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Welcome to the Capital of the New World - the launch pad to our effortlessly delivered encounter with the iconic and unexpected highlights of Peru. On arrival in Lima, you'll be transferred to your hotel in the exclusive bairrio of San Isidro where you'll enjoy a Welcome Reception this evening to meet your Travel Director and travel companions.
Connect with the colonial heritage of Francisco Pizzaro's "City of Kings", admiring the colonial splendour of Lima's UNESCO-listed Historic Centre. Stand in the birthplace of this ancient, yet modern city, surrounded by the Baroque façades of Cathedral of Lima and Palace of the Union. See the Church of the San Francisco and discover its hidden catacombs. Celebrate Lima's status as the culinary capital of South America and 'Connect with Locals' when you meet Ignacio Barrios, who has worked alongside many of Peru's most award-winning chefs. We visit a local market where Ignacio will explain how Peruvian fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats are the basis of Peruvian cooking. Then, continue to Chef Ignacio's cooking school where we'll enjoy a demonstration on how to prepare some of Peru's most popular dishes and have an opportunity to sample some at a Be My Guest lunch before spending the rest of the day at leisure.
We leave the coastal capital behind and board a morning flight to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. 'Dive into Culture' at Awanakancha and learn how your visit 'Makes a Difference' to this living museum, which provides sanctuary to llamas, alpacas and vicuñas and preserves traditional weaving techniques. Enjoy a picnic lunch before visiting the Pisac market where local Quechua people come to sell their produce and handicrafts. Stroll past the colourful stalls, sip a cup of coca tea to acclimate to the altitude and keep your ears open for roving bands playing the traditional music of the Andes. Later this afternoon, we arrive at a former 18th century colonial-style monastery in the heart of the Sacred Valley, our hotel for the night. 'Dive into Culture' and meet Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, who will share centuries-old Andean weaving techniques. Tonight, we dine at our hotel.
The mystical empire of the Incas takes centre stage today. We visit the famous Sacred Valley stronghold of Ollantaytambo, before boarding the Vistadome train (light snack included) for our epic journey to Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Delve into the mysteries of this once-great civilisation, admiring the 15th century stone ruins of temples, palaces and terraces perched high amidst the clouds. Join your Local Specialist for an exploration of the iconic great Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest, the Sacred Plaza and the Intihuatana, an intricately carved rock most likely used as a sundial centuries ago. We return to our hotel where we dine tonight.
The ancient ruins of Machu Picchu beckon again and we have an opportunity to re-connect with this ancient wonder. If you're feeling adventurous, hike up to the Gate of the Sun for stunning views over the fortress. We board a train to the Sacred Valley, then head to the colonial city of Cusco, stopping en route at a local chicheria. 'Dive into Culture' and enjoy the sweet flavours of chica as you learn how this Peruvian corn beer is brewed by the local women.
Embark on a sightseeing tour of the sacred city of Cusco this morning, admiring the 16th century Spanish colonial buildings that stand on the foundations of former Inca temples and palaces. See the baroque Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas and 17th century Church of Santo Domingo. Visit the ruins of the Sacsayhuaman fortress and see nearby warehouses where the Incas once stored their grain. The afternoon is free to explore on your terms. This evening, gather for a Regional Meal at a local restaurant, enjoying Cusquenian dishes and ancestral dance performances.
A leisurely start to our day sees us return to Lima this afternoon. Meet a Local Specialist and curator at the Larco Museum, which houses the largest private collection of pre-Columbian art in the world. This evening we join our travel companions for a Farewell Dinner in the museum's garden restaurant.
Our discovery of an ancient civilisation has come to an end. We transfer to the airport for your onward flight or perhaps extend your stay at the Novotel Lima.
Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
La Dama Juana Restaurant combines typical Peruvian food with traditional folkloric dancing. The food is served buffet-style in clay pots. As you dine, watch the energetic dancers perform colonial and Inca ceremonial dances. The costumes are colorful and the music is lively. Gratuity included. Total duration is approximately 3 hours. (Minimum 4 Guests)
Adult Price: $65
The Magic Circuit of the Water is the world's largest fountain complex of beautiful interactive fountains featuring swaying water, colored lights and lasers dancing with the music. The Magic Fountain forces water to a height of more than 250 feet. This optional experience is available Wednesday to Sunday. Total duration is approximately 2.5 hours.
Adult Price: $27
Visit the Choco Museum where you will learn the Peruvian chocolate making process from the cacao bean to the chocolate bar. You will participate in making the chocolate and experience the true feeling of a chocolate maker. Space is limited. Total duration is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. Gratuity included. (Minimum 4 Guests)
Adult Price: $45
Visit Moray, the Inca agricultural greenhouse or laboratory that consists of four platforms that seem to disappear into a crater. At a depth of 500 feet, the overlapping concentric circular stone rings widen as they rise. It was an experimental location the Incas used to study the adaptation of plants with agriculture. Next is the village of Maras, renowned for its ancient salt mines and wells. The salt has been used for economic purposes since the time of the Inca. You will meet the villagers who explain ancient salt mining techniques and have a chance to participate. Total duration is approximately 4 hours. Gratuity included. (Minimum 5 Guests)
Adult Price: $86
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