A unique gem in the Pacific Ocean. Experience what it is like to detach from daily life and truly be at one with nature, not found anywhere else on earth....
The Amazon, the Sacred Valley and Lake Titicaca, ingredients for a versatile holiday
“Discover versatile Peru in just 15 days”
During this trip you will experience versatile Peru. Impressive landscapes, an intriguing Inca past and the fascinating present alternate, while staying in authentic hotels and at home with the locals.
You will arrive in Lima “City of Kings” – the capital of Peru and the cultural and financial heart of the country. At the airport of Lima you will be welcomed by our driver and English-speaking guide and taken to your hotel in Lima: Hotel Autor, where you will stay for 1 night. The guide is with you so that you can ask all your questions and get practical tips in preparation for the vacation to come.
Because the journey from the airport to the hotel can take some time, you are expected to arrive at your hotel later in the evening. Often people are a somewhat tired from the journey and jet lagged, but also a bit hungry. We have therefore already reserved a light dinner for you for this evening.
Hotel Autor is a real “home away from home”. Located in the heart of the vibrant Miraflores neighbourhood, this luxury bed and breakfast is the perfect start to your adventure in Peru. The accommodation is located in a traditional “Miraflores quinta” – five terraced houses that share a courtyard, accessible through an entrance gate. The decor is vintage, romantic and minimalist. The cozy lobby, together with the breakfast room and the roof terrace, serve as common areas. There are only four rooms. All have air conditioning, king-size beds and a private bathroom with washbasins and wide rain showers. Two rooms have stylish old-fashioned bathtubs with four legs and the other two without bathtubs have a beautiful balcony overlooking the courtyard with chairs and a small table. The extensive breakfast is served in the former garage, neatly transformed into a colourful room
After an extensive breakfast at your hotel, your guide will pick you up in the morning and drive you to the San Isidro financial district. Here is a beautiful old area with olive trees and the “Huaca Huallamarca” a pre-Inca place of worship built with adobe (stones made of mud). Then we go to the Miraflores district, where we will enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and beaches. Here we also visit “Huaca Pucllana”, the adobe and clay pyramid that was built by the Lima culture in 400 AD. This served as an important ceremonial temple and administrative centre for the different cultures that flourished in the Lima region.
After this it is time for your first introduction to the culinary culture of Peru. We go to a local market to see and taste the amazing variety of fish, fruits and vegetables that Peru has to offer. Then we go to the Bolivariano restaurant where you will enjoy a delicious lunch with tastings of Ceviche and Pisco Sour.
After lunch you will visit the exceptional Larco Herrera Museum, founded in 1926. Here you will find 45,000 archaeological objects that are considered pre-Columbian art icons. You will be impressed by the museum’s most beautiful old Peruvian gold and silver collection and one of the most famous erotic art collections. Then you also visit the centre of the city; we will take a walk around the Plaza de Armas de Lima, where you can find the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Town Hall. Beautiful buildings, all full of history and tradition. Our next visit is the San Francisco Monastery, probably the most spectacular church in colonial Lima, with the catacombs and a very beautiful museum of religious art from the 17th century. At the end of this impressive day you can enjoy the service and tranquility of your hotel.
Because you will fly to the Amazon early the next morning, you will spend the night at the Wyndham hotel near the airport.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will take the flight to Iquitos where we will give you a warm welcome at the airport. You start your Amazon adventure with a visit to the “Centro de Rescate Amazónico – CREA”. Here you can see turtles, manatees, monkeys, sloths and other species that have been rescued from illegal trafficking or living in endangered conditions. In the centre they are rehabilitated and prepared to be released into their natural habitat.
Then head for the village of Ämak. Your journey begins in one of the most exotic places in the jungle of Iquitos: the port of Bellavista-Nanay, where there is a colourful market. For the adventurous traveler you can taste the Suri (a worm that is considered a great delicacy) or one of the exotic fruits from the Amazon. This market is a must for all travellers who want to cross the Amazon.
Surrounded by exuberant vegetation and a blue sky, head to the Amazon. This fast-flowing and largest river in the world is a feast for the eyes. The river is actively used and various vessels appear on the scene, canoes, peque peque’s (motorised canoes) and cargo ships. The crossing is short. If it is not raining, the water levels will drop considerably, so that you can only sail over the Amazon for 40 minutes. In the middle of the jungle starts the half-hour walk on “Once Amigos”, a path that takes you to the small village of Timicuro. Wooden houses with palm leaf roofs have been converted into shops, community centres and there is even a school, with a classical sports field that extends through the forest. At the end of this path a peque peque is waiting for you to enter the dense jungle, where all the signs of civilisation will slowly disappear. A few meters away, a “maloca” (ancestral house that is used by the inhabitants of the Amazon) announces that you have arrived in the land of Ämak.
A warm welcome awaits you here. You will receive a welcome drink and some instructions for your stay. Then you can settle in your log cabin for the coming nights, simply equipped with a bed covered with a mosquito net, a bedside table and a chair. You will not find more furniture; luxury here is in the grandiose experience. Through the roof you can see the trees and the huge windows give you the feeling of being in the middle of the jungle. You sit down for a local lunch before we start our first exploration: a boat trip on the Yanayaco (black river). The black water gives one of the most beautiful mirror effects, causing the feeling of sailing in the clouds that are reflected in the water. The tranquility of this place is perfect for using our home-made rods. We are going to see if we can catch some fish! Back to the village, follow the torches that point the path to the dining room. The talented kitchen team combines local products and innovative techniques to create a delicious dinner.
Your day starts before sunrise. At 4:30 in the morning, weather permitting, go outside; aboard traditional small boats you will search for the most exotic birds with a local guide. The jungle is at its best this early in the morning.
After an invigorating breakfast you board a different boat to Isla de los Monos (the monkey island), a completely green area and inhabited by different primate species. More than 200 saddleback tamarins, the common oeakari and the sloth live in complete freedom within the 450 hectares. Because they are protected in this area they are used to people and the animals get very close; naturally with respect for nature. Lunch will again consist of dishes made from delicious local ingredients. This way you and the lodge also support the local communities and the environment.
In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to explore the Amazon forest. During your walk you can enjoy the flora and you have the opportunity, depending on the circumstances, to spot various animals. You can see the tree cavities where the night monkeys sleep during the day, you can see the industrious leaf-cutter ants and dozens of herons. At the end of the day you can enjoy dinner by the campfire and we invite you for a drink under the beautiful starry sky.
After your wonderful night’s rest while enjoying the rustling of the wind through the trees and the exotic sounds of the rainforest, you will again receive a tasty breakfast with delicious seasonal fruit. In the morning we go up the river and look for the rare pink dolphins.
Afterwards you will have lunch in the village and we will sail down the Rio Negro for a walk in the rainforest where you will see a beautiful hundred-year-old kapok tree of 40 meters high and a diameter of 8 meters. The size and lianas of this tree will greatly impress. At the end of the day you can see how the sun sinks below the horizon to convert the sky into the most amazing colours. Together with the reflection in the water of the river, this gives a beautiful photographic image.
During sunset, a walk along the paths of the village awaits you as you prepare for a nocturnal jungle tour. The nocturnal animals come to life and together with your guides you will search for tarantulas, scorpions and other animal species. You end the day with a savoury dinner at the lodge.
This is unfortunately your last day in Ämak. The indigenous people of Yagua say goodbye to you with song, dance and drums. It is fascinating to see the dances that go back to the ancestors and to admire their works of art made with seeds, natural dyes and artisanal techniques. You can see how people hunt by using blowpipes as they did in the past and you can try to master this technique yourself.
After this beautiful goodbye you leave the village and return via the same road (motorised canoe to Timicuro, hiking trail Once Amigos and boat) to Iquitos where you will take the flight to Lima.
At the airport of Lima we assist you with the transfer to your hotel. Because you will continue to fly to the Sacred Valley the next morning, you will spend the night at the airport again at the Wyndham Hotel.
Today you will fly to Cusco, the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. To better acclimatise at this altitude we first go to the somewhat lower town of Pisac, where you will visit a traditional Indian market. It is wonderful to see all the activities at this local market and it is a good place to find some unique and authentic souvenirs.
We also visit the beautiful Inca ruins of Pisac. The exact meaning of this archaeological site is still unclear, but it seems likely that these excavations were part of a settlement along an important Inca Road. With the Amazon rainforest east of the mountains, it is generally believed that Pisac must have been a strategic link between the highlands and the jungle.
Pisac is a nice town to visit with wonderful restaurants. For lunch we choose a good restaurant with a wonderful atmosphere: Cuchara de Palo located on the central square. Then we drive on to Ollantaytambo. Here you will spend the night at the Samanapaq hotel.
Hotel Samanapaq is our absolute favourite in Ollantaytambo. It has simple rooms but very well cared for. Located on the outskirts of Ollantaytambo, with all sights and restaurants within walking distance, this hotel has a beautiful garden where you can relax after a long day. A perfect combination to explore the town and still find peace within the walls of the hotel.
Enjoy a rich breakfast at the hotel, today will be a sporty day! After we have picked you up at your hotel, we will take you to Cruzpata on the Maras plateau, where we will start our mountain bike adventure.
You get all materials: good quality mountain bikes, gloves and protection. Along the way you will enjoy beautiful views and landscapes: the impressive peaks of the Andes, many cactus plants, farmland and cattle and you will meet Andes villagers during their daily activities. You will also visit two fascinating places.
First you will see “Moray”. It is believed that the Incas here have transformed four huge natural holes in the landscape into terraces and thus built an agricultural laboratory. They thus laid the foundation for growing crops on terraces. By experimenting with the elevation of the different terraces, the various climatic zones of Peru were simulated. That way you could grow vegetables and fruits from all over the country in just one area. The knowledge gained here was then applied in other regions of the empire. You will be offered a delicious picnic lunch at this special place (the source of food for the Incas).
Then you continue on a dirt road to “Maras”. This salt mine in the mountains of the Sacred Valley consists of around 3000 small pools that are laid out on a slope of the mountain. People fill or “irrigate” the pools during the dry season, when the water evaporates, the salt is trapped inside the pools until a solid salt is obtained. You can walk between the pools and see how it is extracted.
At Maras your cycling tour ends. We get back in the car and drive back to the fortified town of Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo still has many preserved treasures from the Inca time, even the paving still dates back to that period. Here you can climb the enormous stairs of the fort, view the hilly granaries and see a holy fountain that is fed by an age-old aqua-duct. You will spend the night in hotel Samanapaq again.
After breakfast at your hotel we will pick you up and bring you to the train station of Ollantaytambo to board the train to the town of Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, you leave your luggage with the hotel staff at the train station. You board the shared bus service that will take you to the entrance of Machu Picchu.
You will receive a private tour of this magical place. The historic shrine of Machu Picchu is a technical marvel – a city in the clouds surrounded by steep abysses. The site contains 140 well-known structures, including temples, palaces, ritual baths and homes. The city also includes agricultural terraces and more than 100 stone steps. Much of the brickwork is so fine that it seems to come alive organically from the rock.
You will be offered a buffet lunch at Hotel Sanctuary Lodge, after which you will return to Aguas Calientes by bus and you can check in at your El MaPi by Inkaterra hotel. You will also be offered a delicious dinner here.
El Mapi by Inkaterra
The hospitable El MaPi by Inkaterra is located in the heart of Aguas Calientes. Modern rooms and a warm atmosphere. The food is organic and very good. You get a rich breakfast and the evening meal is a la carte. You can also book a relaxing massage in the beautiful spa with a view of the surroundings.
Because Machu Picchu has a lot to offer and a visit to this destination is a magical experience for almost everyone, you will again visit the following morning to discover other sectors and further explore the citadel in the beautiful morning light. You climb Huayna Picchu, one of the highlights of a visit to Machu Picchu.
Note: the climb on Huayna Picchu is steep and there are places where a railing and cables give you the necessary support. If you suffer from fear of heights this can be a challenging hike. The climb is approx. 1 hour and the descent 45 minutes. The use of walking sticks because of the sometimes steep steps is highly recommended. The views from the top of the Citadel and the surrounding landscape are extraordinary and worth the climbing effort.
After this exciting and beautiful trip you will return to Aguas Calientes where you will enjoy a well-deserved lunch in the Café Inkaterra. You then return by train to Ollantaytambo. Here we will pick you up at the train station and take you to Cusco, where you will spend the night in the beautiful hotel Costa del Sol.
For the following day we have designed a nice private tour so that you can discover all the beauty of the interesting city of Cusco.
You will visit the impressive cathedral, which was built more than 450 years ago. After this we visit the Koricancha, the most opulent temple of the Inca culture, which was dedicated to worshiping the sun. Then we drive to the nearby ruins of the city. You will visit the beautiful ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puca Pucara and Tambomachay. Enjoy lunch in a nice restaurant. The rest of the day is free to spend in the stunning city of Cusco. We are happy to give you tips and your guide will also be happy to tell you where you can find the most interesting and beautiful places for the rest of the day.
Hotel Costa del Sol
Located in a 17th-century colonial mansion in the center of Cusco, this hotel combines a warm atmosphere with a perfect base to explore the city.
You will be picked up early in the morning at your hotel and taken to the bus station. At 6:50 am your tour bus leaves from Cusco heading south to Puno. The tour bus is very comfortable; there is even a hostess on board to provide you with drinks along the way.
During the journey we stop at four different locations including the small church in Andahuaylillas. This church was built by the Jesuits in the 16th century. Because of the beautiful art paintings in the church it is also called “the Sistine Chapel of America”.
You will also visit the mighty temple of Wiracocha and you will cross the majestic La Raya pass (4335 m) with a beautiful view of the Chimboya glacier. Finally, you will visit the fascinating Lithic Museum with an interesting exhibition about the Pukara culture. During your trip you will be offered a lunch buffet.
You will arrive in Puno around 17 o’clock where you will be taken to your hotel Hacienda Puno.
Hotel Hacienda Puno is located in the centre of Puno, one block away from the main square. The hotel has a nice courtyard and from the restaurant you have a beautiful view of Lake Titicaca.
You will be picked up at your hotel to go to the pier on Lake Titicaca. You will visit the Uros Islands by boat. These are handmade, floating islands, built from the totoro reeds that grow abundantly along the shores of the lake. They were originally built as a safe haven for the Uros people who fled from warring tribes. Since then, this people have developed their own subculture of Aymara culture in this intriguing environment.
Then continue to the island of Amantani. There are no hotels on Amantani, you and your guide will spend the night with a local family. The residents of Amantani speak Quechua (the original language of the Incas), but also understand Spanish. In the afternoon you walk to the highest point of the island on Mount Pachamama and explore the ancient ruins. You have a beautiful view of the lake from this vantage point and you can enjoy a great sunset. Then we descend to the main square and meet with your local family.
You will dine at their home, after which you will be invited for an authentic party. Your host family will provide traditional clothing to attend this fun Andean party; the party takes place in a community hall with music song and dance from a local orchestra. After this varied day you will spend the night at the family’s home.
After breakfast, you will say goodbye to your family and probably new friends and head to the pier. We go from the island of Amantani to the island of Taquile; the journey takes approximately one hour.
On Taquile we will visit numerous pre-Inca and Inca ruins. The island is narrow, only about 1 km wide and 6-7 km long. Upon arrival on the island you have to take a narrow path, enjoying an impressive view of Lake Titicaca and the beautiful little houses inhabited by the locals. There is a cooperative shop on the island that sells exceptional woollen products. These are not cheap, but of very good quality. You enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, after which you take the boat back to Puno. Here you will again spend the night at Hacienda Puno.
Today your beautiful trip to Peru unfortunately comes to an end. We will transfer to the airport of Juliaca, from where you will fly to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima we assist you with your transfer to your intercontinental flight home.
During this tour you will experience the most beautiful facets of Peru. Colonial cities, impressive landscapes and an intriguing Inca history alternate while staying in luxury and comfort. This is the perfect itinerary to combine with an 8-day Galapagos Islands cruise expedition.
This adventurous journey takes you close to real-life Peru and its welcoming residents. The self-driving holiday gives you flexibility to veer away from the well-trodden tourist trails and explore the places of beauty and history at your own pace. You will hike along coffee plantations and regularly stay at the homes of local families.
“Peru Exclusive” is the most luxurious journey you can make in Peru. This very complete holiday will introduce you to all the highlights in this versatile and hospitable country. Peru shows you its most beautiful places. You only stay in the most luxurious and attractive accommodations the country has to offer. Longer distances are covered by plane, which means you travel at a relaxing pace. Whilst you will see a lot you will have time to spend a few nights in each place.
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