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Peru: Amazon to Andes (EA103)

Looking to experience the Amazon forest of Peru? There is no better place than Manu National Park. Continuing with this tour we travel to Sacred Valley of the Incas, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu.This is a tour experience of a life time!

  • Available April to October


Day 1: Lima
The adventure begins when we arrive in the capital of Peru, Lima and there we will take are transferred to the hotel. We cannot visit Lima without sample Lima’s famous gourmet foods, so therefore we are going for dinner to one of the best restaurants in Lima. We will have our city tour when we came back to Lima on the last day. (D)
Day 2: Lima – Cusco
Early in the morning, we transfer to the airport for a flight out to the city of Cusco, upon arrival transfer to the hotel where we will be welcomed with a hot cup of coca tea to help us with the acclimatization process at 3,400 m. In the afternoon we take the city tour, which includes colonial and Inca monuments such as the Cathedral, Qoricancha (The Temple of the Sun), and later the colossal Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park, which includes the Tambomachay, Q´enq´o and Puca Pucara sites. Later we will transfer to the hotel. (B)
Day 3: Cusco – Cock of the Rock Lodge
Our overland journey begins at 3,400m/11,150 ft., with an early departure from the highland city of Cusco. Today’s destination is the lush cloud forest region where the Andes fall away to the Amazon basin. This is a day of scenic drama and striking contrasts. We first visit a mountain wetland habitat teeming with migrant and local waterfowl, before crossing two mountain ranges between the Cusco valley and the Paucartambo valley, to a maximum altitude of 3,900m/12,790ft. Finally we follow a sinuous ribbon of highway on its plunge through an extraordinary world of forested cliffs, waterfalls and gorges. We take leisurely stops to see mountain villages, a hilltop necropolis of chullpas (pre-Inca burial chambers), and the abrupt ridge top of Ajanaco, which marks the final high point where the Andes begin their swoop into the Amazon basin. In clear weather we will see a breathtaking panorama of cloud forest and mountains giving way to the lowland rainforest plains far below us. After a picnic lunch, we descend through the startling and rapid environmental transformations, characteristic of the tropical Andes, and passing from grassland and stunted trees through elfin forest, until we wind through a lush and a magical world of overhanging trees, giant ferns, monster begonias, countless orchids and bromeliads, and a diverse and teeming birdlife. We make frequent spontaneous stops, perhaps to spot a brilliantly feathered quetzal, a trogon, or the wild turkey-like Guan. We reach the comfortable Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge in the late afternoon, which is the best hour to visit the nearby viewing platform for the display ground, or “lek”. This is usually the highlight of a long, full day, a chance to see Peru’s dazzling national bird, the Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola) in full, raucous courting display. (B, Box Lunch, D)
Day 4: Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge to Amazonia Lodge or Pantiacolla Lodge
First we will rise up early, so we can have a second chance to view the Cock-of-the-Rock, and then scout for birds, and perhaps Brown Capuchin or Woolly monkeys along the nearby road. Or we can take a secluded nature walk on a short trail loop to the river and back. After breakfast we continue our drive, as the mountains give way to low rolling hills and farmland. At Patria we visit a plantation of coca grown legitimately for the Peruvian coca leaf market. At midday we reach Atalaya, a tiny port where the Piñipiñi River meets the Alto Madre de Dios River. Now the lowland rainforest part of our journey begins. Rivers are the highways of the rainforest, and henceforth. We will travel in large, comfortable dugout canoes shaded by canopy roofs, driven by powerful outboard motors. During normal river conditions we arrive at our lodge in time for exploration and wildlife viewing – which may include toucans, kingfishers, a rare endemic hummingbird and a multitude of butterflies -- along one of its many forest trails. (B, Box Lunch, D)
Day 5: Amazonia Lodge or Pantiacolla Lodge to Manu Wildlife Center
Early in the morning there is time for another short morning hike on the lodge trails before leaving early for the Manu Wildlife Center. As we follow the broad, rushing course of the Alto Madre de Dios river past the last foothills of the Andes, our ever-changing route offers sightings of new birds -- terns, cormorants, White-winged Swallows, and flocks of nighthawks flushed from their daytime lairs by the sound of our engine. Splashes of brilliant yellow, pink and red foliage do the forest-clad slopes around us amazingly beautiful, and the breeze is laden with the heady perfumes of the tropical forest. We pass the mouth of the Manu River, the gateway to the Manu National Park. We pause during our journey to stretch our legs and visit Boca Manu, a village that lies short way downriver; we visit the boatyards where local people build the dugout boats so essential to life on the river. After a boat journey of approximately 6 hours, we arrive at Manu Wildlife Center, one of the top ten wildlife lodges in the world. After a reception and orientation we move into our private bungalow and rest, so we can escape the midday heat. Later, we make our first acquaintance with the lowland rainforest, learning about the plants and forest ecology as we explore some of the 30 miles trails that surround the lodge. We have an excellent chance of encountering some of the 12 species of monkeys, including the Spider Monkey and Emperor Tamarin, which inhabit the surrounding forest. (B, Box Lunch, D)
Day 6: Manu Wildlife Center: the Macaw Clay lick project, Canopy Tower & Tapir Clay lick
On this day we will again go for an early start (inevitable on wildlife expeditions), after a delicious breakfast followed by a short boat ride downstream. We will walk through the forest for some minutes, where we find the Macaw Lick project. The hide provided with individual chairs and a convenient place for cameras and binoculars is our ringside seat for what is usually a spectacular show. In groups of twos and threes the scarlet Macaws come flapping in, landing in the treetops as they eye the main stage below -- the eroded clay banks of the river and the occasional villain, gets a visit of the menacing and unwelcomed Great Black Hawk. The drama plays out first in tentative and then bolder approaches to the lick, until finally nearly all the macaws form a colorful and noisy spectacle on the bare banks, squabbling as they scrape clay from the hard surface. After this we continue walking and exploring on the network of trails surrounding the lodge, then we return to the lodge for lunch.Later, we continue to explore and discover the rainforest, its lore and plant life, on the network of trails surrounding the lodge. We will arrive in the late afternoon at our 34m/112ft. Canopy Tower. On its platform we witness the frantic rush-hour activity of twilight in the rainforest canopy, before the night closes in. Then we set off along the “collpa trail”, which will take us to the lodge’s famous Tapir Clay lick. Here at the most active tapir lick known in all the Amazon, our research has identified from 8-12 individual 600-pound Tapirs who come to this lick to eat clay from under the tree roots around the edge. This unlikely snack absorbs and neutralizes toxins in the vegetarian diet of the Tapir, the largest land animal of Latin America. The lick features a roomy, elevated observation platform 5m/17ft above the forest floor. The platform is equipped with freshly-made-up mattresses with pillows. Each mattress is covered by a roomy mosquito net. The 10-m-long, elevated walkway to the platform is covered with sound-absorbing padding to prevent our footsteps from making noise. This Tapir Experience is unique and exciting because these normally very shy creatures are visible up close -- flash photography is not just permitted-- The hard part for modern city dwellers is to remain still and silent anywhere from 30 minutes to two or more hours. Many prefer to nap until the first Tapir arrives, at which point our guide gently awakes us to watch the Tapir 10-20m/33-66ft) away below the platform. Most people feel that the wait is well worth it in order to have such a high probability of observing the rare and elusive Tapir in its natural surroundings in the rainforest. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Manu Wildlife Center: Hike to an Oxbow Lake and the Wildlife Trails
We set off early to visit an old oxbow lake full of water lilies and sunken logs. As we circle the lake in our catamaran, we might encounter the resident Giant Otter family on a fishing expedition, or troops of monkeys crashing noisily through the trees. During the ride we can experience Wattled Jacanas step lightly on the lily pads, dainty Sun Grebes paddle across the water, supple-necked Anhingas air-dry their wide black wings, and perhaps an Osprey scans for fish from a high branch.Among the bushes near the waterline, Hoatzins, which look like rust-colored, punk chickens, announce their presence with distinctive, bizarre wheezing and grunts. Woodpeckers, tanagers, macaws, toucans and parakeets all finally come swooping in to the trees surrounding the lake. Many of them roost around the lake in the night. After lunch at the lodge our guide is available to lead us on freewheeling expeditions in search for further wildlife, or we may take one of the lodge’s many trails on a private and personal excursion to commune with the spirits of the rainforest. This evening, from the late afternoon until after Dinner, we offer an opportunity to search for caiman and other nocturnal life along the riverbank by boat -If the level of river allows it. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Manu wildlife Center - Cusco
We leave our lodge very early for a two hour and half return boat trip downstream to the Colorado Village. The breakfast will be served on the boat while we are enjoying the early morning wildlife activity as we go, of course this is a perfect time to take advantage of valuable early morning wildlife activity along the river, in additions this journey allows us to see several lowland native settlements and gold miners digging and panning gold along the banks of the Madre de Dios River. We will stop in the far-west type gold-mining town of Colorado to start our overland journey to Puerto Carlos for 45 minutes, then we will cross the Inambari River for 15 minutes in a boat to Santa Rosa, finally a van or bus will drive us for approximately two-hours and half to the airport in Puerto Maldonado City, where we will fly by a commercial airplane to Cusco. (B)
Day 9: Cusco
In Cusco we will be welcomed with a hot cup of coca tea to help with acclimatization at 3,400 mts In the afternoon, we take a city tour visiting colonial and Inca monuments such as the Cathedral, Qoricancha (The Temple of the Sun), and later the colossal Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park, which includes the Tambomachay, Q´enq´o and Puca Pucara sites. (B)
Day 10: Cusco - Sacred Valley - Ollantaytambo
After breakfast we start our transfer to Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley of the Incas), famous for its rural landscape and lovely weather. The drive will descend until Pisaq (2,800 m), a small town aside the Vilcanota River, to visit a typical Indian market. There we can observe men, women, and indigenous authorities displaying beautiful and elegant traditional dressing. The market still shows ancient trading traditions among people who come from other distant small villages. Thereafter lunch will be served, and in the afternoon the tour goes by several towns including Calca and Urubamba, before arriving in Ollantaytambo, a former agricultural, military, and religious center, where Inca architecture is one of the finest. This center was built to protect the valley against possible invaders, and is presently considered the best preserved and the only living Inca town today. Later we will return to the hotel (B, L)
Day 11: Ollantaytambo- Machu Picchu
The day begins with an early breakfast and transfer to the train station at 06:00 am. The railway journey to Machu Picchu will take 2 hrs. When we reach Aguas Calientes, located below 2,000 m, we will take a 20 minute bus ride up to the Machu Picchu citadel, perched 500 mts above the Urubamba River. Our guide will explain the history and myths of this archeological wonder built aside a cloaked granite peak, the Huayna Picchu that towers the site. We will learn why Machu Picchu is one of the most magical and mysterious places on Earth. This landscape shows very steep forests hills frequently shrouded in misty clouds and downhill views of the roaring Urubamba River. Later the bus goes to Aguas Calientes for lunch, and at mid-afternoon the train goes back to Cusco. In Cusco we will be transferred to the hotel (B)
Day 12: Cusco-Lima
On the final day we will be transferred to the airport to fly back to Lima and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon we take the City tour of Lima, we will visit the ancient colonial area designated by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1991. We will see the Plaza Mayor, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop`s Palace, the City Hall and the “Desamparados Train Station”. We will also see Plaza San Martin; a large park surrounded by old colonial buildings their beautiful balconies. Also we will experience San Francisco monastery and its famous catacombs. Then we will continue the tour visiting the modern suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores where we will see the Financial Center, the San Isidro Golf Course and the Olive Grove Park. We will also go by the Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca pyramid shaped temple that survived the expansion of modern civilization. We will spend the night in Lima (B)
Day 13: Lima
Transfer to airport. (B)


  • Transfers in and out
  • Train to Machu Picchu on Expedition
  • Excursions described in itinerary
  • Professional guide
  • Breakfast (11), lunch (2), box lunch (3), lunch (5) and dinner (5)
  • Accommodation on 3 star hotel/hostel (6), lodge (5)
  • Entrance fees

Not Included

  • Flights Lima-Cusco- Puerto Maldonado- Cusco, Cusco-Lima
  • Local airport taxes
  • Personal insurance
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses

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    • A month ago we visited Tambopata, thanks to the recommendation of David, because his experience working for many years in this area, convinced us to know the jungle of Puerto Maldonado and we do not regret it. It was a unique and wonderful experience. The whole organization was perfect for us, we felt very safe with our specialized guide and traveling by boat. Thank you for the incredible moment visiting Tambopata!

      Gunter & Kornelia Billstein (2019) Germany
    • Our trip to the Tambopata Rainforest was a great experience!

      A wonderful place to get away from the outside world and have a moment with the environment and with ourselves. Thanks to David’s experience who recommended us to visit this beautiful place.

      Esther & Marta Pinedo, Martin Bengoa & Imanol Ruiz (2019) Spain
    • Our trip was over the top!! We have had and amazing time in the north of Peru and Cusco, visiting the Lord of Sipan, Chan Chan Archeological Center, Huanchaco beach, Machu Picchu and doing vivencial tourism in the Sacred Valley with the Yachaqs Community. Very impressed with every place we visited.

      Thank you very much for organizing an excellent time in Peru.

      Terry Hesselden, Arlene Westoby & Beverly Barker (2019) Canada
    • Very impressed by the effort, professionalism and responsibility of each one (guides, drivers, etc). We are very satisfied with our trip in Peru. Knowing the Amazon and Machu Picchu were part of my best experiences.

      Debbie Yip and Grace Goh (2019) Singapore
    • We have been travelling very often but honestly speaking the tour in Peru and the services around has been the best so far! … (the) staff very friendly and the guides experienced: Mauricio and David very passionate about their job, excellent knowledge … of Peru like history, geography, politics, religion, etc, and with our drivers felt safe in all our trip… excellent!! Always supportive and very flexible. Keep it up!! Many thanks

      Claudia Signorelli & Norman Memminger (2018) Switzerland and Germany