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.
Classic Machu Picchu and Manu Wildlife Center
On this amazing tour of Peru, you will travel to the Andean capital of Inca civilization and to the Amazon Basin. You will begin in Lima, the capital city, and continue on to Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and Machu Picchu, where you will stay overnight. After experiencing Peru’s culture and history, you will appreciate its biodiversity in Manu Wildlife Center. Located in a private rain forest reserve just outside Manu Biosphere, it offers abundant wildlife, tapir and macaw clay licks, and two canopy towers.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 10 nights (3 nights in Lima, 3 nights in Cusco, 1 night in Machu Picchu, and 3 nights at Manu Wildlife Center), and 19 meals (10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 4 dinners).
Best Time to Go: April-October.
In the afternoon, you will have a city tour of Lima. You will visit downtown Lima and see several examples of the Spanish architecture of the colonial period including the Plaza de Armas, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, and the Church of San Francisco and Catacombs. After that, you will see Huaca Huallamarca, a restored adobe pyramid dating from the pre-Inca period located in San Isidro. You will tour the upscale residential and commercial district of Miraflores and see the Parque del Amor, a seaside park with a huge statue of a kissing couple, before returning to your hotel. Overnight in Lima. (B)
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)
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.
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)
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.
Morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Puerto Maldonado. Upon arrival, you will be transferred by van to Santa Rosa Village (+/- two and one-half of travel time), then cross the Inambari river for 15 minutes by boat to Puerto Carlos, then travel by car for 45 minutes to Boca Colorado Village, followed by a four and one-half hour motorized boat journey up the Madre de Dios River to Manu Wildlife Center. A boxed lunch will be served on the boat.
After dinner, there will be an enchanting night walk along the trails, in search of the nocturnal birds and animals of the rainforest. Overnight at Manu Wildlife Center. (B,L,D)
Another early start (inevitable on wildlife expeditions), after a delicious breakfast is followed by a short boat ride downstream. You will walk through the forest for some minutes, where you find the Macaw Lick. The hide provided with individual chairs and a convenient place for cameras and binoculars is your ringside seat for what is usually a spectacular show. In groups of twos and threes the scarlet Macaws come flapping in, landing in the treetops as they eye the main stage below — the eroded clay banks of the river and the occasional villain, a menacing and unwelcome Great Black Hawk. The drama plays out at first in tentative and then bolder approaches to the lick, until finally nearly all the macaws form a colorful and noisy spectacle on the bare banks, squabbling as they scrape clay from the hard surface. After this, you continue walking and exploring on the network of trails surrounding the lodge, then return to the lodge for lunch.
Later, you continue to explore and discover the rainforest, its lore and plant life, on the network of trails surrounding the lodge, arriving in the late afternoon at the 34 m/112 ft. Canopy Tower. On its platform you witness the frantic rush-hour activity of twilight in the rainforest canopy, before night closes in. Then you set off along the “collpa trail”, which will take you to the lodge’s famous Tapir clay lick. Here at the most active tapir lick known in all the Amazon, research has identified from 8-12 individual 600-pound Tapirs who come to this lick to eat clay from under the tree roots around the edge. This unlikely snack absorbs and neutralizes toxins in the vegetarian diet of the Tapir, the largest land animal of Latin America. The lick features a roomy, elevated observation platform 5 m/17 ft. above the forest floor. The platform is equipped with freshly-made-up mattresses with pillows. Each mattress is covered by a roomy mosquito net. The 10 m long, elevated walkway to the platform is covered with sound-absorbing padding to prevent your footsteps from making noise. This Tapir experience is unique and exciting because these normally very shy creatures are visible up close, and flash photography is not just permitted, but encouraged. The hard part for modern city dwellers is to remain still and silent anywhere from 30 minutes to two or more hours. Many prefer to nap until the first Tapir arrives, at which point your guide gently awakens you to watch the Tapir 10-20 m/33-66 ft.) away below the platform. Most people feel that the wait is well worth it in order to have such a high probability of observing the rare and elusive Tapir in its rainforest home. Overnight at Manu Wildlife Center. (B,L,D)
You set off early for an old oxbow lake full of water lilies and sunken logs. As you circle the lake on catamaran, you might encounter the resident Giant Otter family on a fishing expedition, or troops of monkeys crashing noisily through the trees. Wattled Jacanas step lightly on the lily pads, dainty Sun Grebes paddle across the water, supple-necked Anhingas air-dry their wide, black wings, and perhaps an Osprey scans for fish from a high branch.
Among the bushes near the waterline, Hoatzins, which look like rust-colored, punk chickens, announce their presence with distinctive, bizarre wheezing and grunts. Woodpeckers, tanagers, macaws, toucans and parakeets all finally come swooping in to trees surrounding the lake. Many of them roost around the lake for the night. After lunch at the lodge your guide is available to lead you on freewheeling expeditions in search of further wildlife encounters, or you may take one of the lodge’s many trails on private and personal excursions to commune with the spirits of the rainforest. From the late afternoon until after Dinner, there is an opportunity to search for caiman and other nocturnal life along the riverbank by boat (If the level of river allows it). Overnight at Manu Wildlife Center. (B,L,D)
You will leave the lodge early morning for the return trip to Puerto Maldonado and then Lima. A boxed breakfast will be served on the boat. You can enjoy the early morning wildlife. Upon arrival in Lima, 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)
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.
- Hotel accommodations including taxes and service charges.
- 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.
- Local, English-speaking tour guides.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare ($500).
- 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 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 Manu Wildlife Center services are operated in small groups.
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 $500 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.