- Pick up unique souvenirs at the Sacred Valley's largest handicrafts market
- Hike the lesser-known Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu
- Visit an organic coffee farm in the cloud forest near Lucmabamba
- Cruise along the Marañón River, the mainstem source of the Amazon
|Day 1||Arrive in Lima||Lima|
|Day 2||Fly to Cusco||Cusco|
|Day 3||Pisac, Ollantaytambo & Chinchero Tour||Cusco|
|Day 4||Whitewater Raft the Urubamba River||Cusco|
|Day 5||Cusco City Tour||Cusco|
|Day 6||Hike to Soraypampa (Salkantay Trek Day 1)||Soraypampa|
|Day 7||Cross Salkantay Pass (Salkantay Trek Day 2)||Rayampata|
|Day 8||Visit a Coffee Farm (Salkantay Trek Day 3)||Lucmabamba|
|Day 9||Hike to Llactapata (Salkantay Trek Day 4)||Aguas Calientes/ Machu Picchu|
|Day 10||Tour Machu Picchu (Salkantay Trek Day 5)||Cusco|
|Day 11||Fly to Iquitos||Iquitos City|
|Day 12||Cruise the Amazon (La Perla Cruise Day 1)||Iquitos|
|Day 13||Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (La Perla Cruise Day 2)||Iquitos|
|Day 14||Fish Shiriyacu Creek (La Perla Cruise Day 3)||Iquitos|
|Day 15||Disembark La Perla, Fly to Lima & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Lima
Welcome to Lima! Once you land in Peru's capital city, a private transfer will take you to your accommodations. If you have time, consider exploring the city on your own. Check out the chic shopping centers in Miraflores, visit Museo Larco's massive collection of pre-Columbian art, or take a walk past the lemon-yellow buildings surrounding the Plaza Mayor de Lima.
Day 2: Fly to Cusco
Today, it's off to Cusco to acclimate for your trek—and to check out the former capital city of the Inca Empire, of course! After you've been transferred from the airport to your hotel, head out into the city to walk its narrow streets, peruse local markets, or drink a cup of coca tea to help adjust to its 11,000-foot (3,000 m) elevation. For an early taste of the Inca architecture, you'll find later in the trip, head uphill to the sacred site Sacsayhuamán, known for its walls made of huge boulders.
Day 3: Pisac, Ollantaytambo & Chinchero Tour
Tour three of the Sacred Valley's gems today on a tour of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero. Start at Pisac Archaeological Park and check out the Inca-era complex, where you can find remnants of burial grounds, irrigation systems, and astronomy centers. Later, head down the hill to the modern town's handicraft market, the largest in the region. Then stop for lunch at a local Peruvian-Andean restaurant with views of the Urubamba River, which flows through the Sacred Valley.
From here, head to Ollantaytambo, one of the few remaining places in the Sacred Valley that have retained its original Inca urban planning. Walk through the streets with Inca-era canals and view the ancient houses still in use today. Climb the agricultural terraces for a bird's-eye-view of the valley. You'll be able to see some of the quarries from where the Ollantaytambo stone was sourced and marvel at the feat of engineering that brought them to the site.
Then, head back toward Cusco and stop at Chinchero, a small Andean village sitting at a higher elevation than the other villages at 12,342 feet (3,762 m) above sea level. Enjoy breathtaking views of snowy mountains like Salkantay, which you'll hike to later in the trip, as you explore the Inca terraces, a colonial stucco church, and another artisanal market.
Day 4: Whitewater Raft the Urubamba RiverGet ready for an adrenaline rush today! You'll be picked up from your hotel and driven for 1.5 hours to the Chuquicahuana area of the Urubamba River, affectionately known as "Chuqui," for an exhilarating day of white-water rafting. Experienced guides will help you prepare for the Class III and higher rapids in the area, and you'll be rewarded with lunch at the Cusipata River Lodge after two hours on the water. If that's not enough adventure, try the zip line that spans 328 feet (100 m) across the river!
Day 5: Cusco City TourGet to know Cusco on a guided tour through the city. First, walk Plaza de Armas and explore the Cathedral of Cusco, home to several paintings from the Escuela Cuzquena ("Cusco School"), known for their gold leaf accents. From there, head to the ruins of the legendary Qoricancha ("Temple of the Sun"), once the Inca's most important temple, whose walls were said to be plated with gold. Wrap up the tour with visits to other archaeological sites, like Q'enqo, Tambomachay, and Puka Pukara.
Day 6: Hike to Soraypampa (Salkantay Trek Day 1)
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Cross Salkantay Pass (Salkantay Trek Day 2)
Day 8: Visit a Coffee Farm (Salkantay Trek Day 3)
Day 9: Hike to Llactapata (Salkantay Trek Day 4)
Today marks the last day of hiking on the Salkantay trail! Trek along an old Inca trail up to Llactapata Pass. It's here, at 8,974 feet (2,736 m), that you can look across the valley to spot Machu Picchu for the first time and enjoy views of Vilcanota Canyon, weather permitting. There is no shortage of archaeological sightseeing to do on your side of the valley, though—the pass is home to Llactapata, an Inca tambo (fort). Once you've explored the site, catch the train for the one-hour ride to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu.
Day 10: Tour Machu Picchu (Salkantay Trek Day 5)
Day 11: Fly to Iquitos
Now that your trek in the Peruvian Andes has ended gear up for your cruise through the Amazon. A private transfer will take you to the Cusco Airport for your flight to Iquitos, known as "the capital of the Peruvian Amazon." Once at your accommodations in town, you'll have some time to check out the city. Head to the Plaza de Armas to see buildings constructed during the 20th-century rubber boom, or explore Belén, a neighborhood famous for its street market and houses suspended on stilts.
Day 12: Cruise the Amazon (La Perla Cruise Day 1)A private transfer will take you from Iquitos to Nauta to board your cruise ship, La Perla, and start your adventure on the Peruvian Amazon. Today's leg of the trip takes you along the Marañon River to its confluence with the Ucayali River, forming the Amazon. Visit the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, a sprawling, 8,000-square-mile (20,800-sq-km) protected area of seasonally flooded forest. Here you can find freshwater charapa turtles, and then later tonight, you and your guides can head into the rainforest to try and spot the nocturnal residents of the area.
Day 13: Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (La Perla Cruise Day 2)
Day 14: Fish Shiriyacu Creek (La Perla Cruise Day 3)
Experience a little action today as you head to Shiriyacu Creek for a little piranha fishing. Guides will show you the traditional techniques developed by the local people in the area. You'll get to learn even more about the people who call this corner of the Amazon rainforest home when you visit Kukama Prado, a local village. Later this afternoon, you'll have the chance to take one last boat ride along the Amazon River to spot any wildlife you might have missed previously, like caimans, frogs, tarantulas, and snakes.
Day 15: Disembark La Perla, Fly to Lima & Depart
After enjoying one last morning on La Perla, disembark and take a bus to Nauta and then onto Iquitos. Take a pit stop at Amazon Rescue Center, a rescue and rehab facility for wildlife in the Peruvian Amazon. Learn about the center's mission and come face-to-face with some of their rescues, including manatees, pink river dolphins, and land creatures like sloths and anteaters.