Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.
Fly to Puerto Maldonado and continue by motorized canoe to our comfortable lodge, situated near the Tambopata National Reserve in the Amazon rainforest. Spot local bird species along the lush shores of the Tambopata River en route to the lodge, and set off on an evening walk with a naturalist guide before dinner, keeping an eye out for some of the rainforest's nocturnal creatures. After a brief stop in town to store large luggage, drive to the pier and travel by covered motorized boat to the jungle lodge.
En route, spot bird species typical of the local river and forest edge. The Tambopata Rainforest area holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area.
Local community members make up the majority of lodge staff, including multilingual naturalist guides. Take the opportunity to learn about the area's rich flora and fauna and locals' extensive use of medicinal plants and other forest plant resources through traditional techniques for building, fishing, and hunting.
Enjoy a welcome drink and orientation. Before dinner, head out for a night walk around the lodge grounds.
Spend the day exploring the thriving ecosystems of the rainforest with our lodge's naturalist guides. Scan the treetops for toucans, howler monkeys, and sloths, and glide along oxbow lakes on canoes for a chance to glimpse river otters, turtles, and, if we're lucky, anacondas. After dinner, embark on a river tour by motorized canoe on the lookout for caimans, the smaller cousins of alligators, which are often found hiding near the muddy banks. Head out early to catch the jungle at its wildest (and coolest). Walk slowly through the forest searching for wildlife before heading out on an oxbow lake by canoe.
Search for anaconda, the elusive giant river otter, or black caiman. Even if you don't spot these shy creatures, there are plenty of birds, interesting plants, and other animals about.
Travel out of the jungle by boat and catch a flight from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco, soaring above the Andes into Peru's Inca heartland. This evening, visit the Cusco Planetarium for a presentation on the skies of the Southern Hemisphere, and learn about the vital role that astronomy played in the lives of the ancient Inca. Weather permitting, peer through the planetarium's telescopes for a dazzling look at the stars. Afternoon arrival into the Inca capital. Time for strolling around the plazas and markets. Admire the cobblestones streets, and visit some museums and Cathedral.
Drive to the scenic Sacred Valley for a full day of exploration with a local guide. Tour the G Adventures–supported Parque de la Papa, or Potato Park, a rural Andean community working to preserve hundreds of varieties of native potato. During this exclusive experience, you'll walk through the park to learn about potato cultivation, traditional weaving, and the importance of both these practices to Andean culture. We'll also visit the fascinating Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo and Pisac, and enjoy a meal at the G Adventures–supported Parwa Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosqo.
Set out on the iconic Inca Trail, departing Urubamba by van to the starting point of the trek. Immerse yourself in the enchanting Andean countryside, hiking along meandering streams and crossing remote mountain villages and ancient ruins as we get warmed up for the more challenging days ahead. Trek through beautiful scenery, with a variety of flora that changes with the seasons, passing several smaller ruin sites like Llactapata.
Today, we ascend the long, steep path to Warmiwanusca, better known as Dead Woman's Pass??the highest point on the Inca Trail, at 4,198 meters (13,769 feet). Enjoy stunning views of the Sacred Valley as you make your way up the rugged terrain, and aim to reach our camp by early afternoon. Rest and relax at camp the remainder of the day.
Today we'll cross two spectacular passes. The first pass is Runquraqay at 3,950m (13,113 ft) where, on a clear day, one can catch a glimpse of the snowcapped peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba. Continue through cloud forest on a gentle climb to the second pass, and arrive at the misty Inca ruins of Phuyupatamarca at 3,650 meters (11,972 feet), known as "the city above the clouds." We will either camp here or settle at a further spot, near the beautiful terraces of the Winay Wayna ruins, at 2,650 meters (8,694 feet).
The final day of our hike begins before dawn. Reach the Sun Gate??the last checkpoint on the Inca Trail??in time to witness daybreak over Machu Picchu. This 15th-century Inca citadel was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and excavated with support from National Geographic. Hike down for a guided tour through the temples and terraces of this breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage site before catching a bus to the frontier town of Aguas Calientes, where we'll have free time for lunch. Continue by train to Cusco.
Free day in Cusco ?? explore this city, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at your leisure. Choose to pre-book the Cusco Cooking Class. Opt to visit museums and ruins or try whitewater rafting or rock climbing. Cusco is considered the mecca of Peru and rightly so. This beautiful colonial town offers nearby ruins, cobblestoned streets, museums, churches, and a lively atmosphere. The more adventurous optional activities available in Cusco include horseback riding around archaeological sites such as Sacsayhuaman, Tambo Machay, and Puca Pucara; white water rafting on the Urubamba River; and mountain biking down to the Sacred Valley, perhaps visiting an Inca ruin along the way.
Head south on a scenic drive to Puno, perched on the western shore of Lake Titicaca. The journey will take us through the Altiplano, a vast, windswept landscape of plateaus and plains that counts among the planet's most extensive highlands. Arrive in Puno, the region's commercial hub, and settle into your hotel. Enjoy spectacular views of the countryside on this full day of travel from Cusco to Puno, through the high Altiplano.
Set out to discover Lake Titicaca??one of the highest navigable lakes in the world and the second largest lake in South America. On a guided boat tour, visit the floating Uros Islands??built entirely of reeds??and step ashore Taquile Island, home to a thriving indigenous textile industry. For lunch, we'll head to the small rural community of Luquina Chico. Enjoy a traditional meal in the home of a local family while taking in sweeping views of Lake Titicaca and its picturesque isles. Later, opt for a tour of Sillustani, a fascinating pre-Inca burial site. In the morning, board a comfortable 35-foot, fully equipped speed boat to explore the lake. Stop at various islands to enjoy the lake's scenic splendor and to meet the friendly people of these communities.
Transfer to the Juliaca airport to catch a flight back to Lima. Spend your last evening in Peru at leisure, opt to explore the streets of Lima's World Heritage-listed historic center and enjoy mouthwatering Peruvian tapas and pisco sour??the country's national drink.