March 13: Arrive in Lima
Arrival at the airport in Lima where you will be welcomed and transferred to the hotel.
Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro as “The city of the kings” and became the capital and most important city of the Spanish Viceroyalty. Today it is still Peru’s most important city as it gives home to about 9 million people, almost 30% of the national population. The historical city centre comes with splendid colonial style architecture, ample squares as the Plaza de Armas (or Plaza Mayor) and grand churches which yielded it the declaration as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. In its modern quarters such as Miraflores and San Isidro you can find present day architecture, rich entertainment possibilities and a great number of first class hotels and restaurants. Peruvian cuisine is excellent and gets more and more famous in the world and Peruvians are extremely proud of their typical dishes.
Overnight at JW Marriott in Lima
March 14: Lima (B)
Morning is free to get some rest.
In the afternoon, enjoy a half-day city tour in Lima. Explore the Colonial Lima including visit the Plaza de Armas, La Casa Aliaga and Convento de Santo Domingo. Continue to modern Lima and visit the Bohemian of Barranco, home by countless artists, photographers, and authors.
March 15: Flight Lima – Cuzco (B)
After breakfast at hotel, transfer to the airport for your flight to Cuzco.
Upon arrival in Cuzco, you will be welcomed and transfer for your tour in Cuzco.
Your Cuzco city tour first brings you outside the city to Sacsayhuaman – a spectacular fortress built with huge carved rocks joined with absolute accuracy, this astounding sample of the Incan military architecture is, undoubtedly, the greatest architectonic work of the Tahuantinsuyo. The exploration of the Imperial City continues with a visit to the Mercado de San Pedro (St. Peter’s Market), which being the city’s main street market, will give you an opportunity to get to know the products of Cusco, overwhelming you with the sights, aromas, tastes, and colors of the region. Just a few blocks away, you will discover one of the most impressive buildings of Incan Cusco: the Korikancha (the Golden Temple) – a temple dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, whose interior walls were said to have been covered in gold. You will complete the day with a stroll through the Plaza de Armas (Main Square), where you will visit the Cathedral and admire its exquisite vestibules and priceless paintings from the Cusco School of the 17th and 18th centuries. Finish with the visit to the manor house Casa Concha which was always intended to be a cultural center but nowadays it is the temporary museum of the artifacts found in Machu Picchu when it was discovered. Yale University took them to study them and in January 2011 they returned the artifacts to Cusco.
The rest of the time is free at leisure to explore Cuzco on your own.
Overnight at JW Marriott in Cuzco.
March 16: Cusco – Pumahuanca – Puyoc (B, L, D)
Our first day of the trek starts of in the small village of Pumahuanca in the Sacred Valley. We’ll gently make our way up one of the side valleys covering about 14km in total and climbing about 1150m / 3373ft as we make our way towards the village of Puyoc. On our way up we’ll visit the small Inca site of Pumahuanca and learn about the native plants, flowers and birds that inhabit this region.
This particular route for the Lares trek is not commonly done by other companies so we can enjoy the peace and tranquility of our surroundings without any distractions or disturbance. Because so few people visit the area there is a good chance of seeing Viscachas (a rabbitlike Chinchilla) and we may also spot Andean Fox. Our campsite for the night is at Puyoc (4100m / 13451ft); it’s quite barren at this altitude and it is not uncommon for it to snow up here during the dry season so gloves and a hat are recommended.
March 17: Puyoc – Yanacocha – Cuncani (B, L, D)
Today is the most spectacular day of the trek and quite a bit easier going than yesterday. From our campsite it’s about a 13km walk to the village of Cuncani but most of that is downhill as the pass is only about a 2 hour walk right at the beginning.
As we make our way to Cuncani we’ll pass by snowcapped peaks high above us, serene mountain lakes (including Yanacocha – Black Water) and get to meet the local people dressed in their traditional bright red clothing. This side of the pass is completely different culturally to the other side and as we wind our way down from the pass your guide will teach you about the people and their way of life. You’ll also get to learn a few Qhechua phrases so that you can interact with the local people.
March 18: Cuncani – Lares (B, L, D)
The focus of today is to meet the local people. Waking up early we’ll be taken by our guide to one of the houses where we’ll get to meet a local family. The people are incredibly welcoming and are just as eager to learn about you as you are of them – hopefully by now you’ll have mastered a few phrases and be able to ask a few questions (much to everyones delight and amusement). After the visit you’ll have the opportunity to give any gifts you’ve brought for the local people and also to buy some of the locally made alpaca products that the region is famed for.
Leaving Cuncani it’s just a short distance (6km) until we reach the hot springs of Lares. Along the way we’ll pass through several small communities and see the people growing a variety of foods such as Quinua and Tarwi, we’ll also probably spot flocks of Andean parrots flying overhead (they’re easy to spot thanks to their piercing calls). After a relaxing dip in the hot springs we’ll be picked up by our bus and driven back to the Sacred Valley from where we’ll catch our train to Machu Picchu.
March 19: Machu Picchu! – Cusco (B)
Waking up early we’ll take the first bus back up to Machu Picchu to enter the site as it opens. We’ll have a 2 hour guided tour of the site during which you’ll learn about the Incas and visit all the most important areas of the citadel. After your tour you’ll have free time to explore the site by yourself and if you have permits to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. In the afternoon you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo from where you will carry on by bus back to Cusco.
Overnight at JW Marriott in Cuzco.
March 20: Cuzco – Iquitos (B, D)
This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Iquitos via Lima.
Upon arrival, transfer to Nauta’s main wharf for your journey in the Peruvian Amazon.
After a scenic one-and-a-half hour drive through the Peruvian countryside to the small village of Nauta, check-in onboard Aria Amazon. Over the next four days, you will also sail along the two largest tributaries of the Peruvian Amazon, the Ucayali and the Marañon, as well as on the mighty Amazon itself. You are embarking on a spectacular journey to a place visited by only a very few of even the most experienced world travelers.
Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight. Sit down, relax, sip fine South American wine, toast the beginning of a beautiful journey and enjoy the innovative Amazonian cuisine.
Overnight on Aria Amazon.
March 21: Marañon River -Yanayacu – Pucate River – Pacaya Samiria National Reserve (B, L, D)
This morning, visit the Yanayacu – Pucate River within Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Here on this black water river you can observe many species of flora and fauna, especially macaws and several species of primates like squirrels monkeys, capuchins monkeys and the famous river dolphins, either pink or gray. You will also have the opportunity here to fish for the ferocious piranha.
After lunch, lecture in the lounge by our naturalist guides who will tell you about sustainable development projects carried out in this part of the Peruvian Amazon. You will then visit a community located along the great river Marañon, our expert guides will introduce you to the native people of Amazonia. You will be invited to visit the lands where they practice subsistence farming and see how they cultivate wild plants and trees to earn income. In the primary forest, your guides will also teach you about the fruit trees and medicinal plants hidden in the jungle.
March 22: Samiria River – Village Visit – Nauta Caño – Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
This morning your naturalist guide will talk about sustainable development projects in Amazonia. You will visit one of the projects, where villagers are planting palms to obtain oil. Your guide will also show you the artificial nests created in the sand to protect turtle eggs. Then we will go into the jungle to encounter wildlife and learn first-hand about the value of medicinal plants found here. Keep an eye out for the famous Ceiba tree, the highest in the Amazon. We will have the opportunity to make brief trips in traditional Amazonian canoes and to swim in the waters of the Samiria River.
Return to the ship for a cooking class following your lunch.
Afternoon excursion takes you to Nauta Caño, a part of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, also known as the Forest of Mirrors due to its dark lagoons, which reflect the scenery. In this area we will observe toucans, macaws, and iguanas, among many other species. As we make our way back to the ARIA AMAZON, you may also see alligators, frogs and fishing bats.
March 23: Marañon River / “Casual” Terra Firme Forest Walk / Yanayacu Yacapana
We sail along the Marañon River, watching the different species of flora and fauna as we approach the Casual community where we will hike on land. Here you will see a plethora of wildlife, so keep your binoculars ready to observe tanagers and orioles as well as various reptiles and amphibians. Keep an eye out for the beautiful and eye-catching but poisonous frogs along this fascinating trail, as well as trees and medicinal plants.
Canoeing at Sapira Creek – Marañon river (Optional)
Yanayacu Islands Exploration Yacapana and fishing in the afternoon.
The locals call Yacapana Islands “Islands of the Iguana” for the large number of these reptiles – like tiny dinosaurs – that inhabit them. We pass by in the skiff, giving you the opportunity to take plenty of pictures. After our arrival at one particular spot, you may use your hooks to try to catch some of the ferocious piranhas and other fish. Your naturalist guides will tell the story of the lake and its wildlife while you watch the sunset. En route, we will also go in search of the world’s largest aquatic plant called “Victoria Regia.” As the sun goes down, photograph the freshwater Amazon dolphins both gray and pink.
March 24: Check Out – Disembark At The Main Wharf – City Tour – Transfer To The Airport
Depending on the weather, we will tour the flood zone that borders the city of Iquitos and observe the houses and shops that actually float on the Itaya River for several months of the year. Then we will visit the traditional market of Bellavista Nanay, bordering the Nanay River, to see products from the Peruvian Amazon including exotic snacks like the Amazon Caterpillar. Called “Suri,” these caterpillars live in the palm trees and are considered a very appetizing snack for Amazonia people, even in the city.
Return to the ship to pack up and have a light lunch.
This afternoon, we will take you on a tour of Iquitos, glorious city in the days of the rubber boom. Visit the Manatee Rescue Center, a kind of animal orphanage for Amazonian manatees to rescue, rehabilitate and release them back into the wild. Later, we stop at the Amazonian Indian Market San Juan, where, you may wish to shop for local crafts before leaving. Guides will help with check in at the airport and stay with you until you have boarded your flight back to Lima. Board your international flight in Lima later tonight.
Based on minimum 2 Guests
For 2 passengers: $6495 per person
Single supplement: $1715