21829
Peru
Two Worlds of Peru: The Inca Highlands and the Amazon
Experience the highs and lows of Peru as you explore Cusco and Machu Picchu up in the Andes and the Sacred Valley and tribal villages by riverboat down in the Amazon Basin.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21829RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
5,295
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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15 days
14 nights
35 meals
13 B 12 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
Lima
Hotel Britania Miraflores

Activity note: Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3 p.m.

Morning: Arrivals at Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport. Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim, and Customs. After exiting the restricted arrivals area, participants should look for the Road Scholar representative who will be holding a Road Scholar sign (only applies to group flights). Transfer to the hotel and check-in, followed by time at leisure.

DAY
2
Lima - Larco Museum, Orientation to Lima & Malecon
Lima
B,L
Hotel Britania Miraflores

Activity note: Occasional standing and walking, about 2 miles throughout the day over generally paved, flat surfaces. Some steps. Please wear shoes appropriate for walking.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Orientation to the program. Meet your group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session at the hotel. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Lecture at the hotel: Overview of Peru & Biodiversity of the Amazon. Board the motorcoach for a field trip to the Larco Museum. The privately funded Larco Museum, also known as Museo Rafael Larco Herrera, holds one of the world’s largest collections of Peruvian pre-Colombian artifacts and showcases pieces from lesser known cultures such as the Moche, Chimú, and Nazca, as well as the famous Inca. Its name honors the founder’s father, Don Rafael Larco Herrera, a well-known collector of pre-Columbian artifacts and archaeology aficionado. The museum is housed in an 18th century mansion in the Pueblo Libre District of Lima and has 6 exhibit halls, 11 storage rooms, a vault for gold and silver exhibits, a terrace with large stone displays, and a garden with a patio. In the event that the Larco Museum is closed we will visit an equally important museum in the city.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Walking orientation through Lima including the Cathedral. After lunch we will explore Lima including a visit to the plaza de Armas and the Monastery of San Francisco, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1991. Aside from a church and monastery, the site also contains a library and catacombs. In this church, Jude the Apostle is venerated. At the feast of Saint Jude Tadeus a one and a half ton weighing silver stand is carried round in procession by 40 people, starting from the convent. We will then visit Casa Aliaga, the longest continuously inhabited home in the Americas. Francisco Pizarro, a Spanish conquistador who founded the capital city of Lima, gifted the house to his friend and comrade Jeronimo de Aliaga in 1535. Visitors to the house will see an assortment of Peruvian art and artifacts, luxurious decor and furnishings, incredible woodwork plus a private chapel and a lush inner sunken patio. The house is a historical treasure that invites visitors to step into the past and witness the lifestyle of Lima's elite society during the period of Spanish colonization of Peru. Return to Miraflores and join in a favorite pastime of Limeños during a late afternoon walk along the city’s Malecon (waterfront), enjoying magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and landscaped parks. The Malecon encompasses 6 miles of parks along Miraflores’ rocky seaside cliffs. Paths in the Malecon are commonly frequented by families, joggers, and cyclists; a great recreational site for anyone looking to enjoy some fresh air and green spaces.

Dinner: On your own to explore the local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Fly to Iquitos, Embark on Amazon Cruise
Iquitos
B,L,D
M/V Amatista

Activity note: The flight to Iquitos takes approximately 1 hour and 55 minutes. Please note: The activities on the boat itinerary may run in a different order or may run in reverse depending on the time of year. The same destinations and activities will still be covered but may take place in a different order.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: This morning we will transfer to the airport to board a flight to Iquitos. Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest, the 5th largest in Peru and today is the gateway for travel on the Amazon River. During the early 20th century rubber boom, Iquitos attracted many European immigrants which contributed to a period of great wealth for the region. Many architecturally significant buildings remain from this era, including the Casa de Fierro, built by Gustave Eiffel, and the beautiful Ex Hotel Palace overlooking the Itaya River. Upon arrival to Iquitos airport, board the coach. We will enjoy a panoramic orientation to Iquitos and then begin transferring for approximately 1.5 hour to the cruise embarkation port in Nauta.

Lunch: Boxed lunch en route.

Afternoon: En route we will visit the Manatee Rescue Center. The center is committed to saving orphaned manatees and reintroducing them into the wild after rescue. Arrive in Nauta. Embark on the M/V Amatista. After being welcomed aboard, participants will enjoy a general ship orientation, including an introduction to the crew and a safety briefing. Over the course of the next few days, the skiff and land excursions will be in the morning and late afternoon, when wildlife is at its liveliest. During the hotter hours of midday, the expedition staff will present enthralling lectures on everything from the history and culture of the region to the Amazon’s prolific flora and fauna. There will be plenty of time to relax and enjoy the comfort of Amatista's observation deck.

Dinner: This will take place in the boat's dining room. Additional beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Relax on the observation deck and take in the sights and sounds of the Amazon.

DAY
4
Rio Marañon & Rio Ucayali, Wildlife Excursion, Nature Walk
Amazon River
B,L,D
M/V Amatista

Activity note: The Amazon region is known for hot temperatures and high humidity. Please prepare for the climate by drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Bring a reusable water bottle, hat, sun glasses, and a long-sleeve shirt for insect protection. You may also need bug spray and sunscreen. For the nature walk, closed toe shoes appropriate for hiking are required.

Breakfast: This will take place in the boat dining room.

Morning: Early this morning, board motorized skiffs to explore the Rio Marañon looking for resident birds like the horned screamer, capped heron, vermillion flycatcher, dusky headed parakeet, great black hawk and great egrets. The initial morning hours present great viewing opportunities as birds tend to be most active during the early hours of the day and at sundown. Keep an eye out for sloths and a variety of monkeys. Return to the boat.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch in the boat's dining room.

Afternoon: After lunch learn about the Amazon River in a presentation led by your naturalist. This afternoon you will walk along the banks of the Ucayali River and explore the Yucuruchi region of the Amazon. This region offers the opportunity to see the beautiful Victoria Regia water lily, a gigantic aquatic plant that measures up to 10 ft. in diameter. It grows in small lagoons that are called cochas. Be on the lookout for the Amazon River dolphin, the giant otter and the Amazonian manatee, which all make their home in the waters of the Ucayali. Return to the boat.

Dinner: This will take place in the boat's dining room.

Evening: Relax on the observation deck or inside in the reading lounge.

DAY
5
Rio Ucayali, Pacaya-Samira Nat'l Reserve, Meet a Shaman
Amazon River
B,L,D
M/V Amatista

Activity note: Please wear closed toe shoes for the visit to meet the shaman. Bring a reusable water bottle, hat, sun glasses, and a long-sleeve shirt for insect protection. You may also need bug spray and sunscreen.

Breakfast: Early this morning before breakfast, with binoculars in hand, board a motorized skiff to the Pacaya-Samira National Reserve, Peru's largest national park and home to more than 200 species of birds and 10 primate species. Here we may spot Cocoi and Striated Herons, red macaws and tanagers. Be on the lookout for possible sightings of Capuchin or Spider monkeys along the way. Return to the boat and enjoy breakfast in the dining room.

Morning: Time at leisure.

Lunch: This will take place in the boat dining room.

Afternoon: After lunch, listen to an introductory talk on shamanism, discussing the traditions of the people who make the rain forest their home. Shamanism is practiced around the world and involves the practitioner reaching an altered state of consciousness or trance in order to communicate with a spirit world. Later in the afternoon, you will gain insight into this phenomenon as we meet a practicing shaman in a nearby river village. He will introduce the group to the spiritual healing craft and to the rain forest plants that indigenous peoples have been using for centuries. Return to the boat.

Dinner: This will take place in the boat's dining room.

Evening: Enjoy some star gazing from the observation deck.

DAY
6
Pacaya-Samira Nat. Reserve, Visit with a Local Family
Amazon River
B,L,D
M/V Amatista

Activity note: Please wear closed toe shoes for the visit to meet a local family. Bring a reusable water bottle, hat, sun glasses, and a long-sleeve shirt for insect protection. You may also need bug spray and sunscreen.

Breakfast: Rise early for an excursion in the skiffs to watch the rainforest come to life as we spot iguanas, river turtles, cormorants and other wildlife. Return to the boat for breakfast.

Morning: Depart by skiff to the home of a local Indian family. Here we will be introduced to their culture and way of life along the mighty Amazon River.

Lunch: With a local family at their home.

Afternoon: Return to the boat. Free time to rest and relax in the afternoon before our night excursion into the jungle.

Dinner: This will take place in the boat's dining room.

Evening: Prepare for a nighttime boat ride with the possibility of observing a profusion of nocturnal species such as bats, capybaras, black caimans and many more. We will be prepared with a spotlight for identifying wildlife.

DAY
7
Pacaya-Samira Nat. Reserve, Choroyacu Wildlife Excursion
Amazon River
B,L,D
M/V Amatista

Activity note: If you plan to swim this afternoon, please wear a bathing suit. Bring a reusable water bottle, hat, sun glasses, and a long-sleeve shirt for insect protection. You may also need bug spray and sunscreen.

Breakfast: This morning we will rise early to explore the incredible biodiversity of the Amazon's unique ecosystem by motorized skiff. We will stop for a picnic breakfast in a quiet spot along the river.

Morning: Next, we will venture up the Nahuapa River to fish for piranhas. These fish are a dietary staple for many of the Amazon's indigenous people and one of the most flavorful fishes of the Amazon region. Later, we will visit Choroyacu Creek for an opportunity to climb into dugout canoes and explore the area with the locals. Here you will have the chance to swim and perhaps encounter the famous pink or grey river dolphins, a truly unique experience of a lifetime. Return to the boat.

Lunch: This will take place in the boat dining room.

Afternoon: Enjoy some time this afternoon to rest and relax. Sit on the deck and watch the jungle as you float by

Dinner: This will take place in the boat's dining room.

Evening: This evening after dinner you will have another chance to witness the nocturnal life of the rainforest as you venture out by boat onto the Marañon River.

DAY
8
Nauta & Sapisapi River Visit
Iquitos
B,L,D
M/V Amatista

Activity note: Please wear closed toe shoes for the visit to Nauta. Bring a reusable water bottle, hat, sun glasses, and a long-sleeve shirt for insect protection. You may also need bug spray and sunscreen.

Breakfast: This will take place in the boat dining room.

Morning: This morning we will pay a visit to the jungle town of Nauta. Browse the local markets, engage with locals and witness the way of life in this small Amazonian port town. Return to the boat.

Lunch: This will take place in the boat dining room.

Afternoon: Return to the boat and begin navigating the river. Along the way we will stop and visit the Sapisapi River and look for turtles and the arapaima fish, also known as the paichu or paiche fish, one of the largest freshwater fishes in the world.

Dinner: This will take place in the boat's dining room.

Evening: At leisure to relax.

DAY
9
Disembark, Fly to Cusco via Lima, Coach to Sacred Valley
Yucay, Sacred Valley
B,L,D
La Casona de Yucay

Activity note: To minimize your chances of experiencing altitude sickness, try to get plenty of rest before you travel, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and fatty foods, eat high carbohydrate foods, and avoid strenuous exercise at high elevations. Elevation in Cusco is approximately 11,000 ft, Urubamba,Sacred Valley, 9,200 ft. The flight to Lima takes approx. 1 hour and 50 minutes and the Lima to Cusco flight takes approx. 1 hour and 25 minutes.

Breakfast: This will take place in the boat dining room.

Morning: From the comfort of the observation deck, study the passing jungle and its wildlife as we navigate up the Amazon River on the way back to Iquitos. Disembark from the boat at Iquitos as we transfer by coach and continue to the Iquitos airport for the morning flight to Cusco via Lima. Arrive in Cusco and transfer by coach to our hotel in the Sacred Valley. Depending on flight times, lunch might be at our hotel.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Time at leisure. We will gather before dinner for a lecture: An Introduction to the Inca and the Sacred Valley.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: Enjoy a peaceful walk around the hotel gardens.

DAY
10
Local Market, Cultural Interaction, Food of the Andes
Yucay, Sacred Valley
B,L,D
La Casona de Yucay

Activity note: Elevation in Chincheros: 12,300 ft Walking up to 2 miles today over sometimes uneven terrain of rock and grass. Some standing required at activity sites.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Morning visit to a local market and on-site discussion on the importance of the Sacred Valley as the ‘farmer’s market’ for the Inca Empire. Identify and learn about the fruits and vegetables that are unique to this region. Learn which ancient traditions are still practiced by modern day descendants of the Inca during a visit to a local weaving community at Chincheros. Weaving is a way of life in Chincheros—as important for preserving ancient traditions as it is for earning a livelihood. The town, located on the Inca road between Cusco and Machu Picchu, was an early Inca center built by Emperor Tupa Inca as his country estate. During Inca reign, textiles were woven and offered to mark special occasions, from peace treaties and sacrifices to marriage ceremonies and puberty rites. In Chincheros, local children grow up playing with their mother’s spindle and loom; by age six or seven most children learn to weave by watching their elders. They begin by weaving jakimas, or narrow ribbons, before moving on to more complicated pieces.

Lunch: Experience a traditional lunch with members of the weaving community.

Afternoon: Continue to Moray, an Inca Agricultural research station and then visit nearby local farms. Moray is believed to be an Incan agricultural center used to improve high altitude crops – an essential commodity for the huge Incan armies and road building teams essential to support the empire. Lecture: The Agriculture of the Incas. After the lecture you will return to the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: Time at leisure to enjoy the hotel amenities.

DAY
11
Machu Picchu – Excursion to UNESCO World Heritage Site
Machu Picchu/Aguas Calientes
B,L,D
El MaPi Hotel byInkaterra

Activity note: There is a weight limit of 11 lbs for luggage on the Peru Rail transfer to Machu Picchu. Pack an overnight bag for one night. The bag must weigh no more than 11 lbs and measure no more than 62 linear inches /157 cm (the length, plus height, plus width). Excess luggage can be left at the hotel and will be secured until your return to Cusco. We recommend wearing or bringing a long-sleeved shirt as past participants have complained about “no-see-ums.” Elevation in Machu Picchu is approx. 7,800 ft

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Board a train to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu. The train ride follows the Urubamba River and offers spectacular views of the Andes. Disembark at the Aguas Calientes Station and board a bus that will take you up the mountain to the Machu Picchu Ruins. Field trip to Machu Picchu. The train journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. The bus drive from Aguas Calientes Town to the Machu Picchu ruins takes about 20 minutes (3.7 miles).

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Full afternoon expert-led field trip in and around Machu Picchu Ruins, including site lecture. This ancient Inca city was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a Yale graduate and U.S. senator fascinated with Inca archaeology. Bingham found Machu Picchu, with the help of a local farmer who knew about the ruins, while searching for Vilcabamba and Vitcos. He hypothesized that the site was a "citadel," existing for strategic and defense purposes. He also speculated that the site was a refuge for Cusco's Virgins of the Sun, based upon the finding of skulls there, although not scientifically classified as female. Breakthroughs in archaeology since 1985 have, taken as a whole, supported the emerging view of Machu Picchu as a ceremonial and administrative center for a very populous region. Machu Picchu was built, flourished, and fell into demise within a period of 100 years. Board the bus to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival, disembark at the bus stop and walk to your hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: Take time to do some shopping at the local artisans market or enjoy a walk around the town.

DAY
12
Train & Bus Transfer to Cusco
Cusco
B,L
Hotel Los Portales

Activity note: Please note, tickets for additional entrance to the ruins are not included in your program cost. New regulations have reduced the number of daily visitors allowed to enter Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, and entrance tickets are no longer sold on site. If you wish to visit the ruins independently this morning you will need to obtain tickets in advance. Please contact the program provider for more information. See "Notes" section of prep mats for more details. Elevation in Cusco: 11,000 ft

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Enjoy a morning at your leisure to walk around the town, relax at your hotel, or explore Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu on your own (additional entrance tickets not included in your program cost). This is a great opportunity for participants to revisit the ruins at a more relaxed pace. Just after sunrise, the soft morning rays bathe the ancient city in golden light and the mist slowly rises from the valley. Take advantage of the favorable lighting and lesser amount of visitors to try and capture that perfect shot for your photo album.

Lunch: In the hotel dining room.

Afternoon: Transfer to Aguas Calientes Station. Early in the afternoon (approximately 1:00 p.m.), board a train to Ollantaytambo Station. Disembark at Ollantaytambo Station and board a bus for your transfer to Cusco. (1 hr 30 min). Arrive in Cusco and check-in to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Evening: Optional evening walk around the main square of Cusco.

DAY
13
Cusco - Sacsayhuaman Ruins, Colonial Cusco, Andean Music
Cusco
B,L,D
Hotel Los Portales

Activity note: Mostly flat terrain, some stairs. Walking about 1 mile throughout the day.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Field trip to the Sacsayhuaman Ruins The fortress of Sacsayhuaman forms the head of the Puma design of old Cusco. It is a wonder of technical achievement and a testament to human will. It is a mystery how it was constructed, since the stones are not found in the region, and most of the blocks weigh more than a ton. The largest rock weighs more than 300 tons. Sacsayhuaman is constructed of huge polygonal blocks which interlock with one another. The stones are so precisely placed that a knife blade cannot be inserted between them. Orientation to the city of Cusco including a visit to Koricancha. The center of Cusco is a history lesson. Modern and colonial buildings are built on top of Inca foundations and colonial churches dominate the central square. Koricancha, also spelled Qorikancha, is an important Inca temple located in downtown Cusco. Built in honor of their sun god, Inti, the site was once an important religious center. Conquistadors reported that the temple originally held a statue of the sun, made of gold weighing approximately two tons and inlayed with gems. The structure was built with enormous boulders and is considered one of the most outstanding examples of this type of Inca construction. Unfortunately, very little remains of this architectural wonder since the Spaniards did their best to destroy it during their conquest of Cusco. The grand, Baroque church known as Santo Domingo was built on Koricancha’s foundations and came to be viewed by the Spanish as a symbol of Christian triumph over heathen religion.

Lunch: At a café in the main plaza where you can enjoy the colonial architecture of the city.

Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to explore Cusco's many attractions at your own pace. Presentation by a local expert on the history of Incan and Andean musical instruments.

Dinner: Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
14
Departures, Flight to Lima, Flights to the U.S.
In Flight
B

Activity note: The flight from Cusco to Lima takes approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes. The weight limit for checked luggage on this flight is 23 kg/50 lb. Transfer to the airport is approximately 45 min.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Time at leisure to rest or explore Sol Avenue or the historic Plaza de Armas. The center of Cusco is a history lesson where modern and colonial buildings were built on top of Inca foundations and colonial churches dominate the central square.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Say goodbye to your group leader before transferring to the airport to board the flight to Lima. Upon arrival to Lima you will connect with your international flights back to the U.S.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: Upon arrival to Lima you will connect with your evening flights out of Jorge Chávez International Airport to the U.S. There is no hotel stay for this day. If you would prefer a morning flight out of Lima and hotel accommodations please contact the program coordinator at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com to book these additional services. This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.

DAY
15
Program Concludes, Flights to the U.S.
In Flight





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