Mountains and Jungle – 10 Days (with 2 Day Inca Trail) or 12 Days (with 4 Day Inca Trail)
Visits: Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Manu jungle
Day 1: Lima
Our journey of the mystical land of Peru begins tonight with a tour briefing in the lobby of our hotel at 7pm. The hotel where you should stay when arriving to Lima and to begin this tour is Casa Andina Classic – Miraflores Centro (Address; Ac. Petit Thouars No 5444, Miraflores, Lima).
Day 2: Cusco
We fly to Cusco on a morning flight then you have time to check into your hotel, relax, acclimatize and enjoy the World Heritage site of Cusco. To fully appreciate this astounding city you can take part in the half-day city tour that includes some of the most important sites in and around Cusco, including several famous Inca sites. The rest of today is free time to acclimatize and explore. (B)
Day 3: Sacred Valley
After an early breakfast we begin the Sacred Valley of the Inca tour, where life has remained almost unchanged for 500 years. Today we will visit the ruins of Ollantaytambo, Pisac, and Chinceros. You will also have the opportunity of visiting the lively local market in Pisac to enjoy the beautiful handicrafts on sale. Tonight we spend the night in Cusco. (B,L)
OPTION1: WITH 2 DAY INCA TRAIL
Day 4: Inca Trail (Day 1)
We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at approximately 7.00am and transfer you to Poroy train station for your 4-hour journey to KM 104, where you will begin the trail. After registering with the Chachabamba park at the checkpoint, we will take the trail that leads to the Chachabamba ruins, then walking for another 2 1/2 hours where the path descends into a forest and also soon to pass a waterfall where you can refresh yourself. After leaving the forest we will arrive at the foot of WiñayWayna ruins (2700m). Finally after what almost seems like vertical steps, it is our last pass - Intipunku (Sun Gate). From here its now not long until you will be astonished with the city of Machu Picchu. We will enter from the top at around 4.00pm then the trail descends down into the ruins. You will have a short amount of free time then tomorrow we will have much more! (B,L,D)
Day 5: Inca Trail (Day 2)
5am breakfast then at 5.30am we get the bus to Machu Picchu. We need to depart early so those who wish to climb Huayna Picchu will need to sign up before the 2 hour guided tour. During your visit to these ancient ruins you will see clouds fly past and Machu Picchu will disappear with in them, so make sure you take pictures whilst the ruins are visible. After the tour you will have free time to explore the mountain of Huayna Picchu overlooking all of Machu Picchu - by far the best view! Huayna Picchu will take approximately 2 hours return trip. It is now your choice to enjoy lunch just outside the ruins or take the bus back to AguasCalientes to explore this small and quaint village. The train back to Cusco departs late afternoon so your estimated time of arrival is approximately 9pm. ((B,L)
OPTION 2: WITH 4 DAY INCA TRAIL
Day 4: Cusco / Huallabamba
Starts with a nice and early pick-up at 6am from your hotel and a 3 1/2 hour bus journey to kilometer 82, where we will begin the trail. On the way we will stop at the town of Urubamba where you can buy walking sticks and perhaps anything you have forgotten. Once we arrive to KM82 we will prepare for you a hot breakfast. To begin the trail we first cross the river Vilcanota and follow the trail along, passing through a little village then to the ruins of the Inca hill fort of HuillcaRaccay. After 7 hours (13km) of hiking, tonight we spend the night in Huallabamba. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Huallabamba / Pacamayo
What is going to be a physically tough day of accent, we hike 11km. Climbing up from Wayllabamba for a few hours through the beautiful forest, until we reach the meadow of Llulluchapampa (3680m). A quick tea break and we are heading up again to Abra de Huarmihuañusca (meaning 'Dead Woman's Pass'), our highest (not to mention the hardest) point of the trail at 4200m. After celebration of having completed this section, the decent from the pass is steep but not difficult, so be careful! Once we reach the valley floor we set up our second night’s camp in Pacamayo. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Pacamayo / WiñayWayna
Today is an easier but longer hike of 16km. From Pacamayo it takes 1 1/2 hours to climb to the ruins of Runkuracay. From the ruins the view of Pacamayo valley is all worth it once the hard part is over. From here we continue our trek to the second pass of Abra de Runkuracay (4000m). Now walking along a cobbled path we again begin a deep decent until we reach Sayacmarca (meaning Inaccessible Town). Before reaching the 3rd pass we walk through astonishing cloud forest full of orchids, hanging mosses, tree ferns, flowers and not to mention the Inca tunnel. The 3rd pass is at 3700m, then soon to be at the most spectacular ruin so far; Phuyupatamarca (meaning Town in the Clouds). Following this its time to descend thousands of stairs - again be careful, especially of your knees! After this long day we camp the night in WiñayWayna, here you will have the pleasure of a hot shower and a restaurant/ bar. (B,L,D)
Day 7: WiñayWayna / Machu Picchu/ Cusco
4.00am Breakfast on our last day then we are hiking while its’ still dark so don't forget your flashlight. The trail today contours a mountainside and into the cloud forest. We stop for a short time hopefully to see the sun rise at our final pass -Intipunku (meaning 'Sun Gate'). Afterwards get ready for the unforgettable experience observing Machu Picchu. We will enjoy a guided tour of the ruins, then it’s your choice to climb HuaynaPicchu which will take about 2 hours to the top and back down again. Please note that there is a limit of 400 people per day to climb Huayna Picchu and quite often Inca Trail hikers will arrive too late to the ruins to sign up. Finally, if your not staying in AguasCaliantes tonight then you will prepare for your train journey back to Cusco. Your tour ends here. (B,L)
Day 8: Cusco
Today we have a day to relax and take in the history and experiences of the past few days. Cusco offers the visitor a spectacular glimpse of an almost perfectly intact colonial town to explore. You can explore the many markets and stalls, and even people-watch in the main square, Plaza Des Armas. (B)
Day 9: Cusco / Manu Jungle
We leave Cusco early in the morning in our specialized overland vechicles. Approximately mid-morning we visit the interesting Pre- Inca tombs of Ninamarca, commonly known as “Chullpas”. We continue to Paucartambo, a picturesque Spanish colonial town, and then to the Acjanacu pass, which marks the beginning of the Cultural Zone of Manu Biosphere Reserve. Here, a thick cloak of clouds provides perpetual humidity and makes an ideal habitat for epiphytic plants such as bromeliads. This varied and fascinating world is home of the Cock of the Rock, Spectacled Bear, Orchids, Tree Ferns (one of the oldest living plants), mosses and lichens. This cloud forest exists between 2000 and 3500 meters above sea level and at least 50% of the plant species found here are endemic to this region. Overnight in our Orquídeas de San Pedro lodge (B,L,D)
Today we wake up very early to observe the Cock of the Rock (Rupicola peruviana), Peru’s national bird from a platform. The male birds are a vibrant reddish orange, and as many as several dozen come together for an exhibition of a mating ritual dance in a place called Lek. The males display their crest, showing off and posturing for the females. The females, fewer in number, watch to select the most suitable males. After breakfast we continue in our vehicle (*1) down the narrow road between waterfalls and canyons toward the town of Pilcopata (*2) and then to Atalaya Port. Here we board our covered, outboard motor boat and head down the Alto Madre de Dios River for approximately 15 minutes toward our private reserve of “Erika” a comfortable / rustic lodge owned also by Manu Ecological Adventures where we will hike through the interesting trail system that this transitional area between high and low jungle offers. Overnight at the lodge. (B,L,D)
*1 Optional: Descend with mountain bikes from our San Pedro Lodge (1700 m.a.s.l.) Cloud Forest to Pilcopata (700 m.a.s.l.) – only for very experienced people – depends on availability and weather conditions.
*2 Free Option: Here in Pilcopata town we will make the final settings for a 1 ½ river rafting (class I and II) trip down the Koshñipata River where we will have the opportunity for a dip and of course enjoy the spectacular view of the Koñeq Canyon. Continuing down the Alto Madre de Dios River to Erika Lodge.
*3 New!!! Option: We walk through the trail that leads us to the observation platform located 15 feet above the mammal lick itself where we wait for the lumbering peccaries to arrive, we observe and photograph them in action. Important: The observation depends on luck on availability and weather conditions (B,L,D)
Erika Lodge is located in a transition zone between high and low jungle (600 m.a.s.l. to 1,150 m.a.s.l), encompassing different habitats. This altitude range explains the high diversity of wildlife found around this lodge, so immediately after breakfast, we will start walking near the riverbanks, during the hike our guide will talk about insects, medicinal plants, trees, reptiles, mammals, etc. This afternoon we board our boat, and after five minutes, we will walk for another 30 minutes approximately though a very nice trail to observe and talk about the interesting flora fond such as sensitive plants, heliconias, fruit plantations, etc. until we arrive to Machuwasi Lake where with the help of a telescope we can observe great egrets, tucanets, carpenters, Keskadees, cardinals, etc. Short night walk to observe American bullfrogs, horned frogs, tree frogs
and an incredible variety of insects.
*4 Free Option: Canopy zip down: At Erika Lodge, our guests traverse from tree to tree and platform to platform using pulleys on horizontal traverse cables zip lines), as they sail through the treetops of the tropical rainforest canopy, and over the trails far below. Expert guides assist you in this exciting journey through the different layers of the rain forests and explain what’s going on around you from the time you leave the ground, until you rappel back down to the forest floor
This day we will get up very early to board our boat again for only five minutes down river to a Parrot clay Lick called “Collpa” on the riverbanks, where many species of parrots such as the blue headed parrot, white-eyed parakeet, feed for mineral and salt supplements to their diet of seeds and fruits. Immediately after we continue to Atalaya Port where the bus will drive us to Cusco city, arriving late in the night. (B,L) Your tour ends here tonight.