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'Peru Nature Explorer'

What makes this trip special?

Rubber barons, fish and feathers

Rubber barons, fish and feathers

Iquitos

An extraordinary, quirky, chance-ridden, magical city of nearly half a million people completely inaccessible by road. Enormous wealth came very quickly in the rubber boom, then evaporated. Now Iquitos is the heart of a huge area of Amazon forest, a hub for forest communities who bring extraordinariness in return for the things we call ordinary.

Deep in the forest

Deep in the forest

Mayuna Lodge

One of our favourite Amazon lodges. Mayuna Lodge is a small carefully-run lodge about 3 hours upriver from Iquitos just before the wonderful Pacaya-Samiria reserve. Skilled local guides take you into the forest by day and by night to see an enormous variety of birds and wildlife.

Centre of the Incan world

Centre of the Incan world

Cusco

A hugely atmospheric city, steeped in its Incan past, with so much to explore. Fine temples of intricate stonework, narrow lanes running to wide plazas, vibrant traditional cultures, busy markets, lively arts, bustling restaurants, with the Andes on all sides. One of the world's great travel destinations.

Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

The Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley was heaven on Earth for the Incas. You can easily see why. A lush steep-sided valley wih a wide floor brought alive by the Urubamba river tumbling through its fields and pastures. Great for country walks, striding out on the highlands above, exploring some very very fine Incan ruins, and shopping in local markets. Hearty food, sparklingly clean air - it's the kind of place you might feel you could live in some day.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Absolutely unmissable. One of the most world's evocative sites, an Incan sanctuary beautifully set among seemingly impenetrable mountains, lost for centuries. Approach it by the Inca Trail, or by rail. Truly wonderful.

Mega-diversity

Mega-diversity

Manu National Park

Manu National Park is among the world's most pristine and undisturbed areas of rainforest. It protects a huge area with UNESCO status with 'a biodiversity that exceeds that of any other place on Earth'. Inner regions of the park, well away from the area open to visitors, are home to uncontacted tribes.

Macaw clay lick

Macaw clay lick

Manu Wildlife Centre

The Blanquillo Macaw Clay Lick offers one of the world's great wildlife spectacles as hundreds of parrots and macaws congregate in squawking fluttering throngs waiting their turn to drop on to cliffs of mineral-rich clay to aid their digestion of forest fruits.

Tapirs in the night

Tapirs in the night

Manu Wildlife Centre

One of the strangest wildlife encounters. As darkness falls you trek into the forest for an hour to an isolated spot where discrete viewing platforms look over a clay lick often used by tapirs. If your luck is in, these wonderful beasts arrive for long sessions of intent munching. A jaguar crossed the trail ahead of us on the night we were there.

Monkey madness

Monkey madness

Manu Wildlife Centre

The area around Manu Wildlife Centre is especially good for monkeys. 14 species have so far been recorded in the national park and you can expect to see several of these on excusrions from the wildlife centre. Apart from plentiful black spider monkeys and cappuchins, crane your neck for several tamarins, including Emperor Tamarin, plus howler, woolly and squirrel monkey species.

Life on the Madre de Dios

Life on the Madre de Dios

Lake Sandoval Lodge

A short boat ride down the iconic Madre de Dios river from Puerto Maldonado, Lake Sandoval is a peaceful oxbow lake set back from the main river. The lodge is set on the far shore, and is large, comfortable and well-tended. There are excellent excursions into the forest and around the lake - where you’re likely to see families of giant otter fishing and playing.

Itinerary map for Peru 'Peru Nature Explorer' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Designer's notes

The wonderful trip into Manu is a moderately rugged group expedition which runs on fixed dates, and this affects when the itinerary would start. The Manu trip usually runs weekly between April and October, and monthly at other times.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Peru Nature Explorer'

DAY 1

Lima

You are met on arrival at Lima airport after your international flight, and transferred to the nearby airport hotel.

DAY 2
B

Iquitos

Morning flight to Iquitos, capital of Peru's northern Amazon where you are met by your guide. Your first stop is the nearby Manatee Rescue Centre where conservationists rear orphaned manatees for reintroduction to the wild. In the centre of Iquitos you have a short walking tour including the riverside promenade where ornate buildings with crumbling façades face the Amazon. There is a small museum of Amazon indigenous cultures, and a restored river steamer from the rubber boom era.

DAY 3
BLD

Muyuna Lodge (Pacaya-Samiria region)

Off to the jungle! You are collected from your hotel for a briefing at Mayuna’s base in Iquitos, to be fitted with rubber boots, and to store luggage you won't need. At their dock you board their covered river launch that will buzz you and other guests upstream for 3 hours to Mayuna Lodge, your base for 3 nights. You arrive in time for lunch and an afternoon nature expedition with an English-speaking resident naturalist guide. Expeditions into the forest are either on foot or by boat according to the weather and the water level. A special package for birders is possible; be sure to let us know in advance if you would like this.

DAY 4
BLD

Two full days of nature expeditions on foot or by boat into the forest. Extra night walks or boat trips are included if conditions are suitable.

DAY 5
BLD

Two full days of nature expeditions on foot or by boat into the forest. Extra night walks or boat trips are included if conditions are suitable.

DAY 6
BL

A final expedition in the morning, then after lunch, you are take by river launch back to Iquitos, arriving at dusk. You are taken to your hotel. Perhaps take an evening stroll along the waterfront promenade, visit craft stalls, and choose a local restaurant.

DAY 7
B

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

Morning flight to Cusco via Lima, arriving in the mid afternoon. You are met and transferred directly to your lodge in the Sacred Valley, your base for 2 nights.

DAY 8
B

Free day to relax in the flower-filled grounds of your hotel. We can add sightseeing tours or walks in and around the Sacred Valley should you wish, at additional cost.

DAY 9
B

Machu Picchu

Early this morning you board the train for the iconic ride into the Vilcabamba to the small town of Machu Picchu Pueblo, where you take a bus up to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, high in its mountain fastness. A guided tour of the citadel is included, which should be quieter at this time of day. You return by train in the late afternoon to be met and transferred to your hotel in the heart of Cusco’s historic quarter for a 2 night stay.

DAY 10
B

Cusco

Today is free for you to explore the cobbled plazas, museums and churches in Cusco, stopping lunchtime for the briefing meeting with the group for your Manu trip, usually held convivially at the Cross Keys pub.

DAY 11
BLD

Manu

With your group you make the descent into the Manu cloud forest described in day 1 of the ‘Complete Manu Biosphere Experience’. Night at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge or the nearby comfortable Paradise Lodge.

DAY 12
BLD

Travelling onwards as described in Day 2 of the ‘Complete Manu Biosphere Experience’ but continuing direct to the Manu Wildlife Centre Lodge, your base for 3 nights. You arrive in the late afternoon, perhaps with time for a short forest walk with your guide.

DAY 13
BLD

Early start for the Blanquillo Macaw Clay Lick, a real highlight as flocks of macaws and parrots assemble. In the afternoon you might walk to the canopy tower or along the quiet trails looking for primates like Emperor and Weddel's Saddle-backed Tamarins–the rare Goeldi's Monkey is a possibility.

DAY 14
BLD

A full day to explore the forest and trails around the lodge. You'll look out for Gray's Bald-faced Saki–a rare monkey of the terra firme forest occasionally seen here, and the common Black Spider Monkey and capuchins. A visit to Cocha Blanco is an option, an old ox-bow lake with a family of Giant Otters, and the bizarre Hoatzin. From forest trails look for manakin leks with males performing dances, and walk to one of the centre's blinds at a large mammal lick where guans and forest parakeets and parrotlets come for clay. There is also an opportunity to visit the lick after dark for mammals. Tapirs, the largest South American land mammal are frequent visitors. There is a specially constructed blind, kitted out with mosquito nets and futons for the wait.

DAY 15
BLD

Lake Sandoval Lodge

With an early start, you begin a varied journey from Manu to Lake Sandoval. By boat along the Madre de Dios (with lots to look for along the river) to the rickety gold rush town of Boca Colorado on the far bank, then by local taxi for an hour, by ferry across the Inambari river, and by road to Puerto Maldonado airport. Joining up with other guests flying from Cusco you are taken to the lodge's HQ in town to re-pack and store any luggage not needed in the jungle. You are driven to a dock and travel by covered river launch to the entrance of Sandoval Lake Reserve (30min), where you cross to the oxbow lake to be gently paddled on a 2-canoe catamaran to the lodge, your base for 2 nights. You should arrive in time for a late lunch. When the heat of the afternoon has subsided you set out by boat to explore the entire west end of the lake. Red-Bellied Macaws are seen and heard as they return to the palm forest for the night, with roosting flocks of 500-800 not uncommon. At nightfall you look for the rare black caiman. After dinner, bug enthusiasts may like to check the black light nearby which attracts moths, beetles and praying mantis.

DAY 16
BLD

An early start to be paddled on the calm waters of Lake Sandoval at dawn, the best time to see Giant Otters at their most active, catching and eating fish. You return to the lodge for breakfast and a forest walk, stopping at a Brazil nut tree to hear its story. In the afternoon you explore the eastern section of the lake which is home to 5 species of monkey. After dinner there will be a night walk in the forest or caiman-spotting by boat.

DAY 17
B

Lima

A last trip on Sandoval Lake to reach the Madre de Dios for your boat back to a dock at Puerto Maldonado (35min) and onwards by minibus to the airport. Fly to Lima via Cusco, to be met and driven to your hotel in the pleasantly busy Miraflores district.

DAY 18
B

Paracas, Ballestas Is and Nazca Lines

You are collected from your hotel by your private driver for the 3½h drive to Paracas for 2 nights, passing through coastal desert parallel to the Pacific. To see the Nazca Lines you stop en route at Ica to take a sightseeing flight, which we would need to book for you well in advance. You arrive at your hotel in Paracas in time to relax by the pool or stroll along the shoreline. There are great options for seafood during your time here.

DAY 19
B

A morning boat trip to see the Ballestas Islands, Peru’s Little Galapagos, arriving back in Paracas around 11am. After lunch your guide takes you into the Paracas National Reserve, a very dry, very pristine, coastal desert. The rest of the day is free.

DAY 20
B

Morning free at your hotel. Later you are helped safely aboard the comfortable express bus to Lima (4h) where you are met off the bus and driven to the airport (1h) in time for late evening international flights home (or to your hotel in Lima if staying longer)

DAY 21

Guide prices for 'Peru Nature Explorer'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide price 2 people sharing £4,995
Prices are per person and include:
  • all transport within Peru inc domestic flights (Lima-Iquitos-Lima-Cusco-Puerto Maldonado-Lima)
  • all accommodation with private bathrooms
  • meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
  • excursions as described led by English speaking local naturalist guides and shared with other guests/participants
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • airport and departure taxes

Customer reviews for 'Peru Nature Explorer'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average

Seasonal information for 'Peru Nature Explorer'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Peru Nature Explorer'

Day 1

Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport

Lima

A good quality, funtional international style 130 room hotel at the airport. Very convenient for positioning nights in Lima the Costa del Sol saves the hassle of facing Lima's traffic, and is located directly opposite the terminal building. Rooms have cable TV, A/C or heating, safety deposit box, mini-bar and hair drier. Further facilities include a small indoor swimming pool and free Wi-FI, whilst it also has a restaurant open 05.00-10.00 and 12.00-23.00h, a gym, business centre and spa.

Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport
Hotel exterior
Day 2

Casa Morey

Iquitos

Set in a former rubber baron's grand mansion the hotel has 14 huge, airy bedroom suites, with high ceilings, private bathrooms, a/c, wifi, cable TV and elegant public rooms. Positioned in a fairly quiet location on the pedestranised malecon, the hotel is wonderfully located. The hotel seems part museum with a décor of botanical prints, historical photos, steam boat memorabilia that hark back to city's heyday, plus an elegant library filled with natural history books. The hotel is a functional base rather than a comfortable experience. There is also a small swimming pool.

Casa Morey
Exterior
Days 3 - 5

Muyuna Lodge

Up river from Iquitos (3h)

This nature focused Eco lodge is a 3hr journey by speedboat SE from Iquitos, very close to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. This is a remote region of 10 chain lakes and primary forest which is home to the rare Wattled Curassow, The Piuri, The Rufus-necked Puffbird and Black-tailed Antbird.

Resident English-speaking bird guide: Moses

Rooms are on stilts with private balconies fitted with hammocks and white tiled private bathrooms. No glass in windows- just netting. Lighting is by kerosene lamps.

There are no communications to the outside world except by emergency radio (no cellular, no electricity). In the afternoon a small generator is used to charge camera and lap top batteries.

Rooms are surrounded by mosquito netting around walls and roof so guests feel protected from insects and snakes.

Guests stay on a full board basis, everything is included except beer, fizzy drinks and tips.

In a 3-night stay it is possible to record as many as 380 species of birds, five species of monkey, Victoria Regia - the largest aquatic plants in the world, pink river dolphin.

Weather: It is hot and humid with mosquitoes all year round (no yellow fever, no malaria). There is rain throughout the year. It is unpredictable but rarely lasts for hours and the higher the intensity, the faster it passes.

April - June: water levels rise and canoes are used, pink dolphin can be seen swimming in front of the cabins

July - Sep: water levels lowest with white sandy beaches - good for fishing (catch and release Peacock Bass) and picnicking, no snakes, least number of insects.

Wildlife viewing is all year round, the same species are seen but their activities are different.

Muyuna Lodge
Cabins
Day 6

Casa Morey

Iquitos

Set in a former rubber baron's grand mansion the hotel has 14 huge, airy bedroom suites, with high ceilings, private bathrooms, a/c, wifi, cable TV and elegant public rooms. Positioned in a fairly quiet location on the pedestranised malecon, the hotel is wonderfully located. The hotel seems part museum with a décor of botanical prints, historical photos, steam boat memorabilia that hark back to city's heyday, plus an elegant library filled with natural history books. The hotel is a functional base rather than a comfortable experience. There is also a small swimming pool.

Casa Morey
Exterior
Days 7 - 8

San Agustin Monasterio de la Recoleta

Sacred Valley

The San Agustin Monasterio de la Recoleta Hotel is a beautifully renovated monastery originally built in the 17th Century and located in Urubamba in the Sacred Valley, nearby the main visitor sites of Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Maras and Moray. The hotel has attractive gardens and 32 rooms set around their internal courtyard. Bedrooms are equipped with cable TVs, safety deposit boxes, heaters whilst there is Wi-Fi in the public areas of the hotel. There is also a restaurant and bar on site should guests wish to eat at the hotel.

San Agustin Monasterio de la Recoleta
Outside
Days 9 - 10

Costa del Sol Ramada Hotel Picoaga

Cusco
rating

Average rating 5.0 (1 ratings)

The Hotel Costa del Sol is housed in a restored colonial-era mansion with an interior cobbled courtyard dating back to the 17th century.  The hotel has 90 rooms in total, which are divided between a colonial wing and rooms in a more modern building.

All rooms have WiFi access, cable TV, direct dial telephones, safety deposit box and a mini bar.

Costa del Sol Ramada Hotel Picoaga
Inner Courtyard
Day 11

Cock of Rock Lodge

Manu

Situated in the Manu Cloudforest, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, Cock of the Rock Lodge is in the Kosnipata Valley in its own 12,500 acre reserve, close by to the Cusco-Shintuya Highway.

All 12 bungalows are on stilts with private bathrooms and glass windows.  

There is no electricity in the rooms, but candles are provided for lighting.  A generator is in the dining room, where you can charge batteries etc. from 6-9pm.

Remember to pack a torch (best to pack two).

Cock of Rock Lodge
Bungalow
Days 12 - 14

Manu Wildlife Centre

Madre de Dios river

The very well run Manu Wildlife Centre (MWC) lodge comprises 22 bungalows each with en suite bathroom, (curtain for bathroom door) flush toilet and hot water, whilst there is a turndown service of mosquito nets in the evenings. There is no electricty but a generator provides power at noon and evenings for charging batteries in the communal lounge. It exudes a great "sense of place" you feel you are staying in a special, remote location and the guides keep guests busy on the trails maximising their natural history experiences.

  

There are 30 miles of forest trails surrounding the centre through both terra firma and transitional flood plain forest. Here you can search for the 10 species of resident monkeys, including Black Spider Monkey, Emperor Tamarin and Monk Saki. For birders over 560 species of birds have been recorded here. There are two canopy platforms which offer tree-top vantage points and there is a tapir lick with a hide.

 

It is 2 hrs by boat from Boca Manu landing strip and the Center supports the preservation of a 50-square-mile private, pristine rainforest reserve. It is staffed principally by members of local communities, and there are usually resident researchers and scientists who are happy to discuss their work on site. There is Wi-Fi in some parts of the lodge, but this can be unreliable due to the remote location.

 

Bring your own wellington boots (these can be purchased in Cusco or at a village en route to Manu) and there is a policy of taking outdoor shoes off before entering the communal living/dining room.

Manu Wildlife Centre
Bungalow
Days 15 - 16

Sandoval Lake Lodge

Tambopata

On the banks of a protected oxbow lake, Sandoval Lake Lodge has 25 rooms in total, situated in 2 blocks.  All have hot-water showers and fans. Electricity is provided by a generator three times per day: from 5:00 to 6:00 am, from noon to 4:00 pm and from 17:30 to 22:30 pm. Resident naturalist guides lead lake excursions by day in search of Giant Otters, monkeys, and macaws, forest excursions,with  night excursions in search of caimans, and evening slide shows. The lodge is jointly owned by a non-profit conservation group and five families of indigenous Brazil nut collectors.

 

Note: visitors must walk in on a 2-mile (3.2km) easy trail to reach the Oxbow lake from where you are paddled by boat across half the lake to the lodge.

Sandoval Lake Lodge
Cabin exteriors
Day 17

Sonesta Hotel El Olivar

Lima
rating

Average rating 5.0 (4 ratings)

Located in Lima's business district of San Isidro, the hotel's clientele is mainly businessmen but due to its close proximity to Parque El Olivar, Sonesta Hotel can be a good option for tourists too. All of the 134 rooms are well equipped with air conditioning, a TV, wifi, a mini bar and a hair dryer. The suites enjoy views of the Parque El Olivar which is located just across the road from the hotel and can be good for some early morning birding. There is a roof top pool with ample sun loungers as well as a fitness centre. El Olivar Restaurant and Bar serves a selection of Peruvian dishes and international cuisine.

Sonesta Hotel El Olivar
Pool area
Days 18 - 19

La Hacienda

Paracas

La Hacienda Bahia Paracas is a lovely choice for those seeking peace and tranquility. Set on the waterfront, La Hacienda is a situated on Paracas Bay, close to the Ballestas Islands. Facilities at the Hotel include a Spa, Restaurant (specialising in seafood), a lounge room, bar, café and large outdoor swimming pool. The suites have a private terrace with direct access into the swimming pool. Please note that although the sea is calm here, you cannot swim in it due to the number of jelly fish and sting rays in the waters.

La Hacienda
Outside of the hotel & swimming pool