Top 18 Insider Experiences in Peru, Bolivia and the Galapagos
Peru, Bolivia, and the Galapagos Islands – all must-see highlights of South America – are teeming with incredible bio-diversity, rich history, and some of the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet. As 2018 approaches, we have created a round-up of our top 18 insider experiences in Peru, Bolivia and the Galapagos to inspire your travels for the New Year. With 20 years of experience planning bespoke, authentic journeys, Aracari Travel has us eager to share the incredible people and places that make this part of the world so special.
Top 18 Insider experiences in Peru, Bolivia & the Galapagos to inspire your 2018 travels
1. DIVE INTO THE AMAZON RIVER AT SUNSET
Visiting the incredibly bio-diverse Amazon Jungle – the world’s largest tropical rain forest with over half of the planet’s species – is an experience in itself. So how can that be topped? How about diving off of your luxury Amazon cruise for a magical swim at sunset when the sky overhead is on fire with shades of blazing red and burning orange. The rainforest comes alive at this time of day and if you’re lucky you may be visited by a friendly pink river dolphin.
2. ADMIRE APU AUSANGATE MOUNTAIN
The Andes Mountains are one of Peru’s best adventure playgrounds, and one of the best ways to experience them is on a trek. Hike the Ausangate Lodge to Lodge trek and on the second night you will stay at one of the highest lodge’s in the world where the view of the mountain is practically unbeatable.
3. MEET GIANT TORTOISES IN THE GALAPAGOS
A treasure trove of extraordinary wildlife, the Galapagos Islands presents the unique opportunity to meet endemic species and friendly creatures. Often lacking the natural fear that most animals possess in the wild, you can observe unusual species up close in this precious protected environment. We recommend a 15-day luxury journey through Peru and the Galapagos.
4. ENTER MACHU PICCHU THROUGH THE SUN GATE
One of the new 7 wonders of the world, Machu Picchu is undoubtedly a bucket list experience. And there is no better way to arrive to this Inca citadel than through the gate that the ancient people themselves used as a main entrance. Bragging rights and a photo opp! Walk through the iconic Inti Punku (Sun Gate) at dawn on a bespoke luxury trip to Machu Picchu.
5. PHOTOGRAPH THE SURREAL SALT FLATS OF BOLIVIA
Famed for its vast white landscape the largest salt flat in the world, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, makes for an entertaining photo-shoot location with friends and family. Play with the perspective created by the expansive white backdrop, and then top it all off with an evening stargazing where constellations are clearly visible due to the lack of light pollution.
6. WHALE WATCH IN MANCORA
Head out for a whale watching experience off the coast of Mancora, where you will have the rare opportunity to spot humpback whales who have traveled from Antarctica to give birth to their calves. A day on the water will bring you closer than you ever imagined to these majestic, giant creatures.
7. TRY A FRESH CEVICHE IN LIMA
Lima is the culinary capital of Latin America. As experts in culinary travel to Peru, Aracari can help you avoid tourist traps and recommend the best spots for sampling ceviche (which is best washed down with a refreshing pisco sour or chilcano, both made from the national spirit of Peru, pisco!). Explore the country’s fantastic gastronomic scene on this Peru with Flavor itinerary.
8. RIDE LA PAZ’S CABLE CAR
Get an aerial perspective of Bolivia’s sprawling capital city of La Paz on a cable car ride to El Alto. After taking in the contrasting city views, Aracari can offer exclusive Bolivia experiences such as a privately guided tour of the iconic Cholets buildings with the architect who started the trend, or meeting a local Cholita female wrestler and watching a match. Check out the journey Bolivia: Salt flats and silver itinerary.
9. FIND THE LOST INCA CITY OF CHOQUEQUIRAO
Meaning ‘cradle of gold’ in the indigenous language of Quechua, Choquequirao is a rarely visited lost city of the Incas. Believed to be the site to which the last Inca rulers fled after the loss of Cusco during the Spanish conquest, the remote location of Choquequirao gives visitors a sweeping vista of towering snow-capped peaks and dense surrounding forest. Aracari offers a 5-day trek with camping to visit the Inca site.
10. SAND BUGGY THROUGH THE DESERT
Speed through the never-ending desert sand dunes (some of which are over 100 meters high!) on a sand buggy. Located in the desert near to Paracas this is a great experience for thrill seekers and families alike. Hop aboard a buggy and enjoy lunar landscapes as well as chances to try out sand boarding in the desert.
11. RIDE COLCA CANYON ON HORSEBACK
One of the best ways to explore the second deepest canyon in the world, Colca, is on horseback. Embark on a full-day ride through mountainous landscapes and abundant flora and fauna on the back of the world-renowned Peruvian Paso Horse. Your expert equestrian guide, or chalan, will take you to panoramic lookout points where you will have the opportunity to spot the famous Andean condor. Aracari’s Highlights of Southern Peru itinerary explores the Colca Canyon and nearby Arequipa on two week adventure.
12. ATTEND CUSCO’S SEÑOR DE LOS TEMBLORES PROCESSION
One of the many spectacular festivals in Peru, Señor de los Temblores showcases the interesting mix of Andean cultural tradition and Catholic faith in the historic city of Cusco. From a rooftop terrace in Plaza de Armas, you can watch this important procession through the streets on the afternoon of Holy Monday. The whole city participates in the event, making it truly a sight to behold.
13. CHARTER A PRIVATE TRAIN CARRIAGE TO MACHU PICCHU
To enjoy a truly luxurious and private ride to Machu Picchu, we recommend chartering the Presidential private train carriage. A journey you’ll never forget, you will enjoy a gourmet three course meal and sip on champagne as you ride through the stunning Urubamba Valley. Enjoy all of Luxury Peru by Rail on Aracari’s 11 day / 10 night itinerary.
14. EXPLORE LIMA’S HISTORIC CITY CENTER WITH LUIS VILLACORTA
Aracari offers more than just incredible guiding, going a step further with Peru specialists. Experts in their fields, these specialists can accompany you on exclusive access visits to museums, historical sites, restaurants, and more. The academic Luis Villacorta is just one example of specialist guiding in Peru with Aracari, with his encyclopedic knowledge of the history and architecture of Lima’s historic center. His background in Renaissance architecture and an interest in urban development and heritage conservation will show you Lima from an expert’s perspective.
15. MARVEL AT PERU’S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN HUASCARAN
Close to Peru’s highest mountain Huascaran (6,858 metres/22,500 feet), the Llanganuco Lodge has unbelievable views that will take your breath away. From here you can explore the Cordillera Blanca mountain range which is the second highest mountain range in the world after the Himalayas, and a mecca for hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers from across the world.
16. SEE THE SARCOPHAGI OF KARAJIA
Considered by Aracari to be Peru’s Best Kept Secret, the mystical cloud forest of Chachapoyas in northern Peru offers a top insider experience hiking to the Sarcophagi of Karajia. A scenic 40 minute hike will take you to one of the most remote archaeological sites in the country, where six ornate figures have been standing on a ledge gazing out across the valley for over 750 years. A mystery to this day, there is very little known about the people who left them, but a visit to the region and the site is not to be missed.
17. VISIT HUACA DE LA LUNA WITH THE HEAD ARCHAEOLOGIST
Exclusive private tours in Peru await history buffs with a visit to Huaca de la Luna, a pre-Inca archaeological site from the Moche (c. 100 – 700 AD) era, with head archaeologist and project director Dr Ricardo Morales. Go behind the scenes where excavation is currently underway, to explore the history of the site and its creators. Take a look at this Highlights of Northern Peru itinerary for inspiration on the best way to visit the area.
18. EXPLORE THE DALÍ DESERT
A Bolivian landscape so strange, it’s named after a surrealist artist! The Dalí Desert and the Arbol de Piedra (Stone Tree) are unlike any other place on the planet, with endless salt and strange rock formations. After traversing the area, the desert suddenly comes to life with colourful pink flamingos at the nearby Laguna Hedionda. Explore the region on Aracari’s Extraordinary Peru & Bolivia itinerary
To contact our Andes and Galapagos specialist Click here