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Peru Highlights: Cusco + Machu Picchu + Amazon


PRF10L
10 NIGHTS
FROM £1,994
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 situated near the airport.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city.
Day 2
Make your own way on foot or by airport shuttle 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 3
This morning enjoy a tour of the Sacred Valley starting at the Inca's Balcony, a beautiful terrace with impressive view of the Indian village of Chinchero, where 12 families still preserve their customs and process wool to obtain vivid colors for their textiles.
 
After an included lunch, we visit 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. Known for its 'andenes' (agricultural terraces dug into the slopes of the mountains), Ollantaytambo was a highly effective fortress, which also served as a temple. Today this unique living town is the best surviving example of Inca city planning, with narrow cobblestone streets that have been used since the 13th century.
Day 4
Up early this morning to 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. 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) and in the late afternoon return by bus to Aguas Calientes. Then take the 1.5-hour Vistadome train back to Ollantaytambo, continuing 2-hours back to Cusco - where you will be met and transferred back to your hotel.
 
Note: You must take your passport today, as this will be needed to gain access to Machu Picchu and only one bag or rucksack not exceeding 5 kg (11 lb) is allowed as hand luggage on the train. From January to June, parts of the railtrack may be impassable due to mud slides when a bus transfer is substituted.
Day 5
Today enjoy a half day tour of the city of Cusco situated high in the Andes Mountains, followed by a visit to some of its ancient Inca ruins outside the city.
 
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. Explore the Plaza de Armas and the impressive Temple of the Sun (Qurikancha), whose walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold.
 
Walk down well-preserved Loreto Street, and along Ahuajpinta Street you can see the remains of impressive Incan palaces as well as old colonial buildings such as the 16th century cathedral and the Museum of Colonial Art. 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 on the northern outskirts, believed to have been both a military and ceremonial centre. We also visit the archaelogical site at Tambomachay (also known as the Incan Baths) and the excavated ruins at Q'inqu, before returning to town.
 
In the evening savour the local cuisine including a Pisco sour, the national drink. If you are feeling adventurous you can even try guinea pig - the local speciality.
Day 6
At leisure to explore more of the sights of Cusco independently.
Day 7
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 (overnight bags are provided by some lodges - please check with us).
 
You will then be transferred 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 8 To 9
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 may also be fortunate enough 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.
 
Activities vary by lodge but can include climbing an observation tower for treetop views over the primary forest, visiting a parrot clay lick to see these colourful birds or a peccary clay lick frequented by forest pigs, canoe rides in search of hoatzin (stinkbird), otters, macaws and other lakeside wildlife, learning about traditional and medicinal plants, visiting a local village, watching pink river dolphins or a night walk in the jungle.
 
Note: a headlamp is essential in the Amazon.
Day 10
Transfer by boat 1.5-hours downstream to Puerto Maldonado Airport for your onward flight.

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 11
This morning enjoy a half day tour of historic Lima, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well preserved architecture.
 
Founded in 1535, Lima was re-named the "City of Kings" when it was conquered by the Spanish and became the most important city in the region. On the main square, the Plaza de Armas, you can see many imposing colonial buildings with their intricate balconies - including Government Palace, where the changing of the guards takes place. See the beautiful Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace and the City Hall. The baroque Torre Tagle Palace, a couple of blocks east of the main square, adds to the city's charm.
 
Our next stop is the 17th century Santo Domingo Convent, which is also a World Heritage site. We then drive through the modern financial district of San Isidro for a tour of Huaca Huallamarca, a pre-Incan adobe pyramid.
 
Afterwards we head for the residential district of Miraflores, stopping off at the Parque del Amor (Lover’s Lane), with its incredible views over the Pacific Ocean, before being transferred to Lima Airport for your flight home.

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