(Includes meals are indicated in parentheses: B,L,D)
Arrive to Lima, former capital of the Spanish empire in the Americas, and transfer to your first class hotel ideally located in the Miraflores district, Lima’s main cultural, commercial and entertainment district, and the best area of town for strolling around. (If you are interested and time permits, private tours of Lima or visits to any of Lima’s museums can be arranged upon request.)
Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores
Fly over the Andes to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire. When you land in Cusco you will be met at the airport by a local representative who will transport you to your hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (8500 feet elevation), a long fertile river valley surrounded by snow capped peaks that lies between Cusco (11,000 feet elevation) and Machu Picchu (8,000 feet elevation). Starting here helps you adjust to the high altitude of the Andes and is a great way to see how the local people continue to live in the traditional Andean manner. You’ll make a visit to the Pisac ruins and town en route to your hotel (if you are feeling up for it you can walk down from the ruins to the town; ask your guide about this option). You’ll stop for a lunch at a great small restaurant serving creative modern variations on traditional Andean dishes.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
Today you have a half day guided excursion to visit the town and ruins of Ollantaytambo. You’ll get out and see the Sacred Valley on your own two feet, and have the chance to do some acclimatization walking (your private guide will be there to accommodate whatever level of additional hiking your family wants to do). In the late afternoon you’ll be dropped off at your hotel in the heart of the Valley. This charming hotel is great for families, with its own pool and a separate horse stable with beautiful horses (horseback riding can also be arranged; inquire if interested).
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
Today you will continue your family adventure with one of the best one day mountain biking trips you could find anywhere. Non-technical and almost all downhill, you start near the ancient town of Chincheros and descend past the unique Incan site of Moray and the small village of Maras, and finally past the ancient salt pans below Maras, to the valley floor. A first class picnic lunch is included. Not just for serious mountain-bikers, this is an accessible but still excellent mountain biking experience, visiting some off the beaten path locations. Alternate activity: You also have the option of a white water rafting trip on the Urubamba River (class III intermediate rapids), through the heart of the Sacred Valley.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
Today you will start your 2 day/1 night trip to Machu Picchu. In the morning you will all catch the train towards Machu Picchu, but disembark at Kilometer 104, where you start your 4-5 hour hike to Machu Picchu along the last part of the Inca Trail. You hike upward at a gentle grade for a couple hours, passing the large Incan site of Winay Wayna, and then hike along the last section of the classic Inca Trail for the last 2 hours to arrive at Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). An exceptional one day hike. Your family overnights at one of the finest hotels in Peru.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B,L,D)
Today you make an unguided return visit to Machu Picchu in the early morning to observe the ruins and have the chance to explore on your own. This is a great way for you to all experience the site when there are far fewer people around. If you take the earliest shuttle up to the site, you can see the sun come up over the ruins. You’ll also have the chance to hike up to the top of Huayna Picchu, the mountain that towers above Machu Picchu (about 2 hours roundtrip). After visiting the ruins you will make your way down to the train station for your afternoon train back to Cusco, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.
Aranwa Boutique Hotel (B) (upgrade to Hotel Monasterio is available)
Today you have a privately guided tour of this fascinating city, visiting the historical highlights and also making a visit to the massive fortress of Sacsahuaman that sits on the hill overlooking all of Cusco. This fortress is where the Incans made their feircest stand against the Spanish conquistadors, and your family will marvel at the colossal stones used in its construction. If you are all up for some walking, you can walk downhill from Sacsahuaman to central Cusco by way of the San Blas neighborhood, with great views along the way.
Aranwa Boutique Hotel (B)
In the morning your family will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival to Lima, you will have assistance at the airport in making your connecting flight home. If your family has extra time in Lima prior to your international flight, we often arrange a driver who can take you out to eat and to explore some of Lima before dropping you back off at the airport for your international flight home. (B)
Customizing this trip: This trip can be customized in any way your family might like.
Popular Extensions: The Amazon Jungle is a great and easily organized extension to this itinerary… you fly from Cusco on a commercial flight to the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, and then transfer by boat up the Tambopata River to a renowned jungle lodge, Posada Amazonas. Another great option for active families is a kayaking trip on Lake Titicaca with a stay at a local family’s home… an in-depth cultural experience for the whole family!