DAY 1: Arrival in Lima
Welcome to Peru!
As you pass through arrivals at the airport in Lima, we’ll be waiting for you – just look for the Kuoda sign with your name on it. We’ll show you to your luxury hotel and assist with check-in. After a long flight, there’s nothing better than a shower and a sleep to shake off the jet lag so we’ll leave you to it until the following morning.
DAY 2: Over the Andes to the Sacred Valley
Flight from Lima to Cusco – Private Car to the Sacred Valley
After a restful night, you can refuel with a complimentary buffet breakfast in your deluxe hotel before we bring you to the airport for your morning flight to Cusco. As you fly, be sure to glance out the window every now and then. From 10,000 feet, the views of the desert coast rising into the snow-capped Andean peaks are phenomenal.
We’ll be waiting once you touch down to take you for an exquisite lunch. Then, before the effects of the altitude hit, we’ll whisk you into the lower Sacred Valley, where you can more easily acclimatize. Though just 45 minutes from Cusco, the Sacred Valley feels like a whole other world: cows and sheep graze by the road-side, bucolic terraces line the hillside and impossibly steep peaks rise in the distance. En route here, we’ll stop off at the Awana Kancha Living Museum, where you can marvel at nimble-fingered weavers at work and come face to face with llamas, alpacas and other Andean camelids.
Remember, your Kuoda guide and driver are at your disposal. If you see a scene that has you reaching for a wide-angle lens or you just feel like stopping to stretch your legs, just let them know and they’ll be happy to oblige.
DAY 3: Delving into past and present in the Sacred Valley
Private Tour of Pisac’s Artisan Market and the Inca Ruins at Ollantaytambo
Today, you’ll get to experience Peru’s intriguing combination of past and present. First, we’ll bring you to the mountainside market town of Pisac to witness the hub of clamor and color that is its artisan market. With colorful textiles, all manner of dyes, deftly shaped silverware, sturdy ceramics and seemingly endless varieties of fresh vegetables, it is no overstatement to say there is something here to please everyone. Accompanying you will be your very own professional photographer, who will capture the best shots of you and the market so you can focus solely on shopping.
Next on the agenda for this exclusive tour of Peru is the handsome old Inca town of Ollantaytambo. This warren of arm’s-width cobblestone alleyways is one of just a few places in the Sacred Valley to have retained its traditional Inca urban planning. Look for the trickling street canals running down the cobbled lanes, the multi-family houses with interior courtyards and the unusual trapezoidal doors – all remnants from the Inca era.
From there, it’s just a short hop (well, more of a climb) up past the agricultural terraces of the slope for a private tour of one of Peru’s most captivating Inca sites: the Temple of the Sun. Enjoy an Inca’s-eye view of the valley, and have your private guide point out the old Inca food storehouses and the distant quarries where the stone for Ollantaytambo was sourced. Then imagine the grueling physical work required to transport the gigantic rocks to this site without the aid of load-bearing animals or even the wheel.
Later, you’ll be taken back to your charming casita at Sol y Luna hotel. Spend your evening sipping your way through a tasting of some of the region’s best wines.
DAY 4: The Lost City of the Incas: Machu Picchu
Private Tour of Machu Picchu
For many travelers, today will be a day that remains permanently etched in their mind, long after they’ve returned from their personalized trip of Peru. For today will be the day they finally set their eyes on the storied city of Machu Picchu.
We’ll travel to the fabled citadel first by rail, boarding the Belmond’s (formerly Orient-Express) luxury Hiram Bingham train in Ollantaytambo and chugging through the spectacular cloud forest. After a brief bus journey, you’ll be dropped off at the gates to Machu Picchu. As you trek up the entrance’s stone steps, heavy foliage hides the surrounding views until you emerge at what seems like the top of the world, with Machu Picchu spread out below. You’re sure to reach for your camera to try and capture the vista, but before you do, be sure to take a moment to stop and truly appreciate this staggering site.
After a private tour of Machu Picchu in the company of an expert guide, break for lunch at the site-side Sanctuary Lodge (also part of the Belmond group). Feel free to continue exploring Machu Picchu after lunch or, if you’d prefer, begin the trip back to the comfort of your hotel.
That evening, you’ll reconvene with your guide in Aguas Calientes. Should you have any questions or queries about how best to spend the following day (which is yours to do as you please), now is the time. Enjoy a satisfying dinner on site at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel before heading back to your mountain-view room where you will, no doubt, fall contentedly into bed.
DAY 5: Machu Picchu on Your Terms
A Free Day to Explore the Ancient City at Your Own Pace
At Kuoda, we know that everyone needs a bit of free time, so we always try and include some during our Peru luxury tours. And today will be all yours. You can begin with breakfast on your private terrace, which looks out onto Machu Picchu and the looming, craggy peaks that encircle it.
After breakfast, the choice is yours. Perhaps you’ll hike up the steep-sided Huayna Picchu; the views of Machu Picchu from its summit are postcard material. If you’d rather something a little less strenuous, you can simply lose yourself among the far reaches of the citadel, wandering at your own pace. If you’re short on ideas, don’t despair. Your guide from the previous day will have given you plenty of suggestions on how best to fill your day. And you won’t have to worry about racking up extra costs either; entrance fees to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu are included as are round-trip bus tickets.
In the afternoon, descend to Aguas Calientes for your train back to Ollantaytambo, where we’ll be waiting to transport you to your hotel in Cusco.
DAY 6: Visiting fascinating ruins and meeting our friends in local community
Private Tours Moray and Maras, Followed by Visit to a Litle – Known Local Community
Following breakfast, your personalized tour of Peru will continue with a trip to the enigmatic Inca ruins at Moray. Visually, these stepped-terrace ruins resemble an ancient amphitheater, though some experts believe they served as agricultural laboratories where the Incas could experiment with new farming techniques. Of course, this is just conjecture, and – even after decades of research and hypotheses – the true purpose of Moray remains something of a mystery. Today, you’ll have the chance to inspect the site yourself and form your own theories.
Depart from Moray and continue on to the small town of Maras, home to a series of curious-looking salt pans. Comprised of thousands of milky pools, each set on its own terrace along the hillside, the salt pans are strangely surreal in appearance and wonderfully photogenic. The pools are individually owned and have been passed down through the local families since pre-Inca times.
After lunch with a view, we’ll bring you up to a pint-sized highland hamlet, which hugs the shore of the breathtaking Lake Piura and is hemmed in by cloud-skimming mountain peaks. The village’s isolated setting means few travelers ever come this way, and traditional crafts and ancestral ways of life flourish here. Talk to the friendly residents, some of whom are master weavers who deftly produce textile masterpieces using long-established techniques. Depending on when you visit, you may even get to meet the local kids who attend Kuoda’s after-school program – these ever-curious children love to chat to visitors and to show off their art creations!
At the end of the day, we will deliver you back to the luxurious and stylish Plaza Nazarenas Hotel, where you can get some much-deserved R&R. Get pampered in the Hypnoze spa and take a dip in the heated pool before heading to bed.
DAY 7: Exploring the Imprerial City of Cusco
Private walking tour of Cusco
On day seven, it’s time to get acquainted with Cusco, a gorgeous city that wins the heart of most every traveler that passes through it. Get to know the real Cusco during a private city tour. Wander the pretty streets in the company of a knowledgeable guide, who will help illuminate the history of this glorious place. As you explore the city’s sights, from the Santo Domingo monastery (a colonial structure built on top of the ancient Inca temple of the sun) to the treasure-packed Pre-Columbian Art Museum, Cusco’s striking cultural blend will soon become apparent. Roam the atmospheric streets of the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, which is known for its free-spirited scene; see where the locals make their grocery runs at the open-air San Pedro market and pass the famous 12-angled stone, whose image appears on the bottle of the local Cusqueña beer.
Later, you’ll be giving the chance to participate in a coca leaf reading ritual or in Pachamama, a private ceremony during which you can make offerings to Mother Earth. By dinner time, you’ll be poised to sample Cusco’s famed dining scene. Your guide will be happy to recommend some of the city’s top restaurants as well as offering other sightseeing suggestions should you wish to squeeze in more exploring.
DAY 8: Cusco to the “City of Kings” in Lima & than Home
Fly to Lima, making the most of your last day in Peru by strolling the seaside Miraflores district
Going home is the worst part of any private Peru vacation but at Kuoda, we’ll do our best to make it as smooth and painless as possible. First, we’ll bring you to Cusco airport for your return flight to Lima. In Lima, a Kuoda host will meet you and take you to the much-loved Miraflores district.
Modern and hip Miraflores overlooks the Pacific Ocean and has no shortage of things to do: you can soak up the scenery at seaside parks, browse the boutiques and delight in the ever-delicious criollo food. Standouts include cebiche (citrus-cured seafood) and causa (a winning combination of spicy mashed potatoes and creamy seafood filling).
As your departure times draws nearer, we will meet you and bring you to Lima airport for your journey home. Thank you for traveling with Kuoda Travel, and buen viaje!