Wonders of Peru
Tap into your sense of adventure and take the journey of a lifetime to Peru and the Amazon rainforest. From the modern capital of Lima to the ancient capital of Cusco and Machu Picchu to the Amazon basin, experience the richness of Peruvian culture. See Lima’s colonial architecture, and savor a home-cooked Peruvian dinner at a landmark home. Explore Incan history at Cusco, Sacsayhuaman and the Sacred Valley. Take a train ride into a cloud forest to the breathtaking sight of Machu Picchu, and cruise into the rainforest aboard the exclusively chartered Delfin III. Glide in skiffs on wildlife-watching excursions and hike in the jungle. Visit a manatee rescue center. This 10-night journey includes all internal flights and train ride; a three-night deluxe cruise; specially selected accommodations in Lima, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco; and an extensive meal plan with wine at dinner. No single supplement!
Depart gateway city/Lima, Peru
AHI’s air passengers depart for Lima, Peru. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: LIM.
Arrive at Jorge Chávez International Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI air passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land/Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.
Transfer to the Casa Andina Premium Miraflores. Please note that if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.
Discovery: Highlights of Lima. Visit the Larco Museum, housed in an 18th-century viceroy mansion and enclosed by beautiful gardens. It offers a fascinating account of more than 5,000 years of pre-Columbian Peruvian history. The museum’s pottery storeroom is one of a select few in the world open to the public, where you can walk among the 30,000 exquisite ceramic artifacts carefully cataloged and displayed there.
Continue to the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known as the City of Kings, Lima was the heart of Spain’s South American empire for 300 years, and its oldest section abounds with elegant, colonial-era architecture. Visit Plaza Mayor, a spacious public square surrounded by palm trees and the majestic facades of the Government Palace, Municipal Palace, Archbishop’s Palace and the Cathedral of Lima. The Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro personally designated the plaza’s location when he founded Lima in 1535. Almost three centuries later, it was the stage for Peru’s declaration of independence from Spain in 1821.
Enjoy a relaxing lunch break in a restaurant near the Plaza.
Afterward, step inside the Cathedral to see its beautiful interior. Then visit the lemon-colored, 17th-century Monastery of San Francisco. This fascinating complex contains a church, decorated in the mudéjar style, a mix of Spanish and Moorish designs; a library, housing an impressive collection of 25,000 antique volumes; and bone-filled catacombs beneath the church’s chapels.
Enrichment: Meet the People. This evening, gather for a private Welcome Reception and Dinner at Casa Garcia Alvarado in the Miraflores district. This stately residence was declared a National Historical Building in January 2005. After enjoying pisco sours and hors d’oeuvres served in the drawing room, take a tour of the historic house. Then sit down to a typical Peruvian home-cooked meal, all in the company of one of the present owners of the home.
Lima/Iquitos/Nauta/Cruising the Amazon Basin
Transfer to the Lima airport for your flight to Iquitos, the gateway to the Amazon and accessible only by plane or boat.
Journey through the streets of Iquitos on a panoramic transfer, where rickshaws, colorful tuk-tuks and 19th-century mansions financed by the rubber boom reflect the town’s unique character.
Travel to Nauta, a small riverside town on the Marañon River. Along the way, see the vibrant “terra firma” (non-flooded forest) and various aspects of daily jungle life. Upon arrival in Nauta, embark the Delfin III at a private port along the shores of the Marañon River.
Later, as the Delfin III begins its initial navigation, savor the fantastic panoramic views from the elegantly outfitted observation area on the third deck, and sip an exotic cocktail made with regional fruits and pisco, Peru’s beloved brandy.
Then listen as your naturalist guide provides an overview of your cruise schedule and activities, the wildlife and vegetation that you are likely to see, geographical and historical information and other useful details. Delight in your first lovely sunset in the Amazon rain forest as you sail by the confluence of three rivers, known as “Union de los Rios.”
Cruising the Amazon Basin
Set out aboard skiff boats, anticipating each day’s astounding and unexpected wildlife encounters! The region in which you are cruising, Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, is Peru’s largest wildlife preserve, boasting more than five million acres of rich biodiversity.
Skim along rivers and cruise through creeks, peeking into lagoons and other waterways, where an abundance of wildlife hides in the deep rain forest, such as blue and yellow macaws, toucans, umbrella birds, capybaras and more. Zoom in on exotic spiders, dragonflies, butterflies and tarantulas. You may perhaps even catch glimpses of the endangered charapa turtle, spider monkey, giant river otter or red macaw.
Marvel at the pink dolphins swimming nearby, known as boto. These intelligent and agile creatures, the largest freshwater dolphins in the world, are grey at birth and grow more pink with age. They boast unfused neck vertebrae that allow them to turn their heads up to 180 degrees, enabling them to maneuver among the underwater tree trunks of the rain forest.
Also below you in the waters of the Amazon Basin are more than 25 different species of piranhas, including black-, white-, and red-bellied ones. During the rainy season, the river floods the forest with more than three feet of water. This attracts piranhas and other fish that come to feed on the low-hanging flowers, fruits and bark of flooded trees.
Enrichment: Contemporary Peru. Learn from a local expert how modern Peru has been shaped by the events of its past.
Cruising the Amazon Basin
Never does nature seem more bountiful than in the tropics, and rising early is always rewarding since wildlife is most abundant and active at daybreak. With your expert guide, hike into the rain forest to explore the fantastic flora and fauna.
Sharp eyes may spot squirrel and red howler monkeys, iguanas lazing in the sun and sloths hanging in the upper canopy.
You’ll also likely see brilliant parrots, hawks, hummingbirds and “laughing” falcons. In fact, over 1,300 species of birds are found in the Amazon!
After breakfast, bid farewell to the Amazon and disembark the ship in Nauta. Transfer via coach to the Iquitos airport.
Discovery: Manatee Rescue Center. On your way to the Iquitos airport, visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where the Association for the Conservation of Amazonian Biodiversity-Dallas World Aquarium Zoo (ACOBIA-DWAzoo) coordinates a conservation program to protect this endangered species and other animals. Meet these gentle creatures up close and even feed them!
Board your flight for Cusco via Lima. Once you arrive in Cusco, take a panoramic drive to the Urubamba Valley, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Marvel at this breathtaking, open landscape of farm fields and traditional Andean villages tucked amid towering mountain slopes.
Check in to the Casa Andina Premium Valle Sagrado. After you’ve settled in, savor Andean specialties at dinner in the hotel tonight.
Discovery: Sacred Valley. The quaint town of Ollantaytambo, built on top of an Incan settlement, is the best surviving example of Inca town planning. It rests just below the Ollantaytambo ruins, a series of huge terraces that hug the hillside. Originally built for religious purposes, the structure was later employed as a fortress. Explore this fascinating site where the Inca emperor Manco Inca successfully fought off Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.
Conclude with a visit to a remote village seemingly frozen in time. Learn about the ancient weaving methods the residents have used for centuries to support themselves in this challenging mountain environment. While in town, visit with local citizens to learn about their daily life in this remote area. Later, visit a ranch for lunch and an equestrian demonstration.
Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu
Take a scenic train ride through the Sacred Valley to the town of Aguas Calientes and the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel, which sit at the foot of Machu Picchu.
Discovery: Machu Picchu. Nestled in a misty cloud forest high in the Andes, the Lost City of the Inca is considered the most important archaeological site in the Americas. Archaeologists believe that this masterfully planned site, surrounded by steep agricultural terraces, served as a center of worship or a royal estate for Inca emperors and nobility. At an elevation of 7,972 feet, the mountaintop complex contains more than 200 buildings, all of which testify to the Incas’ impressive design and construction skills. Wander through stone temples, grassy plazas, palaces and workshops with an expert guide. Explore the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sacristy, the Hitching Post of the Sun and the Temple of the Sun.
Free Time: This afternoon, pursue your own interests or perhaps enjoy the amenities of your hotel.
Travel by train through the beautiful mountain scenery and then by motor coach to Cusco. Check in to the Casa Andina Premium Cusco.
Free Time: Enjoy time at leisure this afternoon. Peru’s cuisine, a tantalizing blend of eclectic styles and flavors, is regarded as among the best in the world. At lunch and dinner on your own in Cusco, discover new taste sensations such as Peru’s renowned ceviche, raw fish marinated in lime juice, often served with choclo, a white Andean corn. Another enticing choice that’s almost as popular as ceviche is lomo saltado, a beef stir-fry.
Discovery: Cusco, the Ancient Incan Capital. This sacred city, perched 11,152 feet above sea level, was the religious and administrative center of the Inca Empire. Enjoy guided visits to the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas, noted for its colonial art; and the Santo Domingo Temple, a Dominican Church and convent built on the foundations of the Koricancha or ‘place of gold’, the Incas’ principal religious building dedicated to the worship of the sun.
Gather with your fellow travelers for lunch in town.
Discovery: Sacsayhuaman. Just outside of Cusco, visit the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, constructed with massive stones (one weighs 125 tons!). You are challenged to try to slip a piece of paper between the cracks of these blocks, cut and fitted together with incredible precision without a single drop of mortar to hold them in place. The site of a fierce battle between the Spanish and Incas in 1536, this ancient fortress overlooks the red-tiled roofs of Cusco and the spectacular, lush countryside.
Conclude your Peruvian adventures with a Farewell Reception at the hotel.
Cusco/Lima/Depart for gateway city
Enjoy your morning at leisure in Cusco, followed by lunch in town. Depart for Cusco’s airport and fly to Lima.
Connect in Lima to your international flight home.
Arrive home in your gateway city.
Meet Your Trip Host
Stephanie V. Gelderloos is a native of Southwest Detroit. She attended the University of Detroit Mercy and Eastern Michigan University where she studied foreign languages and linguistics, earning an MA in 2004. During her time at EMU, she studied abroad in the Netherlands for a year. While there, Stephanie took advantage of the Netherlands’ rich language diversity and history by learning to speak Dutch and Frisian. At the University of Groningen, she studied Gothic, low Saxon dialects, and both Dutch and Frisian Linguistics. She also interned at the Frisian Academy in Leeuwarden where she worked helping to edit drafts of the first comprehensive Frisian/English dictionary.
Stephanie currently uses her linguistic and language skills working at the University of Michigan-Flint teaching developmental reading and writing. She also teaches English as a second language courses in the university’s Bridge Program for international students and serves on the Bridge Program Advisory Committee.
Stephanie loves to travel, and she has visited the Netherlands often since studying there. She hopes to visit Cuba in the near future. She speaks Spanish proficiently and serves on the board for the Genesee County Hispanic Latino Collaborative. She lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and two daughters. She is proud to share that her oldest daughter is a junior at UM. Go Blue!
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