Arrive in Peru’s capital where it’s a two-minute walk to your hotel. Rest your head before your flight tomorrow.
It’s an early wake up call for your flight to Cusco where on arrival, you will be met by an A&K guide. The city sits at 3,399 metres, so we recommend acclimatising in the lower altitudes of the Sacred Valley, an hour-and-a-half away. Wind down the verdant Urubamba region framed by ancient Andean peaks, considered the heartland of the Incas. Your hotel awaits where you can relax by the outdoor pool or rejuvenate in the eucalyptus sauna.
Spend the day visiting Inca-era sites such as Chinchero, an authentic market town known for its colourful woven textiles. Continue to the Maras salt pans, terraces of dazzling white salt still harvested in exactly the same way since the time of the Incas. After purchasing a bag or two, head to the Moray ruins, stone depressions believed to be an agricultural laboratory. Wander around its huge earthen bowl learning about the different microclimates and ancient crop variations.
Take a bicycle ride in the Urubamba Valley along a 26-kilometre path. This is a great way of watching rural life unfold, from locals working in the maize fields to tiny farming villages. The paved road and mostly flat terrain isn’t too taxing so it’s ideal for multi-generational families who want to soak up ruins, vast rural scenery, and remote towns with ease.
A scenic train ride will take you into the jungle-clad mountains where Machu Picchu awaits. Arrive at the town of Aguas Calientes and hop on a bus to the citadel. Nothing can quite prepare you for Machu Picchu’s architectural wonder; intricately carved stones, expansive grassy avenues and cascading mountainside terraces. Your guide will help you navigate the sacrificial sites and original structures of this mysterious city with no written records. After spending time here, head back down to your hotel, away from the hustle and bustle of the town.
Today you may feel like stretching your legs on a hike to Machu Picchu’s Sun Gate for panoramas of the citadel. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can embark on the steep climb up Huayna Picchu Mountain for unrivalled bird’s eye views. You could also enjoy some pampering in the hotel spa. In the evening, take the train to Cusco where you will be met and driven to your hotel in the heart of the historical city.
Today your guide will help you discover Cusco starting at its colonial-era Cathedral, sumptuous with gold leaf and original frescoes. Head to another splendid 16th-century church, Santo Domingo, fascinatingly built on top of an Inca temple. Next, head to the city’s outskirts to Sacsayhuaman (pronounced ‘sexy woman’), originally an Incan stronghold with gigantic stone walls masterfully cut from boulders. The site was used for rituals as well as being a battleground for one of the fiercest wars between the Spanish and the Incas.
Hop on a flight to the cosmopolitan capital of Lima where you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. After lunch, your guide will take you to the Larco Museum containing the world’s largest private collection of pre-Columbian artefacts from pottery to gold jewellery. Thirsty work? Pull up a stool at a local watering hole where you can drink pisco in traditional forms. Flash forward to the 21st century at a hip cocktail bar where mixologists whizz up creative pisco concoctions.
Visit a local market in the morning when it is at its most vibrant. Your guide is a culinary connoisseur, who will help you choose the freshest native ingredients. Then head to your host’s spectacular apartment in the arty Barranco district for lunch with Pacific Ocean panoramas. Take a seat at the kitchen table and help slice up ingredients for ceviche (a Peruvian art in itself). You’ll also learn how to make pisco sours, the perfect accompaniment.
You have the day free to explore as you please. Perhaps you’ll visit the colonial part of the city or sweep through Barranco’s contemporary art galleries. The pre-Inca ruins of Pachacamac lie 30 kilometres outside of the city and are worth a day trip for history buffs. Make the most of your last night in Lima dining at one of the hottest restaurants in Latin America.
Fly to Iguazu Falls, one of the wonders of the world. On arrival, you’ll be met by your guide who will escort you to your hotel, the only one based in the Brazilian side of the national park. Only steps away from the cascading sheets of water, take in your first views of the falls from a privileged perspective.
Spend the day discovering the Argentine side of the Iguazu Falls and its huge variety of viewpoints. Take the train through the tropical scenery and explore the largest waterfall system in the world. You can see the best panoramas at the Devil’s Throat, where, from its teetering platforms, you can admire tremendous water spills and a thundering abyss. You’ll also spot an array of native wildlife such as coati, iguana and around 700 types of butterflies.
Wake early to explore the Brazilian side of the falls before the public arrive. Step straight out from your hotel and amble down the catwalks to see more thundering cataracts. A transfer will then take you to the airport for your flight to Rio de Janeiro. On arrival, you will be met and driven to your hotel and after checking in, your guide will whisk you to the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain. Ride the cable car to the top in time for sunset where you can gaze out over the beaches and harbour below.
Visit Rio’s world-famous landmark pictured on many a postcard. Take the funicular up the Corcovado Mountain where the statue of Christ the Redeemer towers at 30 metres overlooking the sprawling city. After spending time here, continue to the Santa Teresa district full of bohemian charm. Peruse artist studios including Chácara do Céu, one of city’s best art museums housing Matisse to Modigliani. End at the Largo do Guimaraes area for a drink in one of the buzzing local bars.
Why not gain a different perspective of Rio? Today you will be driven to the Yacht Club where you can board a boat for a cruise along the coast. Soak up the sun and the city’s landmarks as you glide along the water, taking in the iconic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. There’s plenty of time to anchor up and dive into the emerald sea.
You have the day to unwind or explore at your leisure. We can recommend the best places for a long lunch or a spot of shopping.
In the evening, why not head to the Lapa district for a night of samba dancing… when in Rio.
Lie by the pool to catch those last rays of sun. A driver will then take you to the airport from where you will depart.