In the Footseps of the Incas

Duration: 7 days

Highlights: Lima, Machu Picchu, Cusco, The Sacred Valley.

This programme has been created especially for corporate groups. It includes extensive sightseeing in Peru as well as team building exercises.

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Lima

Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met and transferred to Miraflores Park Plaza, located in the Malecón de la Reserva, an exclusive residential area with an incredible ocean view. 

Lima is a cosmopolitan city of about 8 million inhabitants, with a beautiful and historic city centre with buildings dating back to the colonial days when Lima was known as the "City of Kings".

Overnight: Miraflores Park Hotel

Meal Plan:

Day 2 - Lima - Cusco

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Cusco, centre of the old Inca Empire. On arrival, you will be met with a traditional “Pasacalle” welcome, a historical tradition from colonial times whereby a group of costumed actors on stilts greet the group by dancing and throwing wild flower petals over you as you walk to the vehicles. From there it is only a short drive to the Orient Express Monasterio Hotel, an old San Antonio Abad Seminary built in 1592. During your private check in held in the hotel chapel, coca tea will be served to help acclimatisation to the higher altitude of Cusco.

You will be served a private light lunch in the historical courtyard of the hotel, before embarking on an interactive visit to Korikancha Temple, a Dominican church and convent  that was built on the foundations of the Koricancha, or palace of gold, the principal Inca religious building dedicated to the worship of the sun. 

Continue to the beautiful square surrounded by stone arches, a spectacular arcade constructed during colonial times. Here you will visit the Cathedral whose construction was begun in 1560 and consecrated in 1669. Like the Cathedral in Lima, it has had Gothic, Mannerist-Renaissance and Baroque influences.

Drive to Sacsayhuaman, an impressive example of Inca military architecture, only ten minutes from the centre of the city. Strategically placed on a hill overlooking Cusco, this spectacular fortress guarded the capital of the empire. The city of Cusco was supposedly built in the shape of a jaguar, the fortress represented the head, and its jagged wall formation the teeth.

For this afternoon's activity we suggest either a treasure hunt around the main sites of Cusco, or a similar challenge which the teams have to complete.

Tonight you will enjoy a gala dinner in La Merced Church, erected between 1657 and 1680 Its cloisters are considered among the finest in South America. A cocktail will be served in the courtyards of the church while you watch a Kusi Wasi Show show, during which much of the action is performed by actors on stilts wearing elaborate costumes. It is a colourful, fast-paced, flag-waving, torch burning spectacle, which, although performed in Spanish, offers an entertaining and emotional, not to mention unique, experience even for those who are unable to understand the language.

Overnight: Monasterio Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 3 - Cusco - Machu Picchu

This morning you will board our private luxury Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu, travelling along the Sacred Valley to arrive at the famous Inca site. On board you will be offered a delicious brunch.

On arrival in Aguas Calientes, you will be transported to the ruins of Machu Picchu to explore this famous “Lost City of the Incas”. Along the drive we can arrange for the group to be met in specific stops by various characters.

Explore the city’s ruin with your guide, and feel its pulse as you visualise the lives of the priests, craftsmen and servants who lived in this seemingly uninhabitable citadel. Excavations have only added to the mystery, revealing the skeletons of 173 people (50 of them are women), artifacts and woolen clothing, but no gold. 
Overlooking the raging Urubamba River, in a hidden tangle of vines and trees atop the mountain, the city of Machu Picchu will forever hold its secret of its destruction since the Incas left no written record.

Part of this exploration includes joining the archaeologist Alfredo Mormontoy.  He is the  resident archaeologist at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu since 2001, researcher and consultant in conservation and restoration projects and has made advanced studies on ceramics and metal work conservation. He has participated in more than twenty different excavations and archaeologic research projects to date. With him, you will have access to excavation works, these are places where tourism is not normally permitted.

Machu Picchu, one of the most spiritual places in the world, would be the ideal place to hold a group meditation in Machu Pichu at sunset.

Descend to Aguas Calientes for a relaxing dinner in your hotel. Before dinner we can organise a cocktail while enjoying a concert of classical music performed with Andean wind instruments.

Overnight: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 4 - Machu Picchu - Cusco

There will be several guides available today and the group can choose between various different activities, such as meditation, photography, climbing to view points, and an historical tour.

Some suggested options are:

a) Hike to the Inti Punku, or famous Sun Gate, which is the entry point to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail and offers excellent views of the ruins, (approx 2 hours).

b) For the most adventurous, there is a  chance to hike up the Huayna Picchu – the highest mountain which is actually part of the ruins, from where you are afforded excellent views of the surrounding area, as well as a unique view of the famous lost city, (approx 2.5 hours).

c) Walk through the orchid garden of your hotel to observe some of the hotel’s 372 different orchids in bloom. Discover this extraordinary plant family which has captured the human imagination for centuries.

d) Start at 6:30 in the morning for cloud-forest bird watching. A river observatory offers the possibility of sightings of the sought after torrent duck and the white-capped dipper. Along the hotel’s pathways, be on the lookout for the Andean cock-of-the-rock, the golden-headed quetzal and many of the 16 different hummingbirds identified on the grounds, including the green and white hummingbirds, which are endemic to the area.

e) If you prefer you can just relax and continue exploring this magnificent citadel on your own.

Archaeologist Alfredo Mormontoy will also be available for those interested in exploring Machu Picchu further with him.

Early evening, walk to the train station where you will join your luxury train to Cusco. You can experience a “zampoña” (Andean flute) lesson on board the train. Dinner will be served.

Upon arrival in Cusco you will be transferred to your hotel.

Overnight: Monasterio Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 5 - The Sacred Valley

After breakfast you will take a bus ride out of the city and into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where you will join rubber rafts of 8 people for the rafting experience. It is a great opportunity to bond as a group and test teamwork and leadership skills, but importantly also to have fun. Following a safety and familiarisation briefing you will start your river run that lasts a total of 1.5 hours. On the river you will be gliding in a world behind the scenes of Andean life - a timeless parade of shepherds, schoolchildren and farmers. 

After rafting you will experience a local ritual Pago a la tierra, an ancient ritual that pays homage to Pachamama, or Mother Earth. Ritual offerings of chicha, coca leaves, flowers and fruits are placed in the earth to the sound of evocative chanting and singing. This is an age-old old Andean tradition to give thanks to the earth. The Shaman will be available during lunch to read your coca leaves, an ancient practice which is believed to divine the future. Afterwards, enjoy a private picnic lunch with a wonderful view of the mountains rising either side of the valley. 

On the way back to Cusco you will visit Awanakancha, a centrewhere South American Camelids (members of the camel family) – Llamas, Alpacas, Guanacos, and Vicunas – are bred. You will learn about the renowned fibres created from their coats, as well as the ancient weaving techniques which are still used.

This evening you will be taken to the Santo Domingo Church, formerly the Koricancha or Inca Temple of the Sun for a private dinner in the main courtyard. It was the exact centre of the empire and the place where the most important religious and military ceremonies were held. The interweaving of Incan and European architecture in the historical building give it a spiritual ambience like no other building in Cusco. 

Be part of the Inti Raymi in the garden of this spectacular venue. Usually celebrated on June 24, it is a recreation of the great Inca winter solstice festival. Many customs and dances are realistically portrayed by hundreds of actors. A great opportunity to admire the rich and varied history and folklore of the region.

Overnight: Monasterio Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 6 - Cusco - Lima

After a champagne breakfast in the main courtyard of the hotel, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. 

Continue to the centre of Lima stopping first at the Plaza Mayor, where Lima was founded and is still the official cente of the city. From here you will enjoy a tour of the historic Cathedral, one of the finest in the New World. Highlights include the carved choir stalls, a 16th century statue of the Madonna and Christ Child, and for the gorier, Francisco Pizarro’s remains. From the Cathedral walk past the Presidential Palace, enjoying a photo stop by the historic soldiers who guard it, and onto the Church of San Francisco. Here you will have the opportunity to enjoy the 350-year-old building, paintings, frescos and library.

You will leave Lima to travel slightly south of the City to the Santa Rosa Hacienda. Tastefully built and decorated in Republican style, the hacienda is the private home of a distinguished Lima family.  Over the years, the owners of Santa Rosa have become famous as expert breeders of the Caballo de Paso or Stepping Horse, a breed unique to Peru. Here not only will you enjoy an outdoor lunch, but also a magnificent display of the Peruvian stepping horses. Those who want can have the opportunity ride a ‘Paso’ horse, and enjoy the experience of their uniquely smooth gait.

In the evening enjoy a private farewell dinner at the Casa Garcia-Alvarado, an old but impressive house that was constructed in 1912 by the architect Rozaga, and was remodelled in 1932. It was fashioned after Peru’s Government Palace.

This is an ideal place to enjoy an atmospheric brainstorming  sesson in the private surroundings of this historical property, reviewing the week’s activities and what each participant can take from the experience.

End the evening with a spectacular presentation of Peruvian dances. The costumes includes gold Inca artifacts.

Overnight: Miraflores Park Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 7 - Depart Lima

This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Overnight:

Meal Plan: B

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