Classic Machu Picchu and 4 Day Aqua Nera Amazon Cruise
12 Days/11 Nights
From $6,309 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Appreciate the biodiversity and cultural richness of Peru on this captivating tour. Starting in Iquitos, you will have a four day Amazon cruise aboard the luxurious Aqua Nera that features exploration of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. Highlights include the observation of monkeys, freshwater dolphins, and other wildlife, and interaction with native villagers. Following the cruise, you will visit Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 11 nights (4 nights in Lima, 3 nights aboard the MV Aqua Nera, 3 nights in Cusco, and 1 night in Machu Picchu), and 21 meals (11 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners).
Best Time to Go: June-November.
Destinations: South America and Peru.
Interests: Adventure, Culture & History, Expedition Cruising, Luxury, and Wildlife Viewing.
Places Visited: Lima, Iquitos & the Northern Amazon, Cusco, The Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu.
Day 1 (Thu): Lima.
Depart to Lima. After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our inbound services representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Lima.
Day 2 (Fri): Lima-City Tour.
In the afternoon, you will have a city tour of Lima. The tour begins in Miraflores with a stop at the Parque del Amor, a seaside park with a huge statue of a kissing couple and continues with a drive by of the Huaca Huallamarca, a restored adobe pyramid dating from the pre-Inca period located in San Isidro. The next stop is the Plaza de Armas in downtown Lima, where you will visit City Hall (Palacio Municipal), the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno), and the Cathedral of Lima. The last stop is the Convent of Santo Domingo. Following the tour, you will be returned to your hotel. Overnight in Lima. (B)
Day 3 (Sat): Nauta-Embarkation-Marañon River.
Arriving on a morning flight*, receive a warm welcome at Iquitos International Airport by our crew. Board our private transfer to our exclusive Nauta Lounge for a welcome lunch before embarkation.
Settle into your generously sized suite aboard the Aqua Nera as you begin one of life’s greatest adventures. Following an introduction to our naturalist guides and a routine safety drill, gather at the restaurant for the first of many Amazonian cuisine experiences created by Aqua Nera consulting chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, whose restaurant, ámaZ, is one of Peru’s most renowned dining establishments. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Sun): Yanayacu-Pucate River-Lisboa Town.
Rise with the sun for an early morning birdwatching along the Marañon River. Later, canoe or kayak in Yanayacu-Pucate River and look out for Amazon’s legendary pink river dolphins. In the afternoon, visit an Amazonian village, where you can interact with native riberenos (people of the river) and visit local schoolchildren. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Mon): Samiria River-Nauta- Nauta Caño River.
Awake to a lush jungle sunrise and birdwatching along the Samiria River, enjoying breakfast in the middle of the lush jungle. Swimming and kayaking are some of the recommended activities at this part of the Reserve. In the evening, embark on a wildlife excursion on the black waters of Nauta Caño, and end the night with extraordinary stargazing. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Tue): Nauta Town-Manatee Rescue Center-Transfer to the Airport-Lima.
In the morning, take a guided visit to the local market and marvel at the regional produce of the Peruvian Amazon, and sample exotic snacks if you wish.
Return to the Aqua Nera for breakfast and to pack up. Before saying goodbye, we will visit the Manatee Rescue Center, a sanctuary for orphaned Amazonian manatees to rehabilitate before their release back into the wild.
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Lima. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Lima. (B)
Day 7 (Wed): Lima-Cusco-City Tour.
Early morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Because of the high altitude (10,912 feet above sea level), we recommend that you rest for a short period. In the afternoon, you will have a city tour that includes a walk-through of the Cathedral, the Koricancha (‘site of gold’), typical streets, and the four ruins that surround the city: the Sacsayhuaman Fortress, Kenko, Puca Pucara, and Tampumachay. Overnight in Cusco. (B)
Day 8 (Thu): Cusco-Sacred Valley-Awanakancha-Pisac Market-Ollantaytambo.
Today you will have a full-day excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The tour begins at Awanakancha, a living museum of the Peruvian Andes, where you can observe traditional textile dyeing and weaving techniques and the four types of camelids that are native to the region. You will also visit the Indian artisan market in Pisac and have lunch at a local restaurant (included). The last stop is the impressive Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo that served as both a fortress and ceremonial center, and is the site of a short-lived victory by the Incas over the Spanish. Overnight in Cusco. (B,L)
Note: The Indian market is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from October to March, and daily from April to September. On the days of the week that the market is not open, you will be taken to the Inca ruins above the village.
Day 9 (Fri): Cusco-Machu Picchu.
Early morning transfer to the train station for the ride to Machu Picchu, ‘the Lost City of the Incas’ (7,900 feet). This mountaintop citadel, which served as both a center of worship and an astronomic observatory, is located in the middle of the cloud forest overlooking the Urubamba River. There are both agricultural and urban areas constructed with the precision stonework that the Incas are known for. The agricultural area consists of terraces and food storehouses, and the urban area contains temples, squares, and royal tombs. Guided tour followed by lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Aguas Calientes. (B,L)
Day 10 (Sat): Machu Picchu-Cusco.
This is a free day to explore Machu Picchu on your own. You may want to hike Huayna Picchu or enjoy another activity. Mid-afternoon, you will depart from Machu Picchu by train to Poroy Station in the Sacred Valley, and then be taken to your hotel in Cusco. Overnight in Cusco. (B)
Note: Hiking Huayna Picchu requires a permit. To ensure availability, we recommend purchasing the permit at the time of booking.
Day 11 (Sun): Cusco-Lima-Folkloric Dinner Show.
Morning transfer to the airport for your flight back to Lima. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. In the evening, you will enjoy a Folkloric Dinner Show at La Dama Juana Restaurant. Overnight in Lima. (B,D)
Day 12 (Mon): Lima.
Check out at noon. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to your final destination. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
A Note About Your Free Day in Machu Picchu
On your free day, you will be on your own. If you choose to revisit Machu Picchu, you will need to purchase a second entrance ticket, which currently costs $74 per person. If you are staying in Aguas Calientes, you will also need to purchase a round-trip bus ticket ($28 per person) for transportation to the site. The first bus departs at 5:30 AM. As an alternative to visiting Machu Picchu again, you can hike Huayna Picchu (a +/- 60 minute hike), or partake in another activity. The cost for hiking Huayna Picchu is $13 (in addition to the second entrance ticket). At the end of the day (mid-late afternoon), you will walk to the train station for the return ride to Poroy train station, where our local representative will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel in Cusco.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
- Group transfers to/from the airport when arriving and departing on recommended flights.
- Hotel accommodations including taxes and service charges.
- Accommodations on board the M/V Aqua Nera.
- Excursion to Machu Picchu including overnight stay and transportation via Vistadome train.
- Other excursions as indicated on the itinerary including all applicable entrance fees.
- Meals as indicated on the itinerary.
- Beverages on the cruise (select premium wines, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages).
- Use of bicycles and kayaks (on the cruise).
- Pacaya Samiria entrance fee.
- Local, English-speaking tour guides.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff.
- Gifts and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of international airfare and travel insurance and to make these arrangements for you.
Group Private: All transfers (except in Iquitos) are private, and the city tours of Lima and Cusco, Sacred Valley of the Incas excursion, and Machu Picchu guided tour are group tours for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations. All services in Iquitos and the Amazon are operated on a group basis.
Elevations: Cusco is 10,912 feet (above sea level), the Sacred Valley of the Incas is 8,944 feet, and Machu Picchu is 7,900 feet.
Acclimatization: In order to acclimatize to the higher altitude of Cusco, we suggest that you travel first to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. If you are interested in this option, which would add one day to your tour, please ask your travel counselor to provide you with an itinerary.
Passport/Visa: U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Peruvian embassy in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Travel Insurance’s Classic and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.
To Book This Trip: We require a non-refundable deposit of $900 per person plus the cost of airfare (if we make the arrangements for you). The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days prior to departure.
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