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From the Inca Empire to the Peruvian Amazon with the Nazca Lines

13 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: First Class

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  • Save $500 per couple off 2018 Amazon cruises. Expires June 6. Click here for eligible departures.
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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Lima, Peru
Welcome to the cosmopolitan city of Lima, where you will be met by your Tour Director. Get ready to discover age-old cultures, rich traditions, the legendary Inca Empire, and the mighty Amazon Basin!
 
Day 2 Lima
This morning, join your Local Guide on a WALKING TOUR that focuses on Lima’s colonial heritage in the old quarter of the city. Start at the Plaza de Armas, boasting the city’s original colonial architecture from over four centuries ago. See the Government Palace, where Peru’s president resides, as well as the Renaissance/Baroque-style cathedral. From here, stroll to the venerable SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY with its splendid 17th-century cloister murals. For a special treat, visit the LARCO HERRERA MUSEUM, which houses the largest private collection of pre-Colombian Peruvian art in the world. This evening, enjoy a special Local Favorite and welcome dinner at one of Lima’s finest historic mansions, CASA GARCIA ALVARADO. Hosted by the home’s owner and your Tour Director, toast the exciting start of your vacation with your fellow traveling companions and enjoy some typical Peruvian food. (B,D)
 
Day 3 Lima–Cusco–Sacred Valley
Fly to Cusco, the ancient Andean city that was once capital of the Inca Empire. Spend the day in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, starting with a visit to the TEMPLE OF SACSAYHUAMAN, perched on a hillside overlooking Cusco. With its massive stones weighing up to 300 tons, this 15th-century fortress is one of the best displays of the Incas’ impressive stonework. While most believe it was a religious temple, Sacsayhuaman was also site of one of the most violent battles between the Spanish and the Cusqueños. The Spanish were ultimately victorious in 1536, disassembling part of the site to build homes in Cusco and leaving behind the ruins we find today. Next, stop at the ceremonial site of KENKO, where ancient rituals were performed—perhaps, even sacrifices. Nearby, see Puca Pucara, thought to be a rest stop, weapons storage, or guard post used by the Incas and their soldiers. At AWANAKANCHA, encounter llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos and learn the difference between these South American camels and their importance in Peruvian culture. Continue to the old mountain village of PISAC, home to a huge Indian market where you will have free time to shop for local wares such as alpaca sweaters, blankets, and handmade jewelry. This evening at a PERUVIAN PASO HORSE SHOW, learn about (and even take a ride on) the horses bred here specifically for the terraced landscape. Top off the day with some wine and an Andean-style dinner. (B,L,D)
 
Day 4 Sacred Valley–Machu Picchu
In the small village of OLLANTAYTAMBO this morning, visit the Inca fortress followed by the opportunity to visit a native Inca’s HOME and experience their way of life. Next, board the Vistadome TRAIN for a short journey through the lush Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes. From here, take the winding road up to legendary MACHU PICCHU, known as the “Lost City of the Incas,”, hidden so well that the invading Spaniards never found it. High above the steep valley overlaid with dense tropical jungle, a Local Guide will bring you closer to the lives and mysteries still hidden in these amazing structures built by the pre-Columbian masters of this sacred land. Tonight, stay at the foot of the mountain where Machu Picchu is found and enjoy an exquisite dinner prepared from regional Peruvian ingredients. (B,L,D)
 
Day 5 Machu Picchu–Cusco
If you choose, rise early today using your second included entrance to MACHU PICCHU and see the sunrise over the ruins. Enjoy the tranquility of the morning as you wander the ruins at your own pace and experience the magic that is Machu Picchu. Explore the terraces or perhaps venture up to see the Sun Gate, once used as the ancient entrance to the Sanctuary. After lunch, return to the Sacred Valley by TRAIN and continue on to Cusco. (B,L)
 
Day 6 Cusco
Set out on a guided Cusco walking tour with a Local Guide to learn more about the Incas and their struggle against invading Spaniards. Visit the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY, originally called Koricancha and built by the Incas as a Temple of the Sun. Today you can still see the impressive Inca masonry that provided a foundation to the Baroque church the Spanish built on top of the Inca temple. Continue to Cusco’s Plaza de Armas to visit the imposing colonial CATHEDRAL before enjoying the remainder of the day at leisure. Tonight, enjoy a special dinner at one of Cusco’s most elegant restaurants, featuring wine and food inspired by Peru’s eclectic mix of cultures. (B,D)
 
Day 7 Cusco–Lima–Iquitos (Embarkation)–Cruising: Peruvian Amazon
Bid farewell to your Tour Director in Lima when you board a flight north to Iquitos. Upon arrival, enjoy an Iquitos CITY TOUR. Explore the areas of this bustling river city that flourished during the “rubber boom” in the early 19th century. See some of the ornate homes of the rubber barons, including the Iron House, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Next, stop at the MANATEE RESCUE CENTER, where your visit will teach you about the endangered Amazon manatees and conservationists’ efforts to save them. During this visit, you will even be able to bottle feed these gentle giants! Next, transfer to the Amazon Discovery, your luxurious, floating home for the next three nights. On board, settle in to your spacious suite before meeting your onboard Naturalist and Cruise Director at a welcome cocktail hour. Learn about the animals you’ll encounter, the native villagers you’ll meet, and the astonishing plant life you’ll see—like the giant water lily, with flowers the size of soccer balls and leaves that can grow up to eight feet in diameter and support the weight of a human! Later, sit down to an unforgettable dinner featuring Peruvian cuisine with the freshest local ingredients. Later tonight, local entertainers from the ship’s crew will light up the night with music and dance! (B,L,D)
 
Day 8 Cruising: Peruvian Amazon
If you’re an early riser, your first glimpse of the majestic Amazon as the sun creeps up over the horizon will be truly breathtaking. The sights—and the sounds— will stay with you forever. After breakfast, board pangas that will take you down one of the Amazon’s tributaries in search of the region’s freshwater pink dolphins. Get your cameras ready, as this is a favorite feeding spot for these rare dolphins. While here, you even have the opportunity to take a refreshing swim in this unique area of the Amazon. This afternoon, back on board, a special treat is in store when the ship’s chef invites you to a hands-on cooking demonstration to learn about native fruits, vegetables, and fish. After lunch, head out with your Naturalist in search of the Amazonian wildlife on the water and on shore. We are on the lookout for monkeys, including capuchin, howler, tamarin, and spider monkeys, as well as iguanas, sloths, and a wide variety of birdlife. You will also learn about the tropical flora found in the Amazon as you walk along the shores with your Naturalist, who points out epiphytes, orchids, and indigenous jungle vegetation. (B,L,D)
 
Day 9 Cruising: Peruvian Amazon
This morning, wake up under the serenade of early morning birdsong at a historic place, the confluence of two powerful tributaries, the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers, which gives birth to the mighty Amazon! An early morning outing here allows you to witness the activity of exotic birds like trogons, macaws, parrots, falcons, and jacamars, to name a few. Nearby, visit a native VILLAGE, where you’ll stroll around their community, visiting the people, their homes, and a school. Spend time with the locals, learn about their culture, traditions, and folklore, and even visit a small handicraft market—a great place to pick up some authentic souvenirs. This afternoon’s excursion is a local favorite that takes you to a river community to visit a SHAMANIC HEALING CLINIC. A local shaman introduces you to the world of hallucinogenic and medical plants, all found in the Amazon. After dark, embark on a night safari in search of caiman, frogs, bats, boas, and a variety of nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)
 
Day 10 Cruising (Disembarkation)–Iquitos–Lima
This morning, say goodbye to the Amazon Discovery and return to Iquitos for your flight to Lima. (B)
 
Day 11 Lima - Paracas
Ballestas Islands Cruise & Nazca Lines. Enjoy a scenic drive south along the Pan-American Highway to the Bay of Paracas. CRUISE out to the Ballestas Islands, which are inhabited by a wide variety of sea mammals and exotic birds, including boobies, sea lions, and Humboldt penguins. The huge Candelabro, a candelabra-shaped etching on the Paracas cliffside, can also be seen as you cruise back to shore. Continue to the town of Pisco, the wine capital of Peru. Have your camera handy today as you board your aircraft for a FLIGHT over the Nazca plains, which can only be appreciated by air. Your pilot will point out the mysterious markings known as the NAZCA LINES, a series of drawings of animals and geometric figures etched into the parched soil—some up to 1,000 feet long! Theories vary, but the most accepted belongs to German mathematician Maria Reiche, who dubbed the land the “astronomical calendar” of the ancient Peruvians. Enjoy dinner this evening at your hotel. (B,D)

Day 12 Paracas - Lima
After some free time in Paracas, return to Lima today. Tonight, toast your final night in Lima with dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 13 Lima
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Cruise: 3-night cruise in a deluxe, outside suite cruising the Peruvian Amazon River aboard the Amazon Discovery. Enjoy guided sightseeing each day with a local Naturalist.
  • Lima: sightseeing with a Local Guide; visit San Francisco Monastery and Larco Herrara Museum; special welcome dinner at Casa Garcia Alvarado
  • Sacred Valley: visit Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Awanakancha Andean weaving center, and Pisac’s market; dinner and Peruvian Paso Horse Show; visit Ollantaytambo and an Incan home
  • Machu Picchu: sightseeing of the ruins with a Local Guide, and two entrances to the ruins
  • Cusco: sightseeing with a Local Guide; visit Santo Domingo Monastery and the Cathedral
  • Iquitos: visit the Manatee Rescue Center; Iquitos city tour; board the Amazon Discovery; welcome cocktail & dinner; wildlife viewing excursions by panga during the day and evening; native village visit; visit a shamanic healing clinic; cooking lesson Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by local chefs, entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
  • Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by local chefs, entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
  • Visit a local shamanic healing clinic, where a native shaman introduces you to the world of Amazonian hallucinogenic and medicinal plants.

All This Included
From its amazing archaeological treasures to its gastronomic delights and from its scenic beauty to its melting pot of cultures, Peru offers visitors a wide array of attractions—and on this tour, you’ll experience its highlights. Begin in the cosmopolitan city of Lima with a guided sightseeing tour, a visit to the Larco Herrera Museum, and a special welcome dinner in an ornate family owned mansion in the heart of Lima. Fly to Cusco and descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas for guided tours of Cusco, Kenko and Sacsayhuaman built in the early 12th century with some stones weighing more than 350 tons. Of course, no vacation to Peru is complete without visiting Machu Picchu. Built around 1450 at the height of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu is located in a gorgeous mountain setting above the Sacred Valley. Stand in awe as you witness it. It is one of the most majestic images in South America, if not the world! Fly to Iquitos where you will embark on a journey to one of the world’s vastly unexplored regions, the mighty Amazon. Experience the Amazon wilderness where it originates in Peru - where biodiversity is at its greatest and the rainforest is untamed. Board one of the world’s most luxurious small ships—the Amazon Discovery. Enjoy fine wine, famous Peruvian cuisine, and all-inclusive comfort while venturing deep into the Amazon jungle in search of elusive wildlife. During your time in the Amazon take naturalist-guided panga rides through the river tributaries, swim with pink dolphins, and visit native communities, all while returning to your plush five-star yacht. Of course, no trip to Peru is complete without seeing the Nazca Lines. When seen from the air, the lines form precise geometric shapes that number in the hundreds, as well as 70 figures, which include a monkey, whale, hummingbird, shark, spiders, and plants. Archaeologists remain puzzled about why the ancient Nazca people, who thrived here from 200 BC to 500 AD, created illustrations that could only be seen from far above the earth. Wonderful scenery, historical treasures, learning opportunities, and so much more—all are available on this thrilling trip to Peru!
  • American breakfast daily, 5 lunches including a farewell lunch in the Amazon, 9 three-course dinners including a welcome dinner in Lima.
  • Luxurious standards in elegant atmosphere.
  • Expedition team of multilingual Naturalists.
  • Daily multi-media natural history lectures.
  • A lounge serving premium spirit cocktails.
  • Observation area to watch local fauna.
  • Refreshing plunge pool on the open-air deck.
  • Air-conditioning throughout.
  • Open seating for all meals.
  • Innovative menu of traditional Peruvian specialties as well as Western favorites.
  • Access to a resident paramedic.
  • Deluxe skiffs (excursion) boats with cold towel service, fresh fruit, and refreshments.
  • Series of cultural performances, educational talks, cooking classes and ship tour.
  • Maintain your routine in the exercise room.
  • Relax onboard at the Rainforest Spa.
  • Complimentary regional wines at meals.
  • Complimentary water, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and local beer/spirits throughout the day at the bar.
  • Bottled water on all excursions.
  • Remarkable service.
  • English-speaking crew.
  • Radio and satellite communications.
  • Included shore excursions with Local Naturalist.
  • Unique cultural activities & interactions with locals.
  • Intimate cruise experience with maximum capacity of 44 guests.
  • And, much more.
Accommodations on this Tour
Lima; Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores
Sacred Valley: Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu: Sumaq Hotel
Cusco: JW Marriott
Paracas: Doubletree Hotel
Peruvian Amazon Cruise: Standard cabin onboard Amazon Discovery
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra Nights per person in Lima:
in single room $182; in twin room $91
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • 2018 prices and itineraries are subject to change. 
  • Maximum elevation on tour: 11,200 ft.
  • Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights, not included in pricing: Lima/Cusco; Cusco/Iquitos; Iquitos/Lima.
  • Gratuities to Local Guides & drivers are included.
  • Triple rooms are not available.
  • Port charges of $59 are not included.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.



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