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Inca sampler – Peru in 10 days

Paso horses dance for visitors at Wayra Ranch in the Sacred Valley of Peru// (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

The magical land of Peru is a must-see on every traveler’s list. This itinerary may seem to heavily emphasize food, though once you try your first bite you’ll understand that Peru is one of the culinary capitals of the world.

Day 0 – Arrival in Lima
Arrive in Lima late at night, check into the Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection in Miraflores and relax, it’s gonna be a busy week.

Day 1 –  Lima the Colonial Capital
Start your day with one of the most unforgettable experiences you can have in Lima, the fish market of Villa Maria. Early morning “caseros”, the vendors, have a full array of all types of seafood displayed. While the aroma may be a bit much in the morning you soon learn to ignore it and begin to wonder at the controlled chaos taking place around you. Once done with fish market, make your way to one of the local fruit markets to enjoy treasures from the coast, highlands and the jungle.

Llamas wander through the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru// (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Get acquainted with Peru’s capital, Lima, on a morning city tour. For a quick snack downtown,  stop at one of its oldest taverns and best-loved family restaurants, Cordano tavern. Delight yourself on its famous bread and locally cured ham sandwiches

Visit the best preserved colonial mansion, Casa de Aliaga. Home to 16 generations, it’s the
oldest family household in continuous use in the Americas and the jewel of Colonial Lima. From here it is easy to explore the colonial heart of Lima.  The square and churches are sure to delight your senses and for photographers, a feast for the eyes.

Lunch at Cafe del Museo and then visit the Larco Museum, housed in an 18th century colonial mansion
that hosts the most extensive collection of pre-Columbian art in Peru. It contains fine examples of
textiles, stone and precious metals. Save time to explore the catalogs, this museum is only one of a handful in the world to allow visitors to see it’s complete collection. A small room houses a large collection of erotic pottery including early examples of same sex love.

Traditional fruit markets offer up tasty treats from every corner of Peru// (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Enjoy the afternoon on own, explore Miraflores, do some shopping or rest at the hotel. Sunset brings the Magic Water Circuit, a fountain, music, and light show. For dinner check out one of the local Chifa (Peruvian Chinese) restaurants.

Day 2 – Head to Cusco and the Sacred Valley
Take the early flight to Cusco, in fact, the earlier the better. Weather changes quickly in the mountains and it’s not unheard of for late morning and early afternoon flights to be cancelled. The short one hour flight will have you in Cusco in no time.

Upon arrival in Cusco, transfer to Urubamba, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This one and one-half hour drive gets you closer to sea level,  helping you fight altitude sickness.

The ancient archaeological sight of Moray is located high in the Andes Mountains of Peru// (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Have lunch at Wayra Ranch, enjoy anticuchos, potatoes, and more while soaking in the sun and watching a Peruvian Paso horse show. The Peruvian Paso horse, renowned for having the smoothest gait in the world will stun you with equestrian demonstrations, including dancing to the rhythm of Marinera music.

Check into Hotel Sol Y Luna Lodge, one of the premier properties in the Sacred Valley.  Take a few moments to wander around the property, enjoy the gardens, and work off some of that heavy meal before starting your busy afternoon.

Drive to the archeological site of Moray, with its impressive agricultural terraces built by the Incas. One of the most notable features of Moray is the temperature difference between the top and the bottom of the Moray complex, which can vary by almost 60°F. Make sure to take it easy as your body will still be adjusting to the altitude.

Peruvian weavers sell their goods at the Moray in Peru// (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Next is the unforgettable experience of visiting the pleasant village of Maras. Wander through the narrow street on donkey back while a local flautist plays Andean melodies. While in the village you can visit the church of St. Francis of Asis, which contains unique works of art, friezes and a font dating from the 18th Century. Learn how to make chicha de jora, the local variation of beer-ish grog, in a villager’s home. While in the kitchen make sure to keep an eye out for guinea pigs, a staple of the Peruvian diet in the high mountains.

Enjoy dinner at the Sol Y Luna restaurant Kill Wasi, the alpaca is very tender and worth trying if you eat red meat. Before heading to your bed for the night check out the night sky, this is one of the best places on the planet to see stars.

Donkeys can be seen throughout the village of Maras and for some families remain the main form of transportation// (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Day 3 – The Sacred Valley
Take your morning at leisure, consider taking  some of the optional adventure tours offered by the hotel such as  horseback riding, mountain biking, white water rafting or just stay at the hotel and enjoy some time at the spa.

Enjoy lunch at the renowned restaurant “El Huacatay”, undoubtedly the best cuisine you’ll find in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Spend your afternoon in the picturesque Andean village of Chinchero. Visit a local community to watch weavers from associated villages as they demonstrate their skills, You will also find textiles of the highest quality for sale. The local weaving techniques have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. If you can spend several hours at Chinchero without too much physical exhaustion then you’re ready for the trip to Machu Picchu.

A Peruvian fish vendor or casero, hawks her goods at the Villa Maria fish market in Lima// (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Day4- Make your way to Machu Picchu
Start the day with a visit to the Inca fortress Ollantaytambo. This fortress is home to some of the most impressive masonry and stone structures in Peru.  Proceed to the station to board the train Expedition to Machu Picchu.

Upon arrival in Machu Picchu village, head to Café Inkaterra for lunch. The view of the Urubamba river from the restaurant is breathtaking.  After lunch head to the Hotel Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Lodge to check in.

The hotel offers a wonderful tour of their grounds which is home to many types of orchids, birds and other jungle species. Tea time offers the hotels own organic blends and dinner at the restaurant is not be missed, this is one of the best spots to try Cuy (guinea pig) since it is served in a more a style more suitable western tastes, without the head. As you wind down and if it’s cold enough ask the hotel to come and light your fireplace for a truly romantic evening.

Cuy or guinea pig are a main staple in the rural Peruvian diet, they can often be seen scampering around the kitchen// (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Day 5 – Machu Picchu to Cusco
We strongly recommend that you wake up early to see the sunrise over Machu
Picchu. “The Lost City of the Incas” was discovered by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911.
Enjoy a guided tour of the marvelous citadel, a unique awe-inspiring experience; visit the Main Square, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Circular Towers, the Sacred Sun Dial and the Burial Grounds. This is a once-in-a-lifetime sight so make sure all of your camera batteries are charged, you’re gonna need them.  For hiking enthusiasts, walk up to the peak of Huayna Picchu for a view that few will ever see.

Travel back to Cusco on the afternoon train and check into Hotel Aranwa Cusco and then make your way to the city’s main square to enjoy the nightlife. Limo restaurant on the main square offers tantalizing dishes to satiate any appetite.

Day 6 – Cusco- Capital of an Empire
Start the day with a visit to one of the most remarkable ruins of the Inca Empire, the culture centre of
Sacsayhuaman. Wander and wonder at the massive stones walls with joints so precise that a single sheet of paper can’t be slipped in between the stones. Continue to San Blas to visit its beautiful colonial church. This church is home to an impressive pulpit, intricate filigree woodcarvings and paintings galore.

Traffic jams in Maras, Peru consist mostly of herds of sheep and their herders// (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Make your way to  the Santo Domingo Convent Monastery, which was once the Koricancha temple, the most important Inca temple dedicated to the worship of the sun. For lunch make your way to the Hotel Monastario by Orient Express where dining in the sun at the Illariy Restaurant’s huge courtyard is a wonderful way to enjoy a meal.

Day 7– Cusco to Lima
An early morning flight back to Lima has you arriving in time to check back into the Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection in Miraflores for your last evening in Peru. Check out Saqra, a gay friendly cafe and restaurant within walking distance for lunch and drinks before enjoying free time for the afternoon.

For dinner consider either Cala Restaurant, overlooking the Pacific Ocean or our favorite Mesa 18 by Toshiro at the Orient Express Miraflores Park Hotel.

Day 8 – Fly back home
Enjoy the morning before flying back home, we hope you enjoyed your time in the Land of the Incas.

If You Go:

Sol Y Luna Resort beckons visitors to come and take time and relax in the Sacred Valley of Peru// (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Peru Tourism  Commission
Saqra
Casa Andina Private Collection
Hotel Sol y Luna
Hotel Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo
Hotel Aranwa Cusco

Related Stories on GTH:
Those sexy Peruvians
Picture perfect: Peruvian weaver
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  1. Top 10 destinations of 2012 | Gay Travel Herald - [...] our editors trekked through Peru’s top sights visiting Cuzco, Lima, and Machu Picchu. Peruse our Inca Sampler itinerary for…
  2. Top 10 destinations of 2012 | WanderLust Journal - [...] our editors trekked through Peru’s top sights visiting Cuzco, Lima, and Machu Picchu. Peruse our Inca Sampler itinerary for…

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