STANDARD TOUR PROGRAM #005
Peru Eco Adventure
9 Days / 8 Nights (Departures: Anyday)
Lima-Cuzco-Sacred Valley-Short Inca Trail-Machu Picchu-Cuzco-Puerto Maldonado- Sandoval Lake Lodge-Lima
Day 01 - Home / Lima
Fly to Lima. If evening arrival, lodging at the Lima Airport Hotel: Costa del Sol Wyndham.
Day 02 – Lima/Cuzco
Make your morning flight to Cuzco at 11,024 feet above sea level. Greeting upon arrival and transfer from the airport to the Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection. This four-star hotel is within walking distance of historic churches, museums and the main plaza of Cuzco. Afternoon tour of Cuzco - The Plaza de Armas, which has been the center of solemn parades and great assemblies since Inca times.
The Cathedral, built on the site where the palace of Inca Viracocha once stood, mixes Spanish Renaissance architecture with beautiful Inca stone-work. Its construction began in 1580 and took approximately one century to complete. Among its many treasures are nearly 400 colonial paintings, including those of the "School of Cusco" a very particular style developed by the blending of Inca and Spanish cultures. The Twelve Angled Stone, an example of Inca architectural achievement that continues to amaze the world, the twelve corner-angles fit perfectly with all the surrounding stone blocks. The stones were positioned without the use of mortar and have withstood earthquakes of the centuries; The Koricancha Temple, known as the "temple of the supreme Sun God " that colonial chronicles described as having the inner walls covered with gold plates to reflect the sun's rays entering through windows specially positioned for that purpose; and the nearby ruins Sacsayhuaman, a massive fortress made of large stones, including one weighing 125 tons, arranged in a zig-zag shape in three platforms.
Sacsayhuaman presently serves as the location for the Inti Raymi Festival (Festival of the Sun) held every year on June 24 and; Kenko, or Quenco, (zig-zag) another great example of skilled Inca masonry work consisting of a large limestone slab covered with carvings, thought to have been used for ritual sacrifices. Here is also a mysterious cave with large niches, and an amphitheater facing north with 19 niches; Tambomachay, consisting of a beautiful ceremonial bath, popularly called "Bath of the Inca”, formed by four walls linked by stairs and adorned with crystalline waterfalls. Return to Casa Andina Private Collection for overnight. (Breakfast)
Day 03 – Cuzco / Sacred Valley
Early morning pickup for a full day tour of the Sacred Valley. Our first stop is Awanakancha, a beautiful Exhibition Center of Textiles and South American camelids such as llamas, vicuñas, and alpacas.
Continue to the Urubamba Valley of the Incas, considered the historic heart of the Inca Empire. It was intensively cultivated with terraces increasing its harvest several fold. Small villages lined the valley floor, while the stone fortresses of Ollantaytambo and Pisac served the dual purpose of providing protection and serving as religious centers. We arrive to the colorful Pisac Indian Market, have sometime for free exploration. Lunch at Sonesta Posada del Inca Yucay hotel. Continue to Ollantaytambo for a tour of the ruins. The enormous step terraces protecting the fortress are spectacular. The bastion's walls were built with huge blocks of granite. This location was the site of a major battle during Manco Capac's Inca rebellion against the conquistadors. Overnight at Pakaritampu Hotel. The hotel was built in the architectural style of Cuzco and is surrounded by lawns and garden of local plants and flowers. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 04 - Sacred Valley / Short Inca Trail Day Hike / Machu Picchu
Assistance provided by your guide and hotel with transfer to the Ollantaytambo train station. We take the Vistadome train, following the Urubamba river to Km.104 of the railroad, where we alight and cross a footbridge to begin our hike at the Inca site of Chachabamba. After a brief visit to this lovely ruin with its water channels and fountains, we start the four-hour ascent that will take us past spectacular overlooks above the great valley, then below a lovely waterfall near the delightful site of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). We ascend through this largest and most exquisite of the Inca Trail sites, passing its chain of ritual baths and elegantly curved terracing, and then joining the main Inca trail. We follow it across a steep mountainside and up narrow stairways through lush, humid cloud-forest of giant ferns and broad-leaf vegetation. Suddenly we cross the stone threshold of Intipunku (Sun Gate) and encounter an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry –a backdrop of twisting gorge and forested peaks framing the magical city of Machu Picchu. We walk the last half-hour or so down the royal flagstone walkway, past outlying shrines and buildings and through the heart of Machu Picchu.
We take the bus down the mountain to Aguas Calientes and the Inkaterra Machu Picchu hotel for overnight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 05 - Machu Picchu / Cuzco
We make an early morning visit to the fabled ruins, spending the day in both guided and individual exploration. After we visit the most fascinating features of this astounding and mysterious Inca settlement, some will want to take the optional hike to an amazing overview of the site, while other may prefer to investigate Machu Picchu’s multitude of hidden nooks and corners. Afternoon Vistadome train back to Cuzco - Poroy Station, with private transfer to your Cuzco hotel, the Casa Andina Private Collection. (Breakfast)
Day 06 - Cuzco / Puerto Maldonado / Lake Sandoval
Morning transfer from your hotel to the Cuzco airport for your flight to Puerto Maldonado. Our staff will welcome you at the airport in Puerto Maldonado and drive you through the city to the boat dock on the Tambopata River. Here we board a motorized canoe and head towards the nearby Madre de Dios River. Just 30 minutes down river is the landing at the port that will lead to Sandoval Lake.
We walk a trail of 2 miles, stopping to watch birds and butterflies, up to a narrow boat canal. From there, we navigate the flooded forest of palm trees that leads to the open waters of this peaceful lake. Our crew will row the boats across to the lodge (motors are prohibited on the lake). Under the surface of the lake we may see the huge Paiche (an Amazonian fish that can weigh up to 220 lbs.
Or you may hear strange and unsettling screams and see heads peering from the lake surface, which will mark our first encounter with Pteronura brasiliensis, the Giant Otter of the Amazon. After a brief rest, we start again by boat to explore the entire eastern end of the lake, following the sound of hundreds of Blue-and-Yellow and Red-Breasted Macaws as they return to the palm forest for the night.
Our view from the boat often allows close and extensive encounters with birds and mammals. In Sandoval Lake the Capuchin Monkey, in particular, has nearly lost its fear of humans. We return to the lodge at dusk for dinner. Afterwards we take the boat again, in search of caiman, which are still common in this protected lake. On clear nights we go by boat farther into the lake for a view of the vast southern sky with its magnificent views of constellations and the Milky Way. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 07 - Lake Sandoval
Just before dawn we will be on the lake for what is often a spectacular sunrise and hope for an encounter with the Giant Otters that roam the lake in a close-knit family, very active at this time of day. At this time most of the birds that inhabit the lake are also very active. There will be time and tranquility to observe the birds fishing as they stalk and capture prey.
We will also have close-up views of the primitive appearing hoatzin birds (Ophistocumus hoazin) eating leaves. After enjoying a late breakfast, we’ll walk the trail through the cool understory of the impressive primary rainforest that surrounds the lake. We will see the great Chestnut trees that abound here. After lunch we rest for an hour and then explore the west side of the lake where we will have chances to observe different species of monkey; including Squirrel Monkeys and the most common Capuchin Monkey.
Before dinner there is a video presentation on the Peruvian Jungle and after dinner we will have the opportunity to spot caimans in the lake. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 08 - Lake Sandoval / Puerto Maldonado / Lima
After a dawn breakfast we take a final, short paddle along the palm swamps of the west end of the lake in search of the resident Giant Otter family. From here, on clear mornings, we will see a glorious sunrise and its reflection in the open waters of the lake. Returning once more down the trail to the Madre de Dios River, we return to Puerto Maldonado to catch the flight to Lima. Greeting upon arrival and transfer to Hotel Novotel in the Miraflores District of Lima. (Breakfast)
Day 09 - Lima - Lima Colonial City Tour & Gold Museum
Half-day Lima Colonial City Tour & Gold Museum. Starts with the Plaza de Armas, or main square, in the historical center of Lima, founded in 1535 by the Spanish Conquistadors. Almost all of the structures were destroyed in the earthquake of 1746 and the only original structure left is the bronze fountain built in 1651. The oldest building on the Plaza is the Cathedral, which was rebuilt shortly after the earthquake. The square is also surrounded by the Archbishop's Palace and the Governor’s Palace. The Basilica Cathedral of Lima is a Roman Catholic cathedral that has undergone many reconstructions, however it still retains its colonial structure and facade. The front facade has three large doorways. The main door is called the Portada del Perdón or the "door of forgiveness". Set on the front facade are sculptures of the Apostles and in the middle, the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Adjoining the Cathedral is the Archbishop's Palace. Inside are a sequence of large paintings of the Via Crucis, "Way of the Cross”. On the left aisle, the first chapel holds the ancient baptistery which has a beautiful image of Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza (Our Lady of Hope) who presides over the events during Cuaresm and Holy Week. The next chapel is Capilla de la Sagrada Familia (chapel of the Holy Family), featuring figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Cathedral also contains the tomb of the Spanish conquistador of Peru, Francisco Pizarro. Pizarro laid the first stone used in the construction of the Cathedral. The Saint Francis Monastery was built in 1774 and is noted for its Spanish Neoclassic architecture. The convent houses a world-renowned library which has thousands of historical and antique books and documents. The church is most famous for its catacombs, containing the bones of tens of thousands of people. This was Lima's first cemetery. In one area, a large round hole in the ground is filled with bones and skulls arranged in a geometrical pattern. The Monastery also has an impressive collection of religious art, the best known being a mural of the Last Supper depicting the Apostles dining on guinea pig and a devil standing next to Judas.
The Museo de Oro (Gold Museum) contains a wide assortment of pre-Columbian gold handicrafts, ceremonial objects, jewelry and gold from both the Inca and pre-Inca civilizations. On display are funerary masks, ceremonial knives, figurines, and other pieces acquired from a variety of archeological sites throughout Peru. There are pieces from Chavín, Vicus, Moche, Chimú, Inca, Chancay , Paracas, Nazca and Tihuanaco cultures. In addition to the metal works, the Museo do Oro also contains a collection of textiles, stone carvings and ceramics. Upstairs is the Arms Museum, displaying weapons from around the world and a variety of time periods. It is reputedly the largest collection of arms in the world and even those with no interest in guns can't fail to be fascinated by the mammoth collection of ancient and bizarre firearms. Among these is a 2 meter-long blunderbuss with a flared, trumpet-like muzzle. Though it looks more suitable for hunting elephants, this 19th-century gun was supposedly a mere duck-hunting rifle. The Gold Museum is one of the main attractions in Lima.
OPTION: (The Larco Herrera Museum can be substituted for the Gold Museum as you wish.)
The Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera, also known as the Larco Museum, is a privately owned museum of pre-Columbian art. The museum is housed in an 18th century vice-royal mansion built over a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid. It boasts one of the world's largest collections of pre-Columbian art including Moche, Nazca, Chimú, and Inca pieces. The museum has several permanent exhibits. The Gold and Silver Gallery showcases the largest collection of jewelry used by many notable rulers of pre-Columbian Peru. It comprises an impressive collection of crowns, earrings, nose ornaments, garments, masks and vases, finely wrought in gold and decorated with semi-precious stones. The Erotic Gallery has become one of South America's most popular attractions. Ancient Peruvian cultures represented aspects of their daily lives in ceramics, and this gallery holds the world's largest collection of erotic ceramics. With over 80 years of experience, the museum has become one of the most prestigious institutions on conservation and restoration of Peruvian archaeological objects. The museum houses conservation laboratories for textiles, ceramics and metals.
Return to your hotel.
Evening transfer to the Lima airport for the nighttime flight to the States. (Or overnight at the hotel and make your next morning flight to the States.)
|Peru Eco Adventure 2018
9 Days / 8 Nights
|Departures: Any day|
|In PRIVATE SERVICE except for
Sandoval Lake Lodge and Short Inca Trail.
Hotel substitutions by request.
The Larco Herrera Museum can be substituted for the Gold Museum.
- Airport transfers.
- Guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary.
- Ground transportation (bus and train).
- Meals as shown in the itinerary.
- Entrance fees.
- Accommodation at selected hotels with breakfast.
- Accommodation at Sandoval Lake Lodge.
- River transportation according the itinerary.
What’s Not Included:
- Meals not noted in itinerary.
- Optional tipping to guides and local staff.
- Airport departure taxes.
- Items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).