Luxury Travel Blog

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March 5, 2012

Just Back: The Best of Peru

We recently returned from an amazing private luxury tour of Peru that included Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, Cusco and Colca Canyon.

One of our first stops was the Sacred Valley, a beautiful destination outside Cusco. Vibrant colors and patterns are common in Peruvian crafts, such as  at the market in Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley.

Next, we took the train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. The train journey follows the scenic route along the Urubamba River as it passes through the Andes.

Touring Machu Picchu with a private guide is an ideal way to experience this dream destination. We can also arrange access to Huayna Picchu, the Inca ruins at the top of the main peak in the background of this image.

Our expert guides help our travelers avoid the most crowded times and discover the most interesting parts of Machu Picchu.

Our guides also help explain the key features at Machu Picchu, like these symbolic steps carved into the stone under the Temple of the Sun.

This is a view of the ruins from the hot tub at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, our preferred hotel and the only one at the Machu Picchu site.

The Hiram Bingham luxury train from Machu Picchu to Cusco is a relaxing and fun journey, complete with a gourmet dinner and Pisco sours, Peru’s classic cocktail. We include the train on all our Peru tours.

Cusco is one of the most beautiful cities in South America. Our private touring includes the cultural highlights in the heart of Cusco as well as scenic overlooks and fascinating Inca sites in the foothills.

Spanish colonial-era buildings were constructed atop Inca walls in the backstreets of Cusco.

Our Peru tours feature the finest hotels throughout the country, including the Hotel Monasterio, an atmospheric former monastery—now luxury hotel—in the center of historic Cusco.

The Hotel Monasterio’s inner courtyard is a wonderful place to have breakfast.

Some locals wear vibrant traditional outfits in the streets of Cusco.

Sweaters, scarves and other textiles woven from the fine wool of alpaca and vicuna are great souvenirs from Peru.

Peru has many excellent museums specializing in pre-Hispanic art made of clay, stone, gold, seashells and other materials. These ceramic camelids are in Cusco’s MAP (Pre-Columbian Art Museum).

Cusco’s markets are filled with fascinating ingredients, such as black corn, freeze-dried potatoes and unusual herbs.

This appetizer plate highlights some of the other delicious ingredients and dishes of Peruvian cooking, such as potatoes, cheese, seafood, sausage and alpaca meat.

Colca Canyon is a spectacular destination that’s too often overlooked by visitors. We arrange for a private guide and driver to accompany our travelers throughout their journey in the region.

The drive to Colca Canyon passes through stunning landscapes of volcanoes, desert plains and high-altitude meadows such as this one, where llamas graze.

Las Casitas del Colca is a luxurious resort in Colca Canyon. Each private casita has lots of space, a fireplace, a beautiful bathroom, a private herb garden, a terrace and a hot tub.

A popular activity we organize for our travelers is a private day trip to Cruz del Condor to watch Andean condors soar out of a 3,000-foot-deep gorge and swoop overhead.

Andean condors are among the largest birds in the world, with the longest wingspan of any land bird.

Feeding baby alpacas is another favorite among children and adults alike. Other activities we arrange in Colca Canyon include tours of local villages, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and fishing.

We arrange cooking classes in Colca Canyon and throughout Peru. Our travelers enjoy learning to make Peruvian classics such as lomo saltado and empanadas, as well as favorite local cocktails such as Pisco sours.

Contact Artisans of Leisure to begin planning a luxury Peru tour that features the top cultural, scenic and culinary highlights.

Destinations:  Peru, South America

Tags:  Colca Canyon, cooking classes, crafts, Cruz del Condor, Cusco, hiking, Hiram Bingham train, local markets, luxury Peru tours, Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Peru culinary tours, Peru tours, Peruvian cuisine, Sacred Valley, South America tours