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PERU - Explore Peru. Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and the Peruvian Jungle. 15 days

Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and the Peruvian Jungle

 

 

 

machu pichu

Machu Pichu

 

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The Sacred Valley                    Inca Wall, Cuzco                     Rain Forest

 

 

Day 1  Lima

 

You’ll arrive in Lima in the early evening where you’ll be met and escorted to the Park Plaza hotel.

 

Situated in the residential sea front area of Miraflores, close to the Larcomar shopping centre, the hotel was recently bought by Orient Express and on clear days, boasts unrivaled views of the Pacific Ocean. It offers all the facilities expected of a 5 star hotel including a beautiful roof top pool with magnificent ocean views, a spa, gym and squash courts. Each room has fax and internet facilities.

 

Once you’ve had a chance to freshen up and relax, you’ll leave for your dinner reservation at the renowned Rosa Nautica restaurant, just a short 10 minute drive away.

 

 

Day 2   Lima

 

We’ll pick you up from the Park Plaza hotel at 9am for a tour of the Plaza de Armas in the centre of Lima, followed by a visit to the Larco Museum, an 18th century mansion which now houses Peru’s ancient gold and silver collections which span more that 4,000 years.

 

After a Peruvian meal of ceviche, and other traditional dishes, you’ll have the remainder of the afternoon free to either return to the hotel, or explore more of Lima. Various sites will be suggested.

 

 

Day  3   Lima – Cusco

 

You’ll have a 10am private transfer from your hotel to the airport in time for your flight to Cusco.

 

Arrive mid morning and transfer to the Sacred Valley, about an hour away.

 

Set on the shore of the river Urubamba in the heart of the Sacred Valley, lies the oasis of calm and luxury that is the Riosagrado hotel. This will be your home for the next three nights.

 

Opened by Orient Express in 2009, this is the Sacred Valley’s only true 5 star hotel. It is the perfect place to acclimatize to the altitude, savour the Peruvian cuisine on offer and generally relax before traveling to Machu Picchu.

 

Set amongst Eucalyptus trees, this beautiful boutique property boasts 21 guests suites with private river terraces, a beautiful spa with a large array of treatments and two private villas with an optional maid and butler service.

 

With the river just a short stroll from your room, the gentle sound of tumbling water and the slow pace of life here, will wash away any remaining jet lag.

 

 

Day 4   Sacred Valley

 

After a gentle start to the day and breakfast overlooking the river Urubamba, commence a tour of the Sacred Valley.

 

After visiting Maras, Moray and Chinchero, stop for lunch with a local family, whose home contains many Inka and colonial antique paintings and artifacts.

 

Located northeast of Cusco in a ravine between the mountains of the Sacred Valley and Cusco, Moray was the site of the Empire’s Agricultural Research Centre in Inka times. Plants were brought here from around Peru, to be studied and cultivated on terraces set within a stone amphitheatre.

 

Twenty five minutes from Moray and after a drive through the village of Maras, with its beautiful colonial style buildings, we’ll arrive at the salt mines with the same name. A natural Peruvian resource, the salt-mines were first exploited by the Incas. Cut high into the mountain, the mines create a dazzling chessboard of white steps and terraces. Still farmed today you’ll be able to talk to the communities living and working there.

 

Returning to the hotel at around 4pm, you’ll be free to enjoy the restaurant, wine bar and spa for the rest of the evening.

 

 

Day 5   Sacred Valley

 

The day is yours to relax and enjoy the hotel and the Sacred Valley. We’d recommend visiting the spectacular Inka ruins of Ollantaytambo and there’ll be a guide and car at your disposal for the day. In Inca times, Ollantaytambo was a military fort and served as the entrance to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Much can be learnt about the Inca way of life here.

 

 

Day 6   Sacred Valley – Machu Picchu

 

In the morning transfer to the station where you’ll take The Hiram Bingham train through the Peruvian landscape to Machu Picchu.

 

Ranked as one of the best journeys by the Italian Class Magazine, the Hiram Bingham is an Orient Express run train and is by far the most decadent and relaxing way to reach Machu Picchu. You’ll feast on a delicious lunch, wind past majestic mountains and pass the crashing waters of the Urubamba River

before reaching the magical site of Machu Picchu, 4 hours later.

 

Whilst at Machu Picchu you’ll be staying at the Inkaterra hotel. Listed on Conde Nast Traveller’s ‘Hot list of 2009’, and one of Tattler magazine’s top 101 hotels in the same year, the Inkaterra offers a truly 5 star experience.

 

Only a few minutes away from the train station, this boutique hotel, set in a paradise garden of twelve acres, consists of eleven suites and also boasts two private villas which offer plunge pools and a 24 hour butler and maid service.

 

Each room boasts heated flooring, a magnificent marble bathroom and antique furniture and artifacts.

 

It’s a tranquil paradise and the perfect place to experience the energy that the Inkas believed Machu Picchu provided - it is after all, thought to have been the prime relaxation destination of the Empire.

 

You’ll have the rest of the day to relax, visit the village and the hot baths of Agua Calientes or have a treatment in the hotel Spa.

 

 

Day 7  Machu Pichu – Cusco

 

You’ll leave the hotel early in the morning and catch the bus up to the magical site of Machu Picchu.

 

Discovered in 1911 by American Hiram Bingham, the site was built by the Incas around 1400AD and was declared a World Historical Site in 1981 by UNESCO.

 

No one knows exactly why the site was abandoned, as the Inka’s left no written account of the time.

 

After a tour with your English speaking cultural guide, you’ll have the chance to explore the remains of this fascinating city on your own and wonder at how the Inkas built in such an isolated area.

 

Your bags will be collected from the hotel and you’ll return to Poroy on the Hiram Bingham train, enjoying lunch and the spectacular scenery.

 

Here you’ll be collected and transferred to Cusco, only 30 minutes away.

 

In Cusco you’ll be staying at the famous Monasterio Hotel in the centre of the historic city.

 

Built as a monastery in 1592, the hotel retains the charm and tranquil atmosphere that has existed here for centuries. Meals can be enjoyed in the beautiful colonial courtyard. The hotel is the only one in Cusco to pump extra oxygen into its rooms upon request - a welcome offer in a town where the altitude is 3,600m above sea level.

 

The Monasterio is the perfect place to relax whilst exploring Cusco and its surroundings.

 

 

Day 8   Cusco

 

Nearly 3,600 metres above sea level and an hours flight southwest of Lima, the city of Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO and is the historical capital of Peru.

 

Along with the rest of the country, Cusco was invaded by the Spanish in the 16th century, before finally gaining independence in 1821. The resulting impact of these two cultures, oozes from every pore of the place.

 

The towns’ buildings are a mix of Inca foundations with Spanish colonial structures laid on top. European style squares are dotted throughout the town and Inca traditions are practiced alongside the rituals of Catholicism - guinea pig even features in a painting of the Last Supper!

 

Today we’ll pick you up from your hotel for a tour of the main sites of Cusco, including Coricancha, once the most important Inka temple, before becoming a convent and church during the Spanish invasion.

 

The city is also home to many fabulous restaurants and the best places for you to stop for lunch will be recommended.

 

After lunch visit famous Sacsayhauman. This was the site of many ceremonies and sacrifices during Inka times. The tradition continues today, with the annual Inti Raymi festival at the end of June when sacrificial ceremonies are re-enacted by local actors.

 

Having visited the remaining key ruins around Cusco, you’ll have the evening free to eat at one of the city’s many top restaurants or enjoy ‘a night in’, dining in the courtyard of the Monasterio.

 

 

Day 9   Cusco

 

The guide and 4x4 will be at your disposal today. It is suggested that you  explore the Southern Corridor of Cusco, including the National Archaeological Park at Tipon, The Cistern Chapel (a copy of its namesake in Italy), Huanca with its isolated hill top church and the ruins and market at Pisac.

 

 

Day 10   Cusco – Manu National Park

 

You’ll leave Cusco in the morning and head southwest in the direction of Pisac. Continue on to the coca fields of Quelloquello Colquepatay and the famous village of Paurcartambo, a traditional and picturesque colonial town which was founded in 1826 by the Spanish invaders.

 

The route offers breathtaking views and a dramatic landscape of coloured mountain sides, created by the patchwork fields of the Andean farmers.

 

We continue to climb, reaching a height of 4380m and Tres Creuses, famed for its sunrise and exceptional sun dance, before heading down the mountains towards the jungle and Manu National Park, where you’ll stay the night at the

Bosque Neblado hotel, part of the Manu Park collection of hotels.

 

 

Day 11   Manu National Park

 

Rise early and head to Tres Creuses to arrive at 4.30am, coffee in hand and wrapped up warm to see the ‘dance of the sun’, seen only in Peru and one other place in the world.

 

If you’re feeling energetic, there’s an option to bicycle back down the hill to Pilcopatta, as we follow the road further into the jungle. From here travel on the Manu river by boat to reach The Manu Lodge Hotel for a stay three nights.

 

The only hotel within the park itself and committed to treating its surroundings with respect, the Lodge is a little more rustic than other hotels on the tour but it offers a real taste of the jungle. There is the opportunity to see the wildlife that the Peruvian jungle has to offer, from the Gallitos de las Rocas, ( a parrot native to Peru) to the endangered jaguars of Peru.

 

 

Days 12 – 13   Manu National Park

 

Whilst in Manu, you’ll have the hotel’s knowledgeable and experienced guides at your disposal.

 

Along with your tour guide, these people will help you plan your own daily itinerary from the extensive range of activities on offer here. You’ll be able to choose from canopy walking, white water rafting, bird watching, mountain biking, horse riding, rafting, motorbiking, jungle trekking or more gentle walks with the nature guides. Combined with first class meals and time to kick back and relax, you’ll feel a million miles from anywhere and closer to nature than ever before.

 

 

Day 14   Manu National Park – Cusco

 

Leave the jungle in the morning and return to Cusco for one more night at the Monasterio Hotel. There’ll be a last chance to purchase gifts for those back home before dinner at the Pisku’o restaurant in the Plaza de Armas. Here you can sip Pisco overlooking this magical city and reflect on the last two weeks.

 

 

Day 15   Cusco - Lima

               Depart Lima 

A private transfer from the Monasterio to the airport for your flight to Lima and your onward journey.

 

This suggested itinerary can be adjusted to suit your own requirements. It can be combined with other touring arrangements in Peru or elsewhere in South America.