Welcome to Lima. Be ready for a morning take-off to Puerto Maldonado. Upon arrival to Puerto Maldonado, you will be greeted by your guide. From here, our adventure begins in the Amazon basin of Peru. Our trip down the river provides our first sightings of macaws, heron, caiman and capybara. After checking in to your rooms, enjoy a nice siesta or participate in a guided walk near the lodge. Tonight before dinner, our guide will brief us on tomorrow?s activities. Lunch and dinner included.
Rise and shine for an early morning visit to the Macaw clay lick. Located deep in the Tambopata National Reserve, dozens of brightly colored macaws alight on the lick each morning to feed on the rich clays of the riverbank. The macaw clay lick is one of the most stunning wildlife spectacles in the world and sure to be unlike anything you?ve ever seen ? or heard ? before. Return by boat to the lodge, keeping an eye along the riverbank for capybara, caiman, toucans, and even jaguar! After lunch, choose to hike or bike around the lodge trails with your guides. All meals included.
Biking: 1.5 hours.
After breakfast, we make our way to the canopy tower. Most of the life in the rainforest occurs in its highest reaches, the tree canopy. From this viewpoint, we?re provided fantastic and close views into the crowns of huge Brazil nut trees and others in the forest. We also look for monkeys, toucans, parrots, and other canopy dwellers. The tower is an excellent place to see flocks of parrots and parakeets that fly by at eye level. After getting up close with the canopy it?s time to explore another part of the jungle ? the oxbow lakes. These lakes are an important and distinct habitat found in the Amazon basin. Formed when a bend in an Amazonian river gets cut off from its main channel, their waters are much calmer and clearer than the river and provide the perfect habitat for a host of interesting animals. Finish your day with a sunset cruise down a portion of the Tambopata River where we can see local farms near the edge of the forest. We might see toucans, a caiman or two, river turtles and other wildlife. We finish off the day with a stop on a sandy, riverside beach and watch the sun set over the jungle. All meals included.
Walking: 2 hours.
Enjoy a full breakfast before our early morning departure. We return by boat on the Madre de Dios River and continue to the Puerto Maldonado airport. Our guide accompanies us to Cusco. Settle in to your hotel and have the afternoon free to explore the ancient center of the vast Inca Empire. Cusco is located high in the Andes and served as the flourishing capital of the Inca Empire for almost 400 years. Its narrow cobblestone streets are lined with handicraft stores, restaurants, and world class museums. Breakfast and box lunch included.
In the morning, we depart on a walking tour of the city's most intriguing sites including the bustling Plaza de Armas, the Santo Domingo Church (built atop the great Inca temple Koricancha), and the imposing hilltop ruins of the monolithic Sacsayhuaman fortress. Considered by many to be one of the greatest examples of stone masonry in human history, the 60-ton limestone boulders used in the construction of the fortress walls fit together so perfectly without mortar that even a blade of grass can't be inserted between them. Our expert guide will regale you with tales of Incan culture, the Spanish invasion, and help to color in the rich history of this fascinating city. Return to the center of the city where we?ll have lunch. Afternoon is free. Breakfast and lunch included.
Walking: 3 hours.
Today we travel to the Sacred Valley where we spend out next two nights. We start with a visit to the archaeological remains of Pisac, which are the largest complex of terraces in the area. The Pisac ruins are on top of a hill at the entrance to the Sacred Valley. After lunch, we stroll through the town of Ollantaytambo, a classic example of urban planning by the Incas. Originally built as a royal estate for an Incan emperor, this archaeological complex remains impressive to all who see it. This "fortress" and town provided rest and lodging for the Incas making their pilgrimage to Machu Picchu as it now serves many who begin their trek on the classic Inca trail. It is without doubt one of the most monumental works of the empire. After the tour, we check in to our hotel to rest before dinner. All meals included.
Walking: 2?3 hours.
This morning we drive up to the community of Chinchero where we?ll be fitted for our mountain bikes. Chinchero sits on a high plateau above the Sacred Valley, offering epic vistas of snow-capped mountains and the terraced valley below. It also offers us a fun downhill bike ride along wide, dirt roads along alpine lagoons, through local communities, and past the sites of Maras and Moray. We?ll cycle to visit the Inca experimental agricultural terraces of Moray as well as the terraced salt mines of Maras before arriving at the floor of the valley. Picnic lunch included enroute. All meals included.
Biking: 2-3 hours (option to hike also available).
Today we?ll have the chance to hike the final leg of the famous Inca Trail, arriving at Machu Picchu on foot as the ancient Incas did. Drive to the train station and ride the rails to km 104 where we will disembark and start off on our hike. After crossing the Urubamba River by suspension bridge we follow the stone steps of the Inca Trail through the valley and past ruins to arrive at 'Inti Punku' (the Sun Gate). From the sun gate, we get out first dramatic view of Machu Picchu in all its glory. After spending time at the lookout point, we descend to the ruins and briefly explore some areas close to the trail before arriving in Aguas Calientes. Check into the hotel and have the evening free.
Walking: 7.5 miles, 1,800 ft elevation gain. Approx 6 hours (option to take train to Machu Picchu Pueblo also available). All meals included.
Head back to Machu Picchu this morning. Our guide will point out many interesting sights within Machu Picchu, a masterpiece of engineering and architecture. Machu Picchu provided a sanctuary and retreat for one of the most important and powerful emperors of the Incas. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain", is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. After lunch this afternoon, we travel by train back to the town of Ollantaytambo. From here we will transfer by van to our hotel in Cusco city. All meals included.
Walking: 2?3 hours.
Following breakfast, your REI Adventures trip in Peru concludes. Transfers are included to the Cusco airport. Or, continue your time in Peru by joining us for a four-day Lake Titicaca ? Southern Peru Extension! Breakfast included.