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ITINERARY

DAY 1: AREQUIPA ARRIVAL AND CITY TOUR

Your vacation in Arequipa officially begins almost immediately after arriving to your hotel. Take a few moments to get settled in and before you know it would be time for the first part of journey: A city tour of Arequipa.

Arequipa is the largest and most populated city in the Arequipa Region, which means it’s also one of the most heavily visited. Though you won’t have to worry about tons of tourists impeding your progress. Over the years, modern Arequipa has thrived on tourism, and this means that the city is set up for the curious traveler like you. After being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the local government began putting emphasis on protecting the old and constructing the new. The end result is a very accommodating city. The best part about the city, of course, is that you get to tour it!

There are many great things to see and explore during your tour, and here are just a few highlights:

  • A professional, English-speaking guide 
  • A tour of the Plaza de Armas
  • A tour of the Basilica Cathedral and Town Hall
  • A look at the unique architecture of the colonial district
  • Visits to other fantastic sites like the Convent of Santa Catalina
  • And much more 

Although this is a guided tour, it’s a rather abbreviated look at the historic city. This particular GOTOPERU package is about letting you, the vacationer, experience much of the city on your own. After you’re finished with the guided portion of the tour, the rest of the day is yours to explore. Check out sites in more detail, like Santa Catalina. Go view some of the awe-inspiring volcanoes, the breathtaking valley scenery, or just enjoy some world-class cuisine. 

Whatever you do for the rest of the evening and night, just make sure you rest well. When you’ve had your fill of delicious food and are through soaking up the rich culture, head back to your hotel, browse through those awesome photos, and get ready for the next leg of your journey.

DAY 2: COLCA CANYON TOUR (DAY 1)

The first of your two-day tour begins with breakfast in your Arequipa hotel. Pack the necessary gear for your journey, including a camera, and get ready for your tour guide to pick you up. You will start the scenic drive to Colca Canyon. 

This drive is rather lengthy, but it is a huge part of your overall trip. Colca Canyon is to Peru what the Grand Canyon is to the United States, so expect to see a huge river canyon that was carved deeply into the landscape over many thousands of years. Only instead of barren desert, Colca is actually teeming with rich, green life all over the place. You’ll be driving through towns like Chivay, through the Salinas National Reserve, and through the uniquely beautiful plains of Pampas Aguada. 

Keep in mind, too, that you’re not in the valley; you’re actually driving atop the canyon at relatively high altitudes. This gives you the perfect view of the valleys and river below, not to even mention the 360-degree views of the entire landscape. You will view gorgeous marble structures, a wide range of indigenous, unique animals, medicinal plants, exotic fruits, and much more. 

Upon arriving at your Colca Canyon hotel, it’s time to relax. Your trip wasn’t arduous by any stretch of the imagination, but your eyes and jaw undoubtedly hurt at this point. So, enjoy a hot meal and take a dip in the relaxing natural hot springs, one of the region’s most famous features. 

The night ends with an overnight in your hotel.

DAY 3: COLCA CANYON TOUR (DAY 2)

The second day of your trip begins bright and early with an energizing breakfast. After you’re through eating, your guide will pick you up and whisk you off to the breathtaking vista Cruz del Condor. The entire Colca Canyon region is peppered with these types of vista, but if you want truly majestic views that appear too bright and vivid to be real, Cruz del Condor is the go-to location. As an added bonus, you will take the most scenic route imaginable to get there, allowing you to view the region in all its natural beauty as you arrive. 

You will witness pre-Inca ruins, marvelous volcanoes like Hualca and Ampata, and quaint villages where the residents still live life like they’ve been doing for centuries. Once you arrive atop the vista, you will be almost a full mile above the river’s bottom, giving you a bird’s eye view at the majesty of this ancient kingdom. Take your time, soak up the scenery, and wear those camera batteries out. Once you leave, all you’ll have are your photos and memories; do not take these priceless views for granted. 

The trip to Cruz del Condor actually takes you past over half a dozen separate locations, so this is certainly a full day’s trip. After leaving the vista, it’s time to transfer back to Arequipa.

DAY 4: CUSCO ARRIVAL

As soon as you touch down in beautiful, sunny Cusco, you will be immediately greeted by a professional, polite representative and whisked away in style to any of the local hotel’s you have chosen to host your stay. 

Not that you’re going to spend a lot of time unpacking, of course. Day one of your Cusco package is yours to spend howsoever you choose. Wander around the city, soak up the history and ambiance, and treat yourself to one-of-a-kind fine cuisine, the unbeatable skyline and views, or anything else you can manage to get into. 

Just don’t have all your excitement at once; your journey is just getting started. Save something for next day.

DAY 5: CUSCO CITY TOUR

When you awake, your vacation starts anew. Now it’s our turn to show you exactly what Cusco, Peru is all about. 

Start your day off with a yummy breakfast of local favorites in your hotel, and take a while to get yourself tour-ready. The evening guided tour will include many great stop-offs, but don’t forget to branch out on your own to see the sights and sounds, explore locations like San Pedro Market, and soak up as much culture as your heart desires. 

Once the evening rolls around, your guided tour will begin. A GOTOPERU rep will pick you up at your hotel and thus your guided adventure starts.

Here are a few of the guided tour spots for day two of your journey:

  • A guided tour of Cusco – Peru’s historic capital 
  • A close-up look at ancient Incan architecture and the region’s Spanish Colonial influences 
  • Visit the world-famous Q’enko – a large, historic amphitheater were ceremonial sacrifices once took place
  • See the church build on top the Temple of the Sun, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo 
  • Witness great Incan monuments such as Tambomachay, the site where water worshipers once gathered; and Sacsayhuaman, a large Incan fortress with hand-carved stones (as seen on popular television series like Ancient Aliens) 
  • Finally, enjoy visiting Incan tambo, which is the travelers’ rest stop of Puka Pukara 

After this guided tour is over, you will be taken back to your hotel, where you’re free to enjoy the rest of your night. We recommend taking in more of the local culture by visiting some nearby shops, or mingling with the locals. However, you may want to rest up well. 

DAY 6: SACRED VALLEY EXPERIENCE

Get ready to witness the majestic Sacred Valley!  After breakfast in your hotel, a GOTOPERU representative will greet you and pick you up for a scenic bus ride through the Andean landscape to the Sacred Valley (El Valle Sagrado).
Trip highlights include:
•    Tour through Pisac, a small town rich with Incan architecture and culture.  Be sure to stop by the artisan market to view and purchase unique souvenirs.
•    Visit to Ollantaytambo, a town and Incan archaeological site that once was the estate of Emperor Pachacutec.  During the Spanish Conquest, it served as a fortress for Manco Inca Yupanqui.
OPTIONS
A: Train and Overnight to Machu Picchu ( Included in the Price )  After your tour to Ollantaytambo fortress you will have a couple of hours extra to enjoy this small inca town before taking a 1.5hrs train to MachuPicchu Town where a representative will welcome you and transfer you to your confirmed hotel.

B: Overnight at Sacred Valley :  you will be transfer to your comfortable hotel surrounded by spectacular landscapes in the Sacred Valley.

C: Return to Cusco : After Ollantaytambo you will enjoy a tour through Chinchero, an Andean village with Incan ruins and a colonial church that produces extraordinary textiles, woven with ancestral tools. After a visit to the Textile Market you will be transfer to your hotel in Cusco later in the afternoon.

DAY 7: MACHU PICCHU TOUR

Tour of Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca site with captivating architecture, scenic views and stone structures that defy modern engineering.
A 2.5-3 hours history lesson of Machu Picchu given by a regional expert who will focus on major historic sites including the Sun Temple, Sun Stone and Room of the Three Windows.
After your tour, you have the option to explore more of MachuPicchu on your own with once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities to capture you in one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Free time to enjoy the natural hot springs of Aguas Calientes known for its healing powers.
A late afternoon train will take you back to your hotel in Cusco.

DAY 8: FREE DAY IN CUSCO

You will welcome a day of rest and relaxation.  Sleep in, go shopping or visit some of the local museums.  If you wish to embark on an adventure, please notify a GOTOPERU agent and we will help you arrange horseback riding, hiking, biking, ATV trips, river rafting and more.

DAY 9: REFUGIO AMAZONAS TOUR (DAY 1)

When you arrive via airport, GOTOPERU will be there to receive you with a professional guide. Our guides are biologists, natives of the area, and professionals within the tourism field. They not only understand how to guide you around the area; they know exactly why the rainforest’s life acts the way it does. They can relay this information to you, making for a unique tour. 

Our typical policy is to group 10 people to a tour guide, which means you will be traveling in groups of 10. Though if you would like a smaller party or a private party, make sure you tell us beforehand and we will arrange things for you. The same goes for the guide’s spoken language. Our guides are English-speaking, unless you would rather have a guide who did not speak English.

After meeting up with your guide, it’s a transfer to the Puerto Maldonado Headquarters. 

Once you arrive in this location, which is only a quick 10-minute drive, you can experience your first taste of what’s to come via our gardens. Take the opportunity to pack only what you need for your journey, leaving the rest behind via safe deposit. We have to keep the boats light, so it’s essentials only. 

Next up, it’s a transfer to the Tambopata River Port, followed by a transfer to Refugio Amazonas.

You’re on your way to your trip destination, but it will take between 2 and 3 hours to arrive. Thankfully, you will be passing directly through the native community of Infierno, and the buffer zone of the 1.3 million hectare Tombopata National Reserve, which will offer you plenty of wildlife and nature photo opportunities.

After you arrive at the location, you will enjoy a quick boxed lunch and go through a thorough orientation. This is an important part of your journey. You will be given some general information, as well as useful navigation and safety tips. After which, you will get settled in, have a good dinner, and get ready to head out on the water.

For those of you not familiar with a caiman, it is South America’s answer to the alligator, only it looks a lot meaner! Not to worry, though; they’re actually not nearly as aggressive, but still manage to look like something out of a horror film when you see their glowing eyes in the night. Your trip will take you up the Tambopota banks in the pitch black, with only a few lights to reflect the spooky glow of the caiman. This is truly an edge-of-your-seat event.

After this trip is over and you’ve had your fill of reptiles, it’s off to bed for an overnight at Refugio Amazonas.

DAY 10: REFUGIO AMAZONAS TOUR (DAY 2)

The second day of your journey begins bright and early with a hearty breakfast. After which, it’s off to the famous Oxbow Lake. 

There are many oxbow lakes around the world. They form into a U-shaped body of water when a river is cut off on a wide meandering pattern, which creates a standalone body of water that’s now completely separate from the river, including sometimes entire ecosystems. This particular lake is the biggest and most diverse in the region, and you will venture out into the heart of the lake via canoe or catamaran on the hunt for caiman, horned screamers, hoatzin, and more. You will also be searching for otters, which are becoming quite rare in the area. But don’t forget to look up, however; the macaws are constantly flying overhead.

After you have seen the lake, it’s right back to the refuge’s base camp where a 30-minute hike will begin. The goal is to walk up the trail to Canopy Tower, which is a manmade scaffolding structure that stands 25-meters high, on top of the highest ground, overlooking the refuge. Climb up the staircase and on to the platform to see a wide variety of bird flocks pass over you, including macaws, toucans, raptors, and more. This takes bird-watching to new heights…literally.

When the canopy tour is over, it’s time for a quick lunch and then a hike 5-minutes downriver of the lodge to Don Manuel’s farm. He comes from Condenado, a neighboring community, and he grows some of the most diverse Amazonian crops around. He has created more than a mere farm; it’s an entire ecosystem operating before your eyes, and he is more than willing to let you experience the natural wonder.

From Don’s farm, it’s off to a nearby trail where you will find a wide variety of unique and beautiful Amazon plants and trees. Your guide will teach you about their purpose, whether they’re food for the animals, medicine for the natives, etc. You will learn about Yuca de Venado, Para-Para, Ajo-Sacha, and much more. When you’ve had your fill of plants, it’s time for a delicious dinner.

In a collegiate atmosphere or work environment, lectures can seem rather boring. But in the heart of the Amazon, with nature bustling all around you, learning more about the how and why is a lot of fun. It offers a better perspective and allows you to view the wildlife much differently. You will learn about the different conservation efforts, the threats they face, and various projects undertaken by the Tambopata National Reserve.

After the lectures have concluded, it’s an overnight stay in preparation for your third day.

DAY 11: REFUGIO AMAZONAS TOUR (DAY 3)

Rise and shine. It’s time for your vacation to continue! First, however, enjoy a hearty breakfast.

When you’ve had your fill, it’s time to load up on the boat and head out to the parrot clay lick, which is a quick 15-minute trip by boat, followed by about an hour’s hike. Near the lick, there is a large blind set up where you can watch hordes of parrots and parakeets swoop down and get their fill of the sodium-rich clay. You will see the cobalt-winged and dusky-headed parakeets, as well as the yellow-crowned and mealy Amazons, the severe macaw, the Barraband’s parrot, and many more species. They’re typically flying in on clear days from the morning to early afternoon. After this, it’s a quick lunch and on to another trail.

Upon returning to the lodge, make sure your camera has enough space for the next leg of your journey – the Brazil Nut Forest. It’s only a very short hike from the lodge, and you will see a truly unique section where civilization meets up with nature for only two months out of a year. It is the old remnants of a camp that has been used for centuries by nut farmers in the region, and not much has changed at all.

During this trip, you will learn about how this product has been sustained over the years and how it’s a truly unique product of the Amazon. You will also learn about the harvesting and drying processes for the nuts.

Had your fill of Brazil nuts? Now it’s off to the mammal clay lick, which is about 20 minutes from the lodge. Here you will see amazing wild pigs show up in herds of up to 25 strong to feast on the clay. There’s no guarantee they will show up, but everyone knows about pigs’ appetites! They love this clay. Though the trip also offers a look at a lot more wildlife of the area, including guan, deer, and more picture-perfect parakeets.

The nut trail and the mammal clay lick are big attractions that offer a lot to see, so you’ve undoubtedly worked up an appetite. Enjoy a great dinner before preparing for a night walk. This optional hike will take you around some of the immediate paths by the lodge, where you will hopefully experience a lot of mammalian nightlife that you wouldn’t otherwise see in the daytime. You will also hear and see a lot of frogs and other nocturnal animals.

The day ends with an overnight stay at the lodge.

DAY 12: REFUGIO AMAZONAS TOUR (DAY 4)

The final day of your trip starts off with a hearty breakfast. From there, you will catch a transfer boat from Refugio Amazonas to the Tambopata River Port. Once at the port, you will be transferred back to Puerto Maldonado Headquarters, and subsequently to the airport.

While the final leg of your journey is filled with a lot of travel back to the airport, it’s important to remember that you’re going through the rainforest.

The travel times take a while due to the fact that transport drivers give you a chance to view the trip like a safari. You’ll see a lot going out that you didn’t notice on the way in.

GOTOPERU will help you with your entire travel situation, from your initial arrival to your final departure. And the next time you want to see more of this beautiful rainforest, don’t forget to check out other great packages.

What's Included

  • 11 nights in Peru high quality Hotels
  • All tours stated in the itinerary with English-speaking guides
  • All transfers and entrance fees
  • All breakfasts
  • Private Airport Shuttle in & out
  • 24/7 Assistance
  • Trains and buses
  • A prepaid cellphone for extended Programs

What's Not Included

  • Internal Flights
  • Lunch or Dinner

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Everything about this trip was wonderful and it was because of the service and attention of the great staff at GOTOPERU

ennifer Powers & Family New York - USA

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