Amazon to Andes
Day 1: Sat Lima
Outside the baggage claim area our representative will be waiting for you, where they will transfer you to our hotel.
Day 2: Sun Lima (B)
Lima, the City of Kings and capital of Peru. This was the principal city of Spanish South America from its founding in 1535 until the independence of the South American republics in early 19th Century. It hardly ever rains in Lima, except
for 2 months of the year when the skies are blue, in January and February.
You have the morning to explore Lima. A city tour of the Greater Colonial Lima in the morning allows you to appreciate the wonderful colonial buildings in downtown Lima such as the Santo Domingo Convent.
You'll drive by the elegant tree-lined avenues of San Isidro and Miraflores. In the afternoon you can leisurely stroll the city. We recommend a visit to the Gold Museum.
Day 3 Lima (B)
Choice of a nature excursion to see local birdlife or enjoy a tour discovering Lima's great food scene and markets
Day 4: Mon Lima – Puerto Maldonado - Tambopata (B/L/D)
You'll transfer to the airport for a short flight to Puerto Maldonado where you will be met by your naturalist guide and transported to a dugout canoe for the trip up the Timbopata River to the lodge.
On the journey the vegetation changes from colonized deforested areas to virgin rain forest. A boxed-lunch is provided on board.
On arrival you'll have a welcome drink and meet the rest of the staff, while after dinner a night walk to find nocturnal animals or insects. We will be out at the river’s edge at night, scanning the shores with headlamps and flashlights to catch the red gleams of reflection from caiman eyes
Accommodation: Refugio Amazonas Lodge
Refugio Amazonas is built on a 200 hectare private reserve on the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve. It is becoming integrated to the communities of Brazil nut extractors that surround it, attempting to extend the benefits of ecotourism to the families that commit to the sustainable use of the forest within this buffer zone. It is located ten minutes walking from the river.
Day 5: Tues Refugio Amazonas –Tambopata Research Centre (B/L/D)
Before breakfast, a thirty minute walk from Refugio Amazonas leads to the 25 metre canopy tower. A bannistered staircase running through the middle provides safe access to the platforms above. The tower has been built upon high ground, therefore increasing your horizon of the continuous primary forest extending out towards the Tambopata National Reserve. From here views of mixed species in the canopy exist, including toucans, macaws and raptors.
After breakfast, a hike from the lodge to a beautiful old growth patch of Brazil Nut forest will occur. This forest has been harvested for decades (if not centuries) where the precarious remains of a camp used two months a year by Brazil Nut gatherers can still be experienced. We will be demonstrating the whole process of the rain forest's only sustainably harvested product from collection through transportation to drying.
A 4 1/2 hour journey by boat from Refugio Amazonas to the Tambopata Research Centre follows. 1 1/2 hours into the journey we cross the confluence with the Malinowski River, we will leave the final traces of human habitation behind. Within the 700,000 hectare uninhabited nucleus of the reserve, sightings of capybara, caiman, geese, macaws and other large species will become more frequent. A 3-5km hike will lead us to higher ground to experience commanding views of the Tambopata winding its way into the lowlands. The forest on this trail is good for sightings of Howler Monkey and Dusky Titi Monkey.
After dinner you can attend a lecture providing an in depth look at the biology of macaws, their feeding habits, the theories for clay lick use, their breeding and feeding ecology, population fluctuations, and the threats to their conservation
Day 6: Wed Tambopata Research Centre (B/L/D)
On most clear mornings of the year, dozens of large macaws and hundreds of parrots congregate on the large river bank in a raucous and colorful spectacle - which inspired a National Geographic cover story.
Discretely located fifty metres from the cliff, we will observe Green-winged, Scarlet and blue-and-gold Macaws, and several species of smaller parrots, who descend to ingest clay. Outings are at dawn when the 'lick' is most active. The birds arrive in search of minerals and salts and the digestive properties of the clay particles themselves. On average several hundred Macaws and smaller parrots visit the clay-lick daily, including Scarlet, Blue and Yellow, Red and Green, Chestnut-fronted and Blue-headed parrots, among others. This clay-lick is considered one of the largest in the world.
Following a late morning hike in the trail system in search of some of the nine species of monkeys present in the area, including Spider monkeys, Squirrel monkeys and Dusky titi monkeys,and the elusive large mammals like Tapir, White-lipped peccaries and Jaguar.
After lunch you can visit the Pond Platform, a 10 minutes upriver excursion from the lodge where a tiny pond with a platform in the middle can be found. It is a great place to spot waterfowl such as Muscovy duck, sunbittern and hoatzin along with the woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers and parakeets that call this pond their home.
After dinner you will have the option of hiking out at night, when most of the mammals are active but rarely seen. Much easier to find are frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories.
Tambopata Research Center is the only lodge that lies within the Tambopata National Reserve , amking it one of the most remote lodges in South America.The lodges pristine location means that its surrounded by the best wildlife the Amazon jungle has to offer
Day 7: Thurs Tambopata Research Centre – Refugio Amazonas (B/L/D)
Day 7 sees the opportunity to explore another trail or visit the Macaw Lick before breakfast, before returning up river to Refugio Amazonas.
In the afternoon a visit to the Oxbow Lake to experience a different eco system rich in bird and aquatic life occurs. A family of giant river otters also lives here, with birds abound include the rufescent tiger-herons, great egrets, wattled jacanas, hoatzin, and noisy donacobius, amongst others.
Day 8: Fri Puerto Maldonado – Cusco (B)
With an early start today, you'll be transferred to the airport for a short flight to Cusco. Cusco is the heart of the Inca Empire, known by the local Quechua Indians as 'Navel of the Universe'.
Cusco is an amazing experience. Lying in an exceptionally beautiful countryside 3300 metres above sea level, here you will encounter a fine blend of Spanish and Inca cultures, colourful Quechua Indian markets, Inca temples and massive stone walls which form the foundations of Colonial Cusco - originally part of the impressive monument of Sacsayhuaman, situated above the town.
Day 9: Sat Cusco (B)
Morning at your leisure.
In the afternoon you'll enjoy a comprehensive walking tour of this delightful city, including the Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, and Temple of the Sun.
Day 10: Sun Cusco-Sacred Valley (B)
A visit to Sacsayhuaman - this magnificent Inca fortress, which overlooks the city of Cusco. Sacsayhuaman can be variously translated as 'speckled falcon' or 'speckled head'. The last interpretation refers to the belief that the city of Cusco was set out in the form of a puma whose head was the hill of Sacsayhuaman. The origins are uncertain but the fortress is generally attributed to the period of Inca Pachacuti, the man who essentially founded the Inca Empire.
The itinerary also sees a visit to the ruins of Qenko, an area of well-preserved archaeological ruins and the Red Fortress of Puca Pucara.
Leaving Cusco late morning, we'll continue into the beautiful Sacred valley of the Incas, driving through stunning scenery to Chinchero, the most colourful and authentic market in Peru.
Continuing on to Maras Salt Pans, we'll disembrak and discover these amazing salt pans still mined as they were hundreds of years ago via foot before the beautiful walk back down into the Sacred Valley.
In the afternoon relax and enjoy the countryside and visit the Semanario Pottery – it’s hard to resist. We'll stay overnight in an old monastery (completely restored of course!).
Day 11: Mon Sacred Valley (B) or Day 1 – Inca Trail (B)
Next is Pisaq where you will enjoy a panoramic walk along the original Inca pathways and terracing to the ancient town below. Visit the markets then continue through this lush valley where the towering fortress of Ollantaytambo dominates the surrounding area.
Day 12: Tues Train to Aguas Calientes (B) or Day 2 – Inca Trail
After breakfast you have an early morning transfer to Ollantaytambo to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, a small railroad town with tons of character – enjoy a soak in the hot pools under the Andean sky or explore the town.
Day 13: Wed Bus to Machu Picchu- Cuzco (B) or Day 3 – Inca Trail
It’s an early start today! The best time to enjoy the peace and tranquillity, not to mention the magic, of Machu Picchu is before the trainload’s of visitors arrive. Machu Picchu, known as ‘Lost City of the Incas’ is undoubtedly the best known and most spectacular archaeological site on the continent and is considered a must for all visitors to Peru. You will travel by bus up the zig-zag (the Hiram Bingham highway) to the ruins where your first views will take your breath away. Enjoy a fully guided tour of the ruins, some time to explore on your own, before returning down the mountainside. Time for a snack and then board the train to Ollantaytambo and transfer to our hotel back in Cusco.
Day 14: Thurs Cusco (B) or Day 4 – Inca Trail
Day 13 is a free day to explore this delightful city – everyone’s favourite. The day is yours to enjoy, all the convents, churches, museums, alpaca and jewellery bargains.
*Separate Itinerary available on request for Inca Trail
Day 15: Fri Cusco - Puno (B/L)
We'll take a bus ride to Puno though the dramatic landscapes of the highland plateau, with occasional views of the tiny Andean villages and herds of llamas and vicunas. We will stop at Andahuaylillas, where there is a beautiful baroque church built at the beginning of the 17th Century. It is very well know thanks to its beautiful mural paintings.
The second stop is at Raqchi, where there is an Inca temple built to worship Wiracocha, one of the most important Inca gods. Finally we stop at the archaeological museum of Pukara (200BC - AD300) before lunching at a restaurant on route. We'll arrive in Puno late afternoon.
DAY 16: Sat Uros Islands - Copacabana (B)
What an experience! By boat visit the curious floating reed islands and the Uros Indians who live there. Everything is made of these reeds - houses, schools, boats, churches etc. Once you reach the reed islands, you can experience gliding across Lake Titicaca in an authentic reed boat - you can't beat it!
After the reed islands, we'll return to Puno before continuing the journey through the afternoon abask lovely scenery, which follows this mighty lake to the Bolivian border. After border formalities, we continue to the sleepy town of Copacabana.
Day 17: Sun Copacabana - La Paz (B)
You'll have the morning free to explore around Copacabana. Available is an optional boat trip out on the lake to tranquil Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) where legend has it that the first Inca King rose out of the lake. On this legendary island, visit the Pilkokania Inca Palace and enjoy a short walk to the Gardens, Sacred Stairs and Fountain of Inca. As we ascend to Yumani Village, we have a magnificent view of the lake set to the backdrop of Mount Illampu.
In the afternoon, we depart Copacabana and continue through even more stunning scenery with snow-capped peaks and the blue lake, to La Paz - Capital of Bolivia and the highest Capital in the world. Known as the City of Contrasts, here ancient traditions meet the new millenium of chaotic traffic and towering buildings.
Day 18: Mon City Tour and Shopping (B)
A morning tour takes you down to where the air is thicker and the elite live. We'll visit the witches markets, Calle Jaen with its museums, San Francisco Church, Plaza Murillo, National Congress, Cathedral & presidential Palace, before continuing to the very unusual eroded formations of the Moon Valley.
The afternoon is free to enjoy the uniqueness of this colourful bustling city and shop for bargains, gifts and souvenirs!
Day 19: Tues Explore La Paz (B)
Take advantage of the optional tour to the Tiwanaku (Pre-Columbian) ruins outside the city, mountain bike down the world’s most spectacular road, or spend the day with a little more shopping and people watching. A great city to do that!
Or you can take an optional overnight tour to the Bolivia salt flats.
Day 20: Wed La Paz – Rio de Janeiro (B)
An early start as we say ‘adios’ to the Andes and transfer to the airport for our flight via Sao Paulo to Rio. On arrival we'll be whisked off to our hotel to refresh.
Day 21: Thurs Rio de Janeiro (B)
In this morning's travel to the Csome Velho Train Cog Station at the bottom of the Corcovado Mountain, you will stop by Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Once at the mountain, you will take the ride up to the top, through dense Tijuca rain forest to the 38m tall Christ the Redeemer Statue. From the top, you will enjoy the spectacular views of Rio and the surrounding countryside.
The afternoon starts with a panoramic tour of downtown Rio where you'll pass by the infamous Sambadrome, the exhibition area for the renowned Samba schools in Rio. A brief stop is made at the Metropolitan Cathedral, made famous for its unusual pyramid shape. Admire its beauty and rareness from both the outside and the inside! Your panoramic city tour continues with a visit to the traditional Cinelandia Square where you'll tour the various historic buildings such as the Municipal Theatre, the National Library and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Heading towards the Urca neighborhood, where one of Rio's most iconic symbols is located, Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Travelling up Sugar Loaf mountain in a cable car, you will make a brief stop at a vantage point approximately 700 feet (215 meters) above sea level. Capture unparalleled panoramic views of the city, Guanabara Bay, the Rio-Niteroi Bridge and Corcovado Mountain. You'll then ascend to the peak of Sugar Loaf for breathtaking views of Copacabana Beach, the Santa Cruz Fortress and the beaches of Niteroi.
Day 22 Fri: Rio de Janeiro (B)
Day of leisure.
Day 23 Sat: Rio- Iguacu (B)
A transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Iguacu. On arrival, we'll commence a tour to the Brazil side of the falls.
Day 24 Sun: Iguacu - Buenos Aires (B)
We'll travel to the Argentine side of the falls, where these falls defy description! Enjoy the majesty of the world's most spectacular waterfalls.
Set in pristine rainforest with countless birds and butterflies, situated on the borders of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, they plunge in a series of gigantic waterfalls over 3kms long and more than 80 metres high. The thunderous roar of crashing water and the multicoloured mist is natural beauty at its best. It is undoubtedly one of the world's most impressive sights.
Later we'll view the mighty Devils Throat Cataract before transferring to the airport for a flight to Buenos Aires.
Day 25 Mon: Buenos Aires (B/D)
The morning's tour allows us to discover the city of Buenos Aires.
We will visit its Civic Centre, the impressive National Congress and May Square (Plaza de Mayo) surrounded by Government House (Casa Rosada), the Metropolitan Cathedral and City Hall from colonial days (Cabildo). We will also visit the Colon Theatre (Teatro Colón), one of the world’s best known opera houses and the cultural pride of the “Porteños” (Buenos Aires natives). Next, we will tour the traditional barrio of San Telmo where the magical atmosphere of the district will take you back in time. We'll then stop at La Boca, home of the first Italian immigrants and you will observe its picturesque and colourful architecture. We will then continue to the residential neighborhood of Palermo and many parks.
Finally, we will go to Recoleta, the city’s most exclusive district, with its famous cemetery where Evita Peron is buried, elegant boutiques, gourmet restaurants and side walk cafés under ficus trees (gomeros).
Tonight get into the Argentine mood with a juicy steak and Tango show.
Day 26 Tues: Buenos Aires (B)
Another day of leisure. There is still time to explore the city further or perhaps enjoy an optional trip across to Colonia in Uruguay.
Day 27 Wed: Buenos Aires (B)Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Dates & Prices NZ$ Per Person
6 May,5Aug,2 Sep $11650
10 June $11980
Fri weekly $11650
Inca Trail Option: additional NZ$550
Galapagos Islands Pre Extension:
Depart to Quito on Thurs, 1 week earlier for 3 nights in Quito,Otavalo Tour, 7 night Galapagos Islands Cruise. Cost:NZD$5795 (twin/double share, includes additional airfares)
(Itineraries for Galapagos Extension available on request)
- ALL flights within South America
- ALL transport (boats, buses, taxis, trains etc)
- ALL accommodation with breakfasts
- ALL camping fees, tents, sleeping mats on trek
- ALL entrance fees as per itinerary
- ALL national park entrance fees
- ALL sightseeing as per itinerary
- ALL food during Inca Trail
- ALL transfers as per itinerary
- 5 dinners, 5 lunches
- Services of experienced local guides Inca Trail
- Services of porters to carry gear on Inca Trail (4.5kg limit on trek, rest of gear left at hotel)
- Farewell dinner & Tango show in Buenos Aires
- Services of experienced Tour Leader
- Services of English speaking local guides
Does not include:
Airport Taxes & Tips allow USD175 per person
Insurance - Laundry - Personal Spending - Medical Expenses
Our experienced bilingual Tour Leaders travel with the group departures (subject to a minimum of 6 people travelling).
We use comfortable 3 star hotels throughout. All rooms have your own private bathroom. Hotels are chosen for their location and service and most have free WIFI.
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service.
Tipping is an expected, though not compulsory, component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. At the start of the tour your Tour Manager will explain the tipping system and will coordinate all tipping on behalf of the group to cover the local guides, drivers and porters.
We suggest allow for US$35-45 per day to cover incidentals, laundry, meals not included.
Groups are limited to a maximum of 15 people.