Days 1 - 3
Peru’s capital is a fantastic city to tour, dotted with a multitude of cultural sites and beautifully preserved architecture. Founded by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima was first named ‘City of Kings’ – a biblical reference to the ‘Three Wise Men of the East’ – before its name was changed by the Spanish colonialists. The most significant historical buildings are located around the Plaza Mayor, the most notable being the Government Palace, where one can still observe the changing of the guard performed by the Húsares de Junín. The beautiful Cathedral and the various small palaces and colonial balconies also play also their part in the beauty of the city. Another highlight is the famed Larco Herrera Museum, documenting the millennial cultures that preceded the Inca civilization and containing a priceless collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, including some of South America's finest pre-Inca erotic pottery.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas
Days 3 - 5
Also known as Urabamba Valley, the Sacred Valley of the Incas is located in the Peruvian Andes, beneath the world famous site of Machu Picchu and not far from Cuzco, the unofficial Inca capital. This fertile valley is fed by a network of waterways and encompasses a wealth of archaeological sites, including Ollantaytambo, renowned for its extensive Inca ruins; Tipon, which features ancient agricultural terracing and a working irrigation system; and Pisac, with its ancient vestiges and colourful weekly market.
Machu Picchu Pueblo
Days 5 - 7
Perched high up in the Andes, Machu Picchu Pueblo is a riverside town known for its proximity to the famous Machu Picchu ruins. This cloud-forest town is encircled by towering forested cliffs and boasts an endless array of hotels, restaurants, markets and labyrinthine streets. Machu Picchu Pueblo, also known as Aguas Calientes, serves as an excellent base to explore the renowned ancient archaeological site of Machu Picchu. Visitors can enjoy a variety of other activities including: having a relaxing massage after a long day of exploring, taking a stroll through lush rainforest to the Mandor Waterfalls, embarking on an adventurous hike up the Putucusi Mountain or soaking in the relaxing thermal baths with the Andes as your backdrop. Don’t miss the Machu Picchu Museum and Botanical Gardens, displaying the area’s history and diversity of indigenous flora.
Days 7 - 9
Once called the ‘Navel of the World’ by the Incas, Cuzco remains a city that blends colonial Spanish charm with older, more austere remains of pre-Columbian glory – one can still see the foundations of Inca structures on many of its city streets today. Cuzco’s most important landmarks include sites from both Inca and colonial times, such as the Korikancha (the ancient Temple of the Sun), the Inca street of Loreto with its 12-cornered stones, the cathedral, the Museum of Colonial Art, the archaeological park of Saqsaywaman (the fortress-temple), the nearby funerary shrines of Kenqo, and the water-worship site of Tambomachay.
Days 9 - 11
Situated high in the Andes Mountains on the border between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is considered the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. The area was once a stronghold of Inca culture – and this ancient legacy is still evident in the many Inca ruins dotted across the shoreline, as well as the vibrant traditional handwoven textiles and clothes. Among the lake’s most popular attractions are the 42 floating reed islands of the Uros people, accessible from Puno in the east. On Santa Maria, the largest of these, tourists can arrange tours into private local homes to experience traditional culture.