Machu Picchu & Manu Wildlife Center

Itinerary in Brief:  Combine Two of Peru’s Most Incredible Destinations

  • Explore Cusco
  • Overnight in the Sacred Valley
  • Overnight at Machu Picchu
  • High quality hotels with local charm
  • Manu Biosphere Program
  • 3 nights at the Manu Wildlife Center
  • First rate local guides throughout
  • Can be customized
  • See below for day by day details.
  • Please call or email with questions

Day by Day Itinerary

Included meals are indicated in parentheses: (B,L,D)

Day 1       Lima

Arrive to Lima, former capital of the Spanish empire in the Americas, and transfer to your first class hotel ideally located in the Miraflores district, Lima’s main cultural and commercial district. This is the best area of town for strolling around and is home to many of Lima’s best restaurants. (If you are interested and time permits, private tours of Lima or visits to any of Lima’s museums can be arranged upon request.)
Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores (upgrades available to Hotel B, Miraflores Park Hotel, and others)

Day 2        Cusco/Sacred Valley of the Incas

Fly over the Andes to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire. When you land in Cusco you will be met at the airport by a local representative who will transport you to your hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (8,500 feet elevation), a long, fertile river valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks that lies between Cusco (11,000 feet elevation) and Machu Picchu. Starting here helps you adjust to the high altitude of the Andes and is a great way to see how the local people continue to live in the traditional Andean manner. You’ll make a visit to the Pisac ruins and town en route to your hotel (if you are feeling up for it you can walk down from the ruins to the town; ask your guide about this option). You’ll stop for a lunch at a great small restaurant serving creative modern variations on traditional Andean dishes.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)

Day 3       Sacred Valley (Maras / Moray / Ollantaytambo)

Today you have a full day of exploring more of the Sacred Valley, seeing less-visited sites that will deepen your understanding of the local culture.  First you will make a visit to the unique Incan site of Moray, and the nearby town and ancient salt pans of Maras. After your picnic lunch you’ll visit Ollantaytambo, one of the few towns to survive in its current layout from Incan times.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)

Day 4       Machu Picchu

Today you start a 2 day/1 night trip to Machu Picchu, giving you plenty of time to see the area. In the morning you will be picked up at your hotel for transfer to the train station, where you catch the train to Machu Picchu. You will visit Machu Picchu with a private guide, enjoy lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge, and then have the chance to explore the ruins on your own before returning to your hotel in Aguas Calientes (the ruins close at 5 pm and the last shuttle down is at 5:15 pm).
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 5       Machu Picchu

Today you make an unguided return visit to Machu Picchu in the early morning to observe the ruins. This is a great way to experience the site when there are far fewer people around. You’ll also have the chance to hike to the top of Huayna Picchu, the mountain that towers above Machu Picchu, or hike back along the Inca Trail to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate). After visiting the ruins you will make your way down to the train station for your afternoon train back to Cusco and be dropped off at your hotel.
Palacio del Inka (B) (upgrade to Palacio Nazarenas is available)

Day 6       Cusco / Sacsahuaman

Today you’ll have a privately-guided exploration of Cusco, including a visit to Sacsahuaman, the massive Incan fortress on the hills above the city, where you can enjoy views of the surrounding area. Cusco is a fascinating city, with many colonial buildings constructed on top of the remains of Incan palaces. You can observe massive Incan walls along many streets of the city. Enjoy dinner out at one of Cusco’s excellent restaurants. 
Palacio del Inka (B)

Day 7       Start 4 night Manu Biosphere Program

Today you start a 5 day/4 night trip to the Manu Wildlife Center, one of the premier wildlife viewing reserves in South America and one of the most bio-diverse places on earth. Leaving Cusco in the morning, you will travel through traditional Quechua communities and the spectacular eastern ranges of the Andes to the village of Paucartambo, passing snow-peaks and small Andean farmsteads. You will have time to look around this picturesque village before beginning the ascent to the last pass overlooking the Amazon Basin. You will then begin the breathtaking descent to the Manu Cloud Forest, passing cascading waterfalls and multicolored birds along the way. In the late afternoon you will arrive to your lodge, which is basic but very comfortable, a top option in the area and a great base for seeing the local wildlife, including the extremely rare Cock of the Rock bird.
Cock of the Rock Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 8       Cock of the Rock Lodge / Manu Wildlife Center

In the morning you will visit a bird blind to observe the strange and beautiful Cock-of-the-Rock birds in their dawn mating display, the bright red-orange males dancing and singing to attract the burgundy-colored females. Afterward you will return to the lodge for a leisurely breakfast before setting off for the Madre de Dios River, where you will board a motorized dugout and begin your journey down the river. You will pass settlements and native communities during the trip, including the native community of Diamante, the largest settlement of Amerindians in the area. Entering the clay-laden waters of the Manu River, you’ll stop at the park ranger station at Limonal to visit an overgrown oxbow lake where many parrots and macaws come to roost. From there you’ll continue along the river to the Manu Wildlife Centre Lodge, arriving in time for lunch. You can spend the afternoon relaxing to the sounds of nature, or exploring a trail through the forest to a lookout point over the river, where you can watch passing flights of parrots and macaws as the sun sets.
Manu Wildlife Center Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 9       Manu Wildlife Center

You will set out early this morning for the Macaw Clay Lick, which offers one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles as hundreds of colorful parrots and macaws congregate to eat the mineral-rich clay that is essential to their digestion. You will use a comfortable blind to get close to the birds, and can observe them as your own breakfast is served. When the action at the lick slows down midmorning, you will head back to the lodge for lunch and some time to relax. In the afternoon, those who wish can ascend the canopy tower for spectacular views out over the Cloud Forest. On the ground, you can explore quiet trails to look for primates, such as Emperor and Saddleback Tamarins. The rare Goeldi’s Monkey is also sometimes spotted in this area.
Manu Wildlife Center Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 10       Manu Wildlife Center

You will have the full day to explore the forest and trails around the lodge. Be on the lookout for Monk Saki, a rare monkey that is occasionally seen here. You will explore trails where groups of Manakins, unique neotropical birds, perform their strange mating dances, and canoe around Cocha Blanco, an old ox-bow lake, in search of the giant otters that live there. After a leisurely lunch at the lodge you can explore other trails and walk to a large mammal lick where guans and forest parakeets and parrotlets come for clay. Black spider monkeys also visit on occasion for clay to help their digestion. Those who wish will return with the guide to the lodge in the late afternoon; however, there is an opportunity to stay at the lick after dark to see what nocturnal creatures come out. Tapirs, the largest South American land mammal, are frequent visitors. You will observe them from the comfort of mosquito nets and mattresses within a specially-constructed blind.
Manu Wildlife Center Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 11       River Journey to Puerto Maldonado

Early this morning you will start your river journey back to the confluence of the Manu River and the Madre de Dios. You will stop in the town of Boca Colorado, a frontier gold-mining town, from which a comfortable van will take you to the jungle city of Puerto Maldonado to catch an early afternoon flight to Cusco. From there you will head to Lima, where you can connect with your international flight home.
(B)


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