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My love for South America started when I was living in Lima, Peru, and family and friends came to visit. That year I went to Machu Picchu 5 times! I do not have one drop of Latin blood in me, which is painfully obvious if you see me dance, and yet without realizing it for the past 15 years South America has been my home
Latin America Specialist
- from $5,649 PP
- 9 Nights
- Year round
- 12 hours from London / 7 hours New York
Known as the “Land of the Incas,” Peru is not only home to one of the world’s most desirable destinations, the stunning ancient ruins of Machu Picchu nestled in the Andes, but a large swathe of the Amazon rainforest. This 10-day tour covers both, bringing you to the Sacred Valley which formed the heart of the Inca Empire, for an authentic look at traditional life in the region, and the remarkable “Lost City” before traveling to the jungle to witness its lush beauty and abundance of exotic wildlife. Enjoy opportunities to spot animals during the day and nocturnal creatures that come out after dark for an experience of a lifetime. Throughout your trip, you’ll take part in private tours led by expert guides to learn the stories behind the majestic places you’re witnessing, with transfers to and from the airports and hotels all included.
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- Meet native weavers and the animals that provide fine wool
- Two days of touring the Sacred Valley
- Two days to explore Machu Picchu, including a hike to the Sun Gate
- Half-day tour of Cusco: ancient ruins and remarkable art
- 3-night stay at an eco-lodge in the Amazon
- Choose from over a dozen Amazon excursions, including day and night tours
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Cusco: Peru Arrival & Awana Kancha Tour
Your Peru adventure begins upon your arrival to Cusco where you’ll be welcomed by your private driver for transfer to your hotel in the Sacred Valley, the heart of the Inca Empire. Along the way, you’ll stop for a tour of a weaving center and farm, Awana Kancha. This private project that includes 14 local native communities with weaving their principal activity, aims to keep the tradition of Andean weaving alive. You’ll meet native weavers, see the various styles of weaving and dress, learn about the harvesting of wool and dying techniques, and meet the guanacos, vicunas, alpacas, and llamas that produce the fine wool.
Day 2 Cusco: Full-Day Sacred Valley Tour
A full-day tour begins by visiting Pisac and its main square that hosts a bustling handicrafts market. A path from here meanders by agricultural terraces leading to the hilltop Incan citadel known as Pisac Archaeological Park with ancient temples and other structures along with spectacular views of Quitamayo Gorge and the surrounding valley. Continuing to the little town of Ollantaytambo, you’ll explore its vast archaeological site and fascinating ancient culture, dating back to pre-Columbian times. You’ll stroll the narrow streets that feel like a walk back in time, learn about the lives of the indigenous Quecha people, and discover the impressive ruins.
Day 3 Cusco: A Second Day of Discovery in the Sacred Valley
As the Sacred Valley has so much to offer, you’ll enjoy a second full-day tour with your private guide, with the first stop Chinchero. “The land of the rainbow” is not only known for its many rainbow appearances but its Sunday agricultural fair and fantastic textiles. Set on a plateau at 12,400 feet between the Sacred Valley and the highlands in a pre-Hispanic settlement, the community still maintains Quechuan traditions, including wearing traditional attire. Witness Incan terraces, a gorgeous colonial church, and a massive Incan wall with its 10 trapezoidal niches in the main plaza.
Day 4 Aguas Calientes: Vistadome to Aguas Calientes & the 'Lost City'
Leaving the Sacred Valley, you’ll transfer to the train station, boarding the Vistadome to Aguas Calientes with your guide traveling alongside you to reach Machu Picchu which sits at over 8,000 feet in elevation. Known as the ‘Lost City,’ it was built around 1450 in classical Inca style with polished dry-stone walls, abandoned just a century later, lying forgotten until it was rediscovered by historian Hiram Bingham in 1911. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, highlights are the Temple of the Sun, Intihuatana, and the Room of the Three Windows in the Sacred District. Overnight in Aguas Calientes.
Day 5 Aguas Calientes: Return to Machu Picchu
You’ll have another opportunity to explore more of Machu Picchu by embarking on a hike that nearly parallels the path that leads up the mountain, but it’s not as steep. Taking about 90 minutes to two hours each way gaining about 951 feet in altitude, you’ll reach the first viewpoint of the Incan city, the sun gate, or Inti Punku, witnessing the same stunning scene of those who take the challenging 4-day Inca Trail access. Afterward, you’ll head back via the Vistadome train to Poroy followed by a transfer to Cusco to check into your hotel.
Day 6 Cusco: Half-Day Tour of Cusco Sights
A half-day tour will bring you to many of the highlights in Cusco, the holy city of the Inca Empire, and its former capital. One of the most picturesque and interesting cities in all of Peru, witness the intriguing mix of contemporary mestizo culture, colonial, and pre-Columbian history as you make your way through. Your guide will bring you to the Temple of the Sun, Korikancha, which reveals the incredible skills the Incas had when it comes to stonework. You’ll also visit the Cusco Cathedral, built-in baroque style in the 17th-century. Today it exhibits priceless colonial works of art.
Day 7 The Amazon: Travel from Cusco to the Amazon via Puerto Maldonado
Take a private transfer to Cusco’s airport, catching your flight to Puerto Maldonado. Travel to the river port with an opportunity to explore the Inkaterra Butterfly House nearby. Then, hop on a boat for a ride to your lodge in the Amazon. Settle in, rest, and refresh with some tea before joining one of 14 different excursions. A guided walk along the trail system is highly recommended for an introduction to this exotic region with unique trees, remarkable bird, and insect life. Later, a Twilight River excursion can bring you to the nocturnal world and animals that come out at night, including caiman and capybaras.
Day 8 The Amazon: Your Choice of Activities
With such a wide range of activity options available, for the next two days, you can choose what you’d like to do most. Some of the most popular include visiting the Tambopata National Reserve. This wetland system includes an elevated boardwalk that travels over the rainforest swamps, allowing you to observe the transition of the forest ecosystem from dry to marshlands. Watch for tiny lizards that dart about the forest floor along with various mammals and colorful birds. Your knowledgeable guide to tell you more about the trees and the lush flora you’re seeing, their benefits, uses, and how they’ve adapted to the ecosystem.
Day 9 The Amazon: Choose Your Excursion
Another day to explore as you wish, you might visit a rainforest garden to learn about the region’s native trees, plants, and orchids. Find out how to identify orchids and their various parts as well as the history, legends, and uses of indigenous plants and other rainforest flora. Your guide will provide an in-depth explanation of how the trees and plants are used for so many things, not only natural medicines but to make native clothing accessories and construct buildings. Or walk the trails to Lake Sandoval followed by a canoe ride to view endangered giant river otters, macaws, red howler monkeys, and more.
Day 10 Departure: Lima via Puerto Maldonado
As they say, all good things must come to an end, but you’ll have the chance to enjoy one more experience. Hop on a boat for the 45-minute return along the Madre de Dios River to Puerto Maldonado. If you didn’t explore the Inkaterra Butterfly House, take the time to do so now as it includes many of Peru’s 3,700 different known butterfly species providing some outstanding photo-ops. Afterward, transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima. From here you can catch a connecting flight back home or embark on further travels – our travel experts will be happy to assist.
What's not Included
- As we have clients from all over the world. Our itineraries do not include flights. If you would like us to include flights in your trip, we are happy to do so. Please speak to your travel specialist at the planning stage to include them.
- Gratuities for local guides
- We strongly advise all guests purchase comprehensive travel insurance
- Visas if required
Let’s get started making this itinerary yours.
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