15 DAY TRIP – (May 29 - June 12, 2018)
Join us for an unforgettable trip to Peru, home to Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and the Amazon River! We'll visit the historic capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco, and witness the Corpus Christi Festival, a vibrant, colorful parade of music and dance. Our trip into the Sacred Valley will include the famed Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo, one of the last stands of the Inca Empire, as well as the hillside ruins and fabulous market at Pisac. We'll spend four days hiking the famed Inca Trail, one of the grandest and most spectacular hikes in the world. On the final day of the hike, we'll enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate and watch the sun rise over one of the most famous and awe-inspiring treasures in the world, the ancient city of Machu Picchu, followed by a comprehensive guided tour of this once forgotten city. Before leaving the Andes, we'll spend time with the founder of the HoPe Foundation, who has devoted his life to working with highland Indian communities to increase educational opportunities and living standards. We'll spend three days and two nights working on a community project in partnership with the HoPe Foundation. Finally, we'll fly to Iquitos, the world's largest city that can only be reached by boat or plane to begin our journey to the Amazon. After a three hour boat ride, we'll spend four days and three nights in an Amazon lodge getting an up close look at one of the world's most biodiverse areas. After just over two weeks of experiencing man-made and natural wonders, you will return home with a lifetime of memories!
DAY 1 (5/29) – FLIGHT TO CUSCO
DAY 2 (5/30) – ARRIVE IN CUSCO
Welcome to Cusco (11,200 ft), the historic capital of the Inca Empire that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Upon Arrival we'll start with a cup of coca tea before heading out to explore the Sacred Valley (9,000ft). Our first stop will be Pisac, where we will visit Inca ruins and the famous market, which includes handicrafts, paintings, clothing and an assortment of jewelry and local fare. From Pisac, we will visit the Santuario Animal de Cochahuasi, an animal rescue center dedicated to protecting and rehabilitating native animals - including the endangered Andean Condor. We'll return to Cusco in the late afternoon to find the city awash in colors and festivities as the Corpus Christi festival begins tomorrow. We will end with a group dinner at 6pm. Overnight in Cusco.
DAY 3 (5/31) – CUSCO - CORPUS CHRISTI FESTIVAL, OLLANTAYTAMBO
Today we will witness one of the largest festivals in Cusco, Corpus Christi. Cusco will be awash in color, music, and dance as fifteen saints and virgins, representing different areas of Cusco and nearby regions, are paraded through the streets before arriving at the Cathedral set just off the Plaza de Armas to "greet the body of Christ." Corpus Christi is held sixty days after Easter each year and is celebrated most vibrantly in Cusco. We'll be able to watch the procession from both street level and we'll reserve a restaurant on the main square to get a bird's eye view of the parade. After lunch we will visit the spectacular Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo - one of the few places where Spanish conquistadors lost a major battle. Today will also serve as an additional acclimatization days, as it is recommended that we have two days in the Cusco area before we hit the trail. Overnight in Ollantaytambo.
DAY 4 (6/1) – INCA TRAIL: CUSCO TO WAYLLABAMBA (12km/7.5miles)
Today will begin with a scenic drive to KM 82, the beginning of the Inca Trail (8,530 ft). After getting our passports checked we will cross the Vilcanota River and begin our Inca Trail Trek. We will pass through a small village before arriving at the ruins of Huillca Raccay. This site provided the Incas with an excellent view of the Urubamba valley and controlled the entrance to the Cusichaca valley. There will be views of the Cordillera Urubamba (Urubamba mountain range) and the snowcapped peak of Veronica (19,100 ft). We will also get a view of the Inca ruins of Llactapata. Llactapata means 'upper town' in Quechua and this settlement of over 100 buildings was used primarily as an agricultural station to supply Machu Picchu with maize, the staple crop of the Incas. The first night will be spent near the small village of Wayllabamba (9,843 ft). The name in Quechua means 'grassy plain'.
DAY 5 (6/2) – INCA TRAIL: WAYLLAMBAMBA TO PACAMAYO (12km/7.5miles)
Today is the most challenging day of the trek. We will climb nearly 4,000 feet from our campsite in Wayllabamba to the first and highest pass of the trail (Abra de Huarmihuañusca or 'Dead Woman's Pass) at 13,780 ft. Along the trail to Dead Woman’s Pass we will see the Llulluchayoc river, hike through the cloud forest passing a waterfall and eventually reach the tree line and a meadow (Llulluchapampa, 12,073 ft), before arriving at Dead Woman’s Pass. Once at the top, you can celebrate having completed the most difficult section of the trail. A fairly steep descent to the valley floor, though not difficult, is all that separates us from the second night’s campsite Pacamayo (11,811 ft).
DAY 6 (6/3) – INCA TRAIL:PACAMAYO TO WINAY WAYNA (15km/9.3miles)
Today we climb the final two passes (13,123 ft and 12,139 ft), visit the Inca ruins of Runkuracay, Sayacmarca ('Inaccessible Town' protected on three sides by sheer cliffs), and Phuyupatamarca (‘Town in the Clouds’), hike through a cloud forest that includes orchids, ferns, hanging moss and an Inca Tunnel carved right through the rock on the trail. We will also enjoy great views of several mountain peaks including Salkantay (20,276 ft) and Veronica (19,100 ft), and descend more than a thousand steps along the ‘Inca Staircase’ before reaching Wiñay Wayna, the final campsite before arriving at Machu Picchu. The scenery is spectacular all along the trail, but the third day is truly breathtaking, especially the final panorama before descending to Wiñay Wayna—photographs do not fully capture the amazing views!
DAY 7 (6/4) – INCA TRAIL:WINAY WAYNA TO MACHU PICCHU (5km/3.1miles)
Today we reach Machu Picchu!! We will rise early (around 4AM) in order to hike the last section of the trail. The hike from Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu takes about 1½ hours and the trail winds around a mountainside and drops into cloud forest before coming to an almost vertical flight of 50 steps leading up to the final pass at Intipunku (Sun Gate). At the top you can see the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu below. We will reach the Sun Gate around 7am in time to see the sun rise over the ancient ruins. We will then walk down to Machu Picchu and take pictures from several classic viewpoints. Then we’ll have a comprehensive tour of Machu Picchu before having time to explore on your own. We will meet in Aguas Calientes, which is the nearest village to the ruins of Machu Picchu for a late lunch and then have some free time to explore the city, take a dip in the hot springs, and/or shop before taking the train back to Cusco. Additional Option: Climb Wayna Picchu, the famous mountain peak that rises above Machu Picchu.
DAY 8-10 (6/5 - 6/7) - ANDEAN MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE
Partnering with the HoPe foundation, we will spend three days and two nights high in the Andean Mountains experiencing traditional Andean mountain community life. We will stay with host families and provide support to the local mountain school and work side by side with community members on local projects. The HoPe foundation was founded in 1991 and works to empower highland Indian communities through co-developing community projects to raise education and living standards. We will be working directly with Walter Meekes, the co-founder of the HoPe Foundation. For more information about the HoPe Foundation, please visit: http://www.stichtinghope.org/en/ On the late afternoon of the 7th, we’ll catch our flight to Iquitos (426 ft), the gateway to the northern Amazon. Iquitos (population of 460,000) can only be reached by air or river—it’s the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road. Overnight in Iquitos.
DAY 11-13 (6/8-6/10) – CUSCO TO IQUITOS - AMAZON LODGE
After breakfast we will board a river boat and take a three hour journey up the Amazon River to our remote Amazon lodge! For the next four days/three nights we will explore the Amazon, its tributaries, and nearby lakes in search of wildlife. We are guaranteed to see a variety of wildlife including monkeys (night, squirrel, monk, stump), birds (parrots, jacanas, kingfishers, herons, cormorants, horned screamers), sloths, two species of river dolphin—pink and grey, caimans, huge frogs, and we’ll have a chance to catch piranhas. Our Amazon experience will include walks in the jungle, a night canoe experience to enjoy the sounds of the rain forest and the stars of the Southern sky, and we’ll visit a local village. We’ll also see the biggest aquatic plant in the world, Victoria Regia, and if you are interested, you’ll get a chance to swim in the Amazon.
DAY 14 (6/11) – AMAZON LODGE - IQUITOS - FLIGHT HOME
After a final morning exploring the Amazon, we will return to Iquitos to catch our flight to Lima. Late night flight back home with a lifetime of memories
DAY 15 (6/12) – ARRIVE HOME
May 29 - June 12, 2018
2018 Peru - Machu Picchu & Amazon
Trip Price Includes:
-Transportation to and from airport in Cusco & Iquitos
-Hotel Accommodation (4 nights)
-Most meals (12B, 8L, 8D)
-Sacred Valley Tours: Transportation & entrance fees
-Inca Trail: All transport to and from trail, entrance fees, camping equipment except sleeping bag, all meals and porter to carry 15lbs
-Domestic Flight from Cusco to Iquitos
-Amazon Tour: All transportation, lodging, food, guided activities
-English speaking guide
Price does not include:
-Airfare to Cusco and home from Iquitos (we can assist you in securing plane tickets)
-A few meals
-Sleeping bag rental($35) for Inca Trail (if you don't bring your own)
-Tips for Inca Guide/Cooks/Porters and Amazon Guide
-Drinks/beverages, personal items, laundry services
-Personal Travel Insurance