Cultural Peru Itinerary with the Amazon Jungle

14 Days 13 Nights

Itinerary Overview

This exciting 13 – night itinerary includes the bustling capital city of Lima; the southern region of Arequipa that is prime for condor – spotting and has spectacular Andean peaks and canyons; Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site with beautiful Spanish colonial buildings; the Sacred Valley home to Machu Picchu built in the 15th century for the Inca Emperor, Pachacuti; and the Amazon whose rainforest has many animals and birds. You will visit markets, enjoy delicious food and meet local people.

Day 1 Arrive Lima

Private transfer from the airport to your hotel.

Hotel: B Arts Boutique Hotel
Day 2 Lima

Breakfast is at the hotel.

Experience the capital of Peru through a private tour including the old center of Lima with beautiful decorated squares surrounded by architecture from the colonial age.

Construction for the cathedral began in 1535, the same year the city of Lima was founded. Throughout the years it withstood various earthquakes and underwent a lot of renovations. It is also where the conqueror Francisco Pizarro is buried. You will also visit its religious museum. Today it stands towering over Lima’s main square and is one of the main attractions of the colonial city center.

Larco Museum is located in an 18th century vice-royal mansion, built on a pre-Columbian pyramid of the 17th century. Its new galleries display the best and most complete collection of gold and silver of Peru. This museum showcases remarkable chronological galleries providing an excellent overview on 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. It features the finest gold and silver collection from ancient Peru and the famous erotic archaeological collection, one of the most visited Peruvian tourist attractions.

The construction of the San Francisco Convent began in the mid-sixteenth century. Today, it remains one of the most exceptional legacies of the Vice royal period. The monastery has a library that features twenty-five thousand ancient texts, an Islamic inspired dome, carved in wood and, the most chilling aspect, a series of catacombs that have on display the bones of more than twenty-five thousand people.

After being forgotten for a long time, the catacombs were rediscovered in 1943 and some believe they are connected to the city’s cathedral and other churches through a network of underground tunnels. At the time of their construction, the crypts were the burial grounds for members of guilds and brotherhoods. Now visitors can observe them through the floors of the church of San Francisco, held together by nets. The bones are laid out in geometric shapes, especially in mandala patterns, suggesting that whoever placed them favored a metaphysical purpose before a useful one.

Hotel: B Arts Boutique Hotel
Day 3 Lima – Arequipa

Breakfast is at the hotel.

Private transfer from your hotel to the airport in Lima and upon arrival in Arequipa, private transfer to your hotel.

In the afternoon, take a private tour of Arequipa and Santa Catalina Convent. Arequipa is a charming city in the Peruvian Andes. Thanks to its white colonial buildings, Arequipa is also called the ‘White City’. It is the second city in Peru and even has been the country’s capital from 1835 until 1883.

This city tour lasts approximately three hours and begins when your guide picks you up at your hotel in town. You visit the viewpoints of Yanahuara and Carmen Alto, after which you start wandering through the colonial streets. Your guide takes you to San Francisco, Santo Domingo, and the beautiful monastery of Santa Catalina. The monastery was built in the 16th century and opened to visitors in 1970. Nowadays, it is one of the most important attractions of the city.

Hotel: Cirqa Hotel
Day 4 Arequipa – Colca Valley

After breakfast, you will set off to the spectacular Colca Valley to travel up to the foothills of Chachani Volcano and admire the Misti and Picchu Picchu Volcanoes. Subsequently, you cross the vicuña reserve of Pampa Cañahuas, where you can see the smaller version of the llama roaming freely in the Andean highlands.

The next stop is at a restaurant called Chinitos, located at an altitude of 4000 meters. Here, you can drink the traditional ‘Mate de Coca’, helping you to get use to the altitude. Continuing the trip, you make a stop at Toccra Pampa, where you can see llamas, alpacas, and different species of birds near the crater of the Chucura Volcano, to subsequently reach the scenic viewpoint Los Andes in Patapampa (4910 meters). From here, you have a breathtaking view of various volcanoes surrounding Arequipa.

Hotel: Aranwa Pueblito Encantado del Colca Hotel
Day 5 Colca Valley – Arequipa

Breakfast is at the hotel.

Early in the morning, you will go to the famous viewpoint Cruz del Condor. In the stunning landscape of the canyon, you have the opportunity to see condors, the impressive Andean birds that are on the brink of extinction and the symbol of the Andes. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see these majestic birds floating in the air, with the Colca Canyon in the background.

Before you return to Chivay, you head to the small town of Yanque, to visit its well-kept colonial church. Once back in Chivay, visit Maca, Antahuilque, and Peña Blanca, to enjoy even more of this beautiful rural area. After lunch return to Arequipa, where you arrive around 4:30 PM.

Hotel: Cirqa Hotel
Day 6 Arequipa – Cusco

Breakfast is at the hotel.

Private transfer from your selected hotel to the airport in Arequipa and upon arrival in Cusco, a private transfer to the hotel.

In the afternoon, it is time to explore magical Cusco! This beautiful city has an interesting history, both from the Inca and Colonial times. You start this half-day tour at Cusco’s main square, which was called Huacaypata (Warriors Square) by the Incas.

While the guide tells you more about the history of this special place, you can admire the city’s cathedral that was built between 1560 and 1664 with the red granite stones from the Inca Fortress of Sacsayhuaman. The cathedral is without doubt one of the most impressive buildings in Cusco, and not only from the outside: the historical buildings hosts one of the most significant collections of gold and silver work of the colonial period.

Next, continue to Koricancha and the Convent of Santo Domingo. The convent was built on top of the most important Inca temple dedicated to the worship of the sun, with walls covered with gold leaf. Wandering through the streets of what once was the capital of the Inca Empire, you feel like you are traveling through time.

After exploring Cusco, head to the nearby ruins, such as the Sacsayhuaman Fortress with its immense temple walls made out of huge stones constructed in a zigzag pattern; the red fort, Puca Pucara; the Qenko Amphitheater; and Tambomachay, the Inca baths. Full of new knowledge about the history of the Incas, you return to your hotel in Cusco.

Hotel: Inkaterra La Casona Hotel
Day 7 Cusco – Sacred Valley

Breakfast is at the hotel.

The Sacred Valley, located between Cusco and Machu Picchu, was unquestionably an important area for the Incas. Its agreeable climate and fertile plains create the perfect conditions for growing crops. For the Incas, this region was also on the route to the jungle and had therefore a key role in trading fruits and plants of the tropical lowlands. Today, the Sacred Valley remains a lush agricultural region supplying the city of Cusco with many agricultural products.

With this full-day tour, start the day with visiting the Pisac Andean market, where thousands of people from the region come to sell and/or buy agricultural products and handicrafts. It is an interesting experience offering you new insights into the culture of this region and, of course, you also have time to do some shopping!

In the afternoon, visit the Ollantaytambo Ruins. These famous ruins are named after Ollanta, a warrior who fell in love with an Inca princess but was not allowed to marry her. One of the best – preserved sites of this area is known as Hanan Huacaypata and is north of the main square. These ruins exist out of elegantly crafted stone walks.

The tour is concluded with a stop at Chinchero, a village specializing in textile products that also has an interesting Inca history. Afterwards, you are brought back to your hotel.

Hotel: Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba Hotel
Day 8 Sacred Valley

Breakfast is at the hotel.

Pick up from your hotel and drive towards Moray. This community is famous for its embedded amphitheater, formed by four circular terraces which seem to disappear into the interior of the Puna, like an artificial crater. Evidence seems to suggest that Moray was an important center of Inca agricultural research on crops.

Continue the visit to Maras. Its main attraction, apart from its church, that dates from the colonial period, are the salt mines located near the town which captivate sightseers and in particular, photographers.

Hotel: Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba Hotel
Day 9 Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo – Cusco

Breakfast is at the hotel.

Private transport from Urubamba to the Ollantaytambo station.

Walk to the train station to board the 360° Machu Picchu train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes.

Experience a unique way to travel to Machu Picchu, exploring the Andean landscape like never before with wider and taller panoramic windows and an observation outdoor carriage including a bar. The only train in Peru with an entertainment app on board which will allow you to learn more about the train journey and the Inca civilization.

Enjoy the appetizing selection of cold and warm drinks, prepared using fruit juices and Andean herbs, and the delicious gourmet and organic delights made with products from the Sacred Valley.

Train time: 7:22am – 8:48am.

* Luggage allowed: A day backpack with 8 kilos per person. Rest of luggage, must be left at your hotel.
* Train schedule is subject to availability.
* During the rainy season from January until April 31st the train will leave from Ollantaytambo instead of Poroy. The first part of the trip will be by bus.

You will meet your guide in Aguas Calientes, who will then take you to Machu Picchu and give you a guided tour through the archeological site.

Walk to the bus station to take your bus up to Machu Picchu.

You will have a shared transfer from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes.

Machu Pichu was only re-discovered in 1911 by the explorer Hiram Bingham. This citadel is considered to be one of the most extraordinary examples of landscapes architecture in the world. Located in an enclave on the saddle of a mountain overlooking the deep canyon of the Urubamba River, in an area of lush tropical forest, it served as a place of worship, a site for star-gazing and a private hacienda of the family of the Inca Pachacutec. It consists of two main areas one agricultural, formed mainly by mountains and food stores, and the other urban, which is noted for its sacred zone with its temples, squares and royal tombs. The stairways and canals carved out of stone are recurrent throughout this remarkable archaeological site.

Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007, it was chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Walk to the train station to board the 360° Machu Picchu train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.

Train time: 4:12pm – 5:40pm. Train schedule subject to availability.

Private transfer from Ollantaytambo station to Cusco city with the guide.

Hotel: Inkaterra La Casona Hotel
Day 10 Cusco

Breakfast is at the hotel.

You will learn that the ritual is a way to show gratitude for Mother Nature’s abundant gifts and allows you to harmonize with the natural energy that connects all things living on Earth. The ceremony invites the Apus (sacred mountain deities) to help cleanse, balance and guide us. It involves blowing three coca leaves, or kintus, and making small offerings of Andean food, sweets, herbs, and wool.

Hotel: Inkaterra La Casona Hotel
Day 11 Cusco – Puerto Maldonado

Breakfast us at the hotel.

Private transfer from your hotel to the airport in Cusco.

Domestic flight by client. The flight ticket is quoted separately.

Welcome to Puerto Maldonado! Begin to experience the enchantment of the rainforest as you take a 45-minute boat ride along the Madre de Dios River, to arrive at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica lodge. On your first day, we recommend a guided walk along the trail system, into the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica natural area, where you will discover the Amazon Basin. This trail offers an excellent introduction to the forest environment, winding past impressive trees such as the Shihuahuaco, and the strangely beautiful strangler fig, offering excellent opportunities for bird watching and observing exotic insects.

We also recommend on the first night the Twilight River excursion, a guided afternoon boat ride on the Madre de Dios River. Witness the transformation from a diurnal to a nocturnal world: animals and birds of the daytime give way to species specially adapted to the night. As you enjoy their paradise, you will learn about their habits, while you search for nightjars, owls, capybaras and up to three different caiman species.

The excursions at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica are a la carte, therefore these are just examples of what you can do.

Hotel: Reserva Amazonica Lodge
Day 12 Puerto Maldonado

Wake up late or rise early — the choice is yours. Breakfast begins at 5:30 a.m., for those who want to avoid the heat, and enjoy nature at its fullest. A full buffet breakfast is served from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. During the morning you may visit the Lake Sandoval excursion into the Tambopata National Reserve. Glide in a wooden canoe, across a beautiful, mirror-like oxbow lake that is home to the endangered giant river otter, as well as red howler monkeys, red-bellied macaws, anacondas, side-neck turtles and black caimans. Return to the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica for lunch.

After lunch, consider the remarkable Inkaterra Canopy Walkway. Ascending the first tower, 29 meters above the forest ground, you begin your encounter with the treetop realm. For more than a quarter of a mile, you will literally walk through the rainforest canopy on a suspension bridge network linking eight observation platforms. During this hour-and-a-half expedition, be on the lookout for colorful toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, monkeys, and sloths. If you wish you may extend your excursion and watch the sunset from one of the towers. Once at the lodge, enjoy the daily nature presentation in the Eco Center and the Happy Hour.

Dinner is at the lodge.

Hotel: Reserva Amazonica Lodge
Day 13 Puerto Maldonado

Enjoy a trip to Gamitana Creek, located 25 minutes by boat from the lodge. For one and a half hours, explore the rainforest along the banks of a winding, dark-water creek that is home to many piranha, caiman, turtles and birds, until the Sanipanga landing point. Navigate your way back downstream, observing the abundant flora and fauna along the way. You will return to Gamitana Farm to do a short – guided tour to see how local farmers grow fruits and vegetables. Return to the lodge for lunch.

After lunch, enjoy the Hacienda Concepcion excursion, with over 200 different plant species, and learn about the uses and benefits of local flora. This is followed by a 30 – minute canoe trip to look for turtles, sun grebes, nightjars and exotic herons.

Return to the lodge. Then consider the Rainforest by Night excursion through the Inkaterra Ecological Reserve at night for an approximately 2 – hour excursion.

Venture into the forest and experience the mystery of the animal activity that awakens in the rainforest after dark, enhancing animal resources to create new adaptation mechanisms. Listen to nocturnal forest sounds and spot species that only emerge at night. Return to the lodge.

Hotel: Reserva Amazonica Lodge
Day 14 Puerto – Maldonado – Lima

Enjoy a full breakfast before departure. A 45 – minute return trip by boat on the Madre de Dios River takes you to Puerto Maldonado, where you will visit the Butterfly House. Peru boasts the greatest variety of butterflies in the world, with 3,700 known species. Many of these can be seen at the Butterfly House, a showcase for the variety, beauty and adaptability of these fascinating insects.

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Lima.