My 15 Night Peru Holiday

Take the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
From the family’s historical Hacienda base in the mountains above Lima, this 15 night classic adventure trip will encompass the stunning scenery, rich culture, wildlife, and history of Peru.

Its the chance to take your own 4x4 trip to Machu Picchu. Your expedition vehicle allows you to explore way beyond the normal tourist path, and makes for an unforgettable adventure. Furthermore, you can also add on a further week or more at our own Galapagos Beach Hotel to experience the best of South America. Our guide vehicle will travel with you throughout the trip, and will provide back up and communication services, along with local liaison. From luxurious suites, to off the beaten track lodges-we had great fun choosing the accommodation for our tours. Rather than making a beeline for generic hotel chains, we sought out some places that have a bit of spice. Places that have qualities you'll remember long after you've returned home. Some are luxurious, some are rustic, and some are simply unique. We can also provide a private driver for you if you prefer not to drive.

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Itinerary

Day 1 (Lima)
Evening time arrival in Lima and private pre-arranged transfer from the airport to meet your guide at the hotel.

The Casa Andina Hotel is situated in the Miraflores district of Lima, with time for dinner, a stroll along the seafront park, and a good night’s sleep prior to the start of your journey.

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Day 2 (Lima - Paracas - Nazca)
duneboard Peru Animals
Breakfast & briefing, before joining your vehicles for the early drive out of the city onto the Panamerican Highway. If time allows, we will then head through the Paracas National Wildlife Reserve (a bird and seal sanctuary set in the desert), before a lunch and tour stop at the Oasis of Haucachina.

This sacred lagoon, ringed by palm trees and hidden among massive dunes, draws sand-boarders and dune-buggy riders from all over the world. We offer a fast and fun optional sand buggy trip out across the huge dunes, and if you wish you can try out fun Dune Surfing for 2 hours. (We highly recommend this option with lunch).Around sunset, we will head off road into the desert to find the mystical Mummies of Chauchilla.

We spend the night at the Hacienda Majoro, an elegant historic hacienda, set in the Nazca desert, with courtyards, pools, and beautiful decor recalling the origins of indigenous cultures but with a Spanish twist. Peacocks and Alpaca roam the 60 acre grounds, and after dinner here, you can star gaze on the patio before turning in, ready for your drive to into the mountains around Chalhuanca next day. Don't forget the exciting optional flight next morning over the Nazca lines in a small plane, its not to be missed.

Day 3 (Nazca - Chalhuanca)
Early morning, we head towards Nazca and its tiny airstrip. This is a desert city established over 2000 yrs ago, and its system of valleys was originally inhabited by the Nazca peoples. This culture was responsible for the mysterious lines in the desert, which are best viewed from the air, with our optional Nazca light aircraft flight, for a thrilling start to your Peru experience.

From here, we drive towards Puquio which offers both Incan and Spanish architecture, with lots of tradition. The winding trip takes 3-4 hours and in the first 90 kilometres, you ascend 4000 meters above sea level. This will be your first encounter with altitude and coca tea. The landscape gets greener and more spectacular as we ascend.

The wool of vicuñas is considered the finest in the world; some call it the gold of the Andes, and you can see these charming animals as we transit the Pampa Galeras National Wildlife Reserve. Located 95 km from Nazca and 3650 meters high, it is the main conservation center for Peru’s vicuña and alpacas that are adapted to the extreme cold of the Andes. You can also see eagles, pink flamingos and the occasional majestic condor. As we head higher into the clouds, the route is dotted with lakes and snow- capped peaks, and we will take a picnic break near to Chalhuanca. Here, wild Alpacas keep us company, with a landscape of golden pampas grass and lagoons.

We then descend to a lodge for the evening at Tampamayu, located next to the Chalhuanca River in a magnificent gorge, half-way between Nazca and Cusco.

Viscunas in Peru animals in Peru
Day 4 (Chalhuanca - Cachora)
Peru Overland HolidaysExpedition Vehicle
From Chalhuanca, we drive ever higher into the Andes and head "off-road" to the tiny hamlet of Cachora.

With stunning views of the snow capped peaks of Mount Salkantay towering over the nearby Apurimac Gorge (the worlds deepest canyon), our accommodation is a traditional private rustic Peruvian lodge. With lush tropical gardens and the buzz of humming birds collecting pollen, the peace of this secluded location is quick to charm.   The house offers tremendous vistas, with full length windows and a cozy log fire.

Everything served here is freshly produced on the farm from avocados to mangos, and honey to fresh cows milk, cheese and yogurt. This is the gateway to the recently discovered lost city of Choquequirao. The name translates as ‘cradle of gold’ and its remote location, two days’ walk from the here, adds to the deserted citadel’s appeal.

We offer a remarkable (optional) 4x4 drive and 30 min trek to the peak overlooking the Apurimac gorge and the lost Inca city of Choquequirao in the distance.

The view, stretching for 40 miles and whisped by low puffs of cloud, is truly monumental. An afternoon (optional) horseback ride is also great way to take in the views.

Day 5 (Cachora-Cusco)
The next morning we head out towards Cusco, the Imperial City of the Incas. We are now only a short distance to the sacred valley of Cusco. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 it is designated as the Historical Capital of Peru.

Incan majesty and Andean baroque exist side-by-side in Cusco's ancient stone streets, and we will spend three full days in this area for you to take in just some of the many highlights here, with museums, palaces, and incredible Inca ruins.

In Cusco you can select from our options list of great activities (see below) including the Vista Dome Rail journey to Machu Picchu, with lunch at the Belmond Sanctuary. Here, we will enjoy a charming 4*hotel and converted convent close to the main Plaza, among the narrow winding cobbled streets. A five minute walk takes you to the old Plaza de Armas of the Inca Capital.

Overland PeruOur Peru Tour

Day 6 (Cusco)
Mach Picchu Tour

Nazxa Line Tour 

Enjoy a free morning to relax, explore the city, its churches, museums, and palaces. An optional guided city tour allows you to experience greatest and nearest to Cusco of the Inca ruins. Sacsayhuamán reveals some of the Incas' most extraordinary architecture and monumental stonework.

This easy going hippy-chic town with its rich colonial and Inca heritage is ideal to explore on foot. Along its narrow cobbled streets you will find artisan craft stalls, colourful market places, and peaceful plazas to relax with a coffee.

Dinners are not included in Cusco, to give you chance to sample the great range of Peruvian cuisine and street life around Cusco, without any timetable. We can recommend a range of great eateries where you can sample the best of Peruvian cuisine. 

Day 7 (Machu Picchu)
Take our option to see Machu Picchu via the fabulous Vista Dome train, as its an unmissable part of Peru. Alternatively, if you are a keen walker, you can instead opt for our 2 day / 1 night guided Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu and add that into your package. On the Vista Dome package, we catch the early train from Cusco to Machu Picchu, possibly the most iconic site of the whole trip.

Machu Picchu is a majestic 15th-century Inca site, and the view will take your breath away. Located on a ridge between the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains it sits 7,970 feet above sea level and overlooks the Urubamba River hundreds of feet below. Machu Picchu lay hidden from the world for such a long time because its location is so remote. The nearest town is Aguas Calientes which is located down in the valley. There are no roads that connect Aguas Calientes to the outside world, so the only way in is by train.

This is no ordinary rail journey. The Vista Dome service has large panoramic windows in the roof allowing you to enjoy the deep forested gorge that flows towards the Amazon basin, and take in spectacular mountain scenery on one of the world’s classic railway journeys.. The site’s excellent preservation, the quality of its architecture, and the breath taking mountain vista has made Machu Picchu one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world today.

The site covers 80,000 acres and the buildings you will see were made without mortar (typical of the Inca), their granite stones quarried and precisely cut. We return to Cusco via rail late afternoon.

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Day 8 (Cusco Options Day)
Mountain View River Rafting Cusco Andes Peru
You can choose to relax around Cusco, or leave early for one of our pre booked optional tours into the highlands North of Cusco and the Sacred Valley. A full list of add-on tour options can be found below.

The Rio Urabamba valley is simply beautiful, and is known as the scared valley due its Inca heritage. Dotted by attractive colonial towns and isolated weaving villages, the area is home to many Inca sites of importance and some stunning scenery.

You can head to Pisac market, a world famous cacophony of sounds and colours making this the most vibrant of the Andean market towns, with a nice walk up to the archaeological site. You can head to the unique and somewhat "offbeat" Inca sites of Maras and Moray. Alternatively, if you need an adrenalin fix, you could opt to take our popular full day River Rafting down the Canyon, a thrilling experience that offers 2 unforgettable hours running the rapids on the upper Urabamba river.

Finally, for keen walkers we offer the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (for your day 7 & 8 from Cusco). This is a good alternative to get to know at least part of the famous Inca trail.

Day 9 (Cusco - Andahuaylas)
After Breakfast we bid farewell to Cusco and take the road north towards what Peruvians call the eyebrow of the jungle.

It’s an isolated area of subtropical forest and huge mountains and serves up some truly spectacular roads.

Home to endangered species such as the Spectacled Bear, and the Andean Condor, bromeliads and orchids abound around this little explored region and we will picnic at the ancient stone of Saywite, an intriguing secluded Inca sacred site, in lovely surroundings.

The route then takes us on dirt/mud roads via Piramide Sondor, and its remarkable views, along Lake Pacucha, to hotel accommodation in the small town of Andahuaylas. 

Peru Tours from the UKPeru Adventure 

 

Day 10 (Andahuaylas - Ayacucho)
dsc_0222 Cusco Tours
We now head into some of the most awesome scenery and roads in Peru, as we traverse the Andes ridge heading North, high above the Amazon jungle to the east, and the Pacific coast to the West.

We pass through Andean Indian villages located on the windswept plains with breathtaking views overlooking the snow-capped peaks beyond. Locals still go about their business in traditional dress and frequently travel by horseback.

We then head down into Ayacucho. Richly decorated churches dominate the vivid cityscape & houses are hung with wooden balconies. Ayacucho has authenticity and history, dating back several centuries to its colonial heyday.

We will enjoy an overnight stay in this attractive town at a lively café-hotel, overlooking the Plaza and Cathedral. It has a great restaurant that serves some excellent local dishes and the town has 32 churches, cobbled streets, so is a delight to stroll around and enjoy its colonial atmosphere and culture.

Day 11 (Ayacucho -Pampas)
We continue from Ayacucho and follow the spectacular narrow pass along the Rio Mantaro Gorge for some exciting on and off road adventure.

This road requires concentration and a steady nerve, before a steep ascent on an equally challenging track (peaking at 5000m) before a descent to the Casa Hacienda San Juan, owned by our family, situated near to Pampas.

This historical colonial building and hacienda sits in beautiful countryside, and is only accessible by 4x4. With its own church in grounds and elegant terraces this is very different from a normal hotel or lodge.

It offers a great optional horseback ride into the mountains next morning. Comfortable accommodations and a wood fired oven dinner in the evening, followed by drinks around a roaring log fire ensure wonderful ambience.

Ayacucho Via Via CafeAyacucho Peru
Day 12 (Pampas-Tarma)
Trama Hacienda
Next morning, we leave for Tarma, a 17th Century Hacienda in the mountains, (and our own family owned lodge in Peru).

Again, we enjoy spectacular scenery and roads, arriving mid- afternoon into Tarma. This area is the center for flower growing in Peru, and a colourful colonial town set in a lush valley between the high Andean mountains with lovely views on all sides. An overnight stay at this rustic hacienda, with its own chapel in the courtyard includes a hearty dinner in the fresco clad dining room. A log fire, and local Pisco liquor make the ideal nightcap before our descent to the jungle next morning.

Day 13 (Tarma-Pampa Hermosa Jungle Reserve)
We descend steeply from Tarma towards the Amazon and La Merced –As the heat rises and the scenery changes, we continue downriver before taking a steep and challenging 4x4 route up to the Pampa Hermosa National Sanctuary.

The precipitous track cuts into the gorge between waterfalls and follows a narrow track for 2.5 hours.

This 28,000 acre rain forest preserve is a mecca for birdwatchers. Among many vibrantly colourful species found here is the wonderful Peruvian cock-of-the-rock bird, as well as macaws, parrots and toucans.

On arrival we can take a refreshing shower at the jungle waterfalls, and then take the trail down to the river, for a secluded picnic lunch. A short walk into the jungle allows us to witness the enchanting pre-sunset display of the cock-of-the rock males who gather at this hidden location daily.

The river gorge with its tropical hardwoods, gives a real taste of the steamy rain forest and rare bird life, river otters, monkeys, and deer can all be spotted from the trail. At Sunset we descend to San Ramon village and a river-side lodge.

Peru BirdsCock of the rock bird

Day 14 (Jungle - Tarma)
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Next morning, we leave the reserve and start our ascent back into the Andes. We head to Sugar Loaf Bridge. Here we leave our vehicles and follow a hidden trail into the jungle for an hour to a secluded waterfall, surrounded by butterflies and tropical birds for a picnic in truly peaceful surroundings (optional).

We then continue to Tarma and time allowing we will enjoy a traditional Peruvian Pachamanca. It's basically a dish buried under the ground and cooked over hot stones for about 3-4 hours. Cooking Pachamanca is a traditional way of paying homage to Pachamama (mother earth, earth goddess).

Pisco is to Peru, what Whisky is to Scotland, and you can sample this fiery spirit by the log fire after dinner, with some travelers tales of your Peru adventure to round off your day. Tarma is the family Hacienda and has a rich history within its adobe walls.

Day 15 (Tarma-Lima)
We return to Lima, descending across the world’s highest railway pass at 4,818 meters and down towards the coastal plain- for the last night in the upmarket Miraflores district of Lima, close to the Pacific Ocean. Lima has some wonderful craft markets and some of the worlds finest restaurants. We will happy to recommend and arrange transport for you to sample some of the wonderful cuisine of this bustling city for your last evening.
South America Wildlife
Day 16 (Lima Farewell)
South America Overland
Breakfast and check out late morning (with shower/luggage storage facilities) from our Miraflores hotel. Nearby, you will find shopping and lunch options overlooking the ocean at Larcomar, a smart cliff top development of designer shops and restaurants, that offers opportunities to purchase silver, ceramics, and Alpaca garments. Late afternoon transfers are provided to the Airport for flights to Europe, or on to the Galapagos Islands for week 3 add on.
  

Your PERU Holiday is all inclusive, with the exception of flights, fuel, and the below options:

  • Nazca Lines Flight
  • Desert Sand Buggy and Dune Surfing Tour with Oasis lunch
  • Machu Picchu Superior - a Guided tour, via Vista Dome train & Belmond Sanctuary lunch
  • Cusco & Sacsayhuamán Historic Tour
  • River Rafting Trip
  • Sacred Valley Highlights-Quechua Handmade Craft Center, Wildlife Refuge, and Pisac Andean Market
  • Moray & Maras-Sacred Valley Inca Salt Mines and Inca Experimental Agricultural Site
  • Horseback Ride at Pampas, Hacienda San Juan
  • City Dinners in Cusco/Ayacucho/Lima (various options)
  • Lunch final day at Larcomar (various options)
  • Private Driver/Guide (on request)

*Fuel in Peru is inexpensive (approx. £2.35 per gallon). Normal trip cost approx.£130 per vehicle.

Many clients prefer to arrive one day earlier into Lima (or stay one day later) to enjoy the city and be well rested before their overland tour departure. We are happy to reserve an extra night for you on request (£140 per room).

A detailed itinerary with all relevant details will be issued 12 weeks prior to your departure date along with any travel updates and advisories. You will find an FAQ page on our website http://www.perusafari.com/faqs/ and we are always here to answer any questions at any time before or after your booking, via telephone or e mail. Questions about ATOL protection click here