Cuzco, the Amazon & Machu Picchu: three stars of Peruvian travel

Cuzco, the Amazon & Machu Picchu: three stars of Peruvian travel

tours of Machu Picchu in Peru
Machu Picchu’s sunset panorama.  Attribution: Martin St-Amant, Wikimedia Commons

South America is one of the most scenic, naturally diverse and culturally interesting regions of the world. Nowhere is this richness portrayed more vividly than in Peru, land of the ancient Incas. Within its borders lie coastal desert and parts of the world’s most extensive rain forest  Between these two zones stand the Andes, the longest continuous mountain range in the world. Here amid rugged, spectacular landscapes lie the ruins of highly developed ancient civilizations.

When travelers think of visiting Peru, there is good reason why Cuzco, the Amazon and Machu Picchu come to mind – these iconic destinations epitomize all that Peru is. On both of NEI’s 8- and 12- day tours of Peru, you will visit Lima and Machu Picchu, with the 12-day tour allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Amazon rain forest in an all-inclusive luxury resort. Read on for more details about these three stars of Peru.

Once the center of the Inca Empire, Cuzco is a fascinating city rich in archaeology and Spanish colonial heritage. According to legend, Cuzco was founded in 1200 B.C. by Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, who emerged from Lake Titicaca at the command of their father, the sun. In 1983, UNESCO recognized the historical significance of Cuzco and designated it a World Heritage Site. With NEI, you’ll enjoy a private historical tour of Cuzco, passing through narrow cobblestone streets and visiting the nearby Inca ruins of Tambomachay, situated in the rolling hills above Cuzco. You’ll also visit the mysterious carved rock Kenko shrine and the massive fortress of Sacsayhuaman, with its zigzagging walls of precise stonework.

No holiday to Peru could be considered complete without seeing Machu Picchu. It sits on a mountain site of extraordinary beauty, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest; Machu Picchu was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height, with its giant walls, terraces and ramps, which appear as though they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The legendary ‘Lost City’ is without a doubt one of the world’s most impressive and mysterious archaeological sites.

With over over 2,000 species of fish, 4,000 species of birds, 60 species of reptiles, 700 butterfly species and an incredible diversity of trees and other plants, the Amazon rainforest must be seen by travelers interested in exotic flora and fauna. Our 12-day Peru discovery has travelers staying at Reserva Amazonica, located in the heart of the Amazon rainforest amid a 40-square-mile private ecological reserve. Guided day and night hikes, swimming, bird watching and star gazing are all included in your two or three night stay.