Tap into your inner Indiana Jones for an epic encounter with an ancient civilization and the baroque splendor of a conquistador’s capital city. Inca treasures, wild landscapes and ancient legends are brought to life in the Sacred Valley, centuries-old ruins of Cusco and Machu Picchu, and the charismatic streets of Lima.
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ARRIVE LIMA (2 NIGHTS)
Bienvenidos a Lima, founded in 1535 by conquistador Francisco Pizarro who dubbed it the “City of Kings.” Upon arrival in Lima, you will be warmly greeted and taken to you to your hotel in San Isidro, one of Lima’s exclusive neighbourhoods, bustling with shops and restaurants. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Reception at 6 p.m.
Late this morning, a memorable experience is waiting to welcome you to beautiful Peru. Meet Ignacio Barrios, a young chef who has worked alongside many of Peru’s most award-winning chefs. Visit a local market where Ignacio will explain how Peruvian fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat are the basis of Peruvian cooking. Visit Ignacio’s cooking school where you’ll see a demonstration on how to prepare some of Peru’s most popular foods before dining on a Be My Guest lunch of typical Peruvian dishes created just for you by Ignacio and his sous chef. After lunch, bid farewell and spend the afternoon exploring Peru’s capital with your Local Specialist. Immerse yourself in the colonial splendor of Lima’s Historic Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the expansive Plaza de Armas with its impressive cathedral and the stately government palace. See the Church of San Francisco and discover its hidden catacombs and splendid architecture. The evening is yours to enjoy.
LIMA – CUSCO – SACRED VALLEY
Take a morning flight to Cusco and head for the Sacred Valley. Stop at Awanakancha, a Cultural Insight and living museum of the Peruvian Andes, where you can see and interact with llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. Enjoy a picnic box lunch before visiting the vibrant market of Pisac where local Quechua people come to sell their produce and handicrafts. Spend some time browsing the stalls, sip a cup of coca tea to help you acclimate to the altitude and keep your ears open for roving bands playing the traditional music of the Andes. Later this afternoon, arrive at your lovely hotel, a former 18th century colonial-style monastery, surrounded by beautiful gardens in the heart of the Sacred Valley. Learn about Peruvian weaving as you observe the centuries-old methods used for spinning, dyeing and weaving Andean traditional textiles. Discover this Cultural Insight with Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, a Quechua scholar and recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant. This evening, enjoy a convivial dinner at the hotel.
SACRED VALLEY – MACHU PICCHU
After breakfast, head to Ollantaytambo to visit this famous Inca stronghold built from immense blocks of stone. Learn about Inca history as you tour the ruins of the hilltop fortress. Next, board the Vistadome train for the journey to the great citadel of the Incas (light snack included). Panoramic windows allow you to appreciate the incredible scenery as you follow the Rio Vilcanota to the town of Aquas Calientes. Upon arrival, take a short ride up to the entrance gate and begin your exploration of one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Visit the ruins of this once-great fortress built in the 15th century and abandoned nearly 100 years later with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. See the highlights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with a Local Specialist-the great Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest, the Sacred Plaza and the Intihuatana, an intricately carved rock most likely used as a sundial by the ancient Incas. Dinner is served at the hotel.
MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO (2 NIGHTS)
Return to Machu Picchu to continue exploring on your own. If you’re feeling adventurous, hike up to the Gate of the Sun for stunning views over the fortress and the valley below. Or view the incredible stonework and amazing feats of engineering required to transport the huge blocks of stone to the top of this isolated mountain. In the early afternoon, board the train to the Sacred Valley. Head toward the great colonial city of Cusco by coach. On the way, stop at a local chicheria for a taste of chicha, a Cultural Insight, and learn how this Peruvian corn beer is made by local women.
This morning, embark on a tour of Cusco, the “Imperial City”. This lively city, rich in history, bears marks of both the Incas and Spanish who came after them. Enjoy an introduction to the city’s highlights, including the incredible baroque Cathedral on the main Plaza de Armas. Delve deeper into the history of this ancient locale at the 17th century Church of Santo Domingo, which was built atop the foundation of the Inca Temple of the Sun, referred to as Korikancha. Just outside of town, visit the ruins of the Sacsayhuaman fortress and see nearby warehouses where the Incas stored their grain. Spend the rest of the afternoon on your own. This evening, gather for a Regional Meal at a local restaurant, enjoying Cusquenian dishes and ancestral dance performances.
CUSCO – LIMA
Fly back to Lima late this morning and enjoy an afternoon on your own to do some more exploring, pick up souvenirs or just relax. Later, meet a Local Specialist and curator at the Larco Museum, which houses the largest private collection of pre-Columbian art in the world, and learn about the evolution and cultures of ancient Peruvian societies. Later, gather with your travelling companions for a Farewell Dinner in the museum’s garden restaurant.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight or perhaps extend your stay at the Novotel Lima.
- Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing
- Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals
- Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
- All Intra-Air Flights: Lima to Cusco and Cusco to Lima, including porter service at all airports.
- Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
- Hand-picked Insider Experiences
- Optional Experiences and free time
- All porterage and local charges included
- Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
- An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
- All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
- Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday
- VIP entry to many sights