Day 1. LIMA
Arrival to Lima, reception at the airport and transfer by private vehicle to the 5* Country Club Hotel.
Day 2. LIMA (B & L)
After breakfast, a guided visit of colonial and modern Lima, including the cathedral, dating from 1654, the main square, which still houses the original bronze fountain built in 1650, and the San Francisco Convent and its catacombs. Known as the city of the kings, Lima was founded in 1535 by Pizarro and rebuilt in 1991, the same year that UNESCO declared it a world heritage site.
We shall then visit"Casa Aliaga said to be the oldest colonial mansion in South America. The Aliaga House has been owned and occupied by the same family since Francisco Pizarro granted the land to Jerónimo de Aliaga in 1535. An impressive wooden staircase in the tree-shaded courtyard leads up to the elaborate rooms, many of which are decorated with colonial furnishings. We continue our day with a visit to Barranco for lunch at the Al Grano restaurant before visiting the adjoining private museum, called the Palacio de Osma. The museum focuses on colonial Peruvian art from areas that were among the most distinguished cultural centers of the day, including Cusco, Arequipa, and Ayacucho. Return to your hotel. Free evening.
Day 3. LIMA - CUZCO (B & D)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital of the Incas. After the one hour flight, reception and transfer to the 5* Libertador Hotel. After a recommended light lunch (not included), a guided tour of Cuzco including the Cathedral, Qoricancha temple, the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cuzco, Qenko and Puka Pukara. A visit to the house of Garcilaso de Vega, the Inca chronicler. Return to your hotel. Dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 4. URUBAMBA - OLLANTAYTAMBO (B & L)
After breakfast, a private full-day excursion to Urubamba, the sacred valley of the Incas and to the ancient Inca market town of Pisac. A visit to the market before exploring the ruins above Pisaq. Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch in the Urubamba Valley. After lunch, a visit will be made to Ollantaytambo, the only Inca town that was not defeated by the Spanish and a chance to explore the ruins before returning to your hotel at the foot of the citadel, the Pakaritampu Hotel.
Day 5. OLLANTAYTAMBO - MACHU PICCHU (B & D)
Enjoy a good night's sleep before boarding the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes. Arrival to Aguas Calientes, assistance with your luggage and check in to the marvelous Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, located within a cloud forest. You shall then board the bus for the short ride up to Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca citadel. A guided tour of Machu Picchu, the most spectacular ancient city in the world.
Built by the Inca Pachacutec, and comprising stone blocks fitted with masterful precision, Machu Picchu harmoniously blends into the mountain landscape. There are many theories as to the origins behind Machu Picchu but three of the most popular ideas include a temple to the sun, a fortress against the jungle inhabitants or a sanctuary for the Incas. This fabulous city has houses, temples, warehouses, a large central square, all connected by narrow roads and steps, and is surrounded by terraces cut into the mountain side which were used for agriculture. Free time at leisure before returning to your hotel for dinner and accommodation.
Day 6. MACHU PICCHU - CUZCO (B & L)
Early opportunity to return to the site and enjoy a wonderful sunrise over Machu Picchu and time for some private reflection. Today no guide is provided as we feel that Machu Picchu requires a certain amount of self discovery to be fully understood. Take any of the several paths around various parts of the site (we will provide a map to help you), trek up to Wayna Picchu or walk down to the Inca's bridge. Let Machu Picchu unfold all its mysteries for you, take in the breathtaking cloud forests and jagged mountains, or marvel at the extraordinary Masonic precision of the ancient Incas. Either way, your day of self discovery will be a day never to be forgotten. Lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge before returning back down to Aguas Calientes by bus. Some free time to visit the colourful town before boarding the return train to Cuzco. Transfer to your hotel, the 5* Libertador.
Day 7. CUZCO (B & L)
Today a visit to some rarely visited sites including the Inca site of Moray. This is a fascinating, unique ruin; a fabulous amphitheatre of terracing that was used as an agricultural experimental site by the Incas by taking advantage of the microclimates produced by the varying altitude to breed new varieties of their crops. We shall also visit the village of Maras, and the salt pans which have made it famous. The salt pans are an unforgettable site—people from Maras have diverted a salt-laden spring coming out of the hillside, evaporating the water to collect salt, as their ancestors have done for centuries. We will walk among the salt pans, witnessing a scene largely unchanged from Inca times.
We enjoy lunch in the Sacred valley before returning to Cuzco for an afternoon of leisure.
Day 8. CUZCO - PUNO (B & L)
Transfer to the railway station for the wonderful trans-altiplano Inca express (Mondays, Wednesday and Saturdays). Lunch onboard the "Orient Express" of Peru. Along the route, there shall be plenty of opportunities to see alpacas and vicuñas in their natural habitat along with the marvellous scenery of the altiplano. A stop at the highest point, La Raya, 4319m, will also be made. (Alternatively, you may fly to Juliaca and then transfer to Puno). Reception and transfer to the 4* Casa Andina hotel, situated on the very shore of Lake Titicaca.
Day 9. PUNO -SUASI ISLAND (LAKE TITICACA) (B, L & D)
After early breakfast, transfer to the port for the journey to the Exclusive Suasi Lodge, located on a very remotest part of Lake Titicaca. En route, you shall visit the floating islands of Uros. Made entirely of reeds and inhabited by the Aymara Uros people, they live in huts built on platforms of reeds, not more than 30-40 cms/1foot thick. A short hike on the islands, before the boat trip continues as far as the island of Taquile. Taquile is also renowned for its fine, decorative weavings. Arrival to Suasi Island in the early afternoon and transfer to your cottage.
As Suasi is a private island, you are able to enjoy 360° views over the highest navigable lake in the world. There is 24-hour hot water fuelled by solar power. No TV, no telephones, this is a real escape which will reinvigorate your every sense. The landscaped gardens are a dream, and there are many activities such as kayaking around the island, hiking and observing the wild vicuna on the island or just relaxing and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. All meals at the lodge included along with house wine and national beer. Premium wines available at extra cost.
Day 10. SUASI ISLAND (LAKE TITICACA) (B)
After breakfast, return to Puno before heading towards Juliaca, and an excursion to the Silluastani towers. The pre-Inca Sillustani funeral towers lie close to the Umayo Lake and form part of one of the largest and most important necropolis in the world. Used by both the Altiplano civilisation and the Incas and their wives"Collas" to honour their dead and in preparation for the after-life.
They were abandoned when the first Spanish arrived. With over ninety chulpas (tombs), all built from volcanic rock, those for the Incas can be easily recognised by their finer detail. Arrival to Juliaca airport for the flight back to Lima and onward for your connecting flight home.