Peru Adventure: Travel: From Vilcabamba to Machu Picchu, then onwards to the Manu Reserve for an Amazon jungle expedition. This exciting two week itinerary takes you from the high altitude trek of Vilcabamba; through to the lower lands of the Amazon jungle for an exploratory expedition of the Manu Reserve.
The Cordillera Vilcabamba is a mountain range; which houses a range of both historical and natural attractions of great importance to the development of Andean civilisation. We have to consider that this cordillera served as a refuge to the last rebel Inkas fleeing the invasion; led by Manqo Inka II for about forty years. Geography, flora, fauna and a rich history take us on an adventure through a remote region of the southern Andes; which motivates us to arrive at the legendary Machu Picchu.
Manu Reserve National Park: This trip is designed for the adventurous whilst also allowing you to see the best of the reserve wildlife.
Manu is divided into three zones:
The cultural zone is home to several native communities of Yine and Matsiguenka people who have initiated tourism projects. When visiting the park; chances to see wildlife are highest in the reserved tourism zone but wildlife experiences are also available in the cultural zone. This zone is the only place where you will be able to visit native communities; many of which still follow their traditional ways of life, such as hunter-gatherer traditions.
Breakfast x 14
Lunch x 10
Dinner x 10
Private Transport – collection & drop-off
Professional bilingual guide
High Mountain Cook
Horsemen & mules
All camping equipment (Sleeping bags to hire + Trekking poles)
Entrance to Machu Picchu & return trip bus tickets to Aguas Calientes
Accommodation in Aguas Calientes x 1 night
Train tickets to Cusco
Accomodation in Cusco/Sacred Valley x 3 nights
Domestic flights from Lima to Cusco (return)
Tips for crew
Any additional extras
|Joining Arrangements||There will be a pre-trek briefing held usually the evening before departure, at your hotel, to go over the details of the trek and any specific requirements not already captured.|
|Food & Water||Prior to setting off we recommend you steer clear of street food and only eat in good restaurants, to avoid any stomach complaints. Likewise with tap water, it is largely untreated, please only consume bottled water only or sterilised water if you have the right equipment.|
|Special Diets||We’ll ensure that we cater for all of your dietary needs, at the point of booking we’ll collect this information from you. We can secure special menu requests also for your trek party.|
|Trekking Crew||We are able to customise our treks to suit you, but usually our treks are guided by a professional bilingual guide, mountain cook, arriero (horseman) and mules to carry all equipment (passenger horses also available on request). They become a large part of your trekking expedition and it’s a great experience working together.|
This is a really important part of your trip planning process, please find a link below which explains a little more about preparing for altitude. Altitude Preparation
|Machu Picchu||An excursion to Machu Picchu is included as part of your trip, including professional bilingual guide, entrance tickets, return trip bus tickets, Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountains (mountain climbs to be confirmed on reservation) & your return train ticket to Cusco. To be confirmed on reservation.|
|Covid-19 (Coronavirus)||We are working with the latest protocols issued by the Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) to ensure our operations are safe and compliant for the future. We also have access to on-call health services for your time with us.|
|Covid-19 (Useful Links)||World Health Organisation | World Health Organisation – Peru | Covid-19 Data – Peru | Covid-19 Daily Statistics|
|Available Discounts||Throughout 2022 we’re offering a 15% discount for each member of a group larger than 4+|
|Reservation||Please contact us to reserve your trek and we will send you our deposit & payment options.|
|Customer Service||Please feel free to contact us at any point before your trip for any queries or problems.|
Head to the Lima airport for your transfer flight to Cusco. After settling in, head out for your day tour of the former capital of the Inca empire, which reigned from the 13th to 16th centuries after conquering the Killke settlement on the same location.
Remember: you will be at 11,000 feet (c. 3,400 m) above sea level, so take it easy and remember to drink lots of water.
Take a walk through the plaza — if the weather is beautiful, it’s a perfect place to sit and have a cup of coca tea while adjusting to the elevation. In the evening, take the opportunity to experience Cusco’s celebrated culinary heritage at a local restaurant.
Today you are free to explore Cusco and the surrounding ancient ruins. Since Cusco was designed by the Incas as a city for walking, start your exploration of the narrow stone alleyways on foot. Suggested activities include:
Visit the Coricancha, also known as “The Temple of the Sun.” The temple was built by the Incan Emperor Pachacutec (1438 – 1572), and after the arrival of the Spaniards became the basis for the construction of the Santo Domingo Convent.
See the Cathedral, the most imposing monument in the central Plaza de Armas and a repository for Cusco’s colonial art. Its construction lasted for almost 100 years, beginning in 1560 and ending in 1654.
Walk to Sacsayhuamán and next-door Quenqo, both archaeological complexes used mostly for religious and agricultural rituals, located 2.5 miles (4 km) from the city of Cusco. Built by the Killke people, Sacsayhuamán is a marvel of ancient architecture, a monolithic fortress built from giant blocks of stone, the origins and assembly of which remain a mystery.
Discover the elaborate Puca Pucara ruins—an architectural complex of alleged military use with multiple plazas, baths, aqueducts, walls, and towers. It is believed that the entourage of the Incan emperor used it while he stayed at Tambomachay, the elaborate estate and baths nearby.
Explore San Blas, an old bohemian quarter famous for its picturesque white walls, blue doors, and creative artisan community.
Experience the legendary Mercado Central de San Pedro, a large and diverse market famous for its mouth-watering juices, home-style meals, medicinal herb stalls, and rows of various meats, loaves of bread, vegetables, and other necessities.
Eat lunch at a local Peruvian restaurant and sample local flavors and cooking techniques—crackling pork, pickled vegetables, seasonal flavors, bread baked in earthen ovens, roasted vegetables, and sweet donuts make for a delicious and filling meal.
You’ll leave very early in the morning, taking the road to the Sacred Valley of the Inkas. Passing the town of Ollantaytambo, you’ll head towards the Abra Málaga (mountain pass) which you cross, and then descend through the Puna towards the high jungle. At this ecological level the principal activity is agriculture, mainly products such as tea, coca, coffee, cacao and fruits; and you’ll see the crops.
Our first stop is at the archaeological site of Huamanmarca, where there is an important Usnu or ritual platform and a precinct with four double jamb doorways facing the four cardinal points. Continuing to the settlement of Santa María, where you can rest for a few minutes, to then continue on to Huancacalle, the village where we will leave our motorized transport.
The journey is long; but the reward is the solitude you enjoy as tourism is not very developed in this area. Here we meet our arrieros (mule-handlers) and mules which will accompany us on our walk. Lunch time. After a short break, beginning your walk to visit the Rosaspata – Vitcos sector of the Vilcabamba Archaeological Park, including a tour of the famous Ñusta Hispana. It is suspected that the tomb of the rebel leader Manco Inka II can be found in this area of the Vilcabamba cordillera. You’ll also see the famous white rock.
By dusk arriving back at Huancacalle, which will be your campsite, where you’ll enjoy dinner and rest.
Meals included: Lunch, Dinner
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Taking the path which climbs to the Yanacocha mountain pass, you’ll find a forest of native trees (Qeuña y Kiswar) at over 4500 masl. At the pass itself, you can enjoy a view of the Yanacocha lake, and then begin your walk to the Mojon pass, the last high pass on this trek. The landscape of the Puna reminds us of how far you are from civilisation.
Descending through the Mutuypata ravine, where you’ll have lunch, and after a rest continuing to the valley of the Saqsarayoq river which you’ll cross to reach Soroycocha, where camp will be setup.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Resuming your walk downhill through a spectacular native forest, towards the town of Yanatile. Continuing from here to the beautiful mountain town of Santa Teresa. Here you can take transport to the train station at the Hidroelectrica (hydro-electric plant), where you’ll board the train that will take you to the town of Aguas Calientes. Or you can continue walking to Aguas Calientes, depending on the progress you make through the day. Overnight in a hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast
At sunrise, taking the bus to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, where you will have the chance to climb up to the summit of Huayna Picchu, from where the view is spectacular; Inti Punku (the sun-gate) and the archaeological complex itself. The length of the tour will depend, afterward the train will take you back to the town of Ollantaytambo, where our transport will await us to take us back to Cusco.
Meals included: Breakfast
From Cusco you’ll be driven through Paucartambo (stopping here to explore and some lunch) to Pilcopata. This is the route from Cusco to Pilcopata by private vehicle. Overnight in Pilcopata, in readiness for the Ayahuasca ceremony.
Then from Pilcopata you’ll take a private boat with your own guide & crew – travelling along the Madre de Dios river, passing through to Boca Manu. Along the way you’ll pass native communities (stopping off to visit the Diamante Community) and the abundant wildlife that exists here. The Madre de Dios is a vast and impressive environment, not many travel this route with their own guide.
Continuing from Boca Manu arriving to Maquisapayoc. Maquisapayoc, located deep in the Amazon, is one of the most biodiverse regions in Peru. Trek out from your lodge in this remote outpost to spot monkeys, alligators, toucans, tapirs and more, then by night listen to the deafening cacophony of the jungle. With your guide you’ll explore this natural environment and discover species & zones of the jungle that are unique to this region.
Day here to explore the region, visit reserves & communities.
Travelling by private river boat further into the reserve you’ll pass through to Boca Colorado. From Boca Colorado you’ll then take private transport to Puerto Carlos, then from here another river boat down to Puerto Maldonado. On arrival in Puerto Maldonado, we’ll transfer you to the airport for a connecting flight to Cusco airport.
Explore: Ollantaytambo Ruins & Yucay Day Hike After an early breakfast, you can leave your hotel and walk around the Inca Fortress and ceremonial site of Ollantaytambo, marveling at these extraordinarily well-preserved ruins. Set around a tranquil plaza, renowned for its peaceful charm. The little-altered layout of the town offers an unprecedented peek into the way of life of its past peoples, the Incas. Even the street names are the original one from ancient times. Late morning we drive to the temple of Sayri Tupac. At one time in history, Yucay was the resting place for the royal Inca family. The trail follows a wide channel stream coming from the snowcapped mountain of San Juan. Immersed in nature, with the sound of running water and the views of the valley from the top of the terraces will be one of the highlights of our journey. After about 2 hours the trail finishes at the other plaza of Yucay. This is where our private transportation will be waiting for us to drive us back to our hotel in Ollantaytambo.
Maras & Moray After an early breakfast, you’ll leave our hotel in Cusco for your adventure. This full-day experience begins at Cruz Pata, a community located on the lagoon of Piuray that belongs to the town of Chinchero. You’ll go to the archaeological site of Moray, a former agricultural laboratory used to experiment with different varieties of native potatoes. You’ll be able to see unique views of the Vilcanota Mountain Range like the Chicon, the Pumahuanca, and the Wakay Willca Mountains. The Maras village is an agricultural town whose inhabitants are mainly engaged in the extraction of salt. After a rest and a picnic lunch in the nearby town of Maras, you’ll continue along the paths leading down to the salt mines.
Duration: 5-6 hours Location: Pampa de Anta and Maras, Cruz Pata, Moray, Salineras de Maras Level: Basic and Medium Experience Best Season: Dry season: from April to November Rainy season: From December to March
Via Ferrata, Ziplining, & Train to Aguas Calientes Today is an adventurous day full of unexpected views and fun challenges. This morning you will be picked up early to begin your journey to the Sacred Valley. You will arrive in Pachar where you will start by climbing 1,312 ft (400 m) up the side of the cliff on the via ferrata—a series of metal steps built into the wall. From the top, descend into the valley on a series of exhilarating zip-line rides. You will then have lunch at the Skylodge Adventure Suite while enjoying the beautiful views of the Sacred Valley. After lunch, you will descend the mountain by ziplining or rappelling your way down before arriving safely at the valley floor far below you.
Today you’ll take a domestic flight from Cusco to Lima for onward international departure. It’s never goodbye, only until the next time!
I have traveled to many parts of the world, however this was my first trip to Peru. My goal was to visit Machu Picchu and see as many remote Peru sights as time allows. James was excellent. He understood exactly what I was looking for and made it a reality. Peru has all the elements of adventure tourism: Friendly and open culture, unique natural beauty, uncrowded remote areas, ancient archeological sights, night life, also good infrastructure that makes it easy to access the remote areas. Thanks to James I was able to experience the best Peru has to offer. Whether you are looking for a main stream tour, or a unique custom trip James has the rare combination of experience, attention to detail, and passion that will make your adventure the best experience it can be.
A Very Happy Traveler