CUZCO, MACHU Picchu, AND AMAZON

Peru is a heady mix of ancient and modern, indigenous and European. Five centuries ago the most advanced empire in the New World, the Inca, and the most advanced in the Old World, the Spanish collided and the result has been a centuries long melding of cultures and peoples. While not always evenhanded and fair, the result has created a remarkable and fascinating land of aesthetic, cultural, and culinary splendors. Visitors to Peru can feast their senses on Inca architecture, the beauty and intricacy of which leaves one wondering, 'how did they do this?' And fortunately we have the team to answer these questions. The Spanish colonial architecture will also dazzle. Peru's natural beauty is on display at almost every turn, as we travel from the Andes to the valleys and onward to the Amazon basin. Peru is newly acknowledged as a culinary capital, and we have ample opportunity to samples the many specialties. Our Peru team is expert in their country and it is our aim to provide you with a fun filled rich experience so you depart with an understanding and appreciation of this astonishing country.

DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

DAY 1: TUESDAY, OCT 20

Lima to Cuzco

Meet at Lima airport for 1.5-hour flight to Cuzco. Upon arrival, we will be met by our guide and taken to the hotel. Cuzco was the capital of the Inca Empire and the Spanish then used Cuzco as their administrative center, thus the city is built on Inca foundations with Spanish architecture atop these massive Inca walls. The fusion of the 2 makes this a most fascinating city. Its relatively small scale makes it a pleasant city to explore on foot. Many of the significant attractions are just minutes from our hotel. We'll have lunch and then a walking tour of central Cuzco. Welcome to dinner in the evening.

Overnight at Palacio Del Inka.

(LUNCH, DINNER)

DAY 2: WEDNESDAY, OCT 21

Cuzco city tour, in and around town

While one could just absorb the history, scenery and vibe of Cuzco by remaining at the hotel, we have a day planned to take you to the most major sites near town. We drive short distances to visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, built from massive stones carved and fitted together with impeccable precision, and still in exquisite condition all these centuries later. We visit the equally impressive sites of Puka Pukara, Qenko, and Tambomachay, returning to Cuzco for late lunch. Afternoon and evening free. 

Overnight at Hotel Palacio del Inka.

(BREAKFAST, LUNCH)

DAY 3: THURSDAY, OCT 22

Cuzco to Sacred Valley

Morning drive to Pisac in the Sacred Valley. In Pisac we visit the Pisac ruins, considered to be some of the most impressive, with their variety of Inca architectural styles. The local market famed for handicrafts and items of local interest is also on our agenda. We continue on to Urubamba where we stop for lunch, and then continue to our destination, Ollantaytambo where we spend the night.

Overnight at Hotel El Albergue.

(B,L)

DAY 4: FRIDAY, OCT 23

Explore Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is a charming small town (considered the best-preserved Inca town), with its narrow streets of massive Inca stone foundations and Spanish structures atop these. We explore Ollantaytambo on foot and then make a short hike to the Inca temple and fortress that towers above the town. Late afternoon to relax. 

Overnight at Hotel El Albergue.

(B)

DAY 5: SATURDAY, OCT 24

Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu

We board the train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of the mountain where Machu Picchu is located. The 2-hour ride is along the racing river as the gorge narrows, with dramatic scenery everywhere. Arrive and transfer to hotel. Lunch followed by exploration of hotel grounds and gardens and the opportunity to either relax or wander the streets of Aguas Calientes. 

Overnight at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.

(B,D)

DAY 6: SUNDAY, OCT 25

Machu Picchu

A short 20-minute drive brings us to the mountain top citadel of Machu Picchu, considered one of the wonders of the world. Its exact purpose is unknown, but it is often thought to have been a winter retreat for the Inca nobility, and it was most certainly a holy city as well, as evidenced by the number of shrines. It is an architectural masterpiece in every sense of the word, from its aesthetics to its engineering, to its ability to seemingly float within the existing landscape. We have the day to explore and learn about its history and soak up the ambiance of this one of a kind site. 

Overnight at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.

(B,D)

DAY 7: MONDAY, OCT 26

Machu Picchu to Cuzco

Mid-morning train back to Ollantaytambo, where we stop for lunch, and then drive to the salt mines of Salineras, in use since Inca times, and the nearby Inca agricultural site of Moray. While both sites have their utilitarian uses, both are also very beautiful and fascinating. Late afternoon arrival in Cuzco. 

Overnight at Palacio del Inka.

(B)

DAY 8: TUESDAY, OCT 27

Day to explore Cuzco

We have full day in Cuzco and will spend the time making a walking tour to the lesser visited (but none the less fascinating sites). We also explore the markets and some of the traditional neighborhoods. This is your opportunity to see another side of Cuzco. Or you may opt to shop, relax, or just soak up the Cuzco vibe on your own. 

Overnight at Palacio del Inka.

(B)

DAY 9: WEDNESDAY, OCT 28

Cuzco to Manu

We have a 4:00 a.m. departure and a long day's drive. However, this journey is considered one of the most dramatic in terms of scenery in all of Peru. From Cuzco, we climb to the Pirhuayani Pass at 15,500 feet where we stop to admire the Andean lakes and glacier-clad peaks. The descent takes us by herds of alpacas and llamas eventually descending into temperate and then tropical forest and finally to the Amazonian lowlands and the village of Santa Rosa where we board a boat to cross the river, where another waiting vehicle takes us on 45-minute drive to Boca Colorado to journey upstream 2.5-hours on the Madre de Dios River.  We'll have breakfast and lunch along the way as we observe the river and forest and some unusual wildlife. We arrive at our destination; Tambo Blanquillo Private Reserve, located in a pristine forest adjacent to Manu National Park. An afternoon stroll to a nearby lake where you can kayak on your own or board a paddle catamaran and have guides row you across the water. 

Overnight at Tambo Blanquillo Private Reserve.

(B,L,D)

DAY 10: THURSDAY, OCT 29

Wildlife viewing: clay licks

We awaken early to be transported to one of the most important macaw clay licks in the world. Macaws are large colorful parrots, they consume clay to regulate their PH balance. We await the arrival of hundreds of macaws and other parrots in a comfortable blind, enjoying picnic breakfast while the birds swarm just a short distance away. Lunch at the lodge, then we travel to a mammal clay lick in the afternoon, where we are likely to view monkeys, tapirs and perhaps even a jaguar, as we recline in comfort to await the parade of wildlife.

Overnight at Tambo Blanquillo Private Reserve.

(B,L,D)

DAY 11: FRIDAY, OCT 30

Wildlife viewing: Camungo Oxbow Lake

Morning visit to one of the most wildlife-rich oxbow lake in the reserve, we will enjoy a ride via paddle catamaran and see families of giant otters (almost extinct in Peru, but plentiful here), and a great variety of birdlife. Lunch at the lodge, afternoon visit to the Camungo Observation Tower, the largest observation tower in Peru, 50 meters above the forest floor, expect sightings of monkeys, macaws, and more unusual birds.

Overnight at Tambo Blanquillo Private Reserve.

(B,L,D)

DAY 12: SATURDAY, OCT 31

More wildlife viewing

Today we visit another beautiful lake, the Blanco Oxbow Lake, en-route we are likely to see peccaries, jaguars, and other mammals and birds, and once arrived at the lake another ride by paddle catamaran provides views of more giant river otters, caimans (alligators), monkeys and birds. The region around this lake is home to more than 600 species of birds. Lunch again at the lodge, and an afternoon walk into the rain forest. Farewell dinner at the lodge.

Overnight at Tambo Blanquillo Private Reserve.

(B,L,D)

DAY 13: SUNDAY, NOV 1

Return to Puerto Maldonado

Early morning 2.5-hour boat ride along the Madre De Dios River. Picnic breakfast in the boat as we look for more wildlife from the boat. Local indigenous settlements appear along the river bank as we draw closer to civilization. Disembark at Boca Colorado, where awaiting vehicle takes us to Puerto Carlos to cross the river and then another 2-hour drive to Puerto Maldonado. In Puerto Maldonado, we catch a flight to Lima and then to onward to home or other destinations.

(B)

PRICES & REGISTRATION INFORMATION

(Inclusive of 12 nights in Peru, meals indicated in itinerary, ground transportation in Peru by private vehicle or public train; entrance fees; services of licensed Peruvian guide and driver; services of USA-based trip leader.)

$6200. (Based on double occupancy)

$7500. (Based on single occupancy)

NOTE: Internal airfare, for 2 flights: Lima to Cuzco and Puerto Maldonado to Lima not included in above price. Price of $180 is subject to change.

GENERAL INFORMATION

INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE

This journey involves travel to the Peruvian capital of Lima. There are many routes and prices for this trip from the USA or point of origin and participants are required to book their tickets with enough time so as to arrive in Lima in time for a flight mid-morning of October 20 from Lima to Cuzco. This will likely involve an overnight in Lima, there are airport and city center hotels. We can assist with hotel information.

This 13-day trip involves 2 domestic Peru flights, from Lima to Cuzco and Puerto Maldonado to Lima. The cost of these flights varies but is approximately $180 for both flights. We can assist with booking these flights

©2019 by Champaca Journeys.  By Penstroke