Give us a week, and we’ll immerse you in the history, culture and natural beauty of Peru! We include a choice of luxury hotels in Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley - with extensive privately-guided sightseeing throughout.
Day 1 – Welcome to Lima, Peru
On arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and chauffeured to your choice of luxury hotel. All have been carefully selected for their prime heart-of-it-all locations here in the lively capital.
Day 2 – Discover Lima #WHS#
After a leisurely breakfast, your car, driver and guide will be waiting to show you Lima’s highlights – starting at the Larco Museum; renowned for its superb collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, your private tour is the perfect introduction to the Inca sites you’ll explore in the coming days.
After a light lunch, continue to Plaza Mayor in the historic heart of the city. Admire the Archbishop’s Palace, easily recognized by its grand wooden balcony, and behold the impressive 18th-century Cathedral. Close by, you’ll tour the beautiful Convent and Basilica of Santo Domingo, built in 1766.
Then spend time exploring the streets of Barranco, where 19th-century aristocratic homes have been given new life as cafés, galleries and boutique. Visit MATE, a pioneering contemporary art museum founded by Mario Testino, the Peruvian photographer famed for his portraits of cultural icons including Diana, Princess of Wales, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. In addition to a permanent collection of Testino’s works, MATE features rotating exhibits devoted to established and emerging contemporary artists. Meals B+L
Day 3 – Fly to Cuzco + Stay in the Sacred Valley
After an early breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Cuzco, the ancient capital of the once vast and mighty Inca Empire. On arrival in this high-mountain city, meet your private Andean guide, well-versed in Peru’s rich history and its contemporary traditions, and descend by chauffeured vehicle into the Sacred Valley. At the Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary, you’ll discover a pioneering organization dedicated to the rescue and preservation of indigenous Andean wildlife including condors, macaws, parrots and even wild cats like the puma.
Then visit Awanacancha, a pioneering initiative encompassing more than 400 resident families in 14 Andean communities. With a mission to preserve the traditional textile arts of the region, you’ll see native weavers from these different communities as they create beautiful textiles using techniques that have been passed down for generations. You’ll also see the indigenous cameloids that are the source for the wool that is used for weaving: Alpacas have thick wool that is ideal for sweaters and blankets while vicunas are small and delicate creatures with very fine wool; Llamas and guanacos also roam around Awanacancha.
Set in the shadow of a spectacular mountaintop Inca fortress, Pisac is a lively market town that draws far-away villagers and international visitors alike. You’ll have time to explore before continuing to your choice of luxury resort here in the Sacred Valley. Meals B+L
Day 4 – By Rail to Machu Picchu
After breakfast, you’ll be chauffeured to the station to board the Vistadome Train for your journey through the Sacred Valley. Sit back and enjoy the views as you travel through this timeless region of snow-capped Andean peaks, quiet villages and terraced fields that have been cultivated for centuries. On arrival in the charming town of Aguas Calientes, you’ll board the coach for the 30-minute ride up the switchback mountain road that brings you to the entrance to Machu Picchu.
The fabled Lost City is certainly the single greatest landmark in Peru – and perhaps all of South America. Indeed, little can be written here that would do justice to the breathtaking grandeur of its mountain setting, the enigmatic power and aura that so permeate this ancient citadel, and the unforgettable experience of standing among these ancient stones. And with your personal guide’s illuminating expertise, your visit will bring to life the ancient Inca civilization that built Machu Picchu. After sightseeing, check in to your choice of hotel where you’ll have time to refresh before dinner. Both the Sumaq Hotel and Inkaterra Pueblo are located in Aguas Calientes in the shadow of Machu Picchu. The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge offers a privileged location adjacent to the Lost City and is the only hotel atop the mountain. Meals B+L+D
Day 5 – Morning at Machu Picchu + Back to Cuzco by Train
For guests staying in Aguas Calientes, we’ve included your motorcoach transportation back up the mountain and your entry ticket so you can explore the Lost City at your own pace. Our guests at the Sanctuary Lodge will also have their ticket and can simply walk to the Machu Picchu entrance. At this early hour, people have yet to arrive from Cuzco or the Sacred Valley. With far fewer visitors and the soft light of morning just breaking over the surrounding mountain peaks, your return visit promises an exceptionally powerful and evocative experience.
In the afternoon, you’ll make the return rail journey through the Sacred Valley – all the way to Cuzco. On arrival, you’ll be met and chauffeured to your choice of luxury hotel. Meals B
Day 6 – Discover Cuzco #WHS#
After breakfast, your privately guided sightseeing tour begins in the peaks outside of town where you’ll discover the magnificent ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Built in the 1400’s by the Inca Emperor Pachacútec, the massive limestone blocks of this venerated complex were cut with such precision that they fit together without mortar like the interlocking pieces of a jigsaw puzzle! With some individual stones towering more than 10 feet tall and weighing several hundreds of tons, Sacsayhuaman is a monumental achievement of architecture and masonry.
You’ll also visit San Pedro Market and Almudena Cemetery; here at these seemingly quotidian sites, your guide will offer fascinating cultural perspectives and personal insights into how ancient traditions – many dating back to Inca times – still endure in the life of local citizens. Then discover Cuzco’s Cathedral and the other Colonial-era landmarks that line the Plaza de Armas. At the Temple of the Sun and Convent of Santo Domingo, you’ll discover one of Peru’s most fascinating sites. It also demonstrates the rich layering of history here in Cuzco, where a sacred structure of one culture, the Convent, literally sits atop and practically encloses another, the Inca-built Temple of the Sun. Finish your tour with an engaging local bartender and learn how to make the perfect Pisco Sour, Peru’s signature cocktail. Meals B
Day 7 – Fly Back to Lima… Or Extend Your Travels
We’ll take you to the airport this morning for your return flight to Lima where you can connect to your homeward journey. Or extend your travels in South America with any of our Short Stay Tours. Lake Titicaca, the Nazca Lines and the Peruvian Amazon are among our most popular extensions. Meals B