PERU & MACHU PICCHU | MAY 2021
Sacred peaks, lush jungles, Inca ruins and rolling sand dunes await adventurous travelers in Peru
This seven day, eight night trip, will be an epic adventure starting in the ancient Inca city of Cusco at the base of the Peruvian Andes. Guests will wander Cusco’s magical cobblestone streets, vibrant arts district and historic sites. Then, guests will visit the breathtaking Inca citadel of Macchu Picchu (one of the seven wonders of the world), hike around stunning glacial lakes, explore the lively capital city of Lima, and finally race sand buggies up and down dunes in the desert oasis of Huacachina. The variety of landscapes — from mountains, to city, to desert — will craft an incredible backdrop for guests to create unforgettable memories. Insider dinners with renowned Peruvian chefs will offer a culinary richness to the journey.
MEET YOUR EXCURSION TEAM
LOCAL INSIDER | ANDREA DEVIAJE
ANDREA DEVIAJE is a native Peruvian and passionate traveler within her country. She is a travel blogger and Instagram influencer who will accompany us to Cusco and Lima, sharing her wealth of knowledge on Peruvian culture including her involvement with recent political challenges within the country. She is updating us on developments in the country regarding Covid-19 safety and the abrupt change of the presidency.
EXCURSION LEADER | RICHARD ROSSER
RICHARD ROSSER is the founder of Insider Excursions and the President & Publisher of Point! Publishing. Last year he led group trips to Bogota, Colombia and Quepos, Costa Rica.
YOUR JOURNEY BEGINS…
In the Magical, Ancient City of Cusco
YOUR JOURNEY BEGINS in the majestic ancient city of Cusco high in the Andes Mountains. Cusco was once the capital of the Inca Empire before Spanish conquistadors conquered the area. Thus the unique city boasts elements of both the ancient Inca civilization, and Spanish colonial architecture. Cobblestone streets branch out from the central square called the Plaza de Armas. Incan temples, Spanish Catholic churches and a baroque convent are all found dotted around the city. San Blas, a hillside bohemian arts district on the edge of the square, beckons you to explore narrow alleys lined with artisan crafts. Llamas roam the streets, guided by women in colorful, traditional Andean fashion, while street musicians compose a lovely soundtrack for your exploration. Cusco is the type of city that will charm you instantaneously, then grow on you more and more as you wander.
READ THE STORY…
INSIDER EXCURSIONS Lead travel writer Danielle Charbonneau took a trip to Peru last November to scout out the best locations for our 2021 adventure. Read the story in Pompano! Magazine…
ACCOMODATIONS IN CUSCO
Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
Our accommodations in Cusco will be the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, a former Inca palace turned luxury hotel. The hotel sits on a UNESCO world heritage site overlooking the city. It is a five minute walk from the Plaza de Armas and ten minute walk from Cusco’s historic quarter. The grounds have an ancient wall of Inca stones leading into a cloistered courtyard with an historic fountain at its heart. Within the hotel’s timeless walls, contemporary Cusco comes to life. Find a fabulous spa, the city’s first outdoor pool, a secret garden, library and stylish restaurant serving cutting-edge local cuisine.This intimate urban retreat has just 55 suites, each enriched with oxygen and with its own private bar where guests can create drinks accented with fresh ingredients grown at and around the hotel.
DAY ONE | EXPLORE CUSCO, DEVOUR CHOCOLATE & DINE WITH A CHEF
Considering Cusco is more than 11,000 feet in elevation, it’s a good idea to take it relatively easy on our first day in the Andes. We will take a VIP walking tour with a local guide to some of Cusco’s most notable historic sites, including the Plaza de Armas, some ancient Inca ruins, churches, a convent and the San Blas arts district. You’ll get oriented with Cusco’s unique history and culture. In the afternoon we will go to a chocolate cooking class to observe how the native Cacoa tree becomes delectable treats. In the evening, we will go to a VIP dinner with a live cooking demonstration.
DAY TWO | TAKE THE LEGENDARY HIRAM BINGHAM TRAIN TO MACHU PICCHU
You will take a luxury train trip aboard the Belmond Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu. The 1920s parlour cars are elegantly decorated, adorned with wood panels, brass finishes, warm lighting and pressed linen dining tables. The train will wind through the Sacred Valley and ascend into the Andes from Cusco while you devour gourmet meals and listen to live Peruvian music. The route itself is 57 miles and lasts about three and a half hours in each direction. You’ll traverse along the Urubamba River (the Sacred River), go through ancient towns and lush cloud forests, and admire the towering mountains and vast grasslands dotted with llamas. The train takes you to the gateway city of Aguas Calientes. A short shuttle ride from the train will take you to the entrance of Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world. Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca citadel. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments and panoramic views. Its exact former use remains a mystery.
DAY THREE | HIKE AROUND THE AUSUNGATE GLACIAL LAKES
On your third day in Cusco you will have the option to take a day trip to the Ausungate glacial lakes. The lakes are created by the run-off of 700-year-old glaciers, which hang magnificently on the rugged peaks of the Cordillera Vilcanota range. The peaks are stunning, towering above you as you wander around the glacial lakes below. Each lake has a different shade of blue, turquoise or green based on the mineral content and plants on which they cover.
The area feels totally remote and far-removed from Cusco. A few local Andean people live in grass huts along the river and a small town of llama and alpaca herders sits near the trail head. A local woman will make you and your fellow hikers breakfast and lunch in her own home. At the end of the day, hikers can also swim in the thermal baths which rest below the lakes.
DAY FOUR | TAKE AN URBAN ADVENTURE AROUND LIMA, GO TO THE BEACH & DRINK PISCO
On the fourth day, we will take a hopper flight back to Lima, the urban metropolis and capital city of Peru. Here you will be able to choose from a variety of activity options including shopping, a history tour, art galleries, museums or the beach. We will also offer a Pisco tasting and host a VIP dinner with a special guest TBA.
DAY FIVE | DESERT ADRENALINE
About four hours outside of Lima rests the Huacachina Oasis, a small, quirky desert town. There you can take an adrenaline-pumping, scream-inducing, rollercoaster-ride of a sand buggy tour up and down the steep sand dunes. You can also rent sand boards. Long rides on your stomach aboard a wooden board, head first down steep terrain, is enough to bring out anyone’s inner child. At the end of the day, the sunset casts golden shadows across miles of rolling dunes.
The desert scenery is such a wild departure from Lima and Cusco that it feels as if you have been abducted and transported to another planet, the dune buggies actually Mars rovers. It is a surreal sensation to suddenly be in a hot, remote desert when only days before you were wearing a winter coat, hiking around glacial lakes at the bottom of the Andes. This rapid change in environment and climate as you travel across Peru is no doubt one of the allures to this South American country.