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Duration: 12 days Visiting: Peru
Delve into the mysterious world of the Inca empire on this stylish exploration of Peru. Every detail is taken care of as you journey from the pulsating capital of Lima, to the mist-cloaked mountains of Machu Picchu and halcyon waters of South America's largest lake. All the while enjoying the complete comfort of a Luxury Gold itinerary. Against a backdrop of ancient ruins, indulge in classic Peruvian dining that draws inspiration from ingredients both native and contemporary, at Huaca Pucllana. In Cusco, meet Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, an expert in traditional weaving, to learn how the TreadRight foundation is helping protect this ancient skill. Enjoy two nights at the award-winning Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel where your elegant room comes complete with a fireplace to warm you each evening.
Arrive Lima, Peru
On arrival at Lima International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your luxurious hotel in Miraflores, Lima's most prestigious address. At 19:00 join your Travelling Concierge for a warm and friendly Welcome Reception and an opportunity to meet with your fellow travellers over drinks and a light meal at Nos, Chef Virgilio Martinez's newest restaurant in Lima.
Lima, 'City of the Kings'
(Relaxed Start) Experience Lima through the eyes of a Local Expert as you are introduced to the beautiful 'City of Kings'. Explore the UNESCO listed Historic Centre of Lima; view the imposing cathedral, and visit the San Francisco Monastery with its shadowy catacombs lined with skulls and bones. A Highlight Lunch is included in the trendy, bohemian district of Barranco at one of Lima's most up-and-coming restaurants, Amor Amar. Continue exploring Barranco and visit the workshop of Victor Delfin, one of the leading sculptors and painters in Peru, best known for his monumental El Beso, a large sculpture unveiled in 1993 in "Love Park" in the Miraflores district. Meet Victor and his wife—who was his muse for the sculpture—at his home. Then, over a hot chocolate or authentic café pasado, listen to an expert barista spill the beans on Peruvian coffee. As evening falls, the restaurant terrace at Huaca Pucllana overlooks the illuminated ruins of a 1500-year-old pre-Inca pyramid. In contrast, the cuisine at the evening's Highlight Dinner is 'new Andean', exquisitely executed by one of the capital's celebrated chefs.
Lima and on to the Sacred Valley
Board your flight for Cusco and drive to Peru's Sacred Valley. Stretching between the old Inca capital of Cusco and the legendary city of Machu Picchu, this was the fertile homeland of the Inca Empire. Visit the colourful Sunday market in the town of Chinchero, one of the most traditional markets in all of South America, where you'll be surrounded by locals in their traditional dress, buying and selling their wares. Then, meet Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, a Quechua and scholar, president of the Centre for Traditional Textiles of Cusco and recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant. Enjoy lunch with Nilda and learn about her mission to preserve traditional weaving techniques and why weaving in Peru is much more than just an art form. View weavers at work, learn about weaving patterns and Andean beliefs. Later, check into your luxurious resort and relax before dinner at your hotel.
Exploring the Sacred Valley
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading to the little town of Maras to meet with a local family, giving you the unique opportunity to learn the local arts and crafts of the region. View the spectacular terraced salt pans dating back to Inca times, a patchwork landscape of pinks, tans and browns. Families have passed down caring for these salt pans for generations and today maintain them in much the same way they did long ago. Experience the ways in which they care for the salt pans and how their way of life depends on this tradition. In Moray, view the Incan ruins of circular terraces said to have been used for agricultural experiments. Experience a typical, trendy Peruvian meal, a caja china lunch of fresh vegetables and slow-roasted meats, all cooked in a wooden box. After lunch, witness a private Pachamama Ceremony, or 'Payment to the Earth', as a local shaman performs a centuries-old ritual of expressing reverence to the Earth as a source of life. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy your resort's facilities.
Journey to Machu Picchu
Start the day with a visit to the town of Ollantaytambo, a National Archeological Site. Settle in to the panoramic viewing cars of the Vistadome train for the scenic journey to Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch is included upon arrival at your resort, reminiscent of an ancient Andean village. Explore nature trails winding past waterfalls and gardens as your Local Expert explains the fascinating cloud forest ecosystem. Discover a working tea plantation and the world's largest private collection of indigenous orchids. In the evening, learn how to blend the perfect pisco sour before enjoying dinner at the hotel.
Mysterious Machu Picchu
This entire day is free for you to discover the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu, recently named one of the 'New Seven Wonders of the World'. Meet your Local Expert for a walk through the enigmatic 'Lost City of the Incas'. Learn about its history and the people who once lived there as you explore the site. Witness the great Temple of the Sun, Sacred Plaza and the intricately carved Intihuatana, believed to be an ancient sun clock. After an included lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge, there is more time to explore the archaeological site at your own pace, or perhaps visit the local town and browse its market before dinner.
Return to Cusco
(Relaxed Start) Return by train to the Sacred Valley and tantalise your taste buds with a Highlight Lunch at a Pachamanca Feast, a traditional Peruvian meal cooked underground. At a local camelid farm, get up close and personal with llamas, guanacos, alpacas and even the rare and precious vicuña, known for their soft and highly prized wool. Arrive at your stylish hotel, only steps away from the Plaza de Armas. Built atop ancient Incan ruins and situated around a 16th century convent, your hotel is a veritable museum in the historic city of Cusco.
Join a Local Expert to explore Cusco and its surroundings. Visit the Temple of the Sun at Korikancha and the formidable citadel of Sacsayhuaman, made of gigantic boulders, and the city cathedral. Visit the local market where you can practice your bartering skills. Set out for San Blas, Cusco's artisan centre, where you visit an unusual candle shop and learn about its importance to the locals. After, enjoy some free time on the Plaza de Armas for shopping. In the evening, enjoy a candlelit Highlight Dinner at the reputed MAP restaurant.
Lake Region of Peru
(Relaxed Start) After departing Cusco in the morning, board your included flight to Juliaca before a drive to Puno, situated on the edge of the majestic waters of Lake Titicaca. Arrive on Esteves Island and your lakeside hotel.
The Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca
Cruise Lake Titicaca, the most sacred lake in the world of the Incas, to the famous floating islands of Uros. Here the local people bundle reeds from the lake to build floating platforms, houses and canoes. Learn about their lifestyle and customs before continuing to the island of Amantani, known for its weaving, stone carvings and gorgeous landscape. Enjoy lunch hosted by local restaurateur, Gladys Quispe Yanarico at Samari. After, there is time to explore or purchase local handicrafts before returning to Puno where you can relax until dinner.
Puno, Back to Lima
(Relaxed Start) Head out to Sillustani on the shores of Lake Umayo, where the ancient Colla people interred their kings and nobility in enigmatic 'chullpas' or funerary towers. After exploring these impressive burial grounds, enjoy a scenic drive back to Juliaca for your flight to Lima. As the sun sets, be treated to a sensational seaside Celebration Dinner at CALA where pisco sours are the cocktail of choice. With the waves crashing beneath you, savour an inventive selection of Peruvian nouvelle cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh seafood.
Your Peruvian adventure draws to a close today. A departure transfer to Lima airport is included.
Lima (Central) - Peru
Located in Lima's distinctive Miraflores district, this hotel offers superior service, luxury accommodation and an unbeatable location near top fine dining, notable historic sites, and picturesque public spaces. Stylish guest rooms feature spectacular ocean views and include amenities like marble bathrooms and designer bedding. Savor fine Peruvian dining at one of the two acclaimed restaurants, book a spa treatment at the Health Club, or break a sweat in the state-of-the-art fitness center.
Machu Picchu (Scenic) - Peru
Located in the heart of the Machu Picchu area, this spa resort is the ultimate cloud forest vacation paradise, offering 85 intimate casitas in a sprawling Andean style village, within 23 acres of secluded and exquisite beauty. Follow stone pathways along the terraced hills, melding with the sacred energy of the mountains. Indulge in Inkaterra’s spa services, two first-class restaurant boasting stunning views of the rushing Vilcanota River and a secluded bar/lounge to savor Pisco Sours.
Lake Titicaca (Scenic) - Peru
Located on a private island -- the Esteves Island -- Libertador Lake Titicaca offers unforgettable sunrises and sunsets from any point in the hotel. The hotel offers 360º views of the highest navigable lake in the world. From its private pier, guests navigate to islands lost in time where they can witness and participate from centuries-old traditions and crafts with their inhabitants. All 123 rooms offer stunning lake views and the modern amenities of an international luxury hotel. Los Uros restaurant offers international and local cuisine made with local produce, surrounded by one of the greatest views of the lake. At night, enjoy drinks at the Taquile bar.
5 out of 5
5/16/2017 Ann Ellsworth, Fair Oaks (CA), United States
I highly recommend visiting Peru and it's beautiful sights including Machu Picchu. It was an experience of a lifetime. And traveling with Insight Vacations luxury gold was the icing on the cake. Our tour director Robert was top notch and made sure that everyone was as comfortable as possible throughout the entire trip. Nothing is ever perfect and there were a few glitches, however, this tour company is fantastic and I would recommend Insight to people of all ages. They take care of everything and deliver a memorable travel experience.
5 out of 5
5/9/2017 Michel Roy, Rockland, Canada
Luxury Gold is really a big difference against other tours. True luxury hotels selected with great locations. Dinners were most of the time in selected unique restaurants with world wide reputation. Whether it was Peruvian food, French or other cuisine, all had great food. Lunches were in typical Peruvian places with local food. All were excellent and outstanding. Visiting places selected were all you want to see in Peru and local guides had knowledge and were friendly and very open to questions. I recommend this tour without hesitation. My wife and I had a great time. The only critic I have is regarding internal flights. Insight should pay attention to couples so they are seating together for the internal flights.
5 out of 5
6/25/2016 Suzanne Butch, Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor
Enjoyable and well paced tour. Challenging at higher altitudes but tour guides allowed plenty of time to climb up sites. The floating islands were an unanticipated highlight and made the trip to the highest elevations a necessity. Hotels used were the best in the area. Great locations with beautiful grounds.
5 out of 5
6/20/2016 Samuel Podberesky, Riva, United States
Best hotels, great tour guides, excellent tour director and fabulous and varied food options. Machu Pichu and Lake Titicaca were the indescribable highlights but we were presented with countless other memorably good experiences.
5 out of 5
5/24/2016 Gary Bennett, The Villages, United States
Absolutely fantastic trip !!!
5 out of 5
5/23/2016 Jane Sturgeon, The Villages, United States
Indeed one of our best vacations. It is amazing all we did and all the places we visited. Yes, everyone most likely visits Peru for Machu Pucchu, which was spectacular, however everything in the Sacred Valley was memorable. It was wonderful meeting several families and being invited into their homes. I loved historic Cusco and later ending up in the beautiful Puno region. The sights and sounds, especially all the bright colors, plus the warmth of the people will stay with me forever. Our guide, Barbara Ferstl was the best and we learned so much from the local guide Harvey. There is nothing I would change. Perfect destination, perfect trip. While accommodations and food are not priorities for a great vacation, the places we stayed and the meals were top notch.