Peru’s most important Inca and Colonial sites are uniquely combined with our stylish cruise deep into the Peruvian Amazon. Delight in our signature land touring, expertly guided with never more than 16 guests. and a 4-night cruise aboard the intimate 16-suite Aria Amazon.
Day 1 - Welcome to Lima
On arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the stylish Hotel B in Barranco, one of the city’s liveliest and most charming districts.
Day 2 - Explore Lima #WHS#
After breakfast, join our engaging resident guide to explore the city, starting at Casa Aliaga. Distinguished by its authentic period details and fine collection of antique furnishings, art and artifacts, this is the oldest inhabited residence in the Americas. It was built by one of Pizarro’s captains and still occupied by his descendents after 500 years. At the highly regarded Larco Museum, you’ll discover a superb collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, the perfect introduction to the Inca sites you’ll explore in the coming days. This evening, we’ve arranged for you to dine overlooking Huaca Pucllana, a sacred pyramid of the 4th century. Meals B+D
Day 3- Fly to Cuzco + Travel into the Sacred Valley
This morning, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Cuzco, the ancient capital of the once vast and mighty Inca Empire. On arrival, meet our Andean guide for a tour of the city including the Cathedral and other Colonial landmarks that grace the Plaza de Armas. Then descend into the Sacred Valley to visit Awanacancha to see llamas and alpacas and to learn about ancient weaving techniques that are still used throughout the Peruvian highlands. Continue to the charming town of Pisac, set in the shadow of a mountaintop Inca fortress and home to a colorful market. End your day at the luxurious Belmond Rio Sagrado in the heart of the scenic Sacred Valley. Meals B+L
Day 4 - The Sacred Valley
After breakfast, today’s sightseeing begins as you ascend to the monumental fortress of Ollantaytambo, Inca-built with enormous stones and so strategically positioned that it was successfully defended against the Spanish in 1537. In the shadow of the citadel, the timeless community of Ollantaytambo looks today much as it did centuries ago with its simple grid of cobblestone streets, perfectly constructed stone walls and ancient canals.
Then sit down to a delightful farm-to-table lunch at Hacienda Huayoccari, a 17th-century estate that’s been home to the Orihuela family for over 100 years. In the afternoon, enjoy our specially arranged pottery workshop in the studio of famed ceramicist Pablo Seminario. Meals B+L
Day 5 - Discover the Lost City of the Inca #WHS#
A 2-day visit to Machu Picchu begins with a scenic rail journey through the Urubamba River Valley, a captivating region of snow-capped Andean peaks, quiet villages and terraced fields that have been cultivated since ancient times. On arrival in the town of Aguas Calientes, you’ll board a coach for the 30-minute ride up the switchback mountain road that brings you to the entrance of Machu Picchu #WHS#. Explore the fabled Lost City as our engaging guide expertly sheds light on the once-mighty Inca Empire and their extraordinary achievements. Tonight, you’ll be one of the privileged few to stay at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel here on the mountaintop adjacent to Machu Picchu. Meals B+L+D
Day 6 - Sunrise at Machu Picchu + Back to Cuzco
You’ll want to arise early to take advantage of our lodge’s one-of-a-kind setting. As the only hotel next to Machu Picchu, you can be among the first to enter the site this morning. At this early hour, the day-visitors from Cuzco and the Sacred Valley have yet to arrive and even those who spent the night in the town below will still be making the 30-minute ascent. With fewer people and the soft light of morning just breaking over the mountain peaks, this early-morning visit to Machu Picchu is one of the most memorable travel experiences you will ever have. On your return rail journey to Cuzco, you’ll stop in Chincheros, a small community known for the skill of its weavers. Arriving in Cuzco, you’ll be escorted to the luxurious Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, where oxygenated rooms promise comfort at the high elevation. Meals B+L
Day 7 - Ancient Sites + Daily Life in Cuzco #WHS#
This morning’s sightseeing begins in the hills outside of town where you’ll explore the remarkable ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Built in the 1400’s by the Inca Emperor Pachacútec, the massive limestone blocks of this ancient site were cut with such precision that they fit together without mortar like the interlocking pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Back in town at the lively San Pedro Market, our in-the-know guide will offer insight into some of the age-old traditions that still endure here in the high Andes. Finish your sightseeing with a guided tour of the Cathedral, one of several Colonial-era landmarks that grace the Plaza de Armas. The rest of this day is free to enjoy as you wish. Meals B
Day 8 – Fly to Iquitos + Embark Our Amazon Cruise
After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Iquitos. Upon arrival in this lively river port, you’ll continue overland to Nauta where you’ll enjoy your first Amazon adventure – a guided boat excursion here in the headwaters of South America’s mightiest river. At 5:00, step aboard the stylish Aria Amazon and settle in to your spacious outside suite. Meet our onboard naturalists for an introductory briefing and then sit down to a delightful dinner as our Amazon voyage gets underway. Meals B+L+D
Please Note… Over the next 3 days, our cruise itinerary will vary between High and Low Water Seasons - as indicated. Throughout the year, our ship’s exact course and each day’s activities will depend upon local conditions. Nightly briefings with our shipboard naturalists will preview the next day’s excursions and activities.
Day 9 – Exploring the Amazon by Land + Water
High Water Season - Nov to May: This morning finds us gliding silently in small skiffs along the Yanallpa River, listening for the calls of birds, monkeys and other wildlife as they begin their day. Yanallpa means “black earth” in the Quechua language and indeed these waters are opaque and nearly black, rich with nutrients from the surrounding rainforest. As conditions allow, you’ll step ashore with our naturalists for a closer look at the unique flora and fauna. After lunch back onboard the Aria, you’ll have time to relax and engage with your fellow travelers and the ship’s naturalists. Later this afternoon, you’ll embark on a guided twilight excursion to search for nocturnal species and to enjoy some spectacular stargazing.
Low Water Season – Jun to Oct: As we set out in our skiffs this morning on the Ucayali River, you’re likely to see local farmers and fishermen going about their daily life; these pristine waters are also home to pink river dolphins and our sharp-eyed naturalists will be on the lookout for these amazing animals. Later this afternoon, you’ll embark on a guided twilight excursion along the Pacaya River to search for nocturnal species and to enjoy some spectacular stargazing.
Day 10 – The Pacaya + Ucayali Rivers
High Water Season - Nov to May: This morning finds the Aria Amazon deep in the heart of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Here in Peru’s largest protected area, we’ll discover a vast wetland reserve filled with dense vegetation, lakes, palm swamps, and streams. In addition, the lush banks of the Pacaya River are home to great egrets, capuchin monkeys and taricaya turtles. After lunch, our guides will show you how the locals fish for paiche; reaching lengths of 7 feet or more, this native Amazon species is among the largest freshwater fishes in the world! On your afternoon excursion along the Ucayali River, you may find your skiff traveling alongside a local boat laden with bananas destined for the market town of Requena. These waters are also home to the remarkable pink river dolphin – so keep your eyes peeled!
Low Water Season – Jun to Oct: Enjoy another day of naturalist-guided discoveries deep in the heart of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Here in Peru’s largest protected area, we’ll find a vast wetland reserve filled with dense vegetation, lakes, palm swamps, and streams – prime habitat for diverse wildlife including great egrets, capuchin monkeys and taricaya turtles. In the afternoon, our guides will show you how the locals fish for paiche; reaching lengths of 7 feet or more, this native Amazon species is among the largest freshwater fishes in the world!
Day 11 – Personalize Your Exploration
During both High and Low Water Seasons, this morning offers a chance to tailor your activities to your personal interests and taste for adventure. Accompanied by our ship’s experienced naturalists, you might go on a nature walk deep into the jungle or venture out by canoe or kayak. Conditions permitting, you might even go for a swim!
In High Water Season from Nov to May, you’ll also enjoy a guided visit to an Amazon village – an exciting opportunity to experience daily life in the Peruvian rainforest.
In Low Water Season from Jun to Oct, you’ll embark on a guided rainforest walk through the pristine San Jose de Sarapanga Forest to see giant water lilies .
This evening before dinner, our ship’s captain will introduce you to some of the crew members who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure a delightful cruise experience for you and your fellow passengers. Meals B+L+D
Day 12 – Iquitos + Manatee Rescue Center + Fly to Lima
After breakfast, disembark in Iquitos and join residents at a local market to experience a slice of daily life - and to see the wide variety of fish and produce sourced from the Amazon. Before heading to the airport for your included flight to Lima, you’ll also visit the San Juan Craft Market and the Manatee Rescue Center, where orphaned manatees are cared for until they can be released into their native river habitats including the Peruvian Amazon and its tributaries. Upon arrival in Lima, our staff will meet you and escort you to your onward flight. Meals B