Aspiring Adventures - cool, different cultural, food, and bike tours

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Peru

As adventure tour people, we can’t help but love Peru to extremes; it offers diversity of adventure travel experience like nowhere else.

Peru’s outdoors, with its spectacular hiking and world-renowned mountain biking, was what first drew us in. But the longer we stay here, the more excited we get about the human factor: an ancient culture that’s exotic and mysterious yet surprisingly accessible, and a cuisine that’s coming to be recognised as one of the world’s greatest.

Hiking the Inca trail and Machu Picchu will never go out of style, and each of our trips includes expert-guided tours of Machu Picchu, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley. Most also include Lake Titicaca. What sets us apart is we take extra time and trouble to show you other aspects of Peru that excite and inspire us, things you won’t see on other tours.

Our Classic tour includes little-visited sites and two different homestays where we hang out with ordinary Peruvians as they go about their daily lives. Our Food tour immerses you in this country’s national passion. Our popular Family tour incorporates easy acclimatisation, and plenty of stuff of interest to kids, into any adult’s dream trip to Peru. Our Bike trip showcases the best biking in the Southern Hemisphere. And our favourite Cultural tours (Paucartambo, Quyllur Ri'ti, and the Raymi) take you into a world you never imagined and will never forget.

Do a trip with us and experience the real Peru.

US$3,475

(for 4 to 12 guests)

The Peru Family tour

From Arequipa to Cusco

  • Historic Cusco
  • Sacred Valley
  • Floating islands of Lake Titicaca
  • Arequipa
  • Condor spotting in Colca Canyon
  • Machu Picchu
  • Animal sanctuary
  • Ride mototaxis, reed boats and scenic trains
  • Make a ceramic pot
  • Play soccer with local kids
  • See a real-life ancient mummy
  • Authentic homestays

This trip is especially designed for families with teenagers or primary school aged children. As well as all the sights of Cusco, Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, it includes eased acclimatisation, visits to sites of special interest to children, interaction with local kids, and time to relax as a family. Guides, accommodations and restaurants are all selected for families.

Day 1Welcome to Arequipa!

Your guide will meet you at the hotel at 1pm, in time for lunch and a full trip briefing.

In the afternoon we’ll take a tour of the Santa Catalina convent – an amazing, colourful walled city-within-a-city. Or you might want to just wander around Arequipa’s gorgeous colonial centre, or relax in the hotel, as you adjust to Arequipa’s 2350m (7709ft) altitude.

  • Accommodation: La Casa de Melgar, Arequipa (L,D)

Day 2Meet local kids and a 500-year-old Mummy!

This morning we’ll take a special ‘reality tour’ to learn a bit about the lives of young, poorer Peruvians. We’ll visit a primary school, a state-sponsored dining room, a local market and a children’s centre, as well as some slightly more traditional attractions. This introduction to daily life in Peru is a great experience for parents and kids alike, as it helps to put your own life into perspective with a different country and culture.

This afternoon we’ll pay our respects to local celebrity Mummy Juanita – sacrificed more than 500 years ago, her mummified body was perfectly preserved on top of a nearby 6310 metre mountain until being discovered in 1995.

  • Accommodation: La Casa de Melgar, Arequipa (B,L,D)

Day 3Llamas, volcanoes and hot springs!

Today we’re headed for Chivay, near the Colca Canyon. Along the way we’ll check out spectacular volcano views and get up close and personal with herds of llamas, alpacas and super-cute vicunas. In the afternoon we’ll head for La Calera, a complex of natural hot springs where, if relaxing in healing hot water isn’t your thing, you can choose to ride an adventure zipline instead.

  • Accommodation: Basic hostal near Chivay, Colca (B,L,D)

Day 4Condor spotting in Colca Canyon

We’ll be up and out at sunrise, headed for a viewpoint in Colca Canyon where we can watch majestic condors riding the early morning thermals – definitely worth the early start! Then we’ll check out the little towns of Yanque and Maca, and the mysterious water features of Huayrapunko and Quehuisha on our way back to Arequipa.

  • Accommodation: La Casa de Melgar, Arequipa (B,L,D)

Day 5To Puno, high in the Altiplano

This morning we’ll catch the bus to Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca. In the afternoon we’ll visit the Steamship Yavari, the oldest iron-hulled ship in the world, which has been chugging around on Lake Titicaca since being carried in from the coast in pieces in 1869. Or if you prefer some downtime this afternoon, Puno is great for wandering around, with great cafés and markets for people-watching.

  • Accommodation: Cosy hotel, Puno (B,L,D)

Day 6Play soccer with locals in the middle of Lake Titicaca

Our first, brief stop on Lake Titicaca is the very interesting but extremely touristic Uros Islands – the famous floating reed islands. We're off to hang out with our friends on Amantani Island, where, after lunch with our homestay hosts, we’ll take on local kids in a game of soccer (which we will inevitably lose– the 3800 metre altitude is a powerful leveller!). Later, your guide will lead anyone who's up for it for a hike to a lookout to watch the most spectacular sunset we know of in the world.

  • Accommodation: Homestay with local Quechua family, Amantani Island (B,L,D)

Day 7Lake Titicaca

Today we explore Taquile, in our opinion the most beautiful of the islands of Lake Titicaca, with an inviting Mediterranean climate, steep green hillsides, and stunning views across the lake to the snow-capped peaks of Bolivia to the east. We’ll take our time exploring the pre-Inca ruins and tiny towns along the peaceful pathways of the island, and learning about the colourful, story-telling textiles the island is famous for, before chugging across the lake back to Puno.

  • Accommodation: Cosy hotel, Puno (B,L,D)

Day 8Pucara and Raqchi

Our first stop this morning is Pucara, a tiny town that was home to one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Its incredibly long history is on display in the town museum, as well as the ruin just outside town.

Our destination for the night is Raqchi. This peaceful little village is best known for its very important Inca ruin. The enormous, alien-looking Templo de Wiracocacha was one of the main temples of the Inca Empire, and one of the most important staging posts in its extensive road network. We’ll explore it this afternoon with a knowledgeable local guide, before settling down to sleep in the guestrooms of our local host families.

  • Accommodation: Family homestay, Raqchi (B,L,D)

Day 9Stay with a family in Raqchi

This morning we’ll explore the pretty countryside around Raqchi, checking out crops, Inca agricultural terracing, breathtaking lookouts, and an extinct volcano.

Much of the pottery you’ll see all over Peru is made here in Raqchi, and this afternoon we’ll try our hands at a potter’s wheel. Worst-case scenario is hilarious, messy fun – and with luck, you’ll end up with a pot you made yourself as a souvenir of your trip!

Sometime in Raqchi we’ll have the privilege of attending a ch’alla, or payment to the Earth – a very special, authentic ceremony of in honour of Pacha Mama (Mother Earth).

  • Accommodation: Family homestay, Raqchi (B,L,D)

Day 10Crazy customs on the way to Cusco

Today we’ll check out a pre-Inca ‘flea village’ and a museum with some deliberately-deformed skulls – apparently it was the height of fashion for Inca aristocracy – on our way to the belly-button of the world, Cusco.

  • Accommodation: Hostal Inkarri, Cusco (B,L,D)

Day 11Free day in Cusco

There are things to do in Cusco to suit every age and personality: churches, museums, and art galleries; adventure activities like rafting and horse riding, and some very nifty and elaborate parks and playgrounds. This is also the perfect day to just wander around, perhaps shop, and enjoy the spectacular mountain views, traditionally dressed locals, excellent cafes and charming architecture that characterise the historic centre of Cusco.

  • Accommodation: Hostal Inkarri, Cusco (B)

Day 12The Sacred Valley of the Incas

Today is an action packed day. First stop is an animal sanctuary where we can get close to condors, pumas, macaws, llamas, and alpacas. Next we’ll check out the big souvenir market and maze of cobbled streets of the tiny town of Pisac. In the afternoon we’ll visit Salineras, a still-working Inca salt factory that we think is the most spectacular and surreal sight in the Cusco region.

Our destination for the night is Ollantaytambo, the most perfectly preserved of all Inca towns, with atmospheric cobbled alleyway, sunny plazas, and rugged mountain views, all presided over by a spectacular, llama-shaped ruin.

  • Accommodation: Family-run hotel, Ollantaytambo (B,L,D)

Day 13Machu Picchu!

This morning we’ll catch the train to Machu Picchu – this is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and needs no introduction. After a guided tour (a very interesting and engaging one), we’ll have plenty of time to explore this huge site at our own pace. We’ve also got plenty of suggestions for things to do in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes, where we’ll be staying tonight – hot springs, funny statues and a trout farm are some options for afternoon entertainment.

  • Accommodation: Comfortable hotel, Aguas Calientes (B,L,D)

Day 14Last day in Cusco

We’ll catch a morning train back to Cusco, where you’ll have the afternoon free for last-minute shopping, wandering, museum visiting, or whatever else takes your fancy – whatever it is, we’re here to help. This evening we’ll have a very special last dinner together.

  • Accommodation: Hostal Inkarri, Cusco (B,L,D)

Day 15Departure day

You can book your flight out of Cusco for any time today. If you’re staying on in Peru, we’re delighted to help out with suggestions and assistance for the rest of your time here. (B)

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