South America Natural Adventures

nature travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Chile, Peru, Central America and Antarctica



Inti Raymi


Festival of the Sun

with the Amazon

Fly to Peru for a 10-day exploration of the wildlife and Incan culture of Peru. We have crafted this tour to use up just six business days, yet have a surprisingly diverse experience in Peru. By departing from Miami at 11.55pm Friday* and from Lima just after midnight the following Sunday you can spend 8 full days in Peru, including three days exploring the Amazon River and rainforest, a day at Machu Picchu, and a day to explore the spectacular and intricate ruins at Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. In the ancient city of Cusco you experience the spectacular Inti Raymi festival, as well as having time to explore the city itself and enjoy the multi-day celebrations. Your last day is spent visiting the Nazca Lines.


Day 1 – Friday, June 18: Home City / Miami / In Flight*
Fly from your home city to Miami from where you depart on Lan flight 2511 for Lima at 11.55pm. Other gateway cities are also available. (*M)


Day 2 – Saturday, June 19: In Flight/ Lima/Iquitos/ Amazon River/Napo
Arrive in Lima at 4.35am this morning. Pass through immigration and customs, and have breakfast in the new Lima airport – there’s even a Starbucks.) At 8.25am fly across the Andes, arriving in the middle of the Amazon rainforest in the port town of Iquitos, the Peruvian Amazon's largest city, with about 350,000 people in the city and immediate area. Iquitos lies On the bank of the Amazon, yet is over 2000 miles from the river's mouth (and about 1100 miles from its source about 100 miles from Lake Titicaca). While not a particularly attractive town, it does boast a metal building designed by Eiffel and built for the Paris Exhibition. Afterwards it was dismantled and shipped to Iquitos, where it was rebuilt by Iquitos rubber barons - rubber was the original source of the city's wealth. We are met on arrival and transfer to the Explorama dock, for a twenty-five mile journey down the Amazon River to Ceiba Tops where your Amazon adventure begins. From here travel by boat on the Amazon and Napo Rivers to the 250,000 acre Amazon Rainforest Reserve and ExplorNapo Lodge. The rustic lodge with its covered walkways and verandah viewing areas provides for bird and other wildlife sightings from the lodge itself, perhaps with a pisco sour in hand. After settling in take an afternoon hike through primary, terra firme, non-flooding rainforest including a visit to the ReNuPeRu Medicinal Plant Garden adjoining the lodge. This evening take an excursion by open boat along the Sucusari Stream in search of caiman and to enjoy the night sounds and stars of the Southern sky. (*B,L,D)

Day 3 – Sunday, June 20: Napo
Start today with an early morning birding excursion, after which you return for breakfast. Then take a morning hike to the Canopy Walkway, a suspended bridge spanning over 500 meters (one-third of a mile), connected by tree platforms and reaching a height of over 35 meters (115 feet) above the ground. Here there is time to observe a part of the rainforest rarely seen by man but accessible without any type of climbing skill or equipment. Return to the lodge for lunch, and some down time. Later this afternoon take a boating excursion along one of the Napo tributaries spotting for sloths, monkeys, and birds, and having a try at fishing for piranha. Once again this evening enjoy the sights and sounds of the rainforest at night. (*B,L,D)


Day 4 – Monday, June 21: Napo/ /Iquitos/Lima
Time this morning for some early morning exploration by boat or foot. After breakfast there’s a morning excursion to visit some of the local river people called "ribereños" whose houses and schools are seen along the river. They will be pleased to show you their simple way of life dominated by the movements of the mighty rivers that surround them. Have an early lunch and start on your return to civilization by boat on the Amazon and Napo Rivers back to Iquitos, where you transfer to the airport for your flight back across the Andes to Lima. On arrival you are met and transferred to your hotel in Miraflores. This evening there is time to reflect on our Amazon days of exploration, on the mightiest river and greatest rainforest in the world. (B,L)



terraces at ollantaytamboDay 5 - Tuesday, June 22: Lima/Cusco/Ollantaytamboollantaytambo water fountain
Fly to Cusco this morning on Lan flight 73, arriving at 9.40am. You are met and driven to Ollantaytambo, about 1.5 hours away. Overnight at Ollantaytambo. After leaving your bag at the hotel visit the amazing Ollantaytambo ruins with your guide. One of the more interesting features at Ollanto is a fountain that stops and starts with a pass of the hand. When a hand is placed in the flowing water, it stops. Touch the entrance again, and it starts. Easier than the Clapper, and predating touchscreens by half a millenium. Although not as visited as Machu Picchu and Pisac, the Ollanto ruins include some of the most complete dwellings of any in Peru, and the terraces are a commanding presence. As a bonus, the area around the upper ruins is good for seeing the amazingly large Giant Hummingbird. (*M,L,D)

Day 6 – Wednesday, June 23: Ollantaytambo/ Machu Picchu/ Cusco
machu picchu Take an early morning Vistadome train to Machu Picchu; the trip is an hour and twenty minutes. By overnighting in Ollanto and taking an early train you have up to a couple of hours at Machu Picchu before the crowds arrive. Afterviscacha at machu picchu arrival at the Machu Picchu Village (was Aguas Calientes) station take the 20 minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu itself. Your guide takes us through the ruins, explaining its history and culture, for about 2 hours. After that you can continue with the guide, or explore on your own. At 2.30 return down the mountain – about 20 minutes – to Machu Picchu Village, in time for the 3.25pm train to Cusco. The 3.25 is the only train back to Cusco, and so it is longer and more crowded than the one from Ollanto. However, you do get a decent snack and hot tea on board, and there is entertainment as well. At Poroy, the last station before Cusco, get off and transfer to your Cusco hotel. This early departure from the train saves about one hour of the final switchback part of an already long train trip. You arrive back in Cusco about 7pm, where Inti Raymi celebrations will be occurring, especially in the Plaza de Armas, so take the opportunity tonight to wander the ancient, Incan streets of Cusco. (B,L,S)

Day 7 – Thursday, June 24: Cusco and Inti Raymi
Today is the main event of the week-long celebrations around Inti Raymi, and the day Inti Raymi itself. The day begins with the invocation in the square adjacent to the site of Koricancha, the Temple of the Sun, then moves to Sacsayhuaman (make the pronunciation easy by remembering “sexy woman”, you’ll be close enough), with a procession carrying Sapa Inca on his throne, accompanied by high priests and nobleman. After many displays, speeches, prayers and the like, a llama is sacrificed on the royal altar and its heart shown in honor of Pachamama and to ensure fertility. Finally bales of straw are set alight as the sun sets, in ancient times the first fire since the festival started. Over 500 actors take part in this festival marking the winter solstice and the beginning of the new year by recreating the ancient Incan ritual. Fortunately no llamas are killed nowadays, despite the realistic effects. (B,L)

cusco womancusco laneDay 8 – Friday, June 25
Spend this morning and early afternoon exploring Cusco, as the Inti Raymi celebrations spend much of the day at Sacsayhuaman, where you need to be early to get a viewing position, or accompany the procession there, so there is little time to appreciate the other Incan features of Cusco, and the city itself. The city is built on Incan ruins, and everwhere you look you see the remains of these people and their buildings. Hotels, churches, shops and houses all reveal Incan walls as their foundations; others have doors, lintels and other architectural pieces. The craftmanship of the stonemasons continues to amaze. Many of the people also show their lineage to earlier times. This afternoon fly back to Lima and overnight at Miraflores. (B,*S)


Day 9 – Saturday, June 26: Lima/ Ica/ Lima
This morning we travel along the stark desert coast to Ica, about 3.5 hours south of Lima. Near Ica are Peru's famous Nazca Lines, huge geoglyphs created by the Nazca culture about 500 BCE by removing surface rocks to reveal the light colored ground beneath. The symbols are a mix of animal and human figures and geometric shapes. At the small airport you will receive an introduction to the Nazca Lines, then we board our small airplane for a 45 minute flight over the lines, the only way to see and appreciate them. After our return to the airport we visit the Regional Museum, with its collection of artifacts including textiles, pottery, metalware and mummies from the several cultures that have inhabited this area. We'll enjoy lunch, and visit the Huacachina Lagoon, a surprising oasis in this harsh desert landscape. Mid afternoon begin your return to Lima, where we have arranged for you to enter the VIP lounge at the airport for a more comfortable wait.    (B,L)

Day 10 – Sunday, June 27: Lima/ Miami/ Home City

Fly back to Miami at 20 minutes past midnight this morning on Lan flight 2514, arriving in Miami at 5.45am. After passing through immigration and customs connect with your flight to your home city.      (*B)



(B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner; M: Meal; * in flight meal)

* an earlier flight is also available that has you arriving in Peru at 11.30pm for a hotel overnight.