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Luxury Peru: Andes to Amazon

14 days from £7728pp

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Luxury Peru: Andes to Amazon:
Trip Dossier

Peru is a first-class holiday destination and deserves to be visited from first-class luxury hotels. Happily there is now an excellent choice and this holiday includes some of the best hotels in the country, from where you will take comfortable private excursions and have the opportunity to choose from a menu of top-quality restaurants. Visit Imperial Lima and colonial Cusco at the heart of the Inca empire and travel on the luxury Hiram Bingham train to the mountain-top citadel of Machu Picchu, where you'll spend the night at Belmond Palacio Nazarenas.

Embark the luxury yacht Aria Amazon, an exclusive, contemporary and very service-oriented vessel the design of which was inspired by the traditional Amazon river boat. From the deck and your air-conditioned cabin, you can enjoy jungle views, and there are guided wildlife excursions into the Amazon jungle.

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Lima and transfer to hotel on the Pacific coast in Miraflores.

Day 2

Tour colonial Lima, visit Larco pre-Columbian art museum. Fly to Cusco.

Day 3

Half day city tour of Cusco; visit Sacsayhuamán Inca fortress ruins.

Day 4

Excursion to Chinchero indian village, Maras saltpans and Moray Inca site.

Day 5

Explore the Sacred Valley, including Pisaq market.

Day 6

Transfer to Ollantaytambo. Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. Guided tour of the ruins.

Day 7

Revist Machu Picchu, return to Cusco by Vistadome train.

Day 8

At leisure.

Day 9

Fly to jungle city of Iquitos, board the Aria Amazon for 5 day Amazon cruise.

Days 10-12

M/V Aria Amazon cruise with daily excursions.

Day 13

Fly to Lima, overnight in Miraflores.

Day 14

Transfer to Lima international airport.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Lima and transfer to hotel on the Pacific coast in Miraflores.
You will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel by one of our local representatives. The half-hour drive through Lima is not the most enchanting introduction to this city of extreme contrasts, but it does encapsulate the invigorating buzz of a modern-day Latin American capital. The Belmond Miraflores Park (formerly Orient Express) is situated in a dramatic location on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Miraflores Park Hotel

Day 2

Tour colonial Lima, visit Larco pre-Columbian art museum. Fly to Cusco.
Lima is a vast, complex metropolis, with a history dating from the era of its wealth and importance to Imperial Spain to its current status as a dynamic, growing city of trade, industry and tourism.

In the morning visit the impressive Larco  Museum, one of the finest museums in Latin America, housing a vast collection of pre-Columbian pieces. The majority of artefacts in the museum are ceramics, depicting a number of Peruvian cultures including the Moche, Sicán and Chimú and there is also an excellent collection of textiles, gold and silver work, and mummies.  We love this museum, so we have included just for you a special  guided tour.

Transfer to the airport for a 1hr flight to Cusco in the Andes; on arrival you’re met and driven to the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas (formerly Orient Express).

Larco Museum

Day 3

Half day city tour of Cusco; visit Sacsayhuamán Inca fortress ruins.
The name Cusco derives from the Quechua word for navel, indicating its location at the centre of the Inca Empire. Today its many impressive original Inca walls display extraordinary craftsmanship, while the bustling squares are dotted with ornate baroque colonial churches. It’s a vivacious city, where shoeshine boys and postcard sellers jostle for your attention in cobbled streets lined with handicraft shops and cafés. In the evening, the town centre fills with people flocking to the many restaurants, bars and cafés. 

Today  a half-day tour of the city. You visit Q’oricancha, once the principal Inca Sun Temple, with intricate stonework, and then explore the colossal zigzag walls of Sacsayhuamán, brooding on a hillside above Cusco. The first conquistadores to see it were awestruck, and centuries later it is still an extraordinary and imposing sight.


Day 4

Excursion to Chinchero indian village, Maras saltpans and Moray Inca site.
Drive through stunning countryside, against a backdrop of the purple, snow-capped Andes to Chinchero, 28km from Cusco. Chinchero is an attractive Indian village with a colourful Sunday market. The central square has a splendid Inca wall on its western side, etched with 10 trapezoidal niches, each large enough to hold a human being. Also on the square, sitting on its upper level, is the town's colonial church, built of adobe and decorated internally with beautiful floral designs.

Continue to the Maras saltpans, a series of terraces where a natural source of saline water is evaporated by the strong Andean sun. In use since Inca times, the saltpans continue to be worked by the local community. You’ll also visit Moray, an Inca experimental agricultural centre. It comprises numerous terraces carved into a large, natural amphitheatre, each one with a different microclimate from those above and below.

Time permitting, you can also visit a traditional weaving project, where local women demonstrate the weaving technique and you can learn about the use of natural dyes and patterns unique to the numerous mountain communities surrounding the Sacred Valley – also a great opportunity to buy excellent quality products, directly from the producers.

Continue down to the Sacred Valley of the Incas for two nights in Urubamba.


Day 5

Explore the Sacred Valley, including Pisaq market.
Explore the fertile Sacred Valley of the Incas. Once the bread-basket of the Inca empire, it was heavily populated in imperial times and scores of archaeological sites remain, where well-preserved ruins bear witness to the highly developed society that the Incas created. The drive passes through or close to several of the villages and temple-fortresses that pepper the valley.

You visit Pisaq, both the village, and the terraces and fort high above. The engineering and preservation are unrivalled. From the flat valley floor the sculpted hillside rises up like a green staircase to the heavens.

Continue along this picturesque, patchwork valley to the temple of Ollantaytambo. The snow-frosted Andean cordillera forms a stunning backdrop. Ollantaytambo, sitting strategically at the gateway to the Amazon basin, was never captured by the Spanish conquistadores, but the inhabitants decided that the settlement was too vulnerable and would eventually fail, and so they abandoned it. The fortress, the colonial grid plan and the Inca foundations are still intact and there are wonderful views down over the sloping hillsides and into the fertile valley.

You’ll take lunch at the excellent Hacienda Huayoccari, probably the best eatery in the valley.

Sacred Valley

Day 6

Transfer to Ollantaytambo. Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. Guided tour of the ruins.
Embark the Hiram Bingham luxury train. All the stops are pulled out to give you a wonderful top quality experience, with  gourmet cuisine and commentaries by expert guides. Travelling for 90mins by train from Ollantaytambo, you reach the ruins of Machu Picchu. As the river Urubamba enters its narrow gorge between thickly-forested granite hills, there is room only for a single track, which hugs the right bank and passes through hamlets that are no more than a collection of shacks beside the railway. Close to the foot of the mountain on a saddle of which the citadel was built is the bustling village of Machu Picchu.

The majestic ruined city, reclaimed from tropical cloud forest, is reached by minibus up a sinuous road, or on foot up a near vertical rocky path. The American explorer Hiram Bingham discovered it in 1911, by which time it was completely buried beneath jungle vegetation. It is the ruins’ location, on a ridge spur amid forested peaks and above a roaring river canyon, that most ignites the imagination.

You will have a guided tour of the ruins and, since you are staying overnight at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (at the ruins), and so not restricted by the small window of opportunity offered by a day trip, there’s time later to take one of the many trails within the site itself. It’s a short hike to the vertiginous Inca Bridge, carved into a cliff edge; or wander amongst the stone buildings and llama-dotted grassy ledges soaking up the atmosphere.  You can climb the torturously steep Huayna Picchu mountain the other side of the valley, but you need to book in advance.

Hiram Bingham train

Day 7

Revist Machu Picchu, return to Cusco by Vistadome train.

Revisit the ruins in the morning , before returning to Cusco by Vistadome train service, where you'll spend the night at Belmond Palacio Nazarenas.

Machu Picchu

Day 8

At leisure.
At leisure in Cusco, based at Belmond Palacio Nazarenas . You might continue to explore the city, its markets and museums; or venture further afield to lesser known but enchanting historic sites such as the frescoed colonial church at Andahuaylillas. If you fancy something more active, you might choose to go white-water rafting, horse riding or mountain biking in the lovely countryside around the city.

Day 9

Fly to jungle city of Iquitos, board the Aria Amazon for 5 day Amazon cruise.
Fly to Lima and connect to the port of Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon. Embark on the luxury cruise vessel Aria Amazon. Not only does this stylish ship follow the Amazon's vast main channel, but on expeditions by launch, you penetrate small estuaries in the rainforest and Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Here, accompanied by experienced naturalists, you will get acquainted with the diversity of bird, animal and plant life in this most vigorous and undisturbed eco-system.

Cruises operate throughout the year - in the high water season (December – May) you can venture further into the flooded creeks, in the low water months (June - November) you can stroll along sandy beaches exposed by the lowering water-line. There are opportunities to encounter local communities, and wildlife you may see includes pink dolphins, black caiman alligators and giant river otters. Other excursions include trying your hand at piranha fishing and night jungle trips.

MV Aqua

Days 10-12

M/V Aria Amazon cruise with daily excursions.
Excursions by small launch and on foot to visit the rainforest. Each day’s programme includes many optional 2 to 3hr excursions into Amazonia. You will have the chance to explore remote Amazon river tributaries, spot monkeys and birds along a jungle trail, visit a local village, go fishing on one of the beautiful lakes, and much more.

The M/V Aria is equipped with auxiliary aluminium skiffs which will take you along the waterways, or will ferry you to the landing point for onshore excursions. Each of the excursions is led by a trained and knowledgeable naturalist guide who speaks good English. We allow plenty of time for you to explore, listen to your guide’s explanation, and photograph the wildlife.

If there are days when you choose not to go onshore for an expedition, you can stay on board. Lie back in a lounge chair, breathe in the Amazon air, soak up the sun, read a good book, watch the ever-changing view, and simply experience total relaxation in the heart of the Amazon jungle.

Aria excursion

Day 13

Fly to Lima, overnight in Miraflores.

Return to Iquitos and fly to Lima. Transfer to Belmond Miraflores Park.

Day 14

Transfer to Lima international airport.

Essential information


4 flights (longest 2hrs); 2 rail journeys (longest 4hrs). 


Nowadays Peru has a fine choice of first class luxury and boutique accommodation. We’ve chosen from the very best and most stylish properties available. They all have spectacular locations and top-of-the range facilities. The Amazon ship, not large, is the epitome of contemporary style and comfort. 


Breakfast daily; lunch day 4 and 6; full board days 9-12.


We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Included excursions

• Half day excursion of colonial Lima including Larco pre-Columbian art museum.
• Half day city tour of Cusco and the Sacsayhuamán Inca ruined fortress.
• Full day excursion to indian village Chinchero, saltpans of Maras and Maray Inca site.
• Full day excursion to the Sacred Valley, including Pisaq market and Ollantaytambo.
• Hiram Bingham – Belmond (formerly Orient Express) train from Ollantaytambo toMachu Picchu.

Summary of nights

14 days, 13 nights: Lima 1; Cusco 2; Urubamba 2; Machu Picchu 1; Cusco 2; Amazon cruise 4; Lima 1.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.

Not included in the journey price

• Tips and gratuities.
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights to Latin America.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Optional excursions.

Optional excursions

There are a number of half-day, full-day or longer excursions or activities you may wish to consider in order to customise your holiday to cater for your interests. Please contact us to discuss these further or to add them to your itinerary before you depart.

• Horse riding or white-water rafting, Cusco.
• Weaving project, Sacred Valley. Nilda Callanaupa Centre for Traditional Textiles of Cuzco.  High quality weaving project. A short visit is included on day 4, a full weaving demonstration showing the process of setting up artisanal looms etc is available at extra cost.
• Re-visit Machu Picchu.


The unit of currency in Peru is the sol.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50 per day should cover the cost of good quality meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the very best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. 

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques (American Express are the most widely accepted), though these are gradually falling out of use. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.


Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.


Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

The holiday is suitable for all able visitors. If you have a disability we need to be aware of, or other special requirements, please call us. 

The streets in Cusco are cobbled and steep; climb them slowly, you’re at altitude. 


The rainy season in the Andes runs between November and March when there are showers many afternoons and it can be chilly at altitude.

The dry season is in June, July and August when the sun is strong during the day, but at night the temperature drops dramatically (from freezing point to 10°C). May, September and October are less predictable, with both rainy and sunny spells.

Lima is covered in a dull grey mist for much of the year, although the sun does break through between November and March. It almost never rains in Lima, and temperatures are moderate. 

The Amazon region is uniformly hot and humid all year (30°C) but when the sun shines it will feel hotter.


Your stay in Cusco and Urubamba is at high altitude (3,300 - 2,800m). Most people are only mildly affected and if you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don’t exert yourself or drink alcohol for the first couple of days at altitude), you’ll probably be OK. Symptoms vary: most common are mild headaches, slight nausea and breathlessness. If you don’t recover in a day or two speak to our representatives; in very rare instances it is necessary to descend to lower altitudes. 

Please refer to our Briefing Dossier for further information.

Clothing and special equipment

For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. Both warm clothing and a sun hat are essential at altitude; a light fleece jacket and a waterproof/breathable outer shell makes a good combination. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well. If you plan to eat in smart restaurants, although clothing is not formal (no need for jacket and tie), something quite smart would be appropriate. Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellant, sun block and sun glasses. You should take swimwear for pools. On the Amazon cruise you should wear light, long-sleeved, loose cotton clothing with something smart casual for meals on board..
Due to luggage restrictions on the train to Machu Picchu, main luggage must be left in Cusco. You can take up to 10kgs per person on the train and an overnight holdall is recommended to separate your luggage for the night spent away from Cusco.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.


Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements. Protection against malaria is advisable for the Amazon cruise. 

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website. 


Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online.
This costs $14 per person, and must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

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