- Explore Lima’s foodie scene, dining at Central Restaurant, ranked No.1 in the World's Best 50 Restaurants for 2023.
- Enjoy a private dining experience with world-renowned chef, a close friend of Aracari.
- Journey to the land of Chachapoyas – where a pre-Inca civilization, known as the ‘warriors of the clouds’ once ruled.
- Visit the pre-Inca fortified citadel of Kuelap – one of the biggest ancient stone complexes in the western hemisphere.
- Hike to one of the highest waterfalls in the world – Gocta – high in the cloud forest.
- Enjoy a special access tour of Leymebamba Museum, home to over 200 mummies discovered at the Lake of the Condors in 1997
Peru’s Best Kept Secrets: As seen in Conde Nast Traveler*
There is a certain kind of magic in discovering a country away from its most popular sites, and this private Peru tour offers exactly that.
A magnificent 10-day adventure, the journey begins on the coastal cliffs of Lima – where you’ll dine at Central Restaurant, Peru – the foodie mecca ranked No.1 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List for 2023. Alongside visits to the unmissable culinary haunts that are scattered across the city, you’ll also experience the more local side of Lima accompanied by our Friend in the City. Private cooking classes, market visits, history tours, as well as an exclusive dining experience hosted by Pedro Miguel Schiaffino.
Then, the path crosses to the lesser-visited, remote region of Chachapoyas. Here you’ll spend six days immersed in the dense cloud forest, an area once ruled by the pre-Inca Chachapoya culture – also known as “The Cloud People”– who populated this area around the 10th century A.D. Led by our expert guides, you’ll uncover a fascinating history read in the ruins left behind by those who lived here: from the pre-Inca fortified citadel of Kuelap to enchanting burial sites of the Sarcophagi of Karajía and the Tombs of Revash. Natural wonders are abundant here too, as you climb to Gocta waterfall – one of the highest in the world.
Once back in Lima, you’ll spend your final day exploring the colorful district of Callao – once a no-go zone in Lima, the area has been transformed by projects like Callao Monumental, a project that showcases contemporary urban art and champions local artists.
So, take our hand as we take you on a private tour into Peru’s Best Kept Secrets.
*A bespoke version of this Aracari itinerary was published in Conde Nast Traveler in October 2023 – after we curated a private Peru tour to Chachapoya for editor Megan Spurrell, you read the full article here.
- Day 1
LimaView on map
Arrival in Peru
An Aracari representative will welcome you to Peru, should you wish - greeting you on the runway tarmac as you alight from your plane.
You’ll be presented with your welcome pack, before being whisked off to your hotel, where we will assist with all check-in procedures.
Depending on your arrival time, we recommend beginning your private Peru tour with a reservation at one of Lima's top restaurants, such as Maido or Astrid y Gaston. Aracari will make all the arrangements for you, as you enjoy an evening that serves as the perfect introduction to Peru, the ultimate food mecca of South America.Accommodation options0
- Day 2
LimaView on map
Master Peruvian cooking or reserve a seat at Chef's table
Today you will learn more about Peru's world-famous food through one of two exclusive experiences.
The first option, 'Lima with Zest', is a hands-on culinary experience with a professional chef and close friend of Aracari, Penelope Alzamora. Penelope will lead the way through local markets, showing you how to source the very best ingredients, before heading back to her family home in the bohemian district of Barranco for a private cooking lesson
In the summer months, between January and April, guests will be invited to join Penelope at her beach house, rather at than her home in the city. Here, you’ll visit the picturesque village of San Bartolo, and enjoy a cooking class whilst taking in views of the Pacific Ocean, before taking a post-lunch dip in the sea.
If hands-on cooking isn’t for you, then you can instead choose to be wined and dined by acclaimed Peruvian chef and longtime friend of Aracari Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. In a private kitchen, you’ll sample a gourmet meal cooked by Pedro himself and enjoy wonderful conversation with the famously charismatic chef.Accommodation options
- Day 3
LimaView on map
Explore the rich history of Lima and its food, dining at Central Restaurant, Peru - Ranked no.1 in The World's 50 Best Restaurants for 2023
Lima’s origins pre-date the Spanish foundations of the city by several millennia, and its museums are full of pre-Columbian treasures. Begin to unravel this rich history accompanied by our specialist guide, a professor of history, architecture, or art – depending on your own interests.
You’ll visit an ancient adobe pyramid right in the middle of the city, dating back to around 200 BC. Before exploring the colonial area of Lima, including the Cathedral, Convent of Santo Domingo, the Main Square and Casa Aliaga, reportedly the oldest home on the Continent - and still family-owned after 17 generations
In the afternoon, take in the local food scene with a 'friend in the city', a Lima local who will guide you on our authentic ‘Urban Eats’ experience. You’ll discover the most popular eating spots for locals and sample famed Peruvian classics and criollo dishes.
In the evening dine at Central Restaurant, Peru – ranked No.1 in the World’s Best 50 Restaurants for 2023. Central delivers ambitious and worldly fusion from chef Virgilio Martínez Véliz, who has crafted a series of modern, molecular dishes using ingredients native to Peru.Accommodation options
- Day 4
Lima - ChachapoyasView on map
Fly to Chachapoyas and begin your adventure in this remote area of Peru, scattered with ruins attributed to the Pre-Inca Chachapoyas culture - or "Cloud People"
Today you’ll fly from Lima to Chachapoyas, a remote area nestled in the cloud forest between 800 and 3,000 metres (2,624 and 9,800 feet) above sea level. Chachapoyas is scattered with ruins attributed to the pre-Inca Chachapoya culture – also known as “The Cloud People”– who populated this area around the 10th century A.D.
Known as “La Ceja”, or eyebrow of the jungle, the cloud forest here is particularly rich in bromeliads, ferns and other epiphytes, making it a rewarding area for botanists and natural history enthusiasts, as well as for all those wanting a unique experience in a pristine and little-trodden area.
It’s worth noting that flights from Lima to Chachapoyas are not daily, so our luxury travel designers will carefully design your itinerary around the flight schedule.
Upon arrival in Chachapoyas, you’ll be greeted by our local guide and transferred to your lodgings near the village of Cocachimba: Gocta Nature Cabins. Offering eco-friendly boutique accommodation as part of a wider environmental initiative in the Gocta Nature Reserve, the team here are committed to actively contributing to the recovery of the cloud forest and biodiversity. Settle into your incredible natural surroundings this evening with a hearty Amazonian meal – ready for a full day’s adventure tomorrow.Accommodation options
- Day 5
ChachapoyasView on map
Hike to the breathtaking Gocta waterfall, one of the highest waterfall in the world
Your adventure today will be a hike to one of the highest waterfalls in the world - Gocta. Setting off directly from your hotel in Cocachimba with your private guide, the path to the waterfall is well-maintained and provides a stable and scenic journey. Some sections have steep inclines, and horses can be hired for part of the journey to the falls or can be pre-arranged for the way back if you’ve had enough walking by then!
The walk starts through farmland where sugarcane and other crops are grown, before changing to a lush cloud forest with jungle-like vegetation. Engulfed by the sounds, sights and smells of the cloud forest, you’ll enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna along the way, which your guide will point out along the way before the path crosses small streams and gorges spanned by short bridges.
Before you see Gocta, you’ll hear it. With about a third of the way to go, the vegetation opens up, and finally, you see the falls. For the rest of the walk, the incredible thunderous flow of water is in sight, until you arrive at the base of the falls, stretching your neck into the sun to see the top. Your guide will lead you to an especially beautiful vantage point with a view of the waterfalls, where you’ll take a break and enjoy a freshly prepared picnic lunch. After taking in the views, and maybe splashing in the pool at the base of the falls, return via the same path back to Gocta Nature Cabins.Accommodation options
- Day 6
ChachapoyasView on map
Visit one of the most impressive and remote archaeological sites in Peru, the Sarcophagi of Karajia
Today you’ll visit the Sarcophagi of Karajía, high in the cloud forest. The Chachapoyas people buried their important dead in high, difficult-to-access locations, facing the rising sun or a village, and always close to water. The sarcophagi of Karajía stand proudly on a ledge above a river gorge in the Chachapoyas region – a stunning site in a quiet, unassuming location in Chachapoyas.
The inaccessible ravine location has protected the sarcophagi from looters over the centuries, although one of the original eight was lost in 1928 when an earthquake caused it to fall. Standing 2.5 meters tall, the figures were constructed of clay, sticks and grass, and then painted white with yellow ochre and red pigment. Showcasing one of three types of Chachapoya burial techniques, each is home to an individual mummy, arranged in the foetal position. They are unique because of the human skulls that sit atop their heads.
Guided by one of our experts, your hike to the site will begin through farmland where staple crops like potatoes and corn are grown. The trail winds around the side of the hill, with impressive panoramic views down the valley. After about half an hour of walking (mostly downhill), you’ll reach the bottom of the cliff that’s protected the sarcophagi for over 500 years.
Here your guide will explain more about their construction and significance for the Chachapoya people, bringing these ancient stories to life. After enjoying the tranquil spot, you’ll then head back along the same path, stopping to eat a packed lunch before heading back to Cocachimba and spending the afternoon at leisure.Accommodation options
- Day 7
Chachapoyas (Cocachimba) - LeymebambaView on map
Journey to Leymebamba, exploring the Pre-Inca fortified citadel of Kuelap nestled in the cloud Forest
Packing a small overnight bag, you’ll head for Leymebamba today for a visit to Kuelap – a journey that takes around 3 hours via private transfer. To reach the site entrance of Kuelap, you’ll take a cable car ride, enjoying a scenic journey with incredible views on the way up. Once at the top, there is then a 30-minute walk to the archaeological site, via a paved uphill path, with horses available to ease the journey.
In 2022, Kuelap was forced to close due to damage caused by heavy rainfall. Having just recently reopened, Aracari clients will today have the chance to enjoy a full tour of the impressive pre-Columbian site led by our expert guide. Built by the pre-Inca Chachapoya civilization, known as the ‘warriors of the clouds’, Kuelap is one of the biggest ancient stone complexes in the western hemisphere.
With its surrounding walls up to 20 meters high, Kuelap is commonly described as a fortress, but the complex includes not only military structures but religious, civil and domestic features too. As our guide will explain, it is estimated that up to 3,000 people lived here at its height. There are multiple levels within the complex and over 400 constructions, most of which are cylindrical, with some friezes and decorative patterns remaining.
After an unforgettable visit to the site with your private guide, you’ll enjoy lunch in a scenic spot before heading onto your lodgings for the night: Kentitambo B&B located on the edge of the town of Leymebamba.
- Day 8
Leymebamba - CocachimbaView on map
Enjoy a special access tour of Leymebamba museum, home to over 200 mummies, before visiting the tombs of revash
This morning, you’ll head to the Leymebamba Museum. Home to 200+ mummies, important burial gifts and other artefacts, the purpose-built Leymebamba Museum is a tribute to the discovery of burial tombs and mummies on a remote cliff above a lake - Laguna de los Cóndores – in 1997.
Built by the pre-Inca Chachapoya civilization, this was a sacred place to honor the dead. Slashed open by looters looking for sellable treasure, the NGO Centro Mallqui embarked on an emergency salvage mission, removing the contents of the tombs and taking them to a lab in Leymebamba for urgent conservation work. The findings were so special that they merited the creation of their own museum. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes exclusive access visit to the Museum with entry to the temperature-controlled room which stores these fascinating mummies, as well as the chance to watch archaeologists at work.
After lunch, you’ll set off on your journey back towards Cocachimba. On route, you’ll stop at the enchanting Tombs of Revash. High on the hills of Peru's northern cloud forest, this collection of tombs from the Chachapoya civilization sits on the edge of a limestone cliff. Built from mud-set stones, they resemble houses and are painted in red and white hues, collectively forming miniature villages along the face of the cliff. Accessible via a pleasant walk through the scenic countryside, your expert guide will lead you on this interesting excursion into Peru's past. You’ll continue then continue onto Cocachimba, returning to Gocta Nature Cabins for your final night in Chachapoyas.Accommodation options
- Day 9
Chachapoyas - LimaView on map
Leave Chachapoyas behind and journey back to the Coastal Capital, to discover the street art of Lima's Callao district.
The penultimate day of your luxury Peru tour will see you return to Lima. Again, since flights to Lima from Chachapoyas only run a few days per week, our travel designers will make any necessary changes to your schedule to seamlessly suit flight times.
Upon arrival back in Lima, you’ll head to the district of Callao to begin a guided art tour led by our Friend in the City. The port district of Callao was founded in 1537 by Spanish colonists and quickly became the principal port for Spanish commerce in the Pacific. At the height of the Spanish Viceroyalty, almost all goods from Peru, Argentina and Bolivia bound for Spain passed through Callao, and then on to Panama before the Atlantic crossing.
From an era of economic boom and the affluence that comes with it, Callao suffered a progressive economic decline in the ensuing years. But now, projects like Callao Monumental are bringing regeneration. The Callao Monumental project showcases contemporary urban art, champions local artists and engages with the community through its outreach and regeneration work. Your guide – and founder of the project – will take you through the historic Plaza Matriz Pisconi and through Callao’s colorful backstreets, where you can even try your hand at graffiti too.
Afterwards, you’ll be taken back to your hotel via private transfer – to enjoy your final evening in Peru.Accommodation options
- Day 10
Lima - DepartureView on map
Head home feeling full of adventure
You will be met at your hotel by our Aracari representative and transferred to Lima International Airport. We will assist you with everything you need for your international departure.
Journey pricing as of 2023
Basic Pricing - US$8,000 per person
This is a sample journey and can be tailored to your interests and travel style.
- Based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy
- Price is per person for this 10-day itinerary
This journey is based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy, excluding flights (international and domestic).
- Includes all specified services in the journey 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 journey 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
- 9 nights in a hand-picked and personally tested selection of Peru’s best accommodation options in the region
Peru’s Best Kept SecretsA private Peru from Lima to Chachapoyas
- Domestic flights (quoted separately).
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Travel Insurance.
- International Flights and airport taxes.
- Neither personal expenses nor any other service not specified in the itinerary.
- Day 2