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Wildlife Tour of Peru with Machu Picchu

Discover Peru's diverse and exotic wildlife as well as some of its best scenery and its premier attraction - Machu Picchu.

Wildlife Tour of Peru with Machu Picchu

Duration: 17 days

Combine your itinerary with your preferred hotels or other accommodation. Take a look at the Accommodation section for ideas and inspiration.

Days 1-2 After an overnight flight you will land in Lima where you will be met and taken to your hotel in Barranco, Lima's most artistic and bohemian neighbourhood. Barranco offers street art and bright colourful buildings, and is a cheerful contrast to Lima’s often gloomy streets and grey skies.
Day 3 Today you wil drive south of Lima to the town of Ica (300kms/4 hrs). You will visit Huachina, an oasis located in spectacular sand dunes in the nearby desert. Ica is the center of an important agricultural region and the region is famous for its wines and for pisco, the main ingrediant of a pisco sour. You will visit a local wine maker. Finally you will visit the fine museum at Ica which features a fascinating display of pre columbian artefacts and textiles from early civilizations which flourished in this area. You will then drive 30 minutes to the fishing village and port of Paracas (El Chaco). The Paracas Reserve features stunning coastal scenery and diverse wildlife.
Day 4 In the morning you will board a motorboat for a ride around the Ballestas Islands, located just off the coast from Paracas National Reserve, the largest natural sanctuary on the Peruvian coast. These islands are home to thousands of migratory birds and colonies of sea lions. From the boat you will also see the mysterious design called the Candelabra, a giant three pronged figure etched into a sandy hill. Later you will visit the Paracas National Reserve.
Day 5 Today you will drive back to Lima. In the afternoon you will have some time to relax and explore Barranco.
Day 6 You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Puerto Maldonado, known as a gateway to the southern Amazon jungle. You then drive to Porta Filadelphia and board a motor boat taking you deep into the uninhabited jungle of the Tambopata Reserve (2.5 hours). You arrive at the Tambopata Research Centre and after checking in you will head out to explore the River Overlook Trail, to give you your first taste of the wildlife of the area - from tiny frogs living in the bamboo, Capuchin Monkeys to brightly-colored Trogons. After dinner you have an option to make a night walk when many animals may be active but are rarely seen.
Day 7 Your first full day in the jungle.You will head out at dawn to observe the Colorado Macaw Clay Lick, an amazing spectacle. Later you explore the Floodplain Trail to see prototypical rain forest with immense trees, criss-crossed by creeks and ponds, where you will look for squirrel, brown capuchin, and spider monkeys and peccaries. Later visit the Pond Platform, a tiny pond with a platform in the middle just ten minutes upriver from the lodge - 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 there will be a Macaw Project Lecture giving an in depth look at the biology of macaws and their feeding habits.
Day 8 Another full day in the jungle. In the morning you follow the Terra Firme Trail for an an entirely different habitat - smaller, thinner trees atop hills and slopes, looking especially for tamarin monkeys. After lunch you walk the Palm Swamp Trail seeing the remains of an oxbow lake and aguaje palms, an important food source in the rainforest. In the evening an optional trip to spot caiman by the light of flashlights to catch the red gleam reflecting from their eyes.
Day 9 A last day in the jungle. In the morning you will follow the Creek Trail for a different kind of Terra Firme jungle to see some different types of forest and ecology. Later you will take a cruise on the river to savour the full atmosphere of the jungle at twilight and to see one of the world’s most spectacular sunsets.
Day 10 A very early start to retrace your journey upriver to Puerto Maldonado and to the airport in time to catch a flight to Cuzco. In Cuzco you will met and taken to your hotel in the lovely San Blas district. Later you will be taken on the 'locals guide to Cuzco' tour of town, a short walking tour which is a great way to get your bearings and also help you get used to the altitude. The beautiful historic centre was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 with Inca and colonial architecture evident all around. Later in the day your guide will give you a full briefing for your continuing adventures.
Day 11 Today you will have an introduction the birds of the Andean region with a trip to Lake Huarcarpay not far from Cuzco. Here you may birdwatch and take a walk around this pretty lake. Huarcarpay lake is a protected natural area, including important wetlands and offering great biodiversity. The lake provides a habitat for almost 60 resident avian species and is also a significant resting ground for many migratory birds. After lunch you will visit a typical Andean polyepsis forest where you will have the opportunity to see more endemic birds.
Day 12 Always a highlight of any visit to Peru, today you will travel to Machu Picchu by train, followed by an overnight stay in Machu Picchu Pueblo (the town below the ruins). On arrival at the station you take the short bus ride up to the ruins where you will have an extensive walking tour with a full explanation of its fascinating history as well as plenty of time to explore on your own and fully enjoy the stunning location. Later you will go back down to Machu Picchu town and to your pleasant hotel.
Day 13 After breakfast at your hotel you will hike to the Mandor waterfall, a beautiful three to four hour gentle round trip. This was the site of Hiram Bingham’s original base camp and boasts an orchid garden as well as allowing for possible sightings of some exotic cloud-forest birds including Peru's national bird, the brightly coloured Cock of the Rock. Later you will return to the station and take the train back to the sacred valley where transport will transfer you back to Cuzco. (You could end your trip here with a flight out of Cuzco next day, Day 14, to make this a 15 day trip, arriving the UK on Day 15)
Day 14 Today you will be transferred to the aiport either to fly home or to fly to Arequipa to visit Colca Canyon. On arrival in Arequipa you will be met and drive 3 hours (160 kms) to the Colca Canyon where you check in to your hotel and may visit the hot springs - the Colca Lodge is the only hotel in Colca with its own private hot springs.
Day 15 Early in the morning you will visit the Cruz del Condor viewpoint above the canyon where, as long as conditions are favourable, you will see some of the resident condors cruising the thermals created by the deep gorge where they nest. After lunch you may visit nearby pre-Inca ruins and Yanque village with its pretty town square and church and an interesting museum with exhibits on the unique history and local culture of the area. You might also seek out some of the local textiles unique to this region. You will also have time to soak in the hot springs or try out the spa facillities at your lodge.
Days 16-17 Today you will drive back to Arequipa and fly to Lima for your international flight home.

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