We’ve said many times before that it’s a bad idea to hurry through Peru like so many tourists do. If you take your time instead of trying to cram everything into just a few days, you’ll have a much richer experience.
Partly because of the tourism board’s narrow focus, most people don’t know there is so much to explore beyond the one iconic Inca citadel. Ruins from the oldest civilization in South America, the Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, the Nazca Lines, and…the Amazon Jungle! All are packed into this one country.
Lost World Adventures runs a Peru by Land and Water tour that is not some quick in-and-out itinerary. After landing in Peru you’ve got 15 days and 14 nights to explore two distinct regions of the country–with a bit of time in Lima sprinkled in for good measure.
One big mistake many Peru visitors make is heading straight to Cusco without getting acclimatized. This is especially a bad idea if you’re coming from somewhere close to sea level and aren’t used to high altitudes. This Lost World tour takes you from the Cusco airport to the Sacred Valley a few thousand feet lower, staying at the lovely Sol y Luna Hotel.
You tour the ruins of Pisac and Ollaytantambo, ride the train to Aguas Calientes, and explore Machu Picchu. (Over two days if you’d like.) Then you take the train to Cusco and stay in the gorgeous Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel. Since you’re properly acclimatized now, you can enjoy the city and have a glass of wine instead of suffering with a splitting headache.
After Cusco and nearby ruins, you spend a night in Miraflores, Lima because, well, all flights go through Lima. Then you fly to Iquitos to begin an adventure in the Amazon River jungle region.
You’ll explore the region the best way: on a river cruise. The ship will glide down the Amazon and you’ll stop off and villages and nature preserves. One day is dedicated to the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, Peru’s largest national park. There you visit with an indigenous family to learn about their life. In the jungle you might see iguanas, river turtles, cormorants, or wattled jacana birds.
Near Ucayali you might see an Amazon River dolphin, a giant otter, the Amazonian manatee, or a water plant with leaves that are 10 feet in diameter. As the trip goes on you’ll meet a shaman and do some piranha fishing. You’ll see how different the jungle is as the sun comes up and then when you spot the poison frogs at night and hear the cacophony of animals and insects.
After all this you’ll get another night in Miraflores to rest up before the flight home from Lima to your home country.
This particular tour starts at $4,767, including hotels, transfers, transportation, and many meals. If you have a group you can customize the trip, add on more, or upgrade some of the options along the way. See more tour options for Peru at the Lost World Adventures site.