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Peru Highlights: Cusco + Machu Picchu + Amazon


PPB11L
11 NIGHTS
FROM £1,994
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Explore the highlights of Peru, including the magnificent citadel at Machu Picchu - the "Lost City of the Incas" - combined with the wildlife of the amazing Amazon rainforest. Visit the Sacred Valley, Pisac and Ollantaytambo, as well as the well-preserved colonial city of Cusco, built on top of the old Inca city walls. See the Temple of the Sun and other amazing sites. All transfers & English speaking guides included.
Photo Toucan Amazon Machu Picchu Peru Cusco Sacred Valley Inca Lima
• 
Lima
• 
Sacred Valley
• 
Inca Ruins
• 
Ollantaytambo
• 
Machu Picchu
• 
Cusco
• 
Temple of the Sun
• 
Amazon Basin
• 
Boat Rides
• 
Rainforest Wildlife
• 
Lima
• 
Sacred Valley
• 
Inca Ruins
• 
Ollantaytambo
• 
Machu Picchu
• 
Cusco
• 
Temple of the Sun
• 
Amazon Basin
• 
Boat Rides
• 
Rainforest Wildlife
Day 1
You will be met at Lima Airport and transferred to your hotel.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city - the largest in Peru and its gastronomical centre.
Day 2
Today enjoy a half day private tour of historic Lima, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well preserved architecture. Founded in 1535, it was re-named the "City of Kings" when it was conquered by the Spanish and became the most important centre in the region.
 
Our tour starts in the Miraflores residential district, where we stop at Parque del Amor (Lover’s Lane) with its magnificent views over the Pacific Ocean, before driving through the modern San Isidro business district, where we see the impressive Huaca Huallamarca, an adobe pyramid that was a sacred pre-Inca site.
 
We continue to the historic centre, where we visit the 17th century Santo Domingo Convent which is a World Heritage site. The remains of the patron saint of Peru, Saint Rose of Lima, are interred here as well as the remains of Saint Martin of Porres, the patron saint of people of mixed race.
 
On the Plaza de Armas (main square) you can see many imposing colonial buildings with their intricate balconies - including the Presidential Palace, where the changing of the guards takes place. See the beautiful Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace and the City Hall.
 
In the evening do try to taste a Pisco Sour, the nation's favourite drink.
 
Note: Lima Cathedral is not open on Sundays.
Day 3
Transfer to Lima Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Cusco Airport and transferred 2-hours to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
 
Check into your hotel in this region that is renowned for its many ancient Inca ruins, including the amazing citadel of Machu Picchu. Balance of the day is at leisure to rest and acclimatise to the altitude.
Day 4
Today enjoy a full day shared tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
 
We stop at the Racchi viewpoint, for one of the best views of the Sacred Valley. We then drive to the archaeological site at Moray, where the Incas built enormous circular agricultural terraces on steep hills by hauling topsoil up by hand from the lower land, thereby generating much higher crop yields than would have been possible at such high altitude. This site is believed to be a former agricultural laboratory, an astronomical observatory or a place of worship - or maybe all three.
 
We continue to the Maras Salt Pans, a complex network of nearly 5,000 pre-Inca salt pans that have been hand-harvested by local families for thousands of years. The salt is formed when water from a spring that permeates these pools is evaporated by the intense sun, forming thick crystals in a variety of colours. The naturally pink ‘Sal de Maras’ is one of the finest salts in the world, getting its beautiful hue from trace elements in the spring water.
 
After an included lunch in a local restaurant, we continue to the citadel of Ollantaytambo, built to protect the northern entrance to the Sacred Valley from invasion and later the centre of Incan resistance against the Spanish. The fortress and walled terraces of this town provide some of the finest examples of Incan architecture, with the six rose-coloured monoliths of the Temple of the Sun being particularly outstanding. The village itself is the best surviving example of Inca urban planning, with stone-paved streets that have been used since the 12th Century.
Day 5
Today transfer to Ollantaytambo Station for the air-conditioned Vistadome train to the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu - an amazing 1.5-hour journey to this magnificent mountain top city situated in a beautiful cloud forest, that was abandoned and reclaimed by the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911.
 
This legendary "Lost City of the Incas" is without a doubt one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. Built on the summit of Machu Picchu (meaning "Old Peak"), on a natural saddle between steep forested mountains, it overlooks the deep canyon of the Urubamba River some 3,400 m above sea level. With its giant walls, terraces and ramps that appear to have been cut naturally out of the rock escarpments, Machu Picchu's history remains shrouded in mystery as the Incas did not leave any written records.
 
At the gateway town of Aguas Calientes, leave the train and board the bus for the 40-minute zig-zag ride up to this 14th century citadel for a guided tour (please expect queues for the bus). Here we visit the Main Plaza, Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial, Royal Quarters, Temple of the Three Windows and various burial grounds. We suggest you take a packed lunch (to avoid queues at the restaurant). In the afternoon return by bus to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo Station, where you will be met and transferred back to your hotel.
 
Note: You must take your passport with you today, as this will be needed to gain entrance, which is restricted to 4-hours (based on either a morning or afternoon schedule). It is mandatory to enter with a guide and you cannot take selfie sticks, tripods, umbrellas, food or alcohol onto the site. You may not wear high heels or hard soled shoes and smoking is prohibited. If you leave the sanctuary for any reason (eg for lunch), re-entry will not be permitted. Only one bag not exceeding 11 lb (5 kg) is allowed as hand luggage on the train, so your main bags need to be left in luggage store at either your Cusco or Sacred Valley hotel, for later collection by yourself or our ground handler. From January to June parts of the rail track may be impassable at times due to mud slides, when a bus transfer will be substituted.
Day 6
Today transfer 2-hours from the Sacred Valley to the city of Cusco.
 
Along the way we stop at Chinchero, a small picturesque Andean village that was an important Inca outpost at the end of the 15th Century. The villagers here have preserved their traditional Andean spinning and weaving techniques, so you can see textile artisans at work and learn about their techniques. You can buy handcrafts at the market in the town square, visit their small traditional church and see their Inca ruins.
 
On arrival in Cusco you will be dropped off at your hotel, with balance of day at leisure.
Day 7
Today enjoy a half day shared tour of the magnificent colonial city of Cusco, built on Inca foundations and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Comprising a fascinating mix of colonial churches, monasteries and extensive pre-Columbian ruins, almost every central street in this city has remnants of Inca walls.
 
We start with a visit to the impressive Temple of the Sun (Koricancha) whose walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold. On the site of this ancient Inca palace and centre of worship of the Sun God, the Dominicans ordered a church to be built, which survives to this day (Note: not open on Sunday mornings & religious holidays).  
 
We walk along the cobbled streets to the Plaza de Armas, the central plaza around which you will see many magnificent colonial buildings - including the Cathedral and the Church of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Walking down well-preserved Loreto Street you can see the remains of Incan palaces, as well as old colonial buildings. If you walk down Hatun Rumiyoc, a cobbled street near the Archbishop's Palace, keep an eye out for the famous 12-sided stone that fits so perfectly you can't even insert a coin.
 
We then leave the city and visit the impressive walled fortress of Sacsayhuaman (meaning 'speckled falcon') on the northern outskirts, believed to have been both a military and ceremonial centre. This enormous Inca structure has massive walls of hewn stone and is strategically located on a hill overlooking the city. We also visit Qenko (meaning 'zigzag') where the sun, moon and stars were worshipped and Puca Pucara (the Red Fortress), which may have been a "tambo" or rest and lodgings for the Inca. Finally we visit an art workshop, where you will be able to see artists working in silver, paint and wood - the perfect place to see Andean art.
 
After your tour, if you are feeling adventurous you can try guinea pig - a local speciality.
 
Note: Cusco is situated at high altitude (11,150 ft / 3,400 m). You will need to carry your passport to gain access to the site at Sacsayhuaman.
Day 8
Transfer to Cusco Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Puerto Maldonado Airport and transferred to town. Here you will be asked to take only the necessary items for the next few days and leave the rest in safekeeping to keep the boat and cargo light (bring a suitable overnight sports bag with you for this purpose).
 
You will then be driven 1-hour by bus to the Tambopata River for your boat ride to your Amazon lodge. This scenic river transfer takes up to 2.5 hours upstream, depending upon your lodge, and includes a light traditional lunch.
 
On arrival walk 15-minutes to your lodge, check in and relax in your tropical jungle surroundings.
Days 9 To 10
Explore the birds and wildlife of the amazing Amazon Basin today - a 2,7-million sq.mile (6.7 million sq.km) conservation area that is the largest in the world, spreading across eight countries - Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
 
Your naturalist guide will accompany you along the many trails that wind through the rainforest. As you walk through woods and past waterfalls, you can marvel at the magnificent trees and the extraordinary variety of orchids, bromeliads, ferns, begonias, lichens and mosses that grow here.
 
You may see caimans (related to alligators), turtles, woolly monkeys, tufted brown capuchin monkeys, a variety of frogs and many other reptiles and insects. You can hope to see some of the colourful birds of the rainforest such as the brilliant golden-headed quetzal, grey-breasted mountain toucan, blue-crowned motmot, umbrella bird, blue-banded toucanet, fruit-eating tanager, red-crested cotinga, banded-tail fruit-eater and a variety of flycatchers. At certain locations, from September to November you may see the raucously competitive lek mating displays of the spectacular Cock-of-the-Rock, Peru’s fiery orange national bird. Jaguars also live along the riverbanks, but are rarely seen.
 
Activities vary by lodge but can include climbing an observation tower for treetop views of the forest canopy and to observe birds (macaws are most active from August to October and least active in May & June), walking in the rainforest and canoe rides in search of hoatzin (stinkbird), otters, macaws and other wildlife. You can also learn about traditional medicinal plants, visit a local village and take a night walk in the jungle.
 
Note: A headlamp is essential in the Amazon.
Day 11
Transfer by boat 1.5-hours downstream to Puerto Maldonado, followed by a 1-hour bus transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Arrive at Lima Airport and make your own way (walking or by free shuttle) to your hotel situated in the airport complex.
Day 12
Make your own way (walking or by free hotel shuttle) to Lima Airport for your flight home.

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