From the Inca Empire to the Peruvian Amazon

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Introduction

Embark on a journey to one of the world's vastly unexplored regions, the mighty Amazon. Experience the Amazon wilderness where it orginates in Peru. The Amazon basin covers an area larger than Western Europe, but it's in Peru's Amazon where biodiversity is at its greatest and the rainforest in untamed.

“I would give the overall experience 10 out of 10”

I would give the overall experience 10 out of 10
I would give the overall experience 10 out of 10
Dawn Ball and Christine Mallard

The Avalon experience

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Included highlights

  • LIMA Sightseeing with a local guide. Visit San Francisco Monastery and Larco Herrara Museum
  • SACRED VALLEY Visit Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Awana Kancha Llama farm, and Pisac Indian Market; dinner and Peruvian Paso Horse show; Ollantaytambo; Inca home visit
  • MACHU PICCHU Sightseeing of Machu Picchu with a local guide
  • CUSCO Sightseeing with a Local Guide; Santo Domingo Monastery (Koricancha)
  • CRUISING PERUVIAN AMAZON Naturalist guided walks and panga rides in search of wildlife; Manatee rescue centre

Included in the price

  • Accommodation includes 3 nights at Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores Lima, 1 night in the Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley, 1 night in the Sumaq Hotel Machu Picchu, 2 nights in the Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco, 3 nights on board the Delfin III

  • All meals on board Experience famed Peruvian cuisine - a combination of tastes from the Incas, Spanish, Chinese, Africans, Italians, and Japanese. Each meal is locally sourced and designed by an expert culinary team with a selection of Peruvian dishes as well as Western favourites. As you take in the passing scenery, indulge in the innovative menus featuring roasted meats, grilled fish, savoury vegetables, sun-ripened tropical fruits, decadent desserts, and free-flowing wine.

  • Included excursions and sightseeing trips with Local Guides

  • Services of an experienced Cruise Director

  • Special Experiences by local entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.

  • Add the Nazca Lines extension, Ballestas Islands cruise and a Nazca Lines flight with a window seat.

  • All transfers, local port charges and airport taxes

Day 1 UK - Lima.

Arrive into Lima where you will be met and transferred to your hotel for two nights.

Day 2 Lima.

This morning, join your Local Guide on an included walking tour of Lima's old quarter and colonial landmarks. Start at the Plaza de Armas, boasting the city's original colonial architecture from over four centuries ago. See the Government Palace, the cathedral and the San Francisco Monastery with its splendid 17th century mural-decorated cloisters. Also see the Larco Herrera Museum's impressive collection of pre-Columbian artefacts. This evening, enjoy a special welcome dinner at Casa Garcia Alvarado, one of Lima's finest historic mansions. (B, D)

Day 3 Lima - Cusco - Sacred Valley.

Fly to Cusco, the ancient Andean city that was once capital of the Inca Empire. Spend the day in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, starting with a visit to the Temple of Sacsayhuaman, perched on a hillside overlooking Cusco. With its massive stones weighing up to 300 tons, this 15th-century fortress is one of the best displays of the Incas’ impressive stonework. While most believe it was a religious temple, Sacsayhuaman was also site of one of the most violent battles between the Spanish and the Cusqueños. The Spanish were ultimately victorious in 1536, disassembling part of the site to build homes in Cusco and leaving behind the ruins we find today. Next, stop at the ceremonial site of Kenko, where ancient rituals were performed—perhaps, even sacrifices. Nearby, see Puca Pucara, thought to be a rest stop, weapons storage, or guard post used by the Incas and their soldiers. At Awanakancha, encounter llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos and learn the difference between these South American camels and their importance in Peruvian culture. Continue to the old mountain village of Pisac, home to a huge Indian market, where you will have free time to shop for local wares, such as alpaca sweaters, blankets, and handmade jewelry. This evening, enjoy dinner at the hotel featuring Andean and Western dishes as well as wine. (B, L, D)

Day 4 Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu.

In the small village of Ollantaytambo, visit the Inca fortress followed by the opportunity to visit a native Inca home and experience their way of life. Next, board the Vistadome train for a short journey through the lush Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes. From here, take the winding road up to legendary Machu Picchu, known as the 'Lost City of the Incas', hidden so well that the invading Spaniards never found it. High above the steep valley overlaid with dense tropical jungle, a local guide will bring you closer to the lives and mysteries still hidden in these amazing structures built by the pre-Columbian masters of this sacred land. Tonight, stay at the foot of the mountain where Machu Picchu is found and enjoy an exquisite dinner prepared from regional Peruvian ingredients. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Machu Picchu - Cusco.

If you choose, rise early today and using your second included entrance to Machu Pichu, see the sunrise over the ruins. Enjoy the tranquility of the morning as you wander the ruins at your own pace and experience the magic that is Machu Picchu. Explore the terraces or perhaps venture up to see the Sun Gate, once used as the ancient entrance to the Sanctuary. After lunch, return to the Sacred Valley by train and continue on to Cusco. (B, D)

Day 6 Cusco.

Set out on a guided Cusco walking tour with a Local Guide to learn more about the Incas and their struggle against invading Spaniards. Visit the Santo Domingo Monastery, originally called Koricancha and built by the Incas as a Temple of the Sun. Today, you can still see the impressive Inca masonry that provided a foundation to the Baroque church the Spanish built on top of the Inca temple. Continue to Cusco’s Plaza de Armas to visit the imposing colonial cathedral before enjoying the remainder of the day at leisure. Tonight, enjoy a special dinner at one of Cusco’s most elegant restaurants, featuring wine and food inspired by Peru’s eclectic mix of cultures. (B, D)

Day 7 Cusco - Lima - Iquitos (Embarkation) - Cruising the Peruvian Amazon

Fly to Lima, where you board a flight north to Iquitos. Upon arrival, enjoy an Iquitos orientation tour. Explore the areas of this bustling river city that flourished during the rubber boom in the early 19th century. See some of the ornate homes of the rubber barons, including the Iron House, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Next, transfer to Nauta where you embark the Delfin III, your luxurious, floating home for the next three nights, settle in to your spacious suite before meeting your onboard Naturalist and Cruise Director. Your first excursion is this afternoon and takes you to Marayali where you have the chance to see sloths, iguanas, monkeys, and maybe even an anteater. Return to the boat for a welcome cocktail while your Naturalist provides an overview of your cruise. Learn about the animals you’ll encounter, the native villagers you’ll meet, and the astonishing plant life you’ll see, such as the giant water lily, with flowers the size of footballs and leaves that can grow up to eight feet in diameter and support the weight of a human. Before dinner, you will have the chance to see the confluence of two powerful tributaries, the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers, which gives birth to the mighty Amazon in Peru! Also, take an evening jungle walk in search of nocturnal wildlife followed by a visit to a local village, sit by the campfire and learn about ancient Amazon legends. Later, enjoy an unforgettable dinner featuring Peruvian cuisine with the freshest local ingredients. NOTE: The ship’s itinerary may vary according to water levels, National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, and seasonal changes to create the perfect cross-section of sites visited. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Peruvian Amazon Cruising.

If you’re an early riser, your first glimpse of the majestic Amazon as the sun creeps up over the horizon will be truly breathtaking. After breakfast, board pangas that will take you down one of the Amazon’s tributaries in search of the region’s wildlife, including the freshwater pink dolphins, capuchin, howler, tamarin, and spider monkeys, as well as iguanas, sloths, and a wide variety of bird life. You will also have the opportunity to see the giant Amazonian water lily, Victoria regia, a beautiful aquatic plant that grows in small lagoons. This afternoon the ship’s chef invites you to a hands-on cooking demonstration to learn about native fruits, vegetables, and fish. After lunch, head out with your Naturalist in search of the Amazonian wildlife on terra firme, the non-flooded forest. You will also learn about the tropical flora found in the Amazon as you walk along the shores with your Naturalist, who points out epiphytes, orchids, and indigenous jungle vegetation. This evening, learn how to make Peru’s most famous cocktail, the Pisco Sour, before dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Peruvian Amazon Cruising.

This morning, wake up under the serenade of early morning birdsong in Pacaya Samira National Reserve for an early morning outing that allows you to witness the activity of exotic birds like trogons, macaws, parrots, falcons, and jacamars, to name a few. You even have the opportunity to take a refreshing swim in this unique area of the Amazon and, if you are lucky, you will see the pink dolphins. Before lunch, join your Naturalist for a presentation on endemic fruits and medical plants that have been used in this region for centuries. This afternoon’s excursion allows you to try kayaking and Piranha fishing before embarking on a night safari in search of caiman, frogs, bats, boas, and a variety of nocturnal wildlife. Later tonight, local entertainers from the ship’s crew will light up the night with music and dance. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Cruising (Disembarkation)-Iquitos-Lima

This morning, say goodbye to the Delfin III and return to Iquitos. En route, stop at the Manatee Rescue Centre, where your visit will teach you about the endangered Amazon manatees and conservationists’ efforts to save them. Continue to the airport for your flight to Lima. (B)

Day 11 Lima - Final day

(B)

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Extensions

Add 2 nights at the Nazca Plains
Days 1-10: UK - Lima. As per Lima to Lima itinerary.
Day 11: Lima - Paracas. Drive along the Pan-American Highway to the Bay of Paracas and cruise to the Ballestas Islands, which are inhabited by a wide variety of sea mammals and exotic birds, including boobies, sea lions, and Humboldt penguins. The huge Candelabro, a candelabra-shaped etching on the Paracas cliffside, can also be seen as you cruise back to shore. Continue to the town of Pisco, the wine capital of Peru. Board a flight over the famous Nazca Plains to observe the incredible yet mysterious markings known as the Nazca Lines. Your pilot will point out the series of drawings of animals and geometric figures etched into the parched soil - some reaching almost 1,000 feet in length. Theories abound as to why they were carved but the most popular idea is that they are ancient Peruvian 'astronomical calendar'.
Day 12: Paracas - Lima. After free time in Paracas, return to Lima for dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Days 13-14: Lima - UK. Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK.

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