Peru is a veritable treasure of multiple riches. Lima, its capital, is a city full of rich flavors, unique experiences, and the magical union of past and present. You’ll cruise through the heart of the Amazon Jungle, the largest tropical rainforest in the world, and spend 7 days discovering the region's amazing biodiversity. From Cusco to Machu Picchu, come learn about the remarkable history of this exotic land.
DAY 1: PARIS - LIMA
You’ll fly from Paris to Lima, where you’ll be greeted at the airport and transferred to the Casa Andina Private Collection 4-star hotel (or similar accommodations). You’ll have dinner and spend the night at the hotel.
DAY 2: LIMA
Enjoy breakfast before exploring Lima, the city founded by Pizarro on January 5, 1535, the evening before the feast of Epiphany. Its original name was "Ciudad de los Reyes” (City of the Kings). You will discover the country’s capital, which includes a historic center, many museums, and numerous colonial structures. It has a very rich architectural heritage. Its historic center was even classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll visit the cathedral and the Monastery of San Francisco, a jewel of colonial Lima. The highlights of the city’s historic heart are the Government Palace done in a French baroque style, the Archbishop's Palace, the town hall, and the Club de la Unión. Take a stroll through Lima's center: the Plaza Mayor enriched with an elegant 17th century fountain, Plaza Saint-Martin, and the Central Market. We’ll have lunch in the city. At Plaza Bolivar, you will visit the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History. This is one of the most fascinating museums in all of South America due to its extraordinary collection of ceramics, fabrics, goldsmith work from Incan and Peruvian cultures. There are also examples of colorful Nazca pottery, and objects in gold and silver from the Chimú period. Or you can visit the Larco Museum, which houses a collection of 45,000 ceramic pieces, mostly from the Moche culture. Archaeologist Don Rafael Larco Hoyle put this collection together. We’ll have dinner in the city, and spend the night at the hotel.
DAY 3: LIMA - IQUITOS
Enjoy breakfast before being transferred to the airport to catch a flight to Iquitos, where upon arrival you’ll board our ship. Linked to the outside world only by air or river, Iquitos is the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road. We’ll set out on a panoramic tour of the city, including Italian-style palaces, the bustling market, and the Iron House, a famous residence designed by Gustave Eiffel that was built from metal sheets carried by hundreds of men through the jungle. Then, you will visit an Amazonian manatee rescue center run by volunteers and biologists. These herbivorous mammals are threatened by deforestation and people hunting them for their skin, which is used to make quality leather. You’ll have lunch before boarding the Amazon Discovery and comfortably settling into your cabins. We’ll cast off on our cruise to discover the "Lungs of the World" on the Itaya River. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
DAY 4: MONKEY ISLAND - MOMON RIVER
Enjoy breakfast on board. Afterwards, we’ll take small boats to Monkey Island. This small area is home to eight species of monkeys who roam in perfect freedom (howlers, capuchins, titis, and pygmy marmosets). An NGO protects and preserves this reserve. Its members take care of orphaned monkeys or those that were captured to sell. They prepare the animals to be reinserted into their natural habitat. We’ll return on board for lunch. Our ship will continue to cruise on the Momon River, and we’ll visit a native community who are dominantly animists and believe that there is no difference between the spiritual and physical world. They have gone to great lengths to maintain their culture and language by ensuring it is passed down to their children. Ceremonies feature dancing and six-foot batons decorated with shells pounded in unison on the ground. We’ll be able to watch a ceremonial show in the village. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
DAY 5: TAHUAYO RIVER - YARAPA RIVER
Enjoy breakfast on board. We’ll leave early for the Tahuayo River to discover the boto, a freshwater river dolphin, also known as the pink river or Amazon River dolphin. You can go for a swim in the Tahuayo’s “black waters," which are said to be pure. We’ll have lunch on board as we cruise to the beginning of the Amazon River — the confluence of the two great rivers Ucayali and Marañón. Remarkable in size, the legendary Amazon River runs the width of South America, ending in Brazil at the Atlantic Ocean. From our ship, we’ll be able to observe the abundant birdlife. We’ll also certainly run across fishing boats busily carrying out their daily activities. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
DAY 6: SAN FRANCISCO COMMUNITY - CASUAL
Enjoy breakfast this morning before setting out to visit the picturesque community of San Francisco. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the school and spend time with a family in their home as they explain their lives, work and beliefs. You’ll discover their handcrafts, which include embroidery, jewelry and raffia weaving. We’ll have lunch on board. The afternoon will be spent hiking through the forest to observe the fauna and flora. Within the dense, humid jungle, you’ll hopefully cross paths with tarantulas, brightly colored frogs, acrobatic monkeys, and maybe even a boa constrictor. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
DAY 7: YANAYACU AND PUCATE RIVERS - NAUTA CANO
After breakfast this morning, we’ll begin the day with a small boat excursion on the pure waters of the Yanayacu and Pucate Rivers in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. The reserve is the second biggest protected natural area in Peru, and one of the best spots for nature tourism lovers. We’ll have lunch and continue cruising to Nauta Cano. We’ll take a walk through the Nauta Cano nature area, filled with birds and water lilies. Then, you will get a chance to go fishing for piranhas. There are an estimated 25 species of this fish, varying between black, white, and red. They work together in groups to attack prey that is bigger than them. At nightfall, the jungle noises begin to emerge. Finding yourself in the heart of this evening cacophony, you will see why the Nauta Cano is nicknamed the “Mirrored Forest.” We’ll look for herons and owls, and with a bit of luck, we’ll spot one of the caimans that populate this incredible forest. We’ll return on board for dinner.
DAY 8: SANTA ANA - IQUITOS
Enjoy breakfast on board. We’ll cruise to the village of Santa Ana and meet the indigenous people to learn about their beliefs and traditions. You’ll discover their educational techniques and the wide variety of brightly colored crafts and can buy local products. We’ll return on board for lunch. The afternoon will be spent cruising to Iquitos, so take advantage of this time to relax and watch the scenery flow by from the ship’s sun deck. We’ll have dinner in a floating restaurant in the Port of Iquitos. We’ll spend the night on board.
DAY 9: IQUITOS – LIMA – CUSCO – AWANAKANCHA – PISAC- YUCAY
Enjoy breakfast on board before disembarking and being transferred to the Iquitos international airport. You’ll fly from Iquitos to Cusco (stopover in Lima) and have lunch on the plane. Upon arrival in Cusco, you’ll be greeted at the airport and leave by coach for the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You’ll get to take in the magnificent Andean countryside, colorful villages, and terraced crops. We’ll first stop at Awanakancha, a traditional textile artisan center. You will get to admire intricate textiles made of lama and alpaca wool before then continuing along winding roads through the Urubamba Valley and stopping at Písac. After a panoramic tour of the village, we’ll go on to the small village of Yucay at the valley’s center. We’ll have dinner and spend the night at the 4-star Posadas del Inca Yucay Hotel (or similar accommodations).
DAY 10: YUCAY - MARAS SALT PONDS - OLLANTAYTAMBO - YUCAY
Enjoy breakfast this morning before beginning the day by visiting a pre-school in Yucay and meeting the village students and teachers. Our next stop will be the Maras salt ponds. Used since the Inca times, these thousands of uneven, square-shaped ponds collect water for harvesting salt. They are set into the mountainsides, and today, 800 families live off of the 200 tons of salt produced each year. We’ll have lunch and then take to the road for Ollantaytambo, where the Inca’s city planning is evident in the street layout, plazas, and foundations of homes. You will explore the fortress, left unfinished when the Spanish arrived. It protected the entrance to the Sacred Valley and the Sun Temple. You will enter the fortress by climbing a steep rock staircase. You will then reach the Enclosure of the Ten Niches and the Sun Temple made of six enormous rectangular monoliths towering over the village. We’ll have dinner and spend the night at the hotel.
DAY 11: YUCAY - OLLANTAYTAMBO – AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU
Enjoy breakfast before being transferred to the Ollantaytambo train station to take a panoramic train ride to Aguas Calientes. The Vistadome train will take you to the foot of Machu Picchu by crossing through stunning landscapes. We’ll have lunch in Aguas Calientes. Afterwards, we’ll take a small bus to Machu Picchu’s entrance. This structure was abandoned after the collapse of the Incan empire. It was forgotten for centuries, but today, this 15th century city will reveal its secrets to you. Seven thousand feet above sea level and perched between mountain cliffs, the structure was re-discovered in 1911. We'll return to Aguas Calientes in a small bus. We’ll have dinner and spend the night at the 3-star El MaPI Hotel in Aguas Calientes (or similar accommodations).
DAY 12: AGUAS CALIENTES – CHINCHERO -CUSCO
Enjoy breakfast before being transferred to the Aguas Calientes train station to journey through the Urubamba Valley. After arriving in Ollantaytambo, we’ll stroll through the magnificent village of Chinchero and sample a few of the country’s large variety of potatoes. We’ll have lunch in a local restaurant. On our return trip, we’ll visit the archaeological site of Quenco which contains an amphitheater and a 16-foot tall monolith representing a puma. Next, we will see the awe-inspiring Sacsayhuaman fortress. At its best, the citadel included three enormous towers and a labyrinth of rooms that could house 5,000 soldiers. Intended to only be defensive, this military complex was made of massive blocks of stone that form a double rampart in a zigzag pattern reminiscent of a puma’s teeth (a sacred animal to the Incas). After our tours, we’ll arrive in Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire and the most beautiful city outside of Spain according to the conquistadors. With mountains on all sides, the city is set at an altitude of 11,000 feet. We’ll have dinner and spend the night at the Casa Andina Private Collection 4-star hotel in Cusco (or similar accommodations).
DAY 13: CUSCO
Enjoy breakfast before starting the day with a stroll through San Pedro market. The conquistadors started building structures after putting aside their weapons. They left a rich heritage of stunning works of art to future generations, including the famous Plaza de Armas. Legend has it that Manco Capac’s golden staff sank into the ground here, indicating where to found this sacred city. This magnificent plaza is surrounded by colonial arcades. It was the setting for many important events in Peru's history. The cathedral was built on the foundation of Viracocha Inka’s ancient palace. It was created in the shape of a Latin cross in red andesite. Its Renaissance-style exterior contrasts with the Baroque- and Plateresque-style interior. We’ll then continue on to the Coricancha Temple, or “Sun Temple,” the most important temple in the Inca Empire. Today, the site includes the Convent of Santo Domingo, too. We’ll have lunch in the city. Enjoy some free time in the city this afternoon, where just maybe you’ll be lucky enough to run into one of the many annual processions. Tonight will be our farewell dinner. We’ll spend the night at a 4-star hotel in Cusco.
DAY 14: CUSCO – LIMA - PARIS
Enjoy breakfast before being transferred to the airport in Cusco. You’ll take a flight to Lima, where you’ll have lunch on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. You’ll then return to the airport in Lima to catch an overnight flight to Paris. Dinner will be served on the plane.
DAY 15: PARIS
Arrival in Paris.