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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 $5,079 PP
- 10 Nights
- Year round
- 12 hours from London / 7 hours New York
This 11-day trip combines two incredible adventures into one, exploring the mystical Amazon River and the region’s abundant wildlife on a river cruise and the wonder of Machu Picchu. You’ll spend three nights on the riverboat and a week taking in the wonders of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, stepping into the shoes of Indiana Jones. It all begins by flying into Cusco, Peru, taking you from the pinnacle of the fascinating Inca civilization to the remote jungle, while enjoying luxuries throughout. Discover rich culture and history as you meet with local villagers who are keeping ancient traditions alive and enjoy private tours led by expert guides for an in-depth understanding of it all. Accommodation is 5-star all the way, from high-end hotels with lavish spas to the riverboat with handmade Peruvian artifacts, a sundeck with a plunge pool, and suites with panoramic windows for taking in the jungle views.
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- 7 nights exploring the Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu
- 3 nights cruising the Amazon River
- Luxury accommodation throughout
- Private transfers
- Expert-led tours
- Explore rich culture & tradition, including Andean weaving
- Discover exotic wildlife like monkeys, sloths, & parrots
- Opportunities to kayak & paddleboard in the Amazon
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Urubamba: Arrival into Cusco with an Awana Kancha Tour En-Route
This exciting journey begins by flying into Cusco. While you’ll stay at a luxurious resort in Urubamba, a stop will be made to get to know some of the region’s ancient traditions at Awana Kancha, a “living museum of the Andes.” The highlight for many is the opportunity for encounters with all four camelid species: llamas, guanacos, alpacas, and vicunas. They’ve provided clothing, companionship, and more to people here for more than 5,000 years. You can watch the local Quechuan women demonstrate their ancient techniques, weaving by hand with looms while a guide explains dying methods and the entire process.
Day 2 Urubamba: A Tour of the Sacred Valley
You’ll enjoy a full day of touring with a knowledgeable guide that starts with a visit to Pisac. Explore the handicraft market in the town’s main square, perhaps picking up gifts or souvenirs, before taking an easy hike to Inca Ruins. Discover the Sun Temple, Inti Watana, water fountains, altars, baths, and a ceremonial platform. The next stop is the Inca town of Ollantaytambo with its fortress and temple ruins. You’ll visit the ceremonial center that sits atop the terraces providing magnificent views of the surroundings and learning more about the lives of the Quecha people before returning to your hotel.
Day 3 Urubamba: Exploring More of the Sacred Valley
You’ll get another full-day tour of the Sacred Valley departing from your accommodation to the town of Chinchero, located at 12,400 feet in elevation between the Sacred Valley and the highlands in a pre-Hispanic settlement. The Inca believed it to be the birthplace of the rainbow which led to its nickname, “The land of the rainbow.” The multicolored arch often appears in the sky but there are many other sights to behold in this typical Andean village. You’ll see picturesque colonial-era churches, a huge Incan wall, Incan terraces, and people that still maintain the Quechuan traditions – they even wear the traditional dress.
Day 4 Aguas Calientes: A Discovery of Machu Picchu
Take a transfer to the train station, boarding the Vistadome to Aguas Calientes which lies at the foot of the Machu Picchu Mountain. A guide will travel alongside you to reach the remarkable 15th-century ruins of the Inca citadel. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s a true masterpiece of engineering, constructed with polished dry-stone walls. It was used for only about a century before being abandoned, largely hidden to the outside world until 1911 when it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham. Your guide will tour you around, explaining the various buildings.
Day 5 Cusco: Continue Exploring Machu Picchu
Today you’ll continue your explorations of Machu Picchu by hiking to Inti Punku, the sun gate, which sits at nearly 9,000 feet in elevation. This is the same viewpoint that hikers on the classic 4-day Inca Trail first reach for a view of the ruins, but it will only take you 1.5 to 2 hours, with about a 951-foot elevation gain. This was once a control gate for those who entered or left the holy Inca city, as it’s believed only the empire’s elite were welcomed in. After your trek, you’ll board the Vistadome train to Poroy Station, taking a transfer to your hotel in Cusco.
Day 6 Cusco: Sightseeing in Cusco
Enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire with its interesting blend of pre-Columbian, colonial history, and contemporary mestizo culture. It defines an Andean capital, a place where you’ll discover many unforgettable sights like the baroque-style 17th-century Cusco Cathedral which displays priceless works of colonial art. Koricancha, the Temple of the Sun, is especially impressive, revealing the remarkable abilities of the Inca’s stonework. You might spend the rest of the day taking advantage of the facilities at your luxury accommodation. A relaxing spa treatment is ideal before a day of travel tomorrow.
Day 7 Lima: Travel from Cusco to Peru’s Capital City
This morning you’ll say farewell to Cusco, transferring to the airport for your flight to Lima, the capital of Peru. You’ll have the rest of the day to explore on your own, with everything from the modern, including an up-and-coming art scene, to a rich pre-Colombian heritage. There are sweeping ocean views to take in and beautifully landscaped parks to stroll. Renowned as a “foodie” city, the culinary scene is booming. To fuel your exploits, you’ll also find nearly endless restaurants with talented chefs that serve creative dishes inspired by the wide variety of native ingredients.
Day 8 The Amazon: Riverboat Cruise
Leaving Lima, a private transfer brings you back to the city’s airport for a flight to Iquitos where the crew of your riverboat will welcome you. From here, you’ll travel in a comfortable, private vehicle to the small town of Nauta that sits along the Marañon River where your vessel awaits. After boarding, you might want to head to the third deck for panoramic views from the observation area. The onboard naturalist guide will provide an overview of what you can expect as the riverboat navigates the water. Keep an eye out for monkeys, colorful birds, sloths, and dolphins before taking in a glorious Amazon sunset.
Day 9 The Amazon: Exploring Las Palmas, Paddling, & a Nature Walk
Start your morning early, with sunrise an ideal time to watch for birds. Heading out on skiffs, you’ll explore Las Palmas, known for its multiple parrot species and other birds. You might spot the area’s famous hoatzins and occasionally sloths. Cruising the Pucate and Yanayacu rivers, pink dolphins may be seen. You’ll have the chance to get out on the water in a kayak or on a paddleboard to immerse yourself in this extraordinary scene. The afternoon brings a nature walk in Amazon Natural Park to learn about the many medicinal plants, and you’ll visit a traditional village, meeting with a shaman.
Day 10 The Amazon: More Wildlife Spotting, Piranha Fishing, & a Village Visit
Cruising through the Yanayaquillo creeks, a protected zone in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, your guide will point out the area’s biodiversity. Look for dolphins as it’s a popular spot for them to feed. You’ll get to try your hand at piranha fishing too. Later, heading down Marañon River to Piraña Caño, you can explore by skiff or kayak searching for birds and monkeys while listening to the sounds of the jungle. You may have the chance to meet some of the local villagers who’ve lived in the area for generations, including an arts and craft market run by the community’s women.
Day 11 Disembarkation: Meet Baby Manatees & Departure Flight
After reaching Nauta’s port, it will be time to disembark. The ground crew will bring you to Iquitos in a private vehicle but along the way, you’ll enjoy one last activity: a visit to the Rescue & Rehabilitation Center of River Mammals (ACOBIA). Here you can meet baby manatees, learn more about them and why they’re now an endangered species. You’ll even be able to feed and pet the friendly animals. Continue to Iquitos airport where land staff will be waiting with your boarding passes and assist you at check-in. You’ll catch a flight to Lima, connecting to your return flight home.
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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