TOP 10 PERU ECOTOURISM ATTRACTIONS

PERU NATIONAL PARKS TOUR MODULE

TOP 10 PERU ECOTOURISM ATTRACTIONS: The great monuments & 10 best national parks in one tour accompanied by naturalist guide

ALL MODULES

Day 1

The National Parks module, starts in Cusco and ends in Lima.

So if you have taken our Cultural Highlights module, you don't fly from Cusco back to Lima, but in stead you take the first class night bus to Puno, Peru's main harbor on the shore of Lake Titicaca. We have looked at all options, and found that this is the best way to travel from Cusco to Titicaca. You will rest comfortably in an enormous sleeping chair and arrive early in the morning in Puno.

 

Day 2

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Arrival in the morning in Puno.

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In the morning birdwatching from a small boat operated by an Uros Indian in the back marshes of Titicaca National Reserve;

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Visit the Uros floating islands;

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Lunch in Puno;

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Sillustani Chullpa;

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Spend the night in Puno.

 

Day 3

Travel from Puno to Chivay, traversing the enormous Puna - the highlands of the Southern Andes - while passing through the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve. Make several stops in the reserve.

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Watch birds on Lake Lagunillas;

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Watch wild roaming vicuņas, alpacas and lamas;

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Explore the hoodoo formations and Puna vegetation;

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Stop at the pass at 4528 m above sea-level;

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Descend to the little town of Chivay in the Colca valley;

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Spend the night in Chivay.

 

Day 4

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Early morning departure to the Cruz del Condor Overlook over the Colca Canyon before the crowd gets there and to see the Condors take off into the sky (a frequent event but not guaranteed;

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Return to the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve at the Southern side of the park, to see a dry salt pan, often frequented by vicuņas in search of a salt lick. When filled during the rainy season, you may find flamingos;

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Descend to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the colonial city of Arequipa;

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Check in at the beautiful old hotel we have selected (pending availability);

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Take an evening stroll through the beautifully restored colonial old town.

 

Day 5

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Explore the colonial monuments of the city, which has fabulous churches, the famous Santa Catalina Convent and one of the oldest colonial bridges, the Bolognesi Bridge, dating back to the 1500s;

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Take the first class bus to Nazca;

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Register in your hotel.

 

Day 6

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Morning flight over the famous Nazca Lines in the Nazca dessert;

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Rise from coastal Nazca to the Andean Puna highlands, to see how the desert changes from no vegetation at all, to slowly increasing densities of different xerophytes. On the way you have a distant view of the world's highest dune: Cerro Blanco, where youngsters go snowboarding on sand. At any elevation along the road, you may see one or a few Guanacos, the largest of the 2 wild camel species of South America. 

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At an elevation of about 4000m you reach the Pampa Galeras National Reserve, a Puna highlands reserve. This iconic nature reserve and breeding station from where the vicuņas were bred back to recovery after almost having been hunted to extinction in the 1960 for their highly valued wool. See the now mostly abandoned research and breeding station and reflect on one of the great recovery successes in conservation. You will see large numbers of vicuņas mere meters from the road. This reserve get less that 50 visitors per month.

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Return to your hotel in Nazca.

 

Day 7

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San Fernando National Reserve at a mere 30 minutes form downtown Nazca. This fascinating 100,000+ ha reserve gets on average 15 visitor per month. The only practical way to get into the reserve is on a tourist adapted dune buggy. While you drive on the highway, all of the sudden, in the middle of nowhere, the driver turns right into a gravel clad desert plane. After 20 minutes or so, low dunes are popping up and increasingly are covered with drought resistant bromeliads.  Anywhere in this vegetation you may find a solitary or small herd of guanacos. As the dunes continue to rise in height, the vegetation disappears, and you start realizing why you needed to get in on a dune buggy: These are very serious dunes and a regular FWD would get hopelessly stuck here. As you continue you get to the totally barren coast with a steep 50 m high cliff, where you are take to an overlook where you look down at a large sea lion colony, a breeding colony of Humbold Pinguins, Nazca and Bluefooted Boobies, Peruvian Pelicans and many other coastal birds. The crown on the visit however is a condor roost, where most of the time you can see condors resting, at times at a distance of about 10 m. Now, we never guarantee anything, but these condors feed at dead sea lions, which wash up on the shore all year. The park ranger told us the condors can almost always be found resting and/or flying around the overlook.

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Caxamarca or Paredones, is yet another little known and little visited highlight at less than half an hour from the city. It is an Inca-related archaeological site where explorations and restorations have just started. The relationship with the Nazca lines is clearly there, but still being studied. On the way you pass by a small grove of Huarango or Millenium trees. These trees produce an extremely hard wood, that the inca's used to cover the roofs of their underground aqueducts throughout coastal Peru. All original forests are gone, but individual trees and groves persist.

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First class evening bus to Paracas;

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Check into your hotel in Paracas.

 

Day 8

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Visit the Ballestas Islands National Reserve, famous for the guano manure, harvested from the hundreds of thousands of birds that are nesting and roosting on these islands. For obvious reasons, you cannot go on land on these islands, but we have organized a boat operator that navigates much longer around the islands than the standard tour, giving you more time to enjoy the birds and the Sea Lions.

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Visit the visitor center of Paracas National Reserve and continue for a visit of one of the driest deserts in the world, where you will find no vegetation of any kind. Have lunch at a small fishermen harbor in the park, where you will enjoy the sight of Peruvian Pelicans and many other marine birds almost at your feet, while you enjoy a delicious fresh fish lunch (not include in the price);

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Take the first class bus to Lima, where your tour ends in the evening with a transfer from the bus terminal to your hotel in Lima, which ends your top 10 ecotourist attractions journey. Hotel and airport transfer can be requested additionally (not included in the price).