3 Hours Before Flight Time
Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met by our airport representative and transferred to your hotel. You will receive a welcome pack upon arrival at your hotel. This includes a hard copy of your itinerary for your trip with local times, maps, recommended shopping and eating, and background information on the sites you will visit.
With a prime spot in an exclusive area of Lima, not far from the capital city’s commercial hub, the Miraflores Park Hotel is an exquisite hotel that has made its mark on Peruvian hospitality. The 82 suites are refined, with specialty linens and fixtures, all embodying a tasteful elegance valued by luxury travelers. It is hard to resist the hotel’s restaurants and the medleys of international, local, and authentic Peruvian flavors. Take a walk through this area of the city, which showcases historic avenues and the modern successes of Lima. Let your daytime be filled with the hotel’s leisure activities, such as tennis and swimming.
This morning we will travel downtown to the heart of the Spanish colonial area where we will have Mass and visit the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo which date back to the end of the 16th century. Inside the church are the oldest choir stalls of Lima, the famous statue of the Virgen del Rosario, and the silver urns that contain the relicts of Santa Rosa (the patron saint of Lima) and San Martín de Porres.
Born in Lima in 1586 St. Rose died when she was only 31 in 1617, but in that short period of time, she lived a life of austerities that seem almost incredible. Rose wanted nothing more than to be a saint, and this, she felt, could most quickly be obtained by suffering in union with the Wounds of Christ. Rose became a tertiary of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) and lived out the end of her days (which were spent in suffering) with the refrain, “Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Thy Love in my heart.”
There was no question that she was a saint, and upon her death in 1617, the entire city of Lima lamented the loss of their beloved Rose. Canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671, she is the first native-born American saint.
Like St. Rose, St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru, in 1579, and, like Rose, was a lay member of the Dominican Order. Along with St. Rose, he was confirmed in the faith by Lima’s archbishop, St. Turibius. He was tireless in his care of the sick and poor throughout Lima, and also established a children’s hospital — a true novelty at the time — as well as an orphanage. Of African descent himself, St. Martin attended to the slaves who had been brought to Spanish Peru from Africa. In addition to his works of mercy, St. Martin was also a miracle worker who could increase the amount of food to be distributed among the poor.
When he died in 1639, the noblemen of Peru and high-ranking clerics carried the body of this Dominican lay brother to the grave. He was canonized just before the opening of the Second Vatican Council by Pope St. John XXIII in 1962.
Along with St. Rose, St. Martin was friends with another well-known saint in Peru, St. John Massias. Unlike Sts. Rose and Martin, St. John Massias was not born in Lima. Like St. Turibius (the same saint who would confirm him), he was born and raised in Spain. Orphaned at the age of four, St. John was attracted to the Order of Preachers, which he later joined as a professed lay brother. He set sail for Peru from Spain at the age of 25 and was made “porter” of the Dominican Priory of St. Mary Magdalene in 1623, a position he fulfilled with humility for the rest of his life. He and Saint Martin de Porres both shared the same love of and service toward the poor of Lima, but even the rich came to seek the counsel of St. John due to his wisdom. St. John died in 1645 and was buried with nearly the same amount of reverence and solemnity that his fellow Peruvian Dominicans shared: Sts. Rose and Martin, who predeceased him.
When St. Turibius, a Spaniard by birth and a genius in the field of law, was named the Archbishop of Lima, Peru it came as a great shock, for at the time it was announced he was living in Granada, Spain, and more remarkably, he was still a layman. He was quickly run through all the minor and major orders, consecrated bishop, and then shipped off to the New World which was under Spanish domination.
In addition to setting Lima in particular and Peru in general in order, he confirmed three saints (and personally dealt with a fourth, St. Francis Solano, O.F.M, who although he may be the least well-known outside of Peru itself, is the Patron of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, his native town of Montilla, Spain, and, of course, Peru.
After Mass, you will enjoy a guided tour through one of the best-preserved monasteries in Lima with its amazing patios and beautifully decorated walls with Spanish tiles from the 17th century.
After enjoying some time in this peaceful setting, we will walk a few blocks to the Main Plaza to visit the Cathedral of Lima and see the adjoining Archbishop’s Palace. The Cathedral, which was originally built during the 1600s contains the remains of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, founder of Peru, and an extensive collection of religious art, much of which represents Peru’s famed Cuzco School (Escuela Cuzqueña) of painting.
Located opposite the cathedral we will see the Government Palace, the official residence and office of Peru’s president as we walk to the beautiful baroque Church of San Francisco, also built in the 1600s. It is best known for its catacombs, containing the remains of over 75,000 people, with many of the remains exposed and stacked in strange patterns in circular stone pits.
Today we will enjoy a special lunch at the elegant Casa Aliaga, reportedly the oldest home on the Continent and still family-owned after 17 generations. It was first deeded to Jerónimo de Aliaga after he became one of the 13 men who stayed with Francisco Pizarro during his grueling exploration of Peru’s coast in 1527. Today, the house is in superb condition, exemplifying life in the period of the Viceroyalty. Marvel at the series of salons representing décor during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. After lunch, you will have time to enjoy exploring the courtyard and chapel where the walls used to be covered in silver sheets prior to the “sacking‟ of 1826.
After lunch, we will visit the Basilica of St. Rose of Lima, which is built at the place where she was born. It was here she established a hospital for the poor. Some of her relics and the “Little Doctor”, an image of the Jesus Child that performed miraculous healings through Santa Rosas prayers, are kept here in the church. We will also see the house where St. Martin de Porres was born in 1579, now a shelter for seniors and women before traveling to the historic and bohemian district of Barranco, a neighborhood that preserves its traditions, taverns, markets, street food, and spirit since XIX century. Enjoy free time to explore this charming area full of galleries, boutiques, and cafes.
Tonight we have arranged for you to enjoy dinner on your own in one of the most exclusive and renowned restaurants in Lima. The Huaca Pucllana Restaurant enjoys a spectacular position, built in the midst of some of the oldest archaeological remains in the Lima area, the Huaca Pucllana. An interesting, mixed clientele of locals and visitors frequent this restaurant, which is elegantly decorated with fine pre-Inca and Inca pottery, textiles, and decorative objects. The atmosphere is cosmopolitan and intimate, and the view from the verandah over the pyramids is impressive and takes you back in time.
Lima is fast becoming known as the gastronomic capital of South America. Critics are constantly raving about the amazing restaurants, many of which are recognized worldwide for their innovative approaches. This morning we will begin our culinary exploration of Peruvian cuisine with a visit to a distinctly Peruvian-style neighborhood market. Our expert Guide will lead us off the beaten path and show us an array of different regional ingredients, most of which are very strictly Peruvian. Enjoy tasting regional meats, fruits, cheeses, liquors, drinks, and sweets, all the while chatting and laughing with enthusiastic vendors and chefs, eager to share their favorite flavors. Shop for “superfoods” such as quinoa, chia, maca, sacha inchi, and other local products that can be brought back to the USA.
In a special kitchen, you will learn how to prepare a quintessential ceviche and see how this timeless Peruvian classic is “cooked.” Afterward, you will enjoy the fruit of your labor along with other Peruvian delicacies for lunch.
After lunch visit the Larco Herrera Museum located in an 18th-century mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens. Since 1926 this museum holds Train. with a unique assortment of erotic pottery, genuine and rich jewels in gold, silver, and semi precious stones. With more than 45,000 pieces of ceramics plus genuine mummies and marvelous Paracas textiles, this is a great place to visit.
Tonight we have arranged for you to enjoy dinner on your own at Astrid y Gastón, the world-renowned restaurant of Chef Gaston Acurio, known as the pioneer of Peruvian high cuisine. You may enjoy his Tasting Menu with wine pairings in his newly refurbished, 300-year-old mansion.
A representative will meet us in the lobby of the hotel, 2 ½ hours before our flight departure, in order to assist us with checkout, and then escort us to the airport for our flight to Cusco. After we have checked in our luggage, he will accompany us until we pass through to the departure area.
Flight Lima to Cusco
Upon arrival at the Cusco airport, we will be welcomed by an English-speaking representative and transfer to the Urubamba Valley. Along the way, we will stop for a short visit of Awanacancha, where you will have the opportunity to see the different camelids in the Andes as llamas, alpacas, vicunas, and guanacos. Alpacas have thick wool which is most commonly used for textiles while the vicunas are smaller and have delicate fur that is considered the finest in the world.
Visit to Pisac Market | Afterwards, you will be driven down to the town to experience the sights and sounds of Pisac’s famous market, with a variety of handcrafts and fresh produce.
Peruvian Paso Horse Demonstration and Lunch at Hacienda Huayoccari | The Spanish breed of horse, the Paso horse, is much admired for the “luxurious” ride it gives its riders as it naturally has a lateral gait when it moves, as opposed to the more common diagonal gait. Watch these magnificent creatures in all their glory during a 25-minute ‘marinera’ dance with horses and dancers. Inspired – you can ride out on one of the horses from the ranch at the Hacienda.
Lunch will be provided at Hacienda Huayoccari, a lovely, traditional hacienda owned and lived in by one of the oldest land-owning families in Cusco. We will enjoy a delicious three-course meal in an elegant wood-paneled dining room with stunning views of the Urubamba Valley below. We will have time to spend with the owners and guide looking at the superb pieces of the Hacienda’s collection of folk art and ancient artifacts.
From here we will travel to our hotel. Upon check-in, you will have time to relax and enjoy dinner on your own at the hotel.
Guided Visit to Chinchero Town & Ruins | This morning, we will head to the town and ruins of the village of Chinchero (3,800m/12,500ft). Higher than Cusco and the Urubamba Valley, Chinchero was once home to the great conquering emperor Inca Topa Yupanqui and features his magnificent palace, with a parade ground and royal viewing pavilion alongside. The town also boasts a hillside of terraces studded with rock-outcrop shrines, a charming village with a layout dating back to Inca times, and a magnificent view of the snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera Vilcabamba range. Held next to the ruins is the fascinating Sunday market where people come to sell and trade goods and produce and to have a picnic with the family, a perfect spot to gain insight into local life.
Textile demonstration in Chinchero | A local from Chinchero, Nilda Callanaupo is the most accomplished weaver in Cusco, and she and her team of weavers offer visitors a look at the best weaving in the region.
You will have the opportunity to watch a textile demonstration in their garden.
Nilda is head of the “Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco”, an NGO devoted to fostering the preservation of indigenous weaving techniques. Please note, this is not a “tourist trap,‟ and we are thrilled to be working with the genuine article, Nilda, on her quest to preserve these traditional weaving techniques. Also, please understand that Nilda cannot be present at every demonstration.
Enjoy a Special Lunch at Mil Restaurant. Voted one of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World, Mil Restaurant strictly sources from the ecosystem surrounding the restaurant. Anthropologists on staff foster relations with tight-knit indigenous communities and together they plant, nurture, and harvest sustainable tuber crops, maize, legumes, cacao, and Andean herbs, as well as care for a small on-site orchard. It all comes together in head chef Luis Valderrama’s innovative eight-step tasting menu. You may also visit Mil’s tiny cacao lab and enjoy its fruits for dessert.
Guided Visit to Maras & Moray | In the afternoon, we will also visit Maras, the site of the remarkable and unusual Salinas, located in the heart of the Sacred Valley and not far from Urubamba. This site consists of a huge number of watered terraces that collect salt by evaporation from the saline waters that gush from an underground stream. Built-in a similar way to agricultural terraces seen throughout the Andes, the Salinas have been in use since pre-Columbian times. Visually, the shining, salt-encrusted terraces are extraordinary. Nearby Maras lie the most enigmatic Inca terraces at the site of Moray. This unique site, probably used for agricultural experimentation, consists of several enormous terraced circular depressions. Following our visit, we will transfer back to our hotel.
Guided Visit to Pisac Ruins | Pisac is one of the most important Inca sites in the Urubamba Valley. With Inca masonry of superlative quality, the stunning terracing following the contours of the mountain and a superior view of the valley will leave you in awe. Explore at your own pace in this marvelous setting.
Enjoy a delightful pachamanca lunch at an organic farm owned by the charming lodge El Albergue. Pachamanca is one of these ancient cooking techniques that allow visitors to really understand the country’s rich culinary heritage. Pacha means earth and manca means oven in Quechua, the language of the Inca Empire which is still widely spoken in the Sacred Valley and throughout the Andes of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. As the name suggests, pachamanca is the traditional cooking method of meats, potatoes, and vegetables cooked under the earth. For the pachamanca at El Albergue, chicken, lamb, and pork are sourced from local farmers, and a multitude of colorful Andean potatoes, sweet potatoes, and habeas (green lima beans) from the farm itself. The meat is marinated with local herbs from the farm.
Guided Visit to Ollantaytambo Town & Fortress | In the afternoon visit the fabulous town of Ollantaytambo and its ruins. The town is unique in that it still preserves its original Inca plan, with people living in traditional concha enclosures once occupied by the Inca elite. The archaeological compound found here is a remarkable spectacle, and a site of great historical significance. It was here that one of the greatest battles of the Conquest was fought, and one of the few where the Incas defeated the Spaniards. Following our visit, we will transfer back to our hotel.
Belmond Hiram Bingham Train – Round Trip from Poroy | NOTE: The luggage allowance for the Hiram Bingham train is one hand luggage (bag or backpack) with a maximum weight of 5kg/11pounds and a maximum size of 62 inches/157cm (length + height + width).
The Belmond Hiram Bingham Train is a must for those seeking the utmost level of luxury. We will have an early transfer from the hotel to the Poroy train station, where we will board the train, which guarantees the highest quality of exquisite, attentive service and has a total of four cars; two dining cars, a bar car, and a kitchen car, with room for only 84 passengers. Enjoy the approximate 3-hour and 15-minute ride as a team of dedicated wait staff attend to your every need and ensure your experience is as comfortable and luxurious as possible. Guests enjoy a gourmet brunch during their spectacular journey through the Sacred Valley, passing by lush landscapes and Andean villages. Enjoy views of the beautiful mountains and Urubamba River from the comfort of the warm and elegant carriages before arriving in Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes train station, we will meet our private guide. From here we will board the minibus for a winding uphill journey to our final destination, Machu Picchu.
Private Guided Visit at Machu Picchu | Accompanied by Expert Guide | “Magnificence” is the only word to describe the scene, as you gaze upon the ruins of Machu Picchu. The main destination on many travelers’ “Bucket Lists,” the “Lost City of the Incas‟ is a man-made marvel that has become a symbol of the ingenuity and prosperity of one of the most powerful nations in Latin American history. Only a century ago were the incredible ruins uncovered; a two year-excavation led by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham and the National Geographic Society of Washington DC allowed Machu Picchu to gain the prominence that it deserves. Its fascination is due in part to its position, high on a mountain ridge, 2,430m/7,972 ft above sea level. Believed to be an Inca settlement built to control the economies of neighboring communities, it is associated with the royal estate of Pachacuti, the great Inca who sparked the expansion of the empire.
Here, enjoy a 2-3 hour guided visit of Machu Picchu before spending the remainder of the day at the ruins. Afterward, enjoy Tea at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, located right next to the ruins, before descending to the train station at Aguas Calientes for a return trip aboard the Hiram Bingham Train with a delicious gourmet dinner served on the way. Upon arrival at Poroy train station, we will be met and transferred to our hotel.
In and Around Cusco | ½ Day Tour | Cusco (3,400m/11,155ft) is without a doubt the most beautiful town in Peru and arguably in South America. It was considered the navel of the earth and was the capital of Tahuantinsuyo (the Inca Empire), an empire that, at its peak, stretched northwards to the south of Colombia, southwards to northern Chile and Argentina, and westwards across the Andes to the Amazon basin.
We begin our visit in the Plaza de Armas in the city center and make our way around the city as we hear the enriching history and important moments that took place in the streets and buildings before us. We will visit the renaissance-style Cathedral, certainly one of the most imposing structures in the city, and admire the exquisite stonework of Koricancha, or the Inca “Sun Temple.” We’ll also get to walk around the bustling, open-air San Pedro market, where we will be mesmerized by the variety of unique fruits and potatoes, before sojourning to the outskirts of the city to view the important Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Following this series of most informative visits, we will return to our hotel.
Lunch in the MAP Café, a small, glass-enclosed, elegant café and one of the city’s top restaurants, is located next to the hotel inside the courtyard of the Museo de Arte Precolombino. Afternoon at leisure, or to watch the arrival of the Saints carried by men from the surrounding parishes to be housed overnight in the Cathedral in preparation for the Corpus Christi celebration.
Day at leisure in Cusco. Feast of Corpus Christi.
This is the main day for the Corpus Christi Mass and procession in the main square of Cusco. A buffet lunch is arranged this afternoon on the balcony of the Tunupa restaurant, which overlooks the Feast Day celebration that takes place in the square below.
After breakfast, there will be time for last-minute shopping before we transfer to the Cusco airport for our afternoon flight to Lima. There will be assistance at the airport for those connecting to International flights bound for the USA.
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