The Ultimate 9 Day Honeymoon in Peru!
It was a picture in a magazine of a boat that started it all. That boat was the Aria, a river cruise that provides multiday/night excursions through the Peruvian Amazon, and it was after seeing this picture that planning set forth for a 9 day adventure that would take us to the Amazon, Machu Picchu, Cusco and Lima. This incredible journey was a feat, but as jam packed as it was we would not have done it any other way.
Day 1: Iquitos & All Aboard
Lunch At The Floating Restaurant
@ Al Frio y Al Fuego, an amazing lunch spot retreat located on the water just outside of Iquitos, it floats!. Plan ahead for transportation unless you are looking to take one of the 70,000 tuk tuks that provide much of the transportation in Iquitos.
The Aria River Cruise
A beautiful cruise ship with 16 rooms, all outward facing rooms with floor to ceiling windows overlooking your journey on the Amazon river.
Where to Stay: Aria River Boat 4 Nights
Day 2: Awake, Explore Black Water Rivers & Village Visit
Awake To A Spectacular View
Black Water Exploration
Exploring the river in search of wildlife on one of the Aria's excursion skiffs which carries 8-10 guests.
3 Toed Sloth
Pink River Dolphin
Blue Macaws were pretty prevalent throughout the Peruvian Amazon. Keep your ears peeled as you are likely to hear the Macaws before you see them.
River Dolphins & More -> See the Video!
The Aria provides the opportunity to visit an Amazonian village established on the shores of the river. Take advantage of the opportunity and make sure to bring paper, pencils and crayons for the kids.
Day 3. Sunrise & The Crocodile Hunter
Sunrise On The Amazon
We were extraordinarily lucky that we had clear skies throughout most of our stay on the Amazon and were treated to some spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
Exploring the jungle by land we got to take in the incredible sights and sounds of the forest.
Crocodile Hunter In Training
The night excursion was one of the wildest experiences of the trip. Guided by searchlight our skiff navigating the river as the guide searched for the reflection of eyes. Having seen something in the water our guide grabbed this White Caiman from the water, which was later released. Boas, Tree Frogs, Black Caiman, and Tarantulas were spotted too.
Day 4. Piranha Fishing & River Fun
Piranha Fishing & More -> See the Video!
The crew brought out kayaks for us to use and as we paddled along the river both gray and pink dolphins began jumping out of the water.
The Amazon is quite acidic and home to a lot of bacteria, but at this section in the river the water becomes more hospitable and is safe to jump in, so bombs away!
Day 5. Belen, Manatee Kisses, And Off We Go!
Belen, The Floating City
On our last day in the Amazon we began in the morning with an excursion through a part of Iquitos named Belen. The area is flooded for much of the year and all of the houses are built on stilts or float. The community still has restaurants, markets, schools all built for the area and traversing the channels requires a boat.
Manatee Kisses & Rehabilitation Center
Our last stop in the Amazon before the airport was the Manatee Rehabilitation Center where we got to feed Amazonian Manatees and get up and close with these cute little mammals.
Off We Go!
As we flew from Iquitos to Lima over the rainforest I noticed that we were flying along the path of the river that we had just traversed by boat. Out the window of the plane I could see where the Ucayali and Maranon Rivers meet to start the Amazon River.
Day 6. The Train To Machu Picchu & 1/2 Exploration
Bingham Hiram Vistadome
We took the first flight from Lima to Cusco in the morning followed by a taxi 40 minutes to Poroy to catch our train, followed by a 3.5 hour ride to the Vistadome Train, flute music included. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes we headed to the shuttle stand to take a quick 20 minute ride up to the Sanctuary Lodge, right outside the gates of Machu Picchu. After dropping off our luggage we headed into the ruins to begin exploring.
Last Light On Machu Picchu
We hiked and adventured throughout the ruins until we were close to one of the last ones out of Machu Picchu. It is an incredible sight to behold and the surrounding scenery of mountains and glaciers only adds to its wonder.
Day 7: Sunrise On Machu Picchu & Exploring The Ruins
Sun Rise Over Machu Picchu
Having stayed at the Sanctuary Lodge we were only a minute or two from the entrance, so we woke up before sunrise and strolled over. We wanted to see the sun rise over Machu Picchu and set out for the Sun Gate, it was incredible. We spent the rest of the day traversing the ruins and surrounding area until it was time to head back on the train.
Explore Machu Picchu -> See the Video!
Day 8. Cusco & Pisco!
Enjoy The Plaza de Armas
Sleep in (to rest up from altitude sickness) and mosey over to the Plaza de Armas and enjoy the historic square. The JW Marriott was conveniently located and an incredibly comfortable hotel making our short time in Cusco easy and relaxing.
You can't come to Peru and not enjoy some Pisco and the Museo del Pisco in Cusco features over 300 varieties! Try an Algarrobina or Pisco Sour.
Day 9. Lima Is For Lovers
Where To Stay: JW Marriott Miraflores
Our last stop on our ultimate 9 day adventure: Lima. Lima is the capital and is one of the most arid metropolises in the world. We stayed at the JW Marriott in Miraflores with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Keep on the lookout for paragliders riding the winds.
The coast line is incredibly rocky and not great for a day at the beach, but it's pretty cool to see up close and it is fun to watch the surfers learning to ride.
Celebrate The Diversity Of Peru At Central
Moraya of Paucartambo - Wild Mura & Veal Heart
Red Amazon - Arapaima, Huito, & Airampo
Our last experience in Peru was at chef Virgilio Martinez's restaurant Central. Featuring a 15 course meal, entitled "Elevations", that celebrates the great natural diversity the country is home to. With foods sourced from 15,000 ft peaks all the way to the tropical rainforest, the meal was incredible and paired with a variety of wines made for a memorable final meal in Peru, earthquake included.