Peru: Amazon Conservation Adventure


A special journey to Peru, this trip combines volunteering at a conservation and wildlife shelter for exotic species in the Amazon with a stay at an Amazon eco-lodge and an exploration of Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machupicchu.

Day 1: Arrive Lima
Overnight: Second Home or Casa Andina Private Collection

You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel.

Day 2: Lima – Puerto Maldonado – Amazon Shelter
Overnight Amazon Shelter

Transfer to Lima airport to take a morning flight to Puerto Maldonado, from where you will be transferred to the Amazon Shelter. The first half of this 45-minute trip takes you across the relatively new developments in Puerto Maldonado, and the second half is along almost the entire Tambopata Ecotourism Corridor. Motorcars are the local means of transport in the Peruvian Amazon.

Upon arrival, you’ll receive an introductory tour through the Amazon Shelter and get to know the animals of the Center and its different working areas.

Enjoy lunch at the Amazon Shelter before starting your afternoon activity of preparation of diets and feeding of the animals. The diet for the animals is prepared on a daily basis and varies depending on the species. In some cases, specific doses of medicine will have to be added.  You will learn about this process on your first day.  Depending on the weekday, there may also be a visit to the market to do some weekly shopping.

After dinner, there will be a talk on the Center’s work, its activities, rescue operations, and awareness-raising campaigns at schools and institutes in Puerto Maldonado, as well as about the challenges of leading such an initiative.

Day 3: Amazon Shelter
Overnight Amazon Shelter

After breakfast, you will again dedicate your morning to the diet preparation and feeding of animals at the shelter.

Your afternoon today will be focused on another very important activity at the shelter -- the cleaning of enclosures. The areas where animals are kept are cleaned and disinfected once a week.

Tonight enjoy your second and last dinner at the shelter.

Day 4: Amazon Shelter – Refugio Amazonas
Overnight: Refugio Amazonas 

This morning, you’ll leave the Tambopata Ecotourism Corridor behind and make your way to Rainforest Expeditions’ headquarters in Puerto Maldonado.  Pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest in safe deposit. This will help us keep the boats and cargo light.

From there, skirting Puerto Maldonado, drive 20 kilometers to the Tambopata River Port, entering the native community of Infierno. The port is a communal business. The two and a half hour boat ride from the Tambopata Port to Refugio Amazonas will take us past the Tambopata National Reserve´s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit.

Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and provide a briefing about important navigation and security tips.

A twenty-minute walk from Refugios Amazonas leads to 30-meters of scaffolding, which is the canopy tower. A bannistered staircase running through the middle provides safe access to the platforms above. From atop you’ll have spectacular views of the vast expanses of standing forest cut by the Tambopata River winding through the middle. Now and then, toucans, parrots, or macaws can be seen flying against the horizon, or flocks will land in the treetop next to you.

After dinner at the lodge, enjoy a presentation on the Infierno ecotourism project, available every night from a staff member.

Day 5: Refugio Amazonas  - Baltimore Community
Overnight: El Gato

After breakfast, you will start an oxbow lake visit. You’ll have the chance to paddle around the lake on a canoe or a catamaran, looking for lakeside wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman, and hornerd screamers. You may also be rewarded with overhead sightings of macaws.

In late morning, prepare to leave Refugio Amazonas. An hour and a half boat ride will take you to Baltimore, during which we may enjoy our boxed lunch.

Upon arrival, the family that lives here will welcome you and brief us with important navigation and security tips for your stay with them.

The house is located on the right hand side of the Tambopata River by the mouth of the stream El Gato. From this place, it is possible to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the area. The principle activities that allow the subsistence of the Ramirez family are fishing and agriculture. The El Gato stream provides a large variety of fish such as sabalo, paco, doncella, sardina and piranas, amongst others, which are popular among sport fishermen. The farm also provides a great variety of local fruits including citrus fruits, avocados, huaba, sapote, caimito, araza, copoazu, star fruit, casharana, coconut, bananas, anona, papaya, yucca, and more. The family also produces coffee, rice, and Brazil nuts. The stream is a great place to practice canoeing and swimming, and there is also a small waterfall a short walk away.

The Ramirez family posseses 45 hectares of land and has implemented a trail system that allows the observation of a great variety of flora. Notable species include the tree species Lapuna and Shihuahuaco (Ironwood) well known for their ecological importance, but also for the important role that they play in Amazonian myths and legends. These trails also lead to small mammal clay licks and small, hidden, bird clay licks on the bank of the stream, where a group of scientists from Biosphere Expeditions have carried out investigations that have led them to report that 14 different bird species (particularly psitacids) visit the clay lick regularly.

Later today, you will experiment with working on the farm and enjoy the flavors of exotic fruits and other local products, discovering the richness of the Amazonian soils and the process of organic production.

Tonight enjoy dinner at your homestay.

Day 6: Baltimore Community – Refugio Amazonas
Overnight: Refugio Amazonas

After breakfast, get ready for a half-day of fishing at Quebrada El Gato.

Enjoy lunch with the Ramirez family at the homestay, and then take a fifty-minute boat ride back to Refugio Amazonas Lodge.

A short hike from the lodge is a beautiful old growth patch of Brazil nut forest that has been harvested for decades. This afternoon you’ll have a chance to learn about the whole process of the rainforest's only sustainably-harvested product from collection through transportation to drying.

Day 7: Refugio Amazonas – Puerto Maldonado – Cusco / Walking tour
Overnight: Casa san Blas

After breakfast, leave Refugio Amazonas by boat and travel to the Tambopata River Port. Pick up any luggage left at Tambopata Headquarters, and then drive to the airport to board your flight to Cusco, where upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel.

In the afternoon, visit the legendary Koricancha -- the most important temple devoted to worshiping the sun deity and whose walls were once plated with sheets of gold. Continue to the Plaza de Armas to visit the Cathedral, and end your tour in San Blas -- the bohemian quarter of the city, home to the workshops and stores of the most renowned artisans in Cuzco, including Mendivil and Merida.

Day 8: CuscoSacred Valley
Sol y Luna 

This morning, start your scenic drive to the Sacred Valley, visiting the archaeological site of Sacsayhuamán on the way. The Sacred Valley, at a lower elevation than Cusco, enjoys a mild climate and offers visitors a chance to acclimatize to the region in a less physically-demanding environment. Surrounded by varied and dramatic landscapes, it has become a prime destination in Peru. Visit the Pisaq archaeological site and its colorful market. Enjoy lunch at Casa Hacienda Orihuela -- a private residence with an impressive collection of Inca and colonial art and artifacts, where the Lambarri-Orihuela family will be your hosts. In the afternoon, visit Ollantaytambo – a still-thriving Inca village set below an ancient Inca fortress and temple with stunning views over the valley that makes us feel as if we have stepped back into the 15th century.

Once back at your hotel and before dinner, you’ll have the chance to participate in a very special ceremony of sound and traditional offerings to Mother Earth. Such ceremonies have been practiced for centuries and are still alive today. This ceremony evokes the spirit of healing; included in this ritual are many sacred medicines such as Palo Santo, Tayta Sayri, Mama Coca, Agua Florida, Condor Feathers, Grandfather Puma, Essences and Incenses. Many pre-hispanic instruments are used that have no musical register written. To feel how the power of sound becomes a collective prayer that creates healing frequencies, come with an open heart.

Day 9: Sacred Valley – Machupicchu                                                      
Overnight Machupicchu Pueblo Hotel

Early this morning, board the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas.” Visit the sacred Inca citadel, exploring its main temples and hidden corners. If you choose, you can also visit the fabulous Inca Bridge or climb Huayna Picchu (reservation required in advance as there are only 400 spaces available per day), offering impressive views over Machupicchu.

Enjoy a delicious buffet lunch at the Machupicchu Sanctuary Lodge’s restaurant facing the Inca citadel, before taking a bus to the town of Aguas Calientes where you’ll be accommodated in a lovely hotel.

Day 10 : Machupicchu – Cusco – Lima

On your last morning, return to Cusco on the Vistadome train, and arrive midday. From here, fly to Lima. Upon arrival, you’ll be accommodated at the Costa Ramada Airport Hotel for convenient day-use before your international flight back home.

If time allows, we suggest taking one of the following half-day tours (additional to the program):

  • City tour in Lima: visiting the historical center, the Plaza de Armas and the San Francisco Monastery.
  • Half day museum tour: visiting the fascinating Larco Herrera Museum which houses the most extensive collection of Pre-Columbian art in the country, including fine examples of textiles, pottery and gold and silver pieces set with semiprecious stones.

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