Uniworld Peruvian Amazon & Machu Picchu Exploration
Experience the very best of Peru over 16 days of wonder and amazement on a land and river cruise trip with Uniworld.
Travel through Peru and the Amazon rainforest, where you’ll experience the wonders of Lima, the legendary Machu Picchu, and much more.
Explore the “City of Kings,” Lima, on a deep and immersive journey. Then, set sail on the luxurious Aria Amazon, a five-star ship tailor-made for your Peruvian adventure. Navigate the Ucayali and Marañón Rivers aboard river skiffs, and be captivated by the rich biodiversity of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.
Immerse yourself in the heartland of the Inka Empire, the Sacred Valley, and discover its breathtaking beauty. Of course, your journey wouldn’t be complete without a trek to the iconic Machu Picchu, an archaeological marvel that has fascinated historians for ages. Don’t miss this all-encompassing adventure into the marvels of Peru and the Amazon rainforest.
Peruvian Amazon & Machu Picchu Exploration Itinerary
Departures available October 2023 through to November 2024 – see dates here.
Day 1: Lima
Arrive at Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, a Uniworld representative will be on hand to greet you and escort you to the beautiful Country Club Lima Hotel. Its charm and comfort will offer you the perfect home for your exploration of the city.
Seasons: The Aria Amazon sails year-round, and every voyage is uniquely appealing, based on the changing seasons. During the high-water season (approximately November through May), the river and estuaries grow, allowing launch boats to venture deeper into the flooded forest. During the low water season (approximately June through October), the river recedes and beautiful sandy river beaches form. Of course, water levels do not always follow a calendar; day-by-day programs might require adjustments due to these water level fluctuations.
Day 2: Lima
Known as the “City of Kings,” Lima was founded in 1535. A melting pot of cultures, flavors and history, this bustling metropolis has something for everyone, and today you get to discover it all.
Lima City Tour
This panoramic drive will take you around the coastline of Lima in Miraflores. You’ll stroll around the “Plaza San Martín” and “Plaza de Armas,” the main square. Afterward, your guide will take you to the San Francisco Monastery. A maze of tunnels and catacombs await you here.
Later, you’ll visit Casa Aliaga. Built in 1535, the “Plaza de Armas” is one of Lima’s oldest buildings. A colonial mansion of the Aliaga family, it has been passed down the family for 17 generations. You will meet a family member who will give you a tour and show you items from centuries past. Lunch will be served at the mansion.
Day 3: Lima – Fly to Iquitos (Nauta) and embark
You will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to Iquitos. Upon your arrival at Iquitos International Airport, a Uniworld representative will be on hand to greet you and escort you to the Aria Amazon.
In the evening, you will be welcomed with a reception dinner by Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. Famous for his innovative take on Amazonian cuisine, this dinner will be bursting in flavours unique to the Peruvian Amazon.
Marañón River skiff ride
Today, you’ll be exploring the Amazon rainforest by skiff, a small river boat. One of the most important water sources in Peru, and a main Amazon tributary, the Marañón River is abundant in animal and plant life. Be on the lookout for one of the 64 rare bird species or pink dolphins.
Day 4: Yanayacu-Pucate River and Marañón River
Your day starts at the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, the second largest protected natural area in Peru. Kayak, canoe and swim in the black waters of the Yanayacu-Pucate River. In the afternoon, learn about traditional customs of the area at a remote village along the Marañón River. Once the sun sets, we’ll gaze at the night sky, where you’ll have a crystal-clear view of planets and constellations.
Yanayacu-Pucate River Excursion
Enjoy a state-of-the-art skiff ride on the Yanayacu-Pucate River, and marvel at the river’s legendary black water.
If luck is on your side, you might see a pink dolphin, native to the Amazon River and surrounded in legend.
Over 400 tribes, some of which have yet to have contact with outside humans, call the Amazon home. Today, you’ll get the unique opportunity to meet some of them. We’ll set off on the Marañón River where you’ll meet the locals of a remote village and learn about their culture, which goes back centuries.
Day 5: Samiria River and Nauta Cano (Amazonian Natural Park)
Today we’re exploring the vibrant wildlife and lush greenery thriving in the Amazon. Your naturalist guide will teach you all about the diverse flora and fauna unique to the region before setting off on a guided jungle walk. You’ll finish the day stargazing on the “Enchanted Lake.”
Stargazing on the “Enchanted Lake”
There are few sights as breathtaking as a sky illuminated by thousands of stars. Deep in the Amazon, look up to the darkest and clearest sky you’ve ever seen. We’ll spend the evening floating on the “Enchanted Lake,” gazing at constellations and planets.
Samiria River & jungle walk
Start your day on a skiff as we cruise along the Samiria River, where you’ll have the option to spend some time fishing. Afterward, we’ll take to the land as we venture out for a jungle walk across the high Amazon.
Day 6: Nauta
One of the oldest inhabited areas in the Peruvian Amazon, Nauta is nestled between the Marañón and Ucayali Rivers. You’ll explore the town’s market, which is full of fresh fish, fruits and vegetables. From there, it’s a short journey to the birthplace of the Amazon River.
Nauta market visit
Discover some of the exotic fruits unique to the area, such as Camu Camu or Maracuya. Meet local fishermen and see what the catch of the day is. Maybe even indulge your taste buds in an unfamiliar treat.
Birthplace of the Amazon
Despite centuries of exploration, the Amazon River remains a fascinating destination, shrouded in mystery. Journey to where this mighty river is born, where the Ucayali and Marañón Rivers join. While all the lush greenery is breathtaking, you’ll especially be amazed at the giant water lilies growing in the river basin.
Day 7: Ucayali River and Pacaya River
Experience life as an Amazon River dweller as you cruise along the Ucayali River. Search for the famous pink dolphins and other wildlife lurking just beyond the river. Once the sun sets, we’ll take to the Pacaya River, on the lookout for nocturnal beasts.
Skiff tour along the Ucayali River
Running 907 miles through Peru, the Ucayali River is the longest in the country. Boarding our state-of-the-art skiffs, we’ll spend the afternoon admiring the diverse flora and fauna of the region.
Evening skiff tour on the Pacaya River
Home to plenty of nocturnal animals, the Pacaya River comes alive at night. We’ll take a skiff along the river and keep our eyes peeled for some of the wildlife.
Day 8: Pacaya River, Ucayali River and Tapiche River
Your day starts early today with a skiff excursion along the Pacaya River, where you’ll venture into the rainforest to see some wildlife. Following lunch, you’ll participate in a paiche fishing demonstration. The paiche is the second largest fish in the world. We’ll end the day watching for the pink river dolphins on the Ucayali River.
Paiche fishing demonstration
One of the largest freshwater fish in the world, the paiche can grow up to 400 pounds. Adored for its large size and tasty meat, the paiche has been feeding Amazonian tribes for thousands of years. Today, you’ll meet up with some Amazonian fishermen for a demonstration. They might even get lucky and catch a paiche fish in front of you.
Skiff tour on the Pacaya River
Egrets, capuchin monkeys and taricaya turtles, oh my! This skiff excursion will take you deep into the Amazon rainforest, where, if you keep your eyes on alert, you’ll have the chance to see plenty of wildlife up close.
Skiff tour on the Ucayali River
In the afternoon, we’ll take a skiff tour on the Ucayali River. We’ll follow the banana boats transporting their jungle products to the port of Requena, while keeping an eye out for pink river dolphins.
Day 9: Clavero Lake, and San Jose de Sarapanga Forest
Spend the morning jungle walking, canoeing, kayaking or swimming on the black water Yarapa River or Clavero Lake. In the afternoon, see the unbelievable giant water lilies of the San Jose de Sarapanga forest.
Jungle walk in the San Jose de Sarapanga forest
Spend the afternoon surrounded by the dense San Jose de Sarapanga forest. Near the basin of the river, you’ll see giant water lilies, a true Amazon beauty. The lily leaves can grow up to 18 inches and hold close to 300 pounds.
Yarapa River & Clavero Lake
Choose between jungle walking, canoeing, kayaking or swimming on the black waters of the Yarapa River. Afterward, we’ll sail to Clavero Lake, where you’ll see villagers paddle in their traditional dugout canoes.
Day 10: Disembark in Nauta (Iquitos), Fly To Cusco, and onto Urubamba (The Sacred Valley)
Take a morning walk through the town of Nauta before disembarking the Aria Amazon. Your guide will take you on a few excursions on your way to the Iquitos airport for your flight to Cusco.
Once you’ve landed in Cusco, you will be taken to the Tambo del Inka hotel in the Sacred Valley.
Manatee Rescue Centre
Manatees in the Amazon face multiple threats, from habitat destruction to hunting. The Amazon Rescue Centre, funded by the Dallas World Aquarium Zoo, takes in orphaned calves, rehabilitates them and releases them back into the wild. Since their founding, they’ve rescued over 40 orphaned baby manatees. During this visit, you’ll have a chance to get up close to these majestic creatures.
Nauta town visit
Founded in 1930, Nauta is a central gathering place for Amazonian villagers to buy and trade their local harvest. Your guide will show you the town and give you insight into the daily life of these remote people.
San Juan craft market
Before heading to the airport, we’ll stop at a local craft market. Meet local artists and pick up any last-minute souvenirs from your unforgettable adventure.
Day 11: Urubamba (The Sacred Valley)
Enjoy this day of leisure to get the most out of your stay at the wonderful Tambo del Inka. Treat yourself to a relaxing service at their Kallpa Spa, considered one of the best in the country, take a dip in the heated pool or savour delicious Andean cuisine. Situated in the heart of the Sacred Valley, the Tambo del Inka is also the perfect location from which to head out on your own to explore the incredible nature, cities and historical sites available nearby.
Day 12: Urubamba, Ollantaytambo & Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu)
Today you will explore the heartland of the Inka Empire, known as the Sacred Valley. Your guide will take you to Moray and Ollantaytambo, two historic sights of significant importance. You’ll experience the unique way of living in the Sacred Valley as you meet locals. We finish the day with a train ride to Aguas Calientes, the small villages nestled at the bottom of Machu Picchu.
Please note: You are only allowed one 11 lb piece of luggage on the train to Aguas Calientes. All other luggage will be taken to your hotel in Cusco.
Moray–Agricultural Terraces & Weaving
A pre-Inkan site, Moray is considered to be a significant Inka agricultural research center. Your guide will give you a tour of the round, agricultural terraces. Afterward, you will meet with local women who will show you traditional Peruvian weaving techniques.
Ollantaytambo Family Home Tour with Picnic Lunch
One of the few battles where the Spaniards lost to the Inkas took place at Ollantaytambo, an impressive fortress that overlooks one of the oldest villages in Cusco. After your tour of the fortress, you will walk to the “last living Inka village of Peru,” which sits under Ollantaytambo. Experience the fascinating way of living in the Sacred Valley at a family home visit. Afterward, enjoy a picnic to the sounds of traditional local Inkan instruments before making your own panpipe.
Day 13: Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu), and Cusco
A breathtaking, historical sight, Machu Picchu is one of the “must-see” archeological sites in the world. This remarkable Inkan Empire site was never found by the Spaniards and was rediscovered during the 20th century. Today, archeologists continue to excavate this ancient city. While many mysteries still surround it, Machu Picchu tells a story of a history that goes back thousands of years. Following your day at Machu Picchu, you will take a train to Ollantaytambo and then a motor coach will take you to the Belmond Monasterio hotel in Cusco.
Your day starts early with a shuttle bus up to the ancient citadel. Your guide will share stories about the Inka civilisation, the site’s discovery, and all the theories surrounding this spectacular piece of history. Enjoy lunch at the famous Sanctuary Lodge before heading back down to Aguas Calientes.
Day 14: Cusco
Located in the Andes Mountains, Cusco was the heartland of the Inkan Empire. Today, you will explore all the wonders of this city as you admire the cobblestone streets, colorful textiles and art galleries. A perfect blend of ancient Andean cultures with Spanish colonial influence, Cusco is not to be missed. Overnight, you will stay in the Belmond Monasterio hotel.
Cusco city tour
Start your morning off at Sacsayhuamán, the Inkan ceremonial fortress dedicated to the sun. Indulge your senses at the San Pedro market as you wander through the colourful stands overflowing with fruits, vegetables, spices and local products. Your tour continues after lunch with visits to the renaissance-style Cathedral and Koricancha, the temple dedicated to the sun “Inti.” Finally, your day ends with a dining experience inside the San Francisco Monastery of Cusco.
Day 15: Fly Cusco to Lima
We’re headed back to Lima today. After a brief walk around town, you’ll head to the Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport hotel.
San Blas walking tour
Abundant in beautiful handicrafts and antique stores, San Blas is a vibrant neighborhood. You’ll visit the Hilario Mendivil Museum, showcasing the work of Mendivil, an artist famous for statues of saints with notoriously long necks. Wander down small alleys with your guide before enjoying lunch at a local restaurant.
Day 16: Fly Lima to UK
Your majestic Peru adventure ends this morning. Your guide will walk you from the Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport hotel to the Lima International Airport check-in.
Note: The cruise itinerary will vary depending on water levels.
Also note: Due to cultural differences and other factors, the beverage policy for Peru programs differ from our European programs.
Luxury, Boutique & Inclusive
- Meals onboard prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
- Five-star cuisine with menu by top chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino
- 14 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 10 dinners
- Complimentary house wine and beer, spirits, soft drinks, tea, and coffee will be served on the Aria Amazon, between 6am and 11pm throughout the cruise. Onboard lunches and dinner include complimentary house wine and beer, soft drinks, coffee and tea. Onshore lunches and dinners include complimentary soft drinks, coffee and tea
- 13 days of excursions, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts and naturalist guides
- 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the luxurious Aria Amazon
- Lavishly appointed riverview suites with floor-to-ceiling windows
- 2 nights in Lima at the Country Club Lima Hotel (or similar)
- 2 nights in Urubamba at the Tambo del Inka hotel (or similar)
- 1 night in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) at The Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel (or similar)
- 2 nights in Cusco at the Belmond Monasterio hotel (or similar)
- 1 night in Lima at the Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport hotel at the Lima International Airport (or similar)
- 1 country: Peru
- 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites
- Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
- Cultural enrichment
- Group Transfers are included on arrival and departure days (please see terms and conditions for transfer guidelines)
- Flights included between Lima & Iquitos, Iquitos & Cusco, and Cusco & Lima
- Gratuities for onboard personnel (ship staff, crew, Cruise/Tour Manager) are included during the cruise/tour