Jaguar Ultimate Peru 10 day Adventure

Ultimate Peru Adventure Jaguar

The ‘Jaguar’ is our most action-packed multi-activity trip in Peru. It captures everything this beautiful country has to offer, from the towering peaks of the Andes down to the steamy depths of the Amazon jungle. You’ll have a blast in this land of geographical and cultural extremes! We start our trip in the heart of the Inca empire where we explore fortresses and surrounding valleys, hike over stunning mountain passes to Machu Picchu, cycle into the Sacred Valley of the Incas and view Amazon wildlife up close. The variety of activities and landscapes on this trip will give you a Peruvian adventure like no other – and an experience you’ll never forget!

Overview

The ‘Jaguar’ is our most action-packed multi-activity trip in Peru. It captures everything this beautiful country has to offer, from the towering peaks of the Andes down to the steamy depths of the Amazon jungle. You’ll have a blast in this land of geographical and cultural extremes! We start our trip in the heart of the Inca empire where we explore fortresses and surrounding valleys, hike over stunning mountain passes to Machu Picchu, cycle into the Sacred Valley of the Incas and view Amazon wildlife up close. The variety of activities and landscapes on this trip will give you a Peruvian adventure like no other – and an experience you’ll never forget!

 

For a great way to see Lake Titicaca and the Bolivian salt flats too, combine this trip with our Titicaca and Bolivia ‘Chinchilla’ – chat to our team to learn how!

Highlights

  • Hike the Classic Inca or Lares Trail
  • Explore Machu Picchu
  • Hike in the Amazon jungle
  • Hike Sacsayhuamán fortress
  • Hike and cycle in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
  • Explore Cuzco

“If our set departure dates are not convenient for you, you may choose Private departures by selecting your own convenient tour date. These types of departure are best suited to couples, families, charity and small groups of friends. Customised itineraries are available as per your travel need.“

“If our set departure dates are not convenient for you, you may choose Private departures by selecting your own convenient tour date. These types of departure are best suited to couples, families, charity and small groups of friends. Customised itineraries are available as per your travel need.“

Day 01

Arrive in Cuzco, hike Sacsayhuamán fortress
Our trip starts in Cuzco, the heart of the Inca empire. Your trip leader will greet you with a cup of hot coca tea – a local speciality. After lunch, we’ll set off for a walk around this amazing ancient city and up to Sacsayhuamán fortress overlooking the main Plaza and Cuzco Valley. The fortress, meaning ‘House of the Sun’, is a magnificent archaeological site representing a set of jaguar’s teeth with massive, perfectly fitted stones weighing up to 130 tonnes (143 tons) each and was the place where the Incas made their final stand against the Spanish conquistadores. No one really knows what the Incas used Sacsayhuamán for – some say it was a sanctuary and temple of the sun, others say it was a granary. No matter who is right, you’ll have a lot of fun hearing all the stories this amazing area inspires. Later, we’ll take a walk through the colourful Cuzco street markets. If you prefer, you can take some time to soak in the vibrant atmosphere of Cuzco’s lively town square and meet up again later for an evening meal.
Hotel Royal Inca I or Hotel San Agustin, Cuzco (Lunch, Dinner)

Day 02

Cycle Sacred Valley, visit Pisac market, hike Pisac ruins

We’ll head into the fertile Sacred Valley of the Incas this morning, stopping just above Cuzco, where we’ll jump on our bikes and ride down through breath-taking scenery, dotted with local villages and surrounded by the massive green slopes of the Andes. We’ll finish our ride in the small town of Pisac, where we’ll have a chance to check out the colourful mercado artesanal. From here we’ll begin a spectacular hike up to the Pisac ruins. These Inca terraces rise 610 metres (2000 feet) up from the river below. It’s a heart-pumping walk up through ancient agricultural terraces – you’ll never forget the views of Pisac and the Urubamba Valley! After exploring the ancient complex, we’ll descend the original Inca stairways and head back down the valley to Cuzco. This is the largest existing fortress-city of the Incas, and it’s the perfect warm-up for your Inca Trail trek tomorrow!

Hotel Royal Inca I or Hotel San Agustin, Cuzco (All meals)

Days 3, 4, 5 and 6 — Inca Trail options

It’s an early start this morning as we start our trek to Machu Picchu!

Option A, Lares Inca Trail

Day 3 (afternoon) – Hike Lares Inca Trail to Cuncani

From Cuzco, we’ll head in the direction of the Sacred Valley. The road leads to Lares and crosses the Amparaes Pass. This phenomenal drive winds through arid landscapes, crosses rivers and you’ll see some of the most stunning mountain vistas in Peru. Our final destination is the hot baths of Lares. Here, naturally occurring hot springs await us before we set out on our trek. From the thermal baths unfolds a small track used by local children and community members of Lares. We’ll pass through hand tilled fields and crops of quinoa and potato, amongst quaint stone houses. After a gradual climb of a few hours we’ll stop for a delicious lunch, before continuing on to the community of Cuncani, where we’ll set up camp for the evening.
Lares Inca Trail camp (All meals)

Day 4 – Hike Lares Inca Trail over Paso de Pumahuanca to Paccha

If we have clear skies at sunrise, we’ll wake to the imposing view of Colque Crus, a majestic mountain capped by a glacier, which provides water to the local community. We follow the path next to an icy stream that will take us towards the pass. The ascent is challenging. On reaching the summit a stunning view of the Pampas of Anta awaits us, followed by a descent that will be most welcome after the challenging climb. The descent is steep but beautiful, crossing a small forest of ‘Polylepis’, the endemic and endangered trees of the high Andes. Just after the forest and with an incredible view of the valley below we will stop for lunch. After which the drop continues until we reach our camp, a tranquil paradise surrounded by trees and crossed by a small river. Tonight, if we find some dead tinder, we’ll enjoy a cosy campfire.
Lares Inca Trail camp (All meals)

Day 5 – Hike Lares Inca Trail to Ollantaytambo

This morning will be our last on the trail. From camp the walk becomes easier down to the piscigranja (fish farm). As we descend we’ll feel the climate changing, becoming warmer and more alive, with more variety in vegetation, and we’ll be accompanied by hummingbirds along the way. After a few short hours we’ll meet our private transportation that will take us to Ollantaytambo Station to board the train to Aguas Calientes. As the train travels along, the valley turns into a canyon and the scenery alters, as the cloud forests begin to appear, on our approach to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. We will disembark the train at Aguas Calientes. After a well-deserved shower we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the best restaurants in town.
Local hotel, Aguas Calientes (All meals)

Day 6 (morning) – Visit Machu Picchu

After an early breakfast, we’ll head up to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, where we’ll join the rest of our group.

Option B, Classic Inca Trail

Day 3 (afternoon) – Hike through the sacred Valley of the Incas

We’ll leave Cuzco and make our way through the Sacred Valley of the Incas before starting our hike at Piscacucho, or Kilometre 82 as it is known by the locals. From here we’ll spend the day hiking alongside the Rio Cusichaca, surrounded by massive Andean peaks, Inca ruins and semi-arid forest. We’ll visit a couple of small villages along the way, then have lunch and rest a while on the way to our first camp, Pisonay. When you arrive at camp, you’ll find our porters have set up your tent so you can simply relax with a hot drink and get to know your fellow travellers. Tonight our cooks will prepare the first of many sumptuous hot meals for us to enjoy in our dining tent – you’ll be impressed how well we take care of you on the trail.

Classic Inca Trail camp (All meals)

Day 4 – Hike Inca Trail to Pacaymayo

Today is an unforgettable day. You’ll be woken with a cup of coca tea brought to your tent door. After a hearty breakfast, we’ll begin our hike on what will be our most challenging day. Today we climb 914 metres (3000 feet) up to Warmiwañusqa, or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ altitude 4400 metres (14,435 feet). The trail winds its way up through a beautiful mountain pass with stunning panoramic views of the alpine wonderland. It’s a challenging hike to the pass, and the 360º views make every step worthwhile. After celebrating our ascent, we’ll walk down cobbled steps paved by the Incas over 500 years ago to Pacaymayo Valley, our camp for the evening. Again, we’ll already have tents set up so all you need to do is relax and enjoy the evening.

Classic Inca Trail camp (All meals)

Day 5 – Hike Inca Trail to Wiñay Wayna

The scenery gets even better today! We’ll explore several fascinating Inca fortresses as we descend, with the cloud forest becoming more and more lush as the air becomes warmer and denser. The ancient ruins and increasingly verdant surroundings lend an eerie mood to the day as we make our way down to our next camp, Wiñay Wayna. This is our final night on the trail, with breath-taking views and another hearty dinner!
Classic Inca Trail camp (All meals)

Day 6 (morning) – Hike to Machu Picchu

After a very early breakfast, we hike about an hour in the dawn light to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. We’ll wait here for the sun to rise and the morning fog to lift, giving us our first glimpse of Machu Picchu. It’s a moment to savour before we make our way down to explore this mysterious ancient city!

Day 06

(continued) — Explore Machu Picchu

We’ll meet our local guide who will show us around this fascinating ancient city. Afterwards, you’ll have all morning to explore the many passageways and stone structures of this mysterious place on your own. If you were on the Lares Trail, you’ll also have the chance to hike back to the Sun Gate for a unique perspective on these remote Inca ruins, set high on the top of a mountain surrounded by lush peaks. After plenty of time to explore Machu Picchu, we’ll take a scenic train ride back to Cuzco.
Hotel Royal Inca I or Hotel San Agustin, Cuzco (All meals)

Day 07

Free day in Cuzco

Cuzco is the archaeological capital of the Americas and it’s a fabulous place to spend a day exploring – it’s no wonder it’s the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city! Walk along Cuzco’s central streets, lined with massive Inca-built stone walls that form the foundation of the city and blend into the colonial and modern architecture that has been added over the years. You can take the day to explore Cuzco’s most popular temples, museums, churches and fortresses. Alternatively, we’ll help you arrange one of the many optional guided activities available including mountain biking, hiking, or horseback riding. There’s also no shortage of great food and entertainment in Cuzco, with restaurants to suit any taste, cafés for coffee in the Plaza de Armas and great bars with local music.

Hotel Royal Inca I or Hotel San Agustin, Cuzco (Breakfast)

Day 08

Journey to the Amazon, wildlife viewing in Tambopata Reserve

Today we’ll take a short flight from Cuzco to Puerto Maldonado, a frontier town in the Amazon basin. We’ll take to motorised canoes and glide deep into the jungle down the Tambopata River, one of the headwaters of the Amazon. Listen for howler monkeys in the tropical forest canopy above and spot macaws perched high on the riverbanks. This area is teeming with wildlife and the boat trip to our jungle lodge is a great opportunity to look for giant otters, capuchin monkeys, caiman and an array of birds that can be found in this area. After lunch, we’ll experience the jungle with all of our senses by exploring on foot this time. Keep an eye out for the rainforest dwellers – including several species of monkeys – that come out in search of food in the late afternoon! After dark, you’ll have a chance to get back on board the canoes with a spotlight in search of the nocturnal caiman (South American crocodile) lurking in the river.
Amazon Lodgings, Amazon jungle (All meals)

Day 09

Wildlife hike, virgin jungle exploration

This morning we’ll explore some of the many miles of jungle trails that criss-cross the dense rainforest. We’ll travel by motorised canoe and hike through virgin forest to experience the wealth of native flora and fauna under the Amazon rainforest canopy, and learn how the indigenous people thrive in this challenging environment. The Amazon is the most biologically diverse place on Earth and you’ll discover more about the amazing flora and fauna here, as well as learning about the incredible medicinal plants that are found in this region. After lunch, you have the rest of the afternoon free to hang out at the lodge with a book or continue exploring the surrounding area on your own. If you’d prefer to hike a little more this afternoon, you can head out with our naturalist guide on little-known trails that pass by the homes of some of the rarest animals in the rainforest. This evening we’ll brave the jungle on foot to look for tarantulas, insects and frogs that come out after dark.

Amazon Lodgings, Amazon jungle (All meals)

Day 10

Return to Cuzco, depart for home

This morning we leave the rainforest and take a boat back to Puerto Maldonado, where we’ll catch a short flight to Cuzco. This is the last day of your trip in Peru, if you have time to spare after the trip, we’re happy to give you suggestions on how to make the most of it. On the other hand, if you’re on your way home today, we’ll send you back refreshed and invigorated from the great food, exercise, rest and adventures you’ll have had with us in Peru!

(Breakfast, Lunch)

No Forced Single Supplement

Most other travel companies charge all solo travellers a single supplement fee. We don’t! When it comes to accommodation, our trip fares are based on a twin-share rate, which means we’ll match you up with another person of the same gender to share a room with. If there’s no one suitable to share with, there’s no forced single supplement! Having said that, if you specifically request your own room, you can opt to pay the additional single supplement fee.

Trip start

If you arrive on the first day of your trip, an Active Adventures South America representative will meet you at the Cuzco airport (CUZ) (flights to arrive by 11am) and take you to your accommodation. If you’re already in Cuzco, you’ll meet your trip leader and the rest of your group in the lobby of your joining hotel at 12 noon.

Trip end

On the last day of your trip we’ll fly you to Cuzco airport where your trip ends.

Recommended flights

You need to arrive in Cuzco by 10.30am at the latest on the first day of the trip. If you have extra time, we recommend heading to Cuzco early for more time to acclimatise to the high altitude, and to spend as long as possible in this incredible town! Most international flights get to Lima in the evening, so you’ll probably fly in to Lima at night and then on to Cuzco the following morning. On the last day of the trip, we recommend booking your flight to depart out of Cuzco any time after 6pm. If you are considering other flight times, let us know and we’ll see what we can do to make your trip run smoothly.

Accommodation

The ‘Jaguar’ is an active adventure trip around Peru. We’ve chosen the places we stay for their location, cleanliness and charm – not the number of channels available on the television! Many of the places we stay are off-the-beatentrack and set in amazing locations. For example, on both Inca Trail treks we’re under canvas, though it’s pretty fancy camping. Our porters carry tents and supplies, cook meals, boil drinking water for us and take care of everything around camp. On the nights where we stay in Cuzco we have chosen good lodgings, ideally situated close to the main attractions without being too central, in order to avoid the most touristy and noisy areas. It’s worth keeping in mind that Peru is a noisy place – people here have a festive way of looking at life and often enjoy beeping their horns and playing loud music! We have chosen the quietest areas practical in order for people to get the best sleep possible (although after hiking the Inca Trail trek most people find they have no trouble sleeping!), and earplugs are recommended in this energetic and lively part of the world. In contrast, the jungle lodges in the Amazon are very tranquil and quiet.

Fitness

The ‘Jaguar’ is an active hiking trip, and has options to suit a wide range of fitness levels and outdoor experience. If you keep reasonably active and like to give things a go, you’re likely to enjoy the trip much more. Typically, hikes on the ‘Jaguar’ trip range between three and six hours to complete, with longer hikes on the Inca trails. If you think you’d prefer a more relaxed pace, we recommend checking out our ‘Capybara’ trip. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about the various options.