Days 2 - 5
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.
Machu Picchu Pueblo
Days 5 - 6
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 various 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.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas
Days 6 - 7
Also known as Urubamba 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.
Days 8 - 10
Set on the shores of glistening Lake Titicaca, on the Altiplano of Peru, this large city is dubbed the ‘folklore capital' of the country, well known for its traditional music and dance. It is also famous for its incredible collection of floating islands - man-made islands created from reeds, which exhibit the unique survivalist culture that has been alive here since pre-Incan times. Other highlights include visits to the atmospheric, historical Church of San Pedro, the gorgeous Sistine Chapel of the Americas, and a stroll along the boardwalk on the shoreline of Lake Titicaca. Active types should take on the challenge to climb up the 700 steps to the Kuntur Wasi viewpoint, which is presided over by a massive metal condor sculpture, for the reward of breathtaking vistas across the city and Lake Titicaca beyond.
Days 10 - 12
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.