They’re two destinations on any adventurous traveler’s must-do list: Cusco and Machu Picchu. These inimitable Peruvian locales offer a glimpse of the country’s past — especially the mighty Inca Empire.
Begin your South American adventure with a visit to Peru’s mystical Sacred Valley, featuring ancient Inca capitals and Spanish colonial cities. Spend a day touring Sacred Valley, including a visit to Pisac’s market and Ollantaytambo. You’ll then embarking on a scenic Vistadome train ride to the region’s crown jewel — Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The past and present intermingle with visits to a local weaving community and a chichería, where the local brew is a traditional corn beer still savored today.
The journey doesn’t stop there, as you’ll get to know the enchanting city of Cusco with walking tours featuring Koricancha and the Catholic catedral. After flying to Chile, overnight stays in the capital, Santiago, bracket your pre-trip adventure and ensure a relaxing experience, while our itinerary provides active opportunities for walking and swimming.
Fly overnight to Peru
Your Peruvian discoveries begin as you depart on an overnight flight from the U.S., headed for Lima, then on to Cusco.
Arrive in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
When you arrive, you'll be transferred to your hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This evening, kick off your South America travel itinerary with a welcome briefing and welcome dinner at the hotel.
Explore the mystic Sacred Valley
This morning, set off to Ollantaytambo, a lovely town set by a massive Inca fortress in its background. Those who wish to climb to the second tier of the fortress can observe the Temple of the Sun, a remarkable temple that was used as a calendar of sorts for the Incas.
Then, explore the nearby terraces of Moray, an archaeological marvel thought to be an ancient site for agricultural research. This huge basin is lined with impressively uniform concentric circles that, to this day, drain perfectly. Following lunch at a local chicheria, we’ll head back to the hotel; enjoy an evening at leisure with dinner on your own.
Walking tour of Machu Picchu and guided tour of Incan ruins
Board a luxury Vistadome train this morning for a scenic journey to our hotel right outside Machu Picchu in the town of Aguas Calientes. This afternoon, we’ll arrive at Machu Picchu, the famous archaeological site of the New World and a true highlight of South America travel, where we'll enjoy a guided walking tour of the mysterious Inca ruins after most of the crowds have departed. This evening, we’ll return to Aguas Calientes via motor-coach for dinner at the hotel.
Farmer’s lunch in Chinchero, and tour of charming Cusco
Today, our luxury Vistadome train takes us to Ollantaytambo; we then continue via motor coach towards Cusco. During the transfer, we’ll stop in Chinchero, where we’ll pay a visit to a local school and enjoy a farmer’s lunch with the indigenous Chinchero Weavers Community, our Vantage Cares site in South America. Vantage Cares: While here, you'll participate in a weaving demonstration on the traditional backstrap loom and shop from a colorful array of beautiful blankets, garments, rugs, and other community-made goods.
Cuzco by foot and a Farewell Dinner
Your South America adventure continues in Cusco, the city that was the first capital of the Inca Empire, then, after the arrival of the conquistadors, became a stronghold of the Spanish-colonial Empire. You’ll explore the highlights during a city walking tour, including a visit to the Koricancha Temple of the Sun, the Main Square, the markets, and the cathedral. Enjoy lunch on your own and an afternoon at leisure. Alternately, you can join an artisan jewelry factory and shop tour, with an opportunity to shop for unique jewelry! This evening, enjoy a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
Leisure in Cusco, then fly to Santiago, Chile
Enjoy a morning of leisure in Cusco before departing for the airport this afternoon. This evening, you’ll board two flights, first from Cusco to Lima, then Lima to Santiago de Chile. You’ll arrive in Santiago past midnight and transfer to your hotel. Rest easy — the next morning is at leisure.
Join Day 2 of the base program
After a morning at leisure, you'll join Day 2 of the base program.