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Peru Private Expedition

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307
9 Days
Availability : Year Round 2018 & 2019
Cusco - Peru
Cusco - Peru
National Geographic Expeditions
EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Enjoy an early morning at Machu Picchu, then unlock the secrets of these mysterious ruins while exploring with a private guide.
  • Stay in three spectacular National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World: Inkaterra La Casona, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.
  • Attend a private demonstration of traditional Andean wool-dying and weaving—practices recently revived in the Sacred Valley by National Geographic grantee Nilda Callañaupa.
  • Enjoy experiences exclusively reserved for National Geographic travelers, including a chicha-brewing lesson, an architectural tour of a Cusco colonial manor, and a private visit to a spectacled bear rehabilitation center.

 

ITINERARY

Still shrouded in the mysteries of Inca civilization, Peru’s Sacred Valley is a treasure trove of ancient ruins, dramatic landscapes, and Andean villages that still cling to age-old traditions. Starting in magical Cusco, trace the legacy of the Inca all the way to their crowning achievement: the citadel of Machu Picchu. Immerse yourself in this enchanting land, meeting artisans and farmers and getting acquainted with daily life in the Andes. Stay in a historic manor house, go stargazing high in the mountains, and enjoy two full days to explore Machu Picchu and its environs.

 
DAY 1: ARRIVE CUSCO, PERU

Fly via Lima to Cusco, the gateway to Peru’s Inca heartland. Settle into Inkaterra La Casona, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. Enjoy an exclusive architectural tour of this restored 16th-century manor, once home to Simón Bolívar. Take the rest of the day to relax or explore Cusco’s old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Accommodations:This night includes a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge.

Inkaterra La Casona
 
An inconspicuous door in the heart of Cusco’s old town opens into a world of Spanish-colonial splendor at Inkaterra La Casona, an exquisite 16th-century manor house.
DAY 2: CUSCO

Uncover the many layers of Cusco’s vivid history on a private tour of the city. Visit the Iglesia de Santo Domingo and La Catedral—churches that showcase a fusion of pre-Columbian and colonial design. Get introduced to the marvels of Inca architecture at the staggering ruins of Sacsayhuaman, and absorb the vibrancy of Peruvian culture in the Plaza de Armas, the festive central square. In the afternoon, explore this fascinating city further at your leisure.

Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Inkaterra La Casona
 
DAY 3: SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCA

Begin your three-day journey through the Sacred Valley of the Inca. In Awanacancha, learn about the history of llamas and other camelids that call this region home. Test your bargaining skills in the colorful stalls of Pisac’s famous market and visit the studio of an artist who uses ancient Peruvian ceramic techniques. Continue to Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, a Unique Lodge of the World perched on the emerald slopes of the Sacred Valley. This evening, join a naturalist in the lodge’s on-site Chicha House for a hands-on lesson in brewing, chicha de jora, a popular local drink.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:This night includes a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge.

Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
 
From their perch on an emerald Andean slope, the colonial-style estate and casitas of Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba invite you to soak up the spirit of the Sacred Valley, a region still shrouded in the mysteries of the Inca.
DAYS 4-5: SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCA

Follow the Sacred Valley’s most scenic roads, passing through a patchwork of verdant fields set beneath snowcapped peaks. At The Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco, learn about Andean textiles at a private weaving demonstration. Traditional weaving and wool-dying practices have been recently revived thanks to the efforts of National Geographic grantee Nilda Callañaupa, a master weaver native to the valley. See the terraced remains of impressive Inca agriculture systems at Chinchero and Moray. Then visit the white salt mines stacked on the slopes of Maras. The next day, explore the town of Ollantaytambo, where colonial buildings were erected upon the original Inca street plan. This afternoon, learn about everyday life in the Andean village of Patakancha.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch Daily
Accommodations:Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
 
DAY 6: MACHU PICCHU

Make your way to Machu Picchu, the renowned 15th-century Inca citadel rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and excavated with support from the National Geographic Society. Choose to take the scenic train ride from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Pueblo (also known as Aguas Calientes). Or disembark early for an optional trek on the Inca Trail with a private guide (this option must be reserved in advance so that permits can be secured). Hike through lesser known Inca ruins to the famous Sun Gate, where you can take in your first views of Machu Picchu. Your home for the next two nights is Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, a National Geographic Unique Lodge nestled within its own private rain forest reserve just below the citadel. At twilight, stroll through the grounds with a lodge guide to hear the sounds of the cloud forest.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:This night includes a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
 
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is a haven of Andean charm tucked into the tropical forests just beneath the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
DAY 7: MACHU PICCHU

Rise early to catch the early morning light over Machu Picchu. During a tour of the ruins with a private guide, learn about the Inca’s incredible construction feats and day-to-day life in the ancient city. Spend the afternoon immersed in the magic of this mysterious and awe-inspiring site.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
 
DAY 8: MACHU PICCHU/CUSCO

Go on a guided nature walk through the lush grounds of the lodge, where hundreds of orchid, bird, and butterfly species make their home. Join your private guide for a visit to the lodge’s spectacled bear rehabilitation program before traveling back to Cusco, where you have another free afternoon to explore.

Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Inkaterra La Casona
 
DAY 9: LIMA/DEPART

Fly from Cusco to Lima, the capital of Peru. Tour the cathedral and other colonial buildings of the historic center, a World Heritage site, and examine pre-Columbian treasures at the Larco Herrera Museum. This afternoon, transfer back to the airport to catch your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast
 
OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS
  • Extend Your Trip: Amazon Rainforest
Extend Your Trip: Amazon Rainforest

Venture into the wilds of the Peruvian Amazon, discovering the fascinating flora and fauna of this complex ecosystem. Explore the rain forest with private guides and naturalists on foot and by canoe, from high up in the canopy and while floating down the Madre de Dios River. Learn to make chocolate from the bean, and feast on cuisine inspired by the jungle.

OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS
  • Extend Your Trip: Amazon Rainforest
Extend Your Trip: Amazon Rainforest

Venture into the wilds of the Peruvian Amazon, discovering the fascinating flora and fauna of this complex ecosystem. Explore the rain forest with private guides and naturalists on foot and by canoe, from high up in the canopy and while floating down the Madre de Dios River. Learn to make chocolate from the bean, and feast on cuisine inspired by the jungle.

DAY 1: PUERTO MALDONADO/AMAZON RAIN FOREST

Upon arrival in Puerto Maldonado, transfer to the banks of the Madre de Dios River and board a boat bound for Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. Enjoy a delicious buffet lunch, and then join an expert naturalist for a private walk along the nature trails that wind through the property, learning about the plethora of species that inhabit the primary and secondary rain forest. At dusk, cruise the river in a motorized canoe and discover aquatic ecosystems, nocturnal animal behavior, and constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. After your twilight excursion, sit down in the screened-in dining room for a Peruvian meal surrounded by the jungle.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:This night includes a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge.

Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción
 
Sheltered by an intricate forest canopy, the screened-in cabanas of Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción reveal the sights, sounds, and scents of the Amazon Rain Forest.
DAY 2: AMAZON RAIN FOREST

Fuel up at breakfast for a naturalist-led trek into the Tambopata National Reserve. Navigate the mirror-like Lake Sandoval by dugout canoe and watch for endangered giant river otters, blue and yellow macaws, red howler monkeys, black caimans, and other unique wildlife. After lunch back at the lodge, ply the river to the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway Interpretation Center. Climb nearly 100 feet into the canopy and cross the seven hanging bridges that span the treetops. Enjoy breathtaking vistas and incredible wildlife viewings that might include white-throated toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, squirrel monkeys, and three-toed sloths. This evening, venture into the rain forest after dark with an expert guide to track nocturnal creatures, such as frogs and night monkeys.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Inkaterra Hacienda Concepión
 
DAY 3: AMAZON RAIN FOREST

Following an early breakfast, head to a local farm where workers use traditional methods to cultivate native crops, and sample some of its fresh produce. Continue on to the lodge’s botanical garden to discover medicinal plants that grow in the Amazon. Enjoy lunch and some down time before setting out in a dugout canoe on the property’s cocha, or lagoon. Try your hand at catch-and-release fishing using traditional equipment, and watch for unusual birds, including the prehistoric-looking hoazin. Glide by the wreck of the Fitzcarraldo and hear the fascinating story of how Werner Herzog and Mick Jagger ended up in this wilderness, filming a movie about an infamous 19th-century rubber baron and his ill-fated steamboat.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Inkaterra Hacienda Concepión
 
DAY 4: AMAZON RAIN FOREST

On a private excursion, learn how edible seeds are collected using traditional tools and techniques, and sample fresh Brazil nuts. This afternoon you’ll be treated to an experience exclusively for National Geographic travelers. Take a private tour of the lodge’s cacao plantation to hear how the beans are cultivated, and get a chance to make raw chocolate and cacao bread, a local delicacy. This evening, watch animals flock to one of the area’s famous clay licks, observing them through specially designed blinds that allow for wildlife viewing without disrupting the environment.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Inkaterra Hacienda Concepión
 
DAY 5: AMAZON RAIN FOREST/CUSCO/DEPART

Enjoy one last breakfast in the jungle before returning to Puerto Maldonado by motorized canoe. Before taking flight, stop by the Inkaterra Butterfly House—a large butterfly garden that flutters colorfully with many of the 1,250-some species found in the region. Fly home via Cusco.

Meals Included:Breakfast
 
WHAT TO EXPECT

This trip has an activity rating of light/moderate and suits a range of interests and abilities. Travelers should be physically fit and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods, navigating uneven or steep terrain, and climbing stairs without handrails. Excursions include city walking tours, visits to archaeological sites, and moderate hikes, with options for more strenuous hikes. You will be traveling at high elevations throughout the expedition: Cusco is at an altitude of 11,200 feet, the Sacred Valley is at 9,200 feet, and Machu Picchu is at 8,000 feet.

Accommodations
Throughout the expedition, you’ll stay in accommodations selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character, including three members of the National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World collection: Inkaterra La Casona, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.

Expedition Team
Top private guides will accompany you throughout the trip, and local experts will meet with you along the way as described in the itinerary.

 
ACCOMMODATIONS

Inkaterra La Casona – Cusco, Peru

An inconspicuous door in the heart of Cusco’s old town opens into a world of Spanish-colonial splendor at the 16th-century Inkaterra La Casona, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. This meticulously restored heritage property holds 11 hacienda-style suites opening to a traditional arcaded courtyard, a restaurant serving traditional Peruvian dishes, lounge area surrounding a stone fireplace, and spa offering treatments infused with local botanicals.

Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba – Sacred Valley of the Inca, Peru

From their perch on an emerald Andean slope, the colonial-style estate and casitas of Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, invite you to soak up the spirit of the Sacred Valley. The lodge features a spacious lounge and dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows, 10-acre organic garden, wine cave, and a terrace holding oversized chairs and cozy blankets. Accommodations incorporate elements of traditional Andean and Spanish colonial design and offer panoramic views of the surroundings mountains.

ABOUT PRIVATE EXPEDITIONS

National Geographic Private Expeditions are specially crafted itineraries designed for independent travelers that combine guided excursions, fascinating insights into culture and wildlife, and top accommodations. These trips are designed to fit into your schedule. You choose your desired departure date, and we’ll make all the arrangements.

 
 
SEASONALITY

This expedition is available year-round.

WHAT’S INCLUDED
  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Accommodation in deluxe hotels and lodges chosen for location, comfort, and local character. In more remote geographies accommodations may be best available
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
  • Flights to/from the designated start/end points
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Optional activities
  • Meals on your own
  • Gratuities
Via Travel & Cruising
Via Travel & Cruising
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