Hike jungle trails in search of monkeys, parrots, otters and caimans and sleep in a nature lodge lit by candles and kerosene lamps.. Meet the local artisans, farmers and townsfolk of the Sacred Valley – not forgetting the cute alpacas and llamas.. Be mesmerised by the mother of all Inca cities, the mysterious Machu Picchu, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour.. With the help of a resident musician, make your own zampona – a traditional panpipe instrument – and learn how to play it like a local.
Gaze up at Peru’s dazzling peaks and into picturesque valleys to understand why the Andean mountains were sacred for the Incas. This well-paced holiday combines the wonders of the Amazon Jungle with the fascinating history of Cusco. Enjoy a memorable train journey through the heart of the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu and breathe in the magical spirit of the Incas.
Breakfast Included: 8 Lunches Included: 3 Dinner Included: 2
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru’s capital and one of South America’s most charming colonial cities. As there's little time spent here but so much on offer, you and your family may like to arrive a few days early to see all the sights, including the chic suburb of Miraflores, Central Park and Lovers' Park. Maybe check out some of the many museums or take a short trip out of town to visit Pachacamac, an impressive archaeological site. On the first day of your tour there’s a welcome meeting at the hotel at 5PM, after which you can get to know the other families and your tour leader over an optional dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Take a flight to Puerto Maldonado via Cusco this morning (approximately 2.5 hours) where the mighty Amazon Jungle awaits. Hop in a motorised canoe and head upriver (approximately 2 hours) to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area. Don't forget to look out for wildlife along the way! After checking into your accommodation, join your local guide for a walk through the jungle (30 minutes) to your traditional Amazonian archery lesson where you'll discover how the local indigenous community craft and use their bow and arrow. You and your family can have a go at hitting the targets before heading back to the lodge for a hearty dinner. After dark we'll return to the river by boat in search of caimans and other nocturnal creatures.
Start the day with a big breakfast before embarking on a hike through the jungle to Tres Chimbadas Lake (1 hour). Look out for colourful macaws, hoatzins, monkeys and black alligators. If you are lucky you might even catch a glimpse of an endangered river wolf (otter)! Head back to the lodge for a rest, play and some lunch. This afternoon you'll visit a traditional medicine garden where the shaman of the community will introduce you to some plants used for healing. At the end of the tour you and your family will have the opportunity to go to the laboratory and observe how the medicines are prepared. After dinner tonight your guide will take you on a walking tour in search of insects, amphibians, tarantulas, bats, birds and (the shy) armadillo. Listen out for the sounds of the jungle and notice the stars peeking through the trees.
Transfer by boat back to Puerto Maldonado this morning and collect your large bags. From here, take a flight to Cusco (approximately 40 minutes) and arrive in the early evening. Tonight's plans are up to you. You might like to take a walk around the delightful old city, visiting the Inca walls of the Plaza de Armas or some of the many fine churches around town, or grab dinner and relax with your new friends. Whatever you choose, be sure to take it slow as you adjust to the city's high altitude (3450 m).
Take an orientation walk through the city with your leader this morning. Along the way you'll meet up with a local musician who will show you and your family around San Blas, the artisans’ neighbourhood. Learn about the significance of music and art in Peruvian culture and history. Visit their home and have a go at playing traditional drums, strings and wind instruments. You'll also be shown how to make and play your own zampona, a traditional panpipe, which you can take home with you. The rest of the day is yours to explore. Perhaps head to the local market and pick up some pastries for a picnic lunch. Or, if you're keen to brush up on your knowledge of Peruvian history before visiting Machu Picchu why not check out some of Cusco’s excellent museums? You'll have a full Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket) which means you can access the best attractions in town. If you're still feeling creative you might like to join an afternoon totem painting class, which your leader can arrange for you. Otherwise, climb to the top of the Inca Pachacuti Statue and enjoy the city views.
Today we make our way by private vehicle into the beautiful Sacred Valley (1 hour). The first stop is Awanacancha, a South American farm, where you and your family can get to know some of Peru's famous furry locals: llamas, alpacas and vicunas! Next up is the town of Pisac, a charming little village nestled at the base of an Inca fort. Start by exploring the colourful local market where hundreds of artisans sell their wares. You might find anything from hand-knitted Alpaca jumpers to ornately decorated Andean ceramics here. Later you will visit a local community to have a delicious lunch and then learn about old techniques of dyeing, spinning and weaving the alpaca wool. After the weaving demonstration, it's off to explore the Inca ruins, which are spread out on the mountains above the town. They are roughly as old as those of Machu Picchu! Spend the evening in Pisac.
Venture deeper into the Sacred Valley and discover Ollantaytambo, which is a 1.5 hour drive away. This awesome spot was built over an ancient Inca town, and it's a great example of Inca urban planning. This is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces offer great photo opportunities of the square grid town below. Once you've done some exploring here, you'll take a midday train (2 hours) up to Aguas Calientes, taking in gorgeous Andean scenery along the way. In Aguas Calientes you can get an early night if you like, in preparation for tomorrow's visit to Machu Picchu.
Take the bus (30 minutes) up to the stunning 'lost city' of Machu Picchu, arriving at 6 am. The site is perched high in the Andes, surrounded by verdant cloud forest. Hidden away on a ridge, Machu Picchu is invisible from below, so it's no surprise it remained a secret for so many years (until 1911). Your ticket grants access to the site for 4 hours. Explore the upper terrace with your family first, then take a guided tour of the ruins with a local guide, learning more about these 200 or so houses and temples. Catch the bus back into town and enjoy some spare time to have lunch and a look around. Take the train to Ollantaytambo (2 hours) and make the rest of the journey to Cusco by private vehicle (2 hours). Perhaps join your group for an optional farewell dinner. Don't forget to trade numbers so you can keep in touch with your new friends!
With no activities planned today and so much to see and do in Cusco, why not continue your adventure by extending your stay in this archaeological hub. We are happy to arrange additional accommodation for you, please ask your booking agent.