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Peru: Amazon, Cloud Forest & Lake Titicaca (18 days)

This exceptional program encompasses Lima, The Andes from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and the bird and wildlife rich regions of the cloud and Amazon forests of Southern Peru.


2017 - 2018 Departure Dates and Costs

Departure every Friday based on 2 persons
Tour cost: $ 4,840 USD from Lima. Includes domestic airfare

Trip may be modified to suit individual interest and travel preferences

Single room supplement $ 725 USD
Ask about airfare from your home city!


Itinerary

Day 1  ARRIVE LIMA
On arrival in Lima you will be met by our land operators who will meet you in the arrivals area after you have cleared customs. You will be transferred to the Libertador Hotel or similar.

Day 2 LIMA (B)
Morning at leisure to recover from the long flights. In the afternoon you will enjoy a city tour where you will get a great overview of Lima’s offerings.

Lima, the capital of Peru, is a wonderful blend of Spanish colonial heritage and modern opulence. Attractions the Cathedral housing the remains of Francisco Pizzaro (founder of the city), Torre Tagle Palace, the Plaza des Armes and the residential districts of Miraflores and San Isidro. Following your city tour you will be returned to your hotel.

Day 3  LIMA/CUSCO/OLLANTAYTAMBO SACRED VALLEY (B,D)
Morning flight to Cusco and transfer to the sacred valley where the altitude is a bit lower than Cusco.  Balance of the day to rest and acclimatize to the high altitude.  Those feeling fit can wander in the small town by the hotel.

Day 4  OLLANTAYTAMBO SACRED VALLEY (B)
Morning visit to Ollantaytambo for a guided visit of the impressive ruins of Ollantaytambo fortress. Enjoy the small market here and atmospheric town.

Day 5  TO MACHU PICCHU (B,L,D)
Morning transfer to the train station for the journey to Machu Picchu. 122 kilometers north of Cusco lies the “Lost City Of the Incas.” There are many theories as to who built the city. Many say it was the last refuge of the Inca Empire after the Spanish Conquest. The site was never found by the Spanish and when the last of the city inhabitants died, so did the secret of its existence. The sacred site lay buried beneath vines and jungle growth for 400 years until American Explorer Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911. The 220 stone temples and buildings of Machu Picchu crown a 9,000 foot ridge. Guided tour of the ruins. Lunch at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge at Machu Picchu and more time at the ruins.  In the late afternoon return to Aguas Calientes located 20 minutes from the ruins and to the Machu Picchu Inn.  Dinner included.

Day 6  MACHU PICCHU/CUSCO (B)
Morning at leisure. Optional nature walk or soak in the local hot springs, explore the museum, markets, relax or return to Machu Picchu for a second look at the ruins  (the second entrance fee to Machu Picchu would be additional approx. $ 60.00 USD including the entrance fee and the shuttle bus cost up and down the mountain). Afternoon train journey to Cusco and 2 nights accommodation.

Day 7 CUSCO (B,L)
The peaks and valleys of the Andes were the home of the mighty Inca Empire and their capital was Cusco. From here, 10,000 miles of stone roads radiated into the far reaches of the mountains. Cusco is still one of the most fascinating of the world’s ancient cities. The surrounding area is rich in archaeological and sacred sites, many of them never discovered by the conquering Spanish.  Morning city tour of Cusco.

Day 8  CUSCO/ CLOUD FOREST LODGE (B,L,D)
We will depart our hotel at 6:00 am for this journey to the new Manu Cloud Forest Lodge which is idyllically located at 5,000 feet above sea level between cloud forest-covered slopes and adjacent to a narrow 400-foot-high waterfall. Rushing streams next to the site are two of the small water courses that descend from the mountains to the Qosñipata River.

Some of the attractions of the lodge include one "lek" or dancing ground of Andean Cock-of-the Rock, which are nearly crow-sized, bright red birds in the Cotinga family. Troops of acrobatic Woolly Monkeys are also frequently sighted. An ornithological census by John Arvin, a renowned tropical ornithologist, shows a list that exceeds 700 species of birds in the transect from the grasslands to the lowlands of the Upper Madre de Dios River port of Atalaya. Some of the amenities of the lodge include private bathrooms with hot water, private verandas overlooking the pristine Union creek, and a sauna to relax after the daily activities.

The journey from Cusco takes visitors on an 8  - 9 hour hour trip over two Andean Mountain chains of 13,100 feet elevation through a habitat of wildlife such as the rare Huemal Deer, vizcachas, and Mountain Caracara. CORL lies past patches of elfin forest on the eastern slopes of the Andes in the mist of the Cloud Forest. Troops of muscular-limbed Woolly Monkeys and comical Brown Capuchin Monkeys forage through the reserve. Rare sightings of the endangered Spectacled Bear, South America's only species of bear, have been recorded near the lodge.

Day 9  CLOUD FOREST LODGE (B,L,D)
The lush and misty cloud forest is perhaps the most fragile and threatened type of rainforest. This forest starts at 11,000 feet, and continues down to about 5,000 feet of elevation, covering the eastern slopes of the Andes, before yielding to the vast lowland forest of the Amazon. This is a kingdom of moss, lichens, ferns, and orchids. Early excursion to a nearby platform and blind strategically located to see a "lek" where the brightly red-colored Cock-of-the Rock displays daily for the females.

Day 10  CLOUD FOREST LODGE/MANU AMAZON LODGE (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we head towards Atalaya, the first navigable port on the Upper Madre de Dios River. The ride will take us through small villages of Andean colonists and indigenous people whose main economic activities are rudimentary farming and low-scale logging. Once at Atalaya we board our motorized dugout canoes, equipped with individual cushioned seats, and long tarps to provide shelter from the baking sun, or the sudden tropical downpour. River journeys are long in Manu and visitors have rated our boats as the most comfortable in the entire region. We will boat down the fast-flowing, braided, clear water, upper Madre de Dios River for about five hours to the confluence with the meandering, Manu River. As soon as we enter the great Manu wilderness, every river bend will bring us a vista of unspoiled beauty. We may see Black Caiman, White Caiman, toucans, parrots, scores of wild macaws, several species of raptors, and maybe even a magnificent Jaguar. The best proof of the presence of Jaguars and the possibility of many of our tour groups to see these great cats, are the many wonderful amateur photographs that our customers have sent back to our company.

After about four hours, we arrive at the Juarez Lake sandbar, then we hike 600 meters along a flat trail to the Juarez oxbow lake, where guides paddle us in a catamaran to the secluded Manu Lodge, the only full Lodge in the entire protected wilderness of Manu. If during the dry season the catamaran cannot be used due to the low water level in the lake, we will walk a one kilometer trail (about twenty minutes) only taking our hand-bags with us while the main luggage is carried by the Lodge personnel. 4 nights Manu Lodge.

Day 11  MANU AMAZON LODGE (B,L,D)
We rise to the loud call of Howler Monkeys, and to the option of a dawn paddle on the lake. During breakfast from the dining room, you may be able to see entire troops of Squirrel Monkeys, Brown Capuchins, and White-Fronted Capuchins that may be visiting the lodge clearing in search of palm fruits. Without any doubt, one of the highlights of Manu Lodge is the family of four Giant Otters who usually breed there. Manu Lodge visitors have been able to see these playful and gregarious carnivores from a 15-meter distance without causing any disturbance of their daily activities. This group of Giant Otters visits the Manu Lodge every now and then, and when at Juarez, they can be seen at different times of the day. Surprisingly, a few dead logs in front of our dining room are their favorite spot to eat fish, preen, and play.

Manu Lodge offers the largest and most complete trail system available in Manu (over 20 km of marked trails), and the result of standardized trail walks completed by groups of researchers over the course of several years, show that "it is actually those sections closest to the lodge and most heavily visited, which were the most productive in terms of mammal sighting. This suggests that the presence of tourists and researchers is not having a disturbing effect on the local mammal population." (1995, Durham University Expedition Report.)

Day 12     MANU AMAZON LODGE (B,L,D)
There are almost 500 bird species recorded in the vicinity of Manu Lodge. Some of these species have traditional nests right next to Manu Lodge. These "neighbour" species include: Black-tailed Tityra, Yellow- rumped Cacique, Golden-bellied Euphonia, Palm Tanager, Silver-beaked Tanager, and Masked-crimson Tanager. The immediate vicinity of the Juarez lake offers you easy and superb sightseeing of: Striated Heron, Wattled Jacana, Yellow-billed Tern, the bizarre Hoatzin, White-winged Swallows, Black-capped Donacobius, and Red-capped Cardinal. Other frequent visitors of the Manu Lodge are: Great Egret, Green Ibis, Osprey, and Black-collared Hawk. All of them can be easily seen from the lake banks or from our comfortable catamaran.

Day 13  MANU AMAZON LODGE (B,L,D)
Today we will have an opportunity to explore the Manu River, and two of the most beautiful oxbow lakes in Manu, Otorongo and Salvador. This river is another good chance to try our luck and see a Jaguar sunning in the sandbars of the Manu River, as well as side-neck turtles sunning in logs. The five-kilometer long Salvador Lake is the largest and most beautiful lake in the lower Manu River. Four lake piers, several trail circuits and a small catamaran will offer us a chance to look for fauna and to observe the serene beauty of this marvellous place. On the boat trip back to Manu Lodge we will make a stop at Lake Otorongo in hopes to see a troop of Woolly Monkeys and to climb a 100ft. observation tower near the lake shore. If we are lucky while on this tower, we might see a group of Giant Otters playing and fishing on the waters below. We boat back to Manu Lodge in the late afternoon, to a refreshing shower, snacks and iced drinks.

Day 14  MANU AMAZON LODGE/CLOUD FOREST LODGE (B,L,D)

At 06:00 o’clock we start our three-hour river journey back to the confluence of the Manu and the Upper Madre de Dios. This journey is our last chance to spot a Capybara, the world's largest rodent, or a Tapir, a relative of horses and the rainforest's largest mammal. After about three hours we will reach Boca Manu for a brief stop and to refuel our boat. From Boca Manu we will explore the lower portion of the Madre de Dios River where we may have a chance to see large Red-and-Green Macaws perched on the trees or making short and long flights to the rain forest canopy.

Day 15  CLOUD FOREST LODGE/CUSCO (B,L,D)
This morning after breakfast we offer you an additional hiking excursion to walk through dense and exuberant cloud forest and crossing rushing streams, which originate in the mountain peaks high above the forest. Surrounded by massive rocks, hanging vines and bromeliads, we may enjoy a refreshing dip in these crystal-clear waters.  Before noon we start our journey back to Cusco. Overnight Picoaga

Day 16  TO PUNO (B,L)
Breakfast and a morning departure by road to Puno through Highland villages to Lake Titicaca. Cultural stops enroute such as the historic colonial town of Andahuayillas, and the unusual mud brick walls at the Inca site of Raqchi. It will take the whole day to reach Puno and the shores of Lake Titicaca.  Overnight at Posada del Inca Lake Titicaca.

Day 17  UROS ISLAND/TAQUILI ISLANDS (B,L)
Lake Titicaca is the centre of the world for the Inca empire for it Sun Island that the Sun God sent his son and the Moon Goddess sent her daughter to arise from the lake and create the Inca people. Many Inca sites are on both the Peruvian and Bolivian sides of this navigable lake.

Full day boat cruise on Lake Titicaca to Taquile Island reached in three and a half hours by boat. This remarkable community is where islanders still speak Quechua, the language of the Incas, make handicrafts with techniques developed over the centuries.  A stop enroute at the Uros floating islands.  Here you can marvel at the traditional life-style of the Uros people and how they live on floating islands in Lake Titicaca. Return to the hotel. Box lunch included.

Day 18  PUNO/LIMA (B)  
Morning at leisure in Puno. The group might wish to do a ½ day tour to the ruins of Chuito. Locally this can be arranged for approximately $ 10.00 per person. Field lunch can also be arranged locally if they prefer to be out longer.

In the afternoon our land operators will pick you up and transfer you to the airport for the flight back to Lima.  Enroute stop at the ruins of Sillustani.  On arrival in Lima you will be met and transferred to a wonderful local restaurant for a farewell Peruvian dinner.  In the late evening transfer to the airport for the flight home or extend your stay.


Testimonial

Our Peruvian adventure was everything we had imagined and more. All the transfers worked smoothly....the hotels were most comfortable and welcoming....the drivers and guides were skilled and professional. Our guides especially kept us engaged with the history and culture and natural history of each region we visited. Santiago kept amazing us with his grasp of history, his obvious love of the land and its culture, and with his ease setting a doable pace through Ollantaytambo, Cuzco, Machu Picchu and Raqchi. Herbert and Carlos helped us see so much on the long drive to Manu, on the river trips and at each lodge- their sense of humour, their care for each of us and their exceptional knowledge of the cloud forest and the jungle made these visits a real highlight for us. We always had something to do, trails to take and time to relax.

Mike and Gerree Beacom, 2011


Additional Information

We customize travel to Bolivia and Peru for individuals and groups year round. Ask for details.


 

What our clients say ...

"We all enjoyed our trip very much. Everyone we met was friendly and tolerant. Even the locals were will ing to jolly us along as we practiced our awkward Spanish (which we only started studying a month before.) ... Our guides were excellent. Again many thanks for an exciting and educational vacation, which has given us some happy memories and a new appetitie for travel." E. Griffith, British Columbia