The air is a bit thinner when you step off of the plane and you can immediately sense the magic of Cusco as you make your way to the city centre along the cobblestone streets past grand buildings and ancient Inca stonework. We welcome you to Peru, a diverse land of natural beauty and traditional cultures and we invite you to open yourself to curiosity and wonder as you embark on this adventure up in the Andes.
The Sacred Valley is aptly named for its importance to the people who have lived there and it is also stunningly beautiful with mountain scenery and colourful farmland along the Urubamba River. You'll see the massive ruins of Pisaq perched up above the town as you approach and you'll get to spend time with a local community on the way up to the site. Lunch is an experience unto itself at a community-run restaurant, using locally-grown ingredients for a delicious and traditional meal.
Sitting at a slightly lower altitude than Cusco, spending time in the Sacred Valley helps to get you used the altitude in these parts. Choose from a scenic acclimatization hike to a waterfall or get the adrenaline flowing by scaling a via ferrata network of rungs and ladders for lunch with a view. Back at the hotel, feast on a traditional pachamanca meal consisting of various types of meat, potats and vegetables cooked for hours in the ground under hot stones.
The Inca Trail has become one of the most well-known treks in the world and with good reason. Hiking past ancient ruins through incredible mountain scenery and to finally arrive to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a very satisfying accomplishment. Start the first day of the trek at a gentle pace to warm your legs up for the days to come, allowing yourself to take in the views of the valley and river below.
Awake at the mountain campsite and enjoy a cup of tea and a warm shower without any need to rush up the mountain. The morning mist and the joviality amongst the porters make for a homely atmosphere as you get ready for the day and prepare your things to walk.
Open your tent to the cool air and see some warm washing water and a cup of tea waiting for you. You'll get wafts of something delicious being cooked and the increasing murmur of the cooks and porters going about their morning. Savour the moment and be present to your surroundings. Dead Woman's Pass is nothing you can't handle today.
Wake up next to beautiful Inca ruins known as the "town above the clouds" and take the time to enjoy them without many others in the morning hours. Pack away some of the extra layers as you prepare to descend into cloud forest and with the anticipation of finally reaching the ultimate goal, Machu Picchu.
Exploring the mountaintop Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is a magical experience, no matter how many pictures you may have seen of it. The history of the ancient Inca that you've heard in the days leading up to this moment seem to all come together as you wander the site's temples and terraces. Relive the memories and take in the views as you return by train on the way back to Cusco.
The day is yours to explore Cusco at your own pace and style, with plenty of options in and outside of the city for discovery. Feel the energy of the city as you wander the cobblestone streets past the mix of Spanish colonial-style architecture and Inca stonework.
The options of what to do in Cusco are seemingly endless, and today you'll get the choice to approach the day on your terms. Take to the trails on a hike outside of the city past ancient ruins with sweeping views of the city or stay local to dig deeper into the history and the delicious local cuisine as well as learn how to prepare some dishes at a cooking class.
The Amazon has sparked the imagination for as long as curious travellers have known about it, conjuring up images of lush green vegetation and exotic wildlife. The biodiversity of plant and animal life is staggeringly varied, and the cultural traditions of those who live here have thrived along the rivers and from living off of the land.
Awake to the sounds of the forest, hearing tropical birds and animals moving through the canopy above you, and maybe the eerie call of a howler monkey in the distance. You never know what you might see on any given occasion which is part of the adventure, and the anticipation adds to the excitement as new and incredible animals, birds and plants could be spotted around every corner or bend in the river.
By now you willl have realized just how incredibly diverse Peru is, both culturally and geographically, from the mountains to the jungle and to the desert coastline. Equally as diverse and delicious is the regional food, highlighted and concentrated in Peru's capital city of Lima, which has become a hotspot on the global food map and with good reason. Celebrate the old and new over a final dinner with your travel companions next to an ancient adobe pyramid in the heart of the city.
Today your adventure comes to an end, but the memories made during your time in Peru will live on.