Thomas Robinson's 12-day Peru Itinerary
Thomas Robinson is a member of Travel + Leisure’s A-List, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Thomas, contact him at email@example.com.
Day 1: Lima
Peru’s capital is an energetic metropolis with a genuine laid back Latin atmosphere and a potent mix of colonial architecture, superb museums, Inca gold and antiquities, and excellent restaurants, bars and shops.
In order to best explore the city, you will be armed with our extensive recommendations for the best restaurants, shopping and sights. Lima's restaurants are regularly rated among the best in the world and a couple of days eating out in this city is a truly memorable gastronomic experience. On your first afternoon, our guide will meet you for a personalized city tour.
Belmond Miraflores Park
Day 2: Lima
In the morning you will be met by chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, who will take you around one of Lima’s markets — discussing the richness of the native ingredients available in Peru, and the recent international recognition that the country’s cuisine has achieved. Get a real sense of why Peru is considered South America’s gastronomic capital.
Peruvian art specialist Marco Testino will join you for lunch before taking you on a unique afternoon tour of Lima’s booming contemporary art scene, exploring defining galleries and cutting-edge pop-up spaces, as well as visiting the studios of some of Peru’s top artists and private collectors.
That evening you will meet back up with Pedro Miguel for a short Peruvian cuisine masterclass in the test kitchen of his restaurant, Malabar, before enjoying a private tasting menu prepared just for you.
Belmond Miraflores Park
Day 3: Cusco
Fly from Lima to Cusco. En route to your hotel, you will stop for lunch at the historical family run Hacienda Huayoccari. You will enjoy a delicious lunch of fresh local produce before having the option to view the family's extensive private collection of pre-Columbian and colonial artworks and archaeological artifacts.
The Urubamba Valley, popularly known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas, is home to some of the country's most picturesque Andean scenery. Once the heart of the Inca empire it is also scattered with important archaeological sites and is for many the setting off point for a visit to the famous hidden citadel of Machu Picchu.
At an altitude of only 2800m, Urubamba has a pleasant year round climate and is at the perfect height for acclimatizing. As well as a fascinating cultural and historical destination this is also the perfect stop off for lovers of the great outdoors — hiking, horse riding, zip lining, paragliding, rafting and even stand up paddle boarding on high Andean lagoons are all on offer here.
Sol y Luna
Day 4: Cusco area
You will start the day by visiting the high Andean village of Chinchero — famous for its traditional weaving workshops as well as some beautifully preserved Inca ruins.
From here you will carry on to the mysterious circular agricultural terraces of Moray, stopping for a picnic in a secluded spot nearby before continuing to the historic village of Maras and its famous salt pans that have been in constant use for over 500 years. If you are feeling energetic there is also an option for a scenic trek between the two sites.
That afternoon after a private gourmet picnic we have arranged for a visit to a remote village to take part in a private weaving workshop with some of the local women. A great way to both meet the locals and learn about the beautiful traditional textiles that come from this region.
Sol y Luna
Day 5: Machu Picchu
Take the Vistadome train further up the valley from Ollantaytambo, deep into Inca country as you near the citadel of Machu Picchu. You will leave the train to begin your ascent on foot through lush tropical cloud forest, following an ancient Inca trail. The route passes the mysterious ruins at Chachabamba, climbing high above the roaring Urubamba river to reach Wiñayhuayna where it joins up with the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
After a picnic lunch ,you begin the hike along what is generally considered to be the most spectacular part of the Inca Trail, terminating in a short climb to Inti Punku and your first view of the magnificent Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
The 15th-Century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the most famous relic of the Incan Empire, and certainly among the most famous ancient ruins in the world. You will stay in the only hotel right by the entrance to the park, with breathtaking views from your bedroom window.
Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
Day 6: Machu Picchu
You have entrance tickets for a full second day exploring the ruins, which also include a strenuous hike up the steep Huayna Picchu mountain — a great way to break off from the crowds and enjoy an unusual overhead view of the whole site. The tours are completely private and personalized.
You will board the world-famous Hiram Bingham luxury train for a truly memorable journey back to Cusco. Before departure, afternoon tea is served at Sanctuary Lodge from 4:00 pm and you will have dinner and cocktails onboard the train.
Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
Day 7: Cusco
In the morning, our guide will meet you in reception for a gentle walking tour of this charming city’s historical sites. Focusing on the different periods that have shaped Cusco and Peru's history, the tour can be completely tailor-made to your own interests but will include visits to the Cathedral, the sun temple of Qoricancha, and the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman.
Your day will end at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, just outside the city, where we will set up a private area for you to take part in a traditional ceremony conducted by a renowned local Quechuan paqo, or shaman — the inheritor of the guardianship of the sacred mountain of Ausangate.
There will also then be a workshop of Andean music for the family explaining the local instruments. A very memorable way to say your goodbyes to these ancient heartlands of the Inca empire.
Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
Day 8: Amazon River
Fly to Iquitos to board a cruise down the Amazon. With its source high in the Peruvian Andes, the Amazon winds its way east over the northern half of South America until reaching the Atlantic Ocean, carrying with it a higher volume of water than the earth’s top ten largest rivers combined.
Your trip takes place in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Also known as the "mirror forest", this is the largest protected flooded forest in the world, and contains one of the best preserved swathes of prime jungle in the Peruvian Amazon.
The biodiversity of this ecosystem is simply unparalleled — 1/3 of all species recorded in the world are found in the Amazon basin, and it has been estimated that many hundreds of million species may yet be discovered. It is not just the forest, but also the rivers you will be navigating that are teeming with life; there are over 3,000 species of fish in these waters, including the paiche (also known as the pirarucu in Brazil) that can grow up to 15 feet in length. Finally, both gray and rare pink river dolphins are typically found in these tributaries and regularly spotted playing in the wake of the boats.
You embark on a once in a lifetime luxury cruise navigating the remote waters of one of the largest areas of protected flooded forest in the world. Expeditions in smaller motorized canoes and guided jungle treks give you an unrivaled opportunity to see the unique wildlife of the region. You can swim with pink dolphins, go kayaking down the calm side channels, take a bike ride through the riverside communities or just sit back on the observation deck and watch life go by.
The panoramic views from your suite allow you to take in every aspect of the rainforest and each night despite your spectacularly remote location you sit down to delicious gourmet Peruvian cuisine incorporating fresh local produce, prepared by the onboard chef.
Day 9: Amazon River
By skiff, you will explore the black waters of the Yanallpa River, disembarking to walk deep into the Amazonian rain forest. After a bit of exploring, you will board the skiffs again to cruise along the El Dorado River for a dusk excursion in search of exotic nocturnal wildlife and with extraordinary stargazing.
Day 10: Amazon River
On your third day of cruising you will have an early start, the rewards of which are plentiful, including a breakfast picnic accompanied by jungle symphony and fishing along the black waters of the Pacaya River.
In the afternoon, you will take the skiffs again venturing out on the Ucayali River alongside the banana boats transporting their jungle products to the port of Requena, keeping an eye out for pink river dolphins. At night, enjoy clear views of the night sky and focus the hi-tech telescope on the night sky to identify the planets and constellations.
Day 11: Amazon River
On the morning of your fourth day, you will have the option to go jungle walking, canoeing, kayaking, or swimming on the black water Yarapa or Clavero River.
In the afternoon the boat will visit a remote Amazonian village to learn a little about the indigenous communities that live in these regions, whose livelihood is so closely tied to the conservation of the rainforest.
Day 12: Depart from Iquitos
On your final day of cruising, you will visit the Bellavista Nanay morning market along the Nanay River to sample exotic snacks like suri, Amazon caterpillars that, when fried, are quite delicious. Afterwards, you will return to the Aria for breakfast and to pack up. Before saying goodbye, you will make one last truly memorable stop at the Manatee Rescue Center, a very special kind of animal orphanage for Amazonian manatees. If time allows your driver will also pass by San Juan craft market en route to the airport for your flight out of Iquitos.