Enjoy a Peru family adventure holiday family – walk to Machu Picchu, paddleboard, canoe and more. 

Eight action-filled travel days see your family thoroughly explore the Cusco region of southern Peru. Expert guides accompany you throughout.

Bike in the Sacred Valley, make chocolate and help cook a traditional Pachamanca – food cooked underground! Paddle board on a high Andean Lake, explore the Inca heartland of the Sacred valley, trek to Machu Picchu on a one day hike.

Travel to Peru with your family for a fabulous active holiday and we will ensure you collect family memories that’ll last a lifetime.

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Everyone can make their own piece of pottery and Inca chocolate bar, too, from the land where chocolate was invented.

We use charming converted haciendas and hand-picked hotels as our bases in Cusco and the Sacred Valley.

The trip is flexible enough for the most active of teenagers with enough down-time for everyone to feel on holiday.

Children from 8-years-old and upwards are welcome on group departures, and from 6-years-old and upwards on private departures.

 

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More highlights include a downhill bike ride through the heart of the Andes, paddle board on Lake Huaypo and visit the colourful Pisac artisan market and explore Cusco.

You also visit the Sacsayhuaman Inca ruins as well as trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.



Trip Highlights

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  • Explore Cusco and the Sacred Valley en route to Machu Picchu.

  • Bike along Inca paths through remote villages.

  • Stand up paddle board on a beautiful lake, surrounded by the Andes.

  • Make your own chocolate in the land where the treat was invented.

  • Take inflatable canoes down fun runs on rivers.

  • Enjoy a traditional Peruvian Pachamanca - lunch cooked underground!

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Peru. You did an excellent job in picking our tour guides and activities. The guides were all well informed and their operation was excellent. They were prepared for us and told exactly what we needed to bring for each activity. Their equipment was all in great shape and had our safety in mind. They were very efficient in set up and break down. The food was wonderful and plentiful. I once again would go on this trip again

A. May, Peru Family Holiday

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Cusco and transfer to the Sacred Valley, hotel (L)

On arrival at Cusco airport your guide will meet you and accompany you on the 90 minute transfer to the your Sacred Valley hotel. You are sure to want to stop along the way for photos at the many fantastic viewpoints.

A visit to a local potter rounds off the day. You have the chance to craft your own special souvenir under the watchful eye of master craftsmen.

Finally your guide takes you back to your hotel where you can rest for the night and enjoy the peace and quiet of this beautiful rural area.

Day 2: Bike ride to Pisac Market, hotel (B,L)

 Today you cycle out of your door and follow a beautiful dirt road alongside the River Urubamba.

Travelling slowly is the perfect way to appreciate the beauty of this traditional agricultural area. Vibrant fields of corn, kiwicha and quinoa line your route as cheery farm workers put down their tools to wave as you pass.

After a few hours you cross the river and enter the small town of Pisac and enjoy a well-earned lunch. Sunday is market day in Pisac.

Most of the crowds will have left by now so you can wander amongst the many artisan stalls at your leisure. If you look carefully you may also see some of the elder locals, who have come down from remote hill villages to barter potatoes, carrots and onions in exchange for tropical fruits brought up from the jungle.

A short drive takes you back to your hotel to relax.

Day 3: Pachamancas, paddleboards and salt pans, hotel (B,L)

A day of variety awaits you today. A 40-minute drive takes you to the shores of Lake Huaypo. Set amongst fields of sunflowers with fantastic views across to the snow capped Urubamba mountains, this really is a special place.

You help prepare a Pachamanca, a very traditional Peruvian meal where meat and vegetables are cooked on hot stones in a hole in the ground. Once the food is cooking, you can enjoy some fun on the water with the world’s highest fleet of stand up paddleboards.

This fantastic new sport is spreading fast across the world and you will struggle to find a better backdrop to take your first steps. Under the careful instruction of your expert guides, you soon pick up the skills needed to head out across the lake.

Once off the water, it is time to uncover your earthen oven and enjoy the succulent food you prepared. Finally you drive 15 minutes to the spectacular salt pans of Maras. Worked by hand for generations these are a photographers dream. You then take an old mule track, used to carry salt down to the valley.

Day 4: Inca Trail, hotel Aguas Calientes (B,L)

Today you hike the one day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Today is the day you reach Machu Picchu. Built over 500 years ago this is one of new seven wonders of the world. And rightly so. Words do not do it justice.

You take an early train to start your hike along the Inca Trail. A few hours climbing brings you to the beautiful Inca terraces of Wiñay Wayna where you enjoy a box lunch prepared for you by our cook. A further gentle two hours, a final set of steps, you pass through the old Inca gateway (the sungate), turn to your left and there it is. Machu Picchu unfolds before your eyes.

Tonight you spend the night in Aguas Calientes, the town below, perhaps enjoy the medicinal waters of the hot springs, but above all dream about tomorrow and your chance to explore fully the ruins of Machu Picchu.

If the Inca Trail has sold out, do not despair – we have a lovely alternative planned for you.

Instead, you catch the train to Aguas Calientes, check into the hotel, and from there hike to the Mandor waterfall. This was the site of Hiram Bingham’s base camp and boasts an orchid garden and possible sightings of exotic cloud-forest birds. If time permits, later in the day you can relax in the local hot springs and explore the fun town and market of Aguas Calientes.

Day 5: Machu Picchu guided tour, afternoon train to Cusco, hotel (B)

Machu Picchu – stones, sacrifices and spectacled bears: A 20 minute bus ride brings you back up to Machu Picchu. Your guide shows you around and explain just how the Incas managed to build with  precision and beauty, on such a remote hilltop.

From altars used for human sacrifices, temples carved in the shape of condors through to stones used to tie the sun, this is a history lesson everyone will enjoy. If you are really lucky you may even see a spectacled bear – the inspiration for Paddington Bear.

After a fantastic day, in the most amazing place, you board the train to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery on your journey to Cusco.

Day 6: Sacsayhuaman ruins and chocolate making, hotel (B)

A leisurely day today. A 15-minute drive to the old Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Standing guard above Cusco, the huge ramparts boast stones up to 28 feet high weighing 140 tonnes. Quite how the Incas moved them into place remains one of the world’s great mysteries.

After climbing to the top of the ramparts for a spectacular view of Cusco, we explore Sacsayhuaman. These Inca ruins boast an impressive system of tunnels and walls, just waiting for you to explore. An easy 20-minute walk brings you back down to Cusco where you are free to relax and enjoy some lunch (not included).

Late afternoon is chocolate time. You probably know you like it, but do you know how it is made?

Your hosts explain where it comes from and the story behind this most popular of foods before helping you make your very own bar of Peruvian chocolate. It’s the perfect gift to take home for a loved one. That is, if you don’t eat it first.

Day 7: Canoes and camelids, hotel (B,L)

Time to work off all that chocolate. A 40-minute drive takes you to the Pinipampa section of river where you can ride the rapids in your very own inflatable canoe.

The safe but fun rapids are perfect for beginners and your expert guides will show you all you need to know. Whatever your age, you are sure to get off the water grinning from ear to ear.

A tasty lunch at a local restaurant then it’s time to meet the locals. The four legged variety. At Awana Kancha you can feed the llamas and alpacas as well as seeing how the traditional cloth is woven and dyed.

Day 8: Free morning in Cusco, transfer out, ends (B)

Today you are free to wander around Cusco, explore the cobbled side streets of the San Blas artist district or stare in awe at the Inca treasures in the many museums.

This afternoon (or morning, if you prefer an early flight) we take you to the airport for your onward journey, perhaps to Lake Titicaca, the Amazon jungle, or even just home.

Or you can choose to add on some days in Cusco.

 

IMPORTANT – Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu entrance permits.

Regulations mean that the number of visitors to Machu Picchu is limited to 2,500 people per day. This means that we must pre-book your entrance to the site. If you wish to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, places also have to be pre/booked and come at an additional cost.

Machu Picchu mountain has to be climbed before 11am, and there are two departure times for Huayna Picchu:

Group 1 (G1): 0700 – 0800

Group 2 (G2): 1000 – 1100

 

The price is USD 75 including the entrance fee to Machu Picchu.

For a short description of the walks, please see below.


Prices From $2,915 / £2,332 per person

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What's Included?

All airport transfers as listed, transport to and from activities in private vehicle, hotels in Cusco and all meals as indicated in the itinerary, canoe/paddleboard/biking equipment, professional English and Spanish speaking guides trained in first-aid, swift water rescue and C.P.R, extensive first-aid kit including oxygen, mountain bikes, gloves and helmets, guided tour in Machu Picchu, entrance to the 2-day Inca Trail and Machu Picchu ruins, bus transfers to and from the ruins, hotels in the Sacred Valley & Aguas Calientes, chocolate making tour, Sacsayhuaman tour.

What's Not Included?

International and domestic lights (we can look for these for you), personal belongings, personal expenses and tips, tips, cycle shorts, toe clips, insurance, entrance to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountains, Pisac and Ollantaytambo entry fees.


Accommodation

We use clean, centrally-located 3* hotels for this trip.

Upgrades to 4 and 5* hotels where available at extra cost.

Tour Staff

All the guides on this tour come to us as recommendations.

Training is a vital investment in our guides to ensure the security and safety of all our trips.

All the guides are all qualified in first aid, taught by instructors brought over from the UK.

River guides: All our white water rafting and kayaking guides hold the internationally recognised “Swiftwater Rescue Technician Advanced” qualification.

Inca Trail Guides: All have the necessary Tourism University degree required to be registered Inca Trail guides. This course includes Peruvian history, languages, International tourist circuits, geography, geology, company organisation and administration.

They have up to date outdoor first aid certificates and a working knowledge of hypothermia and altitude sickness. They are aware of emergency & evacuation procedures at any point.

Mountain Bike Guides: They have a background of biking and can fix most roadside problems.  All bike guides and mechanics are expert riders. Many have won, or ranked highly in both local and international downhill races.


Meals

We include a traditional Pachamanca in this tour, a very traditional Peruvian meal where meat and vegetables are cooked on hot stones in a hole in the ground.

Breakfast is at your hotel and will usually feature hot drinks, juice, toast, jam, ham, cheese, fruits and cereals.

Lunch will be either sandwiches or meat or cheese, with snacks etc. We do our best to provide a wide selection of fruits, salads and homemade tasty treats while out and about.

Evenings are free time, so you can choose from international or Peruvian cuisine in a local restaurant – our guides will be sure to have some suggestions.

 

Activity Level

Paddlesport: For anyone who doesn’t mind getting wet!

Experienced and qualified guides are on hand to keep you (mostly) the right way up. We are more interested in your ‘water confidence’ than your ability to swim. The only parameter is that you are mobile enough to help us get you back in the boat.

Mountain Bike: The only pre-requirement is that you can ride a bike.

These trips are as much about experiencing biking as an activity as they are about the time spent not on the bike – the scenery, the culture, the environment.

Experienced guides help you, but there may be times where you (but maybe not others) are asked to walk a section of trail. Guide’s decisions are final.

Trek: The ‘nature’ of trekking does of course include the risk of trips and slips, etc. It’s a 4-5 hour trek up some (sometimes) steep Inca steps at the start of the 2-day Inc Trail. There is no real need to have any experience of trekking for this trip.

Do take extra care on steep descents and on the occasions where there may be an ‘edge’ – don’t be shy to ask for support from your guide – it’s what they are there for.

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Practical Information

Introduction to Peru

Peru is the perfect holiday destination for adventure travellers that want an amazing variety of activity, geography and cultural travel experiences.

The breadth of travel experiences in Peru is breathtaking – from trekking in the Andes to Machu Picchu to the tropical jungle of the Amazon, and plenty in between.

The people of Peru make it a special destination too, with its colourful and traditional street life and friendly locals.

Geography of Peru

Peru is made up of 3 distinct geographical areas: the coast, the mountains and the jungle.

The costa or coastal region is a narrow ribbon of desert 2,250 km long, crossed by fertile river valleys flowing from the Andes. It takes up 11% of the country and holds more than 40% of the population.

The cold Humboldt current gives rise to a blanket of mist – the garua – which hangs above coastal cities like the capital Lima from May to November.

Heading east, you’re soon climbing above the garua and into the Andes. The sierra, or mountainous region, covers some 25% of Peru’s territory and contains 50% of the population. The sierra inhabitants are mainly Indigenous or Mestizo, and many still speak Quechua or Aymara.

The sierra contains dozens of 6,000-metre snow peaks and volcanoes, including Huascaran (6,768m) the highest mountain in the tropics. The deep valley basins contain most of the towns and arable land; the terracing and canal systems of the Incas and pre-Incas are often still used today.

The eastern Andes are heavily forested up to 3,350m and sweep down into the Amazon Basin.

Peru’s selva or jungle makes up almost two thirds of the country’s area, but holds only about 6% of the population: the only towns with significant populations are Iquitos and Pucallpa.

 

Kit list

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Peru has a wide variety of climates, due largely to the huge altitudinal range it covers.

During the day hopefully, it will be generally sunny enough for shorts and T-shirts, though having a fleece and rain gear handy is advisable. It will get cold especially in the evenings, so bring a warm fleece jacket, a good waterproof and some warm clothes including thermal underwear, gloves, scarf and woolly hat as well as one set of smarter clothes for Cusco.

Machu Picchu does have some sand-flies and clients are advised to wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts to avoid bites.

General: Towel, sunglasses with attaching string, peaked cap, water bottle & purification tablets, torch & spare batteries, insect repellent (high DEET content is best), swim suit, suntan lotion factor 30+ / aftersun, lipbalm, long sleeved shirt, trousers/jeans

Rafting: We provide wetsuit boot, wetsuits and splash-jackets. You just need; swimming costume, thermal top, towel and change of warm-clothes.

Trekking: Shorts, tee-shirts, warm fleece or down jacket, thermal underwear, warm hat, gloves, scarf, sweater (available in Cusco), waterproof raincoat & trousers, socks / underwear, trekking trousers, after trekking trousers & t-shirt, good / well worn -in walking boots, after trek shoes (sandals), trekking poles with rubber tips (optional), poncho and rucsack cover (optional)

Personal gear: Binoculars (optional), camera with spare batteries/memory cards/film, pocket knife, book, notepaper & pen (optional), music player or (e)book, money belt, personal toilet kit, spare glasses / lenses, personal first aid kit to include, painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication, good head torch

Altitude

Being at altitude, especially in the tropics, is usually a pleasure as it isn’t so hot, there are few insects and the air is clear.

However, when gaining altitude, air pressure drops and the amount of oxygen reaching the lungs is reduced. Although we build plenty of acclimatisation time into our itineraries, certain ill-effects are possible. Nevertheless, all of these can be minimised or prevented if care is taken.

On reaching heights above 2,500m (approx. 8,200 ft), especially when ascent has been straight from sea level, heart pounding, mild headache and shortness of breath are normal, especially on exertion.

Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a syndrome known locally as soroche, whose symptoms can include of bad headache, dizziness and nausea).

To avoid AMS, you should:

  • Rest for a few hours on arrival at altitude and take it easy for the first couple of days. Note: you may feel fine on arrival and tempted to exert yourself as normal. Don’t be fooled: you might be benefiting from oxygen brought in your blood from sea level.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (altitude is a diuretic). Coca tea (mate de coca) helps alleviate symptoms.
  • Eat light meals, with high carbohydrate and low fat and protein content. Dine early, allowing digestion time pre-sleep.
  • Avoid over-exposure to the strong highland sun (UV rays are very powerful) – especially in the early stages – making sure you wear a broad brimmed sunhat. Apply lip-salve to prevent chapped lips.
  • Avoid or minimise consumption of cigarettes and alcohol. Avoid sleeping pills.
  • If you do get AMS: Rest, take non-aspirin painkillers (for headache) and coca tea. Symptoms should subside after a day or two.
  • Pregnant women, people with a history of heart, lung, kidney or blood disease or blood pressure problems, should consult their doctor before traveling to high altitude.

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.

 

What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.

 

Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.

 

I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.

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