An immersive adventure across Peru’s unique geography: Costa, Sierra y Selva. From cloudforest foothills to the lowland Amazon, from its coastal capital to the high-altitude Andes.
- Explore Lima’s rich history and dine at Central Restaurant, ranked no.1 in the World's Top 50 Restaurants list for 2023
- Delve deep into the Peruvian cloudforest with a three-night stay in a luxury eco-retreat and follow a trail known for its jaguar sightings
- Explore through the bright, bustling market of Iquitos, filled with exotic fruits of the forest
- Spend an unforgettable three nights aboard a luxury Amazon River cruise, dining on forest-to-table Amazonian cuisine
- Visit spellbinding Machu Picchu, one of the world's most important archaeological sites
- Take in the charm of historic Cusco and discover one of the most charming restaurants in the city: Cicciolina
The Pillars of Peru. An immersive adventure across Peru’s unique geography: Costa, Sierra y Selva. From cloudforest foothills to the lowland Amazon, from its coastal capital to the high-altitude Andes.
An Overview of The Pillars of Peru: Coast, Jungle, Mountain
Peru is one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world, and during this luxury South American vacation you’ll experience each of its dramatically different terrains, exploring not only the landscapes but tasting the expansive variety of regional dishes and homegrown ingredients too.
Your adventure will begin on the cliffs of coastal Lima, uncovering the historic secrets of this cosmopolitan metropolis before dining at Central Restaurant – named second place in the World’s Top 50 Restaurants list for 2022.
Most of your journey will be spent off-the-beaten-track in some of the most remote regions of Peru. On the eastern slopes of the Andes, you’ll spend three days in the cloudforest, sleeping in a luxury eco-retreat, Bosque Guardian, tracking wildlife, climbing waterfalls, and dining on rainforest-to-table cuisine. From here, you’ll fly directly to Iquitos, the gateway to the Peruvian Amazon, where you’ll explore its exotic bustling market, and then board a luxury Amazon River cruise and meandering through the flooded forest and winding waterways.
Finally, you’ll head onto the high-altitude Andes. Here, you’ll visit the magnificent Machu Picchu, a wonder of the ancient world – before exploring the charming, cobbled streets of Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire. Here you’ll dine at Cicciolina, a charming tapas and wine bar overlooking the terracotta tiles of Cusco, serving a delicious fusion of European dishes made with Andean ingredients.
- Day 1
LimaView on map
Welcome to Lima
Your 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.Accommodation options
- Day 2
LimaView on map
Explore the rich history of the coastal capital with lunch in the bohemian district of Barranco, before dining at Central Restaurant – named first place in the World's Top 50 Restaurants list for 2023.
Today you will learn more about the complex history of Peru during our experience, How Peru Came To Be. This full-day adventure will see you delve deep into the history of the country and its capital, exploring everything from artifacts to architecture, to unearth the secrets of its fascinating past.
You’ll be collected from your hotel by your Aracari guide and driver, heading to your first stop, the charming Pedro de Osma Museum in the district of Barranco. Once the home of a Peruvian aristocrat and passionate collector of viceregal art, Pedro de Osma Museum is a beautiful early 20th-century mansion. Today, the house has been lovingly restored into a private museum, housing an invaluable collection of Peruvian art, spanning from the 5th to the 18th century.
This intimate, family-run museum is most famously known for its collection of viceregal art – with whole rooms dedicated to different features of the style, such as Madonna’s and archangels. However, the museum also has an incredibly rare and exclusive display of antiquities that remains relatively undiscovered by the public. This collection of fascinating artifacts contains pottery, metalwork, and textiles from multiple Peruvian cultures, dating from as far back as 500BC – such as the Quero ceramic vases of the Tiwanaku culture.
Once you have concluded your tour of the museum, you’ll head for an early lunch in Barranco and one of Marisol’s favorite dining destinations. At the intimate Isolina restaurant, you’ll enjoy an authentic Peruvian lunch in a relaxed atmosphere before moving on to the afternoon’s activity.
After lunch, you’ll travel 30 minutes by car into the center of Lima. Here you’ll begin to further unravel Peru’s multifaceted history and discover the complex past of the city with a visit to an ancient adobe pyramid right in the heart of Lima. Huaca Huallamarca, which dates to around 200 BC, served a variety of functions, including a religious temple and a cemetery, for the populations that inhabited the area.
You’ll then continue your journey to the colonial area of Lima featuring the Cathedral, the Convent of Santo Domingo, and the Main Square with its beautiful neo-colonial style buildings. You will also have a chance to visit Casa Aliaga, reportedly the oldest home on the continent and one that is still family-owned after 17 generations.
Of course, should you wish to visit a particular site such as La Casona de San Marcos; the Convent of San Francisco and its catacombs; Huaca Pucllana; or the Museo de la Inquisition – this can be arranged for you. It’s also possible to organize private cocktails at Casa Aliaga too if you’re interested in an afternoon tipple.
Once you’ve finished exploring the rich history found in this part of Lima, your Aracari guide and driver will take you via private transfer back to your hotel, taking around 45 minutes.
Here you’ll have the option to relax and unwind, before being collected for your evening meal reservations at Central Restaurant. Famous the world over as being one of the best restaurants on earth, Central was recently ranked No. 1 in the World's Top 50 Restaurants list for 2023. This gastronomic haven delivers ambitious and worldly fusion from chef Virgilio Martínez Véliz, whose signature menu is a series of modern, molecular dishes showcasing ingredients native to Peru.
After you’ve eaten, you’ll be taken back to your hotel for a restful night ready for the next day of adventure.Accommodation options
- Day 3
Lima – TarapotoView on map
Continue your luxury vacation to Peru flying from Lima to Tarapoto, arriving in the magnificent cloudforest, a unique ecosystem on the eastern slopes of the Andes.
Taking the short flight (1 hour 20 minutes) from Lima to Tarapoto, you’ll head towards the cloudforest of Peru and to the protected conservation area of Cordillera Escalera. One of the most biodiverse regions in the country, this mountainous jungle of San Martin will be your home for the next 3 days, as you settle into one of the best Amazon lodges in Peru, Bosque Guardian.
From Tarapoto airport it takes just 40 minutes to reach this luxury rainforest lodge, passing through the North Interoceanic Highway to Yurimaguas along a well-paved winding road through a unique ecosystem on the eastern slopes of the Andes.
With the heaving streets of Tarapoto suddenly a distant memory, guests will emerge 35 km later into more than 100 hectares of protected rainforest, home to the Tiraco River and thousands of exotic species. At 500 meters above sea level, the area enjoys a tropical, warm climate, without the extreme humidity of the lowland Amazon jungle – its maximum temperature reaches 37 degrees Celsius, with a low temperature of 23 all year round. It’s worth noting that travel is most advisable between March and December since January and February can have periods of heavy rainfall.
Settling into one of just twelve of the sustainably-sound wooden lodges, you’ll spend your first night under a thatched roof supported by bamboo trusses, the idyllic place to relax amongst the forest canopy.Accommodation options
- Day 4
TarapotoView on map
Enjoy a full day of activities at Bosque Guardian and along with a local guide, follow a trail known for its jaguar sightings and catch a glimpse of this elusive cloud forest animal – an experience exclusive to Aracari guests.
Spend your first full day in this sustainable sanctuary and discover how the cloud forest and its inhabitants are at the center of all operations here. The owners have distilled a genuine passion for protecting and preserving this biodiverse region into every part of the hotel, from the fresh river fish caught each day for the hotel’s restaurant, to the wildlife walks mapped by people who have lived for generations in this part of Peru.
Your hosts will explain more about the fascinating cloudforest experiences you can choose from over the next two days, ranging from a full day or just a few hours. Aracari founder, Marisol, visited Bosque Guardian in 2022 and spent her time learning about the breeding of ‘ramiches’ – the rare miniature stingless bee that is indigenous to this ecosystem; visiting a real cacao plantation and making chocolate; exploring the medicinal garden where guests can witness how medicinal sap is extracted from the ‘Sangre de Grado’ tree. And the marvelous paper-making workshop, where parchment is made from the pulp of banana tree trunks and paper discarded from local offices; is a unique activity that also provides a caring environment for its majorly female employees, who can bring their children along to study remotely.
In the evening, you’ll dine at the Bosque Guardian restaurant. Accessed via a cleverly designed wooden bridge that leads from the hotel’s reception, the setting is especially beautiful at night, illuminated by discrete lighting. Sustainable and natural cuisine is the priority here, using as many locally foraged and fished ingredients as possible, following professional guidance from a local biologist.Accommodation options0
- Day 5
TarapotoView on map
Climb to the cascading waterfalls deep in the cloud forest, before swimming in the refreshing lagoon pools below.
It’d be difficult to choose a highlight of a stay at Bosque Guardian during a luxury vacation to Peru, but if we were to recommend how to spend your last day in the cloudforest, we’d suggest climbing the vine-shrouded waterfalls.
It’s an experience Marisol also did during her time here: ‘I loved all the activities but the one I found most exhilarating was climbing to the forest cascading waterfalls, accessed by a short moto-taxi ride from the Lodge’.
‘One of the Bosque Guardian guides accompanied us, along with a charming local who led the way. There are four different waterfalls with lagoons in between each, and we climbed to the very top among dense vegetation of epiphytes, bromeliads, and vines, before descending to swim in one of the lagoons with the water cascading onto us!’
Tonight, head back to the restaurant and enjoy a forest-to-table menu that changes daily to ensure only the freshest produce. Perhaps you’ll find river fish roasted inside bamboo and seasoned with Amazon herbs or pork ribs cooked in cocoa misilago, cuca cream, and aguaje leaves.Accommodation options
- Day 6
Tarapoto - IquitosView on map
Visit the workshop of leading anthropologist Natalia Gonzalez (@Jane_Artisans on Instagram), who exhibits authentic jungle crafts made by indigenous women, before heading to Iquitos where you’ll discover its bright, bustling food market filled with exotic fruits and Amazonian foods. In the evening, board your luxury Amazon cruise.
Today you’ll leave the cloudforest behind you, heading from Tarapoto to Iquitos – where the Peruvian Amazon is found. Flights from Tarapoto to Iquitos are available just a few times per week rather than daily, so the itinerary will be adjusted according to the local flight schedule.
On route from Bosque Guardian to the airport though, you’ll meet with a friend of Aracari, Natalia Gonzalez. Natalia is a leading anthologist based in Tarapoto. Her workshop can be found on Instagram, @Jane_Artistans, and is responsible for exhibiting authentic art and craft made by women from the local jungle communities. You’ll have the chance to meet with Natalia for a private conversation and a guided visit to her workshop, where you’ll be able to purchase some of the unique pieces showcased here.
Continuing onto Tarapoto airport, you’ll then catch your flight to Iquitos. Upon arrival in this bustling town, you’ll first visit the market with your guide. Here you’ll glean an incredible insight into the different, exotic foods found in the Amazon, from unusual kinds of river fish to brightly colored fruits with names you’ve never before heard of! Your guide will be able to advise on the local produce, and you can even pick up lunch from one of the vendors before continuing to Nauta – taking around 2 hours via private transfer.
It's here in Nauto – a town tucked away in the forest on the edge of the Amazon River that you will board your luxury Amazon River cruise for an unforgettable 3 nights during your private vacation to Peru.Accommodation options
- Day 7-10
IquitosView on map
Spend an unforgettable three nights aboard a luxury Amazon River cruise, where you’ll spot rare, elusive wildlife, cool off alongside dolphins in the gentle waters, and dine on a menu of Amazonian gastronomy.
As a luxury travel specialist in Peru, Aracari recommends Delfin vessels for a luxury cruise down the Amazon River. These ships are spacious and stylish, the perfect base from which to explore the incredible biodiversity of the Pacaya Samilira National Reserve.
There are observation decks on both ends of the vessel, so photographers and birdwatchers are well catered for. At the bow and stern of the ship, you can relax, sipping on an expertly crafted pisco sour as you mingle with other guests or simply enjoy the Amazonian sunset. Each of the cabins on board feature floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, fitted with an elegant interior that has been beautifully finished with the finest details, hardwood floors, designer furniture, and handmade Peruvian artifacts.
During your first day onboard the Delfin ship you’ll be introduced to your crew and expert guides who will be leading your way through the Amazon for the duration of your stay. For the following few days, you’ll discover the secrets of the forest, whether that’s during private excursions via skiffs, swimming with native river dolphins, or learning how to fish for piranha. English-speaking naturalist Amazon guides will share their expert knowledge of plants and bird life and their watchful eyes will point out elusive wildlife.
During your luxury Amazon River cruise, you will also be treated to a world-class dining experience. Sumptuous and refined Peruvian cuisine that showcases native Amazonian ingredients makes for a gastronomic journey unlike any other. This rainforest-to-table menu features modern takes on Peruvian classics such as shrimp escabeche and alfajores made with local coca leaf, all enjoyed whilst looking out onto one of the most precious places on earth.Accommodation options
- Day 10
Iquitos - Lima - Cusco - OllantaytamboView on map
Leave the Amazon rainforest behind you, and head to the Sacred Valley of the Incas high in the Peruvian Andes.
On the tenth day of your luxury vacation to Peru, you’ll disembark the Delfin vessel having spent 3 unforgettable days in the Peruvian Amazon, and journey now towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Catching a domestic flight from Iquitos, you’ll head to Lima, where you’ll then connect with another flight destined for Cusco.
Upon arrival in the mountainous region of Cusco, you will be met by a member of our team and driven to the ancient Incan town of Ollantaytambo located 9,200 ft/2800 m above sea level – where you’ll settle into one of our most recommend properties in the Cusco region: El Albergue. Founders of the El Albergue, have been longtime friends of Aracari for more than two decades now and it’s the unique experiences offered here that make the hotel such a favorite.
Your first afternoon can be spent exploring the ruins of Ollantaytambo – it was here that one of the greatest battles of the Conquest was fought - and one of the few instances in which the Incas defeated the Spaniards. Before dining on a delicious dinner, where herbs and plants from the hotel’s organic garden can help you acclimatize to the high-altitude setting.Accommodation options
- Day 11
Ollantaytambo - Machu PicchuView on map
Distill your own Andean liquor, an alcoholic spirit that embodies the surrounding Sacred Valley, before catching a Vistadome train to the ancient wonder of the world: Machu Picchu.
Today, why not create your own Andean liquor at the hotel’s own distillery, Destilería Andina, which is now one of Peru’s most innovative and new distilleries, using traditional techniques and local ingredients to craft spirits that embody the surrounding Sacred Valley.
You’ll be treated to a private guided tour of the distillery, understanding how the distilling, maceration, and blending processes work to create delicious alcoholic drinks, before being taught the particularities of distilling and making a medicinal ‘compuesto’ in the Peruvian Andes. Your guide will explain how in the Sacred Valley, families have grown and harvested their medicinal plants to make tinctures and celebratory elixirs for many generations. And you’ll witness how the high altitude of your location gives a low boiling point, so the essences and oils of the plants can be extracted without burning them.
You will then have the chance to try these ancient techniques for yourself. Head to El Albergue’s organic garden to choose the botanicals for your own personal liquor. The expert distillers will help you get the proportions of each ingredient right so that your drink is balanced and delicious.
Once you have selected and filled your 375ml bottle with your chosen botanicals and the distillery’s Andean sugar cane spirit, your bottle will be labeled, corked, and dated so that you can safely take it home. You’ll open it 6 months later, when all the botanical properties have been extracted, infused, and blended. And as you sip on the flavors of the Andes, you’ll be reminded of your wonderful visit to Destilería Andina! After the experience, you can enjoy a traditional pachamanca lunch, whereby the ingredients are baked in a clay pit underground with the aid of hot stones – an ancient technique used since the time of the Incas.
Alternatively, you can opt to learn about the reforestation projects El Albergue is involved in. These grassroots organizations play a pivotal role in protecting and regenerating the natural landscape, and you’ll experience firsthand how their efforts are helping to ensure the Sacred Valley stays lush and green for future generations, as well as having the opportunity to plant your own tree!
In the afternoon, you’ll board a Vistadome train headed for Machu Picchu, featuring spectacular panoramic windows offering impressive views of the surrounding Valley. The journey takes approximately 1.5hrs to Aguas Calientes, where you’ll then be taken by private transfer to your hotel – Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. Alternatively, you can upgrade to the Hiram Bingham luxury train to Machu Picchu – and of course, we can also arrange private charter train services.Accommodation options
- Day 12
Machu PicchuView on map
Take in the sublime beauty of Machu Picchu and hike Huayna Picchu
Spend the day exploring the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the world's most important archaeological sites. Set among mist-shrouded mountains, this man-made marvel has become a symbol of the ingenuity and prosperity of one of the most expansive empires in Latin American history: the Incas. Your expert guide will explain the history and purpose of this awe-inspiring site.
You can also opt to hike to Huayna Picchu. Offering spectacular panoramic views, Huayna Picchu rises 260 meters (850 ft) higher than Machu Picchu, and you’ll see how the Incas built a trail up the side of the mountain, and on its top, temples and terraces.Accommodation options
- Day 13
Cusco View on map
Explore the charming, cobbled streets of ancient Cusco and discover its fascinating history, before enjoying a final gourmet dinner at the wonderful Cicciolina restaurant.
This morning, you can choose to rise very early in the morning and return to Machu Picchu for sunrise, a truly unforgettable spectacle. Afterward, you’ll take the bus back to the town of Aguas Calientes to catch the Vistadome train to Ollantaytambo for your private transfer to Cusco, taking approximately 2 hours. Or, upgrade to the luxurious Hiram Bingham train for your ride to the ancient city.
You’ll start your exploration of Cusco on foot, beginning at the Plaza de Armas, the Main Square. One of the most historic plazas on the continent, you’ll find exquisite Spanish Colonial architecture and ornamentation imposed by Spanish colonists to exert religious and political influence. The Inca relics remain in the city too, your expert guide will point out the original Incan solid stonework that lines the cobbled streets.
Next, visit Koricancha, the most fascinating ‘Sun Temple in the Inca Empire, along with 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 colorful San Pedro market and pass through the charming neighborhood of San Blas.
For your final evening in Peru, you’ll dine at the atmospheric Cicciolina. A Cusco institution for almost 20 years, this tapas restaurant and wine bar can be found in a magical setting overlooking the terracotta tiles of the city. Expect a menu of European dishes made with local Andean ingredients, making for delicious fusion and a wonderful way to spend the final night of your luxury Peru vacation.
- Alternatively travel by train to Lake Titicaca on the Titicaca Train (full day) or the Belmond Andean Explorer (overnight luxury sleeper train)
- Day 14
LimaView on map
Your Aracari guide and driver will today transfer you back to Cusco airport, assisting with everything you need for a smooth onward journey to Lima, and onto your connecting international flight.
Journey pricing as of 2022
Basic Pricing - US$8,300 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
- Cost is per person for this 14-day itinerary
- Based on Hotel Selection 1: JW Marriott Lima, La Casona de Yucay, El Mapi, El Mercado, and Libertador Lago Titicaca
- Discounted children's rates on request
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
- 13 nights in a hand-picked and personally tested selection of Peru’s finest hotels
The Pillars of Peru: Coast, Jungle, MountainAn adventure across Peru’s unique geography
- 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