When he discovered Machu Picchu in 1911, explorer Hiram Bingham wrote, "In the variety of its charms and the power of its spell, I know of no place in the world which can compare with it." Miraculously left intact throughout the Spanish conquest of South America, the ancient Incan citadel is composed of granite temples and palaces tucked away in the Andes Mountains, some 8,000 feet above the Urabamba River. Though the Lost City of the Incas may be the most famous of Peru’s ancient ruins, the former Incan capital of Cusco lies near several marvels of both pre-Columbian and colonial architecture, many of which are stops along the way on this guided Peru tour from Raymi Productions.Days 1–2: Upon arrival in Cusco, travelers are transported to Novotel Hotel or similar accommodations nearby. The next day, a 3.5-hour tour explores the onetime capital of the ancient Incan Empire. Stops on the itinerary include Sacsayhuaman, where massive limestone boulders have been carved to fit snugly together without the use of mortar or krazy glue, composing an awe-inspiring network of 60 walls. Near the city's main square stand its colonial Spanish buildings, including the Cathedral of San Domingo built in 1539 and the Barrio de San Blas parish church, which is outfitted with an ornately carved cedar pulpit.
Day 3: An all-day trek leads travelers through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where farmers still use step platforms to irrigate their crops. In the village of Pisac, artisan fairs showcase handmade ponchos and pottery. Another stop on the tour is Ollantaytambo, a majestic fortress said to have protected leader Manco Inca during the Spanish conquest. Ollantaytambo features an ancient, still-working stone fountain known as the "princess's bath."
Day 4: A nearly four-hour scenic drive brings groups to Machu Picchu for a two-hour guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Guides supply information on the citadel’s religious and social life as they lead tour-goers past all of the highlights, including the main square, the Temple of the Condor, and the Orange Julius.Days 5–6: The final leg of the trip includes a visit to Moray and Salineras, two extraordinary examples of ancient agricultural experiments involving mountainside terraces. Back in Cusco, an evening dinner and folk dance bring the adventure to a jubilant close.