This group of four just returned from a custom 15-day Peru adventure. They began in the culinary capital of South America and capital city of Peru, Lima. From there, they made their way up to the colonial and historic streets and surroundings of Cusco. Departing for the Sacred Valley, they continued on the awe-inspiring Lares Luxury Lodge to Lodge Trek to Machu Picchu. Their epic journey culminated in the lush jungle of the Peruvian Amazon. Read on to hear some of their comments about this once in a lifetime experience!
“Our guides were all great. Transfers went smoothly as did our flights, fortunately. It was nice to see someone waiting for us when we got off the plane or to take us to the airport. We were happy with all of our accommodations.
We loved our guides, Abel and David for mountain biking, Claudia for Cusco and Machu Picchu, and Felix and Carlos from Mountain lodges. Our guide was also pretty good in the jungle. The transfer agents and drivers were all nice.
Highlights were : the one day trek into Machu Picchu— our guide Claudia made it extra special. She did a little ceremony with us when we got to the Sungate with a special blessing and tribute to Pachamama. Other highlights were hiking through the fields of llamas and alpacas and also another special little ceremony that some native Peruvian women had us participate in with our guides after one of the hikes.
“Thanks for all your help arranging our trip. It was amazing. We saw so much more of the dramatic Peru countryside and its local residents than typical visitors who see only Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu.
Interested in doing a trip like this? Check out these itineraries for more inspiration:
Always wanted to visit the Dolomites, but never knew where to start? Our 7-Day Best of the Dolomites: Hiking and Gourmet is the perfect trip for you! We have assembled an itinerary that includes our favorite hikes, the most famous vistas, and the best restaurants – all in one great trip!
This trek has lots of flexibility:
With a guide or self-guided,
Accommodations moderate or luxury
Gourmet meals or not
Add a day to experience a via ferrata!
Starting at $2395/person!
Day 1: Arrive in Cortina d’Ampezzo (D) Day 2: Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo, overnight in Cortina (BD) Day 3: Hiking Alpe di Sennes Circuit, overnight in Cortina (BD) Day 4: Hiking Cinque Torri Area, overnight in Alta Badia (BD) Day 5: Hiking Santa Croce Sanctuary, overnight in Alta Badia (BD) Day 6: Hiking Fanes-Sennes-Braies, overnight in Alta Badia (BD) Day 7: Depart Cortina (B)
“We highly recommend AWR. I liked their reminder emails a lot. There was a lot of info and it was good the way my husband and I did our luggage since the train to Machu Picchu only allowed for a small bag of 11 pounds. So, we were able to keep a couple bags in Cusco.
The main highlight of our trip would be Machu Picchu and then the extra hike to Huayna Picchu that we did and getting the permit for it. That was my husband’s favorite and he was surprised I got that with AWR and was happy about it. I also liked staying in the town the night before Machu Picchu – there was a fun restaurant that my husband got to try ginnea pig at. I just had pasta. I also liked seeing the salt mines & Moray. It might of been fun to stay a night in Ollantaytambo – maybe more shopping time there is all I can think of.
The AWR team was very helpful and made sure we were OK and the tour guides were all great. It was a very memorable trip.
Doreen and Karen began their journey by exploring Cusco and the Sacred Valley. They continued on to do the 5day/4night Inca Trail Trek to the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu and culminated their time in Peru by setting out on a fantastic river rafting adventure and short trek up the sacred Rainbow Mountain, Ausangate.
“The whole trip was really our ‘favorite part of the trip’- we wished could have stayed longer. Every part was great! Our guide for the Sacred Valley, Rueben, was amazing!! We would have loved even another day at Ollantaytambo. On the Inca Trail, the porters and guides were amazing. Loved having a portable toilet. Food was crazy good! Great to meet new people. It was a fun group. The rafting guides and rainbow mountain guides were amazing! David made our trip feel special.
At AWR, working with Barbara was excellent! For future travelers, our only advise is: relax and enjoy!”
Check out more of Doreen and Karen’s trip photos here:
For more information on what these travelers did, check out our following itineraries:
On your next trip to Patagonia or Atacama, take some time to explore Chile‘s exciting capital and dive deep into the country’s local history and culture via the numerous museums that the city has to offer! Read on for our top 5 museums that are a must on your next Chile adventure!
1) Museo de la Memoria y Los Derechos Humanos
This is the perfect museum to visit if you are new to Chile. It’s all about human rights and gives a great overview of Chile’s controversial politics and history. Chile has gone through a lot of big changes in just the last thirty years, transforming from a strict dictatorship to a strong democracy. To understand the country, you need to understand its past and this museum is a great spot to learn! The museum is made up of several floors and located near metro Quinta Normal. Nearby there is a big park and Barrio Yungay, Santiago’s artsy and historical neighborhood.
2) Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Nestled in the heart of downtown Santiago is the Bellas Artes Museum, which holds several rooms of beautiful artwork. It holds a wide array of sculptures and paintings that anyone can enjoy! The museum is free to enter, with a goal of educating the public through various exhibitions, lectures and seminars.
It’s simple to find this museum! Just get off at Metro Bellas Artes, turn the corner and you’ll see it. The museum closes on Monday but is opened the rest of the week from 10 AM to 6:45 PM.
3) Casa Museo La Chascona
Learn about one of Chile’s favorite poets Pablo Neruda, through a self-guided tour of his house in Santiago. Pablo actually has three homes you can visit in Chile. One is located in Chile’s colorful port city Valparíaso and the other in Isla Negra, which is a beach town a few hours south of Santiago. In his Santiago house, visitors receive a personal recorder that can be used while walking through the rooms. It’s a great way to learn about this famous poet and why he is important to Chile.
It’s located in Santiago’s young and vibrant neighborhood Bellavista. After visiting the museum, visitors should explore the neighborhood, grab lunch and admire the colorful street art plastered on the buildings and walls.
4) Central Cultural La Moneda
In the center of town is the Cultural Center La Moneda. It’s a great place to visit and they regularly update the exhibitions and bring new work to Chile. In the past they have shown exhibitions from Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Sandro Botticelli and more! In addition, there are sometimes workshops that visitors can participate in. For the Andy Warhol show, the center hosted short workshops to demonstrate pop art techniques and allow visitors the chance to make some colorful artwork.
Catch the metro and come to downtown Santiago. The Cultural Center is beside the capital and next to metro La Moneda.
5) Museo Interactivo Mirador (MIM)
The MIM is a great place for children. It is also equally as entertaining for adults that are looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon. This museum is filled with tons of interactive games and activities that are both fun and educational. Visitors can learn about earth science, nutrition, robotics and more!
The museum is located in the southern half of the city and can be accessed via metro or taxi.
Want to plan your next Chile adventure? Contact us!
Peru is the culinary capital of South America with Lima and Cusco being it’s gastronomic epicenters. Read on for our list of top recommended stops to delight your senses on your next trip to Peru!
Cala Restaurant – Barranco
By the sea in one of the main gastronomic capitals of the world we find an innovative cuisine of traditional Peruvian flavors fused with the secrets of the Mediterranean. Commandeered by Alfredo Aramburú and his son Jose Alfredo, they work hand in hand on experience and creativity with the latest culinary techniques. Presenting a menu full of personality with a great variety of dishes and sea freshness. A legacy from father to son that is reflected in every detail is their main key to success.
Their story begins in 1994: Gastón Acurio and Astrid Gutsche, newcomers to study cooking in Paris, founded the restaurant in a small house in Miraflores. At first, very French, according to the world trend. Then, over the years, decidedly Peruvian; willing to revalue inputs and recipes, and with the clear objective of promoting Peruvian gastronomy in the world. 2014 was their twentieth anniversary. They have left Cantuarias to start a new project: to settle in Casa Moreyra, an old house, over 300 years old, in the chic San Isidro neighborhood. Today, Gastón and Astrid, along with a young team of cooks, constantly serve up innovative and exciting culinary surprises that will leave any traveler to Peru astounded.
At Central, the biodiversity of Peru is celebrated. Fresh ingredients and an inexhaustible curiosity to discover and to integrate new ingredients to its menu give rise to a Peruvian cuisine of vanguard in the heart of the traditional district of Miraflores in Lima. The experience that they promise to offer guests is to explore the heterogeneous Peruvian territory in inputs, colors, stories and scenarios. In moving together to different heights, and connect with our environment in a special way. Take a few minutes of your time to complete the information they require. With this they assure that every meticulous detail will be taken into account.
A classic of Lima, The Glory of Oscar Velarde has always remained in the top positions of the different rankings of the country. It has an elegant atmosphere and a first class service. Nowadays the kitchen is in charge of chef Alejandro Salazar, who presents a menu of Mediterranean food and also uses Peruvian ingredients that give his dishes a delicious fusion.
Life is movement. Nothing is static or absolute. Nobody is. We are in constant flux, as are the Earth, the tides, the bacteria, the light, the blood of our bodies, the color and the seed. The kitchens, like the family trees, are constantly redefined, their identities enriched in an intense interculturality that is the basis of the history of every civilization, since men exchanged the first sounds, products, ideas, customs. Fusion cooking is nothing but cooking, so eloquent is the word that encloses the act. Blood is conjured in the fire. People sing in the hearth. The individual and collective stories merge in the hearth. In the stove life is gestated, the elements are united. In the kitchen the dialogue is promoted, the elements are confronted, the opposites are attracted. This is how the Nikkei kitchen was born, from a complex history known as Peru and from another of equal proportion, distant and foreign, called Japan, that came together to live harmoniously and create a third reality: The Nikkei Kitchen
Inka Grill, the first restaurant of their chain, arrived in the majestic Plaza de Armas of Cusco in 1998, was a pioneer of the gastronomic revolution in the city. They offer an international menu perfectly amalgamated with Peruvian flavors and adapted to suit all tastes, in which the comforting bird and quinoa soup stands out. The menu reinvents international dishes in its original concept, from pastas, pizzas and sandwiches to vegetarian dishes and unforgettable desserts.
The ají limo is an indispensable ingredient of ceviche, the standard-bearer of Peruvian cuisine. In it the owners were inspired to create LIMO, Peruvian cuisine & pisco bar, a modern culinary proposal with an emphasis on marine products: tiraditos and ceviches stand out; their sushi bar, an exponent of Japanese Peruvian food; and their famous rice chaufa as some of our most emblematic dishes.
A great dining experience is not only the food, for us it is actually the whole idea of going out; where the food and the wine are part of everything around you. The whole experience of Cicciolina starts with finding out about another part of life, the aromas from the open kitchens, the amazing women and men that attend you and the feeling of how everyone sort of knows each other, pecks on the cheek and smiles from regular customers in a tourist town. Cicciolina is all about attention to detail.
Not only does this museum house the largest public art collection in all of Latin America, it also has an impressive collection of European impressionists; thanks largely to the wave of European immigrants that arrived here at the turn of the last century. Speaking of which, this is the place to learn about the history and development of Argentine artists in a global context. If the very thought of this leaves you hungry for more, pop over to the Latin American Modern Arts Museum, or MALBA, which specifically focuses on 20th and 21st century Latin American art.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Av. Del Libertador 1473, Buenos Aires, +54 11 5288 9900.
Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM – 8 PM. Saturdays and Sundays 10 AM – 8 PM. Closed Mondays.
For those interested in Argentina’s history, this is a very important place to visit. This space was created in the year 2004 to preserve the memory of those who died during Argentina’s last civil-military dictatorship (1976-1983) and to promote and defend human rights. It is located on the 17-hectare site that formerly belonged to the ESMA, the Argentine army’s mechanics’ school, which was used as a clandestine torture center during the dictatorship.
Several institutions are now located on the site, including the national memorial archive, the Malvinas War Museum, a cultural center. The memorial museum features testimonies of survivors of and various historical archives.
Housed inside a striking old-brick electrical plant in the working class neighborhood of La Boca, Usina del Arte is an exhibition space as well as a concert venue that offers a robust cultural program. The program constantly rotates, so be sure to check the website for details about the latest exhibitions.
Usina del Arte, Agustín Caffarena 1, La Boca, Buenos Aires, +54 11 4909 2076.
Hours vary depending on the week’s program, which you can view HERE.
The works of Argentine painter, Renaissance man and eccentric Xul Solar (1887-1963) are located in a Palermo museum that’s an award-winning piece of art in itself. The venue is around a century old and was renovated in the 1990’s to reflect Solar’s architectural ideas. A friend of famous Argentinian writer Jorge Louis Borges, Xul Solar was an intellectual and artistic polyglot. His works reveal a mind of marvelous modern imagination — don’t miss it.
Museo Xul Solar, Laprida 1212, Buenos Aires, +54 11 4824-3302.
Proa is a private institution located in the historical town of La Boca in Buenos Aires, specialized in Contemporary Art, that has the permanent support of Techint Organization.
A historical Italian house refurbished at the end of the 19th Century was the starting point for this center of Contemporary Art. The building itself establishes a dialogue with the surrounding community through its translucent facades, offering a unique landscape of the City. The history of the construction and the town.
Our 5-Day Luxury Rainbow Mountain Lodge to Lodge Trek is a breathtaking journey in the Cordillera Vilcanota, on a route we call the “Camino Del Apu Ausangate”, the route to the sacred Rainbow Mountain. Apus, or “sacred mountains” in Quechua, are the bearers of life and the guardians of some of the most pristine alpine ecosystems in the world. Ausangate, the Rainbow Mountain, is, without a doubt, one of the most stunning peaks you will ever behold and the journey there is a trip of a lifetime.
On your trek you will be accompanied by llamas and horses that will carry our gear. These are owned by shepherds of the community of Chillca who are proud to share their land with us, as well as the spirit of their inspiring world. On our hike and in the unique “Tambos” or Andean Lodges, daily meals will be prepared by experienced chefs who will introduce you to a great variety of delicious Peruvian dishes and produce, and for your entertainment: authentic vernacular music, played by local inhabitants, will liven up some of our evenings at the cozy, candle-lit “tambos.”
GROUP DEPARTURES: Every Friday
PRIVATE DEPARTURES: Available upon request
Day 1: Cusco – Chillca (LD)
Day 2: Chillca – Machuracay (BLD)
Day 3: Machuracay- Anantapata (BLD)
Day 4: Anantapata-Huampococha (BLD)
Day 5: Huampococha- Cusco, Departure (BL)
Day 1: Cusco – Chillca (LD)
An early departure from Cusco to travel in our comfortable
coach bus along the Vilcanota River to visit the temple of Checacupe,
then through the upper valley of Pitumarca. At Japura, we’ll trek a
short distance to Chillca. Community members and local musicians greet
us at our first Andean Lodge, sharing their native Andean music as we
sip coca tea. Our 8 double rooms have hot showers and full bathrooms.
The lodge features tasty, healthy Andean cuisine, such as Alpaca steak,
with vegetarian dishes and other dining options available.
After breakfast, we trek along the glacier valley of Phinaya, seeing hundreds of alpacas and llamas. On the way to the glaciers at Mt. Santa Catalina, the trail climbs past the breathtaking Pjachaj waterfall. Our picnic lunch awaits us above. Then, surrounded by moraine walls, glaciers and lakes, we walk about 5 hours to Machuracay Lodge. Your bags are carried by llama caravan. At the lodge, we’re met by the native family that manages it.
Today we take on our first mountain pass (16,587 ft./ 5,100 m.) enjoying spectacular panoramic views. Descending alongside the glaciers, we hike to Ausangate Cocha Lake where we’ll have lunch. Here, the landscape shifts dramatically, with red sandstone formations where we’ll see vicuñas and occasional condors. After a great day of hiking we arrive at the third Andean Lodge to relax, take in the splendid views and enjoy a restful night.
After breakfast, we hike the trail up to the next mountain pass. Dropping down, we hike past Lake Kayrawiri, surrounded by rugged mountain peaks and the great valley below. Colorful bands of soil adorn the hillsides. Then, we continue on to Laya Grande Hill via massive Glacier del Inca, to encounter the amazing colors of soil strata at Mt. Vinicunca (the world-renowned “Rainbow Mountain”). We have lunch there, with time for photos and a rest stop in this spectacular landscape. On our way to our fourth Andean Lodge we might see hundreds of Andean geese nesting in the cliffs of Anta. Hiking past the flatiron formations of Mt. Apu Labrayani, we arrive at Huampococha Lodge, where we’ll spend the night in comfort.
We hike up enjoying an outstanding view of the mountains to reach the top of the last pass. It’s an easy downhill from here. We hike past the strange shapes of a Karst limestone rock forest and continue to the end of the trail at Trapiche. There, we have lunch and return by bus to Cusco, reminiscing about the unforgettable experiences we’ve shared in the Andes.
This group of three just returned from an incredible Brazil and Peru combination custom adventure! Read on to hear about their journey, the highlights, as well as personal advice to future travelers.
Kicking off their journey in Sao Paulo, they explored the historic center, numerous parks and incredible markets that this must-visit South American metropolis has to offer. From Sao Paulo, they continued on to the rhythmic beaches of Rio de Janeiro where they visited the famous Christ the Redeemer, Tijuca Forest and soaked up the sun atop Sugar Loaf mountain. They ended their magical time in Brazil, staying at the spectacular Belmond Das Cataratas Hotel on the edge of the mighty Iguazu Falls!
Continuing on, they jumped on the direct flight from Foz do Iguassu (airport on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls) to Lima, Peru. In Lima, they stayed in the chic and upbeat neighborhood of Miraflores while checking out the world-renown culinary scene and the stunning collection of Peruvian historical artifacts at the Larco Museum. Machu Picchu bound, they flew to Cusco next and spent time discovering the beauty and tranquility of the Sacred Valley, with the always deeply knowledgeable and upbeat, Claudia (one of our top guides in the region). Awestruck by the mystery and wonder instilled by the Machu Picchu citadel, the trio returned to Cusco and flew north to Iquitos, in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. Their adventure came to a close with four days and three nights aboard the Delfin III as they explored the overwhelmingly incredible biodiversity of this enchanting ecosystem.
“We had a wonderful time in Brazil and Peru and AWR’s travel arrangements were flawless. Special mention to our lady guide in Sacred Valley, Claudia, she was very helpful and nice.
We are extremely likely to recommend Adventures Within Reach to our friends, family, and coworkers. You guys would be the first one I contact for any locations where I need an agency.
Our top three highlights from the trip are:
1) Iguazu Falls was amazing. Peru, generally, was way above expectations. The people were very nice everywhere we went, food was good and standards generally high.
2) Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu are must-visits. We also really loved the Sonesta hotel in Yucay, Sacred Valley. Great value and beautiful property. We actually liked it better than all the Belmonds.
3) The Delfin III is a nice boat for a quick cruise on the upper amazon. Good quality rooms, interesting programs and amazing staff.
It has been great working with Gretchen. Will not hesitate to recommend to all my friends and family. I wish you could have organized some of our other travels.
Advice for future travelers:
If budget permits, stay at the Belmond in Iguazu Falls. It makes a lot of difference to have access to the falls when the crowd clears.
The temperature at Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu may be cool but when the sun is out, it’s scorching hot. You definitely need a good hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and water. “
For more inspiration based on the components of this particular adventure, check out: