Travel from the neo-colonial white city of Arequipa and the remote villages and irrigated terraces of Colca to the imperial capital of Cusco. From Cusco’s narrow Inca and colonial streets, we will journey to the wide-open spaces of the Sacred Valley and then to the “lost city” of Machu Picchu via a spectacular train ride. Our trip ends in the Amazon basin, the most biologically diverse place on Earth and a chance to relax in our comfortable rainforest Ecolodge.
Transfer to the hotel in Lima.
Flight to Arequipa, 1000 km south of Lima; morning free to become accustomed to the altitude (2,380 meters): After lunch the city tour of Arequipa includes the Jesuit church and San Francisco church, as well as the unique "city-within-a-city" which is the 16th century Santa Catalina convent.
An early start for the journey to the Colca Canyon, five hours from Arequipa: We leave the valley and climb to the road's highest point at 4,450 meters. In the afternoon you will be free to explore the village of Chivay on foot and visit the local thermal baths.
We leave Chivay to travel to Cruz del Condor to observe condors as they rise from the valley floor on the morning thermals. Later in the day we will have a chance to visit the typical villages of Tapay, Pinchillo, Maca and Yanque, arriving in Arequipa in the late afternoon.
A late morning flight to Cusco; afternoon free to relax and get used to the altitude (3400 meters) or explore the historic centre on foot. The evening can be spent enjoying the fine local Novo Andean cuisine and a folkloric show.
Morning free to wander the city, shop for souvenirs or simply relax in a balcony café overlooking the main square: After lunch we will tour the city, visiting the cathedral and Qoricancha - the Inca Temple of the Sun. From the city we will go on to explore the Inca remains in the hills around Cusco. The Saqsaywaman Archaeological Park is home to the great fortress temple of Saqsaywaman itself, as well as the ritual baths of Tambomachay, the temple of Qenqo and the fortified construction known as Puka Pukara. In the evening you will have the opportunity to enjoy Cusco's fine Novo Andean cuisine -based on traditional local ingredients and international gourmet techniques- and a show featuring Andean music or dance.
Today will be spent in the Sacred Valley of the Incas with its breathtaking scenery, ancient ruins, colonial villages and traditional markets. The quiet village of Pisaq is home to a colorful market and high above it there stand the ruins of the Inca ceremonial site of the same name. At the far end of the valley, Ollantaytambo is the only remaining example of Inca urban architecture. We will spend the night in our valley hotel with its typical colonial architecture and quiet village atmosphere.
From Ollantaytambo we take the train to Machu Picchu on what is considered one of the world's most spectacular train rides. We will have the rest of the day to explore Machu Picchu's streets, temples, palaces and residential areas in the company of an expert guide, before returning to Cusco on the afternoon train, arriving in time for a free evening in the city.
The Amazon rainforest produces 20% of the world's oxygen and 10% of the world's freshwater flows along its river systems and into the Atlantic Ocean. Of the species that exist in the Amazon more than 25,000 plants have been identified, as well as hundreds of species of birds and 20,000 animals.
The Tambopata National Reserve (TNR) covers an area of 274,690 hectares and borders the the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, forming a protected area of 1091416 hectares. The many studies of the fauna and flora along the Tambopata River reveal an incredible abundance of life forms. The ecosystems of this part of southeast Peru are the most diverse on the planet, and within the territory of our Ecolodge we are able to offer our guests endless opportunities for the observation of the rainforest's diverse fauna and flora.
The Tambopata Ecolodge is situated on the banks of the Tambopata River in the heart of the Tambopata National Reserve (TNR). The remoteness and tranquility of our lodge make for a richly rewarding visit to the rainforest. But, with a location just four hours from Cusco (a thirty- minute commercial flight, transfer to the river port and a three-hour boat ride to the lodge), our Ecolodge is one of the most accessible rainforest destinations in Latin America.
Flight to Puerto Maldonado and journey to the lodge: You will be met at the airport by your naturalist guide and transferred to a dugout canoe for the trip up the Tambopata River to the lodge. The Tambopata Ecolodge is situated in the heart of the Tambopata National Reserve. The remoteness and tranquility of our lodge make for a richly rewarding visit to the rainforest. In the late afternoon you will set off for an introductory walk into the forest behind the lodge. Frequently seen mammals on this trail are saddle-back tamarinds, brown capuchins and agoutis.
A family of giant otters lives in the vicinity of the lake and are often observed. Birds abound, especially rufescent tiger- herons, great egrets, wattled jacanas, hoatzin, the noisy donacobius and many others. The afternoon is for exploring the forest close to the lodge (with or without your guide), relaxing and bathing in the cool stream beside the lodge, or visiting our tree platforms.
After a short boat ride downriver to the trail head, you embark on a trail to a hidden lake. At the lake it is possible to spot elusive black caiman and giant otters. The afternoon is free for relaxation and bathing.
A dawn start is required for the canoe trip back to Puerto Maldonado. Look out for the early morning wildlife, which is particularly active at this time. Your guide will deal with all the formalities at the airport prior to your departure. (Flight to Cusco or Lima)