DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN LIMA
Once you touch down in Lima, you’ll be met at the airport by an English-speaking representative who will accompany you to the family-friendly Hotel. Since most flights from the U.S. arrive late in the evening and your next flight to Puerto Maldonado will leave early the next morning, it makes sense to stay nearby. That way, you all can get a good night’s sleep and wake up rested and ready for Amazon exploring.
DAY2: LIMA - TAMBOPATA JUNGLE - REFUGIO AMAZONAS
In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport where you will board your internal flight to Puerto Maldonado for the start of your unforgettable family vacation.
Transfer Airport to Puerto Maldonado Headquarters Upon arrival from Lima, we will welcome you at the airport and drive you ten minutes to our Puerto Maldonado headquarters. While enjoying your first taste of the forest in our gardens we will ask you to pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest at our safe deposit. This helps us keep the boats and cargo light. Transfer Pto Maldonado Headquarters to Tambopata River Port Skirting Puerto Maldonado, we drive 20 kilometers to the Tambopata River Port, entering the Native Community of Infierno. The port is a communal business.
Transfer Boat - Tambopata River Port to Refugio Amazonas The two and a half hour boat ride from the Tambopata Port to Refugio Amazonas will take us past the Community of Infierno and the Tambopata National Reserve´s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit. Boxed Lunch.
Orientation Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips. Dinner.
Caiman Search 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.
Overnight in Refugio Amazonas.guinea pig) and caimans.
DAY 3: REFUGIO AMAZONAS
Breakfast. Oxbow Lake Visit We will paddle around the lake on a canoe or a catamaran, looking for lakeside wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman and hornerd screamers, hoping to see the otters which are infrequently seen here. You will also be rewarded with overhead sightings of macaws. Lunch Canopy Tower A thirty minute walk from Refugio Amazonas leads to the 25 meter scaffolding 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 canopy flocks as well as toucans, macaws and raptors are likely. Lunch Farm Visit Five minutes downriver from the lodge lies a farm owned and managed by charismatic Don Manuel from the neighbouring community of Condenado. He grows a variety of popular and unknown Amazon crops - just about every plant and tree you see serves a purpose. Ethnobotanical Tour Along this trail we will find a variety of plants and trees that are used by the local population with at least the same variety of purposes. We will learn about the medicinal (and other) uses of Ajo-Sacha, Yuca de Venado, Uña de Gato, Charcot-Sacha, Para-Para, among several others.. Dinner Tambopata National Reserve Lectures Nightly lectures prepared by the staff of Refugio Amazonas cover conservation threats, opportunities and projects in the Tambopata National Reserve. Overnight in Refugio Amazonas
DAY 4: REFUGIO AMAZONAS
Breakfast. Parrot Clay Lick A fifteen minute boat ride and sixty minute walk from Refugio Amazonas is a clay lick used both by parrots and parakeets. From a blind you will see parrots and parakeets descend on most clear days to ingest the clay on a bank. Species such as Dusky headed and Cobalt winged Parakeet descend at this clay lick. With luck we will also see some or all of the following species in the early morning rush: Mealy and Yellow-crowned Amazons, Blue-headed Pionus, Severe macaw and Orange-cheeled (Barraband`s) Parrot. We visit the lick at dawn, when parrots are most active or in midmorning or early afternoon, when they are active. Lunch Brazil Nut Trail and Camp A few minutes hike from the lodge is a beautiful old growth patch of Brazil Nut forest that 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. Mammal Clay Lick Twenty minutes walking from Refugio Amazonas is a peccary clay lick. These wild rain forest pigs show up in herds of five to twenty individuals to eat clay in the late morning. Chances of spotting them are around 15%, but well worth the short hike. Other wildlife also shows up including deer, guan and parakeets. Dinner Night walk You will have the option of hiking out at night, when most of the mammals are active but difficult to see. Easier to find are frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories. Overnight in Refugio Amazonas
DAY 5: REFUGIO AMAZONAS - PUERTO MALDONADO - CUSCO
Breakfast.Transfer Boat - Refugio Amazonas to Tambopata River Port. Transfer Tambopata River Port to Pto Maldonado Headquarters. Transfer Puerto Maldonado Headquarters to Airport We retrace our river and road journey back to Puerto Maldonado, our office and the airport. Depending on airline schedules, this may require dawn departures.
Upon arrival in Cusco, you’ll be met by a host who will take you and your family to the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba River. Just 45 minutes from Cusco, this tranquil, idyllic valley is a pastoral wonderland bestrewn with Inca ruins and peaceful villages, something for everyone to enjoy. It’s also a few thousand feet lower than Cusco, making it an ideal spot to acclimatize.
En route to the valley, stop at the Living Museum of Awana Kancha, which makes a compelling destination for Peru family tours. Here, you can pet and feed llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas; watch weaving and dying demonstrations; and perhaps pick up a colorful garment or two for yourself and the kids.
DAY 6: SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS
Today, you’ll explore the village of Pisac and its Inca archaeological complex. Start at the old Inca citadel, which sits high up on a mountain spur, some 1,900 feet above the town. Wander around the site and look for the Sun Temple in the Intihuatana Zone, which contains a “hitching post” believed to be symbolically tied to the sun, ensuring the world’s source of light doesn’t go rogue as it journeys across the sky. Also of note are the Inca crosses, whose design has a special significance: the three “steps” of the cross are said to represent the three worlds of the Quechua people as well as the values that they live their lives by.
Amble around the ancient sites and admire the views over the agricultural terraces, which wrap gracefully around the slopes. Afterward, you’ll have ample time to wander around the village too. Though usually sleepy, the town springs to life on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays when a market pulls in crowds. Browse the bright geometric textiles and handmade crafts (ceramics, silver, tapestries, costume jewelry etc.) and buy them directly from the artisans who created them.
DAY 7: MACHU PICHU
For many families, today will be the day you’ve long been waiting for – it’s time to see Machu Picchu!
After an early breakfast at your stylish hotel, you’ll be brought to the train station where you’ll settle in for a ride up to Aguas Calientes. There, you’ll begin your fully-guided private tour of Machu Picchu. Bring your camera to take a family photo with the mist-wreathed Inca citadel as your backdrop, perched on its verdant cloud-level plateau, high up above the winding Urubamba River.
A guide will show you around the site as you admire the superb Inca craftsmanship. Though it is undoubtedly the most famous Inca site, surprisingly little is known about its significance to the Incas. This mysterious citadel is not mentioned in any Spanish chronicles, and archaeologists can only speculate about its function. The fine quality and finesses of its stonework has led many to assume that it may have been used as a ceremonial center.
After a complete overview of the site with your guide, pause for lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge. Refueled and reenergized, you are then free to continue exploring either independently with your family or – if you wish – to continue your customized tour of Peru’s most famous attraction.
DAY 8: MACHU PICCHU - CUSCO
Today is yours to enjoy Machu Picchu at your family´s leisure. Having spent the evening nearby, you’ll beat the crowds of Cusco day-trippers to the site so you can enjoy it while it’s still relatively quiet. For the high-energy families, consider embarking on one of the numerous short hikes in the area. Among the most popular treks here is Huayna Picchu, the pyramidal peak that sits behind Machu Picchu. If you or your adventure-hungry teens want to tackle this route, you’ll have to decide in advance as entry is ticketed and will need to be purchased along with the Machu Picchu entrance. Only 400 people are allowed access each day – half of whom begin the climb at 7 a.m. and the other half at 10 a.m. Otherwise, you can simply carve a path of your own and find a serene spot to reflect on the majesty of this mountaintop citadel.
In the afternoon, ride the scenic Vistadome train back to Cusco. Alight at Poroy station, where you and your family will be met by a host and taken to your hotel of choice.
DAY 9: CUSCO
For the Incas, Cusco was the “navel of the world” and the capital of their entire empire. Nowadays, it is probably Peru’s most attractive and storied city, and its fascinating blend of ancient and colonial history mixed with a dynamic, contemporary culture leaves most visitors smitten.
A guide will pick you up from your hotel at a pre-arranged time and you’ll set off on a fully private walking tour of Peru’s treasured city. Examine the exhibits of the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, which will help you understand Peruvian culture, before soaking up the laid-back atmosphere of the bohemian San Blas neighborhood – a gathering spot for Cusco’s artistic community. During your guided city tour, you’ll also enter the Church of San Blas, whose simple adobe shell hides an intricate, cedar wood pulpit, created by Quechua carver Juan Tomas Tuyro Tupaq more than four centuries ago.
Afterwards, follow your guide down Hatun Rumiyoc passageway where you can inspect the impressively put-together walls, whose mortarless stones slot together perfectly. From here, follow your guide to Qorikancha, also known as the Temple of the Sun, the main religious center of the Inca sun cult. The temple was destroyed by the Spanish who built an elaborate colonial convent on the site, but the original foundations remain, and are some of the best Inca stonework in the city. Next, enjoy a spot of shopping at the local San Pedro market. After that, you’ll have a free afternoon to explore Cusco at your leisure, before retiring to your stylish and family-friendly hotel.
DAY 10: CUSCO - LIMA
This morning, you’ll be brought to the airport for an internal flight to Lima. In Lima, make the most of your free time by exploring the park-filled Miraflores district, before being transferred to Jorge Chavez Airport for your international flight back home.
Like the sound of this Amazon and Machu Picchu family tour? Get in touch with Pacha Peru and we’ll start devising your very own customized Peru private travel experience.
The REFUGIO AMAZONAS Lodge mentioned in this itinerary is one of several jungle lodges in the Tambopata area that we can offer. The exact itinerary will vary depending on the lodge chosen and time of year.