Arrive Lima, Peru
Arrive in Lima this evening and transfer to your hotel, located in the city’s exclusive residential district of Miraflores. Founded in 1535 by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizzaro, this “City of Kings” is a mélange of colonial structures, pre-Columbian sites and modern conveniences.
Lima | Colonial Splendor & Inspiring Artifacts
After a welcome briefing, enjoy an interactive Chef ’s Table culinary experience, as your chef deftly demonstrates and you assist in the preparation of various Peruvian dishes. After lunch, discover Peru’s capital, visiting the Plaza Mayor, birthplace of the city, and the beautiful Cathedral, built in the 16th century. Next, tour Casa Aliaga, Lima’s oldest colonial mansion. Built in 1535 by a conquistador, it has been home to 17 generations of his descendants ever since. Note the graceful wood and marble staircase, the family chapel, and the Golden Salon with its incredible golden mirrors and view the upper gallery, home to some important paintings from the Cusco School. Afterward, visit the Larco Museum, with its impressive array of pre-Columbian artifacts, and enjoy a welcome dinner at the on-site restaurant.
Sacred Valley | Cusco & Camelids
This morning, fly to Cusco, located more than 11,000 feet above sea level. Stop for lunch in the central square before proceeding to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. En route, visit Awana Kancha, a center where South American camelids, such as llamas and alpacas, are bred. Learn about the valuable fibers created from their coats and perhaps take the opportunity to feed these iconic animals. Continue to your relaxing accommodation — a charming Andean-style casita set amid gardens of flowers. Enjoy time at leisure before dining at your hotel restaurant.
Sacred Valley | Like a Journey Back in Time
When school is in session, visit the Kuychi Center to meet the children at Niños del Arco Iris (Children of the Rainbow), a project supported by A&K Philanthropy. This local school provides education, nutrition, medical care and hope to underprivileged children in the Sacred Valley. Later, visit a remote village seemingly frozen in time. Experience complete cultural immersion as you delve into agricultural methods that locals have used for centuries to support themselves in this challenging Andean mountain environment. Eat lunch locally before returning to your hotel. Spend your afternoon at leisure, perhaps taking advantage of the superb amenities of your accommodations. Dine tonight at the restaurant on site.
Machu Picchu | Bingham’s Stunning Find
Prepare for your visit to Machu Picchu with a private, interactive lecture from a renowned scholar and certified expert on the Incan ruins. Next, explore Ollantaytambo, a fortress of massive stone terraces that hug the mountain slopes and the site of the Incas’ greatest victory over the invading Spanish. Then, journey deep into the Andes toward Machu Picchu on board the PeruRail Sacred Valley, a train inspired by the elegance of the 1920s, gazing out at the spectacular Peruvian countryside. Arrive for your overnight stay at the only hotel located on site at Machu Picchu. Overlooking the Urubamba River and discovered in 1911 by American historian Hiram Bingham, Machu Picchu forever holds the secret of its passing — its Incan inhabitants left no written records of its purpose. Built in the 15th century at the height of the Inca empire, it was most likely the estate of an emperor. Walk the ruins alongside your expert guide, and then continue on your own. You may view the Temple of the Sun or Intihuatana, a ritual stone that may have been an astronomical calendar. As you wander amid the age-old stone walls, picture life as it might have been in this majestic citadel, set some 8,000 feet above sea level.
Machu Picchu & Cusco | Walking the Spectacular Ruins
Rise with the sun to walk through Machu Picchu in the early morning mist before the crowds arrive, an experience some consider the spiritual highlight of the journey. You may also opt for a hike to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate), entry point to the ruins from the Inca Trail, or a trek up to Huayna Picchu, the high mountain that forms the backbone of the ruins and boasts spectacular views. After your explorations, bid adieu to this “Lost City of the Incas” and board the Vistadome train back to Ollantaytambo. Continue to Cusco where you check in to your hotel, once a 16th-century monastery. The Belmond Hotel Monasterio is a national monument that offers a delightful retreat from the bustle of Cusco, while set just off the city square. You may wish to view the art hung in its gilded chapel or sit beneath the 300-year-old cedar in its courtyard.
Cusco | Design Your Day
Discover Cusco on a city tour this morning that includes the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas and the Santo Domingo Temple, a Dominican church built on the foundations of the Koricancha, the Incas’ principal religious building. Listen as a local expert explains how the historic clashes between the Incas and the Spanish played a role in forming today’s Peruvian culture. Later, visit the well-preserved ruins of Sacsayhuaman, a testament to Incan architectural skill. Compiled of colossal stones, the largest of which may weigh as much as 200 tons, the walls were cut and placed together with incredible precision and without a single drop of mortar to hold them in place. This imposing fortress, which witnessed the greatest battle between the Spanish and the Incas, overlooks the red-tiled roofs of Cusco. This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities.
Visit the San Blas Neighborhood, an art district where styles are handed down through generations of artisans.
Stroll San Pedro Market, tasting the local flavors of Cusco at this vibrant open-air venue.
Join a Photographer in Cusco, who helps you capture authentic images of the city’s architecture and people.
Tonight, enjoy an Andean music presentation by a regional expert on the subject, and learn the history and stories of his handmade instruments. Afterward, gather for a farewell dinner at the elegant MAP Café, where the chef gathers local ingredients for use in innovative recipes that remain true to Peru’s culinary traditions.
Spend a morning at your leisure, sleeping in, visiting shops or simply relaxing, before flying back to Lima, where you are assisted with your international flight and depart.
If you opted to overnight, enjoy breakfast before departing on your international flight.