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Amazon Discovery Expedition
March 23 – April 2, 2015
Peru is a land overflowing with natural and man-made treasures, from the cloud-wrapped Andes to the deepest reaches of the Amazon rainforest. While many travelers are lured by the call of Machu Picchu, the truth is the “Lost City of the Incas” is a relatively new attraction in this ancient land, and beyond the marvels of the Sacred Valley, Peru offers a multitude of fascinating natural wonders.
Join National Trust Tours on this Amazon Discovery Expedition that features two nights in Lima before embarking on a luxurious, four-night Amazon river expedition aboard the incomparable Delfin II. A classically-styled riverboat offering the finest service and amenities, the Delfin II is perfectly sized to sail along the upper Amazon, with the entire third deck open for enjoying the passing scenery. Excursions in skiffs are led by experienced guides who are experts at finding and pointing out wildlife, with each trip concluding back on board with cool drinks and cold towels.
Leaving the Amazon behind, venture next to the Sacred Valley, heartland of the Inca Empire. After spending one night in the beautiful valley, continue to Machu Picchu for one night, enjoying a comprehensive tour of the ancient, mountaintop site with a local guide.
A Work of Art on the Water
Offering all the comforts and conveniences of a five-star hotel, gleaming with sustainably harvested woods from local rainforest and decorated with artwork by the ribereños who call these waters home, the Delfin II is a classically-styled riverboat built expressly for delving into the Peruvian Amazon. At 120 feet, she is perfectly sized to sail along the upper Amazon, with her entire third deck open for enjoying the sweeping views of river and rainforest.
Dining On-Board is a Feast for the Senses
Peruvian cuisine has earned a worldwide reputation for its dazzling blend of indigenous Inca, Southern American, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, and African influences. Aboard the Delfin II guests will enjoy an innovative menu of locally-sourced ingredients served up in traditional Peruvian specialties as well as Western favorites. Whenever possible, the culinary team will invite guests to join in hands-on cooking classes to learn about the native fruits and vegetables and help prepare local dishes.
The Ultimate Amazon Safari in Exceptional Style
The days of gracious, colonial-era exploration live again aboard the Delfin II. From the open-air elegance of the Observation Lounge and dining room on the Upper Deck to the panoramic views showcased in every suite and stateroom, the focus is always on the scenery, with friendly and gracious service aiming to ensure maximum relaxation and comfort. Cool drinks and cold towels welcome guests back on board after every guided shore and river excursion, with shoe cleaning offered as well. On board, cultural performances, educational talks, cooking classes and nightly entertainment in the lounge invite guests to do as much or as little as they like—with the world’s greatest natural show unfolding, there is never a dull moment!
- Hotel Estelar, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
Boasting impeccable service and incredible views, the Art Deco-style Hotel Estelar offers total comfort and every modern convenience, including free, high-speed Wi-Fi, premium cable television, and beds featuring memory foam mattresses and down comforters.
- Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel, Peru
A member of Historic Hotels Worldwide, Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness is built on a seventeenth century colonial hacienda by the Vilcanota River, just one hour away from the city of Cusco and 30 minutes from Ollantaytambo train station, on the route to Machu Picchu. The hotel offers rooms decorated in colonial style as well as other modern minimalist decor. It is the magical meeting of two eras: ancient Inca culture and colonial brilliance in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
- Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel, Peru
Few hotels on Earth can match the setting enjoyed by the Sumaq Machu Picchu, on the banks of the Vilcanota River, surrounded by soaring mountains, plunging valleys, ancient trails and the lush vegetation of the Machu Picchu historic sanctuary. A family-owned, luxury hotel, the staff’s superior service is dedicated entirely to enabling guests to forget about everything and simply soak up the views.
- Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco, Peru
Set in a beautifully refurbished, 18th-century mansion featuring five majestic patios, this lovely hotel is located just four blocks from the Plaza de Armas, the city’s historic heart and birthplace. A charmingly evocative hotel, the Casa Andina Cusco offers all the modern amenities like free Wi-Fi and a massage room amidst colonial splendor, and is an ideal spot from which to explore beautiful Cusco.
March 23 - Monday - Lima, Peru
Upon arrival at the Jorge Chavez International Airport, guests will be met by a Haimark representative and transfer to the hotel, the centrally-located Hotel Estelar Miraflores.
March 24 - Tuesday - Lima
Begin the day with a panoramic drive through Lima’s lovely neighborhoods of Miraflores and San Isidro, past spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and lush gardens such as the Parque de los Enamorados (Lovers’ Park). The ultimate destination is the historic center of Lima, the Ciudad de los Reyes, or City of Kings. Founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, this was the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru and the religious, commercial, and economic heart of Spanish rule in South America. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with magnificent 17th-18th century Hispano-American baroque buildings that have miraculously survived numerous earthquakes.
In addition to seeing the Government Palace, Archbishop’s Palace, and City Hall, guests will visit the Church and Convent of San Francisco, one of the most significant religious sites in Lima and, according to UNESCO, “an outstanding example of a convent ensemble of the colonial periods in Latin America.”
Following a visit to the catacombs, which served as a burial ground until 1808, guests will visit the Cathedral, damaged by numerous earthquakes, repaired and expanded several times, which houses the remains of Francisco Pizarro. Following a festive welcome lunch, you’ll have the rest of the day and evening free to sample Lima’s many riches, from pre-Columbian temples and colonial mansions to treasure-filled museums, world-class restaurants, and lively nightclubs jumping to tropical beats.
March 25 - Wednesday - Lima/Iquitos/Embarkation
Following breakfast at the hotel, guests will fly from Lima to Iquitos and transfer to Nauta and the luxurious Delfin II, home for the next four nights with the privileged few to visit the remote Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, five million acres of protected, flooded forest roughly the size of a small country.
After settling into your suite, join fellow travelers for a welcome reception. Guides will give a brief introduction to the history and geography of the Amazon River basin and an overview of the people, places, and wildlife that guests will encounter during the journey. Then it’s time to meet the culinary staff, who have been waiting to welcome you aboard with a dinner featuring the finest Amazonian-Peruvian cuisine, seasoned with a variety of the freshest, locally sourced herbs, spices, and exotic fruits and vegetables.
The first evening aboard ends with a little live music under the stars, courtesy of the ship’s talented staff.
March 26 - Thursday - Belluda Cano, Dorado River ̃
Dawn and dusk are the ideal times for nature exploration, so many of the excursions during the cruise are scheduled for those times, with siestas on board during the heat of midday. Traveling aboard skiffs designed to allow for maximum mobility on the waterways, guests will venture into one of the richest habitats on Earth, home to more than 500 species of bird, 102 mammal species, 69 species of reptiles, 58 species of amphibians, 269 fish species, and more than 1,000 species of wild and cultivated plants. Many endangered species, such as the pink river dolphin, charapa turtle, spider monkey, giant river otter, and the red macaw, call this rainforest home— along with countless parrots, macaws, hummingbirds, hawks, “laughing falcons,” monkeys, and butterflies who live in the forest canopy.
Following each morning excursion, guests will be welcomed back to the Delfin II with icy towels and a cool drink, followed by lunch and time to rest and enjoy sightseeing on the Observation Deck or in the cabin. Guides will be available throughout the day and evening to answer questions. In the evening, after another sumptuous dinner, relax and enjoy the warm breeze of the Amazon night on the Observation Deck, surrounded by the symphony of the jungle.
March 27 - Friday - Atun Poza Lake/Rio Pacaya
After breakfast this morning, explore the unique and pristine ecosystem of Atun Poza Lake, probably one of the richest habitats on Earth, supporting the largest number of plant and animal species per unit area. Marvels here include the giant ceiba or kapok tree, giant otters, the bluish-fronted jacamar, collared trogons, and red-capped cardinals, as well as egrets, herons, hawks, long-legged, neo-tropical cormorants, and unusual, horned screamers. On the black water lagoons linked to this huge lake, wattled jacanas can be found, along with a wide variety of spiders, grasshoppers, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, and insects living along the grassy edges and lily pads of the freshwater swamps and marshes.
Enjoy lunch on board while continuing up the Puinahua River towards the Pacaya River, located at the very heart of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. This is Peru’s largest protected area, filled with lakes, palm swamps, and streams that completely flood the forest in the rainy season, and is one of the most beautiful places. Setting off in comfortable skiffs, search for different species of monkeys who live here, including the groups of large, rust-colored, red howler monkeys.
Sunset here, in the “forest of reflections,” is an experience never to be forgotten— with the spectacular colors of the sky reflected in the black waters of the Pacaya, it is hard to see where jungle begins and water ends. Armed with powerful spotlights, set off with the guides on a night safari in search of herons, pauraques, spectacled owls, and fish bats fluttering over the river in search of their nightly meal, as well as spectacled and black caimans lurking in the waters awaiting all unwary comers.
Returning to the ship, it’s time for a delicious dinner followed by an evening lounging on the Observation Deck, lulled by the musical croaking of more than a dozen species of frogs.
March 28 - Saturday - Caro Curahuayte Lagoon
Following breakfast this morning, set off for another unique Amazonian experience: piranha fishing. There are more than 25 different species of piranha in the Amazon basin, including black-, white-, and red-bellied, and, contrary to their ferocious reputation, most of them feed mainly on flooded tree trunks, devouring the fruit or chewing at the skins. This is also an excellent spot for bird-watching, with the river at times harboring numerous shore birds, including sandpipers, terns, black skimmers, egrets, jabirus, wood storks, and kingfishers.
After a refreshing lunch on board, visit a riverside village and sample a taste of community life. It’s an excellent opportunity to share gifts such as books, paper, pens, crayons, and t-shirts and learn a little bit about life on the Amazon harvesting fruit trees.
Following the visit, relax on board as the ship continues along the Puinahua River towards the Ucayali River. As evening falls, gather with the group for a special treat as guides reminisce about the cruise with a video and slide show, allowing guests a chance to see, up close, all the wildlife encountered on the journey. The night concludes with a sumptuous farewell dinner and reception featuring live music performed by the staff.
March 29 - Sunday - Amazon River/Yarapa River/Disembarkation
Following breakfast this morning, guests will disembark in the port of Nauta, where a motorcoach will be waiting to return to Iquitos, stopping first at the Manatee Rescue Center. Enjoy a chance to see these fascinating creatures up close, and perhaps even feed them a bottle of milk, before checking in for a flight to Cusco and proceeding to the tranquil Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide.
March 30 - Monday - Sacred Valley (Urubamba)
Located in the Andes, close to the Inca capital of Cusco and below the ancient city of Machu Picchu, lies the Sacred Valley, the heartland of the Inca Empire. It was an important source of both maize production and the extraction of natural resources, as guests will see on a drive through the town of Maras to the Saltpans, which pre-existed the Inca. After a tour of the town of Ollantaytambo, with its huge fortress rising on the edge of town, enjoy lunch and continue to Urubamba and the Pablo Seminario Ceramic workshop. The master of a technique reflecting the ancient Peruvian culture, Pablo’s work can be seen in the Pre-Columbian Museum in Cusco as well as the Field Museum in Chicago.
March 31 - Tuesday - Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu
After breakfast, board the train in Ollantaytambo for the scenic journey to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas.” Built at the height of the Inca Empire, around 1450, the city was abandoned just over 100 years later, in 1572. A local expert will guide through the marvelous citadel, the main plaza, the royal quarters, and the Temple of Three Windows. Note the classical Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls of regular shape—the Incas were masters of this technique, called ashlar, in which blocks of stone are cut to fit together tightly without mortar. Many junctions in Machu Picchu’s central city are so perfect that it is said not even a blade of grass will fit between the stones!
Following a tour of Machu Picchu, check into the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel and enjoy time to relax before gathering for dinner this evening.
April 1 - Wednesday - Sacred Valley/Cusco
The early morning is free to explore Machu Picchu at leisure—if the weather permits, the sight of the dawn mist lifting above the terraces of Machu Picchu is a sight not to be missed! Depart late this morning for the return to Ollantaytambo by train, and transfer to Cusco. Arriving at Cusco’s Plaza de Armas central square, visit the imposing Cathedral, housing magnificent colonial-era gold and silver work as well as a beautiful collection of oil paintings. Continue with a visit to the Koricancha and the Convent of Santo Domingo, built on the Koricancha (site of gold) the most important temple dedicated to the worship of the sun built by the Incas. At the end of the afternoon, check-in to the Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel in Cusco for a final evening at leisure.
April 2 - Thursday - Cusco/Lima/Departure
Enjoy a morning at leisure in Lima before gathering for a farewell lunch and transferring to the airport for return flights home.
Upper/Main Decks, 230 square feet/22 square meters, Panoramic wrap-around glass windows, Fixed king beds
Upper Deck, 210 square feet/20 square meters, Panoramic wrap-around glass windows, Two twin-size beds that can be converted to one king-size bed
Main Deck, 210 square feet/20 square meters, Panoramic glass windows, Two twin-size beds that can be converted to one king-size bed
Upper Deck, 161 square feet/15 square meters, Windows, Fixed upper/lower twin-size beds
Mention Historic Hotels of America when booking your tour and receive three $100 gift certificates, each good toward a $100 refund when you book through HistoricHotels.org and stay for at least two-nights at a Historic Hotels of America hotel.**
To book a tour please contact our tour VIP desk at +1 202 772 8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terms and Conditions
*Per Person, based on double occupancy.
Included in Price:
In Lima: Panoramic drive through San Isidro and Miraflores to the UNESCO-listed historic center of Lima, with visits to the Cathedral, the Church and Convent of San Francisco and the catacombs; Welcome lunch; Flight from Lima to Iquitos and transfer to Delfin II
In Iquitos: Visit to Manatee Rescue Center in Iquitos en route to the Sacred Valley
In Sacred Valley: Flights from Iquitos to Cusco with transfer to Sacred Valley; Full-day guided tour of Ollantaytambo, Maras Saltpans, and Pablo Seminario Workshop; Lunch at a local restaurant
In Machu Picchu: Scenic train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, followed by visit to Machu Picchu, “Lost City of the Incas,” for a tour led by a local expert; Morning free to explore Machu Picchu or other sites on your own; Lunch at Machu Picchu
In Cusco: Transfer through the Sacred Valley to Cusco; Overnight in the heart of Cusco with the evening free to explore at leisure; Afternoon guided tour of Cusco; Farewell lunch
Onboard Delfin II: Four nights cruising the Amazon River in Peru; Spacious, well-appointed staterooms, 100% river-view accommodations; Welcome and farewell receptions; Expertly-trained culinary team providing daily buffet breakfast and lunch, and open- seated, multi-course dinner, featuring fine regional and international cuisines; Complimentary coffee, tea, water, soft drinks, local beer and Pisco based cocktails, with free-flow, house wine at dinner; Comprehensive shore excursion program, with local, expert, naturalist guides, with a maximum of 11 guests per guide on all excursions; Series of cultural performances, educational talks and cooking classes during cruise; Themed dinners on board ship; Shoe cleaning after shore excursions; Welcome drink and cold towel service following shore excursions
Enhanced Travel Services: Transfers and luggage handling; All excursion and visits with experienced local guides; Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions and transfers; Hospitality desk in the hotel and aboard ship; The services of an experienced team throughout the program; Individual listening devices for all shore excursions
**Maximum of one $100 certificate may be claimed for a refund with a minimum two night stay booked through HistoricHotels.org following the return of your tour and completion of your hotel stay. The refund will be issued within 45 days of the completion of your stay upon submitting a Great Experiences & Tours $100 refund application. Refund application must be submitted with a copy of your hotel folio receipt, the original confirmation number from your booking on HistoricHotels.org, and the Certificate number issued to you for booking your tour through Historic Hotels of America. Certificates issued are a promotion only valid toward future reservations made through HistoricHotels.org and do not have any cash value. One certificate may be used per room per two night or longer stay at the same hotel. Eligible rates include rates publicly available at time of booking. Reduced rates, rooms included in another travel or tour package, employee rates, advance purchase rates, and certain last minute sale rates are not eligible for this promotion.