Machu Picchu and the Amazon Rainforest
Discover two of the best destinations of all of Peru. Travel through the lands of the old Inca Empire including the city of Cusco, Pisac, Ollantaytambo and, of course, the famous citadel of Machu Picchu, one of the most fabulous places in the world. Then, venture into Peru’s Amazon Rainforest to explore a region bursting with biodiversity. Peru’s Andes and jungle await!
- Discover the Sacred Valley of the Incas at your own pace
- Avoid big crowds at Machu Picchu
- Venture into the Amazon’s most biodiverse forests
Welcome to Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas
Welcome to Peru and Cusco! Upon arriving at Cuzco airport, we will be met by our local staff who will take us on our private transport towards the Sacred Valley Incas. Because of its lower elevation (2,870 meters above sea level or 9,415 feet) and its laid-back atmosphere, the Sacred Valley is the perfect place to enjoy your first days in Cusco as you adapt to the high altitude. Get ready to be awe-inspired – the journey to the valley is breathtaking! Its unique scenery provides plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the surrounding Andean landscapes. Once at our hotel, we’ll have time to relax and enjoy its facilities for the rest of the day.
The Sacred Valley at your own leisure
We are finally in the Sacred Valley, the area with possibly the most Inca settlements in all of Peru, and today we’ll have our private transport and guide at our disposal to explore it at our own pace – what a treat! There’s plenty to explore, but when it comes to suggestions, the Maras Salt Flats and Moray Terraces definitely top our list! The picturesque village of Pisac and its colorful market are also an option, or, if you’re in for a little soft adventure, we could to the Urquillos hike. Finally, if you simply want to relax today, we could spend a quiet day at Yucay and go to a nice restaurant for lunch!
Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu
Today is the big day! We’ll be exploring two of the most interesting Inca sites discovered so far. First, in the early morning, to beat the big crowds, we’ll walk from our hotel to the Ollantaytambo archaeological site, an impressive Inca complex that protected this area from invasions from the Amazon Basin. Ollantaytambo is one of the best examples of Inca architecture we can see nowadays. This should take us roughly around an hour and a half. Then, at around 10 or 11am, we’ll board the train to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town). The train journey is a spectacle in itself as we’ll be able to appreciate the changing landscape from green fields and eucalyptus forests to lush jungle, always travelling besides the meandering Urubamba River. Upon arriving to Aguas Calientes, we’ll head to the nearby bus station to take a 20-minutes bus up the steep zigzagging road to Machu Picchu Citadel, located on an impressive mountain setting. Ideally, we would like to be at the entrance gate to Machu Picchu between 1 and 2pm. This will give us plenty of time for our 2 to 3-hour guided excursion in which we’ll explore just about every corner of the famous citadel. We like to visit Machu Picchu in the late afternoon because it is the time with the least crowds and therefore the best experience! Machu Picchu closes at 5pm, time at which we’ll take our bus back to Aguas Calientes. We’ll have a little more than an hour to relax and maybe have a snack here before returning to Ollantaytambo for the night.
Train journey back to Cusco
This morning, after a long but fun day in Machu Picchu, we can sleep in, and indulge in a late breakfast. When ready, we’ll make our way to Cusco, the old Inca Capital and the next destination in our trip. The journey to Cusco takes roughly about 2 hours. Cusco is one of the most interesting cities in Peru and South America. We’ll have most of today to explore the streets, plazas and markets of this UNESCO World Heritage City at our own pace.
Cusco at leisure
Today is all about relaxing and enjoying this marvelous city! Upon request, we have plenty of recommendations and additional activities for you to enjoy today.
Entering the Amazon Rainforest
This morning, we’ll head to the local airport to board our flight to Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to Peru’s Southern Amazon and the Tambopata National Reserve. On arrival, we’ll be welcomed by our local guide and head to our nearby office to drop off our excess luggage, register and make some last-minute shopping. Afterwards, we’ll head to the small port in the Inferno Community, about 1 hour away, where we will embark on our one-and-a-half-hour boat trip up the Tambopata River, in which we’ll be surrounded by lush vegetation and also see some wildlife. Once at the lodge, we’ll be shown its facilities and be briefed on the “dos and don’ts” in the rainforest. This afternoon, we’ll go for a short walk to observe some local flora such as Ironwood or Kapok trees and maybe birds such as Trogons, quails and wild turkeys.
Las Torres parakeet Claylick and Tres Chimbadas Lake
This morning, we’ll leave at dusk and go fifteen minutes upriver to observe macaws, parrots, parakeets and the occasional mammal feeding at La Torres parakeet Clay Lick. We will have breakfast upon returning to the lodge.
After a rest, we’ll go fifteen minutes downriver to the start of the trail to Tres Chimbadas Lake. The hike to the lake takes approximately 45 minutes; once there, we will board a traditional catamaran to navigate its warm waters. With some luck, we have a high chance of spotting snakebirds, herons and kingfishers, maybe a few reptiles, mammals, and even the elusive giant river otters! It’s also possible to practice “catch and release” fishing and maybe even catch a piraña. We will be back at our lodge for lunchtime and, after having a rest, we’ll visit a local farm, an area where traditional agriculture is practiced. This is a great opportunity to see, harvest and try various exotic fruits from the Amazon, as well as aromatic herbs and medicinal plants widely used by local communities.
Las Torres Lake
Today, we’ll go on our Las Torre lakes excursion. Our boat will sail for about fifteen minutes upriver and then we’ll disembark at Las Torres Park rangers post and continue by foot. The trek will take us between four and five hours, and you’ll find that it’ll turn more and more interesting with every single step. Our local guide will provide exciting information about the surrounding plants, including their practical and medicinal uses and their preparation for these purposes. We will also get to a mammal clay lick deep inside the rainforest called Solitaria clay lick. It’s the last of a number of clay licks coming from the south and we can frequently spot peccaries, brocket deer and sometimes even tapirs. At night, we’ll head out on a boat trying to spot some nocturnal animals such as caimans, bats, nightjars or capybaras on the banks of the Tambopata River.
Goodbye Amazon and Peru
After breakfast it’s time to say goodbye to our Amazonian friends. This morning, we’ll board our boats to return to Puerto Maldonado where we’ll pass by our office to collect any baggage we might have left and then continue to the local airport to board our flight to Lima and connect with our international flight home.