Explore Machu Picchu & the Amazon River

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Overview

On this incredible adventure, combine the archaeological wonders of Peru’s Sacred Valley with the natural treasures of the Amazon River. Ride the scenic train to the legendary Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and discover the charms of Cusco; then venture deep into the rainforest on a riverboat, spotting a mind-boggling array of wildlife. Along the way, meet local farmers, artisans, and indigenous people for a glimpse into the diverse traditions of this fascinating South American nation.

Itinerary

Day 1: Lima

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.

Get ready for a very busy tour exploring the best of Peru in a week. We recommend booking a pre-night in Lima (in particular if your flight arrives into Lima in the evening) to recover from international flights and rest up before the excitement.

Day 2: Lima/Urubamba

Board an early flight to Cusco, once the capital of the Inca empire, then drive to Urubamba through the scenic Sacred Valley. Explore the terraced salt pans of Maras, which have been used for salt extraction since pre-Inca times, and tour the Inca site of Moray—believed to have been an agricultural laboratory where priests would test soils and crops. Later, we’ll enjoy a meal of local specialities, prepared in a pachamanca, or underground stone oven.

Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Urubamba

Continue exploring the Sacred Valley with a visit to the G Adventures–supported Parque de la Papa, or Potato Park, a rural Andean community working to preserve hundreds of varieties of native potato. During this exclusive experience, you'll walk through the park with a local guide to learn about potato cultivation, traditional weaving, and the importance of both these practices to Andean culture. We’ll also tour the fascinating Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo and Pisac and enjoy a meal at the G Adventures–supported Parwa Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosqo.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Urubamba/Aguas Calientes

Catch an early transfer to the Ollantaytambo station and board a train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Ride through lush Andean scenery, enjoying breathtaking views of ancient ruins and everyday life. Settle into your hotel in Aguas Calientes, and choose from a variety of optional activities: take a relaxing soak in the local hot springs, visit a beautiful botanical garden, or set out to discover Machu Picchu on your own before our guided tour the following morning.

For serious archaeology buffs, there is time for an optional independent visit to Machu Picchu before the guided tour the following morning.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 5: Aguas Calientes/Cusco

This morning, embark on a guided tour of Machu Picchu—the 15th-century Inca citadel famously introduced to the world by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in the April 1913 issue of National Geographic magazine. Enjoy free time in this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage site, wandering amid its temples and terraces; or venture to the precipitous Inca Bridge, believed to be a secret entrance to the citadel. Return to Cusco by train.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 6: Cusco

Spend the day exploring charming Cusco. Opt to visit Plaza de Armas, the historic main square; the 15th-century Sacsayhuaman fortress; or some of the city’s museums and ornate churches. This evening, we’ll head to the Cusco Planetarium to learn about the importance of astronomy to the ancient Inca and, weather permitting, look out at the glittering, starry sky through telescopes.

Please remember that star gazing is completely weather dependent and sometimes there can be cloudy skies.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 7: Cusco/Iquitos

Catch an early morning flight to Lima and connect to Iquitos, a bustling jungle port town situated at the confluence of the Amazon, Nanay, and Itaya Rivers. Enjoy an orientation walk around the town, then eat lunch on the main square at a restaurant located in a historic building.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Iquitos

This morning, enjoy a boat excursion to the Pilpintuwasi butterfly farm, home to numerous varieties of local butterflies—including the dazzling blue morpho. Learn about the importance of these beautiful insects to the Amazonian ecosystem; then visit the farm’s wildlife sanctuary, which cares for animals affected by poaching and trafficking. Afterward, transfer to a riverboat—our home for the next two nights—as we navigate into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Settle into your cabin, then hop into a motorized skiff for an evening exploration, keeping your eyes peeled for the jungle’s nocturnal creatures—from black caimans to jaguars.

Relax and soak in the natural beauty of the wild rainforest onboard the Amazon Riverboat. Step out on deck to watch the riverbanks go by, and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as grey and pink dolphins.

Naturalist guides will lead jungle excursions by skiff and on foot, give lectures, and point out unique species of bird and marine life as you explore the smaller tributaries of the river.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

Spend the day exploring the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, which harbours some of the Amazon’s most fascinating flora and fauna. Rise early for a birdwatching tour in search of parrots, herons, kingfishers, hummingbirds, and endangered scarlet macaws. Head out by boat to spot sloths and monkeys dangling in the treetops on the banks of the river, and look for signs of piranhas and rare pink dolphins in the waterways. In the afternoon, take a walk through the jungle to visit a native indigenous community, and learn about their daily life and cultural traditions shaped by the river.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Pacaya Samiria National Reserve/Lima

Venture out by boat in the early morning for a final excursion on the river, watching for wildlife along the shores of the Amazon and its lush tributaries. Then visit the Amazonian Manatee Rescue Center in Iquitos for a chance to observe these lovable animals up close and learn about the center’s efforts to rehabilitate orphaned and rescued manatees. Continue to the airport to connect to your flight back to Lima.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 11: Lima

Depart at any time.

Includes: Breakfast

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