Amazon Cruise, Inca Citadels & Andean Culture

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Run by: Veloso Tours

Reference number: yasuni

From: £6888.00

Highlights

  • The wonders of the rainforest, magnificent colonial churches, local markets & hilltop Inca ruins
  • Begin in the colonial city of Quito, exploring the wonderful UNESCO centre
  • Venture deep into pristine rainforest on a seven night Amazon Expedition Cruise
  • Enjoy daily excursions, spot exotic wildlife, admire rare trees and meet remote communities
  • Continue to Cusco, where Inca and Spanish heritage blends in a fascinating city
  • Visit the Inca citadels, colourful markets and ancient salt mines of the Sacred Valley
  • Finish at Machu Picchu, the wonder of the Inca world, perched high in cloud forest

Quito - Days 1 - 2

Day 1 - Departure from UK

Take a daytime flight to Quito, arriving the same evening, where you will be met by our representative and taken to your hotel for two nights. This is also the opportunity for our guide to provide you advice, explain your programme and answer any questions you may have. 

Day 2 - City tour of Quito

Enjoy an afternoon tour of central Quito, including the beautiful old part of the city, the San Francisco main square and the Presidential Palace. Visit some of South America's most impressive churches and colonial architecture and pay a visit to the renowned Gold Museum.

Manatee Amazon Cruise - Days 3 - 9

Day 3 - Fly to Coca & Embark

Fly to Coca and transfer on the river to join the Manatee Amazon Explorer, moored further downstream. After dinner, we experience the thrill of a night-time walk in the forest. (B,L,D)


Day 4 - Napo River

Sail downstream on the Napo River, where we have the chance to observe pink river dolpins, black caiman and anakonda. We may also spot the primitive hoatzin. Afternoon explore the rainforest by canoe. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - Canoeing & wildlife

Today we explore the Panayacu River Delta, where we take a canoe trip on the flooded backwaters and lake. This area is home to nine species of primates, 500 species of birds and is the perfect habitat for piranhas, Water Monkey fish and the white caiman. We also stop at a local village and visit the school. (B,L,D)

Day 6 - Clay licks & local community

Morning at a parrot clay licks, one of the most fascinating sights in the Western Amazon. You will see large numbers of parrots, parakeets and macaws. Later, we visit a local community of the Napo River. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - Rainforest trails

Explore the Yasuni National Park to walk a trail in virgin rainforest, with a dense tree canopy. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - Local family visit & canoeing

Visit a local family to discover their way of life on the river. Afternoon to go canoeing on a blackwater lake, home to giant otters. (B,L,D)

Day 9 - Rainforest Observation Deck

Morning to enjoy the Manatee Explorer observation deck and Yasuni National Park, with pristine, virgin rainforest. Continue to an observation tower ,with a 360-degree view of the rainforest canopy. (B,L,D)

Lima - Day 10

Day 10 - Overnight in Lima

Fly from Coca to Lima via Quito. Upon arrival you will be met be a Veloso Tours representative and transferred to your hotel near the airport, staying overnight.

You may wish to stay an extra night, allowing you time to enjoy a tour of Lima and sample some of its world class restaurant scene. Please indicate to your Travel Consultant should you wish to do so.

Cusco - Days 11 - 13

Day 11 - Fly to Cusco

Board a morning flight to Cusco, where you will be met upon arrival by our guide - your host for the next few days. We will take a short introductory walk to get you orientated in the city.

Day 12 - Sacred Valley of the Incas

An early start by 07:30 for a full day tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our first stop is at Chinchero to visit the local colourful and authentic market where indigenous people from the surrounding communities congregate to trade their goods, not only trading in money, but in goods as well. The Chinchero Market is also well-known for its woven handcrafts typical of the region. You will also visit a workshop where you can see the artisans of the region working in their place. From here we drive to the Moray ruins, used by the Incas as a type of open-air crop laboratory.

Our next stop is Maras pre-Inca salt mines located on a wide-open hill above the Urubamba Valley. From here we will continue down to the Urubamba River and stop to admire the beautiful views of the valley. Lunch. We cross a small bridge and arrive at a beautiful Spanish Hacienda, overlooking the Urubamba River.

We visit the huge fortress of Ollantaytambo, the archaeological complex believed to have been a gigantic agricultural, administrative, social, religious and military centre. The town itself is geometrically perfect; with straight streets, trapezoidal doors, and Inca drainage systems.

We continue to Pisac a small colonial village built by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo on the ruins of an Inca citadel, standing at the entrance to the immensely fertile Urubamba River valley which was called the "Sacred Valley of the Incas" for the agricultural produce and wealth it brought as the base of the Inca Empire. There is a tourist market with numerous shops full of handicrafts and weaving and also a food market for local people, particularly on Sunday when some women and children dress in their traditional costumes. We drive up the mountain above the town for a short to visit to the Pisac ruins. Entrance fees and lunch are included.

Day 13 - Cusco & Inca Ruins Tour

Departure from your hotel for a visit to the Cathedral in the main square of Cusco and the Koricancha, the Spanish church built on Inca stone foundations. The Cathedral, believed to be built on the foundations of the Palace of Viracocha, stands proudly in the main square and houses an interesting picture of the last supper where Jesus and his disciples are about to tuck into a guinea pig, a Peruvian delicacy.

We drive to the mountains above Cusco to visit the archaeological sites of Sacsayhuaman and Kenko. The largest complex and most famous of the ruins surrounding Cusco is Sacsayhuaman, a mighty fortress, built using massive stones some of which weigh over 100 tons, and somehow fitted together so neatly that even now, after so many years and earthquakes, one can still not slip a knife blade between the pieces of this huge jigsaw puzzle.

We will also explore Tambomachay ruins, which may have served as a military outpost or a spa resort for the Incan political elite; as well as the Puca Pucara site, a red granite huge fortress. On the return we stop at a vantage point above Cusco for a superb view of the city and the surrounding mountains, before returning to your hotel. Entrance fees are included.

Machu Picchu - Days 14-17

Day 14-15 - Machu Picchu

Depart on the Vistadome train along bank of the Urubamba River, leading to Machu Picchu, dubbed the Lost City of the Incas when it was re-discovered in 1911. Guided tour of the archaeological site, a city of aqueducts with crystal clear waters, of liturgical fountains and of walkways once home to priests, craftsmen, peasants and servants. Lunch and afternoon to explore. 

Overnight at a hotel in town. The morning is free to explore. You may wish to climb Huayna Picchu, a steep climb but well worth it for the fantastic views of the valley and a different perspective of Machu Picchu. Alternatively, there is a gentle climb, back along the Inca Trail, to Intipunku: the Gate of the Sun, and the first sight one has of the comp...

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

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