DAY 1 : ARRIVE LIMA
Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met and transferred to the Miraflores Park Hotel. The capital of Peru and its largest city, Lima is the undisputed economic hub of the country. About 7 million people live in this thriving South American metropolis, which is also known as the “City of Kings.” Spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
DAY 2: LIMA
In the morning, set out for a day of privately guided sightseeing in Lima. Start in the city’s historical center, passing Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace and City Hall on the way to the Convent and Church of San Francisco, the greatest monumental complex of colonial art in America. Proceed to the Gold of Peru Museum, a private collection that displays important pieces of gold, silver and gilded copper from several pre-Columbian cultures as well as jewelry, Paracas textiles and ceramics. After lunch at La Huaca Pucllana Restaurant — located among the remains of an ancient archaeological compound built by the early inhabitants of Lima — visit Rafael Larco Herrera Museum for an excellent overview of 3,000 years of pre-Columbian Peruvian history. Larco is one of the few museums in the world where visitors can enter a storage area to see 45,000 classified archaeological objects from the Mochica, Chimu and other pre-Inca civilizations. Another rather unusual feature of the museum is its erotic pottery collection, the only one of its kind in the world — its masterpieces are considered icons of pre-Columbian art and have been exhibited in the world’s leading museums.
DAY 3: LIMA – CUSCO
After an early breakfast, you will be met and transferred to the airport for your flight to Cusco. With its high altitude, visitors occasionally need a little time to acclimate; a brief orientation tour and a cup of traditional coca tea will hopefully help you get your bearings. After settling into the Monasterio Hotel, set out on an afternoon of privately guided touring in Cusco. The ancient capital of the vast Inca Empire, charming Cusco is many visitors’ favorite city in Peru. First visit the Sacsayhuaman Fortress, strategically built on a hill overlooking Cusco. This archaeological site is famous for its zig-zag wall and perfectly fitted carved stones, some of which are over 30 feet high and weigh more than 350 tons! Continue on to the underground cave and temple of Qenqo and then the ceremonial bath of Tambo Machay, known as the “Baths of the Inca.” Conclude the day with a visit to the MAP Museum (Pre-Columbian Art Museum), the only one in Peru dedicated to raising the profile of the arts of ancient Peruvian cultures. In the evening, sample some of the innovative “novo-andina” cuisine with dinner at the museum café.
DAY 4: SACRED VALLEY
After breakfast, set out for a day trip to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The first stop is at Awanacancha, a weaving cooperative established to ensure that the traditional textile arts are kept alive; you will also see alpaca, llama and vicuña animals roaming the grounds. Continue to Pisac, a quaint town that plays host to a native market on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. In the main square, artisans and merchants from surrounding towns come to display their textiles, crafts, sweaters, ponchos, and bags. Continue the journey to Ollantaytambo, one of the oldest continuously occupied settlements in the Americas. The narrow cobblestone streets were planned with kanchas, family dwellings shared with animals around open courtyards. On the hillside overlooking the village, visit the Incan remains, which include structures such as the Temple of the Sun, Royal Hall, and Incawatana. Explore the stepped terraces, impressive stairways, funeral chambers and the 6 monolith stones with symbols and drawings carved into them. If time permits, visit the village’s local cooperative museum, which is dedicated to the conservation of traditional arts and crafts. In the early evening, return to Cusco.
DAY 5: CUSCO – MACHU PICCHU
After breakfast, transfer to Poroy Station to catch the Hiram Bingham panoramic train to Machu Picchu; mimosas and brunch will be served on board. Hiram Bingham was an explorer who, in 1911, brought the ruins to international attention. Upon arrival at the train station, your guide will take you on a 30-minute minibus ride to the “Lost City of Machu Picchu.” Certainly one of the wonders of the world, Machu Picchu is a breathtaking monument to the ingenuity of Incan civilization. Though the original purpose of the site remains unclear, theories abound — the many temples indicate that Incans regarded it, at least to some degree, as a spiritual place. Tour the site for about two hours, during which time the guide will explain the astonishing technical achievement of the ruins. After the guided portion of the tour, you will have time to stroll around at your leisure. At the conclusion of the day, head to your hotel, Sanctuary Lodge, for an exquisite English-style tea and, later, dinner.
DAY 6: MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
Spend a full day exploring Machu Picchu independently. Guests of the Sanctuary Lodge have a unique opportunity to visit early in the morning before other tourists arrive, when misty clouds cover the site and gradually evaporate to reveal Machu Picchu as the sun rises. If it’s not raining, adventurous visitors can also decide to hike up the Huayna Picchu for a spectacular view down onto Machu Picchu. The hike takes approximately 1.5 hours; those who want to attempt it should be in reasonably good physical condition. At 5PM, a minibus will take you to Machu Picchu station to connect to the Hiram Bingham train back to Cusco. Enjoy cocktails and a gourmet dinner accompanied by live entertainment. Upon arrival at Poroy Station in Cusco, you will be transferred to the Monasterio Hotel for a two-night stay.
DAY 7: CUSCO
Today is at leisure for you to explore Cusco independently.
DAY 8: CUSCO – LIMA – DEPART PERU
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima, where you will connect to your outbound international flight.