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Africa Safaris  Africa 

From the Inca Empire to the Peruvian Amazon

11 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: First Class

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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 welcome dinner at one of Lima’s finest historic mansions, CASA GARCIA ALVARADO. Hosted by the home’s owner and your Tour Director, toast to the exciting start of your vacation with your fellow traveling companions. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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, get up close and personal with llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos to 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 an Andean-style dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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 a 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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. (Breakfast, Lunch)

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 food inspired by Peru’s eclectic mix of cultures. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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, transfer to the Aria, 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 meeting. 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 5-star cuisine prepared by one of Peru’s top 10 chefs! Savor ingenious dishes created from fresh local fruits, fish, spices, and other local products, and toast your incredible adventure with a glass of fine South American wine. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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 launches that will take you right up close to the Yacapana Isles, the “Isle of the Iguana.” You’ll quickly understand the name as you spot the many resident reptiles that call this area home. You may also have the chance to do a little piranha fishing with your expert Naturalist. Return to your ship to freshen up, relax, and enjoy lunch. Then, right before dusk, get your camera ready for the rare chance to photograph gray and pink freshwater dolphins...but you better beware! Legend says they can magically transform and abduct handsome men and pretty women. As night falls over the jungle, the search is on for caiman, frogs, and a variety of nocturnal wildlife. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9 Cruising: Peruvian Amazon
This morning, enjoy a leisurely morning of breakfast and cruising before heading ashore with your Naturalist to investigate the area’s amazing flora and fauna, like the bald uakari monkeys, squirrel monkeys, sloths, and numerous bird species. Return to your ship for lunch and time to relax, then head back out on the river to seek out more of the region’s rare pink dolphins, as well as a variety of birdlife, including the colorful and rambunctious macaw. If you choose, you can stay out after dark to search for more of the nocturnal creatures. Back on board your ship, enjoy a delightful dinner and maybe a cocktail on the top deck as you socialize with your travel companions and discuss the day’s sightings. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10 Cruising (Disembarkation)–Iquitos–Lima
This morning, your ship cruises along the edges of the vast PACAYA-SAMIRIA RESERVE, a 5-million-acre flooded forest. Under serenade of early morning birdsong, board a skiff to see one of the true highlights of your trip: sunrise at the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers, birthplace of the mighty Amazon. Along the way, watch for falcons, terns, tanagers, sandpipers, parakeets, parrots, and a variety of other bird species. Next, travel by skiff to visit a native VILLAGE, where you’ll meet the local Indians and learn about their culture, traditions, and folklore. Back on board your ship, enjoy a final farewell lunch before disembarking. En route to the airport, stop at the MANATEE RESCUE CENTER, where your visit will teach you about the endangered Amazon manatees and conservationists’ efforts to help them. Return to Iquitos for your flight to Lima. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 11 Lima
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Cruise: 3-night cruise in an outside stateroom cruising the Amazon River aboard the Aria; Pacaya Samiria Reserve; guided sightseeing each day with a local Naturalist
  • Lima: sightseeing with a Local Guide; visit San Francisco Monastery and Larco Herrara Museum; welcome dinner at Casa Garcia Alvarado
  • Lima–Cusco–Sacred Valley: fly to Cusco; visit Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Awanakancha, and Pisac; dinner and Peruvian Paso Horse Show
  • Sacred Valley–Machu Picchu: visit Ollantaytambo and an Incan home, Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes; sightseeing of Machu Picchu with a Local Guide
  • Machu Picchu–Cusco: second included entrance to Machu Picchu; return train trip
  • Cusco: sightseeing with a Local Guide; visit Santo Domingo Monastery and the Cathedral
  • Cruising the Peruvian Amazon: Naturalist-guided walks and panga rides in search of wildlife; nocturnal panga cruise
  • Iquitos–Lima: Naturalist-guided panga ride; native village visit; visit the Manatee Rescue Center; fly to Lima
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 Aria. Enjoy fine wine, haute 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. Wonderful scenery, historical treasures, learning opportunities, and so much more—all are available on this thrilling trip to Peru!

  • American breakfast daily, 6 lunches including a farewell lunch on board the Aria, 7 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.
  • Unwind in the Jacuzzi.
  • Air-conditioning throughout.
  • Open seating for all meals.
  • International, award-winning Peruvian cuisine.
  • Access to a resident physician.
  • Eight passenger skiffs forflora and fauna viewing.
  • Stargazing Program.
  • Maintain your routine in the exercise room.
  • Complimentary regional wines at meals.
  • Remarkable service.
  • English-speaking crew.
  • Radio and satellite communications.
  • Included shore excursions with Local Naturalist.
Accommodations on this Tour
Lima; Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores (D)
Sacred Valley: Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley (SF)
Machu Picchu: Sumaq Hotel (MD)
Cusco: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco (F)
Peruvian Amazon Cruise Standard cabin onboard the Aria
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra Nights per person in Lima:
in single room $177; in twin room $92; in triple room $86

Cruise pricing is based on cabins on the first deck. Upgrades to the second deck are available. Please call for prices.
  • Maximum elevation on tour: 11,200 ft.
  • Intra-vacation air is not included in the price.
  • 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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