Adventure abounds during this 14-day Machu Picchu & Choquequirao Trek tour as you immerse yourself in the natural beauty and unique history of Peru. Allow your adventurous spirit to soar as you explore two of Peru’s most astonishing historical sites, hike to ancient archaeological finds, and venture deep into the mysterious Amazon rainforest for a trip of a lifetime.
Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu
You’ll start by resting up in the capital city of Lima before venturing on to the Sacred Valley of the Inca. With the assistance of expert guides, you’ll explore the historical ruins and cultural sites hidden amid the valley’s blissful vistas. To cater to your active side, there’ll be opportunities to kayak, paddleboard, and enjoy a scenic bike ride, providing you with a closer look and interaction with the stunning landscapes.
A true highlight of your adventure occurs when you enter the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu. Your guides will show you around this impressive archaeological site, including the ancient citadel and residential buildings of this once royal retreat of the Inca.
In between all these activities, you’ll have plenty of time to relax in your choice of the best 4-star, 5-star, or boutique hotels.
Next, you will don your hiking boots for your Choquequirao Trek, complete with three nights of stress-free camping. Choquequirao, only recently discovered, is an archaeological complex similar in build to Machu Picchu and just as mesmerizing. Much less well-known, getting there is arguably a more adventurous trek than the more famous neighboring Inca Trail. Take your time exploring this as yet uncrowded site as your guides share fascinating stories about the culture here and its history before heading back to the trail.
Time eventually arrives to leave the trek Choquequirao-Machu Picchu part of the tour and head into a different ecosystem for more adventure in the Peruvian Amazon.
After the highs if the highlands, it’s now time to treat yourself to an amazing Amazon river cruise. Arriving in Iquitos, you’ll be transferred to the Zafiro, your luxury floating accommodations for the next 4-nights.
You’ll have opportunities to explore deep into the tributaries and channels of the Amazon, enjoying small boat excursions to learn about the flora and fauna and spot wildlife. Take rainforest walks across overhanging bridges for treetop views, visit a local community, and, as a special treat onboard, you can attend talks on various Amazon topics presented by your naturalist guides.
Whenever you feel like it, you might want to spend time in the lounge, indoor reading room, gym, or top deck Jacuzzi tub. Why not pamper yourself with a massage onboard also? You’ll savor gourmet meals and snacks throughout the cruise and can enjoy cocktails in the indoor or outdoor lounge as you reminisce about your days of Amazonian exploration.
Choose between an Upper or Lower Deck Suite, Master Suite, or spoil yourself by reserving the Zafiro Suite, complete with 180-degree views and a private balcony. You’ll have plenty to do while onboard, or you can just sit back and relax as you admire the mysterious beauty all around you.
It will be challenging to say goodbye as your adventure comes to an end and you board your flight back to Lima. The memories you create, however, will stay with you forever!
Itinerary & Prices
Arrival 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.
Sacred Valley of The Inca
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 starts 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)
Paddling and Valley Highlights
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel to head towards the Piuray Lagoon. Upon arrival, you will be greeted with a welcome drink and will take part in a brief safety and informative talk prior to today’s activity. All equipment is included, and you have the choice between a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. After a short warm-up, you are set free to explore the lake and enjoy the sprawling landscapes of the valley, with snowcapped mountain caps as a backdrop, as you paddle your way around the lagoon. After your excursion, enjoy a few snacks and a warm drink, before heading back to your hotel. Lunch on your own at the hotel and some downtime before the afternoon’s activity.
Our afternoon excursion takes us to the Maras salt mines, which were an important part of the economy of the Inca culture. In fact, they remain so to this day, and 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 as a botanical laboratory. Some theorize it was where the Inca adapted crops to the various microclimates of the Andes.
Majestic 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)
Mountain Biking & Cusco City Tour
Today, enjoy a hearty breakfast as you head out early for a scenic bike ride through the Sacred Valley. Leaving our hotel, we drive towards the Ccorao community, where our equipment will be waiting. After receiving safety instructions, we will embark on our ride through the valley, enjoying rich valleys, stunning landscapes, and impressive peaks of the Andes Mountains. After our ride, we return to our hotel for a little downtime.
This afternoon, we will enjoy a private guided city tour. 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.
Hike to Rosalinda Beach
After breakfast, we check out and begin our drive to the start point of the Choquequirao hike, with the goal of reaching Capullilloq. We set out at a good pace, getting a respectable part of the hike behind us before stopping at a viewpoint to have lunch in the outdoors. Here we have a chance to sit in the peace and quiet as the people of the area have done throughout the years. The views are spectacular.
From there, we continue with the Apurimac Canyon in the distance to Rosalinda Beach, where we make our camp for the night. Rosalinda is the perfect spot to enjoy an evening meal out in the open, as we can watch the sun fall, and then see the stars cast out across the horizon above the spectacular scenery and mountain tops. In total, we have walked 13 kilometers and are now at a height of 3300 meters above sea level.
Meals: (B, L, D)
We wake early to take in the views of the previous night but in the basking light of the morning. After a hearty breakfast to stock up on calories for the day ahead, we head off to Choquequirao, the focal point of our hike. Recently discovered, Choquequirao is built in a similar vein to Machu Picchu, and is an archaeological complex of 1,800 hectares. Astonishingly, only one-third has been restored to date. Accompanied by our guide, we wander through large stone enclosures and numerous terraces, learning more about this amazing cultural, religious, and agricultural center.
Today’s hike is shorter than those of previous days with the express intention of leaving you all the time and energy needed to explore this amazing archaeological site. Visitor levels are still quite low as Choquequirao still flies under the radar of many. Rest assured, it is as impressive a sight as you will see in South America. Once we have undergone an extensive tour of the ruins we retire to our campsite and enjoy dinner under the stars.
Meals: (B, L, D)
A Scenic Return
Today, we leave the vicinity of Choquequirao and head back from whence we came. Our ultimate destination is Rosalinda Beach, and we venture on this 10km hike and head downhill to an altitude of only 1560 Meters above sea level. The overall hike takes 7 hours, but we take it at a pace that varies from brisk to a full stop as we take the chance to gaze out at the fantastic scenery, the way back is something to be savored.
We make camp at Rosalinda beach and have a farewell dinner under the moonlit sky. Here we relax and take in the last few days knowing that the final day of the trek is, although largely downhill, still a challenging part of the trek, being sixteen kilometers in length.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Returning to Cachora, then Cusco
Our last day of the hike begins with breakfast and a last gaze over the Altiplano. We begin early and stop for lunch on the way. In total, we will be walking 16 kilometers and although the hike is pleasant, it will still take us around 7 hours.
Upon arrival at our journey’s end, we transfer you to your hotel in Cusco.
Meals: (B, L)
Departing Cusco & 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!
You’ll be picked up at the airport and brought to the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel Iquitos, where you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch. Afterward, you will be transferred by private vehicle to Nauta to board the cruise ship.
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 dining Peruvian cuisine with an Amazon flare. 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 to the depth of the Amazon rainforest.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Amazon River, Kukama Reserve (Yanayacu of Yucapana), Source of the Amazon, Marañón River, Puerto Prado Community & Nauta Creek
AM: Before breakfast, go out for a boating expedition on the Amazon River to explore the local flora and fauna. When you get back enjoy our breakfast buffet. We offer a daily selection of traditional dishes including Peruvian specialties, freshly baked goods, and a range of freshly squeezed juices. After breakfast, head out to see the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón rivers, which give rise to the Amazon River. Here we can observe the pink and gray river dolphins.
PM: We’ll go back to the boat for lunch by midday and then have time to rest. Make sure you attend the talk about the source of the Amazon and the hydrography of the river so that you’ll be up to speed for our walk to Puerto Prado! Here we will see the “Victoria Regias”, the largest water lily in the world. We’ll then head back to the boat for dinner and live music. After dinner, enjoy a nighttime outing in search of caimans, tarantulas, frogs, and other nocturnal species.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Yanayacu of Pucate, Japanese Lagoon, Yanayaquillo, San Regis & Amazonian Natural Park
AM: Breakfast and outing on the skiff to different lakes and lagoons, until we reach the Japanese Lagoon. There, we’ll enjoy a picnic and one of the best conserved and protected areas of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. It’s also a popular spot to view pink river dolphins from the skiff. Before heading back to the Zafiro, we’ll take a trip to the Yanaquillo. Once we’re back on the cruise ship, we’ll get ready to go kayaking and take a dip in the black waters.
PM: Head back for lunch aboard the Zafiro. Before starting the afternoon activity, our guides will give a talk about the Amazon philosophy. Afterward, we’ll take a walk through the rainforest overhanging bridges, where you can admire the riches of the rainforest from the treetops. Once we’re back on the Zafiro, our bartender will give a demonstration of how to make Peruvian cocktails, and we’ll then enjoy live music while we await the gala dinner with the captain.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Marañón River, San Regis & Shiriyacu
AM: Breakfast and visit to the community of San Regis, where we’ll learn about the local people’s way of life and traditions. We’ll also learn about their ancestral traditions from the community’s shaman. With our guides as interpreters, we’ll be able to ask questions about spiritual connections and curing the soul. We’ll then continue the ceremony by planting a tree as a positive contribution to the environment. There, we’ll also see a market set up by women from the community to sell their handmade crafts.
PM: Head back for lunch aboard the Zafiro. After resting, the guides will tell us about the myths and legends of the Amazon. In the afternoon, we’ll head out on a skiff to the Shiriyacu stream. There, we’ll find the perfect spot to do some piranha fishing using local techniques and equipment. Back on the boat, we’ll enjoy the stunning colors of the 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: Before breakfast, visit Nauta, the second most important city in the region. Upon arriving, we take a motorcycle taxi to the local market where you can see what business in the town is like firsthand. We also take a visit to the Sapi Sapi lagoon, an arapaima hatchery. This is the second-largest freshwater fish in the world. Here you can see Arrau turtles, butterflies, and different species of birds and fish that call this lagoon home.
After, we head back to the Zafiro for breakfast. 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.