Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included. Get ready for a very busy tour exploring the best of Peru in a week. We recommend booking a pre-night in Lima (in particular if your flight arrives into Lima in the evening) to recover from international flights and rest up before the excitement.
Board an early flight to Cusco, once the capital of the Inca empire, then drive to Urubamba through the scenic Sacred Valley. Explore the terraced salt pans of Maras, which have been used for salt extraction since pre-Inca times, and tour the Inca site of Moray??believed to have been an agricultural laboratory where priests would test soils and crops. Later, we'll enjoy a meal of local specialities, prepared in a pachamanca, or underground stone oven.
Continue exploring the Sacred Valley with a visit to the G Adventures–supported Parque de la Papa, or Potato Park, a rural Andean community working to preserve hundreds of varieties of native potato. During this exclusive experience, you'll walk through the park with a local guide to learn about potato cultivation, traditional weaving, and the importance of both these practices to Andean culture. We'll also tour the fascinating Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo and Pisac and enjoy a meal at the G Adventures–supported Parwa Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosqo.
Catch an early transfer to the Ollantaytambo station and board a train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Ride through lush Andean scenery, enjoying breathtaking views of ancient ruins and everyday life. Settle into your hotel in Aguas Calientes, and choose from a variety of optional activities: take a relaxing soak in the local hot springs, visit a beautiful botanical garden, or set out to discover Machu Picchu on your own before our guided tour the following morning. For serious archaeology buffs, there is time for an optional independent visit to Machu Picchu before the guided tour the following morning.
This morning, embark on a guided tour of Machu Picchu??the 15th-century Inca citadel famously introduced to the world by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in the April 1913 issue of National Geographic magazine. After being taken through the temples and terraces of this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage site, return to Cusco by train.
Spend the day exploring charming Cusco. Opt to visit Plaza de Armas, the historic main square; the 15th-century Sacsayhuaman fortress; or some of the city's museums and ornate churches. This evening, we'll head to the Cusco Planetarium to learn about the importance of astronomy to the ancient Inca and, weather permitting, look out at the glittering, starry sky through telescopes. Please remember that star gazing is completely weather dependent and sometimes there can be cloudy skies.
Fly back to Lima. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure or choose to take a half-day guided tour of the Peruvian capital. Visit the San Francisco Monastery, part of Lima's World Heritage-listed historic center, and descend into its famed catacombs. Wander across Plaza Mayor, the city's oldest public square, and enjoy Peruvian tapas and a tasting of pisco sours before returning to your hotel.