All things considered, Peru may be the best country for family adventure vacations – at least from the U.S. because of it accessibility. Adventure, outdoor activities, culture, animals, history and entertainment are available everywhere. The only thing it doesn’t have (that we saw, anyway) are amazing museums.
And it’s inexpensive, friendly and safe. What more could you ask for?
This is our final itinerary, which matched our plan pretty closely. And we selected our favorite 50 pictures from the journey at the bottom.
- Lake Titicaca, the worlds highest freshwater lake, and nearby city Puno have some really interesting indigenous cultures to visit.
- Arequipa is a beautiful colonial city and a base for treks into the worlds deepest canyon Colca canyon, and amazing river rafting.
- We would probably stop in Nazca again to make the trip of Cerro De Blanco, the highest sand dune in the world, and do the multi-hour sand surf back down.
- North of Lima is the world tallest tropical mountain range Cordillera Blanca, with its (disappearing) snow capped mountains.
- Trujillo houses Chan Chan, the largest pre-columbian city in the Western Hemisphere. The Kuelap ruins near Chachapoya are favorable compared to Machu Picchu.
- And the Mancora peninsula in the North offers sun and surfing that rivals anywhere in the pacific.
Trish did great on this trip. She was definitely weak, but look at that itinerary. She pushed her body hard, and it responded pretty well.
Next up: China, Cambodia and Thailand!
Peru ItineraryDay One and Two – Cusco, Moray, Salinas:
Travelled to Lima from Washington, D.C. and overnight in Lima. The next day we flew to Cusco and drive into the sacred valley, stopping at the salt mines of Salinas and the Moray Inca site before settling in Ollanaytambo.
We acclimated to the air with a morning horseback ride. In the afternoon we take the train to Aguas Callientes and get our tickets ready for Machu Picchu.
Up very early, we bus to Machu Picchu and begin the day with a hike up Wayna Picchu, the sister peak. In the afternoon we hiked the ruins before returning to Aguas Callientes and the train back to Ollantaytambo.
A full-day event, we went rock climbing on the via feratta and back down on a series of zip lines from the top of the Sacred Valley to the Urubamba river.
We depart the sacred valley and visit Pisaq before getting on an overnight bus from Cusco to Nazca.
Off the red-eye bus, we chartered a plane from the airport to get the amazing ariel view of the Nazca lines. In the afternoon and evening, we did a 4×4 dune buggy ride with visits to an ancient graveyard, oasis and the some sand surfing.Day Eight – Nazca, Paracas: After a great night in hot Nazca with dips in the pool, we traveled to Paracas where we walked the boardwalk of this seaside town, and sampled amazingly fresh Ceviche and fried calamari to a pacific sunset.
We boarded the morning boats from the Paracas dock and see the most amazing group of islands, the Islas Ballestas, with Penguins, Sea Lions and thousands and thousands of birds. We drove from Paracas to Lima airport for our plane to Iquitos.
After arriving in the Amazon, we motored down river to our camp, Otoronga lodge where the rains poured and the river swamped the flood plain forest with water.
Treks into the jungle, and lots of boating kept us busy all day as we fished for Piranha, found pink and grey freshwater dolphins, saw a two-toed sloth, learned of the various medicinal uses of plants and trees.
Day Twelve Amazon Jungle: Visits to giant lilypads, sighting of big families of monkeys and in the evening, a close encounter with a 6 foot cayman alligator kept us excited. Here is a tarantula video!
Day Thirteen – Amazon Jungle, Iquitos: Some local monkeys and a little luck fishing completed our stay before we went back upstream for a half-day in Peru’s largest amazonian city: Iquitos.
Day Fourteen and Fifteen – Lima, Washington DC: A quick day in Lima. What did we do first? Catacombs and skeletons in the San Francisco church. Then home!