- Float down the Amazon and its tributaries aboard a comfortable cruise
- Go kayaking and take jungle hikes in while looking for sloths
- Explore famous Inca sites in Cusco, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu
- Reach your Skylodge hotel room via zipline or via ferrata (your choice!)
|Arrive in Lima
|Fly to Iquitos, Board Your Amazon Cruise
|Kayak on the Río Yarapa, Jungle Hike
|Cruise the Río Yanayacu Pucate, Optional Activities
|Disembark Cruise, Fly to Cusco
|Free Morning in Cusco, Transfer to the Skylodge
|Tour Ollantaytambo, Train to Aguas Calientes
|Tour Machu Picchu, Train to Ollantaytambo
|Transfer to Cusco, Free Time
Day 1: Arrive in Lima
¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru's largest capital city and home to one-third of the country's population. Located on the site of a pre-Columbian Indigenous Ychsma settlement that was conquered by the Inca empire in the 15th century and later by the Spanish conquistadores, Lima has a fascinating history and a diverse mix of cultures.
Tonight you'll stay at an airport hotel so you can easily catch your early-morning flight without anyone in the family having to sacrifice their sleep. If you arrive in Lima early enough to explore, consider heading to the main square, Plaza Mayor de Lima, for a walk around the historic architecture.
Day 2: Fly to Iquitos, Board Your Amazon Cruise
This morning you'll return to the airport to take an early flight to Iquitos, a town in northeastern Peru on the shores of the mighty Amazon and gateway to the rainforests of the Peruvian Amazon. Upon arrival, a crew member will pick you up for the transfer to Nauta, a small riverside town about 59 miles (95 km) from Iquitos. You'll also be provided with a lunchbox to snack on, so you and the kids can stay energized.
When you reach Nauta, board your cruise boat. After a VIP welcome, you'll be shown to your family suite and given time to settle before your first excursion. As the Delfin sets sail, enjoy fantastic views from the observation area on the top deck with refreshing cocktails for the adults and fruit juice for the kids. Then your naturalist guide will give an overview of the journey ahead. For your first activity, hop in a small skiff and head to Marayali, an area populated by sloths, iguanas, anteaters, yellow-rumped caciques, and egrets.
Back on board, you'll sail to the confluence of three rivers: the Ucayali, the Marañón, and the Amazon, and witness your first beautiful sunset. After dinner, put the kids to bed and enjoy looking up at the stars from the top deck as the Delfin sails deeper into the Amazon.
Day 3: Kayak on the Río Yarapa, Jungle Hike
Wake up on board the Delfin, deep in the Amazon, and get ready for a day of active adventures that are sure to burn your kids' energy. In the morning, kayak along the Río Yarapa, exploring the tributary and listening to the sounds from within the mysterious jungle. Tell your kids to keep their eyes open for local wildlife and exotic plants and flowers. Go in search of the giant Amazonian water lily: Victoria regia. This beautiful aquatic plant grows in small lagoons known as cochas.
In the afternoon, take a guided walk along the Fundo Casual jungle trail that leads deep into the Amazon rainforest. Your guide will point out the fascinating wildlife and vegetation along the way.
Day 4: Cruise the Río Yanayacu Pucate, Optional Activities
This morning, cruise along the Río Yanayacu Pucate, which is located in one of the best-preserved and protected zones of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Your guide will teach your family about the biodiversity of this region. You and your kids will also have the opportunity to paddleboard and swim in the river, perhaps even alongside the elusive freshwater pink river dolphins that can sometimes be seen here. Even if you don't want to swim, your kids will surely enjoy looking out for the dolphins.After lunch on board, visit Nauta Caño Creek, where you have the chance to do some kayaking and go fishing for the infamous piranha, a delightful and challenging experience that your kids won't forget. As night approaches, make sure to catch your last sunset in the Amazon. Then your guide will take you on a night safari in search of caimans and nocturnal birds, as different wildlife can be seen and heard after dark than during the day.
Day 5: Disembark Cruise, Fly to Cusco
It's time to say goodbye to the crew of the Delfin this morning as you disembark at Nauta and return to Iquitos. Along the way, visit the Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre of River Mammals (ACOBIA), where your family can meet and feed manatees calves and learn about these wonderful docile creatures, as well as other animals that are cared for here, too. From the airport in Iquitos, you'll fly to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and gateway to the Sacred Valley, for the next leg of your Peruvian adventure.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Free Morning in Cusco, Transfer to the Skylodge
Spend a free morning in Cusco while adjusting to the high altitude of 11,152 feet (3,399 m). A low-key activity is to explore the historic streets on foot, starting at the plaza, where you can sit at a café and have a beverage while adjusting to the elevation. You could also check out the 16th-century Cusco Cathedral, the most imposing monument in the central Plaza de Armas and a repository for Cusco's colonial art. If your family is hungry, take the opportunity to enjoy a Peruvian lunch with items such as crackling pork, pickled vegetables, and bread baked in earthen ovens.Later, your family will be picked up and transferred to the exclusive Skylodge in Pachar, a small town northwest of Cusco on the Río Urubamba. The Skylodge is a hotel anchored on a mountainside, and kids will love the fact that it's only accessible by zipline or via ferrata! After you've reached the lodge, by whatever means you prefer, enjoy a family dinner in a chamber suspended in the air, with a spectacular view of the Sacred Valley. At night, you'll sleep in a completely transparent hanging bedroom that allows you to appreciate the impressive views and the clear, starry night sky.
Day 7: Tour Ollantaytambo, Train to Aguas Calientes
Enjoy an unforgettable breakfast in your chamber this morning before descending, via zipline or via ferrata, back to the Skylodge reception area. After this exhilarating experience, transfer to Ollantaytambo, about 30 minutes away, where you'll take a guided tour of the archaeological center consisting of a massive Inca fortress terraced into the hills. Ollantaytambo is known as a living Inca city because it has been continuously inhabited since Inca times, and it's an impressive sight for kids and adults.
The day isn't over yet! Next, head to the train station, where you'll take a train to Aguas Calientes, the riverside town at the foot of Machu Picchu. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants in Aguas Calientes when you arrive, and make sure to rest up for tomorrow's adventure!
Day 8: Tour Machu Picchu, Train to Ollantaytambo
Meet your guide bright and early in Aguas Calientes this morning to beat the crowds. From your hotel, you'll take an easy 25-minute bus ride up to the entrance of Machu Picchu, the 15th-century Inca citadel. The town served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Inca Emperor Pachacutec and his royal court. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.Your guide will lead you around the site and explain the different buildings and curious corners of the complex. Approximately one-third of the site has been returned to its original structure, giving visitors a sense of the grandeur and artistry of the first citadel. Kids interested in history and ancient civilizations can let their imaginations run wild here, and everyone will enjoy the views—including the occasional llama that makes an appearance! After the experience, you'll take the train back to Ollantaytambo via Aguas Calientes and continue to your hotel in nearby Urubamba.
Day 9: Transfer to Cusco, Free Time
Return to Cusco today, where you can spend some more time exploring at your own pace. Hopefully, you and the family have acclimated to the altitude by now, so you can dig a little deeper than on your first visit. History-loving families should consider checking out the Qoricancha, also known as The Temple of the Sun. It was built by the Inca and, after the arrival of the Spanish, became the basis for the construction of the Santo Domingo Convent. Artistic types might want to explore San Blas, an old bohemian quarter famous for its white walls, blue doors, and creative artisan community.
Don't forget to pick up some snacks and unique souvenirs at the legendary Mercado Central de San Pedro, a large, diverse market.
Day 10: Depart Cusco
It's time to say goodbye to Peru! Depending on the hour of your departure, you and the kids might have time to visit one more café and do some people-watching before heading to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!