Backpacking through South America has become a ritual for generations of Americans. While hitchhiking, hostels and street food has long been the norm, a new era of travel is sweeping across the region, which has attracted celebrities ranging from chefs like the late Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsey to Microsoft Founder, Bill Gates and actor Robert De Niro, who came to Peru on vacation this summer.
With 3 of “50 Best Restaurants in the World” in Lima to contemporary 5-star hotels, Peru is the perfect destination for upscale and elite tourism. While the average American in 2018 spent $1,552 per trip, luxury holidays average about 5x that amount. With upscale tours on the rise, we’ve put together a list of 7 truly indulgent ways to experience Peru.
1. National Geographic Traveler – Upper Amazon Cruise Tour
National Geographic has established itself as the preeminent wildlife and nature publication. The magazine’s affiliate travel company has become a leader in cultural tours. Some highlights of this 10 day and $7,290 trip include exploring the amazing biodiversity of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, lessons from a National Geographic-Lindblad certified photo instructor, a kayak or skiff tour for an up-close look at the intricacies of this fascinating rainforest ecosystem.
2.Butterfield & Robinson – Peru Culinary Journey
Butterfield & Robinson are a boutique tour operator, who focus on creative active and immersive experiences. Their recently launched culinary trip, which takes guests between Lima and Cusco along with a visit to Machu Picchu. The 8-day culinary exploration costs $8,495 per person and includes everything from ceviche seminars to learning the ancient preparation of Pachamanca and dining in the country’s world renowned restaurants, who helped Peru win the title of “Best Culinary Destination in the World” for seven years in a row.
3. Jacada Travel – Ancient Peru
Jacada Travel is a luxury tour operator, which emphasizes authentic and bespoke experiences for its clients as well as providing responsible travel to minimize impact on the environment. While Jacada offers trips across the globe, one that undoubtedly stands out is its Ancient Peru holiday. This 20-day journey goes for $10,950 per person and leaves no stone unturned. The trip includes everything from a flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines in the south of the capital, Lima, to a trek to Choquequirao, an almost untouched Andean settlement often referred to as “the other Machu Picchu.”
4. Kensington Tours – Machu Picchu & Amazon Cruise
Kensington Tours are known for their high-quality personalized trips, which perfectly fit their clientele’s travel ambitions. With a strong team of travel experts it is no surprise that they have been awarded for their work by Travel + Leisure. Their Machu Picchu & Amazon Cruise takes guests on a 14-day trip, which costs $12,502 per person. The tour offers visitors an experience to see Lima, Cusco and the Sacred Valley before embarking on an impressive four -night cruise through the amazon, in style.
5. Abercrombie & Kent – Machu Picchu & the Amazon
Abercrombie & Kent are one of the heavyweights when it comes to luxury travel. With over 50 years of experience, the Chicago-based operator are the standard-bearer for meticulously planned and engaging cultural trips, but with a 5-star ambience. Their 11-day private journey covers some of the more off-the-beaten-path destinations over the Andes and through the Amazon, which comes in at $12,995 per person. The trip is customizable, and can include excursions to the Walls of Sacsayhuamán, a weaving workshop in the Andes, and stargazing as you head down the Amazon river.
6. Scott Dunn – Peru in Ultimate Luxury
Scott Dunn is world renowned for its tailor-made tours. Having won awards from Travel + Leisure and the Guardian, they are an established player in the field of luxury travel. With over 13 nights, the Peru in Ultimate Luxury trip, hits the country’s most famous landmarks, and runs guests $13,100 per person. In addition to 5-star accommodation and meals, guests can expect a trip to Machu Picchu, a leisurely stay on the shores of Lake Titicaca and a river cruise up the Amazon via Iquitos.
7. National Geographic Traveler’s Central and South America by Private Jet
While it isn’t just Peru, National Geographic’s epic holiday is hard to pass over. This 21-day journey takes a group of 75 zig-zagging across the Americas. From the beaches of Rio to the glaciers of Patagonia, the trip is truly the gold-standard of luxury travel. In Peru, the trip visits Lake Titicaca, Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Amazon river. Unsurprisingly, it has a price-tag as jaw-dropping as the trip itself, costing $86,840 per person.