Discover the wonders of Machu Picchu along with the history and beauty of Peru and its people. From the bustling cities of Lima and Cusco to small villages and island communities. Learn about traditional techniques and ways of life still in use today. Visit local artisan markets with colorful handicrafts. Stroll through amazing historic sites and charming cobblestone-street villages. Travel by rail from the Andean highlands to the entrance of the jungles. Explore the many wonders of the Inca Empire while the magic of mystical Peru is revealed during this unforgettable adventure.
1 Depart the USA
Depart the USA on a flight to Lima, Peru. With a late evening arrival, the Mayflower Cruises & Tours representative will meet you at the airport and walk you across the street to the hotel.
2 Lima – Cusco – Sacred Valley
Following breakfast, the Mayflower representative will meet you at the hotel and accompany you to the airport for a morning flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, travel to a local school for a Spanish lesson before immersing into local culture. At the Awanacancha textile center, see the four types of South American camelids, learn about different types of wool, how it is dyed and used to create beautiful woven items. The center is made up of people from a variety of communities, each focused on keeping their traditions of the Inca’s textile art alive.
Continuing through the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba, visit Pisac Market and enjoy the colorful ambiance as the artisans proudly display their handicrafts. Stroll through the marketplace and pick up some handmade souvenirs! Arrive at the hotel this evening and enjoy the included dinner. Meals: B, D
3 Sacred Valley
Cultural immersion continues with a visit to the rural community of Misminay to sample daily life. A traditional welcome with music and dance is provided by your hosts, dressed in local attire. Interact with the villagers, visit their homes, experience the traditional ‘blessing of the earth’, see how ancient techniques and tools are still used in agriculture and cooking. Help prepare a typical Andean sauce, using traditional methods, and enjoy this, along with other local specialties, for lunch.
Continue to the village of Ollantaytambo – consistently inhabited since the 13th-century, it once served as a country retreat for Inca royalty. While strolling through this ancient village of cobblestone streets and adobe buildings, your guide provides the history of the Inca’s planning with the grid-formation and irrigation channels. Remnants of these feats, along with the visible ruins of the massive fortress and stone terraces built into the hillside, provide a sense of time standing still. It remains evident the inhabitants still live by customs and traditions inherited from their ancestors. After a full day of touring, return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.
Meals: B, L
4 Sacred Valley – Machu Picchu
This morning, board the Vistadome train and depart the Sacred Valley for Aguas Calientes, home of Machu Picchu. Changing landscape surrounds as you travel from Andean highlands to the beginning of the jungle before arriving in Aguas Calientes. For centuries, Machu Picchu has remained a mystery, holding onto its secrets. Journey to the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ and uncover the mystery of this ancient citadel as Machu Picchu wraps its magical spell around you.
Perched high on an isolated mountaintop, this citadel in the clouds is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring an intricate complex of stone stairs, ruins and tunnels. Your guide will walk you through this amazing archaeological site and provide history and lore that is sure to leave you in awe. During the excursion, lunch will be provided at a local restaurant. After exploring Machu Picchu, return to town where a cooking demonstration awaits at the hotel before the included dinner.
Meals: B, L, D
5 Aguas Calientes – Cusco
Enjoy a morning at leisure before returning to Ollantaytambo by Vistadome train. Upon arrival, the coach will be waiting to take you to Cusco, the Imperial City and archaeological capital of South America. Once the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco sets the stage, taking you back in time to when the glorious Incas ruled.
The day begins with a guided tour as you follow the trail of the Incas. Admire the finest examples of Inca history and architecture and take in the panorama of dramatic mountains and spectacular canyons. Cobbled streets and plazas feature both colonial and religious landmarks.
Visit the Plaza de Armas, the cathedral, and the Santo Domingo Church built on the foundations of the Inca temple Koricancha and dedicated to the Sun God. The entire valley is filled with architectural wonders around every vista!
Continue to Sacsayhuaman, a gigantic walled city and monumental former royal fortress. This former ceremonial compound is a magnificent example of Inca military power and boasts an amazing panoramic view of Cusco. After the excursion, the afternoon is at leisure before an included dinner with entertainment at a local restaurant.
Meals: B, D
7 Cusco – Puno
This morning, board the short flight to Puno, home of Lake Titicaca – the largest lake in South America. The adventure begins with a guided excursion to the Sillustani Tombs, a pre-Incan burial ground. See the circular, stone ‘funeral towers’ on the plateau, built by the Colla Tribe over 3,000 years ago, surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Umayo Lagoon. Continue to the hotel, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, for an evening at leisure.
Meals: B, Boxed Lunch
8 Lake Titicaca
Journey by motorboat to explore islands along beautiful Lake Titicaca and meet local inhabitants. See how daily life varies from the Quechua-speaking natives of Taquile Island to the Uros people inhabiting the ‘floating islands’ handmade by ‘Totora’ – a living reed of the papyrus family. Discover their traditions and art forms, passed down through the generations, in everything from social systems to unique hand-weaving techniques. While visiting the peninsula of Chucuito, savor a lunch of regional dishes in a rural community, with a magnificent view of the lake. Return to the hotel for a final evening at leisure.
Meals: B, L
9 Puno – Lima – USA
It’s time to return to Lima for the final day of touring. After a morning flight and included lunch, a panoramic tour showcases the main sites of the historical center of this capital city. The tour concludes at the airport for your home-bound flights.
Meals: B, L
Depending on the flight schedule, arrival in your home city may be on Day 10.