Maximise your time in Peru by flying through night from the UK to the UNESCO-city Cusco –the America’s oldest continuously inhabited city and the Incan empire’s de facto capital.
Cusco is the gateway to Peru’s past. You’ll be met at the airport by a member of A&K’s Peruvian team and whisked straight off to the Andean highlands to have an unadulterated cultural experience with the Quechua people. The welcoming villagers will demonstrate textile techniques and designs. You’ll decode the symbolic meanings hidden in local dress. Take a short walk with your hosts into highlands’ fields. You’ll be shown how the soil is hand-turned on the mountainsides. Join in a blessing for the earth, the animals and the newly ploughed land.
Cusco is also the springboard to The Sacred Valley of the Incas. See it from another viewpoint today. Thrill-seekers, even trepidacious ones, will love ziplining over the Valley. Accessed by a 35-minute hike, the zipline consists of six lines making up a total rappelable distance of 2km. You’ll journey from line to line by via ferrata, a series of ladders, bridges and holds built into the rock face – a safe and easy way for non-rock climbers to get mountain high.
Today, jump aboard a train to magical Machu Picchu. Side by side with your expert guide, you’ll explore the legendary ruined Incan citadel. Just over one hundred years ago, young Yale academic Hiram Bingham rediscover this ‘lost’ city of the Incans. Its purpose lost in time, you’ll enjoy hearing the theories and speculating on this 8km2 mountaintop estate’s origin story. Tuck into a late afternoon tea at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.
This morning, get up before dawn to watch the sun rise of Machu Picchu. It’s one of our favourite Peruvian experiences. Later, choose between two possible hikes. The first is to Inkipunku, the famous Gate of the Sun. It’s the entry point to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail and the views are epic. The second is to Huayna Picchu – this apus (or sacred peak) marks the north end of the citadel. In the early evening, board a train back to Cusco. An A&K team member will meet you at the station and take you to your hotel.
Today is all about Cusco’s crafts and cuisine. Start your tour with a stroll from Plaza de Armas to the vibrant San Pedro market with your expert guide. This covered, open-air market is as authentic as you can get, men and women in indigenous garb sell their wares and locals stock their larders. Engage all your senses and learn about unique artisan Andean traditions.
Today is yours to explore Cusco and surrounds at your leisure. Cusco is full of excellent, well-designed museums, opulent churches and chic boutiques (for all your alpaca needs). Sacsayhuaman, on the city’s northern outskirts, is a stunning ancient Incan fortress.
This morning, you’re off to Lima, where first things first, a visit to the Larco Museum. Housing an extensive private collection of pre-Inca ceramics, this is one of Lima’s treasure troves. Larco is one of the few museums in the world where visitors can go behind the scenes. Entering the storage area with its 45,000 archaeological objects is an unforgettable experience. Following your visit to the museum, you’ll get a taste of a popular South American spirit, Pisco. Visit an inn to discover the history of this Peruvian grape brandy and how its made. Next a tasting experience. Chin, chin.
Today is yours to explore Lima at your own pace. Take a bike and cycle down the coast or get lost in one of the many art museums. Peru’s capital is a gastronomic hot spot, with two entries in the top ten of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 list. At number five was Central. Head chef Virgilio Martínez also run Michelin-starred Lima in London. Maido, at number eight, focuses on Nikkei cuisine. Also on the list at number thirty-three was Astrid y Gastón. Why not let us make you a reservation?
Bid a fond farewell to Peru today – you’re off to the airport for your flight home.