Welcome to Cusco! Your guide and driver will meet you off your flight into Cusco, and you’ll head straight for the village of Amaru, high in the Andes above the Sacred Valley of the Incas (1 – 1.5 hours). Here you’ll enjoy a pachamanca (earth oven – delicious!) lunch, before heading off to hike across the mountains to the ruin of Pisac (3 hours approx.) Your guide will show you around the bristling Inca fortress, then you’ll head down through the charming cobbled town of Pisac to Urubamba, a 45 minute drive through the Sacred Valley and drop you off at your accommodation in the early evening.
Your guide and driver will pick you up at 9am this morning and drive you to Ollantaytambo, perhaps the most perfectly preserved of all Inca towns, a maze of cobbled alleyways and sun-drenched plazas presided over by a spectacular, llama-shaped ruin. You’ll have ample time to explore with your guide before we drop you off at the train station in time to take your early afternoon train to Aguas Calientes.
The South Valley, just outside Cusco, is little known to foreign tourists, but it’s popular with Peruvians and Katy! It’s a brilliant place to sleepy villages, mad churches, and charming ruins, and enjoy the fresh air and mountain scenery.
Our first stop, half an hour out of town, is Oropesa, Peru’s bread capital. Here we’ll meet local bakers and check out the special ovens that are said to be the secret of why their pan chuta is so delicious. One food speciality per town is the custom here in the South Valley – today we’ll also pass Tipón (cuy – guinea pig), Saylla (chicharrones – pork with mint) and Lucre (pato – duck).
The church of Andahuaylillas is so elaborate it’s known as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas, and has to be seen to be believed, as do the deliberately-deformed skulls of departed Inca nobles displayed in the museum next door.
On the way back to Cusco we’ll visit fascinating pre-Inca ruins and the tiny village of Huasao, locally known for its brujos (witches), who can read your future in coca leaves before we head back to Cusco, arriving around 5pm.
Peru is all about food, and so is this tour! We’ll take you to the markets, stores, restaurants and street corners where it all happens, and along the way we’ll sample many of the products and platos that make Peru’s cuisine so delicious and unique.
We’ll start the day in the Mercado San Pedro, Cusco’s central produce market. Lechón (roast suckling pig!) is on the breakfast menu, though lighter options are available if you prefer! Next is a massive fresh fruit juice, and then we’ll take some time to check out the common and uncommon products on offer in the market – everything from giant pumpkins to frog gizzards!
The streets surrounding San Pedro are a rich hunting ground for lovers of food and the obscure. We’ll wander through stores selling live and cooked guinea pig, locally produced coffee and chocolate, and exotic ingredients from the northern jungle that are used for spells and rituals!
If we can find stomach space (warning – show up for this tour hungry!) we’ll sample anticuchos (beef heart on a stick) on our way to the Wanchaq market. This very local market specialises in ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon and chilli) and escabeche (chicken with pickled vegetables). From here we’ll stagger to a local favourite restaurant for lunch. Then home for the afternoon (between 1 and 2pm) to sleep it off!