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Machu Picchu & the Galápagos 2015

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Pre-trip: The Amazon Rain Forest of Peru

Experience the beauty and natural diversity of the tropical rain forest up close on this extension. In the Peruvian Amazon, with an experienced naturalist guide to reveal the jungle's secrets, you'll discover tropical birds winging through the forest canopy, bromeliads blooming on ancient trees, and Yagua villagers gliding down the river in canoes.

It's Included:
Roundtrip airfare from Iquitos to Lima
Accommodations for 1 night in Lima and 4 nights in Amazon lodges
16 meals—6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners
13 small group activities
Services of an expert local guide, who speaks English and the native language
All transfers
Porterage for 1 bag per traveler
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    You board your international flight in Miami just before midnight.

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    You arrive at the airport in Lima early in the morning. An OAT representative meets your flight and accompanies you to your hotel.

    Enjoy the morning at leisure. Just before lunch, we'll walk around the main plaza of the Miraflores District, and later we'll continue getting our bearings with an orientation walk around our hotel. Your afternoon is at leisure and dinner is on your own tonight. Your local guide will be happy to offer suggestions for dining.

    Please note: Luggage that you do not need during your stay in the Amazon can be stored at your Lima hotel for the duration of the extension. If you plan on using this service, bring a separate bag (such as a lockable duffle bag) and please give the luggage to be stored to the hotel this evening.

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    We rise very early this morning for an early flight to Iquitos in the northern part of Peru. Your local naturalist/guide meets your flight and is with you throughout your time in the Amazon. We head to the dock of this lively river port, board our boat, and then head downriver on the legendary Amazon. The river is two miles wide here, 2,300 miles from the Atlantic. We leave the port city behind and travel about 25 miles, into a forested area with a few riverfront farms and homes.

    We arrive at our rain forest lodge, where we’ll have lunch, receive a briefing to get oriented, and take an initial nature walk on the local Lake Trail. This evening, kerosene torches and lamps light our way along the covered pathways to the dining room for our first dinner in the rain forest. We’ll make an open-boat excursion on a small stream to hear night sounds and see the stars and constellations of the southern hemisphere if the skies are clear.

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    This morning, we’ll take a walk along the Bushmaster Trail. Then our guide talks to us about the local Yagua culture and how the arrival of Europeans and the passing of time have affected it. We then have the opportunity to visit the Yaguas, who will show us how the traditional blowgun is used.

    We have lunch at the lodge and then spend much of the afternoon on a boat excursion, where we may see dolphins swimming or sloths hanging in cecropia trees along the water’s edge. Along the way, we’ll also see ribereño houses and people going about their daily lives.

    We enjoy another included dinner this evening.

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    After breakfast, we hike about an hour to the Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies and learn about ongoing scientific projects taking place there.

    Then we have a special treat, a highly unusual and surprisingly accessible experience: We ascend into giant trees on the Rain Forest Canopy Walkway, a unique system of aerial platforms and cableways more than 1,500 feet long. It is the longest treetop walkway in the world. We observe the complex layers of canopy vegetation, then emerge 120 feet above the ground for a rare Amazon panorama. During your walk in the trees, you may spot scarlet and blue macaws or the paradise tanager. Saki and titi monkeys may also join us as we walk in their domain, the forest canopy. We may speak with some of the scientists doing research in the forest at ground and canopy level.

    After lunch, we visit a well-organized botanical garden that preserves over 100 species of traditional medicinal plants. We learn from a local practitioner about these organic remedies.

    This afternoon, we also offer a boat excursion to fish for pirhana and opportunities to look for the giant victoria regia water lily (in season), spot more sloths, or canoe on a blackwater lake.

    We dine at our lodge again this evening.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, we have the chance to visit a local medical clinic that Grand Circle Foundation helps to support. Then we travel by boat for about two hours to our next lodge. We arrive with some time to enjoy the lodge’s gardens, swimming pool, and hammock house before lunch.

    In the afternoon, we walk to the immense Ceiba (pronounced “SAY-bah”) tree for which the lodge is named. Ceiba trees are unearthly and beautiful to behold. They grow up to 150 feet tall and can be hundreds of years old, with thick bases that spread out in woody folds known to house bats and their young. Their trunks are long and straight, and their branches reach almost horizontally, giving them an unusual appearance. These trees are indigenous to Mesoamerica, and in ancient times, the Mayan people worshipped them as representing the connection between Earth and the heavens. Even today, you may come across a lone Ceiba tree standing in a cleared field, untouched by the farmer’s axe in homage to its mystical status. This afternoon, we also make a boat excursion to the large river village of Indiana, where we’ll keep our eyes peeled for the dolphins known to thrive in this area.

    After our day’s adventures, we return to our lodge for dinner this evening.

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    • Meals included:

    After breakfast on our last day in the rain forest, we visit “Monkey Island,” a private nature reserve where more than five species of tropical primates, including small tamarins, saki, titi, and large woolly monkeys, are protected. After lunch at our lodge, we make our final boat ride upriver to Iquitos.

    This evening, we fly from Iquitos back to Lima, where you check into your hotel and have dinner on your own. The next morning, we’ll begin our Machu Picchu & the Galápagos adventure.