A trip to Peru
A PRIVATE TRIP FOR TWO TO PERU WORTH £4,900
he has its around way wealth long into the since of world, museums the found Inca where it matters: but Peru culture is still and rich nature. Its landscapes morph from sandy expanses and pristine rainforest to cloudbaiting peaks and lush valleys. It’s no wonder parts of its old empires still survive here.
Now, tour operator Tucan Travel is offering you and a friend the chance to win a private trip taking in the greatest hits of this country.
Welcome to the jungle
Begin your Peruvian adventure in its capital, Lima. Fine architecture and gastronomy has put it on many travellers’ South American bucket lists, but it has historic surprises, too. Huacas (ruins) sprinkle the city, and one of its most vital is Huaca Pucllana. Pre-dating the Inca, it was built 1,500 years ago as the central temple to a lost urban complex.
Elsewhere, the palm-lined Plaza de Armas has been the capital’s heart since the city was founded by conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535, while fine museums boast pre-columbian pottery (Museo Larco) and pre-hispanic artefacts (National Museum of Archaeology).
However, it’s not long before the jungle comes calling. Hop on a plane and head to Taricaya Ecological Reserve, an untouched slice of lush Amazon rainforest. Wander past giant kapok trees, tropical shrubs and palms, keeping a keen ear pricked for ruffles in the undergrowth and glimpses of tufted capuchins, yellow-spotted Amazon river turtles or spectacled caimans.
Return along jungle boardwalks under the cover of darkness to rediscover the rainforest at night, or take a star-lit boat ride alongside riverbanks to spy caiman and capybaras. Your stay here will be green in more ways than one, with opportunities to see the good work that the reserve’s research and rescue
centres have done in preserving the local landscape and wildlife.
Tread Inca footsteps
The Inca Empire may have died out centuries ago, but its legacy lives on across Peru. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the nation’s ancient capital of Cusco. Here, every street is laced with crumbling Inca doorways and walls propping up more modern dwellings, while the city’s ornate cathedrals dovetail with the temples that still remain. Viewpoints, known as miradors, pop up across the city, offering urban panoramas of Cusco’s skyline and the Andes beyond.
Speaking of epic mountains, Cusco serves as the gateway to the Inca heartlands, commonly referred to as the Sacred Valley. Here, colonial towns and hillside villages speckle the surrounding landscape, with the ancient Inca citadels of Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero serve as this wild region’s headlining acts. Ollantaytambo in particular is an example of a surviving Inca village, flanked by two spectacular ruins and veined with labyrinthine cobblestone passageways that still buzz with locals today.
Even though the Sacred Valley is ripe with Inca relics, travellers still find themselves yearning for the blue-ribbon experience: the Inca Trail. Head out on a path that has fired travellers’ imaginations for generations (and which only a few at a time can stroll), a private two-day trek that unfurls more and more of the Inca’s treasures the further you tread. Ruins pock the slopes, mountainscapes, thundering Urubamba River and cloud forests, but keep your eyes peeled above you, too, for condors swooping overhead.
While every wall and building you pass is a pointer for your final destination, nothing quite prepares you for your first glimpse of the mighty Machu Picchu, a hillperched citadel perfectly hemmed in by forested Andean peaks. It is undoubtedly one of travel’s classic sights, and more than lives up to its billing.
A trip to remember
All that’s left is to wind your way back through the spectacular Sacred Valley aboard Perurail’s Vistadome train; its panoramic windowed carriages whizzing past the very ruins, lush landscapes and rugged wilds that you’ve explored over the past few days.
As well as the guides and porters that will accompany you on the tour, you’ll have the expert knowledge of Tucan Travel’s tailor-made tour department to hand. Tucan Travel have been operating tours in South America for over 31 years and they are the experts in small group and tailor-made adventures. Their trips to Peru are fine examples of this, uncovering a unique culture that is threaded through the country’s wealth of landscapes. They’ll ensure that you are mirroring the footprint of an Inca, enriching your experience every step of the way.