Seniors want to see ruins and jungles Wilds: The problem is that the Amazon and Machu Picchu are rarely included in the same trip.


We are a retired couple looking for a relatively comfortable South American tour that includes Machu Picchu and the Amazon River. Can you advise us?

While many tour companies offer trips to the Amazon region and to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, most do not combine the sites on the same itinerary. It is more likely that you'll come across tours that include optional extensions to one or the other site.

The Massachusetts Audubon Society, for instance, has a 15-day tour scheduled next year called "Discovering Untamed Wonders the Amazon," which is primarily a cruise aboard the 238-foot-long Explorer, a 98-passenger ship, with dining room, lounge, library and lecture hall. The tour, which begins April 28, stops at remote settlements of the Ticuna, Bora and Huitoto Indians, as well as the bustling ports of Manaus and Belem in Brazil. Participants explore Amazon tributaries by small boat and view wildlife, including freshwater dolphins, caimans, piranha, toucans, storks, three-toed sloths, and squirrel and capuchin monkeys.

The cost of the cruise starts at $4,695 a person, double occupancy, and does not include international air fare or a port charge of $149 a person. A four-night extension to Cuzco and Machu Picchu is available for $995 a person, double occupancy. Information: Massachusetts Audubon Society, 208 S. Great Road, Lincoln, Mass. 01773; (617) 259-9500 or (800) 289-9504.

Among the companies that include both sites in one itinerary is Overseas Adventure Travel of Cambridge, Mass. "Amazon Wilds, Galapagos Isles" is an 18-day tour that is designed to attract travelers over age 50. An Amazon rain forest; Lima and Machu Picchu, Peru; Quito and Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador; and the Galapagos Islands are among the sites visited.

There are more than a dozen departure dates throughout 1997, beginning in February. The price, which varies with departure date, starts at $3,990 a person, and includes round-trip air fare from Miami. Information: (800) 221-0814.

Pub Date: 11/24/96

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