An Amazing Andean Adventure is a private, two-week exploration of the most fascinating places in Peru including the Amazon rainforest, Machu Picchu, and the Nazca Lines. Featuring the top, luxury properties and 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, this itinerary will delight couples and families alike. Prepare to actively discover the ancient past and vibrant present of a country rich in culture, history and adventure! The experiences and accommodations on An Amazing Andean Adventure can all be tailormade and customized to your preferences – just let us know.
- Watch wildlife up-close in the Amazon Rainforest
- Spend two days exploring the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu
- Fly high above the Nazca Lines
Day 1 Lima Arrival in Lima. Overnight at JW Marriott or Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel.
Day 2 Lima Morning surf class or Walking art tour. 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 Refugio Amazonas. Overnight at Refugio Amazonas.
Day 4 Tambopata National Reserve Jungle adventures in the Amazon Rainforest. Transfer to Tambopata Research Center. Overnight at Tambopata Research Center.
Day 5 Tambopata National Reserve– Cusco – Urubamba Valley Jungle adventures in the Amazon Rainforest. Overnight at Tambopata Research Center.
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 & how they farm the land or Spend a day with the weavers learning about Peruvian textiles. 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 or visit Chinchero, Maras, and Moray. Overnight at Sol y Luna (superior) or Belmond Rio Sagrado.
Day 9 Urubamba Valley - Machu Picchu Ollantaytambo archaelogical site & traditional Pachamanca lunch cooked under the earth 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 or JW Marriott El Convento Cusco.
Day 11 Cusco Cusco On Foot walking city tour. Afternoon Choco Loco chocolate-making workshop or cooking class. Overnight at El Mercado Tunqui or JW Marriott El Convento Cusco.
Day 12 Cusco - Lima - Paracas/Nazca/Ica Fly Cusco to Lima (or Cusco to Pisco), 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.
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.
Morning surf class or Art walking tour. 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.
Alternatively, spend the morning on a walking tour of the bohemian distric of Barranco. Originally a trendy seaside resort for wealthy Lima residents at the beginning of the 20th century, Barranco features holidaymakers’ elegant mansions and stately homes that display neo-colonial style and charming decorative features. As you meander through the area taking in the sites, you will also spend some time exploring a few of the many innovative art galleries, traditional craft shops and trendy ateliers such as the innovative Lucia de la Puente Art Gallery and the Las Pallas and Dédalo craft shops.
Later, take a 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, 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.
Tambopata National Reserve
Fly to Puerto Maldonado.
An Aracari representative will meet you in the lobby of your hotel, 2.5 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.
Your adventure to the jungle:
Located in one of the richest and most biodiverse regions on the planet, today you will begin your journey to the Tambopata National Reserve - 3.7 million acres of protected jungle. The national reserve protects habitats ranging from the Andean highlands around the rivers’ headwaters through some of the last remaining cloud forests, to the lowland rainforests of the Amazon. On the way into the reserve you will stop for a night at Refugio Amazons before continuing on to the heart of the reserve where you will spend two nights at Tambopata Research Center. Both are Rainforest Alliance Verified lodges and engage directly with native communities to develop tourism in Peru’s jungle. Their focus is on sustainable, community-based tourism and they provide employment for guides, cooks and lodge staff. The lodges are also built with local materials, using water and energy efficiency programs.
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.
Tambopata National Reserve
Activities in the Amazon Rainforest. Transfer to Tambopata Research Center
Following breakfast, take a thirty minute walk from Refugio Amazonas 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.
After your adventure, transfer four and a half hours by boat to the Tambopata Research Center, which lies in the pristine heart of the Tambopata National Reserve. As you cross the confluence with the Malinowski River, you will leave the final traces of human civilization behind. Within the 700,000 hectare reserve, sightings of capybara, caiman, geese, macaws and other large species will become more frequent.
Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips. You can then head out on a hike to see monkeys and stunning views of the Tambopata River before enjoying dinner and a wonderful educational lecture on lodge-based conservation initiative: the Macaw Project.
Tambopata National Reserve
Activities in the Amazon Rainforest
On most clear mornings dozens of macaws and hundreds of parrots congregate on this large river bank in a raucous and colorful spectacle which inspired a National Geographic cover story. Discretely located fifty meters from the cliff, you will observe green-winged, scarlet and blue-and-gold macaws as well as several species of smaller parrots descend to ingest the clay. The best time to view the macaws and parrots is at dawn when the clay lick is most active.
After your visit to the clay licks and following breakfast, you will walk along a five kilometer trail through the lush rainforest and past several creeks and ponds. Amongst the figs, ceibas and shihuahuacos trees you will look for squirrel, brown capuchin, and spider monkeys as well as peccaries.
After an enjoyable lunch, you will walk ten minutes upriver from the lodge to a tiny pond with a platform in the middle. This is a great place to spot waterfowl such as muscovy ducks, sunbitterns and hoatzins as well as woodpeckers, flycatchers and parakeets.
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.
Puerto Maldonado - Urubamba Valley
Overland transfer to Puerto Maldonado. Fly to Cusco. Visit Awanacancha. Overland transfer to Urubamba Valley.
Following breakfast, board your boat for your return journey to the river port, where you will be transferred by land to the Puerto Maldonado headquarters to pick up your luggage and ready yourself for your flight. Depending on airline schedules, this may require dawn departures.
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.
Visit Tierra de los Yachaqs or the Center for Traditional Textiles 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. You will either spend today participating in an interactive introduction to Andean cooking or tending to the farmlands for a hands-on taste of rural life.
The Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco is a non-profit organization established in 1996 to aid in the survival of traditional Andean textile traditions and to provide support to weaving communities. Today, after being collected by your guide from your hotel, travel to one of the communities that the center works with around the Sacred Valley (location depends on time of year and activity of the weavers). As well as learning about traditional weaving techniques and seeing artisans in action, the visit includes a traditional lunch at the community and a chance to interact with its members.
Half-day stand up paddleboarding with lunch & bike to Maras OR Visit Chinchero, Maras and Moray.
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.
Spend today visiting the incredible Sacred Valley sites of Chinchero, Maras, and Moray.
Higher than Cusco and the Urubamba Valley, Chinchero was once home to the great conquering emperor Inca Topa Yupanqui and features his magnificent palace, with a parade ground and royal viewing pavilion alongside. The town also boasts a hillside of terraces studded with rock-outcrop shrines, a charming village with a layout dating back to Inca times and a magnificent view of the snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera Vilcabamba range. Held next to the ruins is the fascinating Sunday market where people come to sell and trade goods and produce and to have a picnic with the family, a perfect spot to gain insight into local life. Following your visit, enjoy lunch before continuing on your journey.
In the afternoon, you will visit Maras, the site of the remarkable and unusual Salinas, located in the heart of the Sacred Valley and not far from Urubamba. This site consists of a huge number of watered terraces that collect salt by evaporation from the saline waters that gush from an underground stream. Built in a similar way to agricultural terraces seen throughout the Andes, the Salinas have been in use since pre-Columbian times. Visually, the shining, salt-encrusted terraces are extraordinary. Nearby Maras lie the most enigmatic Inca terraces at the site of Moray. This unique site, probably used for agricultural experimentation, consists of several enormous terraced circular depressions.
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 participate in a traditional Andean Pachamanca lunch. Pacha means earth and manca means oven in Quechua, the language of the Inca which is still widely spoken in the region. Pachamanca is a traditional Inca cooking technique where meats, potatoes and vegetables are cooked with wood-fired stones. As your meal cooks in the earth oven, enjoy a visit around the farm, where the vegetables for your lunch are sourced, learning about the different ingredients. Afterwards, you will watch the Pachamanca being unearthed before sitting down to a delicious alfresco lunch on a picnic table underneath a thatched roof. Your Pachamanca meal will be accompanied by a variety of homemade sauces, a fresh garden salad, chicha morada (a local drink made from purple corn) and Matacuy, a homemade digestif.
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.
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.
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.
In the afternoon choose between two culinary experiences:
Take a join-in group cooking class at Marcelo Batata restaurant with an expert chef. You will be given an introduction to Peruvian gastronomy and a demonstration of the different ingredients that can be found at an Andean marketplace: chilli, chocolate, potatoes, tomatoes, grains such as quinoa, and a variety of tropical fruits. Then it’s time to get cooking! You will learn how to make ceviche, a popular Peruvian appetizer before preparing the main dish, lomo saltado, made with Alpaca meat.
Head 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.
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 to Lima* 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.
*Depending on the time of year there are (limited frequency) flights from Cusco to Pisco, which can be taken for a shorter 30 minute road transfer to Paracas if available on the day of your travel.
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.
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.
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 airport to assist you with check in for your international flight.
Itinerary pricing as of 2018
Pricing Info - US$6,410
- 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, Tambopata Research Center, Sol y Luna, El Mapi, El Mercado, La Hacienda Bahia Paracas
Pricing Alternatives - US$7,266
- 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, Tambopata Research Center, Belmond Rio Sagrado, Inkaterra Machu PIcchu Pueblo, JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, Luxury Collection Paracas
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