Lindsey and Simon’s 8 day tour of Peru

At Pure Destinations we love sharing real customer stories, giving you an insight into a tried and tested holidays to give you realistic inspiration for your next travels. Lindsey and Simon embarked on an incredible tour of Peru, discovering an abundance of culture and history, along with unforgettable experiences. Read their incredible journey below.

LIMA 2 nights – 1 full day to explore

First arriving at Lima we had cheeky celebrity spotting as Tinie Tempa was on our flight and in front of us at immigration. We were met by Lilianne who was really helpful and friendly. Her English was good too. I can speak a bit of Spanish but it was much more reassuring that she understood us in English. A great start to the trip and we felt comfortable. Hotel Arawi was gorgeous and we had a well needed long sleep.

We were up at 5am the next day (standard jet lag waking us up at silly times) we explored the part of Lima we were staying  at called Miraflores. It was very safe around there; quite touristy and not overly busy with nice vibes. Lovely coastal walks watching surfers on a Saturday morning is a pleasant thing to do, we saw lots of people doing keep fit on the sea front. Had our first Peru cuisine of beef heart skewers and ceviche (raw fish salad), all very tasty.

We didn’t have enough time to go into downtown Lima but we don’t feel like we needed to. If anyone else had an itinerary that had an additional day in Lima I guess it would be good to check out the old downtown.

AMAZON 2 nights – 2.5 days to explore

We transferred from Lima to Puerto Maldonado, which was easy and stress free and we were well looked after again. It’s the first holiday we’ve ever been on where we’ve been picked up and dropped off everywhere. So it was quite different for us and enjoyable for a change to lugging your own stuff around. They even took us right to the check in desk then the departure gates.

The heat hit you in the face when getting off the plane at Puerto Maldonado. Great welcome again by Rina from Hacienda Conception. We enjoyed an ice cold bottle of water and a short bus trip to the port to get on a motorised canoe. The trip was amazing, from start to finish, it was exciting going down the Madre de Dios River towards the Amazon jungle. The location and venue Inkaterra Hacienda Conception was stunning!

Our cabanas was gorgeous and we were literally sleeping in nature. The sounds of the jungle blew our minds. We had frogs in our room one night, cute little ones, nothing scary. Temperature was at least 35 degrees, maybe even hotter. The excursions were amazing and took your attention away from the heat for many amazing moments. A lot crammed into our time there. We ate some termites from a tree (guided by the guide of course), saw howler monkeys, birds, parrots, snakes, tarantulas, kamans and herons. The hardest bit was a trek to Lake Sandoval. Went deeper into the jungle chasing after some Macaws and that was exciting going off the beaten track with our guide called Aquiles. Food at Hacienda Conception amazing and lots of it, you definitely wouldn’t go hungry and the service was impeccable. I had a little cry when we left the Amazon! Even though I was baking hot and struggling, I still didn’t want to go but I couldn’t have done one more day in the temperature. It’s always best leaving a place feeling like you don’t want to go though, then it means you didn’t get bored. The plane had nice cold air conditioning, phew!


Motorise canoes to travel up the Made de Rio River towards the Amazon jungle


Cabana at Inkaterra Hacienda Conception Amazon


Waking up with the Amazon Jungle at your feet

CUSCO 2 nights – 1 full day to explore

This is where the ‘altitude adventure’ started. When we got the hotel in Cusco the Maytaq Wasin, our greeter took us through our itinerary for the next few days which was planned for a short time in Cusco then on to Machu Picchu. The guide suggested we get off the train back from our Machu Picchu trip at a place called Ollantaytambo. We explored Cusco steadily that night and thought it was an amazing town with such a buzzy atmosphere. It is a very religious place and we went inside the cathedral that night as evening prayers were taking pace and it was beautiful.

Cusco has a brilliant atmosphere and the excitement about going to Machu Picchu builds whilst there as it is a very traveller based town with everyone talking about Machu Picchu. There are cute baby Alpacas walking around too.

MACHU PICHUU 2nights – 2 full days to explore

Today’s the day we go Machu Picchu. We took the Vistadome train traveling up the Andes. This train was more amazing than we expected. The journey was about 3.5 hours but you didn’t even notice as he views were spectacular going up through the Andes, along the side of the Urubamba river. The service on board included a brunch which we wasn’t expecting. Great atmosphere. Gradual pace and every twist and turn was stunning. The train goes through Ollantaytambo which we were told is where the Inca trail starts. As an aside we said would think about going back and do Peru again at some point and do the Inca trail after our first experience.

On arrival at Machu Picchu Pueblo (local name Aguas Calinetes) we had a friendly greeting at the station, and they took our bags to the hotel for us. Then we got a bus up to Machu Picchu, you could feel the energy turn to pure excitement, a lifelong dream to visit the city in the clouds finally coming true!

Our private guide Daniel was around the same age as us. Full of good spirit and very knowledgeable, loves studying and his history. The first trek up doesn’t seem too far but because you’re at altitude it’s a killer. It has to be taken in baby steps even though we are two fit and healthy 35 year olds. The first view is just breath taking. The pictures are amazing but being there for real is something else and hard to describe. We spent a good 2.5 hours having a tour around and learnt so much about Inca history and Inca life.
We visited early afternoon which wasn’t too hectic, Machu Picchu Pueblo is such a buzzing place; small but vibrant with travellers and traditional markets to buy souvenirs and everyone sharing stories about their experience up Machu Picchu. Our hotel Inkaterra El Mapi was stunning, again another fabulous hotel and meal plus lots of the local cocktail ‘Pisco Sour’ consumed too.

We decided to get tickets for a second day up to Machu Picchu – paid around £60 each for ticket and £15 return bus ticket, worth every penny to squeeze every last drop out of being in such an amazing place. The second day we visited the same areas but also the additional of a 30 minutes’ walk to Inca Bridge. Quite a precarious walk up and around the mountains towards an old abandoned bridge, not a good one if you’re scared of heights due to the sheer drop at the side of your whilst walking but we loved it. The second trip was in the morning around 09:30am and absolutely heaving in comparison to the day before. A trip is to visit Machu Picchu in the afternoons it’s a much more pleasurable experience. For our journey back we took the Belmond Hiram Bingham train. It was luxurious and blew us away. We had arrival drinks and dancing in the bar car with strangers from all around the world; live music and percussion playing. The meal was silver service and delicious. Stunning, beautiful, magical, amazing, could not stop crying happy tears on the return from Machu Picchu. An experience to remember (take me back now!!!!)


First view of Machu Picchu


View from a Inca House – Machu Picchu


Inca Sun Calendar – Machu Picchu


Lamas at Machu Picchu


View from the walk to the Inca Bridge – Machu Picchu


The Inca Bridge – Machu Picchu


Machu Picchu Pueblo – Aguas Calientes


Machu Picchu Markets


Belmond Hiram Bingham

SACRED VALLEY 2nights – 1.5 days to relax

After getting off the Hiram Bingham train it was 9:30pm and we transferred to our final stay in the Sacred Valley, the Aranwa Resort. The journey took about 1 hour and the sky was so clear that night and the clarity of the stars in the sky were amazing. Aranwa is a spa resort hotel and everything you could need was on site, Spa, cinema, library, 3 restaurants, bars, games rooms, pools and art gallery. A great way to wind down from all the adventuring, we had a spa afternoon and enjoyed some treatments and wonderful food.

This trip was arranged as our belated honeymoon. Well worth it and the only thing we would have changed is maybe staying for even longer. There was so much we didn’t see like Lake Titicaca and the Nazca Lines which if the trip was extended by around 1 week many more things could have been explored. But for our budget and requirements this blew our minds and was a great way to spend time leaving you wanting more.

We flew back from Cusco to Lima then Lima back to London Gatwick. Peru is firmly woven into our hearts, and with our traditional wooden pan pipes and fluffy lama souvenirs we have the travel trinkets in our home to remind us of the trip. Alongside about 800 photos that we need to thoroughly go thoroughly!!

Thanks to Pure Destinations and especially Donna for the always friendly and efficient service, highly recommended if you’re looking for something special and an amazing holiday where you will feel well looked after.

Inspired by Lindsey and Simon’s tour of Peru? Explore our 16 day highlights of Peru Tour or contact us today for a tailored itinerary.

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