Amazon and Andes Odyssey

From the wilderness of Tambopata rainforest to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu
Overview

overview

This Amazon and Andes Odyssey certainly does not compromise on adventure. Fly into the remote Amazon Tambopata Nature Reserve for four days, engage in extensive nature exploration, then head up to Cusco in the Andes for four days of exploration at sites such as Machu Picchu, the Urubamba Sacred Valley, Qenko, Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo. This is a perfect trip for travelers who want to see the best of Peru in a short amount of time.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Lima

    Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Lima is Peru's capital and is a fairly modern city situated on the coastal desert. If time permits, explore the city’s museums, churches, and colonial homes.

    Lodging
    Costa del Sol Ramada
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  • Day 2: Puerto Maldonado/Refugio Amazonas
    Macaws at the clay lick

    Transfer to the airport in the morning for the flight to Puerto Maldonado, where you'll be met and transferred to the Tambopata River port in Puerto Maldonado. Situated at the confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers, Puerto Maldonado is a bustling, booming tropical frontier town. Its principal activities are gold mining, Brazil nut collecting, timber extraction, agriculture, and ecotourism. You will be met at the airport, and after a brief stop at our local office (where extra luggage may be left if necessary), depart on a 30-minute drive to the Infierno Community River Port. From here, embark on a 2-1/2 to 3-hour boat journey by motorized canoe to Refugio Amazonas, enjoying a boxed lunch aboard the boat along the way. During the voyage, look for any of a number of different bird species, such as the black skimmer, the pied lapwing, the capped heron, the jabiru stork, the roadside hawk, and several species of kingfishers, swallows, and flycatchers. On arrival at the lodge, there will be a short orientation and a complete briefing on the lodge before dinner. After dinner this evening, head out with a guide to search for caimans.

    Please note: Daily activities at the Amazon Lodge are subject to change, and the exact program may differ from what is listed here.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Refugio Amazonas
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  • Day 3: Refugio Amazonas
    Visit Oxbow Lake

    After an early breakfast, depart for the Condenado Lake shore and take a long, easy catamaran ride around it, looking for giant river otters, turtles, hoatzin, and wading birds along the way. Giant river otters can also be seen at the lakes on many of the visits. Afterward, make your way to the canopy tower, a 100-foot scaffolding tower built to allow a safe climb using the internal staircase with verandas on each side and rest platforms every six feet of vertical climb. From the top, enjoy spectacular views of the river and the surrounding forest, as well as excellent opportunities to observe birds, including parrots, toucans, and macaws, from the canopy. Head back to the lodge for a relaxing lunch. Enjoy an afternoon visit on a local farm. Five minutes downriver from the lodge lies a farm owned and managed by charismatic Don Manuel from the neighbouring community of Condenado. He grows a variety of popular and unknown Amazon crops - just about every plant and tree you see serves a purpose.  Next learn all about the variety of plants and trees that are used by the local population on the Ethnobotanical Tour.
    After dinner, attend a lecture prepared nightly to highlight a particular project, conservation threat, or research topic in the Tambopata National Reserve.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Refugio Amazonas
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  • Day 4: Refugio Amazonas
    Tambopata

    Arise at dawn this morning for a visit to a small parakeet clay lick. Dozens, often hundreds, of blue-headed parrots, orange-cheeked parrots, cobalt-winged parakeets, and sometimes even the rare rock parakeet congregate here on clear days to ingest clay. This congregation creates a riotous and colorful wildlife spectacle where the greens, oranges, reds, and blues of the parrots dance around the bank competing for their choice of clay. After lunch explore the Brazil Nut Trail and Camp. Only a few minutes from the lodge, this hike will allow you to understand the whole process of the rain forest's only sustainably harvested product- Brazil Nut. Next, visit the peccary clay lick, where wild rainforest pigs show up to eat clay in herds of up to 20 animals. Look for other wildlife such as deer, guan, and parakeets. After dinner, enjoy a night hike when most of the mammals are active but difficult to see. Easier to find are frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Refugio Amazonas
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  • Day 5: Puerto Maldonado/Cusco
    Transportaion on the river

    This morning, return by motorized dugout canoe to Puerto Maldonado. Transfer to the airport for a spectacular flight over the rain forest to Cusco, high in the Andes near 11,000 feet, where you will be met and transferred to your local hotel. Enjoy an easy afternoon walking tour of the ancient city and the four extraordinary nearby ruins, Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay. Starting from the Plaza de Armas, visit many of the city’s historical sites, see Incan stone walls serving as the foundations of Spanish architecture, and tour the cathedral built atop the ruins of an Incan temple. Cusco was the head of the Incan Empire and was built in the shape of a puma. The city itself is the puma’s body, and the enormous Sacsayhuaman ruins represent the head and teeth. The largest and most impressive of Sacsayhuaman’s original rocks are still in place, though only about 20 percent of the original site remains today. Qenko, meaning zig-zag, consists of a large limestone rock covered with carvings with mysterious caves and altars below and zig-zag walls and channels thought to have been used for ritual sacrifices. Puca Pucara, or red fort, is a small site that appears red when viewed in the right light. Tambo Machay, another small site, is known locally as “El Bano del Inca,” or the Incan bath, as it has beautiful ceremonial stone fountains and bathing pools. For lunch and dinner, select among the variety of great places to eat in the city. Overnight in Cusco.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Picoaga or similar
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  • Day 6: Pisac Market & Ollantaytambo
    Pisac Ruins

    Spend the day visiting the Sacred Valley, including the picturesque market at Pisac. Pisac is famous for its traditional Sunday market where locals barter for food, clothing, animals, and other supplies. It is open every day, and there are always many local textiles and crafts for sale on any day of the week. Continue down the Urubamba Valley to Ollantaytambo. Ollanta, as it is also called, is remembered as one of the few places that the Spanish lost a major battle during their conquest. It is 200 steps straight up the stone stairway to the top of the huge Incan fortress, which offers great views. The unfinished temple at the top was still being built when the Spanish eventually conquered the area. This is also a good site to see Incan city planning in the town below:  each cancha (block) had one entrance to the central courtyard from which individual homes were entered. Overnight in Ollanta.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Pakaritampu or similar
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  • Day 7: Ollanta/Machu Picchu
    Machu Picchu ruins

    After breakfast, take the 1 ½-hour Vistadome train ride from Ollanta to Machu Picchu, the 'lost citadel' of the Incas. From the station at Aguas Calientes, it’s another 30 minutes (five miles) by bus up to the entrance of the site. (baggage limit on PeruRail is 11 lbs) Enjoy an afternoon guided tour of the ruins with time afterward for individual exploration. Be sure to read about Machu Picchu in advance to fully appreciate the trained guide's expertise. Stumbled upon by accident in 1911, it remains a mysterious site, as there are no Spanish records, Incan legends, or oral histories to explain its history or uses. Elegant ornamental stonework hints at the possibility of Machu Picchu's importance as a ceremonial center. Overnight at a lovely lodge in the cloud forest near Aguas Calientes. The elevation at Machu Picchu is 7,900 feet.

    One-Day Inca Trail Trek Option:
    For those with some interest in light trekking, we also offer a one-day Inca Trail Trek. Take the train toward Machu Picchu and disembark at kilometer marker 104 to cross the hanging bridge to the Chachabamba site. After a brief visit, begin a 3-4 hour ascent to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, an important ritual site. The Inca Trail cuts across the ridge above Machu Picchu to the Gate of the Sun for a first awe-inspiring glimpse of Machu Picchu. Total hiking time is about six hours. Bookings must be made at least 90 days in advance.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Machu Picchu Pueblo or similar
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  • Day 8: Machu Picchu/Urubamba Valley
    Further explore Machu Picchu ruins

    Rise early and explore the ruins at a leisurely pace before the tourist crowds arrive. Climb the steep path (optional) to Huayna Picchu for a spectacular view of the ruins. Consider taking some time to shop at the Machu Picchu market in Aguas Calientes or take a walk in the cloud forest from the lodge. In the afternoon, take the four-hour ride back to Cusco on the Vistadome train through the spectacular scenery of the Urubamba Valley. You will be met at the station and transferred to your Cusco hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Picoaga or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Cusco/Lima/Onward
    Farewell to Cusco

    This morning, transfer to the airport for the flight to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met and transferred to your hotel dayroom. Take a city tour of Lima, then later in the day, transfer to the airport for the international flight to the U.S.

    Meals
    Breakfast
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Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,595
domestic airfare not included; 2 person rate: $3825 per person 2015: $3695 2 person rate: $3925
Single Supplement:
$925
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Possible Extensions include:
Lake Titicaca, Nazca Lines & Paracas, Colca Canyon Adventure, and more. Please click on the extensions on the right column on this page, or request our Peru extension trip notes if you are interested in exploring more of this fascinating country.

Refugio Amazonas background information:
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge is located on the banks of the Tambopata River, adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve, and approximately 3 hours from the town by motorized canoe. The lodge was built using a combination of traditional native materials (wood, palm fronds, wild cane and clay) and architecture and modern day eco-lodge technology. The lodge itself consists of guest rooms, a spacious dining area and kitchen, relaxation area and internal support facilities. The 24 double bedrooms are 13 x 23 feet and can be set up with a third bed. The walls dividing each room are built using cane and clay, and extend from the floor to about 8 feet high, making each room private, however, sounds can be heard from room to room. The side that looks out to the forest does not have a wall or screening of any kind, acting as a large window facing the forest. Mosquitos are not really a problem around the lodge clearing and the open section allows for an intimate contact with the rain forest. A second small window on the opposite side, set up very high, keeps the rooms well ventilated. Twin beds are sized for Americans or Europeans (3.5' wide x 6.5' long) with mosquito nets. Each room has a private bathroom with cold water only. Rooms and bathrooms are separated by drapes.

SPECIAL NOTE: The Andes portion of this trip is divided into day tours and depending on your departure date you may or may not be in a group consisting of different people each day. Please ask for further clarification.

Duration:
9 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
2
rustic amazon lodge & delightful hotels
Group Size:
4-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
2
rustic amazon lodge & delightful hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Nazca Lines & Paracas

Duration: 3 days

In this coastal desert region you can find traces of ancient cultures, study the mysterious designs of the  Nazca Lines, and watch the sea lions as they frolic in the Paracas National Park.

Colca Canyon Adventure

Duration: 3 days

This short excursion to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon takes you to one of the world’s deepest gorges and the “Cruz del Condor” where you can scan the skies for a glimpse of the majestic birds.

Lake Titicaca

Duration: 3 days

Extend your trip to the famed Lake Titicaca, located in the Andes between Peru and Bolivia. It is the highest navigable lake in the world, and South America’s largest freshwater lake. The trip takes you to the islands of Uros and Taquile.

Lima

Duration: 1 days

If you have time in Lima, enjoy a tour of the city, or venture out a little further for a wildlife boat trip around Isla Palomino.

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