Peru tour, Andes to Amazon

“This six day small group trip is an adventure by road and boat, from the Andes to the Amazon rainforest, to discover Peru’s unique flora and fauna.”


Cusco | cloud forest | Cock-of-the-Rock clay lick | Andean foothills | Manu Wildlife Centre | bilingual naturalist guide | macaw clay lick | spot giant otters | hiking | canopy viewing from canopy towers | boat to Colorado Village | wildlife watching | Puerto Carlos | Puerto Maldonado

Description of Peru tour, Andes to Amazon

This Peru tour, Andes to Amazon, begins in Cusco and travels through traditional Quechua communities and through the spectacular eastern ranges of the Andes before beginning a breathtaking descent from 35,00 meters to 1,600 meters above sea level to our comfortable lodge in the orchid laden Cloud Forest. This is an excellent location to watch the strange and beautiful Cocks-of-the-Rock as they display at dawn - a wonderful sight as up to 25 bright red-orange males dance and sing, attempting to attract the favours of the duller, burgundy coloured females. We then continue by road and boat to a lodge in the Andean foothills where we spend the night.

Our journey continues by river, past the last folds of the Andes into lowland rainforest and our lodge for the next three nights - Manu Wildlife Centre.

Daily activities are determined by your bilingual naturalist guide and include a visit to a macaw clay lick where hundreds of parrots and their larger relatives, the macaws congregate, exploration of an ox bow lake in search of a family of giant otters, and trail hikes in search of some of the 12 species of monkeys and other fauna which inhabit the surrounding rainforest.

There will also be the opportunity to explore the rainforest canopy from one of two canopy towers, and visit the world's largest known tapir clay lick. Our journey ends with an early morning boat transfer to Boca Manu and a flight back to Cusco.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:ARRIVE LIMA: Fly to Lima today, where you'll be met and transferred to the Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport hotel. Relax after your flight and enjoy a good night's sleep.
Day 2:FLY TO CUSCO: This morning you'll return to the airport for your flight to Cusco. After a short orientation walk, the rest of the day is yours for some independent exploration of Cusco's sights, restaurants and bars. As it will be your first day at altitude, don’t rush. Breakfast
Day 3:CUSCO AND SACSAYHUAMAN: After breakfast at the hotel you'll be collected for your guided tour of the city and nearby Inca sites. Heading out of the city you'll visit Sacsayhuaman, a large complex of carefully constructed walls of massive stones overlooking the city. At the end of the tour your guide will take you back to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure. Breakfast
Day 4:PISAC AND THE SACRED VALLEY: Breakfast at the hotel then your guide will meet you for the journey to the Sacred Valley. This fertile valley is still farmed much as it was in Inca times, with picturesque terracing.You'll visit Pisac, known for its lively market and for the Inca ruins above the town and the impressive ruins at Ollantaytambo, an Inca fortress. You'll end the day at your hotel, El Albergue, in Ollantaytambo. Breakfast, lunch
Day 5:TO MACHU PICCHU: Today you'll visit the world-famous site of Machu Picchu. Travel in style on the train with its large, panoramic windows. You'll have a comprehensive guided tour of the site and your guide will give you background information to bring it to life. Lunch is at Sanctuary Lodge before you head down the hill to your hotel, El MaPi in Aguas Calientes and have some free time in this small town at the foot of Machu Picchu. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 6:TO CUSCO: This morning you have time for a return to Machu Picchu. You can take your time as you wander around the ruins, taking in the views. In the afternoon you'll take the train back to Cusco. On arrival you'll be transferred to the Casa Andina Plaza Hotel. Breakfast
Day 7:ANDES TO CLOUDFOREST: For the next few days you join a shared departure to visit the cloudforest and Amazon basin. You arrive at Cock of The Rock Lodge in time to visit the viewing platform for the chance to spot Peru's dazzling national bird, after which the lodge is named. Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
Day 8:CLOUDFOREST TO AMAZON: Take an early walk to look for birds or monkeys, or follow a secluded trail to the nearby river and back. After breakfast, you set off along the road and should reach the river port of Atalaya by midday. Here you transfer to comfortable dugout canoes and head to the Manu Learning Centre. Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
Day 9:MANU WILDLIFE CENTRE: After a short hike on the lodge trails and breakfast, it’s back to the boats. It is approximately a 6-hour boat ride to Manu Wildlife Centre, which is the best-located Amazonian lodge for wildlife viewing. After settling in, you will head out to explore the trails in the rainforest, learning about plants and forest ecology and with luck encountering some of the 12 species of monkeys that live here. Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
Day 10:MANU WILDLIFE CENTRE: MACAWS AND TAPIRS: A forest walk brings you to the Macaw Lick project. After lunch at the lodge you can explore the network of trails and reach the Canopy Tower to witness the forest’s activity at twilight or walk to the Tapir Clay Lick. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 11MANU WILDLIFE CENTRE: This morning you will have a catamaran ride on an oxbow lake, looking for Giant Otters, monkeys and water birds. You may also see and hear. After lunch at the lodge, you have the choice of a guided wildlife tour or to explore the trails at your leisure. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 12:RETURN TO LIMA: It’s an early departure from the lodge today for the two-and-a-half-hour boat ride downstream to the gold-mining village of Colorado. Breakfast will be taken either before departure, or en route. From Colorado it is 45-minutes overland to Puerto Carlos and the ferry across the Inambari River before the final 2.5hr drive to the airport in Puerto Maldonado, where you catch the plane to Lima. Transfer to the Casa Andina Centro Hotel. Breakfast
Day 13:DEPART: The last morning can be spent sightseeing. In the evening you will be taken to the airport for your onward flight home. Breakfast

Travel Team

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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Peru tour, Andes to Amazon

Cock of the Rock Lodge is owned by the Peru Verde Conservation Group, a non-profit non-government organization involved in rainforest conservation projects.

Manu Wildlife Centre is part owned by a non-profit group and private enterprises. The lodge relies heavily on workers from the local Machiguenga communities and provides jobs and training that help better the standard of living in the local villages. They are offered choice and opportunity that, prior to tourist, did not exist.

We were voted most responsible tour operator by UK NGO Tourism Concern. On average 75% of the cost of your trip with us - excluding flights - remains in the destination.

Flights are automatically carbon offset through The Travel Forest, which plants 10 indigenous trees on your behalf (currently in northern Tanzania). Whilst the primary motivation for planting the trees is to offset carbon emissions, the project also works as a poverty alleviation and environmental improvement scheme.

Group sizes are kept to a maximum of about 12 (less on some trips) to minimise our impact on the local people, the wildlife and the environment. Small groups tend to have much better dynamics, and allow you to get closer to the people, wildlife and places you are visiting. We promote a respect for local communities and their environment. Our guides will help you to understand and respect the areas and people you are visiting, which will help you to feel more comfortable and enjoy your experiences all the more. We try to ensure that the local people are happy to receive tourists in their home region, and are informed of the possible impact.

In the office, we use environmentally friendly paper for the brochure and promotional/administrative materials. The folders are hand-made in Nepal from an environmentally responsible alternative to paper. Our ‘brochure’ format of a folder and inserts means that you only get the information you are interested in and therefore there is less paper wastage. A general recycling regime is adhered to, and energy consumption is kept as low as possible.

1 Reviews of Peru tour, Andes to Amazon

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 01 Jul 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

On the Andes to Amazon I believe it was the Manu Wildlife Center. It was a charming facility with nice staff. Of course, the wildlife that we were fortunate enough to see was fabulous. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable.

Unfortunately during our time in Peru I picked up a nasty bacteria & viral infection. I was admitted into the hospital for 3 days / 2 nights which was during a portion of our arranged trip. We were not able to drive from Cusco through the cloud forest, visit an indigenous village or spend 6 hours on a boat but Inka Natura was extremely accommodating in changing the trip so that we flew from Cusco to Manu.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I felt the information provided by the tour operator and the briefing by the local operator, Inka Natura, was quite comprehensive so I can't think of any additional tips.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

I believe it minimized the impact on the environment. I would have loved more interaction with the local population, however, with the reduction in trip it was difficult.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Paul was excellent at getting back to me quickly. He had a friendly email demeanour and I was happy with the service I received. Overall the holiday was magnificent. We hiked the Inca Trail (with a private group) and it was certainly the highlight of our 16 days in Peru.

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