Family-Friendly Peru Vacation: Amazon to Andes

A 10 day trip to Peru 
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Peru is an evocative destination for all ages that includes Amazonian adventure, Incan culture, a lost city, a sacred valley, and your awe-struck family. This luxurious, 10-day vacation will push you to the edge of your comfort zone, revealing both the surreal and the sublime. Spend three days on an Amazon cruise, three days in Cusco, and then take the train to Machu Picchu, where you will spend another couple of days. There are plenty of different adventures as you go, so you know that your family will experience the best of Peru in just ten days, with every day providing new inspiration and excitement.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Iquitos, Amazon Rainforest, Amazon River, Yanallpa, Maranon River, Pacaya Samiria Reserve, Tacsha River, San Martin de Tipishca, Cusco, Andes, Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Tambomachay, Puka Pukara, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Maras, Moray, Machu Picchu, Wayna Picchu

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Amazon Rainforest – Family Escapism in the Amazon

Humid air will envelop you when you land in the Amazon. It is warm, and is a climate that will hit you from the moment of your arrival. You will transfer to a boutique cruise ship, where the cabins bring air-conditioned comfort. As you set off downriver, you will gaze out from panoramic glass windows, where you will watch the rainforest grow thicker and thicker. Your two cabins are interconnected, and each will have its own bathroom with hot water that will be available 24-hours a day. Out on the top deck, you can absorb more of the sounds and smells, as well as looking down into the river in search of caiman and other rainforest specialties. There are not any excursions today, so you can just settle in and feel the escapism of the world’s largest jungle.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour

Days 2 – 3: Amazon Rainforest – Safe Cruising Through Wild Nature

Flooded forests will greet you at breakfast, and parrots will be flying all around. Monkeys can be heard as well as seen, as they loudly howl from treetops. You can walk into a gallery forest where the monkeys are closer, especially rare monk saki monkeys that are only abundant in this corner of the world. Rainforest walks will also teach you about flora. Over 200 plants in the Amazon have a medicinal use, and the guide will instruct you in how some are used. Back on deck and after the walk, you will continue to cruise, deeper and deeper into the jungle.

During the middle part of the day, it is good to be on board and away from the stifling heat. Around 3 pm you will be docked and back outside, exploring with another activity. Walks and other adventures are always possible along the water, such as a skiff ride down the Yanallpa black water stream, or a journey by local canoe. Essentially, the 12-cabin boat will bring you to important wildlife and natural sites. Then, a smaller vessel will take you further.

Howler monkeys will call out, majestic and dominant howls from the canopy, and squirrel monkeys will scurry past. Tamarin monkeys will meet you with a mischievous grin while cappuccino monkeys gather in huge troupes, sometimes more than a hundred strong. At salt licks you can spot scarlet and yellow macaws, and from the deck, your children can spot an alligator. With a three-night Amazon cruise, your family can explore the rainforest’s famed diversity without the leeches and never-ending mosquitos. It is safe, comfortable, exciting for all ages and will be an adventure into what feels like the unknown.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Iquitos to Lima – Market Scenes, Manatees and Stopping by Lima

After taking in tributaries and the mighty Amazon itself, you will return towards Iquitos. You will stop at a small riverside community and meet with local families. Here, the interaction with Amazonian children will be an eye-opening experience for all. You will see how the community lives, practically floating on the water for most of the year. Local guides will then take you to a nearby market, where strange foods will spill from wooden stalls, and the bustle will really grab your attention. Your final Amazon stop is the Manatee Rescue Center, where you will have the opportunity to see the iconic animal up close and complete the wildlife tick list. Your family will be on a late-afternoon flight back to Lima, where you will need to spend a night before traveling on to Cusco tomorrow morning.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Cusco – The Ancient Incan Capital

While an Amazon cruise promises excitement, it is also a very relaxing experience. Over three nights and four days, you will find plenty of space to get together as a family in one of the most exotic landscapes on earth. On a family Peruvian tour, it is good to start with the jungle as it will ease you into your vacation. However, in Cusco and Machu Picchu, the tour will become more active, with full-day excursions and lively scenes after dusk. After landing in the center of the spiritual universe, as Cusco was known to the Incas, you will transfer to a hotel that is just off the Plaza de Armas. Nothing will be planned for the rest of the morning, and you may need an hour or two to get used to the high altitude (11,600 feet).

Shortly after, you will uncover Cusco’s secrets on a private afternoon tour. A fortress lies in ruins, surrounded by grazing llama. A stone temple will lure you forward with strange acoustics and aromas. In the great fortress of Sacsayhuaman, you will find ornate stone inscriptions and innovative engineering, including natural stone slides older children can slide down. You will begin by driving up the valley, and then walking back down through Sacsayhuaman and into old Cusco, where steep steps lead to cobbled plazas, and finally grand colonial churches. This is quite a lot to fit into a single day, but this is Cusco, the city that will bring Incan and Spanish colonial histories into a neat and easy to explore package.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Cusco – History and Heritage in the Sacred Valley

After a few days of early starts, you can sleep in and take it slow this morning. Perhaps, you will take a morning walk to Plaza de Armas, watching colorful Quechua women walk past on route to market. Whatever you decide, later today you will head into the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Urubamba Valley), stopping at a couple of eye-catching attractions. Although there are many Inca ruins here, these can become a little laborious for kids, especially with Machu Picchu still to come. So instead, the guide can take you to less sacred sites, such as salt pans and a market where witches come to buy their trinkets and effigies. You can also visit a small village that was founded on pre-Incan ruins.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Cusco – Outdoor Adventure in the Sacred Valley

Now it is time for some outdoor fun. Today, you will be taking advantage of mountain trails and rivers. This day can be customized to your family’s interests and there is plenty to choose from. You can ride horses across old Incan trails, ride mountain bikes, spend half a day white-water rafting, or zoom through the trees on a zipline. You can combine some of these during a single day, and whatever you decide to do there will be fresh alpine air, plus a handful of Incan ruins that are quite ubiquitous in these parts. You will finish the day back in Cusco, where you will watch live Peruvian music at the hotel before drifting off with dreams of Machu Picchu tomorrow.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Machu Picchu – A Train to the Lost City of the Incas

Through the forest you will go. The ride to Machu Picchu is about a 3 ½ hour trip on a luxury train with panoramic windows that stretch up into the ceiling. The mountains will begin to rise higher, and the landscape will turn surreal, with peaks sticking out in random places. Brunch will be served on board, and after disembarking, you will continue the journey by driving up the mountain road. Some people really want to walk up, but it is a very tough climb and not recommended for families. There is only one hotel located at Machu Picchu, and it is adjacent to the Machu Picchu entrance gate. So, you will check in, and then you will join your guide on a private tour of the ancient citadel.

At first, you will not see the citadel. You will most likely be looking down, amazed at how big the steps are. You will have to trek slow, and you may need to carry your younger ones in your arms. It will be a little bit of a hike, but it will suddenly all unfolds. It will be much more surreal than the photos can suggest and the more you explore, the more mystical Machu Picchu will become. With three hours, you can travel around most of the main, and when you return to the hotel at sunset, you will know why it has been voted one of the new seven wonders of the world.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Machu Picchu – Another Day of Incan Secrets

By staying up at Machu Picchu, there will be no need for difficult mountain transfers. Plus, it is far more enchanting to be tucked away up here than in the oversized tourist town of Aguas Calientes, which is the only other place in the vicinity that has hotels. Last night you could stay longer and enjoy Machu Picchu after most people left, and today you can return to the ancient citadel, where you can see some of the distant sites, and perhaps, hike up one of the mountains. Huayna Picchu is a shorter, steeper climb, and will take you to various Incan shrines. Wayna Picchu is longer and will give you the best possible view. Both are challenging hikes and it might be that only some of your family desires to attempt them.

If you are not doing a climb, then it is wise to avoid sunrise at Machu Picchu. This is the most popular time of day and you will encounter crowds of feverish visitors that want to get the best viewpoints, and who generally just block the mystique for everyone else. Afternoons are far quieter at Machu Picchu. You can walk up to the Sun Gate and experience a bit of the Inca Trail. The hotel can also pack a picnic so you can dine with a view (just watch out for the llamas as they are crafty fruit thieves). Walking around a second time, you can even play a little hide and seek, especially in the section near Huayna Picchu. It will all make for a relaxed day, and the hotel will have an excellent restaurant for your evening meal.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Cusco – Back Through the Forest and Departure

You will take the train back to Cusco and transfer onwards to the city’s airport, where you will depart Peru after ten days that have taken you from Peru’s deepest jungle to the lost city.

What’s Included: airport transfer, tour, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$2,195
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.