With Isabelle Alvarez, Resource Person and Tour Conductor
JULY 11 – 28, 2012
Peru is well known for its Andean Cordillera and the legacy of the Incas, the latter being well represented by its renowned and well visited lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. However, we ignore too often that Peru is more than that since a large part of its territory lies within the Amazon basin rainforest east of the Andes.
This 18 day educational journey is intended mainly to make you discover this amazing rainforest of Peru by taking you to the Manu Biosphere Reserve, located in the Amazon Basin of southeastern Peru. This biosphere, also a World Heritage Site, with over 1,8 million ha., and extending from the Puna of the highlands at13,000ft to the lowland tropical rainforest at 666ft, is one of the jewels of Peru. It has an international reputation especially amongst the scientific community since it holds one of the world’s highest levels of biodiversity, including 13 species of monkeys and approximately 1000 species of birds, both being world records.
Since the Incas could not live apart from the rainforest to which they made several expeditions to enlarge and protecttheir realm and gain access to products from other ecological zones, we cannot travel to the rainforest without first visiting the highlands and the legacy of the Incas and that of the Spanish conquistadors who also explored the rainforest of Manu. We will then visit Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and a World Heritage Site, the Sacred Valley of the Incas with the impressive fortress of Ollantaytambo and the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, also a World Heritage Site. The group will visit one or two local projects, most likely projects involving children.
A short visit to Lima will serve as an introduction to our journey.
Goal and Philosophy of the Trip
Through this dual environmental and cultural exposure, this journey’s ultimate goal is to make us reflect on our lives, on our connection to the rest of the world and on our footprint on the environment as well as the actions we can take to reduce it. Hence, the group will be encouraged to engage in evening conversations as often as possible to share their impressions and concerns, and to discuss topics related to the areas visited, the environment and communities.
Sustainability and education are the leading drivers of this journey in which, as responsible travelers, we will observecodes of conduct and guidelines in order to minimize our negative impact on the environment and maximize our positive contribution to local communities. When organizing this trip, we carefully chose the services of hotels and other businesses that are as environmentally and socially responsible as possible.
This trip was designed by Isabelle Alvarez, the Resource Person and Tour Conductor for this trip. Her two partners, Worldwide Ecotours, http://www.worldwideecolodges.com/wp/tours-and-expedition-planning/, and InkaNatura Travel, www.inkanatura.com/aboutus_inkanatura.asp, were chosen because of their commitment to sustainability and conservation.
Highlights of the Trip
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Lima center, Cusco, Machu Picchu and Manu Biosphere Reserve.
- Protected Areas: Machu Picchu National Historical Sanctuary, Manu Biosphere Reserve (the largest tropical rainforest biosphere reserve in the world , holding one of the highest levels of biodiversity
- Rainforest communities belonging to different ethnolinguistic groups (Machiguenga, Amarakaeri, Huachipaeri and Yine)
- Andean Quechua linguistic group, especially in Cusco, Pissac, Ollantaytambo and Paucartambo
- The Amazon rainforest with its meandering rivers and primary and secondary forests, and its living creatures
- The beautiful and colorful macaws and parrots, as well as the outstanding national bird of Peru, the Andean cock-of-the-rock.
Who This Tour is For
This tour is for participants who:
- Are mainly adults (no age limit). Youth are welcome but it depends on the child, on his/her experience travelling, and if he/she is comfortable being with a group of adults. Youth must be accompanied by adults.
- Are in reasonably good health and somewhat physically active.
- Have an interest in sustainability, conservation, and local cultures.
- Have a spirit of adventure and a passion for the outdoors.
- Speak English, Spanish or French. The Resource Person and Tour Conductor is trilingual and the local guides are bilingual (English-Spanish) and sometimes speak French too.
Itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
Travel from Calgary to Lima.
We have one day to explore Lima. Our tour will include the Huallamarca huaca in San Isidro, the Museo de la Nación, central historical Lima with its Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the Monasterio de San Francisco, the Iglesia de Santo Domingo and the Plaza San Martín, and finally Miraflores with its Parque del Amor. (B, L, D)
Travel from Lima to Cusco. The group will have a free and easy afternoon to adjust to the high elevation (just above 11000ft). This will be the perfect occasion for the group to have a taste of Peruvian culture by savoring the mate de coca or coca leaf tea, a natural remedy highly recommended to alleviate altitude sickness. In the evening we will meet to discuss the program for the next five days. (B,D)
We will spend the day strolling the streets of Cusco and visiting: the Qorikancha (temple of the sun), the Plaza de Armas with its Cathedral and many surrounding churches, the neighborhood of San Blas and its Museo Inka, and finally the Plaza de San Francisco and its nearby Central Market. (B, L)
Today´s excursion will take us to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. On the way we will stop at the ruins of Saksayhuaman. Then we will head down to the valley where we will visit colonial Pisac with its colourful food and craft market as well as art and craft galleries. We will stop in Urubamba for lunch before heading to Ollantaytambo with its narrow cobblestone streets and massive Inca fortress above. We will spend the night in Ollantaytambo. On this day we will visit a local school. (B, L, D).
We take an early train to Aguas Calientes where a bus will take us up to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. We will spend the rest of the day at the sanctuary. (B, L, D)
After a quick morning tour of Aguas Calientes, we will take the train back to Cusco. Afternoon at leisure in Cusco. (B)
We leave the Andean highlands to begin our 8-day journey to the Manu Biosphere Reserve and surroundings in the rainforest of southeastern Peru. On this first day the road takes us in a few hours from the Puna or tropical alpine grassland to the Yungas or cloud forest, where we will find our first lodge. We will pass several Quechua Andean communities, including Paucartambo. We will also stop at Oropesa (famous for making local bread), the Chullpas of Ninamarca (some pre-Inca burial tombs), and at a cloud forest research station where an amazing canopy walkway awaits us. (B, L, D)
Early morning we will go for a walk in search of the outstanding cock-of the-rocks, Peru´s national bird. Then we will continue our journey down through the cloud forest to finally reach the lowland rainforest. En route we will stop in Patria and Pillcopata, two rural communities of settlers. In Patria we will visit a coca plantation. In Pillcopata, we will meet with some of the members of Huacaria, a rainforest native community of Machiguengas. Then we will continue on to Atalaya where we will board our dugout motorized canoes that will take us downstream on the Alto Madre de Dios River to our lodge located in Manu Biosphere Reserve. On route we will stop in Shintuya where we will meet with its native people. We will arrive at our rainforest lodge before dusk (B, L, D)
Pantiacolla Lodge, at the base of the Pantiacolla Mountains, is set in a beautiful rainforest of bluffs overlooking the turbulent Alto Madre de Dios. Its 900 ha. of land offer miles of trails traversing a variety of habitats. Our activities during the three days at the lodge will include: day and night guided walks; going to a macaw lick; great opportunities at all times to observe the so many species of wildlife that inhabit the highly diverse forests of Manu, including howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, brown capuchin monkeys, peccaries, deer, agouti, birds and many others; fishing; bathing in the nearby hot springs; and relaxing on the beach or simply on the hammocks hanging outside our rooms. We will also engage in evening discussions to share our impressions and if possible we will meet with special guests from nearby communities. (B, L, D)
Today we resume our downstream boat journey to the Yine Lodge on the banks of the Madre de Dios River. En route we will make two stops. The first one is Diamante, a native community of Yine. We will meet with some of its members who will show us their school, catholic chapel, gardens and craft work. Our second stop will be at Boca Manu, located at the mouth of the Manu River. This is a relatively significant community of settlers where we find a medical station, a school and some basic small stores, bars and restaurants. We will have time to enjoy some refreshments. We will arrive at our lodge before sunset. (B, L, D)
Early in the morning our canoes will take us to Manu Wildlife Center, two hours downstream on the Madre de Dios River, where we will spend the next one and one half days. Although located outside the Manu Biosphere Reserve, the forests of MWC are still highly diverse and scientists often come here to do research. Our activities will include guided walks, going to a forest mammal lick and a river bank parrot and macaw lick, accessing lake floating platforms as well as canopy platforms. All these will give you great opportunities to sight the vast array of wildlife species that inhabit this area amongst which tapirs, deer, black spider monkeys, giant otters, macaws, and curassows. We will also engage in evening discussions to share our impressions and will have time to relax. (B, L, D)
Our dugout canoes will take us on our last river journey downstream to Puerto Maldonado where we will catch our afternoon plane to Cusco. The rest of the day in Cusco will be spent at leisure. (B,L)
This day gives the group the opportunity to do some shopping since Cusco has many places to buy crafts and Alpaca clothing. Those interested can also visit other places of interest in Cusco (e.g., museums), around Cusco (e.g., the salt mines of Maras, and Moray) or one can head back to Sacsayhuaman above the city to take some last great pictures. We will also have our concluding meeting and dinner. (B, D)
Travel from Cusco to Lima where we will catch our flight back to Calgary. (B)
We arrive in Calgary.
Price in CAD$ per person, based on 15 participants and double occupancy: $5,450
- Single room supplement: $1,030
- If you are willing to share your room, we can try to make a roommate match.
- Included: all taxes, all domestic flights (Lima-Cusco-Lima and Puerto Maldonado-Cusco), all surface travel, all transfers, accommodation, all meals as listed in the itinerary, local Peruvian guides, entrances to sites, canopy walkway, visits to local communities and projects and respective donations, accompanying resource person and tour conductor, pre-departure orientation sessions (5 hrs) and trip handbook.
- Not included: international flights, local airport departure taxes, meals not included in the itinerary, travel insurance, tips and local gratuities, alcoholic beverages and personal expenses.
- Price based on: the costs and exchange rate at the time of printing and is subject to change to reflect any changes in hotel rates, entrance fees, airfares, fuel surcharge, currency rates, land costs and others beyond our control. Therefore, there are possibilities of decreases or increases, and any changes will be reflected on the final payment.
For More Information on the Trip Please Contact:
Isabelle Alvarez email@example.com
Ruth MacRae firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 1-403-247-8843 Toll Free: 1-888-788-2378