Exploring Peru: A Smithsonian Family Adventure
NUMBER OF DAYS 10

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Five hundred years ago, Peru lay at the heart of a vast empire that stretched across South America. A legendary kingdom, this Land of the Inca came to an end with the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. For your family’s journey through Peru, you’ll explore massive ruins, age-old villages and spellbinding landscapes in the Sacred Valley.  An incredible train ride to Machu Picchu, the famed Lost City of the Incas, is sure to stun, and is the stuff family memories are made of.  A full day at this city in the clouds gives your family ample time to explore its empty stone buildings, crumbling walls, and astounding natural beauty.  There is time to learn about traditional Andean weaving and explore beautiful and charming colonial Cuzco before continuing to Lake Titicaca.

Included in this exceptional itinerary are several special opportunities for behind-the-scenes access and exclusive tours and activities, such as:

Visit the studio of renowned ceramicist Pablo Seminario. Pablo Seminario’s work is dedicated to rediscovering and preserving the ceramic techniques and designs of ancient Peruvian cultures—an important part of this area’s cultural heritage.  

Meet llamas and alpacas at the Awanacancha Llama Center. Here your family can learn about and see up-close llamas, alpacas, and other New World camelids, which have been important to the way of life here for centuries.   

Explore the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca. Board a small chartered boat to cruise out onto Lake Titicaca.  Your destination is a floating reed island Uros community in Puno Bay—this visit is very popular, and you will have time to explore these unique islands and talk with some of the residents.   

Hike the remote community of Charcas. In tiny valleys tucked between folds of wind-eroded sandstone, the members of the community of Charcas farm, fish, and raise a few animals. Hike to a ridge-top viewpoint, meet some local villagers, and make the most of the spectacular rural surroundings.  

Final payment can be made by credit card.  Exclusively on our Smithsonian Family Adventures, families are able to make their final payment by credit card.  

 

 

2014 Dates
Dates Adult Price Teen Price Child Price Internal Air
07/26 - 08/04 $4,690 $4,590 $4,490 $700
12/20 - 12/29 $4,890 $4,790 $4,690 $700
12/26 - 01/04 $4,890 $4,790 $4,690 $700
Call for Availability
2015 Dates
Dates Adult Price Child Price Internal Air
02/14 - 02/23 $4,890 $4,690 $700
03/14 - 03/23 $4,890 $4,690 $700
06/21 - 06/30 $4,890 $4,690 $700
07/25 - 08/03 $4,890 $4,690 $700
12/19 - 12/28 $5,190 $4,990 $700

Single Supplement: $2,000

Triple discount (child under 12 sharing with 2 adults): $200

 *Minimum of six participants required.

Day 1 – Depart Home / Arrive Lima

Upon arrival in Lima, your family is met and transferred to the hotel. Rest and relax after your long journey.

Days 2-3 – Sacred Valley

Impressive ancient ruins, gentle mountain slopes and quaint farming towns make the Sacred Valley a perfect stop. Here your family can explore quiet ruins, enjoy lunch in a small restaurant run by a local family, get up close to a llama, and learn about the centuries-old craft of ceramics from a man dedicated to preserving this local art form.

 

  • Awanacancha Llama Center
  • Pisaq Inca Ruins
  • Ceramics studio
  • Ollantaytambo Inca Ruins
  • Train to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu
Day 4 – Machu Picchu

Now one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World,” Machu Picchu is revered as one of the most exquisite and enigmatic sites on the planet. The magical “Lost City” that is Machu Picchu cannot be experienced by reading a book or looking through photos. Watch as your family passes through its main entrance and the panoramic view comes into site–their jaws will drop. A full day is reserved for exploring this remarkable place.

 

  • Machu Picchu
  • Huayna Picchu hike option
  • Gate of the Sun optional hike
Days 5-6 – Cuzco

This family vacation is not complete without a full day to explore all the ins and outs of this charming and unforgettable city. On your walking tour of Cuzco, your family will feel like they have entered a make-believe world where history comes alive with ruins, museums, churches, and mansions. Food is a great way to get acquainted with a culture, and you will have several opportunities while in Cuzco to sample various local cuisines.

 

  • Maras Salt Terraces hike
  • Cuzco Traditional Textiles Center
  • Cuzco city tour
  • Koricancha Temple
  • Saqsayhuaman Inca Ruins
  • Traditional Peruvian lunch in a local home
  • Buffet dinner with traditional Peruvian dance show
Day 7 – Puno

Heading southeast, we'll begin our trip to Puno and Lake Titicaca. Fly over the valley of the Vilcanota River (the same river which flows by Machu Picchu and through the Sacred Valley), the La Raya Pass at 14,202 feet, and descend onto the Peruvian Altiplano, the high plain surrounding Lake Titicaca.

 

  • Continue to explore Cuzco
  • San Blas and its artisan shops
  • Juliaca flight
Day 8 – Lake Titicaca Region

Lake Titicaca is perched at nearly 12,500 feet above sea level, and lies across the border between Peru and neighboring Bolivia. The lake is home to a number of islands, including artificial islands constructed of reeds by local people, which were traditionally used defensively, since they could be moved. The shores of the lake are dotted with small farming communities connected by paths that offer spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

 

  • Lake Titicaca and Uros floating reed islands
  • Hiking in Charcas
Day 9 – Lima

Depart early this morning for the airport and the flight to Lima. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in the Miraflores district, where you can rest, relax, and enjoy some lunch.

 

  • Mercado Indio
  • Farewell dinner
Day 10 – Depart Lima / Arrive Home
Hotel Costa del Sol

Hotel Costa del Sol is conveniently located in the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima. The hotel features 130 clean, comfortable rooms, each with air-conditioning and internet access. Other highlights of the hotel include a business center, restaurant, and a gym. This hotel is chosen because of its proximity to the airport.

Casa Andina Private Collection-Valle Sagrado

Casa Andina Private Collection-Valle Sagrado: a mountain chalet-styled retreat with panoramic Andes views from every room and every angle. On more than 8 landscaped acres (3 hectares), it breathes an air of tranquility and relaxation. Unique among Sacred Valley hotels – most of which remain isolated in the valley, offering little for guests to do – it contains an extraordinary, full-service “Sacred Spa”, a domed Planetarium & Observatory for stargazing in the massive Southern Hemisphere sky, and gourmet restaurant and bar.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo

The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, surrounded by twelve acres of beautiful cloud forest, is conveniently located just minutes from the train station. It features tile-roofed casitas (bungalows), a tea plantation, more than 100 species of birds and 250 species of butterflies. The hotel has eighty-five large, comfortable rooms – many with a fireplace and a balcony or terrace. Other highlights include an outdoor pool, hot tub, spa, jogging track, business center and high-speed internet access.

Hotel Costa del Sol Picoaga

The 72-room Hotel Costa del Sol Picoaga, situated just a few minutes from the Plaza de Armas, is as much a cultural and historical landmark as it is a four-star hotel. The property was once a 17th century mansion belonging to a Spanish nobleman, and remnants of its colonial charm still abound, from the furniture and floral prints to the picturesque courtyard. Hotel Picoaga is the perfect spot to really experience the unique feel of Cuzco. 

Hotel Libertador Isla Esteves

This luxurious hotel is situated on Esteves Island on Lake Titicaca, so a stay here comes complete with some wonderful views of the lake and the sunrises and sunsets that grace it. Although on an island, Hotel Libertador Isla Esteves is just five minutes from downtown Puno. The property has its own private pier, a gym, restaurants and bars, and a Jacuzzi and outdoor pool. 

Casa Andina Private Collection, Miraflores
Casa Andina Private Collection is located two blocks from the Parque Kennedy, the social hub of the attractive Miraflores neighborhood next to the ocean in Lima. It is a 20 minute drive to the city’s historical center and 40 minutes from the airport. The hotel features 148 spacious rooms, each with internet access. Other highlights include a heated indoor pool, steam room, sauna, and spa, a solarium, a gourmet restaurant, shops, and business center.

Why Peru?

See Machu Picchu, new wonder of the world
The “lost city” of Machu Picchu was so remote and so well hidden that it wasn’t rediscovered until 1911, when Hiram Bingham stumbled onto the astonishing ruins hidden in the mists and perched on a rocky ridge in the sky. No longer “lost,” your family will discover first-hand why Machu Picchu was recently voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Rich history and culture
Five hundred years ago, Peru lay at the heart of a vast empire that stretched over 400,000 square miles from northwest Argentina to southern Colombia. A legendary kingdom, this Land of the Inca came to an end when conquering Spaniards swept across South America. Today, Peruvians preserve, with pride, their rich and diverse culture and traditions.
Explore the charms of colonial Cuzco
Founded in the 11th century and capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th century through the arrival of the Spanish in the mid 16th century, Cuzco is a delightful mix of Inca and Spanish architecture. Around the city you can still see the remains of Inca buildings and foundations – many of which have proven to be stronger than buildings constructed in the present day!
Inca Trails
The roads from the Inca Empire once stretched from present-day Quito, Ecuador in the north all the way down to Santiago, Chile in the south. The extensive network of roads and trails covered roughly 14,000 miles and crossed mountain passes over 16,000 feet. To top it off, the Inca did not use the wheel or horses until the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, so these roads were used almost exclusively by people on foot and pack animals such as llamas. These roads – some of which were paved – wind through the stunning scenery and breathtaking landscapes of the Andes.
Sizable indigenous population
Throughout the history of the Americas, there have been thousands of distinct indigenous groups, tribes, and nations. Sadly, European colonizers decimated and, in some cases, eliminated the native populations of many areas and their beautiful cultures have been lost or almost lost in time. Peru, however, still has a substantial population of indigenous peoples with fascinating cultures to share and a lot to teach us. After Bolivia, Peru has the highest percentage of indigenous people of any country in South America. From the Quechua, to the Aymara, to the many different native groups in the Amazon, there is a refreshingly high diversity of languages and cultures within Peru.

Why Peru with Thomson and Smithsonian?

Visit the studio of renowned ceramicist Pablo Seminario 
 Pablo Seminario’s work is dedicated to rediscovering and preserving the ceramic techniques and designs of ancient Peruvian cultures—an important part of this area’s cultural heritage.
Meet llamas and Alpacas at the Awanacancha Llama Center
 Here your family can learn about and see up-close llamas, alpacas, and other New World cameloids, which have been important to the way of life here for centuries.
Explore the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca 
 Board a small chartered boat to cruise out onto Lake Titicaca.  Your destination is a floating reed island Uros community in Puno Bay—this lively visit is very popular, and you will have time to explore these unique islands and talk with some of the residents.
Hike the remote community of Charcas 
 Leave the main highway to follow a secondary road over a low range of hills and down to the lakeshore.  Here, in tiny valleys tucked between folds of wind-eroded sandstone, the members of the community of Charcas farm, fish, and raise a few animals. Hike to a ridge-top viewpoint, meet some local villagers, and make the most of the spectacular rural surroundings.