Sat, Feb24: Welcome to Peru, one of the treasures of South America. The enduring cultures and breathtaking beauty of the Andes await. Travel through this intriguing land visiting some of the world’s most legendary sites, including Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas." Arrive late this evening in Lima, the "City of Kings."
Sun, Feb 25: Lima. Discover Lima’s fascinating history during a tour through the historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the artwork at San Francisco Monastery and enter the catacombs. View the Government Center, the elegant Cathedral at Plaza de Armas, an abundance of colonial architecture, and the fashionable suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores for insight into the daily life of the Limeños. Then it’s on to your exclusive visit in the Archbishop’s Palace to witness the changing of the guard. This evening, get to know your fellow travelers during a welcome dinner with a tasting menu of artfully crafted Peruvian dishes and drinks; you will quickly discover why Peru has been named the world’s top food travel destination four years in a row. (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)
Mon, Feb 26: Lima, Cuzco, Sacred Valley of the Incas. Fly to Cuzco, in the heart of the Inca civilization. Journey through the Andes to the majestic Sacred Valley of the Incas, the agricultural center of their grand empire. Learn the centuries-old methods of spinning, dyeing and weaving traditional textiles during a visit to Awana Kancha, a living museum of the Peruvian Andes. After a short lesson on the local language, stop in Pisac village to browse the colorful handicraft market. Do as the locals do and enjoy a tasting of “chicha,” a unique regional drink made from maize. Then, head to the Pablo Seminario Ceramic Studio where you’ll get first-hand knowledge of this internationally renowned artist's techniques and designs, inspired by ancient Peruvian cultures. Settle in this evening at your hotel nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley. The rest of the evening is yours…perhaps you’ll take this opportunity to discover your hotel’s planetarium to gaze at the stars. (B)
Tue, Feb 27: Sacred Valley of the Incas, Ollantaytambo. Experience the lifestyle of the modern Andean people and delve into their culture when you travel to a nearby community and interact with the locals. You’ll get a true taste of their daily life when participating in small group workshops that teach you traditional methods of growing, harvesting and weaving. Celebrate their culture as you learn their dances and listen to their musical instruments. This afternoon, visit the spectacular Ollantaytambo ruins, the only Incan settlement that has been continually inhabited since its inception. A uniquely terraced complex topped with carved stone panels, these ruins reflect ancient Incan architecture and heritage. Then, make a stop at the Sacred Valley Brewing Company, a nonprofit brewery created to support a local orphanage. Taste these Andean-inspired beers and learn about their drive to support their community. Tonight, savor an authentic Pachamanca dinner, a unique process where food is placed on hot stones and buried in the ground to cook. (B,D)
Wed, Feb 28: Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Climb aboard the Machu Picchu Vistadome train for breathtaking views through domed windows as you ride through the Andes to the “Lost City of the Incas.” Hidden by mountains and semi-tropical jungle, Machu Picchu is considered the most spectacular sight in South America. Spend the afternoon with your guide uncovering the mysteries of these majestic ruins. Tonight, stay at the base of Machu Picchu for a chance to further soak up its atmosphere. Enjoy an exclusive culinary demonstration before enjoying an award-winning tasting menu at your resort. (B,D)
Thu, Mar 1: Machu Picchu, Cuzco. With leisure time this morning you may return to Machu Picchu on your own or explore the local markets. Return by Vistadome train to the Sacred Valley and continue to Cuzco, a city that blends Inca and Spanish colonial influences. (B)
Fri, Mar 2: Cuzco. The morning is yours to relax and acclimate to the altitude. Perhaps you’ll choose the “Cuzco through the Senses” optional tour where you’ll get hands-on experience with the owner and artist of a local pottery studio, followed by interactive tastings of world-renowned Peruvian coffee and chocolate. This afternoon, the choice is yours on how you will explore Cuzco, the former capital of the Incan Empire. You may choose to follow a local guide on a walking tour of the city from your hotel. Or, perhaps you would prefer to board your coach for a comprehensive tour of the city’s main sites. Both tours will take you on a journey through this colonial city where you’ll experience the architectural legacy visible in the Cathedral, Santo Domingo and Plaza de Armas, as well as a visit to the central market. Later, gather together and travel above the city to discover the important sacred Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman Fortress. Enjoy a toast at sunset while overlooking the city before returning to the heart of Cuzco where you are treated to an authentic dinner highlighting local flavors. (B, D).
Sat, Mar 3: Cuzco, Puno. This morning, fly to Puno, hugging the shores of Lake Titicaca. Known as the birthplace of the Inca Empire, ancient legends say that life began here. Have time to meet the locals and discover the history of this region as you explore the village center before checking into your lakeside hotel. Tonight, enjoy an evening at leisure. (B)
Sun, Mar 4: Uros Floating Islands, Las Chullpas de Sillustani, Lake Titicaca. The Titicaca area, steeped in tradition and folklore, is the center of Incan legends. Enjoy a morning cruise to the floating islands of the Uros people of Lake Titicaca. Experience walking on the spongy surface made from compacted beds of tortora reeds and meet the locals, learning about their history and lifestyle. Later, mingle with some local residents during an authentic home-hosted lunch where you’ll taste regional specialties and engage in lively conversation. In the afternoon, visit the mystical Chullpas de Sillustani – an archaeological area boasting 13th-century funerary monuments. Participate in a local home visit to gain insight into daily life. (B,L)
Mon, Mar 5: Puno, Lima, Flight departs. As your tour comes to a close, spend the morning relaxing on the shores of Lake Titicaca before flying to Lima. Upon arrival we head to the Larco Museum, a former mansion built on the site of a pre-Columbian temple. The museum offers a collection of over 3,000 years of ceramic, textile, and precious metal artifacts. After this incredible trip through history, your tour concludes with a sumptuous farewell dinner on the grounds of the museum. Then depart for Lima’s airport and your connecting flight home. (B,D)
Tue, Mar 6: Return to Indianapolis.
Hilton Lima Miraflores, Lima.
Conveniently located in the heart of the Miraflores district of Lima, in the vibrant Larcomar entertainment area. Highlights: comfortable and modern guest rooms • in-room coffee/tea maker • complimentary WIFI • room service • lobby café • fitness center • outdoor heated pool and whirlpool
Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley
This cozy hotel is a haven in the mountains, where every room has a fabulous view of the Andes. Highlights: comfortable guest rooms • in-room coffee/tea maker • complimentary WIFI • restaurant/bar • fitness center • spa
Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel, Machu Picchu.
This luxury hotel is located at the foot of Machu Picchu, and offers impressive views of the mountains and landscape. Highlights: spacious and comfortable guest rooms • in-room coffee/tea maker • complimentary WIFI • room service • restaurant • bar/lounge • spa • 24-hour pantry market
Hilton Garden Inn Cusco, Cuzco.
Located in the Cusco Historic Center, this hotel is a ten-minute walk to many local sites. Highlights: comfortable guest rooms • in-room coffee/tea maker • complimentary WIFI • room service • restaurant • 2 lounges/bars • gift shop • yoga classes (fees may apply)
Libertador Lake Titicaca, Puno.
Located on Esteves Island, this 5-star hotel offers panoramic views of Lake Titicaca. Highlights: comfortable guest rooms • complimentary WIFI • room service • restaurant • lounge/bar • fitness center with jacuzzi • gift shop