Orchid Appreciation Tour of PeruIn Peru, the Orchidaceae family features some 3,000 species, most of which grow in the high tropical jungle on the eastern slopes of the Andes; in the cloud forest; region. There, amidst the exuberant; vegetation produced by nearly 5000 mm of rainfall per year, orchids multiply,forming veritable natural gardens. They are found from the far northwest of Peru with species such as the Cattleya maxima, with large, violet flowers to the eastern department of Amazonas where striking orchids of the Masdevalia genus thrive. In the Cordillera Blanca mountain range in the department of Ancash, interesting varieties of native orchids, including the wakanku (Masdevalia amabilis) can also be seen. However, it is in the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary itself, home to more than 300 orchid varieties including the wakanki (Masdevalia vetchiana), and wiñaywayna (Epidendrum secundum) which are the most beautiful. The best way to appreciate orchids and at the same time take in the spectacular countryside is to hike the 4 day Inca Trail, which links Qorihuayrachina (on the outskirts of Ollantaytambo), with the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. However, for the slightly less adventurous, we have designed a very beautiful tour complete with biologist guides and a short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to gain an in-depth appreciation of these most beautiful flowering plants.
9 days / 8 nights.
Arrival to Lima, reception and transfer to your hotel, the Miraflores Park Hotel.Evening at leisure.Day 2. LIMA (B, L & D)
After breakfast, you will meet with Alfredo Manrique, the owner of a Lima orchid nursery, operating since 1974 which was given the first legal Phragmipedium kovachii collection permit in May 2003 by INRENA, the Peruvian Agency for Natural Resources. You will meet with the Lima Orchid Society before lunch at the Casa Moreya Hacienda.
After lunch a visit to the centre of Lima, declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1991. The tour includes a visit to the cathedral, the main square, San Francisco convent and it catacombs. Return to your hotel. Free evening with dinner at the gourmet La Scena Restaurant.
Meals: B , L & DDay 3. Lima - Cuzco (B, L & D)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Cuzco. Arrival and transfer to the Monasterio Hotel.
We recommend that you rest for the remainder of the morning to acclimatise to the high altitude setting of Cuzco.
Recommended light lunch at the Illary restaurant before meeting with your guide and embarking on a sightseeing tour of Cuzco and its nearby archaeological site, Sacsayhuaman. A visit to Kenko, a rock sanctuary whose main attraction is the monolithic altar representing a puma, the red Fortress of Puca-Pucara and Tambomachay, a beautiful fountain fed by a spring forming a series of basins which continue to the city of Cuzco. Finally a visit to the main square, the cathedral and the Koricancha or Temple of the Sun. Dinner at the Map Café Restaurant.
Monasterio Hotel | Meals: B, L & DDay 4. Cuzco - Sacred Valley (B, L & D)
After breakfast, excursion to the Urubamba, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Visit the village of Pisac, founded during Colonial times. On Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays the Indians barter their products, and artisans from all over the area sell their woven alpaca wool blankets and ponchos, engraved gourds, antique reproductions and jewellery. On Sundays, it is also the meeting place for the local Mayors of the region, who come dressed in their traditional costumes, to attend morning mass. After lunch at the Sol y Luna restaurant, a visit to Ollantaytambo, the only Inca town which is still inhabited. Explore the ruins above Ollantaytambo before returning to your accommodation at the Sol y Luna hotel. Dinner at the hotel.
Briefing on the up and coming Inca Trail with your specialized Orchid guide.
Sol y Luna hotel | Meals: B, L & DDay 5. Royal Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (B, L & D)
Early breakfast before transfer to the railway station at Ollantaytambo for the train to km 104, and the start of your trek. We will ride aboard the Vistadome train, taking in stunning views of the mountains all around, with snowcapped peaks in the distance as we slowly lose elevation and head into high altitude cloud forest. Our destination, the Machu Picchu gateway town of Aguas Calientes, is reachable only by train or air and is nestled among stunning steep mountains shrouded in cloud forest.
Start of the Royal Inca trail, for which we will depart the train before reaching Aguas Calientes. We will commence our hike by crossing a hanging bridge over the Urubamba River to approach the small but interesting Inca archaeological complex of Cachabamba. After a brief visit of this site we will begin a four hour ascent to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna 2700m/8829 ft; an important Inca spiritual site, and one of the finest of all Inca ruins. We hope to see orchids along the way but will certainly find them at the Winay Wayna site. Here we will spend time in search of several species before lunch. After, you will continue down the original Inca Trail towards Machu Picchu looking for the most frequent genera of orchid; Aa, Epidendrum, Lycaste, Masdevallia, Maxillaria, Oncidium, Odontoglosum, Phragmipedium and the Sobralia, the most spectacular being the Masdevallia veitchiana. The Inca Trail cuts across the ridge above Machu Picchu to finally reach Intipunku or Gate of the Sun, at 2700m/8829 ft. From here the trail winds downhill (45 minutes) into the lost citadel of Machu Picchu, at 2400m/7872. Arrival to Machu Picchu and transfer down to Aguas Calientes and accommodation at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Freshen up, dinner and accommodation. For dinner you will be accompanied by your guide who will prepare you for tomorrow's wonderful day of discovery.
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel | Meals: B, L & DDay 6. Machu Picchu (B, L & D)
After breakfast, return to the sanctuary for a private guided tour of Machu Picchu, the most spectacular ancient city in the world. Built by the Inca Pachacutec, and comprising stone blocks fitted with masterful precision, Machu Picchu harmoniously blends into the mountain landscape. There are many theories as to the origins behind Machu Picchu but three of the most popular ideas include a temple to the sun, a fortress against the jungle inhabitants or a sanctuary for the Incas. This fabulous city has houses, temples, warehouses, a large central square, all connected by narrow roads and steps, and is surrounded by terraces cut into the mountain side which were used for agriculture. After the tour, lunch at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before returning to the site for a different visit, this time to locate more orchids in their natural state in and around the site. New species are discovered from time to time such as the Ponthieva sp. nov. (Bennett and Christenson), discovered in May l998. Return to your hotel, the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Dinner and accommodation.
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel | Meals: B, L & DDay 7. Aguas Calientes - Cuzco (B, L & D)
After breakfast, a fully private tour of the famous "Orchid Trail" located in the gardens of the hotel which has a catalogue of over 370 species of native orchids, the world's largest diversity of native species set in a natural environment. From the largest orchid flower in the world - the Phragmipedium caudatum, to tiny flowering specimens only appreciated with a magnifying glass, your guide will be delighted to show you around the gardens. After lunch at the hotel, free time before boarding the Luxury Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. Dinner and cocktails aboard the train. Arrival to Poroy and transfer to your hotel, the Monasterio.
Monasterio Hotel | Meals: B, L & DDay 8. Cuzco - Lima (B)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Lima. Arrival and transfer to your hotel, the Miraflores Park Hotel. Free day.
Miraflores Park Hotel | Meals: BDay 9. Lima (B)
After breakfast, you shall meet with your guide for the last time and take the short drive to the beautiful reserve at Lomas de Lachay, just north of Lima. This national reserve features a unique mist-fed ecosystem of wild plant and animal species. With several species of orchid to be found, we shall be in search of the Lima Orchid (Chloraea undulate). Aa mathewsii and Porphyrostachys pilifera (the Little Peruvian) have also been catalogued here. Return to Lima for your transfer to the airport and your return flight home.
Meals: BEnd of services
7 day Luxury 5 star
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Incl. Miraflores Park, Monasterio & Sanctuary Lodge Hotels, all trains, all private tours, finest service guaranteed
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Good morning. I wanted to thank you again for all your help in planning my recent trip to Peru. Read More
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Helping children in one of Peru's poorest village schools supporting hands-on initiatives such as implementation of classrooms to ensuring the robust education, health, and well-being of young children
As part of our philanthropic projects we support the older community to promote sporting and social events in the lesser known regions of Peru.