In wonders both man-made and natural, compare the ancient mysteries of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley to the sheer prehistory of the Galápagos Islands and their otherworldly inhabitants. In between, private tours of both the Peruvian and Ecuadorian capital will demonstrate how a more modern history has married European cadences with Latin rhythms while Cusco’s colonialism enjoys even stranger bedfellows in the Inca’s ancient ruins that tumble in from the Sacred Valley. Along the way, you’ll experience Peru and Ecuador at their best with Andean train rides, stays in the region’s finest accommodation and an exclusive cruise through the Galápagos.
Prior to your day flight to the Peruvian capital you’ll be brought to the airport by private chauffeur to relax with premium lounge access. On arrival into Lima, you'll be met for your private transfer to the indulgent Belmond Miraflores Park whose rooftop pool and marbled rooms host stunning views over the Pacific.
Lima’s rich history – one of Incan kings and Spanish explorers – reveals itself on a private city tour. Start in the grand Main Square, the heart of the city and home of the colourful Municipal Palace, the intricately detailed Cathedral of Lima which dates back to 1535, and the baroquely opulent Archbishop’s Palace. Then, after pausing in the 17th century with a visit to the UNESCO-listed Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, head even further back in time at the Larco Museum, a private collection of ancient treasures that recall 5,000 years of Peruvian culture in its collection of pre-Columbian and Incan treasures.
In the afternoon, a private transfer will bring you to the airport for your flight to Cusco and your luxurious accommodation – a converted monastery and national monument dating back to the late 16th century.
Cusco is something truly unique, a heady blend of colonial flourishes and ancient Incan masterpieces in a city tucked into the Peruvian Andes. It’s a contrast surmised best by its Santo Domingo Church – a Spanish convent that squats on the very foundations of Coricancha Temple, an ancient Incan palace. Your private half-day tour will also bring you to the European elegance of the Main Square before turning out to the city’s outlying ruins, including the famed Sacsayhuaman Fortress, whose giant zigzag battlements command impressive views over Cusco.
Then, after a trio of archaeological sites that include lithic amphitheatres, military ruins and cave residences, end at an Andean workshop where artisans still practise centuries-old jewellery and wood-painting techniques.
El Valle Sagrado, as it’s termed in Spanish, is an archaeological treasure trove due to millennia of rich indigenous cultures making this quiet corner of the country their home. Today's private tour begins with a visit to the mountain village of Chinchero. Once an important trading post of the Incan empire, today it's a centre for traditional weaving, and each day the market in the main square comes alive with locals selling their products – a wonderfully colourful sight.
It's then on to Ollantaytambo, its narrow Incan streets watched over by tiered ruins on the surrounding hillsides. End the day by checking into the serene Belmond Rio Sagrado, where outdoor Jacuzzis and timbered rooms look out over a rushing, mountain-framed river.
Breakfast & Lunch included
Today is your chance to appreciate an undisputed world wonder – in style. Begin with a trip aboard the Vistadome train, winding up the Andean peaks as panoramic windows open up to alpine views before a brief bus trip brings you to Machu Picchu itself. There is no preparing yourself for the moment you begin to ascend into this fabled ruined city, especially as curls of cloud begin to settle below you, covering the valleys below. A private, expert-led tour will draw back its mists and mysteries to unveil ancient royal quarters and impossibly stepped defences.
It’s all backdropped by epic, sweeping views over those signature, deeply green, mountains. You’ll descend to spend the night at Inkaterra Machu Picchu, where 12 acres of waterfall-caressed hills host charming whitewashed villas and the world’s largest collection of orchids.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included
Board the scenic Vistadome for your return to Cusco as live dance performances set the tone for spectacular, Andean views. Upon arrival, you’ll have some time to explore at leisure the city's unique charms further or perhaps relax in your luxurious hotel, a former palace whose four-poster beds and spa facilities are hidden on a peaceful plaza behind the city’s historic main square.
Enjoy a private transfer to the airport for your flight, via Lima, to Guayaquil – Ecuador’s largest city and the gateway to the Galápagos. It’s an overnight stop for some resort-style relaxation at one of the best hotels in town, though if you find yourself wanting to explore, the city itself offers a vibrant, plaza-side dining scene and colourful neighbourhoods like the Las Peñas barrio spill in gaudy tumbles towards its shore.
Fly out to the Galápagos to board the boutique Yacht La Pinta, checking into your Luxury Cabin – some of the largest cabins sailing in the region. Over the next four days included shore excursions, snorkel trips and glass-bottom boat rides will bring you into the heart of the region’s otherworldly environments; white coral beaches and sublime volcanic formations are populated by everything from alien land iguanas and the giant tortoise to shockingly bright blue-footed boobies, American flamingos and the inimitable penguins.
Taken as a whole, it’s a true natural wonder. You’ll return each day to naturalist-led talks onboard, as well as hot tub relaxation and stunning views from your cabin’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included
Fly back to mainland Ecuador and its capital city, Quito, nestled among the Andes where 17th-century façades rub shoulders with bustling marketplaces, and the city lights in the evening stray up the gentle mountain slopes to create a seeming blanket of golden light. You’ll stay in a boutique neoclassical hotel where rooms look out onto San Francisco Square – a spot that dates back to the Incas – and a superb restaurant that celebrates the very best in Ecuador's unique gastronomy.
On your second day here a private half-day tour will bring this colonial jewellery box to life, stopping at the palace-lined Independence Plaza, the grand Monastery of San Francisco and the Compañía de Jesús Church whose Baroque interior is entirely gilded. You’ll then end with the Equatorial Monument, straddling 0° latitude.
Enjoy a private transfer to the airport for your overnight flight back to the UK. For your last leg, you’ll be met by your chauffeur who’ll drop you off at your door.
"The soaring Andean peaks and colourful indigenous culture of Peru stand in great contrast to the natural wonders and unique wildlife of Ecuador’s volcanic Galápagos Islands. Both countries are so easily combined: in just two weeks you can marvel at Machu Picchu, admire beautiful Quito and the surrounding snow-capped peaks and snorkel with sea lions in the Galápagos. At the end of the day, sip a cocktail in the cruise ship’s hot tub, watch the dolphins play in the waves and reflect on the day before the sun sets"
Low Season from: £8,715 pp
High Season from: £9,015 pp