazca Lines and Palpa Lines. After the overflight, your guide will be waiting to accompany you by private car to Paracas where you may enjoy lunch at your hotel or at one of the many local restaurants. Following lunch, you will return to your hotel to rest or enjoy one of our additional excursions around Paracas.

    * Please note that guiding is not included for the flight over the Nazca Lines but may be included upon request and at an additional cost. Lunch not included.

    In the afternoon, go on a sandbuggying excursion. Whizz around the desert near Ica on sandbuggies. Navigate this lunar landscape on the speedy sand mobiles beginning at the Adrenarena Park located at kilometer 253 of the Pan-American South highway and fifteen minutes from Paracas. The tracks go through dunes ranging from 5 to 100 meters high where you will enjoy panoramic views of the desert and many photo and video opportunities. The route also takes you through the “Rompe Hueso”, a 150 meter high dune. At the end of your journey, you will arrive at the Sandboard Zone where you’ll get a chance to “sand surf.” Following your adventure, you will be transferred back to your hotel.

  • Day 14

    Paracas/Nazca/Ica - Lima

    Tour Ballestas Islands. Flight to Lima. International departure.

    This morning your guide will take you to the Hotel Paracas pier, where you will board a boat to visit the Ballestas Islands, an archipelago rich in wildlife. The islands are riddled with arches, tunnels and other wind and sea sculptures where you will appreciate different kinds of sea birds and sea lions. You will also visit Punta Pejerrey, nearly the northern most point of the isthmus and the best spot for seeing the Candelabro, a candelabra-shaped drawing etched into the highest point of a cliffside overlooking the bay. In total this group tour takes approximately two and a half hours, with about 45 minutes spent watching wildlife.

    After your tour of the Ballestas Islands, your guide will be waiting to accompany you to the Paracas National Reserve, Peru’s only marine protected area which extends over a total 335,000 hectares. The reserve was created with the aim of protecting large breeding populations of Humboldt penguins, South American fur seals and sea lions as well as 63 migratory bird species for which this area is an important stopover. During your tour you will have a chance to view native flora and fauna, as well as geological formations along the beaches of this stretch of marine territory and coastal desert. Following your guided visit, you will transfer by private car to Paracas where you may enjoy lunch at your hotel or at one of the many local restaurants.

    After lunch, you will return to Lima by private vehicle for another 3.5 to 4-hour drive.

    An Aracari representative will meet you in the lobby of the Costa del Sol Ramada Hotel, 3 hours before your flight departure, in order to assist you with checkout, and then escort you to the airport for your international flight.

Itinerary pricing as of 2017

Pricing Info - US$5,888
  • Price is per person, based on a party of 4 in twin/double accommodation, for the full 14-day itinerary
  • Based on Hotel Selection 1: JW Marriott, Sol y Luna, El Mapi, El Mercado Tunqui, La Hacienda Bahia Paracas
Pricing Alternatives - US$6,840
  • Price is per person, based on a party of 4 in twin/double accommodation, for the full 14-day itinerary
  • Based on Hotel Selection 2: Belmond Miraflores Park, Belmond Rio Sagrado, Inkaterra Machu PIcchu Pueblo, JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, Luxury Collection Paracas
What's Included?

This itinerary is based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy, excluding flights (international and domestic).

  • Includes all specified services in the itinerary description
  • All transfers and entrance fees
  • A welcome pack on arrival including: a pre-loaded cell phone to contact your travel consultant at any time, a printed booklet packed with insider tips alongside your detailed itinerary and up-to-date recommendations on dining and shopping
  • Hand-selected English-speaking guides
  • Specialist guides (where noted)
  • 24-hour support from our locally based team
  • 13 nights in a hand-picked and personally tested selection of Peru’s finest hotels
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