When it comes to experiencing the alluring magic of Peru, this 10-day Amazon Rainforest and Machu Picchu Tour captures the mystery behind this beautiful South American country, immersing you in its culture, history, and nature along the way as you live like a Limeño in its lively capital, Lima, marvel at the majesty of Machu Picchu and Amazon river cruise through its rainforest realm from Iquitos.
Lima’s Colonial Wonders
Before starting out on your Machu Picchu Amazon Rainforest adventure, you’ll experience all that Peru’s vibrant capital city of Lima has to offer. Enjoy the comfort of air-conditioned shuttles as you revel in the modernity of Miraflores and explore slick San Isidro and its ancient monuments. Sample some of the culinary treats at its world-class restaurants, and learn about Peruvian history in the highly-rated Larco Museum. Of course, no visit to Lima would be complete without spending time in its historic colonial center, and your tour will take you to explore its highlights including the Plaza de Armas and Santo Domingo Convent.
Machu Picchu Awaits
From Lima, your tour moves on to the Sacred Valley. Upon arrival, you’ll spend time acclimating to the altitude and experiencing a trip around the ancient ruins and towns, visiting Pisac, Urubamba, the fortress town of Ollantaytambo, Maras salt mines, the archaeological site of Moray, and the weavers of Chinchero. Along the way, you can visit colorful markets, explore charming towns still full of Incan charm, and indulge in delectable Peruvian meals.
Time soon arrives to make your way to one of the highlights of the tour and all South America, the mesmerizing “Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu. To get there, you’ll board a train to take you through the mountains, observing the breathtaking scenery along the way. Our expert guides stay with you as you explore the grounds of this remarkable archaeological site before returning to your comfortable accommodations either in Cusco or the Sacred Valley. A full and fascinating tour of the colonial city of Cusco, itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site, soon follows.
Amazon Rainforest Exploration
Next on the itinerary is a flight to the Peruvian Amazon. Once you arrive in Iquitos, you’ll be chauffeured to the dock to board your exciting Amazon cruise, complete with luxury suites providing you with air conditioning, comfortable bedding, and ensuite facilities. Experience the elegant luxury aboard as you cruise into the wildlife-rich Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve for a one-of-a-kind Amazonian experience.
Naturalist guides will be on hand, day and night, while you are immersed in this pristine wilderness ecosystem, enriching your exploration with their insight and sight, being experts in spotting camouflaged creatures among the foliage. Your cruise itinerary will offer spectacular photo opportunities and experiences, as various skiff explorations allow you to see more of the Amazon’s native animals and bird life in their natural habitats in startling close-up. Another special excursion takes you to visit the Huaysi village where you can observe and learn about indigenous culture and customs.
Please note this Amazon Riverboat & Machu Picchu adventure tour is just a sample itinerary. The featured excursions, activities, and accommodations can be tailored to suit your taste, budget, and time availability in accordance with your personal wishes. All excursions and transfers are on a private basis (private transport with a private guide), with the exception of the cruise portion, which is on a shared basis with other passengers.
Itinerary & Prices
Welcome to Lima!
Lima is a bustling, busy city and one of the most important in South America. Any trip to Peru will likely begin and end in the capital and visitors take advantage of the fact that Lima is widely regarded to be the culinary capital of the continent and home to many of the best restaurants in South America. Home of the ceviche and the Pisco Sour it is a city where the past and present mix beautifully, from the colonial center to modern Miraflores, through to the ancient Incan and pre-Incan culture which can be seen in Lima’s various museums.
A city of almost 11 million people, it is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains. This unique location means it enjoys a microclimate of zero rainfall and is spread along the coast atop cliffs that offer beautiful sunset views and peaceful “malecóns”, even a short trip is guaranteed to be richly rewarding and a perfect introduction to Peru and its culture.
Lima Through The Ages
Today is dedicated to the fascinating history of Lima from ancient pre-Incan times through to the colonial era and the Spanish influence on Peruvian culture, architecture, and development. Beginning from your hotel, at either 9 am or 2 pm, we take you through the modern districts of Miraflores and San Isidro to visit a “Huaca”, an astonishingly preserved seven-tiered adobe and clay pyramid that predates the birth of Jesus. Located smack-bang in the upper-class, and supremely modern, area of San Isidro, this ancient monument which once acted as an important ceremonial and administrative hub for the city contrasts amazingly with modern-day Lima.
From there, enjoy an air-conditioned voyage to the historic center of Lima where we visit old colonial buildings, and the Santo Domingo convent and enjoy a guided tour of the Plaza de Armas, the de facto center of Lima. Rounding up our day is a visit to Lima’s finest museum, a vast collection of impeccably preserved jewelry, artifacts, and pottery from the history of Peru, the Larco Museum is a regular in Trip Advisor’s top spot for all museums in South America and the top 20 in the world. (5 Hours)
Lima to the Incan Sacred Valley
After a good night’s rest, enjoy a delicious breakfast before our air-conditioned private vehicle takes you to the airport for the next exciting installment in your Peruvian adventure. Assistance is provided so don’t worry about your bags! You will fly from Lima to Cusco, where you are met at the airport and transferred into the Sacred Valley. Our tours in the Cusco area always begin in the valley, which is approximately 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) lower in elevation than Cusco, so that guests may better acclimatize to the altitude.
Get ready to explore the most important ruins, which start with a trip to historic Pisac. Our expert local guide will show you around the Temple of the Sun, ancient baths, altars, fountains, and ceremonial platform, and a type of sundial carved into the volcanic rock which was used for determining the time of year. At the side of the citadel, you will see the terraces that are still used to this day to grow crops.
After a quick visit to the colorful market of Pisac to buy souvenirs, we enjoy a traditional lunch in a restaurant in Urubamba. Afterwards, we take you to visit the impressive fortress town of Ollantaytambo as we continue our trip around the ancient ruins of the Sacred Valley. Perched atop a mountain it acted as the religious, military, financial, and agricultural center of the Inca culture and we also visit the town of the same name which maintains its Incan charm as a window into the past.
Meals: (B, L)
Maras, Moray and Chinchero
The Maras salt mines were an important part of the economy of the Inca culture and to this day the salt produced in these mines, recognizable by its pinkish hue, is amongst the most sought-after and expensive in the world. From there, we take you to the picturesque archaeological site of Moray which is a huge expanse of concentric terraces which the Incas used a botanical laboratory. Once finished with this leg of the tour, we enjoy a typical Andean lunch at the Casa de Barro restaurant.
Our next stop is at the PARWA Center in Chinchero, where you can learn about the centuries-old traditional textile making so important to the Andean people. You will have the chance here to buy traditional textiles and other souvenirs for your loved ones back home. Remaining in Chinchero we take in the 17th Century church built by the Spanish invaders and then the surrounding ruins, aqueducts, and agricultural terraces that sustained the local people hundreds of years ago.
Meals: (B, L)
The Grandeur of Machu Picchu
Today is the big day! Get ready to tick one of the New Seven Wonders of the World off your list as we head to Machu Picchu Citadel. Leaving the Sacred Valley by train, we enjoy a peaceful snake through the mountains, uphill to Aguas Calientes, situated at the foot of Machu Picchu. The views on the way to Machu Picchu itself are an intrinsic part of the trip itself and worth savoring. Built in the mid 1400’s it acted as a royal estate to two different Inca rulers, Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui and Tupac Inca Yupanqui. After 80 years of occupancy, it was abandoned, possibly due to Spanish infiltration in other parts of Peru, and remained abandoned until the early last century when efforts Hiram Bingham brought its existence to world attention.
Machu Picchu is divided into two sectors, the urban and the agricultural. Our expert guide will take you through both and show you the key spots in the ancient citadel such as the Temple of the Sun and the Room, the Intihuatana Stone, and the Room of Three Windows. The residential buildings feature exquisite stonework with no cement or mortar and are characterized by small trapezoid windows that face the morning sun. After our extensive tour, we put you back on the train to your hotel in either Cusco or the Sacred Valley.
Meals: (B, L)
Ancient Inca Capital City
Today, we pick you up at your hotel for your tour of Cusco and its most important archeological sites. Cusco, known as the Imperial City, and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is home to Inca structures with a smattering of colonial influence. You start your tour at the iconic San Pedro market, a local market where you can explore the myriad colors, flavors, textures and traditions of modern Cusco.
The visit continues with the Koricancha Temple, an ancient Inca palace and cult center of the Sun God, above which the order of the Dominicans built a church. It remains standing to this day. Still standing to this day, this temple/church really is a remarkable building and an amalgamation of the two cultures. From there, we ascend to the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, an impressive example of Inca military architecture. Afterwards, you will explore Q’enqo archeological site, where important Inca ceremonies took place before moving on to the Plaza de Armas, home to the Cathedral, and the centerpiece of the city.
Departing Cusco & Cruise Embarkation
AM: After breakfast, at the scheduled time, you will be picked up from your hotel and privately transferred to Cusco airport, ready to board your departure flight to Iquitos!
After your flight to the capital of the Peruvian Amazon, our guides will meet you at the Iquitos airport—waiting for you with a sign with the name of Jungle Experiences. We will then go to the Doubletree by Hilton Iquitos Hotel, the meeting point, to receive your first briefing about the trip and where you will enjoy a delicious welcome lunch. Then you will be transported by a private vehicle to the main dock of the city of Iquitos to board El Zafiro, your home for the following three nights.
PM: Our staff will show you to your suite, equipped with comfortable beds, 100% Peruvian Pima cotton sheets, cotton bathrobes, air conditioning, and a private bathroom with a shower and amenities. Before setting sail, our bartender will serve you a cocktail prepared with local fruit and pisco, the most popular liquor in Peru. You can sip it while enjoying 360° views from the observation deck or a panoramic view from the indoor or outdoor lounge.
After setting sail, our naturalist guides will offer an overview of the travel itinerary, including activities, routes, information about wildlife and vegetation, geographical and historical context, as well as other useful info. If you have any doubts or concerns, our guides are always available to answer your questions.
We’ll then enjoy the welcome dinner. Start your journey by sampling the selected wines and Peruvian cuisine with an Amazonian flair. There are many options on our menu, including vegetarian alternatives. Please let us know in advance if you have any special dietary needs. After dinner, you’ll be able to take in stunning views of the starry night sky while we start our journey deep into the Amazon rainforest.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Ucayali River, Yanallpa of Ucayali, Tapiche River & Dorado River
AM: Before breakfast, we’ll head out on a skiff to the Yanallpa area of the Ucayali River in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, where we’ll see many native animal species. After breakfast, we’ll head out on a skiff to the Tapiche River in search of wildlife. Before midday, we’ll head back to the boat for a cooking demonstration by the executive chef.
PM: After lunch, whoever is interested may attend a talk about the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, and in the afternoon, we’ll take a skiff to the Dorado River, where we’ll fish using local techniques. Before heading back on board, we’ll enjoy a nighttime outing in search of caimans, tarantulas, and other species that make an appearance after the sun goes down. Dinner will be served onboard the Zafiro.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Ucayali River, Yarapa of Ucayali, Amazon River, Tahuayo River & Huaysi Community Visit
AM: After breakfast, we’ll set out to explore the Yarapa River, where the infamous pink and gray river dolphins swim in its black waters. Back on the Zafiro, we’ll see the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón rivers, which give rise to the Amazon River.
PM: After lunch, we’ll take the skiff out on the Amazon River to visit the Huaysi community. There, we’ll see how the locals live and learn more about their customs with our guides, who will act as interpreters. We’ll also take a dip in the Tahuayo River and, before heading back to the boat, enjoy a colorful Amazon sunset. Back on the Zafiro, you’ll have some time to relax and enjoy live music before the presentation by the crew and farewell dinner.
Meals: (B, L, D)
AM: After breakfast, we begin to disembark. On the way to the airport, stop by the Amazon Rescue Center (CREA), where biologists and volunteers take care of manatees (an endangered species) rescued by the authorities. We’ll see how the manatees are cared for and prepped for reinsertion into their natural habitat. We also get to see other animals that have been rescued from attempts to turn them into pets and other dangerous situations.
Afterward, you will be transferred to Iquitos airport for your departure flight back to Lima.