August 7-16/20, 2021 - Xela AID EXPLORE 2020
Join with fellow Local Hope/Xela AID Alumni to experience the beauty of the Peruvian landscape and culture. This journey includes all accommodations, ground transportation, tours, all breakfasts once in Peru, and many other meals during our stay in Cuzco and Machu Picchu. All accommodations, ground transportation, custom excursions and meals are included in the Amazon. Air flights are not included.
- 10-day, 9-night Machu Picchu Adventure - $2998*
- Total with 5-day, 4-night Amazon Add-On = $3933* • Trip Leaders – Mel and Leslie Dinkel
*Prices are for double or triple occupancy. The boutique hotel we have selected in Cusco is space-limited, and thus single accommodations are available but in a hotel in close proximity. We will also be staying in Lima (one night), Aquas Calientes (two nights); and for those continuing on to the Peruvian Amazon, in the lodge in Amazonas (three nights), and in Iquitos (1 night). The single supplement for all hotels in the Machu Picchu portion of the trip is $914. There is no upcharge for the Amazon portion, but the option for a single will depend on availability. It appears at this time that it is an option (first come, first served).
Our Cusco/Machu Picchu Adventure
August 7 - Day 1 – Fly to Lima - Those of us leaving from LAX will fly at 9:35 pm., arriving in Lima the next day and flying on to Cusco.
August 9 - Day 3 – Cusco Walking Tour - This day we will be treated to a walking tour of Cusco, by our expert guide. Nested at 11,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes, is a fascinating city that was once capital of the Inca Empire. It is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. We will exolore the Plaza de Armas, the central square in the old city, with arcades, carved wooden balconies and Incan wall ruins. The baroque Santo Domingo Convent was built on top of the Incan Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha), and has archaeological remains of Inca stonework. As in Guatemala, chocolate has a special place in the history and hearts of Peru and its people, and we will visit a “Choco Museo” where we can have a taste. We will stop for lunch, and will set aside the balance of the afternoon to rest well getting accustomed to our new altitude. We will make arrangements for an optional dinner at 6:30 p.m.
August 10 - Day 4 – Sacred Valley Part 1 – After an early breakfast, we will be picked up at our hotel to head for magnificent Sacred Valley. Our first stop will be the village of Chinchero. There we will visit the old church, traditional potato fields, and then be treated to an exposé by traditional weavers on their ancient practices (fascinating!). From there we will visit the Ruins of Ollantaytambo, the Maras Salt Mines, as well as some other worthy sites along the way. For lunch we will stop at a buffet in Urubamba. We will return in the afternoon, and allow time for resting prior to an optional dinner scheduled for 6:30.
August 11 - Day 5 – Train to Aguas Calientes - After breakfast we will board a bus for Ollantaytambo and catch a train to Aguas Calientes, an intriguing little town located on train tracks at the base of Machu Picchu. You are on your own to explore this mini-city in the shadow of Machu Picchu. Shop, lunch, have coffee at a local shop and rest. We will offer an optional dinner a bit earlier than other days (time TBD), to ready ourselves for exploring the vast Machu Picchu ruins.
August 12 - Day 6 – Machu Picchu – We will board an early morning bus this morning to explore the wonders of Machu Picchu, with options both for those prepared for an all-day adventure, and those who prefer to see highlights and return to Aguas Calientes to shop or rest. Be prepared to be dazzled!
August 13 - Day 7 – Waterfall, Vistadome Train Return – For those interested, we’ll take an early morning gentle hike to the locally revered Waterfall at Alcamayo. We will have lunch in Aguas Calientes, then return on the Vistadome Train in the early afternoon and catch a bus at Ollantaytambo to return to Cusco around 5:30. An optional group dinner will be arranged.
August 14 - Day 8 – Sacred Valley Part 2 – Today is the show-stopper when we will visit the gems of the Incan civilization, stopping for lunch along our route. These include archeological sites dating to the year 1438. Among highlighes are Temple of the Sun, the shrine (or fortress) Sasayhuaman, and the Quenqo Temple. We will learn the significance of “Pachamama.” Animal lovers hold on to your hats! At the Awana Qancha Sanctuary, we’ll not only learn the difference between llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vacuñas, but we’ll get to meet them up close and personal!
August 15 - Day 9 – Free Day with Options - This is a free day to walk, explore, shop, rest, or take advantage of one or both of the following options. Love food and food traditions? Learn about Peruvian culture through the lens of a top-rated cooking experience. This class would take place at 10 a.m., with lunch included. If the stars are more your thing, or if you’d like to do both, join us for an afternoon show at the Cusco planetarium. This night we will gather for our hosted farewell dinner, sharing our favorite experiences.
August 16 – Day 10 – Homeward, or Amazonas Bound - Today, those returning home will board flights for Lima (those returning to Los Angeles on the suggested flights will arrive at 7 p.m.). This Machu Picchu experience is sure to make memories that will last a lifetime! Those going on to the Amazon experience will catch a flight to Iquitos at 8:30 a.m. Transportation from the hotel to the airport will be provided.
For those going on to the Wondrous Peruvian Amazon
The Peruvian Amazon is teaming with biodiversity—animal, plant and insect life rivaled only by other locales in the Amazon. This is true particularly in the Tahuayo River basin region we’ve chosen. We have chosen this location both due to the reputation of the provider we have selected, Amazon Expeditions, and also, because unlike other regions such as Nauta and Puerto Maldonado to the south, the blackwater ecosystems of this area do not have the mosquito species Anopheles darlingi or Aedes aegypti. Thus there is no zika, malaria or yellow fever. Our outfitter advises that no malaria preventatives or vaccinations are necessary for the trip. (Please make sure and check with your doctor.)
In the Jungle! - Any jungle stay has some elements of roughing it and will be a very different travel experience for the uninitiated. That said, we’ve gone with Amazon Expeditions because they have the #1 Trip Advisor-rated lodge in the Amazon, in Peru, and in all of South America. The lodge features “rustic yet comfortable” accommodations. We’ll have buffet meals, and satellite-based WIFI and internet access. The lodge runs on solar-electric power. It has been in operation 30 years. Besides Trip Advisor, our outfitter and their lodge have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, a #1 rating in the western Amazon by National Geographic for conservation practices, and is Certified by the Rainforest Alliance. Here are some of the highlights of what is offered:
Biodiversity - We will have exclusive access to the 1 million-acre Tahuayo Reserve (ACRCTT) described by biologists as having “the greatest biodiversity yet documented in the Amazon basin.” The reserve is especially rich in Monkeys (16 species), birds (over 600 species) and other species such as two species of freshwater dolphins.
Private Guide – Our private guide will customize our itineraries to individual needs and interests. The firm claims its guides have “the best skills and highest training standards of any company in the Amazon. Guides are fluent in English/Spanish and certified in wilderness first aid.” (Reviews would appear to agree!)
Canopy Experience – Explore via a canopy complex. The Canopy Experience includes five canopy platforms, three ziplines, and a walkway, all more than 30 meters above the forest floor.
Community and Safety – The outfitter maintains close relations with the local community, and its community support program has built what they call “the finest rural health clinic in the Amazon.” They are currently building a high school for the communities of the upper Tahuayo River.
Active Research – Along with tourists, Amazonia Expedition’s lodges host an active program of scientific research and affiliation with leading universities and other institutions. So we get to rub shoulders with folks doing fascinating work.
Our Rainforest Itinerary
Aug. 17, 18 – Days 2, 3 - Adventures from Tahuayo Lodge - Amazonia’s main lodge on the Tahuayo River is rustic yet comfortable for adventurous travelers. Cabins are private, and all have private bathrooms. After choosing your day and night excursitons, explore from the lodge with your private guide in and around the Tahuayo Reserve.
Experiences – Mix and match your adventures, all available at no extra cost. (Time will be a limiting factor, as some are full-day experiences. Your guide will help you create your itinerary.)
> The Canopy Experience – Hike through Igapo forest to reach our canopy zipline complex.
> Igapo Forest Exploration – Explore the Igapo forest with your guide in search of wildlife. Go by foot while searching for beautiful birds, primates, and other wildlife.
> Tahuayo River Exploration – Go by boat with your private guide to explore the Tahuayo River. Here you can spot colorful birds (macaws, tanagers, hawks), sloths, and monkeys along the riverbank.
> Tabano Lake Excursion – Canoe in and around Tabano Lake. This is a remote oxbow lake with a vast diversity of wildlife. Search for the spectacular hoatzin (one of the world’s most interesting and unique birds), black caiman, horned screamers, turtles, tamarins, titi monkeys and much more.
> Piranha Fishing – Head by boat early in the morning or late afternoon to fish for the infamous Amazonian piranha.
> Frog Valley – For this full-day excursion, you will ride a motorboat up the Rio Blanco to frog valley. Hike through the dense Terra Firme jungle searching for beautiful little poison dart frogs.
> Dolphin Search – search for the rare Amazonian Pink Dolphin
> Swimming – Cool off and in some of the lakes and rivers in our area
> Critter Night Hike - Go for a night hike or canoe ride to search for scorpions, tarantulas, snakes and other nocturnal wildlife.
> Night Boat - Explore the Tahuayo or Blanco river and search for caimans, snakes and frogs.
> Spear Fishing - Test your jungle skills and try fishing like the locals do, with a spear and a headlamp!
> Star Watching - If you are in the mood to relax, sometimes it is nice to ride down the Tahuayo River and find a spot to enjoy the constellations while you listen to the jungle sounds all around you. Have you ever seen the night sky with NO light pollution?
If there is something else you wish to do, our outfitter tells me, “Just ask. Your trip is fully customizable.”
Special Activity: Breakfast with Local Children – Being who we are, Mel and I knew you would enjoy this opportunity to fund and serve breakfast to local children living in less-than-ideal conditions. We will arrange this one morning for all those who would like to join in.
Aug. 19 – Day 4 - Excursion, and Return to Iquitos – This morning after breakfast you can rest or slip in one last excursion before we catch our boat back to Iquitos where we will stay the night. An optional last dinner together in Iquitos for this group will be arranged.
August 20 – Day 5 - After an early breakfast, Amazon Expeditions will provide us with a transfer to the airport to catch our 8:15 flight back to civilization.
Note: If you feel for any reason that you may need to cancel, please buy trip insurance, as your deposit cannot be refunded. Thank you for your understanding! One option is https://www.worldnomads.com.
FLIGHT BOOKING INFORMATION
For Machu Picchu Only
Aug. 7 - LAX – LIM Latam 2469 9:25pm - 8:15am $842 RT**
Aug. 8 - LIM – CUZ Latam 2075 9:56am - 11:23am $70
Aug. 16 - CUZ – LIM Latam 2054 8:30am – 10:02am $63
Aug. 16 - LIM – LAX Latam 2470 12:20pm – 7pm $0 (second half of RT)
For Machu Picchu with Amazon Add-On
Aug. 7 - LAX – LIM Latam 2469 9:25pm - 8:15am $842 RT**
Aug. 8 - LIM – CUZ Latam 2075 9:56am - 11:23am $70
Aug. 16 - CUZ – IQT Latam 2228 8:10am – 10:20am $113
Aug 20 - IQT – LIM Latam 2235 8:14am – 10:01pm $107
Aug 20 LIM – LAX Latam 2470 12:20pm – 7pm $0 (second half of RT)
** Pricing and flights shown are as of September 1, 2019
|Event End Date||08-20-2020|
|Application Start Date||10-22-2019|
|Cut off date||08-08-2020|
|Cost (Dbl/Tpl Occu.)||$2,998* / $3933* *Prices are for double or triple occupancy.|
|Location||Xela AID Guatemala|