Our Amazon and Andes Odyssey does not compromise on adventure. Fly into the remote Amazon Tambopata Nature Reserve for four days, and experience extensive nature exploration. Then head up to Cusco in the Andes for four days of exploration at sites such as Machu Picchu, the Urubamba Sacred Valley, Qenko, Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo. This is a perfect trip for travelers who want to see the best of Peru in a short amount of time.
Day 1: Lima. Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Lima is Peru's capital, and is a mainly modern city situated on the coastal desert. If you have time, you can explore the city’s museums, churches, and colonial homes.
Day 2: Lima/ Puerto Maldonado/ Refugio Amazonas. Transfer to the airport in the morning for your flight to Puerto Maldonado. You will be met and transferred to the Tambopata River port in Puerto Maldonado. Situated at the confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers, Puerto Maldonado is a bustling, booming tropical frontier town. Its principal activities are gold mining, Brazil nut collecting, timber extraction, agriculture, and ecotourism. You will be met at the airport, and after a brief stop at our local office (where you may leave extra luggage if necessary) you depart on a 30-minute drive to the Infierno Community River Port. From here, you will embark on a 2 1/2- to 3-hour boat journey by motorized canoe to Refugio Amazonas. You'll have a boxed lunch aboard the boat.
During the voyage you may see a number of different bird species, such as the black skimmer, the pied lapwing, the capped heron, the jabiru stork, the roadside hawk, and several species of kingfishers, swallows, and flycatchers. When you arrive at the lodge, you will have time to unpack and unwind. You'll have a short orientation and a complete briefing on the lodge before dinner. After dinner this evening, you will head out with your guide to search for caimans. Daily activities at the Amazon Lodge are subject to change and the exact program may differ from what is listed here. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Refugio Amazonas. You'll be up at dawn again for a visit to the oxbow lake. After an early breakfast, you depart on a 2-hour hike to the Sachavacayoc Lake shore. From here you take a long, easy canoe ride around it. Look for giant river otters, turtles, hoatzin, and wading birds. Giant river otters can be seen at the lakes on many of the visits. Afterwards, return to the lodge for lunch before embarking on your afternoon outing. In the afternoon you will visit the community’s farm and ethnobotanical garden. From this little center, the community has been registering the uses of medicinal plants from elders as well as planting, producing, and distributing them for over ten years.
Hike the trails around the center with one of the residents who will explain to you the everyday uses of forest resources in medicine, construction, food, and fiber. Later this afternoon, you will visit a beautiful old growth patch of Brazil nut forest that has been harvested for decades (if not centuries), where the precarious remains of a camp used two months a year by Brazil nut gatherers can still be experienced. Your guide will be demonstrating the whole process of the rainforest's only sustainably harvested product from collection through transportation to drying. After dinner, you may wish to join an optional night walk to look for amphibians and insects. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Refugio Amazonas. Prepare to be up at dawn this morning for a visit to a small parakeet clay lick. Dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of blue-headed parrots, orange-cheeked parrots, cobalt-winged parakeets, and sometimes even the rare rock parakeet, congregate here on clear days to ingest clay. This congregation creates a riotous and colorful wildlife spectacle where the greens, oranges, reds, and blues of the parrots dance around the bank competing for their choice of clay.
Next, you will visit the peccary clay lick, where wild rainforest pigs show up in herds of five to twenty animals to eat clay. Other wildlife that you may spot are deer, guan, and parakeets. When you are done, you will return to the lodge for lunch before embarking on your afternoon outing: the canopy tower. In this activity, you will visit a 35 meter/100 foot scaffolding tower. The tower is built so that you can safely climb using the internal staircase with verandas on each side, and it allows you to rest on platforms present every 6 feet. From the top, you not only get spectacular views of the river and the surrounding forest, but also excellent opportunities to observe birds from the canopy including parrots, toucans, and macaws. After dinner, you can enjoy a lecture prepared to highlight a particular project, conservation threat, or research topic of the Tambopata National Reserve. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Puerto Maldonado/ Cusco. This morning, return by motorized dugout canoe to Puerto Maldonado. Transfer to the airport for a spectacular flight over the rain forest to Cusco, high in the Andes near 11,000 ft, where you will be met and transferred to your local hotel. Enjoy an easy afternoon walking tour of the ancient city and the four extraordinary nearby ruins, Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Puca Pucara and Tambomachay. From the Plaza de Armas, you can visit many of the city’s historical sites, see Incan stone walls serving as the foundations of Spanish architecture and the cathedral built atop the ruins of an Incan temple. Cusco was the head of the Incan Empire, and was built in the shape of a puma. The city itself is the puma’s body, and the enormous Sacsayhuaman ruins represent the head and teeth.
The largest and most impressive of Sacsayhuaman’s original rocks are still in place, though only about 20% of the entire site remains today. Qenko, meaning zig-zag, consists of a large limestone rock covered with carvings with mysterious caves and alters below, and zig-zag walls and channels thought to have been used for ritual sacrifices. Puca Pucara, or red fort, is a small site that appears red when viewed in the right light. Tambo Machay, another small site, is known locally as “El Bano del Inca”, or the Incan bath, as it has beautiful ceremonial stone fountains and bathing pools. For lunch and dinner, enjoy the variety of great places to eat in the city. Overnight in Cusco. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Pisac Market and Ollantaytambo. Spend the day visiting the Sacred Valley, including the picturesque market at Pisac. Pisac is famous for its traditional Sunday market where locals barter for food, clothing, animals and other supplies. It is open everyday, and you can always find many souvenirs of local textiles and crafts no matter what day of the week you visit. Continue down the Urubamba Valley to Ollantaytambo. Ollanta, as it is also called, is remembered as one of the few places that the Spanish lost a major battle during their conquest. It is 200 steps straight up the stone stairway to the top of the huge Incan fortress, which offers great views. The unfinished temple at the top was still being built when the Spanish eventually conquered the area. This is also a good site to see Incan city planning in the town below: each cancha (block) had one entrance to the central courtyard, from which individual homes were entered. Stay overnight in Ollanta. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Ollanta/ Machu Picchu. After breakfast, take the 1 ½-hour Vistadome train ride from Ollanta to Machu Picchu, the 'lost citadel' of the Incas. From the station at Aguas Calientes it’s another 30 minutes (5 miles) by bus up to the entrance of the site. Enjoy an afternoon guided tour of the ruins with time afterwards for individual exploration. Be sure to read about Machu Picchu in advance to fully appreciate your guide's expertise. Stumbled upon by accident in 1911, it remains a mysterious site, as there are no Spanish records, Incan legends, or oral histories. Elegant ornamental stonework hints at the possibility of Machu Picchu's importance as a ceremonial center. Overnight at a lovely lodge in the cloud forest near Aguas Calientes. (Upgrade to the Sanctuary Lodge, additional $275pp double/$450 single per night.) The elevation at Machu Picchu is 7,900 feet.
One-Day Inca Trail Trek Option - For those with some interest in light trekking, we offer the one day Inca Trail Trek. Take the train towards Machu Picchu and disembark at kilometer marker 104 to cross the hanging bridge to the Chachabamba site. After a brief visit, begin a 3-4 hour ascent to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, an important ritual site. The Inca Trail cuts across the ridge above Machu Picchu to finally reach the Gate of the Sun for your first awe-inspiring glimpse of Machu Picchu. Total hiking time is about 6 hours. Bookings must be made at least 90 days in advance. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Machu Picchu/ Cusco. Rise early and explore the ruins at your own pace. You will have the option to climb the steep path to Huayna Picchu for a spectacular view of the ruins. You might also take some time to shop at the Machu Picchu market in Aguas Calientes or enjoy a walk in the cloud forest from your lodge. This afternoon, take the 4-hour ride back to Cusco on the Vistadome train through the spectacular scenery of the Urubamba Valley. You will be met at the station and transferred to your local hotel.
Day 9: Cusco/ Lima/ Onward. This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met and transferred to your hotel dayroom. You may have the opportunity to enjoy a city tour of Lima, and later you will be transferred to the airport for your international flight to the U.S. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
South America Peru History Whiz Archeology/History
Email it to a friend:
Click here to email this vacation to a friend