Arequipa & Colca Canyon, Cusco & Machu Picchu, Amazon - 12 Days
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- Day 1: Arrival in Lima
- Day 2: Arrival in Arequipa & Arequipa City Tour
- Day 3: Colca Canyon Tour & Overnight
- Day 4: Colca Canyon Tour & Return to Arequipa
- Day 5: Arrival in Cusco
- Day 6: Cusco City Tour
- Day 7: Sacred Valley Tour
- Day 8: Machu Picchu Tour
- Day 9: Arrival in Puerto Maldonado
- Day 10: Amazon Tour
- Day 11: Amazon Tour
- Day 12: Departure from Puerto Maldonado
Experience Peru’s wonderful diversity on a tour from the Andes to the Amazon. You’ll start in Arequipa, where you can search the cobblestoned streets for architectural gems and the best restaurants in town. (Be warned, there are many of both!) With that introduction, drive to Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons, and witness the Andean condor stretch its wings against an awe-inspiring mountain backdrop.
Continue to Cusco and the Sacred Valley, former center of the Inca Empire, where you can visit ancient ruins and browse traditional markets. Then take the train into the cloud forest to gaze in awe at Machu Picchu and marvel at the genius of Inca builders.
Go to the Amazon, where you’ll become immersed in the vast green of the rainforest, learn to spot hidden plants and wildlife, and then climb into a hammock and tune in to a slower pace of life.
Day 1: Arrival in Lima
Arrival at Lima airport. Meet our representative for a transfer to your Lima airport hotel.
Day 2: Arrival in Arequipa & Arequipa City Tour
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Arequipa, a city renowned for its delectable cuisine and its beautiful colonial architecture. Upon arrival at the airport, meet our representative for a transfer to your hotel.
In the afternoon, meet your guide for a tour of Arequipa's highlights. The first stop, Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesus, exemplifies the city’s distinctive architectural heritage. The church exterior is a masterpiece of Andean baroque details sculpted from white sillar stone, while the interior displays a collection of paintings and wood carvings from the Cusco School of Art. The highlight is San Ignacio Chapel, the former sacristy, with a stunning dome and walls covered in multicolored murals depicting rainforest flora and fauna — an artifact of the Jesuits’ missionary efforts in the Amazon. Your next stop is the Plaza de Armas, where the elegant stone-sculpted facade of the Basilica Cathedral steals the spotlight. You’ll continue to Santa Catalina Monastery, where the Spanish colony’s wealthiest nuns once resided within a convent big enough to have its own streets and plazas. The final stop on this tour will be a mirador (lookout point), either Yanahuara or Carmen Alto, where you will be able to get pictures of Misti Volcano looming over the city.
Enjoy dinner at one of Arequipa’s many fine restaurants; recommended dishes include rocoto relleno and chupe de camarones, two Arequipean specialities. Visit the Plaza de Armas for evening photos of the Cathedral. Then go back to your hotel for some rest before an early morning pickup tomorrow.
Day 3: Colca Canyon Tour & Overnight
Transfer by car from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon where you’ll spend the night.
Keep your eyes open and your camera ready because the drive is among the most spectacular in the Andes. From Arequipa, you’ll gradually ascend to the highland plains and enter the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, which includes the volcanoes Misti and Chachani within its borders as well as free-roaming herds of llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos. You’ll reach Patapampa Pass at 15,300 feet (4,820 meters) above sea level before beginning the descent into Colca Canyon with breathtaking views of agricultural terraces along the way .
Stop in the small town of Chivay for lunch, then drive to La Calera, where you can soak in the natural hot springs or simply enjoy the beautiful terraced landscape that surrounds you.
In the afternoon, check-in to your Colca Canyon hotel for a relaxing night under the starlit Andean sky.
Day 4: Colca Canyon Tour & Return to Arequipa
Wake up early to go to Mirador Cruz del Condor, where you can spot condors soaring across the massive mountain landscape. You’ll drive about 40 minutes along a road flanked by soaring glacier-capped peaks: Mismi on one side and Sabancaya and Ampato on the other. (The headwaters of the Amazon River have been tracked to Mismi; while the Ice Maiden mummy was discovered following the 1990 eruption of Sabancaya). The viewing platform at Cruz del Condor stands 3,960 feet (1,200 m) above the canyon floor, providing mesmerizing views over into one of the world’s deepest valleys.
Return to Chivay for lunch (not included), take some time to browse the local market, and then begin the overland journey to Puno (5 to 6 hours by car).
Upon arrival in Puno, check-in to your Lake Titicaca hotel. Explore the city of Puno or find a spot to enjoy inspiring views over the lake.
Day 5: Arrival in Cusco
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flights from Arequipa to Lima to Cusco. Upon arrival, meet our representative for a transfer to your Cusco hotel.
Be sure to take it easy on this first day at higher altitude. Visit a museum, people-watch on the Plaza de Armas, or find a cafe where you can relax. In the evening, choose among Cusco’s many options for casual or fine dining.
Day 6: Cusco City Tour
This morning you’ll have time to explore Cusco on your own. Visit the Pre-Columbian Art Museum (MAP) or Casa Concha (Machu Picchu Museum). You can also explore the vendor stalls at San Pedro Market or browse artisan workshops and art galleries in the San Blas neighborhood.
After lunch, meet your guide for an afternoon tour of Cusco’s must see sights. You’ll start on the Plaza de Armas, where your guide will begin to tell you about the history of South America’s oldest continuously inhabited city. You’ll enter into the Cusco Cathedral, formerly the site of a temple to the Inca creator deity Viracocha and today a treasure trove for religious art produced by native artisans in the years after the Spanish Conquest. You’ll continue to Santo Domingo Monastery, which was also constructed on the site of an Inca temple, Qoricancha or the Temple of the Sun. The building of the church atop the ruins ironically preserved parts of the Inca structures, which were revealed intact after a devastating earthquake in 1950 crumbled the Spanish construction. Next, you’ll visit the Inca ruins outside of Cusco, beginning at the fortress of Sacsayhuaman (site of an important battle between Inca and Spanish troops), and wrapping up the day with stops at Q’enko, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay.
At the end of the tour, you’ll be returned to your hotel in Cusco. Hit the town to see Cusco by night or enjoy a quiet evening in.
Day 7: Sacred Valley Tour
After breakfast, meet your guide for a tour of the Sacred Valley, which in Inca times was littered with royal palaces and temples and today is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes. Your first stop is Pisac town, with its famous market and impressive hilltop ruins. At the market, your guide will point out local products like potatoes, giant corn, and natural dyes, and you’ll have a chance to browse the souvenir stalls for one-of-a-kind gifts. Next, you’ll drive up the hill to the Pisac ruins, which sprawl across a narrow mountain ridge and most likely protected the southern entrance to the Sacred Valley. You’ll continue down the road to Urubamba and stop for lunch (not included) at a buffet restaurant serving Peruvian specialties. The final stop is in Ollantaytambo, where you’ll climb to the top of the fortress ruins for panoramic views across the former Inca heartland.
At the end of the tour, you’ll be dropped of at your hotel in Sacred Valley.
Day 8: Machu Picchu Tour
Take an early train to Machu Picchu, traveling for 2 hours along a path that follows the banks of the Urubamba River and descends dramatically from the Andean highlands to the cloud forest. On clear days, you can glimpse the glacier-capped peaks that rise over the valley. Upon arrival at the train station, meet our representative for a transfer to the bus stop and the 25-min shuttle ride to the ruins.
Meet your guide at the ruins entrance for a 2-hour tour of Machu Picchu. You’ll visit the primary temples and palaces of the Inca citadel and then you’ll have time to explore the ruins on your own. Take an optional hike to the Sun Gate (entrance from the Inca Trail) or to the Inca Bridge.
In the late afternoon, return to the train station for the trip back to Cusco.
Day 9: Arrival in Puerto Maldonado
After breakfast, transfer to the Cusco airport for the short flight to Puerto Maldonado. Upon arrival, meet our representative for a transfer by river boat to your Amazon lodge.
Most lodges are located between 30 minutes to 1 hour by boat from Puerto Maldonado. As you leave the city behind, you’ll see the wide river open up before you, walled in by jungle growth on either side. Over the course of the next few days, you’ll learn more about rainforest and you’ll be able to add defining details to what at first glance seems like a vast green space.
Upon arrival at your lodge, settle in to your cabana and then meet your guide to discuss the schedule of activities for the next few days. Enjoy dinner and then tuck in early. Your day tomorrow will begin at dawn.
Day 10: Amazon Tour
Specific activities vary by lodge and by season, but you’re guaranteed to be immersed in the rainforest of southern Peru. You’ll walk jungle trails to spot flora and fauna, hop aboard skiffs to spot wildlife in hidden lagoons, and witness sights and sounds unique to Peru's rainforest environment. Some lodges have tree canopy towers where you can see the rainforest from the perspective of a bird or monkey.
Day 11: Amazon Tour
You may also have an opportunity to visit indigenous communities and learn how they interact with the jungle environment. Night walks offer yet another angle on the Amazon, revealing critters that only emerge when the sun goes down.
Day 12: Departure from Puerto Maldonado
Enjoy a final breakfast at your lodge and then return by boat to Puerto Maldonado. Upon arrival at the port, you’ll be transferred to the airport to begin your journey home or on to your next destination.
|Budget||3 Star||4 Star||5 Star|
|$ 2219||$ 2669||$ 3309||$ 3879|
|Budget||3 Star||4 Star||5 Star|
|$ 3209||$ 3929||$ 4819||$ 5779|
- 1 night in Lima airport hotel, 2 nights in Arequipa, 1 night in Colca Canyon, 3 nights in Cusco, 1 night in the Sacred Valley and 3 nights in the Amazon in Peru hotels and lodges based on US standards
- All tours stated in the itinerary with English-speaking guides
- Ground transportation and entrance fees
- Breakfast at all hotels
- All meals at the Amazon lodge
- Train: Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu - Cusco (Vistadome Train for 5-star and 4-star packages / Expedition Train for 3-star packages)
- Budget tours are designed to offer the best value and comfort possible, and have some variations compared to our 3, 4, and 5-star packages. Call or email us to learn more about our Budget tours.
- Lunches and dinners (unless otherwise specified)
- Airport taxes
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