8 Days of Culture, Cuisine and Scenery in Peru
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
Peru makes it on many travelers bucket lists and for good reason. Machu Picchu is exactly as breathtaking as you'd expect and hiking through the Andes makes you feel connected to the history surrounding you. Many travelers, however, don't expect to be equally as blown away by the cuisine, the artistry and the peacefulness of the Peruvian culture. Expect to unwind after a day of tours at the spa or listening to running water of river before indulging at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants in the country. Point being, Peru is the perfect destination for any traveler who wants it all and there is something for everyone!
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Where to stay
Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Cusco
Centuries-old Cusco mansion that embraces Peruvian culture with modern conveniences.
Complimentary round-trip private airport transfers
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Valle Sagrado
Located between the Chicón mountains and Vilcamayo River, this luxury resort in Urubamba includes access to a private train station that takes guests to Machu Picchu.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Stay for the elegant interiors and crowd-beating location at the entrance to the citadel.
Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
Daily Breakfast for two guests per bedroom
A complimentary 50 minute massage for up to two people, per room, once during stay
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Day 1: Arrive in Cusco
You'll likely arrive in Cusco mid-morning, giving you lots of time to get settled and start exploring. Check in to your hotel and head to Plaza de Armas, the main town square, and take in breathtaking views of the Andes. Next head to the San Pedro Square Market to grab lunch from a local vendor. The altitude is probably getting to you by now so head back to rest and freshen up at the hotel. As evening comes around, test out your bartending skills at a Pisco Sour making class in the hotel lobby before heading out to dinner. I recommend Limbus Restobar for dinner and rooftop views.
Day 2: Introduction to Incan history
Located just outside of the Cusco city limits are four archeological sites within the Sacsayhuaman Complex. Spend the day walking through the ruins and discovering ancient history. For dinner that night, I recommend Chicha por Gaston Acurio for mouth watering ceviche and other seasonal dishes – a proper Cusco send off.
Day 3: Travel to the Sacred Valley
Once you make it to the Sacred Valley area, it is time to connect with nature and relax. You can travel by train but its easiest to travel by a private tour. By doing so, you can also stop at Mercado de Pisac and a handful of ruins along the way. Check in to your hotel and head to the spa where you can enjoy a heated indoor/outdoor pool, as well as a relaxation room.
Day 4: Sacred Valley, nature and artisan crafts
Start your day slow with views of the Urubamba River and Andes Mountain ranges before your guide picks you up for a half day tour of the Sacred Valley. You'll explore the colorful market of Chinchero and climb the temple situated in the mountainside. I'd recommend visiting an artisan shop where you can learn how locals make clothing with alpaca wool and natural dye. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon for another spa treatment or one of the many programs the resort offers.
Day 5: Journeying to Machu Picchu
Take the scenic route to Machu Picchu via PeruRail or the Hiram Bingham for a more luxurious experience complete with dining, live music and cocktails. Arrive at Machu Picchu and check in to your hotel for the night. Make sure you buy your tickets this afternoon and get a good nights rest so you can rise early to be the first ones in the park.
Day 6: Machu Picchu, again!
Machu Picchu opens at 6am and its best to be the first ones in to avoid crowds and see the citadel in all of its glory. It is truly as magical as you'd imagine! Spend the next few hours hiking one of the smaller mountains opposite Machu Picchu – Huchuy Picchu or Huayna Picchu. Head back to the hotel to freshen up before heading to the train station to make your way back to Cusco. You'll arrive late and check into a hotel in Cusco for the night.
Day 7: Catch a flight from Cusco to Lima
This morning will be your final stop before heading home. Welcome to Lima, a vibrant city with a well known culinary scene and the perfect place to wrap up your Peruvian adventure. Hope you saved your appetite because you're going to want to eat and drink your way around this city. A few of my favorites are Astrid y Gastón, Restaurante La Rosa Náutica, Maido and Shizen Restaurante Nikkei.
Day 8: Head home
Time to cross another trip off your bucket list (and start planning for a new one)!
Need to Know
For more travel tips to Peru, check out Sandy Kirk's Foodie's Guide to the Best Restaurants in Lima, Peru and Priyanka Juneja's 2-Week Introductory Trek Across Peru.
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