The Amazon River and Machu Picchu

15L

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Description
LIMA - IQUITOS - AMAZON RIVER - LIMA - CUSCO - URUBAMBA VALLEY - AGUAS CALIENTES - MACHU PICCHU - LIMA

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.

 

PLEASE NOTE:

• The AMAZON DISCOVERY tour itinerary can be modified at any time by the captain according to the river and weather conditions.
• We cannot guarantee the presence or observation of wildlife in the Pacaya-Samaria National Reserve.
• Depending on the on-site conditions, the visits and tours can be reorganized or modified.

This cruise and tour are not recommended for persons with reduced mobility nor for people who experience problems because of high altitudes.

More info

PROLONG YOUR VACATION
with a 3-day/2-night extended stay on Lake Titicaca
Extended tour possible for 2 or more participants

 

The 3-day Lake Titicaca extended tour will take you to the highest lake in the world. Situated at over 12,000 feet above sea level, it is an Inca sacred place and an unforgettable experience for any visitor.

DAY 14: CUSCO – PUNO – LAKE TITICACA

After breakfast this morning, we’ll leave by coach for Puno. We’ll first visit Andahuaylillas, a small town featuring an incredible church from the colonial period. Built by the Jesuits in the 17th century, the church is nicknamed the "Sistine Chapel of the Andes." We’ll have lunch on the road. We’ll then continue on to the Raqch'I archeological site, dedicated to the Inca creator of the world: the god Wiracocha. It is one of the rare two-storied relics of Incan architecture. It used to be 300 feet long and 50 feet high, making it easily the most immense covered building made by the Incas. We’ll travel through amazing Andean landscapes along Peru’s Altiplano. We’ll stop for a photo op at the Abra la Raya pass (13,780 feet in altitude) and contemplate the snow-capped Andes Mountains. Next, we’ll arrive in Puno, the capital of the region, located on the shores of the legendary Lake Titicaca. This town sits at an altitude of over 12,000 feet. The tremendous lake is said to be the highest in the world and has mysterious origins. It is the birthplace of Incan culture, and it contains a multitude of floating islands. We’ll have dinner and spend the night at the 4-star Sonesta Posadas del Inca Hotel in Puno (or similar accommodations).

DAY 15: LAKE TITICACA – UROS FLOATING ISLANDS – SILLUSTANI - PUNO

Enjoy breakfast before leaving by boat for a full-day excursion on Lake Titicaca. We’ll visit the floating islands which are inhabited by Uros Indians. Their way of life and traditions are fascinating. They live on islands made of living reeds that float around the lake. Legend has it that the natives were forced to take up residence here by Incan emperors exploiting them. We’ll boat around the islands, meet some of the local inhabitants and participate in their daily activities. You’ll be able to help pull in the fishing nets, try your hand at building with reeds, and even learn to embroider. We’ll enjoy lunch with a local family. After our trip, we’ll return to Puno by boat, stopping off for a quick visit of Sillustani, a pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo. The “Chullpas” of Sillustani are imposing circular towers, which served as tombs for nobles from the pre-Incan era. At an altitude of 13,000 feet, they are set in a stunning highland landscape among the mountains bordering the lake. We’ll have dinner and spend the night at the hotel.

DAY 16: PUNO - JULIACA – LIMA - Paris

Enjoy breakfast before being transferred to the airport in Juliaca. 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 17: PARIS

Arrival in Paris.

 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR PERU

Requirements
For French, Belgian and Swiss passengers: Your passport must be valid for six months beyond the date you enter the country, and it must contain at least one unstamped page.
For other nationalities: Please consult your competent authorities (consulate/embassy).Health
Being vaccinated against yellow fever is strongly recommended. An antimalarial treatment is also recommended for the trip to the Amazon. Please consult your doctor before your travels about these two treatments. It is also advisable to be up to date with the following vaccinations: tetanus, polio, hepatitis A and B, diphtheria and typhoid fever. It is important you take any regular medications and basic first-aid supplies with you (aspirin, anti-diarrheal, vitamin C, disinfectants, adhesive bandages, sunscreen, personal medications, etc.), as well as a mosquito repellant.

This tour is not recommended for persons with reduced mobility nor for people who experience problems because of high altitudes.

Money-exchange rate:
For the current exchange rates, please consult websites such as www.xe.com or www.onada.com/currency/converter.
ATMs accepting Visa, MasterCard and American Express can be found in all cities. You will be able to get cash at the official daily exchange rate, but you will be charged bank fees.
The currency accepted on board the Amazon Discovery is the US dollar. Payments can be made in cash, or by Visa or MasterCard. There is no currency exchange service on board.

Weather:
On the coast, December to February are the hottest months (77°- 86° F), while June to August are the coldest months (59° - 68° F).
In the Andes, the rainy season is from December to April (68 – 77° F). The dry season is from June to October. In general, days are hot and sunny, and nights are chilly to cold.
In the Amazon, humidity varies according to the season. The December to April rainy season can experience brief, but violent, thunderstorms. The dry season is from June to August (86 – 95° F).
Time difference:
You can consult www.worldtimezone.com to see the time difference between your home and your destination. -

Tips:
Tips are expected for tour guides, drivers and porters, etc.
Tips are included for the crew on the ship for the entire cruise.

Electricity:
220 volts — please bring the appropriate adapters and converters.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Our itinerary will bring you to altitudes of up to 10,800 feet (12,400 feet for the extended stay).
Cusco 10,859 feet
Machu Picchu 7,972 feet
Lake Titicaca 12,549 feet
Altitude sickness, or soroche, can cause adaptation problems for people suffering from cardiac or respiratory problems. We have organized the trip so that you can acclimate yourself in steps; nevertheless, altitude sickness can happen at any time. It can include headaches, nausea, and loss of appetite. Please see your doctor for a checkup before your departure.
In the Andes, the evenings and nights can be cool, even cold. We advise bringing a warm sweater and a windbreaker.