Highlights of Peru: Lima, The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
This nine-day introduction to Peru offers a whistle-stop tour of the country’s incredible sights. Starting in Lima you’ll get to visit the well-preserved colonial city centre and sample some of the cuisine that has made the country famous. Moving on to the Sacred Valley you’ll adjust to the altitude and explore the fascinating ruins and landscapes. This is the perfect preparation for your visit to Machu Picchu, the highlight of your journey, before descending to Cusco where you’ll stay in the former capital of the Inca Empire before flying home.
- Visit the capital, Lima, and explore its colonial streets
- Walk amid the ruins of the verdant Sacred Valley of the Incas
- Tour the incredible ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu
- Stay in Cusco and uncover the secrets of the ‘bellybutton of the world’
- Use your free day in Cusco to view the surrounding sights
Day 1 – Arrive in Peru
Fly to Peru overnight and land in the capital city, Lima. On arrival you will be driven to your hotel in the city.
Day 2 – Explore Lima
Peru’s capital is situated in a magnificent setting on the Pacific Coast, with the crashing waves on one side and hills rising steeply in the distance. Explore Lima on foot, taking in the 16th-century cathedral and the Plaza de Armas in the heart of the ‘old city’. View the city’s mix of colourful colonial buildings and modern skyscrapers and enjoy dinner out at one of the acclaimed restaurants of Lima’s burgeoning restaurant scene.
Day 3 – Fly to Cusco and the Sacred Valley
Fly to Cusco. On arrival you’ll be met by a driver and taken to the Sacred Valley, where you can adjust comfortably to the higher altitude.
Day 4 – Visit the Sacred Valley
Explore the spectacular scenery of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, touring the Andean countryside and visiting the tiny villages, high hamlets and ruins, all linked by easy to follow trails. On the way look out for the characteristic colourful textiles, exuberant fiestas and beautiful landscapes, which vary from barren Andean peaks to cloudforests speckled with orchids.
Day 5 – Travel to Machu Picchu
Board a train to travel to Machu Picchu, undoubtedly Peru’s most enduring highlight and often the long-anticipated crux of any trip to the country. Virtually forgotten until the early 20th century, the site retains an air of great mystery and grandeur, perhaps because its true meaning to the Incas has never been fully revealed. Your guided tour of the ruins will illuminate the known significance behind the steep terraces and curious architecture. Overnight you’ll stay in the city of Aguas Calientes, the gateway to the ruins that lies in a deep gorge beneath the citadel, enclosed by steep cliffs, cloudforest and thundering rivers.
Day 6 – Transfer to Cusco
Take the train to Ollantaytambo, a village in the Sacred Valley set on the Urubamba River. Later you’ll drive to Cusco, known to the Inca as the so-called navel of the world due to the abundance of produce that was grown nearby.
Day 7 – Discover Cusco
Today you’ll tour Cusco’s impressively well-preserved streets with a knowledgeable guide, heading out into the surrounding area to learn more about the city’s significance to the ancient Inca, including the ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Tambomachay. Visit the ornate cathedrals, blocky temples and narrow cobblestone streets, and view the incredible contrasts of old and new.
Day 8 – Free day to explore
Enjoy a free day to further explore Cusco, whether you choose to stay within the city to shop for alpaca knits and try some of the region’s famous cuisine, or head out into the surrounding area, such as the salt-mining own of Maras and the curious archaeological site at Moray, just west of the salt pans.