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 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. Lunch will be enjoyed in our private cooking class where we learn hands-on how to cook authentic Peruvian dishes from a local chef. Our multi-course meal will be accompanied by the classic Pisco Sour cocktail. The rest of the day is free to explore. Breakfast and lunch included.
Walking: 3 hours.
Today we travel to the Sacred Valley to explore the unique archeological remains of the Incas. We'll start by hiking through the Maras salt mines down to the valley floor and then visit the Inca experimental agricultural terraces of Moray. 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 hours; Hiking: 2 hours downhill.
Today we set out for the long-awaited visit to Machu Picchu. In the morning we board a train and wind along the Urubamba river to Aguas Calientes, the small town at the base of the citadel. After checking into our hotel, we take the bus up to the gates of the Citadel to have our first views of Machu Picchu. Our guide will point out many interesting features within the site, a masterpiece of engineering and architecture and 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. We descend back to Aguas Calientes for some free time before dinner. All meals included.
Walking: 2–3 hours
Head back to Machu Picchu this morning to catch the sun coming up over the iconic site. Some of us may choose to do one of the optional hikes for a new perspective within the site. After lunch, we board the train to Ollantaytambo, connecting there with our private van to Cusco, arriving in early evening. Our last meal is shared together in the main plaza of Cusco as we recap the amazing journey we have just experienced. All meals included
Walking: 2–3 hours. Optional hike at Machu Picchu. All meals included.
Following breakfast, your REI Adventures trip in Peru concludes. Transfers are included to the Cusco airport. Breakfast included.