Spend one day hiking a section of the Inca Trail and emerge triumphant atop Machu Picchu, a bucket list item for many.. Descend from the Salt Flats of Maras on a mountain biking adventure like no other, riding around thrilling bends and past incredible scenery.. Row a boat across the serene waters of Lake Titicaca, then stay overnight with a host family on a floating island.. With travel through remote areas, a homestay and engaging history lessons from a local leader along the way, this tour immerses your family in a new culture.
Take a breathtaking family holiday among the clouds in Peru, designed to keep teenagers and adults alike captivated. Stroll cobblestone streets and see ancient Inca structures in Cusco. Glide through the Sacred Valley, passing the salt flats of Maras on a cycling adventure. Hike section of the Inca Trail and see Machu Picchu emerge among the clouds with your loved ones by your side. Rise early to row a boat across the calm waters of Lake Titicaca to a homestay on a floating island. This is family travel done different: active, immersive and authentic.
Breakfast Included: 9 Lunches Included: 3 Dinner Included: 1
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Cusco, the lofty heart of Peru! Cusco is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Inca for two centuries before the Spanish arrived. Your family adventure begins tonight with a welcome meeting at 5 pm in the hotel. With the formalities out of the way, head out for an included dinner at a local restaurant where you can get to know your fellow family travellers and tour leader.
After breakfast, rally the troops and head out on a tour with your guide. You'll get to see some of Cusco's excellent sights and learn the stories of this old city. Visit the main square, wander the streets of the trendy San Blas Artisan's Quarter and pick up a snack at the food market. Following the tour, enjoy free time to do whatever your family feels like. Your leader will provide you with a Boleto Turistico (Tourist Ticket) which will give you access to many of Cusco’s attractions. You might want to get an overview of the area at the Museo Historico Regional (Regional History Museum) or perhaps take a taxi up to Saqsaywaman to explore the ruins. Your leader is on hand to help you make the best decision.
Make short drive (1.5 hours) to the archaeological site of Moray, thought to have been the centre of experimental agriculture under Inca rule. Saddle up and begin a mountain biking adventure, riding along an intermediate section of trail. Take a snack break then continue to the Salt Flats of Maras. The salt flats provide a great opportunity to snap some pictures and catch your breath before you begin the descent to Pichingoto. Don’t be fooled though, the downhill stretch can be tricky and requires focused riding. Your cycling adventure comes to an end at about 3 pm, when you’ll board a private vehicle and drive 30 minutes to Ollantaytambo. Enjoy a guided tour of the eponymous archaeological site on arrival. It’s wise to get an early night as tomorrow you tackle a section of the Inca Trail!
Aguas Calientes / Inca Trail
Today’s the day! Catch the train to KM104, where your trek begins. Cross the Urubamba River and enter the final stretch of the Inca Trail at approximately 9 am. The ruins of Chachabamba provide the first sight of the ancient Inca civilisation along the trail, followed by an upward climb to Winay Wayna (Forever Young) at an elevation of 2680 metres (8792 ft). This impressive complex includes numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector. Many consider this the most impressive site on the entire Inca Trail. Continue for about 1 hour, emerging at the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) at an elevation of 2730 metres (8792 ft). From this vantage point, enjoy views of Machu Picchu below you. Take a few photos and have a brief look around before taking the bus to Aguas Calientes. Don’t worry, you’ll be back tomorrow to explore the site in depth!
Machu Picchu / Cusco
Return for an early morning exploration of Machu Picchu. Take a 30-minute bus ride and arrive at about 6 am. Built sometime between 1450 and 1460, the city was deserted less than a century later following the Spanish invasion and ‘lost’ for hundreds of years before it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. The mortar-free design of the city is earthquake resistant and the stones so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife can fit between them. Enjoy some free time to wander the upper section and take some photos at your own pace, then enjoy a 2-hour guided tour. Head back into town and grab some lunch, then return to Ollantaytambo by train in the afternoon. Board a bus for Cusco and arrive at around 6.30 pm.
Make sure you’ve got some books or sparkling conversation ready, as today involves a 10-hour drive (including stops) to Puno. Break up the journey to check out the ancient cemetery Sillustani and archaeological site of Raqch’I, as well as a break for lunch. Make sure to keep an eye out for llamas, alpacas and flamingos during the drive. It’s a good idea to get an early night after arriving in Puno, as tomorrow there’s an early start to begin your Lake Titicaca adventure.
Rise and shine! Shake off the sleep with an early morning row when you board a traditional Polynesian canoe for a 3-hour paddle across the lake. You’ll be able to spot local birds as you make your way towards the floating islands of Uros. On arrival, alight and transfer by boat to your homestay. You’ll arrive just in time to lunch, the perfect opportunity to get to know your hosts. The rest of the day is free for you to spend time with your hosts and help with activities like harvesting, feeding the animals and preparing dinner. Why not try a few words in Quechua or play a game of soccer? Both are great ways to make a connection. Enjoy a simple dinner and then bed down for the evening in one of the local homes.
Say goodbye to your host family after breakfast this morning, and board a boat to Taquile Island (1 hour). The local handicraft and textile industry on Taquile is World Heritage-listed, so this is a great opportunity to pick up wearable gifts or souvenirs. Take a 1-hour uphill hike uphill to the main part of the island and enjoy views across the lake. Eat a local lunch, likely quinoa soup muna (Andean mint) tea, then descend to the boat and begin the 3-hour boat trip back to Puno. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening in Puno.
Take some time this morning to explore Puno at your own pace, then return by plane to Lima (1.5 hours). If you have the energy your leader will be happy to show you around the city’s main attractions, and then you can choose how to spend the day. Later you might like to meet up with the other families for an optional dinner and then check out the evening water and light show of the Magic Water Circuit. Fountains are lit with multi-coloured lasers and set to music most nights. Ask your leader for details.
Your tour comes to an end after breakfast today. If you plan to stay on in Lima, why not get under the city’s skin on an Urban Adventure? Find out more at urbanadventures.com/destination/lima-tours.