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 Pizarro, this “City of Kings” is a blend of colonial structures, pre-Colombian sites and modern conveniences. It’s also one of the world’s premier culinary cities, with a cuisine that reflects its people’s varied origins and traditions.
Lima | Discovering Peruvian Cuisine
Discover Lima, its history and flavors with top local chefs, visiting a market to learn about the unique food products of the Land of the Incas. Next, join in a Peruvian cooking experience, and savor the delicious dishes you have cooked, sharing them family style. After lunch, discover Peru’s capital, visiting Plaza de Armas, birthplace of the city, and the beautiful Cathedral, built in the 16th century. Continue your journey to the bohemian Barranco neighborhood and discover the essence of the Limeños lifestyle. Meet a local chef who takes you to his or her favorite places, where you are invited to sample some of the iconic dishes and spirits of Peru, an interactive Chef ’s Table experience exclusive to A&K.
Sacred Valley | Cusco and Camelids
Fly to Cusco, located more than 11,000 feet above sea level. Stop for lunch in the central square, and then, take part in a photography workshop, learning pointers from a professional, 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, and learn about the valuable fibers created from their coats. Continue to your awe-inspiring accommodation, designed to blend in with, and provide an advantageous view of, Sacred Valley landscapes.
Sacred Valley | Learning Time-Honored Traditions
Visit a remote village, where the local residents greet you warmly before giving you a hands-on introduction to the customs and crafts that make up their way of life, including weaving and cooking, for an A&K-exclusive experience. Andean cultures have long revered Mother Earth goddess Pachamama for sustaining life on our planet. This afternoon, participate in one of Peru’s oldest and most sacred rituals when you join a local shaman in a traditional “Payment to the Earth” ceremony, extending an offering to Pachamama, to give thanks and honor new beginnings. Next, visit the Kuychi Center to meet the children at Niños del Arco Iris (Children of the Rainbow), a project supported by A&K Philanthropy, which provides education, nutrition, medical care and hope to children in the Sacred Valley. Eat lunch locally before returning to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure, and gaze upon the soaring Andes on a refreshing Scenic Sundowner.
Machu Picchu | Bingham’s Stunning Find
Prepare for your visit to Machu Picchu with a private lecture from a renowned scholar and certified expert on the Incas. 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. Although it served well as a military stronghold, Ollantaytambo had a deeper, religious significance for the Incas, as evidenced by the unfinished, stone-carved Temple of the Sun found near the top of the terraces. Then, Ride Like a Local, journeying 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, Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century at the height of the Inca Empire. Although this “Lost City” was revealed to the rest of the world by American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911, its location was long known to locals. Its original purpose, however, remains a matter of some conjecture, as the Incas left no written records. Explore the ruins with your expert local guide and, 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 | 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 to trek up from the ruins to the Sun Gate, entry point to the Inca Trail. 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 and now a national monument that offers a delightful retreat from the bustle of Cusco, while set just off the city square. Enjoy an evening at leisure, free to relax or begin to explore Cusco on your own.
Cusco | Design Your Day
This morning, discover Cusco on a city tour 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 from 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, a unique, bohemian enclave where you find the workshops of artisans.
Stroll San Pedro Market and Visit the Inca Museum for a taste of local fruits and cheese, and a glimpse of daily life, followed by a look back into Peru’s rich history.
Explore with an Expert Photographer who helps you refine your skills and capture Cusco as a local sees it, including its people, narrow streets and beautiful houses.
Tonight, listen to a private Andean music presentation by a regional expert, and learn the history of his handmade instruments. Absorb not only the timeless quality of the Peruvian folk tunes he plays but the unmistakable cultural identity revealed by their haunting, immersive melodies. 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.
After a morning at leisure to sleep in, visit shops or simply relax, fly back to Lima. Later, board your departing flight.