This Andes & Amazon Adventure allows travellers to get under the skin of one of South America's most enticing countries. Drive in fork-first into Peru's world class gastronomic scene, take in stunning landscapes and ancient traditions in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, marvel at the iconic Inca settlement of Machu Picchu and venture into the Amazon Rainforest in search of wildlife aboard a luxury cruise.
Day 1 Depart the UK in the evening on an overnight flight to Bogota and connect on to Cuzco. (If you prefer the daytime British Airways flight through Lima with an overnight in the Peruvian capital please ask your Rainbow Travel Specialist).
Day 2 This morning transit through Bogota airport arriving into Cuzco in the southern Peruvian Andes. Rather than staying in the city however, you are met and driven for approximately 90 mins towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here, gently acclimatise to the altitude as well as staying in beautiful Andean countryside.
Day 3 Today depart your hotel to visit some of the main sites within the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The Sacred Valley is home to small villages and market towns selling colourful arts and handicrafts following the Urubamba River between Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Visit the salt pans at Maras this morning, before continuing to the agricultural terraces of Moray, all set with the stunning backdrop of the snow-capped Andes. Continue to the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo, and a visit to the impressive Incan fortress overlooking the town. Return to your hotel in the Sacred Valley later today.
Day 4 Today travel by train to the spectacular Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Dramatically located between high mountain peaks and where cloud forest covered mountains act as a backdrop, the famous site does not fail to take visitors breaths away. This is the meeting point of the Peruvian Andes and the Peruvian Amazon. On a guided tour, learn about the Inca history of this magical place, how this 550-year old citadel was so advanced for its time and then lost in time for centuries. Spend the night in the town nearby in Aguas Calientes.
Day 5 This morning is at leisure or alternatively take the opportunity to return to Machu Picchu at sunrise and perhaps climb Huayna Picchu for a panoramic view of the citadel. In the afternoon, from Aguas Calientes board the train once again for the scenic journey to Cuzco, the once Inca capital. Historic pre-Columbian architecture, ornate baroque churches combined with a modern restaurant scene and lively nightlife make for a memorable stay. Stay in the heart of the city and explore its picturesque cobblestoned winding streets.
Day 6 On a half day city tour, immerse yourself in the history of Cuzco, where Spanish colonial architecture collides with ancient Inca traditions. Visit the Plaza de Armas (main square) flanked by the Cathedral with its impressive colonial art, Koricancha Temple, an old Incan palace and main centre for the worship of the sun god, Inti. Rainbow Tours recommends venturing up to the bohemian white-washed neighbourhood of San Blas and visiting the nearby Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Located on the hill overlooking the city, marvel at the spectacular views across the terracotta roofs surrounded by the Andes mountains.
Day 7 Early this morning depart your Cuzco hotel and take a flight to Iquitos in the northern Peruvian Amazon. Iquitos is the largest city in the world with no road access, and for the next four nights you navigate the rainforest through the Peruvian Amazon’s two largest tributaries, the Ucayali and Marañon rivers. You are met at the airport in Iquitos before transferring to the port departure point at Nauta to begin your journey through the water channels, allowing you to get deeper into the jungle, well away from the city of Iquitos and far from any land-based lodges. Itineraries vary based on water levels, and this route is based on low water levels.
Day 8 This morning begin by cruising down the Ucayali River and board skiffs to access the narrower water channels where farmers and local fishermen go about their work. In these pristine waters there is a chance of spotting a range of aquatic wildlife, and particularly look out for the pink river dolphins that are often in the area. Later in the day return to the smaller boats to ride through the black waters of the Pacaya River at dusk, and the nocturnal wildlife that comes out after dark. As well as the varying nature that comes out in the evenings the clear night skies and low to non-existent light pollution makes some extraordinary stargazing opportunities.
Day 9 This morning is an early start to once again venture deeper into the jungle via the Pacaya River with opportunities to see Capuchin monkeys, the great Egret and Taricaya Turtles. Return to the main boat for lunch, before being given a demonstration in fishing for the second largest river fish in the world, the paiche fish. Later in the day continue up river past the small port of Requena and the local boats transporting bananas up and down stream. Once again there is a chance of spotting pink river dolphins.
Day 10 This morning choose between a walk in the jungle, canoeing, kayaking or swimming on the black water Yarapa and Clavero Rivers. In the afternoon take a short jungle walk in the San Jose de Sarapanga forest and visit a site for the giant water lilies. Later in the day return to the main vessel for dinner.
Day 11 This morning before making your way back towards Nauta port visit a local fresh produce market, and your guides can help identify the fishermen’s various daily catches, as well as the great array of Amazonian exotic fruits. Return to the Aria for breakfast, start your journey back to Iquitos. Once back on land, there is a a final stop before the airport at the Manatee rescue centre, a rehabilitating project for the manatees with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. You are then dropped off at the airport in time for your flight to Lima. On arrival, you will be taken to your hotel. Lima has a good selection of accommodation and dining options, with some of South America’s leading restaurants and world-renowned chefs based here.
Day 12 This morning to maximise your time in the city you are collected by your private guide and taken to the main highlights of the city. Historic downtown Lima, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many of the key sights located close to the Plaza de Armas (main square). Visit the Government Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the City Hall, before you then head towards the Pacific Ocean for spectacular views across the cliff face from “Parque del Amor”. At the end of the tour you are then taken to the airport to board your onward flights back to the UK via Bogota, or on your chosen route.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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