12 Days in Peru
From the sprawling sand dunes of Ica, to the traditional stone streets of Ollantaytambo, and from the ancient fortress of Cusco, to the jaw-dropping ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru is a country of incredible contrasts. The country with the “WOW” factor, and a destination on everyone’s must-visit bucket list. 12 days of unforgettable exploring gravity-defying ancient estates, adrenaline-rushing activities, and unique wildlife in every direction.
Our 12-day trip through Peru mixes our laid-back travel concept with Peru’s most unique and memorable sites to form an adventure that you’ll be talking about forever. Whether you’ve always dreamed of soaking up the incredible mountaintop Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, taking a scenic train journey through the Peruvian Andes, or you’re ready to discover off-the-beaten-track sites like the desert oasis of Huacachina and the penguin-filled (yes – penguins!) Ballestas Islands, Peru is ready to blow your mind! With breathtaking vistas in every direction, incredibly unique local culture, and an unlimited number of exciting activities along the way, Peru is a perfectly enriching destination.
Most travelers will arrive into Peru's largest airport in Lima on day 1 and meet at our starting and ending point in the community of Miraflores at 4pm to start our adventure. Our time here in Lima is spent exploring the highlights of the city including the rich history, the famous culinary scene, and the naturally beautiful coastline. Lima may not be on the list of the world's most wild gay communities, but there is plenty of nightlife and a very welcoming community in Miraflores.
On our second day we jet off into the Andes Mountains on a 90-minute flight to Cusco, then down the road into the Sacred Valley to spend two nights in the beautiful town of Yucay. The altitude here is over 2000 feet lower than Cusco so staying in the valley will assist with the feelings of the higher altitude compared to Cusco. Surrounded by history and natural beauty, our two nights here are an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the ancient times of the Incas who ruled over this area hundreds of years ago. The beauty of the area and the surrounding Inca ruins ensure this is an unforgettable stop in Peru. Included during your time here is a full day of exploring the ancient salt flats of Maras, the unique ancient agricultural site of Moray, and the historically significant mountain town of Ollantaytambo, complete with cliff-side ruins!
Our fourth day is a day that’s surely been in your mind for many years. We depart from the Sacred Valley in the morning on a 2 hour train journey through the Andes, winding along the Urubamba River. Before long we arrive in the mountain town of Aguas Calientes, names after the hot spring flowing nearby. From Aguas Calientes it’s only another 20 minutes by bus to the unforgettable mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu. Our first two hours here is spent exploring the ruins with our favorite local Peruvian guide, who was born and raised in the area and an expert on everything Machu Picchu. The rest of our day is spent soaking up the incredible site which was lost to the outside world for many centuries. Instead of rushing off the mountain to catch the train back out of town, we stay the night at the base of the mountain in Aguas Calientes, giving us what seems like Machu Picchu all to ourselves.
On day 5 we leave time for catching the sunrise at Machu Picchu or braving the hike up Wayna Picchu before jumping on the scenic afternoon train and heading back to Cusco. Our three-night stay in Cusco gives us time to visit many of the area’s ancient sites, taste the unique local food, take part in a hike, and even experience some gay nightlife way up in the Andes.
Day 8 is our only “long” travel day of the trip, starting in the morning with a 90-minute flight off the mountain, a quick transfer in Lima, and a 3 hour ride down the Pan-American Highway to the pelican-filled seaside town of Paracas. With golden sand dunes as far as the eye can see, islands full of penguins, a palm-treed oasis in the desert, wineries and bodegas galore, and the famous Nazca lines nearby, this is a completely different side of Peru that can’t be missed!
On the afternoon of our 11th day we travel back up the Pan-American highway to Lima where we’ve got one last evening together as a group in our base of Miraflores. This is our time to have one last feast together and grab some last-minute souvenirs before we all say “adios” and “hasta luego” to each other and Peru! All travelers are welcome to book their flights departing from Peru at any time on the 12th day.
We don't like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations and we're pretty sure you don't either! You work hard to go on vacation and we believe you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of each day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip. After rigorous wifi signal testing, fluffing pillows, and taking a shower or two, we've narrowed down our favorite properties. Check out our approved accommodation to see where we've stayed in the past and where we'll likely be staying on your trip.
LIMA: Innside Lima by Melia Miraflores
Located in the heart of Miraflores, Innside Lima's rooms offer city views, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minibars, as well as tea and coffeemaking equipment. There's a vibrant restaurant, a rooftop pool and bar, gym facilities and bike rentals.
CUSCO: Tierra Viva Cusco Centro
This property maintains the feeling of an antique residence built with stone, tiles, adobe and wood. The former residence of the Velasco Ordoñez family, it has been beautifully restored to become a boutique hotel in the heart of Cusco's historic center.
YUCAY: La Casona de Yucay
A grand, circa-1810 estate next to the Urubamba River, this charming hotel in the Sacred Valley is 2 minutes' walk from the Yucay Museo de Cultura Viva. La Casona de Yucay's restaurant uses locally-sourced, farm-grown ingredients for its meals. Features include hardwood floors, a relaxing sauna, beatifully maintained gardens and rooms with lots of character.
MACHU PICCHU: El Mapi (Aguas Calientes)
Set on a street lined with cafes and restaurants, this woodsy-chic hotel with views of a cloud forest has bright, modern rooms, a relaxed cafe, a sleek bar, and a serene spa. Perfectly located in the middle of Aguas Calientes town, just minutes from the train station.
PARACAS: Aranwa Hotel
Next to Paracas Bay, this premium waterfront hotel allows you to wake up to the sounds of birds and crashing. Each rooom offers ocean-view terraces, flat-screen TVs, minibars and complementary Wi-Fi. Other amenities include a restaurant and 3 bars, plus a spa, beach access and 2 outdoor pools. There's also a playground and a tennis court.
*Please note that due to availability, these exact hotels may not all be available during all DETOURS trips. However, we will always replace these with similar hotels, and will never downgrade.
This 12-day trip visits very diverse areas of the country. While the daytime is completely warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt even in the mountains, the evenings cool down to sweater-weather. Temperatures don't change much in Peru where instead of a 4-season climate, they only experience a dry season (April to November) and a wet season (December to March). It's a good idea to bring a couple items of warm clothing for those brisk mountain evenings, although the majority of your time will be nice and warm! Rain is not common in the season we operate in, but light rain gear is a good idea as a precaution.
Peruvians are very proud, friendly people and embody the passion for so many things that Latin people are famous for. Although English is very widely spoken, consider learning a few words of Spanish while you're here, we recommend starting off with “Hola” (hello), “Gracias” (thank you), and of course “Donde esta Machu Picchu?” (where’s Machu Picchu?)
Enjoy Peruvian food? It's even better in Peru! The cuisine here has recently been receiving worldwide attention for its incredible flavor and diversity. Beef, chicken, beans, chicharron, and flavorful mixed rice dishes can be found on almost every menu. Detours doesn't believe in limiting your choices by including all of your meals at pre-decided restaurants as part of the trip package. Instead, we include all of your breakfasts to start your day off, then encourage you to explore all of the different restaurant options available to you for lunch and dinner. This way you can eat when you want, where you want, with whomever you want, and spend what you want! Your trip leader definitely has their favorite spots so if you'd like some advice on the best in each location, just check with them.
Our advice is simple. Pack your bag, then take half of those things out and leave them back home. It’s common to hear people wishing they’d packed less stuff, but we’ve never heard anyone complain that they didn’t bring enough. Even if you realize you forget to pack some crucial item you can always pick up a replacement once you arrive in Lima. We'll include some trip-specific packing advice based on expected weather as part of our update email to you, sent 60 days prior to your trip.
Peru uses a mix of their own currency (Peruvian Soles) as well as US Dollars, although Soles is more common. In an effort to avoid bank fees, we suggest arriving to Peru with some local currency (around 1,000 PEN) as well as your ATM and credit cards just to be completely prepared. 100 Peruvian Soles is worth around $30 USD, so if your dinner bill costs 35 Colones that's only $10 USD!
Tipping isn’t a native Peruvian custom, however, it is always appreciated by local service staff. We suggest tipping for any services that go above and beyond expectations. That extra dollar or two on a dinner bill is very appreciated by the service staff. Our local guides during the trip are the exception to this, as their position has come to expect tips for a job well done.
We have pretty high standards when it comes to choosing our accommodations, and trust us, we’ve done plenty of room-sniffing, pillow-patting, and bathroom inspections to make sure we stay at quality spots. To be approved as a Detours accommodations provider, a guesthouse must: be locally owned (to support the local community), be in an amazing location (close to the hot spots), AND be gay-owned or gay-friendly. We won't be staying in 5-star Ritz-Carltons but we also won't subject you to anything we wouldn't want to stay in ourselves. Clean, comfortable, well-located spots that'll put a smile on your face, you can count on that!
All of our trip leaders are gay, and all certified leaders must undergo a rigorous training routine that includes deep-fried cricket eating, and impromptu dancing tests. Apart from these vital skills, we require our leaders to know their stuff really, really well. Underneath their fun and quirky facades, our trip leaders are experts and passionate about what they do. Don’t hesitate to ask them to teach you some Spanish or question them about a random statue you might see along the way. Their job is to help ensure that this is your trip of a lifetime by taking the hassle out of your trip and enabling you to experience everything you came to Peru for.
We do absolutely everything possible to avoid needing such a mundane awakening. A world without alarm clocks is one we want to be part of, and your “rise and shine” while in Peru should come from the sound of crashing waves or church bells in the distance. However, sometimes we are required to make early departures, but we do everything we can to minimize this.
For many people, 12 days in Peru just isn’t enough time. If you’re lucky enough to be able to stay longer, or if you decide to quit your job and become a beach bum in the South America for the rest of your life, we’d be happy to help you extend (or cancel!) your return flight. We’ve been all over the area, so don’t think twice about asking where to go or what to do after your Detours trip is complete. Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, more of Peru... many interesting destinations are close-by.
Our Detours groups are run with a maximum of 15 travelers. Ages of group members vary but around 90% of our travelers are in their 30's, 40's, and 50's. Whatever the age of the guys on our trips everyone's already got something in common, an exciting new experience in a new country! Each group is led by a Detours trip leader who is there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, allowing you to focus on having the time of your life!
The areas of Peru that we'll be visiting are quite open-minded and most people will be welcoming of homosexuality. That said, Peruvian culture is largely influenced by the Catholic church, and public displays of affection are generally frowned upon. In respect for their local culture we usually suggest keeping your excitement and affection for your partner to more private locations.
No problem! Don’t worry, lots of our travelers come solo and our trip will provide plenty of chances to meet great people both inside and outside of our group, including other solos. As far as your accommodations go, you’ve got two choices. We can either pair you up with another solo group member in a two-bed room for no extra charge, or you can have your own room for a reasonable surcharge.
Peru uses a "type A" and "type B" plug, the same as North America and several other places in the world. The voltage is 220V with 60 Hz frequency. These days, the majority of items that are plugged into an outlet are built to handle varying voltage and frequency levels, but just to be sure, we suggest checking your item for its accetable range
What's included? • All taxes • All road and rail transportation within Peru • Roundtrip flight between Lima and Cusco • Accommodations for your 12-day Detours experience • All full breakfasts • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu • 2 hour guided Machu Picchu tour • Full day Sacred Valley tour including Maras and Ollantaytambo • Welcome dinner / drinks in Lima • Group travel within Peru • Knowledgeable and fun Detours leader •
What isn't included? • Meals and drinks outside of those listed above • Activities outside of the those listed above • International Airfare • Optional gratuities •
Additional spending budget? Your big-ticket items are included through the trip, but you'll want to budget for additional spending such as additional meals, drinks, shopping, activities, etc. These costs can vary dramatically with differing personal habits but we suggest expecting to spend an additional $700 USD at the lower end for the more budget-conscious and $1100 USD at the higher end for the splurgers. We suggest arriving to Peru with approximately 1,000 local Peruvian Soles.
Our travelers love us, and you will too.
Preston P. - Canada
November 3, 2019
I had a great time with Detours in Peru in October 2019. Returned with many wonderful memories and photos of Peru, and the group of people I met on the trip were fantastic. Our trip leader was well organized, knowledgeable, and the trip allowed for a good mix of tour time and down time, where I never felt rushed from one place to another. I certainly recommend travelling with Detours and look forward to taking in more Detours trips in the future. 😃
Jake A. - USA
June 21, 2019
Just returned from Peru, my second Detours trip. Once again I am amazed by the organization and professionalism displayed by the Detours team. My BF and I feel that the cost was very fair as it included the cost of domestic Peru flights, trains and ground travel. Additionally, the lodging was AWESOME... very nice properties with friendly staff and amenities. The trip leader, James was also superb. If you are reluctant about "Gay Group Travel".... don't be, you will have an awesome time!
Ken H. - USA
May 30, 2019
My first group tour. My first trip to Peru. As a solo traveller I wondered about the possible restrictions and drama. Wrong! The arrangements were superb. The company (both Detours and travelling companions) was amazing. The tour guide, James Langill, could not have been more facilitative, engaged, engaging, supportive, and positive at all times. Not only would I recommend Detours, I have already booked South Africa for 2020. Bravo!
Ron V. - USA
October 30, 2018
It’s an adventure of a lifetime that you can’t get enough of... the moment I came back from Peru, I was planning my next adventure with Detours. Left with fond memories with newly found friends under the very able guidance of an amazing and engaging trip leader.
Steven B. - USA
August 4, 2018
My partner, Richard, and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Peru with Detours, my first Detours experience, his second. We had great weather for Machu Picchu, Cusco, Paracas and the Nasca Lines, enjoyed the hotels, from Lima to the Valle Sagrado, and experienced some excellent Peruvian food - even had a surprisingly wonderful cooking class (thanks Chris!) We managed the high altitudes well and enjoyed the challenges of all of our activities. It was an extremely active and fascinating tour, very well planned, and very diverse.
The people we met on the tour were an interesting group, with varied backgrounds and turned out to be great travel partners. We met several who we will continue to see, proud to call them friends.
Then there was our tour leader, James. What a excellent man. His energy, commitment to Detours and our successful travel experience, and kindness helped make it one of the best vacations I've ever had. He has a great sense of humor and an insightful awareness of the needs of his charges and he loves to travel, a love which boosted our appreciation of what we were undertaking.
I only corresponded with Miles but I felt taken care of in preparation for our trip thanks to him and the trip itself was superb - wonderfully executed.
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