13 days from £4250pp plus international flights.
This spectacular descent from Peru's Andean mountains through cloudforest and down into the rainforest takes in some of the cultural, historic and natural highlights of this glorious country. It is a wonderful trip for seeing the legendary Inca sites, the colonial cities and rural villages as well as the bird life, plant life and wildlife of these diverse regions and ecosystems.
You start in the former capital of the Inca empire, Cusco, with its wealth of ancient Inca architecture and Spanish colonial buildings, then you head to the Sacred Valley, travelling through rural towns and villages en route. You'll have plenty of time to absorb the culture of the region, explore historic sites, and shop for handicrafts etc., before you take a train journey through the Andes to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Then you descend through a rich variety of landscapes to the Amazon basin.
You will see valleys at high altitude where farmers eke a living from this tough terrain, grasslands and elfin forest, the unique cloudforest, tropical valleys where fruits and coca are cultivated, and you'll end in the prolific, lush Amazon rainforest. You'll stay in lodges in fantastic locations, including Manu Wildlife Centre, which is in one of the bio hotspots of the world and offers some truly amazing wildlife viewing. You'll travel by road, by train and by boat and return from the forest by plane before enjoying a day in cosmopolitan Lima. This is a cultural, nature and wildlife adventure par excellence and one with a real sense of journey.
Your holiday begins with a relaxing night at the Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport Hotel after your flight to Lima. You’ll be met on arrival at the airport and transferred the short distance to the hotel. Here you can enjoy a meal, take a dip in the indoor pool, workout in the fitness centre or indulge in a spa treatment before settling down for the night.
After breakfast you’ll make the short walk back to the airport for your flight to Cusco. You'll be met on arrival at Cusco and transferred to Casa Andina Plaza Hotel, where you’ll stay for the next two nights. Set in a historic building, the hotel is close to the Plaza de Armas – brilliant for people watching! You’ll be given a short orientation walk to help you find your bearings, then you are free to explore the city by yourself and start to discover the great restaurants, shopping and culture, or just rest and start to acclimatise to altitude. Breakfast
After you’ve enjoyed the excellent buffet breakfast your guide will collect you and take you on a guided tour of Cusco and the nearby Inca sites. You'll visit the main attractions including Koricancha Temple and the cathedral before heading out of Cusco to Sacsayhuaman, the large walled Inca fortress that overlooks the city. Your guide will then return you to your hotel, leaving the rest of the day free for you to spend as you wish. Breakfast
The day begins with another chance to enjoy the breakfast buffet before you meet your guide for the drive to the Sacred Valley. You’ll drive through fertile farmland which is still managed as it was in Inca times, complete with terracing. You’ll stop at traditional towns and villages, including Pisac, with its famous market, so have good opportunities to shop for crafts and textiles. You’ll also explore the Inca ruins above Pisac and the Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo. You spend tonight at a charming small 1920s hotel at Ollantaytambo Railway Station, El Aberque. Take time to wander in the beautiful gardens or perhaps recharge your batteries in the eucalyptus steam sauna. Breakfast, lunch
This morning you step out of your hotel and onto the platform of Ollantaytambo Railway Station and board the train to Machu Picchu. Your journey through the Andean landscape is a lovely element of the trip, with magnificent views through the train’s picture windows. Then it’s a short bus ride to the iconic site, where your guide will take you on a tour, drawing a vivid mental picture for you of what life was like here in Inca times. You’ll lunch at the splendid Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, which is very close to Machu Picchu, before returning to the ruins to explore by yourself. Then you head down the hill to El MaPi, a comfortable modern hotel set in cloudforest gardens. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This morning return to Machu Picchu to explore at your leisure, taking photographs and spotting details you may have missed the previous day. You board the train back to Cusco in the afternoon – a three-hour scenic journey. You’ll be met on arrival at Cusco and transferred to the Casa Andina Plaza Hotel. Breakfast
Your guide will collect you from your hotel after breakfast and you travel through the Andes, reaching an altitude of 3,900m before descending through grassland and forest. On the way you will stop at mountain villages and pre-Inca sites and for a picnic lunch. You reach the cloudforest with its lush trees, giant ferns, beautiful flowers and incredible birdlife in the afternoon and arrive at Cock of The Rock Lodge. Settle into your private bungalow, spot monkeys and birds in the garden and then visit the viewing platform for the chance to see Peru's red and black national bird, from which the lodge takes its name. Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
The day starts with an early visit to the lek to see the male Cock of the Rock birds performing their elaborate mating dance to attract the attention of females, before you take a secluded nature walk to the river, looking for wildlife. After breakfast, you are driven through hills and farmland and should reach Atalaya by midday. Here your Amazon adventure starts in earnest, as you board dugout canoes for the trip to the Manu Learning Centre, where you will stay for the night. River conditions permitting, you should arrive at the lodge in time for wildlife viewing along one of the forest trails. Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
After breakfast and a short hike on the lodge trails, you continue your journey by boat, following the Alto Madre de Dios river past the last foothills of the Andes, stopping at the mouth of the Manu river and walking to the boatyards at Boca Manu, where dugout canoes are built. It will take around 6 hours by boat to reach Manu Wildlife Centre, a wildlife eco-lodge set around an Amazonian garden where you will stay for the next three nights. After settling in, you head out with your guide into the rainforest on forest trails; hopefully you’ll encounter some of the native monkeys – there are 12 different species here. Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
This morning begins with a boat ride and forest walk that brings you to the Macaw Lick project. From the hide, watch as flocks of scarlet macaws scrape clay from the surface. Lunch at the lodge then explore the network of trails and reach the Canopy Tower in the late afternoon, to see the forest at twilight. Then walk to the viewing platform by the Tapir Clay Lick and relax on mattresses and watch as these shy creatures munch on the clay. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This morning take a catamaran ride on an oxbow lake and look out for giant otter and for water birds and monkeys. You may even spot Hoatzin birds in the bushes. Lunch at the lodge then take a guided wildlife tour or explore the trails at your own pace. After dusk, if the river level is right, you ccan search along the riverbank for caiman and other nocturnal creatures. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Your time in the Amazon rainforest ends in suitable style, leaving the lodge early for the two-and-a-half-hour boat ride downstream to Colorado gold-mining village, enjoying breakfast en-route (if not taken at the lodge), looking at wildlife and native settlements. This is followed by a 45-minute overland journey to Puerto Carlos, a ferry crossing of the Inambari River and the two-and-a-half-hour drive to the airport in Puerto Maldonado for your flight to Lima. On arrival at Lima airport you are met and transferred to the comfortable, contemporary Casa Andina Centro Miraflores Hotel, a perfect place for you to rest after a busy and exhilarating day. Breakfast
The final day of your holiday is spent sightseeing in Lima, including a visit to the Larco museum with its collection of ceramics. Your hotel is ideally situated in stylish Miraflores, the ‘new face’ of Lima, and Lima has some of the top restaurants in the world, so you will be spoiled for choice if you choose to end your holiday with a gourmet meal. In the evening you are taken to the airport for your flight home. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £4250 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2020 guide price pp sharing: from £4250
12-nights accommodation in the properties mentioned; private transfers; private sightseeing tours with an English-speaking guide in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Lima; shared transport services and guiding for the section from Cusco down to the rainforest (Please note that the program may vary slightly so as to maximize your wildlife sightings, depending on the reports of the local researchers and experienced naturalist guides based at the lodges); entrance fees to Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lima; Return train ticket to Machu Picchu; Meals as indicated in the itinerary.
International and domestic flight (we would normally book these for you and add this to the package); Visas (not currently required by British passport holders); insurance; Huayna Picchu entrance; meals not mentioned as included; drinks; tips; personal expenses such as laundry.
To get to Peru you need to fly into Lima. From here a domestic flight takes you to Cusco. From Europe Iberia Airlines or KLM are most frequently used for this route. There is no direct flight from the UK to Lima. A return flight will cost from about £900.
Departure dates: This is a set departure trip which departs on a Saturday every week from March through December. If you're interested in this holiday, please drop us a line for actual dates.
The Casa Andina Standard Cusco Plaza is in a convenient location for the main tourist sites in Cusco and provides comfortable accommodation for its guests.
A good value hotel in the popular district of Miraflores.
Cock of the Rock Lodge is located on the forested eastern slopes of the Andes.
Welcoming small hotel at Ollantaytambo station with pretty gardens and en-suite rooms, perfect for exploring the Sacred Valley.
El MaPi is a modern hotel in Machu Picchu town offering comfortable contemporary accommodation
A rustic lodge, home to researchers and conservationists as well as travellers, deep in the Amazon rainforest.
Strategically located in an area of forest with a high diversity of micro-habitats.
Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport is a modern hotel located within walking distance of Lima's international airport, offering good accommodation and facilities.
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Flight time: Both KLM and Iberia have flights to Lima via Europe, leaving the UK early in the morning to arrive in Lima in the evening. The flight time is about 14 hours. It is also possible to fly to Lima via America.
Language: Spanish and Quechua are the official languages.
Visas: Not required for British travellers (up to 90 days). EC nationals can ask us for further advice.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if visiting the rainforest. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended in the rainforest.