Arrive in Lima and transfer to your hotel.
Today we cover the history of Lima from the Pre-Columbian era to the present, starting in the downtown historic district. Our guide will take us to beautiful Plaza Mayor ("Main Square"), surrounded by the Government Palace, the Archbishop's Palace, and City Hall. While strolling the old streets lined with colonial mansions and Moorish balconies, you will also visit a convent that is an icon of colonial architecture. Then we head to modern districts of San Isidro and Miraflores. San Isidro, an upscale residential and commercial neighborhood, houses a pre-Hispanic sacred structure (Huaca Huallamarca). Next we visit the modern neighborhood of Miraflores, with its chic shops, restaurants and casinos. Return to your hotel. (B)
Early transfer to Lima airport to board our flight to Cusco. Upon arrival in Cusco, private reception and departure for our full day tour of the Sacred Valley. We start by heading to the town of Pisac, one of the most important Inca sites in the Urubamba Valley. On the way we visit Awana kancha, literally “the palace of weaving,” a camelid farm with typical animals of the region: alpacas, llamas, guanacos, and vicunas. Here we learn how the indigenous people use plants and natural elements to dye and weave the wool. Then we visit their store to find beautiful examples of their craftsmanship. From here we visit Pisac, a pretty village that has plenty of small handicraft shops and a famous Sunday market. Next on our itinerary is Ollantaytambo, an Incan military, religious, and agricultural center perched on a mountain peak. From this impressive archaeological site, we can look down on the town and see the amazingly narrow streets and canals that have remained unchanged since Incan times. Lunch is included. (B,L)
Early morning transfer to Ollantaytambo train station. Our adventure starts on a train ride to the city of Aguas Calientes, where we disembark and board a bus headed for awe inspiring Machu Picchu archaeological site. You will never forget this guided, comprehensive and mind-blowing journey through the history of the Inca civilization. Here we will fully understand why Machu Picchu was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Afterwards, we will have free time to explore the site on our own, to relax, or meditate. Later, we descend to Aguas Calientes for lunch at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
Today explore Machu Picchu at your pace. Morning visit to the Machu Picchu archeological complex (tickets for the site and buses included). In the afternoon take the Vistadome Train to the Sacred Valley or Cusco. Upon arrival, transfer to our hotel. (B)
Morning at leisure. Today we explore Cusco, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. After pick-up at our hotel we head for the Koricancha Temple, an ancient Inca palace and worship center of the Sun God that was once entirely covered in gold. Here, the Dominicans built a beautiful church that still remains. Next stop is the Plaza de Armas, where the Cathedral and the beautiful Church of the Society of Jesus, among other colonial buildings, are located. Then we continue to the colonial church of San Cristóbal to enjoy a spectacular view of the city, followed by a stop at the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, an Inca building known for its mysteriously immense 30-foot tall walls of hewn stone. Strategically built on a hill, the fortress offers a broad panoramic of the city of Cuzco. We cap off our tour with a visit to the archaeological complexes of Qenko, with its stone labyrinth and sacrificial alter, and Puca Pucara, an architectural marvel of rooms, waterways and aqueducts. (B)
Private transfer to Cusco airport to board our flight back to Lima with connections. (B)