Summary : This ultimate Peru adventure is a private, semi-escorted tour, with flexible departure days and superior accommodations, which has also been designed to ease the effects of altitude. Travel through the beautiful Sacred Valley before arriving at Machu Picchu. Continue your journey into the Amazon jungle, staying first at Refugio Amazonas then further up-river in the Tambopata Nature Reserve - an uninhabited 700,000 hectare region of pristine jungle. Stay four days at Tambopata exploring the many fascinating sights and sounds of the Amazon, including the colorful macaws, for which the center is known.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
$3,925 to $4,925
Transfer to the airport for flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, you will travel down into the Sacred Valley to visit the charming ruins at Pisaq, and then continue on to your hotel to freshen up. In the afternoon, you visit a private hacienda that opens its doors to select visitors who will be rewarded with a glimpse into the family's rich and intense past. Sample life in the country, learn about typical locally harvested products and admire the colorful gardens. The visit is capped off by a superb meal prepared with fresh produce from the plantation. After lunch, drive to Ollantaytambo, an impressive fortress and ancient town that defended Cusco from incursions from jungle tribes to the north. It stands at a strategic site at the northern end of the valley, where the river plunges steeply into the Amazon. B,L
Sol y Luna
Today, travel with your guide to the village of Chinchero. This typical Andean village is located in one of the most spectacular high plateaus with tremendous views of the Cordillera Vilcabamba Mountain range. You visit the village and the home of artist and master weaver Nilda Callañaupa. Peruvian textiles, recently believed to be a generation away from extinction, are making a surprising comeback, and the revival of the country's 2,000-year-old weaving techniques is largely due to Nilda Callañaupa, who works with six mountain villages to resurrect symbolic patterns and avoid the use of garish chemical dyes and synthetic yarns. Enjoy a highly educational weaving demonstration that will include wool spinning, natural dyes, traditional patterns and weaving techniques. Before continuing your exploration, enjoy a box lunch in the village of Chinchero.
After lunch, travel to the valley of Anta, near the village of Maras, to visit the salt mine of "Las Salinas." These impressive salt terraces on overhanging cliffs have been worked since the Inca times.
Sol y Luna
This morning, enjoy breakfast at Sol y Luna before you are transferred to the train station. Your guide will meet you on the train. Arriving mid-morning, you will have the option of freshening up at your hotel or heading straight to the ruins to begin your guided tour of this impressive archaeological wonder. As you wander through the maze of empty plazas, chambers and dwellings saddled atop steep mountainsides, you will be unable to resist your own speculations at the impenetrable mystery of these stones. Lunch is at the Sanctuary Lodge at the entrance of the ruins, and you will have the chance to re-enter the park after lunch. (Around 4 PM, the crowds will start to leave and you will likely have this magical place to yourself to enjoy at sunset!)
After your tour, descend to Aguas Calientes and enjoy dinner at your hotel. B,L,D
NOTE: Your guide will depart from Machu Picchu this afternoon, leaving you with instructions for getting back to the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel
Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge
This morning you may opt to continue your exploration of the famous citadel, explore the nearby town of Aguas Calientes or take advantage of the spa amenities at your hotel. This afternoon, you retrace your route to the city of Cusco by train. Our Peru representative meets you at the train station for transfer to Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco. B
NOTE: Today is a free day on your own at Machu Picchu; Entrance fee not included. Your bags are sent to the train station, but you will transfer there independently; you will have reserved seats for the train ride back to Cusco.
Casa Andina Private Collection - Cusco
This morning, fly to Puerto Maldonado, a bustling tropical frontier town situated at the confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers. After a brief tour of the town, depart on a 1-hour ride via Infierno Road, followed by a 30-minute boat journey in motorized canoe to Refugio Amazonas. Depending on the arrival time of the plane, you have your lunch either aboard the boats or upon arrival at Refugio Amazonas. During your voyage, look for bird species typical of the river or forest edge: Black Skimmer, Pied Lapwing, and several species of kingfishers and flycatchers.
Upon arrival at Refugio Amazonas, a comfortable 30-room lodge, enjoy time to unpack and unwind. Attend an orientation and complete briefing on the lodge and Eco-tourism Project before your afternoon activity, the canopy tower. For this activity, you visit a 35-meter scaffolding tower. From this excellent vantage point, enjoy spectacular views of the river, surrounding forest as well as colorful birds (i.e., parrots, toucans). A video about the forest of Tambopata is presented to you in the evening after dinner. L,D
Wake up at dawn for a visit to the Tres Chimbadas oxbow lake. After an early breakfast you depart for your boat ride and walk to the lakeshore. From here, take a long, easy canoe ride around the lake as you look for giant river otters, turtles, hoatzin, and wading birds.
Approaching noon, the animal activity decreases. You continue to travel up the Tambopata River for 3 to 4 hours into the pristine heart of the reserve. After the first hour you leave the final traces of human habitation behind as you cross the northern boundary of the 700,000 hectare, completely uninhabited nucleus of the Tambopata National Reserve. Differences in wildlife abundance will be noted immediately; look for macaws, kingfishers, capybaras, among others. Enjoy a boxed lunch on the boat.
You arrive at Tambopata Research Center in the early afternoon and are greeted by the Chicos, Tambopata's flock of semi-wild, rescued macaws. After your orientation session, hike the 1.5-mile Bamboo Trail, famous for an abundance of rare, endemic birds that live exclusively in this habitat. This trail is also home to the frequently found Howler and Dusky Titi monkeys. As you bird watch your way along the trail you arrive at the overlooks which are excellent places to observe canopy birds such as tanagers, jacamars, guans, and oropendolas. Return to Tambopata Research Center for dinner. Following dinner, you can participate in a walk through the forest to observe and photograph various frogs and colorful insects. B,L,D
Tambopata Research Center
At dawn, you cross the river to view the world's largest macaw clay lick where hundreds of parrots and macaws of up to 15 species congregate daily. This show continues until the macaws sense danger, when at that point they depart simultaneously in an explosion of sound and color. Around mid-morning, when the most intense clay lick activity is over for the day, you return to the Tambopata Research Center for breakfast.
After breakfast, you hike the 1.5-mile Ocelot Trail, which exemplifies the quintessential rainforest. Although at this time of day mammals and birds are not as active as in the early morning, you concentrate on the forest itself and discuss general rain forest ecology. This forest, which is estimated to be 200 to 300 years old, includes enormous Ceiba trees and Strangler figs and is home to several mammals such as Saddleback tamarins, Squirrel and Brown Capuchin Monkeys and Collared peccary.
You return to Tambopata for lunch and then embark on a 2-mile hike to the palm swamp, a nesting colony and preferred roost for Blue and Gold and Red-bellied Macaws. Nesting season is generally from October to March, but there are varying degrees of macaw activity year round. After a lazy afternoon with the macaws you hike back to the lodge for dinner. B,L,D
Tambopata Research Center
After your second visit to the macaw clay lick at dawn, you have breakfast before embarking on a hike on the Toucan Trail that visits terra firme forests. Visit the beautiful pristine creeks that wind their way through forested hills, in some cases following dry streambeds. After a long, easy hike, you return to the lodge for lunch.
Following lunch, you take a short five-minute boat ride to a small, drying oxbow lake and spend the afternoon on a platform in the middle of the pond to observe the bird life, which may include hoatzin, ibis, woodpeckers, chachalaca, parakeets, and numerous flycatcher species. You return to Tambopata Research Center for dinner and an optional second night outing. B,L,D
Tambopata Research Center
You wake up at dawn again to visit the macaw clay lick and then return for breakfast. The rest of your morning is spent walking a trail that passes through seasonally flooded forest, allowing for excellent opportunities to see wading birds and even mammals that look for these precious bodies of water to quench their thirst. This trail also reports excellent opportunities to spot howler monkeys and mixed flocks of birds. After lunch, you spend the afternoon in a challenging activity: Travel upriver for ten minutes, followed by a five-minute walk that takes you to a small stream that feeds the Tambopata River. At this stream, you find two 5-person canoes in which you paddle silently through the stream as you try your luck at fishing. For the fish lovers, the most common species in these waters is the piranha! Return to Tambopata in the evening for dinner and overnight. B,L,D
Tambopata Research Center
Wake up at dawn once again for a macaw clay lick visit; then return to the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast, take a short hike and enjoy one last activity before packing up and saying goodbye to the staff. Board the motorized canoe for your return ride to Refugio Amazonas. Arriving in mid-afternoon, relax and enjoy happy hour and dinner at Refugio. B,L,D
After an early breakfast, depart by boat back to the city of Puerto Maldonado, directly to the airport, in time for your flight back to Lima.
Hotel Upgrade Options
2013 Deluxe: $4,225 per person
Guests stay at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge on Day 4.
2013 Premium: $4,225 per person
Guests stay at Hotel Monasterio in Cusco on Days 5-6.
2013 Luxury: $4,925 per person
Guests stay at Miraflores Park OEH on Day 1, at the Sanctuary Lodge on Day 4, and at Hotel Monasterio in Cusco on Days 5-6.
NOTE: These trips fill quickly, hotel space is very limited.
Meals as indicated in itinerary, B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner; accommodation, based on double occupancy; all river transportation; scheduled land transportation; transfers to/from airport; scheduled excursions with English-speaking guide services; entrance fees.
International or domestic airfares; excess baggage charges; additional nights during the trip due to flight cancellations; international departure tax; tips; any meals not indicated in itinerary; alcoholic beverages or snacks; insurance of any kind; laundry; phone calls; radio calls or messages; items of personal nature.
Lima - Puerto Maldonado - Cusco - Lima: $500-$600 per person
Guayaquil - Lima (one way): $400-$500 per person
Quito - Lima (one way): $500-$800 per person