After touching down in Peru’s pretty capital, you’ll be met and transferred by private vehicle to Hotel B, your home for the next two nights. A member of Relais & Châteaux, this elegant arts-boutique hotel in Lima’s Barranco district is an oasis of calm. Unwind in one of 17 comfortable suites and perhaps toast the start of your adventure with a perfectly prepared pisco at the bar.
Today, enjoy a culinary experience with local chef Penélope Alzamora. Under her expert guidance, learn how to make Peru’s signature dish: ceviche. This half-day masterclass begins with a visit to a local market, where Penélope will help you select the finest ingredients from the stalls piled high with a dazzling array of fresh produce. Next, head to her apartment in the bohemian Barranco district to prepare your Peruvian feast. All that’s left is to sample the fruits of your labour; enjoy lunch overlooking Lima’s scenic coast.
A short flight from Lima will deliver you to the historic Andean city of Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival, an A&K representative will transfer you to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. En route, stop at Awanakancha, a museum, workshop and camelid farm all in one. Here you can meet the soft-furred residents: the alpaca, llama and vacuna, whose wool is woven into traditional textiles. As well as getting up close to these iconic animals, you can see the ancient weaving techniques in action.
This morning, enjoy a guided hike in the famous Sacred Valley. It’s your chance to admire the archaeology and beauty of the area on foot. Begin in the picturesque town of Maras, 67 kilometres north of Cusco. The town itself has a rustic, colonial-era charm, while the nearby salt mines present excellent photographic opportunities. From here, walk seven kilometres to Moray, a fascinating archaeological site comprising concentric agricultural terraces and affording magnificent views of the Valley. Re-energise with a delectable lunch at Hacienda Sarapampa, before being transferred back to your hotel.
Spend more time getting to know the marvels of the Sacred Valley – the most scenic backdrop for a Peruvian picnic. Today, visit the Huaypo Lagoon, perched high in the Andes. A lifeline for the locals, it keeps the communities and cultivated fields surrounding it watered. Paddle around the lagoon’s mirrored waters in a kayak, enjoying the dramatic scenery all around you. Back on the banks, your chef awaits with a delicious picnic lunch. Enjoy a bite to eat with a view to remember, before your transfer back to your hotel.
Board your train to Machu Picchu, where a late-morning arrival gives you more time to explore this awe-inspiring Incan citadel. After disembarking at Aguas Calientes railway station, a half-hour bus ride will bring you to this, Peru’s most iconic site. Wander throughout Machu Picchu’s ruins alongside an expert guide, visualising the civilisation that once dwelled upon this dizzyingly high mountain ridge. After exploring, return to your hotel, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo. This 85-room lodge was built using adobe, eucalyptus beams and stone to create a delightful Andean village ambience.
Rise early today for an atmospheric walk through Machu Picchu at sunrise. Then choose between one of two hikes. The first will take you to Inti Punku, also known as the Sun Gate, which offers excellent views of the ruins. The slightly longer second route gives you the chance to visit Huayna Picchu, the mountain that looms over the famous ‘lost city’ and serves as a unique vantage point. Alternatively, take things easy and continue exploring this magnificent citadel on your own. In the evening, transfer by train to Cusco.
Cusco is a city with a culture as colourful as its official flag, as you’ll discover on today’s walking tour. Begin with a guided stroll through the city’s fascinating Plaza de Armas, its historical centre, before arriving at the vibrant San Pedro market. Here you will discover artisanal Andean crafts and the aromas and flavours of local cuisine. Once your appetite is fully sated, head back to your hotel in Plaza de Armas: Hotel Monasterio. A protected monument, this property is brimming with original details and artworks.
Fly across the border to one of Argentina’s most famous wine regions: Mendoza. This is where 80 per cent of the entire country’s wine production takes place. After touchdown, your A&K representative will meet you and transfer you to the viticultural hot spot of Uco Valley, famed for its malbec. At the Gimenez Rilli winery, you’ll learn from the experts how to make seasonal specialities such as empanadas, humita and pollo al disco – and sample the local bottles, of course.
Enjoy a full-day visit to some of the Agrelo district’s top wineries, beginning with a stop by Finca Decero for lunch. Here, with the Andean mountains soaring on the horizon, vines are nurtured a mano (by hand). Then it’s on to Benegas, a traditional winery that celebrates the Finca Libertad terroir. Your final stop is at the newer, boutique winery of Matervinis, where experimental soils give rise to original flavours, and the focus is on quality over quantity. After your tour, return to Casa de Uco resort, set amidst Mendoza’s verdant vineyards.
Explore an exceptional winery complex in the Uco Valley, today. This lesser-developed area of Mendoza boasts optimal soil conditions for a range of delectable grape varieties. Your journey will take you by lush green vineyards, poplar-lined roads and colourful towns, with the ever-present backdrop of towering mountains – including the enormous, snow-capped Tupungato. Once you’ve arrived at the Clos de lost Siete winery complex, enjoy a tour of the four wineries here.
Fly from Argentina’s capital of viticulture to its capital city, bustling Buenos Aires. After freshening up at your hotel, head out for a crash course in authentic local cuisine at The Argentine Experience. Part cookery class and part dinner party, this will be a feast for the senses. Learn to make your own empanadas and alfajors, wash down delicious steak (cooked the Argentinian way) with local malbec, and gain expert insight into customs and etiquette, from the mate ritual to what not to do with a bombilla.
The day begins with a guided tour of beautiful Buenos Aires. Visit the political centre of Plaza de Mayo, the Italian-influenced barrio (neighbourhood) of La Boca, and Puerto Madero – which has been transformed from rundown docklands into a trendy spot full of bars and restaurants. Next, hop aboard a ferry for a ride on the Rio de la Plata, gaining a unique view of the city from the water. This evening, prepare to be wowed by the heel flicks and staccato turns of the Argentine tango during an intimate performance and dinner.
By now you’ll be brimming with wine recommendations, recipe ideas and mouth-watering snaps of food. It’s time to head home. Catch your flight from Buenos Aires back to the UK.