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Peru - Machu Picchu, Inca history and Amazon Rainforest

12 days from £4,570pp (excl. international flights)
Cusco  → Sacred Valley  → Machu Picchu  → Cusco  → Amazon Rainforest

A short in-depth exploration of the Andean Highlands and Amazon Rainforest

Embark on a transformative journey through the heart of Peru, where ancient civilizations, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant ecosystems converge to create an unparalleled adventure.

Begin in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a realm of mystique and history. Explore the enigmatic terraces of Moray, the captivating salt ponds of Maras, and the cultural tapestry of Chinchero, where Inca walls whisper tales of a bygone era.

Your odyssey continues to the iconic Machu Picchu, a citadel nestled amid majestic peaks. Traverse the ruins, each stone echoing the grandeur of the Inca civilization, and marvel at the sacred landscape that unfolds before you. Delve into the mysteries of Cusco, the ancient Inca capital, where cobblestone streets reveal tales of conquests and the Plaza de Armas pulses with history.

From the Andean heights, descend into the Amazon Rainforest, where the Tambopata Research Centre beckons. Immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the jungle, from vibrant clay licks to nocturnal explorations. Witness the daily spectacle of macaws and parrots congregating and unravel the secrets of these majestic birds through enlightening night lectures.

This odyssey seamlessly weaves together the rich tapestry of Peru – from the heights of the Andes to the depths of the Amazon. Each step reveals a new facet of this diverse land, leaving indelible imprints of awe and wonder.

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The itinerary…

Day 1: Depart for the Peruvian Andes!

Embark on an unforgettable journey to the heart of the Peruvian Andes as you board your overnight flight to Cusco.

Day 2: Arrival in Cusco, travel to the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Weaver in Chinchero

Weaver in Chinchero

Upon your arrival in Cusco, a warm welcome awaits you from our dedicated Far & Wild representative at the airport. Your journey begins as you depart by car for the town of Chinchero, nestled in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The scenic drive takes approximately 1 hour, offering glimpses of the breathtaking landscapes that surround this historical region.

Chinchero is a treasure trove of Inca architecture and ancient stonework. Admire the magnificent colonial church, surrounded by remarkable terracing and Inca walls which showcases the enduring legacy of this ancient civilization. We'll then venture into the lively market of Chinchero. Here, a vibrant array of agricultural items and traditional natural fibre weavings await, adorned with hues derived from local plant and insect dyes. Engage in the rich cultural tapestry as you observe a weaving demonstration, providing insight into the intricate steps of the weaving process with the unique designs from each community.

As you absorb the cultural richness, your journey continues further into the valley, leading you to the exquisite Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba hotel.

Day 3: Sacred Valley of the Incas, Maras & Moray

Moray

Moray, Sacred Valley of the Incas

Our journey begins at Moray, a site that unveils one of the earliest agricultural experimental "labs" on the planet. Marvel at the beauty of the elegantly constructed descending circular terraces, believed to have been a platform for cultivating diverse crops in specific microclimates. Centuries ago, indigenous Peruvians employed experimental techniques to nurture a variety of food crops, showcasing a level of agricultural sophistication that predates modern greenhouse methods. The temperature variations between the uppermost and lowest terraces, sometimes reaching up to 15 °C, contributed to this remarkable feat.

Following our exploration of Moray, we'll treat ourselves to a delightful picnic lunch amidst the breathtaking mountain scenery, savouring the tranquillity of the Sacred Valley. Our journey then takes us to Maras, renowned for its extraordinary mountainside salt ponds. Witness the spectacle of 3000 bright white and multi-coloured salt ponds, each tended to by local families. From a scenic viewpoint, take in the panoramic view of the saltpans and discover the famed Maras salt, known for its unique health properties.

Day 4: Machu Picchu

Ma Pi ruins

Misty Machu Picchu

Embark on a mystical journey back in time as we invite you to explore the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Your adventure begins at the Ollantaytambo train station, where you'll board the Vistadome train bound for Aguas Calientes where upon arrival, a short walk leads you to the bus that will ascend a winding road for approximately 30 minutes, bringing you to the entrance of Machu Picchu. The anticipation builds as you approach this iconic site, shrouded in history and nestled amid the breathtaking peaks.

A sumptuous lunch awaits you at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, providing the perfect prelude to your guided tour of Machu Picchu. With your knowledgeable guide, marvel at the iconic view of the ancient Inca city, where stone steps, temples, walls, and multi-purpose structures intertwine in a mesmerizing dance. Feel the poignant vibrations of this dreamlike atmosphere as you explore the site's various sectors, entering rooms and temples, each with its unique significance whilst unravelling the mysteries concealed within its stone walls.

As the day winds down, return to Machu Picchu Village to overnight at the charming Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel, nestled in the ethereal embrace of the cloud forest.

Day 5: Machu Picchu

Beautiful Cusco

Beautiful Cusco

Today marks a unique opportunity to revisit the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu and delve into its mysteries at your own pace. Whether retracing familiar steps or discovering new corners, let the spirit of this extraordinary site guide your exploration. For those seeking a heightened adventure, the option to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain awaits. Ascend to these elevated vantage points and be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views.

Following your personal exploration, gather for a leisurely lunch, savouring the moment and reflecting on the wonders you've encountered. In the afternoon, board the Vistadome train for a scenic return journey to Poroy, a small town located around 30 minutes from the centre of Cusco.

The next two nights will be spent in the heart of this historic city, where the Palacio del Inka hotel awaits to immerse you in the charm and energy of Inca culture. Let the rich history and vibrant ambiance of Cusco envelop you as you unwind in this distinguished setting.

Day 6: Cooking Lesson and Cusco walking tour

San pedro market

San Pedro market, Cusco

Start at the vibrant San Pedro Market, a bustling hub teeming with colourful fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats, flowers, and an array of captivating products that engage the senses. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as we select locally grown ingredients, setting the stage for a unique culinary experience. Head to a rooftop kitchen to prepare a meal with the guidance of a skilled chef at your personal cooking area. The chef will talk you through the art of meal preparation, allowing you to infuse your creation with the flavours of Cusco.

After lunch, wander through the ancient city of Cusco, a place where history is etched on every corner. This folkloric Andean city, once the capital of the Inca Empire, invites you to discover its most iconic attractions. Traverse cobblestone streets lined with original Inca walls, absorbing the ancient energy that permeates the air. Our journey takes us to the awe-inspiring ancient Inca Temple of the Sun, Qoricancha, nestled inside the Church of Santo Domingo. Visit the historic Plaza de Armas, once the heart of the Inca's main city centre, and delve into its dramatic and sometimes turbulent history.

Day 7: Amazon Rainforest

TRC river

Amazon sunset

Depart from the historic city of Cusco for a short flight to Puerto Maldonado, the capital of Madre de Dios in the Amazon basin. Upon arrival, prepare for a unique adventure, transferring by a 1-hour bus ride and a 2.5-hour boat journey to the Tambopata Research Centre.

As we traverse the confluence with the Malinowski River, the signs of human habitation gradually fade away. The 700,000-hectare uninhabited nucleus of the reserve unfolds before you, offering glimpses of capybara, caiman, geese, macaws, and other large species that thrive in this pristine environment. Your destination, the Tambopata Research Center, awaits as a spacious boutique eco-lodge nestled in the heart of the National Reserve of Tambopata. It holds the distinction of being the only lodge inside the reserve, surrounded by dozens of macaw nests affiliated with the Macaw Project.

Upon settling into this natural haven, join a short hike that leads to magnificent viewpoints of the Tambopata River winding its way into the lowlands. The forest along this trail, regenerating from an old bamboo forest, provides opportunities to encounter Howler Monkeys and Dusky Titi Monkeys. For those seeking a deeper connection with the nocturnal wonders of the rainforest, an option to embark on a night hike is available.

Day 8: Amazon Rainforest

Claylick

Claylick at Tambopata Research Centre

Experience the awe-inspiring spectacle of nature as you witness dozens of large macaws and hundreds of parrots congregating on a large river bank—a vibrant and raucous display. Positioned discreetly fifty metres from the cliff, you will have the unique opportunity to observe Green-winged, Scarlet, and Blue-and-gold Macaws, along with several species of smaller parrots, descending to ingest clay. This dazzling event unfolds in the early morning light, making dawn the ideal time for these captivating outings.

Just ten minutes upriver from the Tambopata Research Centre, an island beckons exploration. On this island, a tiny pond with a platform in the middle becomes a haven for various waterfowl, including the Muscovy duck, sunbittern, and hoatzin. Woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers, and parakeets also call this pond home, creating a lively and diverse ecosystem.

As the day transitions into evening, enjoy dinner before embarking on an enlightening night lecture presented by scientists. Delve into the intricacies of macaw biology, exploring their feeding habits, the theories behind clay lick use, breeding and feeding ecology, population fluctuations, and the conservation challenges they face.

Day 9: Amazon Rainforest

TRC jaguar

Jaguar spotting at Tambopata Research Centre

Embrace the opportunity for yet another captivating morning at the clay lick, where the dynamic and ever-changing spectacle unfolds anew each day. Join the morning excursion to witness the vibrant gathering of macaws and parrots, creating a symphony of colour and sound against the backdrop of the Amazon rainforest.

Next exploration of an entirely different habitat, marked by smaller, thinner trees atop hills and slopes. Take a 5km trail through terra firme forest for a different perspective, and keep a keen eye out for the saddleback tamarins that frequently grace this area. As you walk near the limits of the swamp, there is a possibility of encountering rare tapir tracks

Day 10: Amazon Rainforest

TRC hammocks

Hammock relaxation

Today a half-day adventure offers a different perspective of the Terra Firme forest. This activity takes you through a section of the forest crossed by several creeks that eventually flow into the Tambopata River. Unlike previous explorations, this time, you'll venture in the opposite direction of the river, focusing on the intricate ecology and wonders of the creek trail. As you traverse this lush landscape, you'll encounter the rich biodiversity that thrives along the creeks, providing a glimpse into the interconnected web of life in the Tambopata National Reserve.

As the day transitions into evening, experience the magical twilight of the jungle. Under the dense tree cover, darkness descends swiftly, creating an immersive environment where the sounds of the rainforest come alive. The Sunset Cruise takes you down the wide river, where countless shades of oranges and pinks reflect off the water in mesmerising patterns. This tranquil journey allows you to witness the rainforest transform under the twilight sky, creating a serene and unforgettable experience.

Day 11: Return to Puerto Maldonado and onward flight

As your unforgettable journey through the wonders of the Amazon Rainforest ends, it's time to return to Puerto Maldonado for the next leg of your adventure or onward journey to your next destination in Peru or Latin America. Reflect on the incredible experiences, diverse ecosystems, and the beauty of nature that you've encountered during your time in this pristine and biodiverse region.


Duration: 11 days

Location: Peru Holidays, South and Central America Holidays

Price: £4570pp

From £4,570 pp based on two people sharing, excluding international flights.

The trip includes all accommodations, and activities specified above. Rooms and meals are as follows:

  • 2 nights at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba – Casita with breakfast
  • 1 night at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo – Superior deluxe room with breakfast & dinner
  • 2 nights at Palacio del Inka – Deluxe room with breakfast
  • 4 nights at Tambopata Research Centre – Comfort room with all meals included plus shared excursions

Also includes

  • All transfers, domestic flights, private guides (except in the Amazon where excursions are shared) and fees where stated as included.

This trip excludes:

  • Single Supplements.
  • International flights to/ from Peru (arrival to Cusco and returning from Lima)
  • Meals not mentioned as included.
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When to go to Peru

Peru is a country that can be visited year-round, as it has a diverse climate and a range of activities to suit every season. Here's a short month-by-month guide to help you decide when to visit:

  • Best
  • Good
  • Mixed
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

January

January is a great time to visit the coastal regions of Peru, including Lima, Paracas, and Mancora. The weather is warm and sunny along the coast, making it perfect for beach activities and water sports.

Coastal Areas (Lima, Paracas, Nazca): Warm and humid with temperatures around 25-30°C (77-86°F).

Highlands (Cusco, Machu Picchu): Rainy season, so expect occasional showers and some trekking routes may be closed.

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February

In February, you can experience the vibrant Carnival celebrations in various cities like Cajamarca and Puno. The festivities feature colorful parades, music, and dancing, offering a unique cultural experience.

Coastal Areas: Remains warm and humid with temperatures similar to January.

Highlands: Still the rainy season, but rainfall starts to decrease towards the end of the month. Some trekking routes may be accessible again.

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March

March is an excellent time for outdoor activities in the Andes as the rainy season starts to wind down. It's a good month for trekking and exploring the natural beauty of the mountains.

Coastal Areas: The weather remains warm, but humidity starts to decrease.

Highlands: The rainy season is ending, and the landscape is lush and green.

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April

It's an ideal time to visit the jungle regions, where you can witness lush vegetation and a variety of wildlife.

Coastal Areas: Autumn sets in, temperatures begin to drop, and fog becomes more common in Lima.

Highlands: The start of the dry season, making it an excellent time to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu.

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May

May is a shoulder season with generally mild weather and fewer tourists. It's a good time to explore popular destinations like Machu Picchu and Cusco before the peak tourist season begins.

Coastal Areas: Foggy mornings in Lima, but the sun usually breaks through later in the day.

Highlands: The dry season continues, with pleasant and sunny days.

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June

June is an excellent month to visit Cusco and attend the Inti Raymi festival, which celebrates the Incan sun god Inti. This festival features colourful processions and ancient rituals, adding to the cultural richness of the experience.

Coastal Areas: Cool temperatures in Lima due to the influence of the cold Humboldt Current.

Highlands: One of the best months to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu, with minimal rainfall and comfortable temperatures during the day.

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July

July is the peak tourist season in Peru, especially around Independence Day (July 28th). It's a great time to visit all regions of the country, including the coast, mountains, and rainforest.

Coastal Areas: Lima's winter, cool and misty.

Highlands: Dry season continues, but July also marks the beginning of the high tourist season. Plan ahead and expect crowds

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August

August is a good time to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but make sure to book in advance, as permits can sell out quickly during this popular time of year.

Coastal Areas: Similar to July, cool and misty in Lima.

Highlands: High tourist season continues. It's essential to book treks and accommodations in advance.

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September

September is a transition month when the crowds start to thin out, and the weather remains pleasant in most regions. It's a good time for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

Coastal Areas: Springtime starts, and temperatures begin to rise in Lima.

Highlands: Crowds start to thin out, but the weather remains favourable.

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October

October is another shoulder season with fewer tourists. The weather is still favourable, making it an ideal time for exploring different parts of the country.

Coastal Areas: Pleasant spring weather in Lima.

Highlands: The dry season continues, and this month is still a good time to visit.

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November

November marks the beginning of the rainy season on the coast, so it's best to focus on the Andes and the Amazon during this month.

Coastal Areas: Springtime in Lima, with warmer temperatures.

Highlands: The dry season ends, and the rainy season begins, so expect occasional showers.

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December

It is festive time in Peru, with various Christmas and New Year celebrations taking place throughout the country. Coastal regions are popular for holiday getaways, with warm weather and beach activities.

Coastal Areas: Warm and comfortable temperatures in Lima, ideal for beach activities.

Highlands: The rainy season continues, but it's still possible to visit. Just be prepared for wet conditions.

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Amanda

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Latin America Specialist

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