Day 1: Arrive Lima. Airport reception and transfer to your hotel. Overnight accommodations at the new (opened June 2007) Hotel Costa del Sol Ramada Lima, with daily buffet breakfast included. Conveniently close to the airport, this four star hotel features 130 rooms, restaurant, bar, business center, wireless internet, spa, and beauty salon. Includes: (B).
Day 2: Lima – Puerto Maldonado - Amazon Basin. Proceed on your own to the National Aiport (located across the street from your hotel). Fly to Puerto Maldonado and take a 2-hour motorized canoe trip to Posada Amazonas on the Bajo Tambopata River. Puerto Maldonado is situated at the confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers and is a bustling tropical frontier town. Its principal activities are gold mining, collecting Brazil nuts, extracting timber, agriculture and ecotourism. After a brief survey of the town depart on the 2-hour boat trip by motorized canoe to a lodge on the Bajo Tambopata River.
During the voyage look out for bird species typical of the river or forest edge such as: Black Skimmer, Pied Lapwing, Capped Heron, Horned Screamer, Bat Falcon, and several species of kingfishers, swallows and flycatchers. Posada Amazonas is a comfortable, unobtrusive 23-room lodge owned jointly by Rainforest Expeditions and the Ese'eja native Community of Tambopata. All rooms have private bathrooms with cold water. There is no electricity at the lodge. You will receive a short orientation and a complete briefing of the lodge and the Ese'eja Ecotourism Project over dinner. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Posada Amazonas. Rise at dawn to view the spectacular show of color at the parrot clay lick down river. Hike a short trail to Tres Chimbadas lake and take a leisurely canoe ride to spot giant river otters, turtles, hoatzin, and wading birds. Ascend a 30 meter tower with an internal wooden staircase for superb observation of a variety of birds including parrots, toucans and macaws. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Posada Amazonas – Puerto Maldonado - Cuzco. After an early breakfast return to Puerto Maldonado for your flight to Cuzco (10,750 ft), the oldest continuously inhabited city in South America and capital of the Inca Empire. Overnight accommodations at the centrally located Posada del Inca Hotel, or for an additional charge, upgrade to the Hotel Monasterio. After settling in set off on a tour of Cuzco and the nearby Inca ruins.
Cuzco, the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent, was the capital of the Inca Empire and is considered by many Quechua peoples to be the spiritual center of the world. Much of colonial Cuzco was built on Inca foundations, and your guide will point out Inca stonework along the many streets. Visit the main square, the Cathedral, Santo Domingo Church, as well as a first introduction to Inca stonework at the ruins of Puka-Pukara, Qenqo, Tambo Machay, and the renowned fortress of Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cuzco and the surrounding valley. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Pisac and Ollantaytambo. This morning, depart with your guide for a full-day excursion to the village and ruins of Pisac located 20 miles from Cuzco. After exploring the ruins you will visit a colorful Indian market where you'll be able to trade with locals for a variety of handicrafts, including woolen sweaters and ponchos. Lunch will be served in Urubamba, followed by a tour of the town and fortress of Ollantaytambo located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 6: Cuzco – Machu Picchu. Set off on a scenic four hour trip through the Urubamba Valley, followed by a 20-minute bus ride up to the breathtaking "Lost City of the Incas"- Machu Picchu. Set in the saddle of a mountain 1,000 feet above the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu escaped ransacking by the Spaniards. Explore the walls, stairways, temples and terraces with your guide. For the more energetic, a moderate 2-mile hike up to the Sun Gate offers fabulous views overlooking this ancient wonder. Overnight at Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, or for an additional charge, upgrade to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, located adjacent to the ruins. Dinner and breakfast buffet included. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Machu Picchu – Cuzco. Enjoy a full morning visit to the citadel and return to Cuzco in the afternoon. Overnight accommodations at the Posada del Inca Hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Cuzco – Puno. Depart by motorcoach for Puno. Along the way, you will visit Andahuayillas (with its main church known as the "Peruvian Sistine Chapel"), Raqchi (with its temple to the God Viracocha), and the Pucara Ruins. You will be met at the Puno bus station and transferred to your hotel. Overnight accommodations at the Sonesta Posada del Inca Puno. Sitting on the scenic shores of Lake Titicaca, this new hotel boasts panoramic views of the lake and a warm ambiance that reflects traditional Peruvian culture - 2 nights. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 9: Taquile Island Boat Tour. This morning depart on a full-day excursion to Taquile Island, located 28 miles east of Puno in Lake Titicaca. On the way, you will visit the floating "totora" islands of the Uro Indians, ancient inhabitants of Lake Titicaca. The island, inhabited by 1,500 Quechua-speaking Indians, is world famous for its hand weavings and an ancient communal way of life. You’ll spend the rest of the day exploring the island before returning to Puno in the late afternoon. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 10: Puno – Lima. Transfer to Juliaca Airport for your flight to Lima. Airport reception and transfer to your Lima hotel. Overnight at the Hotel Jose Antonio, located in Miraflores, breakfast included. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 11: Nazca Lines - Paracas. Early this morning you will be picked-up at your Lima hotel and depart by private vehicle for Ica, located 186 miles south of Lima. Ica is Peru's principal grape-growing region. From Ica, you'll depart on a 70-minute round-trip flight over Ica, Palpa and the mysterious Nazca markings. You'll marvel at the huge birds and animals, geometrical lines resembling landing fields, and other figures.
In the afternoon, visit the Huacachina Lagoon, a lush oasis in the dunes, and take a tour of the Ica Regional Museum with its fascinating collection of mummies, pottery and textiles from the Paracas and Nazca cultures. Afterward, you'll depart for the beautiful oasis town of Paracas. Overnight at the Hotel Paracas, breakfast included. Includes: (B).
Day 12: Ballestas Islands – Lima. After breakfast, you'll enjoy a yacht cruise to the Ballestas Islands, inhabited by thousands of guano birds and sea lions. On the way to the islands, look back at the mainland at Paracas' gigantic candelabra on the cliff overlooking the bay. Afterward, return to Paracas and visit Lagunillas, in the Paracas National Reserve. This afternoon you will return to your Lima by private vehicle, stopping for lunch at San Jose in Chincha, a beautiful colonial hacienda built during the 17th-century. Transfer to the Lima international airport for your departing flight. Includes: (B).
Note: All itineraries are privately guided, and may be modified to suit personal travel dates, interests and budgets.
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