Highlights of Peru

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  • From $7,408 in 2024
  • 13 days, 12 nights
  • October 14 - October 26, 2024
  • Min/Max Guests: 4/12

Highlights

Everyone else is on the well-trodden tourist circuit through Peru’s major sites. You’re on a different path – the one that introduces you to local families and gives you the opportunity to dine in their homes, see how they really live, hike with their llamas, and get to know the “real” culture of Peru without missing out on must-do experiences such as visiting Machu Picchu.

Explore Peru’s vibrant culinary scene by shopping at a local market and preparing typical Peruvian dishes in the home of a chef.

Peel back the layers of Lima’s past as you wander through centuries-old streets and visit one of the city’s oldest colonial mansions. In fact, it’s still inhabited by the descendants of its original owner.

Immerse yourself in the heart of Cusco, where ancient Inca stonework meets colonial charm, promising a captivating blend of history and architecture at every turn.

Visit an alternative school for impoverished girls and be inspired by the moving story of its history and mission.

Witness the ancient art of textile-making firsthand, as a local family shares their traditions and techniques passed down through generations.

Trek alongside llamas and alpacas through remote Andean communities and participate in a reforestation project that honors the spirit of Pachamama (mother earth).

Explore the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu, where secrets of the Inca civilization remain hidden amidst breathtaking mountain vistas and the ever-encroaching jungle.

Indulge in a traditional Pachamanca, in which farm-fresh ingredients are roasted in an earthen oven.

Behold the “Sistine Chapel of the Andes.” Intricate murals and frescoes rival those of Renaissance Italy.

Camp on the pristine shores of a remote lake.

Explore the lesser-known rainbow mountains, where nature’s palette paints a tapestry of colors against the backdrop of the Andean highlands.

Wind your way across the Peruvian altiplano on one of the top 10 most spectacular train journeys in the world.

Skip the scripted tourist experience to visit a local family on the Uros floating islands.

Immerse yourself in the warmth of Peruvian hospitality with a home stay on a floating island (a truly unique experience) and a bounty of shared meals at the tables of local families.

This heartwarming adventure is one that you won’t be able to forget.

Features

  • Real Adventure For Experienced TravelersBetween the high altitude and cultural exchange with local families, Peru is a REAL adventure for experienced travelers. This means that you will feel challenged at certain points of the trip. But that challenge is worth it. Because overcoming challenges makes memories, and has the power to change your perspective and your life.
  • Untapped Authentic ExperiencesWhile Peru is not considered an emerging destination, we have noticed that the benefits of tourism bypass businesses, communities, and families not on the popular tourist circuit. While we visit must-see sites, we also venture off into less touristed, yet absolutely amazing, places.
  • Safety FirstExploring Peru is a real adventure. At almost 11,000 feet, the city of Cusco is at high altitude. And you’ll be traveling to rural communities at higher elevations that have minimal infrastructure. This is why our guides have their Wilderness First Responder certification. We also talk with you at length before booking to ensure this trip is suitable for you. And, if you do book, we provide in depth guidance so you can be properly prepared.
  • Cultural BriefingBefore you set off, join us for an exclusive 1-hour cultural briefing session on Zoom, personally hosted by our company owner, Diane Valenti. Diane delves into the 10 dimensions that shape all cultures and illuminates how they play out in the vibrant tapestry of Peruvian culture. This deeper understanding enriches your experience by giving you a way to understand why things are done the way they are done and fosters a deeper connection when you interact with locals. As an added benefit, Diane offers an optional post-trip debrief session, providing the perfect opportunity to reflect on and discuss your experience and observations. Prepare to transform your travel experience with this unparalleled cultural insight.
  • Leave a TraceYes, you heard that right. We work with local tour guides, drivers, hotels, communities, and restaurants to ensure that your tourist dollars leave the local community better off. You also directly support a local community project focused on educating impoverished girls.
  • Before-You-Go GuidanceOur company's founder, Diane Valenti, is no stranger to Peru. In fact, it's the first destination she offered adventures to when she ran her first group trip back in 2012. With her guidance on essential packing and setting realistic expectations, she ensures that you are as prepared as can be for your journey, reducing the chance of any unwanted surprises.
  • Expert, Bilingual Tour GuidesOur expert, bilingual guides not only share their knowledge of Peru, but also handle any unforeseen circumstances, allowing you to truly relax and unwind.
  • Mesmerizing PhotosAmidst its stunning landscapes and the vibrant traditional attire of its people, Peru offers limitless opportunities to take one captivating photo after another to relive your adventure and share with your family and friends.
  • Hassle Free HolidayEase into a worry-free journey where we handle the details. Apart from your tour guides, tipping is covered, and nearly every meal is on us. No need to fret over constantly looking for ATMs – just relax and revel in the experience.
  • Out of the Ordinary ExperiencesBetween overnighting on a floating island, trekking with llamas to participate in a reforesting project along an old Inca Trail, sharing meals with local families in their homes and visiting the iconic site of Machu Picchu, you’ll come home with memories that you’ll relive for a lifetime and stories to tell that will leave your friends and family wanting more.

Included

  • Accommodation - double occupancy (10 nights in a hotel, 1 night camping, 1 night in a home stay)
  • Airport/hotel transfers
  • Camping equipment including tents, sleeping bags, and mattresses
  • English speaking guides
  • Entrance fees for scheduled tours
  • Ground transportation
  • Meals specified by the itinerary
  • Packing list with eco-friendly personal care product recommendations
  • Tips for support staff other than your guides

Trip Notes

Your tour with Llama Expeditions starts when you meet our team at the airport in Lima, Peru. We will guide you on making these flight arrangements, as well as those for domestic flights to Cusco and from Juliaca, once you have booked this trip. The cost of all flights is not included.

You are required to have travel insurance to cover hospitalization, evacuation, flight delays, and cancellations.  Please plan for and consider personal spending money for extra snacks, drinks, or treasures you find along the way.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima

Welcome to Lima, the City of Kings.

Founded in 1535 on the Catholic holiday of Epiphany, when the three kings visited the baby Jesus, Lima has since been known as the “City of the Kings.”

Get a good night’s rest in  a turn-of-the-century mansion turned upscale boutique hotel. Tomorrow is going to be a big day.

Hotel: Antigua Miraflores (or similar)

Day 2: Make Traditional Peruvian Food & Visit a Colonial Mansion

Peru is as well known for its outstanding food as it is for the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu. A combination of ingredients grown from the Andes to the Amazon, and a mix of cultures including Inca, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese has resulted in the creation of some of the most unique dishes on earth. In fact, Peru always lands within the top 5 spots of the 50 best restaurants in the world.

First up on the agenda is to shop at a local market for the ingredients to make lunch. Note the abundance of super foods that come from Peru.

Then, whip up traditional Peruvian food for lunch. While you’re waiting to eat, indulge in an extensive fruit tasting – 35 different types of fruit in all, all grown in Peru.

After lunch, walk to the Plaza Mayor, Lima’s main square, built during the 16th century. Stroll through a street that was the place to see and be seen from colonial times until the early nineteen hundreds.

Visit one of the oldest colonial mansions in Lima, and the only one continuously inhabited by 17 generations of descendants of its original owner. In fact, the family still lives in a portion of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hotel: Antigua Miraflores
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, light dinner

 

Day 3: Discover the Inca City of Cusco

Fly into Cusco. At 10,856 feet, it’s the second highest city in the world after La Paz, Bolivia.

In the local indigenous language of Quechua, Cusco means “navel of the earth.” For the Incas, it was a sacred city. In fact, the remains of Inca temples and fortresses can be found throughout this picturesque city.

As you pull up to the hotel, take note of the perfect example of Inca stonework framing the entrance. In fact, this stonework has been designated an historical monument by the Ministry of Culture.

After dropping your luggage off, walk through the narrow cobblestone streets of the San Blas neighborhood. During the Inca Empire, this neighborhood was called T’opokachi (the Hole or Cave of Salt). Its beautiful architecture is a mix of Andean and European styles. Keep an eye out for the galleries and workshops of some of Cusco’s best-known artists. Many have been trained in the distinctive Cusco School of painting. Learn more about this uniquely South American style of painting during a visit to the cathedral this afternoon.

Lunch is at a traditional Peruvian restaurant. Try baked guinea pig if you dare. There are other typical Peruvian dishes, and even pizza, for less adventurous eaters.

Witness how the Spanish and Inca cultures melded at an ancient Inca temple and Cusco’s magnificent colonial cathedral.

Enjoy a light dinner at one of Cusco’s oldest and most traditional cafes.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, lunch, and light dinner
Hotel: Rumi Punku (or similar)

Day 4: Visit a School for Girls & Explore Inca Ruins

Visit an alternative school for impoverished girls and be inspired by the director’s story of why it was founded.

After lunch, feel dwarfed by the giant Inca stonework on display at two important Inca ruins just outside the city. Then, walk along an old Inca trail to an important Inca ceremonial site that scholars believe was dedicated to fertility.

Join a local Cusqueña family for a delicious home-cooked meal.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, lunch, and dinner
Hotel: Rumi Punku (or similar)

Day 5: Learn About Ancient Weaving Techniques & See the Salt Pans of Maras

Head to a small village in the Sacred Valley, also known as the “land of the rainbow.” Here the art of textile-making is passed down from one generation to the next.

Learn about the ancient art of textile-making firsthand, as a local family shares their traditions and techniques passed down through generations.

Then, walk through the cobblestone streets of the ancient town, seemingly frozen in time, to see the carefully preserved frescoes in the colonial church and the agricultural terraces that line the steep hillsides.

Enjoy the spectacular views on the way to an Inca warehouse. Corn, potatoes, and quinoa were stored here during the time of the Inca.

After a picnic lunch, explore over 4,000 salt pans cascading down the side of a mountain. These salt pans have been around for hundreds of years. A local family owns and mines each pan for salt to sell to local shops.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, picnic lunch, and dinner at the hotel
Hotel: Lizzy Wasi (or similar)

Day 6: Hike with Llamas & Plant Trees

Meet local inhabitants dressed in their traditional clothing, waiting with their colorfully adorned llamas and alpacas.

Trek to an archeological site. According to archeologists, both pre-Inca and Inca cultures lived here. Explore narrow walkways, agricultural terraces, underground aqueducts, and warehouses.

Trek across a canyon and plant native trees along the trail.

Then, enjoy a typical lunch with a local family in one of the most beautiful towns in the Sacred Valley. Although not popular with tourists, the town has a mysterious charm that enchants its visitors. Perhaps this is due to its constructions of Inca origin. Or to the traditions of its people.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, lunch with a local family, dinner
Hotel: Lizzy Wasi (or similar)

Day 7: Experience the Magic of Machu Picchu

Board the train to Machu Picchu.

Arrive in the bustling town of Aguas Calientes and board the bus to the famous ruins.

Spend the afternoon exploring Machu Picchu. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated stone walls that join huge blocks without the use of mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments, and panoramic views. Its remote location meant that the Spanish conquerors never found it.

Enjoy dinner at an eclectic restaurant owned by a French-Peruvian couple, who came to the area to cook for engineers building a hydroelectric plant and never left. Located on a side street off the main square, it has been a favorite for decades.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, lunch, and dinner
Hotel: Hatun Inti (or similar)

Day 8: Enjoy a Traditional Pachamanca

Board the train for the first leg of the journey back to Cusco.

On the way back, indulge in a Pachamanca. Farm fresh ingredients are roasted in a traditional earth oven with the use of hot stones. (In Quechua, “pacha” means earth and “manka” means stone.)

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, pachamanca, and light dinner
Hotel: Rumi Punko (or similar)

Day 9: Marvel at the Sistine Chapel of the Andes

Explore the “Sistine Chapel of the Andes.” Don’t let the simple exterior fool you. Inside there are canvas paintings, statues, and an extensive mural program that rival its counterparts in Renaissance Italy. Take note of the famous murals that depict the path to heaven and to hell. Choose wisely!

Then, it’s onward to the campsite on the pristine shores of a remote lake. In its blue waters live trout, silverside, carachis and more.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, picnic lunch, campsite dinner
Hotel: Camping

Day 10: Visit Five Rainbow Mountains

There’s the Rainbow Mountain that is all over social media. Then, there’s 5 rainbow mountains. Why see one when you can see five all in one place?!

In addition, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding valley, not to mention fascinating geological formations. Keep an eye out for alpacas, llamas, and local villagers working in the fields.

Then, it’s back to Cusco to spend the night before the journey to Lake Titicaca the next day.

Meals: Campsite breakfast, picnic lunch, pizza dinner
Hotel: Rumi Punko (or similar)

Day 11: Journey by Train to Lake Titicaca

Considered to be one of the top 10 most spectacular train journeys in the world, it’s all aboard for a daylong journey that winds its way across the Altiplano to the highest navigable lake in the world.

Lunch and a formal tea service are offered on board.

An alpaca fashion show and live music helps keep you entertained.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, lunch on board the train, and dinner at the hotel
Hotel: Casa Andina Private Collection (or similar)

Day 12: Overnight on a Floating Island & Learn About World-Famous Knitting

Visit a local family living on one of the amazing Uros floating islands that sits behind the tourist attractions typical of the area to see how they live. Learn how the islanders made these islands, and almost everything on them, from totora reeds.

Then, embark to Taquille Island, where the islanders’ knitting skills are world renowned.

Dine on freshly caught fish at the home of a local family.

Then, return to the floating islands, where you spend the night with a local family.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, lunch with a local family, and dinner with a local family
Hotel: Homestay on the Uros Islands

Day 13: Return to Lima

Fly back to Lima.

Check into a hotel near the Lima airport to rest and prepare for the flight home. The room is available until your flight later that same evening.

Meals: Breakfast with a local family
Hotel: Ramada Costa del Sol (or similar)

 

All of the guides were incredible. Augusto, Ruben, and Patricia are the best guides I have ever worked with from any country. On a scale of 1-to-10, it was a 15! It was a life changing trip for me.

Mike Jensen

We loved the whole thing; so difficult to choose what was the best!

Marisa Bell

Before the trip, we were ambivalent about a guided tour, but found that the guides really smoothed the way for us to get to places quickly and focus on the most important sites and events. If you can get our guides for future groups, do so – they really made the trip great!

Ed and Judy Heffern

FAQs

Is Peru safe?

The following link offers information that will allow you to decide for yourself if Peru is safe.

Should you choose to travel with us, please know that we take your safety seriously. In fact, we take many steps to help ensure your safety:

  • We start before you arrive. Llama Expeditions’ founder, Diane Valenti, personally walks through each itinerary with our team in Peru.
  • After you book, we provide detailed information to make sure that you are properly prepared for your trip.
  • When you arrive, we meet you at the airport, assist with the transfer to your hotel, and help you check in.
  • The hotels are located in a neighborhoods within easy walking distance of numerous dining choices.
  • Our guides are certified as Wilderness First Responders.

When is the best time to visit Peru?

High season is during our summer—June through August.

Shoulder season, April and May in the spring and September and October in the fall, is also an excellent time to visit Peru.

What is the weather like?

The weather depends on location and time of year.

Lima is often foggy and cool during our summer and hot during our winter.

Cusco can be clear and crisp during the day and downright chilly at night.

We will send you a packing list to help ensure that you are prepared.

How concerned should I be about getting altitude sick?

Unfortunately, there is no way to know if you will suffer from altitude sickness. It is a genetic condition. So, getting in shape doesn’t help.

Also, remember you are flying into versus driving up to high altitude. This means that your body will have no time to acclimate on the way up. So, even if you have been fine at high altitude before or live at altitude, you may still get altitude sick.

That said, if you have respiratory or heart problems, this trip is not suitable for you.

The best way to manage high altitude is to ask your doctor to prescribe medication to help your body acclimate. We recommend that you start any medication before you arrive, as it may take a few days for it to start working.

How physically fit do I need to be?

While you don’t have to be super fit, you do need to be physically active.

You will be hiking, walking across uneven ground and cobblestone streets, and generally moving around all day in a high altitude environment.

That said, being in great shape does not help you avoid getting altitude sick. This is because getting altitude sick is a factor of genetics, not physical fitness.

Are there age restrictions?

Llama Expeditions specializes in designing adventures for adults. Our adventures are not suitable for young children and teenagers.

Is there cell service?

There is usually cell service available unless there are rain storms in the mountains.

Then, cell service can be spotty or nonexistent.

Is there Wi-Fi?

You can usually easily access Wi-Fi unless there are rain storms in the mountains.

Then, Wi-Fi access can be spotty or nonexistent.

What are the hotels like?

We work with boutique hotels in charming neighborhoods.

Our goal when choosing hotels is that when you wake up, you immediately know that you are in Peru!

That said, the rooms are not as big as you might be accustomed to in large chain hotels in the US.

Whenever possible, we work with Peruvian-owned hotels to ensure your tourist dollars remain in Peru and benefit Peruvians.

How far in advance do I need to book this trip?

For this group trip, we have capped the group at 12. So, we recommend booking as soon as possible to ensure you can join us.

For private trips, we recommend booking 3 to 6 months (sooner during the high season of June through August) in advance of when you want to travel as there is a lot of competition for hotel rooms.

How do I book this trip?

Just send us an email at hello@llamaexpeditions.com or submit the inquiry form on this page.

We’ll be in touch to discuss the details and dates, and to send you a link to pay your 25% per person deposit to reserve your place.

What documents do I need to travel to Peru?

US citizens need a passport with 6+ months of validity remaining to enter Peru. You need to have two blank pages available.

You will need the following:

  • Proof of a round-trip ticket
  • A yellow fever vaccine certificate
  • Your passport
  • Passport photo
  • Name and address of your hotel

Can I get a refund if I need to cancel?

As long as you cancel 90 days before the start of the trip (120 days before June 1st through August 31st), we will refund your deposit, less a 10% of the total trip cost administrative fee.

However, if you need to cancel any time after that, we won’t be able to issue a 90% refund because we have to pay for your trip in advance.

However, we’ll provide you with all the paperwork you need from us to help you with your travel insurance claim.

Depending on the coverage you purchased, you may be able to get a full or partial refund.

We strongly recommend that you buy travel insurance that allows you to cancel for any reason.

Can I change my travel dates?

Absolutely (assuming there is space on the date you want to go)!

But you must request a change 90 days before your departure date (120 days before June 1st through August 31st) for us to be able to accommodate you. This is because we have already paid suppliers such as hotels and transportation companies, and this payment is nonrefundable.

This is why we strongly recommend that you buy travel insurance that allows you to cancel for any reason as soon as you book your trip.

Can I change trips?

Of course (assuming there is space on the trip you want to join)!

But you must request a change 90 days before your departure date (120 days before June 1st through August 31st) for us to be able to accommodate you. This is because we have already paid suppliers such as hotels and transportation companies, and this payment is nonrefundable.

This is why we strongly recommend that you buy travel insurance that allows you to cancel for any reason as soon as you book your trip.

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Price
From$7,408

    PLEASE NOTE: We have capped the number of guests on this trip at 12. We encourage you to reserve your space before this trip sells out.