The prices shown include a Premium Stateroom
aboard the luxurious yacht Grace. Our tours also are available
with other yachts or with a 4-night Galapagos cruise,
instead of 7 nights. Please select a yacht to view details
about each vessel and its itinerary.
When considering a Galapagos cruise,
note that the islands are distinct in their flora and fauna.
Certain islands provide a greater or unique opportunity for observing
certain species. Thus, landings on more islands reveal more species
and, importantly, the amazingly different adaptations each species
has made to its own insular world. Accordingly, a 7-night cruise
is preferable. It also offers a greater choice of luxury vessels.
The land and cruise price includes
escorted transfers, private excursions with professional guides
and chauffeurs on the mainland and semi-private excursions with a certified naturalist on the Galapagos Islands, entrance fees,
selected category of accommodations, gourmet cuisine, all land
and water transportation, and travel insurance for
guests through the age of 59 years (over that age, there is a
supplementary fee). All prices are per person based on two people
sharing a guest room. For a detailed description of our services,
In 1951, this motor yacht was acquired
by Aristotle Onassis, who later gave her as a wedding
gift to Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco.
It was onboard this vessel that Prince Rainier and Princess Grace
spent their honeymoon getaway. She has been rechristened
with a name that takes her years' back into her history, to the
very best of her times. Named after her late owner, Her Serene
Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, the name is a representation
of her elegance, beauty and prestige. Reservations
for The Grace Experience, a seven-night journey in one
of her nine spacious cabins, are now being accepted. We invite
you to download a brochure and a deck
As a prelude to discovering the archaeological
treasures of the Inca Empire, you will explore one of its greatest
ecological treasures on a cruise of the Galapagos Islands. Then,
in the imperial city of Cuzco, fabled Machu Picchu and the Sacred
Valley; you will experience the glory of the Inca Empire. Archaeology,
art, architecture, folklore and cuisine compose a cultural adventure
to forever cherish.
Upon arrival in Quito, you will be escorted to the palatial Casa Gangotena, then dine on fusion cuisine at Zazu. In Ecuador's capital, founded in 1534, walk along the cobblestone
streets through centuries-old parks and plazas to churches filled
with gold. Contemplate Gothic, Baroque, Moorish and Neo-Classical
architecture, all blended with the mestizo sentiment, and imagine
you've gone back in time to the astonishing colonial world. In
the evening, take a horse-drawn carriage past the beautifully
illuminated facades of the Spanish monuments, and savor vanguard Mediterranean cuisine at Theatrum.
A flight the next morning takes you
from the peaks of the Andes to the Galapagos Islands. While yachting
this extraordinary archipelago with a naturalist, go ashore amid
volcanic landscapes, hike among Marine Iguanas and lava lizards,
and have the rare opportunity of snorkeling among penguins and
marine tortoises. On these enchanted isles, each with its unique
wildlife, you can compare the adaptations of the species to their
differing environments that inspired Charles Darwin's theory
From the Galapagos, fly to Lima,
a five-century-old Spanish colonial city and home to the country's
major museums. The next morning, enter the historic district's
crown jewels. In the afternoon, discover the treasures
of the Incas at the Museo Larco.
A morning flight into the Andes takes
you to Cuzco, the ancient capital, where you will have one day
to explore its Inca and colonial monuments, two days in the "Lost
City" of Machu Picchu, with a chance to hike a part of the
Inca Trail, and two days for the reknowned archaeological sites
and native markets of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Return to Lima to explore the Pachacamac
archaeological site. After a lunch of artistic cuisine by chef Rafael Osterling, walk in the artists'
quarter of Barranco, have a farewell drink and transfer to the airport
for your overnight flight home, completing your tour of the Galapagos
Islands and Machu Picchu.
Day 1: Flight to Quito, Ecuador.
International arrival in
the afternoon or evening, reception and transfer to your hotel. Dine at Zazu. Overnight in the Casa Gangotena.
Day 2: Quito. This morning, drive to the top of El Panecillo.
Its summit overlooks Old Quito. Begin your walking tour of the
colonial quarter, highlighted by La Plaza de la Independencia,
the Cathedral, La Compañia de Jesús, La Iglesia
de San Francisco and La Iglesia y Convento de la Merced. At the
City Museum, see what daily life was like in colonial Quito.
Lunch at El Crater, inside the crater of the Pululahua Volcano.
Our afternoon destination is Rumicucho, a late 15th century Inca
fortress, observatory and temple of the sun. It was built near
the equator, which the Incas called Intiñan (Path of the
Sun). Before returning to Quito, go to the equator, where you
can stand with one foot in the southern hemisphere and the other
in the northern hemisphere.
As an alternative, you may choose
an afternoon excursion to the Central Bank Museum.
This afternoon, a lunch at Café Tianguez. To complete your insight
into the country's archaeology, history and cultures; investigate
Ecuador's ancient past in the galleries of the Central Bank Museum.
This evening, return to El Panecillo
for a panorama of the beautifully illuminated colonial quarter.
Though not of colonial vintage, the neo-Gothic La Basílica
is the place to see bizarre and fascinating gargoyles. Admire
the night view of the Spanish monuments along Calle de las Siete
Cruces, on the way to La Plaza de la Independencia, where you will
board a horse-drawn carriage for a romantic ride through the
narrow streets of Old Quito. Arrive at Theatrum to savor vanguard Mediterranean cuisine. Afterward, return to your hotel. Overnight in the Casa Gangotena.
Day 3: Quito - Galapagos Cruise.
Transfer to the airport.
Flight to the Galapagos. Entrance into the National Park,
reception and transfer to your yacht. Afternoon island landing
and excursion with a naturalist. Back on board. Guides' briefing
on the next day's activities. Overnight on the Grace.
Days 4 - 9: Galapagos Cruise.
Morning and afternoon island
landings and excursions with a naturalist. Back on board. Guides'
briefing on the next day's activities. Overnight on the Grace.
Day 10: Galapagos Cruise - Lima.
Morning island landing and
excursion with a naturalist. Transfer to the airport. Flight
to Guayaquil and connection to Lima. Reception and transfer
to your hotel. Dinner at the Mesa 18. Overnight in the
Day 11: Lima. Morning walking tour in the colonial quarter,
visiting the Plaza de Armas and entering La Casa de Aliaga and La Iglesia
y Convento de San Francisco. View the exterior of La Iglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo, Lima's oldest
convent, and enter La Catedral for a short visit. In contrast to the religious structures,
the Torre Tagle Palace is the city's best surviving example of
secular colonial architecture. Lunch at the Café del Museo.
Afternoon at the Museo Larco. Dine at Astrid & Gastón, one of the highest notes
in the Peruvian culinary scene. Overnight in the Orient-Express Miraflores Park.
Day 12: Lima - Cuzco - Sacred Valley
to the airport. Flight to Cuzco. Reception and drive to
the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Visit to the Chinchero market
and church. Private weaving demonstration. Continue to the Moray
archaeological site and the ancient salt pans of Maras. Chef-prepared picnic lunch. If you
like, walk down rural paths to the Urubamba River. Arrival
at your hotel. At a nearby hacienda, an honored shaman will conduct an ancient ceremony still observed by the indigenous people of Peru to obtain health, well-being and luck. After this memorable experience, you will return to your hotel. Dinner and overnight in the Orient-Express Rio Sagrado.
Day 13: Sacred Valley (Pisaq -
Ollantaytambo). After a short visit to the Pisaq market, hike in the Pisaq ruins. Lunch at 3 Keros. Tour of the Ollantaytambo ruins. Dinner and overnight in the Orient-Express Rio Sagrado.
Day 14: Sacred Valley - Orient-Express
Vistadome - Machu Picchu. Transfer
to the train station to meet your guide. Vistadome to Machu Picchu.
Transfer to the ruins. Day entrance. Buffet luncheon. Private guided tour in the
afternoon. Dinner and overnight in the
Orient-Express Sanctuary Lodge.
Day 15: Machu Picchu - Orient-Express
Vistadome - Cuzco. Entrance into the
ruins. Sunrise over Machu Picchu. Morning exploration with your guide or on your own. Lunch in the hotel. Afternoon exploration with your guide or on your own. Transfer
to the train station. Vistadome to the Poroy Station, on the
outskirts of Cuzco. Reception and transfer to your hotel. Dinner
at the Restaurante El Tupay. Overnight in the Orient-Express Monasterio.
Day 16: Cuzco (Inca Monuments). Morning drive to Awana Kancha, where you will see all four species of South American camelid. Proceed to the nearby Inca monuments of Tambomachay, Puka Pukara, Qenqo and Saqsaywaman. Lunch at Pacha Papa before a visit to an artisan's workshop and the Church of San Blas. Afternoon walk to Inca monuments in the colonial quarter, including the Stone of Twelve Angles, Huacaypata (now called the Plaza de Armas and dominated by the Spanish colonial Cathedral), the fine Inca walls of Inti Q'ijllo, Ajlla Wasi (House of the Virgins of the Sun) and Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun). This evening, you will see pre-Inca and Inca art at the Museo de Arte Precolombino, with a dinner of nouvelle Andean cuisine in the courtyard. Overnight in the Orient-Express Monasterio.
Day 17: Cuzco - Lima. Transfer to the airport. Flight to Lima. Arrival, reception and transfer to your hotel. Morning drive
to Pachacamac, the most reknowned pre-Inca and Inca pilgrimage
site of the coast. Upon returning to Lima, lunch at the extraordinary Huaca Pucllana restaurant, which reinterprets the Peruvian Criollo tradition. Afterward, continue to Barranco for visits to one of the country's finest crafts shops, the Museo de Arte Colonial Pedro de Osma, La Puente de los Suspiros and La Iglesia de La Ermita. After arrival back at the hotel, have a farewell drink, order from room service or just rest before the transfer to the airport for your Overnight Flight Home. Relax in the VIP Club while awaiting departure and enjoy a buffet of light fare and beverages, including Peru's famous pisco sour. Day Room in the Orient-Express Miraflores Park.
Day 18: Lima - Home. Flight and arrival home.
Exceptions to the itinerary:
The Galapagos cruise itinerary described
and illustrated below is typical but varies by yacht. Therefore,
it should be used only as a guide for learning about the different
islands and their wildlife.
International arrival this afternoon
or evening in Quito. Reception
and escorted transfer to the palatial Casa Gangotena. Dine at Zazu, where chef Alexander Laud creates a fusion of South American and international cuisine. Overnight in the Casa Gangotena.
Under the diadem of the Incas, Quito
assumed a magnificence which it never saw before and has not
displayed since. It was the worthy metropolis of a vast empire
stretching from the equator to the desert of Atacama, and walled
in by the grandest group of mountains in the world. On this lofty
site, which amid the Alps would be buried in an avalanche of
snow, but within the tropics enjoys an eternal spring, palaces
more beautiful than the Alhambra were erected, glittering with
the gold and emerald of the Andes. But all this splendor passed
away with the sceptre of Atahuallpa...
-- James Orton, Andes and
the Amazon, 1870
Day 2: Quito
has the best-preserved historic district in South America. It
is located on an active volcano, 9,300 feet above sea level in
the Andes mountains. The city's origins date back to the
first millennium, when the Quitu tribe occupied the area
and eventually formed a commercial center. The Quitu were conquered
by the Caras tribe, who founded the Kingdom of Quito
about 980 AD. In 1462, the Incas conquered that kingdom
and created a majestic capital for their northern empire. In
1533, Rumiñahui, an Inca war general, razed the
city to prevent the Spaniards from taking it, thereby destroying
any traces of the prehispanic metropolis. In 1534, the Spanish
conquistadores invaded, and Francisco Pizarro founded
San Francisco de Quito. Walking along its cobblestone
streets through centuries-old parks and plazas to churches filled
with gold, you will imagine you've gone back in time to the astonishing
This morning, drive to the top of El Panecillo. The
significance of this hill dates back to Inca times, when it was
known as Shungoloma ("hill of the heart") and
used as a place to worship the sun. Its summit overlooks Old
Quito and is crowned by a winged statue of the Virgin. Begin
your walking tour of the colonial quarter at La Plaza de la Independencia,
where the country's history was written. On one side is the Cathedral (1640),
considered to be the oldest in South America. Down Calle de
las Siete Cruces (Street of the Seven Crosses) is La Compañia de Jesús (1605), one of the great baroque
masterpieces of the continent. Also in the baroque style is the
oldest of South America's colonial churches, La Iglesia de San Francisco
(1535). It was constructed over the Inca Palace of Atahualpa
and decorated with images of the sun to lure in the native people.
The Moorish style of La Iglesia y Convento de la Merced is most likely explained by artists seeking
refuge in South America after the expulson of the Moors from
Spain. Started in 1538, the church was rebuilt in 1737. At the
City Museum, see
what daily life was like in colonial Quito.
Lunch of Ecuadorian or international
cuisine by chef Carlos Alvear at El
Crater, inside the Pululahua Volcano. Our afternoon destination is Rumicucho,
a late 15th century Inca fortress, observatory and temple of
the sun. It was built near the equator, which the Incas called
Intiñan (Path of the Sun). Rumicucho was strategically
located to allow communication by smoke signals with the ceremonial
center of Cochasqui, 9 miles to the east, and with Quito's
El Panecillo and the Palace of Atahualpa, 17 miles
to the south. Before returning to Quito, go to the equator,
where you can stand with one foot in the southern hemisphere
and the other in the northern hemisphere. Don't be fooled by
the Equatorial Monument, which isn't in the true position.
As an alternative, you may choose
an afternoon excursion to the Central Bank Museum.
This afternoon, a lunch of traditional Ecuadorian cuisine by chef Juan José Loaiza at Café Tianguez. To complete your insight into the country's archaeology,
history and cultures; investigate Ecuador's ancient past in the
pre-Inca, Inca and colonial galleries of the Central Bank Museum.
The Incas believed that gold nuggets were the tears of the sun,
and one of the galleries, the Golden Court, dazzles the
visitor with the gold masks and figurines they fashioned to worship
This evening, return to El Panecillo for
a panorama of the beautifully illuminated colonial quarter. Though
not of colonial vintage, the neo-Gothic La Basílica
is the place to see bizarre and fascinating gargoyles in the
form of giant tortoises, iguanas, anteaters, monkeys, pumas,
condors and other Ecuadorian fauna. Admire the night view of
the Spanish monuments along Calle de las Siete Cruces,
on the way to La Plaza de la Independencia,
where you will board a horse-drawn carriage for a romantic ride
through the narrow streets of Old Quito. Arrive at Theatrum to savor vanguard Mediterranean cuisine by chef Julio Jose Avendaño Ostolaza. Afterward, return to your hotel.
Overnight in the Casa Gangotena.
We seem to be brought somewhat near
to that great fact
-- that mystery of mysteries --
the first appearance of new beings on this
The natural history of these islands
is eminently curious, and well deserves attention. Most of the
organic productions are aboriginal creations, found nowhere else;
there is even a difference between the inhabitants of the different
islands; yet all show a marked relationship with those of America,
though separated from that continent by an open space of ocean,
between 500 and 600 miles in width. The archipelago is a little
world within itself, or rather a satellite attached to America,
whence it has derived a few stray colonists, and has received
the general character of its indigenous productions. Considering
the small size of the islands, we feel the more astonished at
the number of their aboriginal beings, and at their confined
range. Seeing every height crowned with its crater, and the boundaries
of most of the lava-streams still distinct, we are led to believe
that within a period geologically recent the unbroken ocean was
here spread out. Hence, both in space and time, we seem to be
brought somewhat near to that great fact -- that mystery of mysteries
-- the first appearance of new beings on this earth.
From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful
have been, and are being evolved...
Thus, from the war of nature, from
famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable
of conceiving, namely, the production of higher animals, directly
follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several
powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a
few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone
cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple
a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have
been, and are being evolved.
-- Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural
Day 3: Quito - Galapagos Cruise (San Cristóbal
morning transfer to the airport for the flight to the Galapapagos
Islands. San Cristóbal Island (558 sq. km.) is
the fifth largest in the archipelago and the second most populated.
The town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital of
the Galapagos Islands and its oldest settlement. Fauna include
giant tortoises and red- blue- and masked- boobies. The
native flora include candelabra cactus, palo santo
(the "incense tree") and saltbrush.
The Interpretation Center, donated
by Spain, focuses on the natural and cultural history of the
archipelago, from its volcanic origins to the present. From the
Interpretation Center, a short trail leads to Frigate Bird
Hill, where both magnificent frigates and great
frigates can be seen in the same colony -- ideal for learning
to distinguish between the two species. Below, you will see the
harbor, where your yacht awaits. Before long, you will be crossing
from shore to the Grace, your home for the next week.
Your captain and crew will be waiting to welcome you aboard.
We head northeast along the coast of
San Cristóbal toward our first landing at Playa Ochoa,
a turquoise bay with a white powder beach inhabited by a small
colony of sea lions. A tidal lagoon sitting behind the
beach is frequented by flamingos, Darwin finches
and the endemic San Cristóbal Mockingbird. Playa
Ochoa is a great introduction to the islands -- it offers your
first opportunity to go snorkeling with sea turtles and
the archipelago's playful sea lions. Overnight on the Grace.
(14 sq. km.) is one of the smallest in the archipelago but has
a big reputation as "the bird island". It is
the best place to see a colony of red-footed boobies, the only
one of the three species present in the Galapagos that nests
in trees rather than on the ground. A natural formation called
Prince Philip's Steps is a bird watcher's delight. The
trail leads to a plateau inhabited by red-footed boobies,
masked boobies and frigate birds. At the
end of this trail are thousands of band-rumped storm petrels
at the cliff's edge, where they nest in crevices. Short-eared
owls can sometimes be seen here, hunting the storm petrels
during daylight hours. Other birds include red-billed tropic
birds, Galapagos doves, white-cheeked pintail ducks
and many more. Flora includes lava cactus, a yellow-flowered
muyuyo forest and palo santo.
Genovesa is a collapsed volcano and
ships sail directly into its large breached caldera to anchor
at the foot of the steep crater walls. At Darwin Bay Beach,
you will observe sea lions and, if snorkeling, hammerhead
sharks below you. The island attracts vast numbers of seabirds
that come here to nest and breed: red-footed boobies,
great frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls and storm
petrels. A trail leads from the coral beach past tidal lagoons,
where lava gulls and yellow-crowned night herons
are seen, then along the low shrubs populated by frigates
and boobies, and eventually to a cliff edge where seabirds
soar. Flora includes croton bush, palo santo and
saltbrush. Overnight on the Grace.
Day 5: Galapagos Cruise (Isabela Island & Fernandina
Isabela Island (4,588 sq. km.) is the largest in the archipelago.
It is formed by five young, active volcanoes, of which Volcano
Wolf is the highest point in the Galapagos (1,707 meters,
or 5,599 feet). On a panga ride along the cliffs of Tagus
Cove, look for Galapagos penguins and other sea birds
Fernandina Island (642 sq. km.) is the third largest, youngest
and westernmost in the archipelago. Many eruptions have been
recorded since 1813, making Fernandina the island most likely
to become volcanically active, as it did most recently in May
of 2005. After a dry landing at Espinoza Point, you will
see the largest colony of marine iguanas in the islands,
mingling with Sally light-foot crabs. Other fauna include
Galapagos penguins, Galapagos hawks and sea
lions. There are also nesting sites of flightless cormorants.
These birds have adapted to their environment by perfecting their
ability to hunt for food in the ocean -- their wings, tails and
feet have evolved for swimming. To see these birds is to witness
evolution in action. Among the volcanic formations, observers
will note "pa-hoe-hoe", other unusual lava formations
and recent lava flows. Flora include brachycereus cacti
and mangroves, whose beds extend into the sea, indicating
a healthy and thriving ecosystem. Overnight on the Grace.
On Isabela Island, we'll make
a wet landing at Urbina Bay. The bay, at the foot of the
Alcedo Volcano, was uplifted from the sea in 1954.
Flightless cormorants and pelicans nest along the
coast, and sea turtles and manta rays can be seen
in the bay. The highlands include large and colorful land
iguanas. Other fauna include the largest population of giant
tortoises (about 4,000 but difficult to spot), Galapagos
hawks, magnificent frigate birds, marine iguanas,
hammerhead, white-tipped and Galapagos sharks,
eels, groupers and snappers. Continue to
Punta Vicente Roca for dinghy sightseeing, snorkeling
and scuba diving. Enjoy the high cliffs with tuff-stone, ash
and other lava formations; caves; nesting sites for brown
noddies and blue-footed boobies; and up-close encounters
with sea lions, fur seals and the occasional dolphin.
Overnight on the Grace.
Day 7: Galapagos Cruise (Bartolome Island & Santiago
Bartolome Island (1.2 sq. km.), small and moonlike, has one
of the most famous sights in the archipelago: Pinnacle Rock.
After a dry landing, you will see volcanic formations,
including lava bombs, spatter and cinder cones.
Hike to the summit for an impressive panorama of Sullivan
Bay, including the eroded tuff cone of Pinnacle Rock,
and the surrounding islands. The exotic flora of red mangroves,
tiquilias and cacti all add to the experience.
During the ascent, you will see a large colony of marine iguanas
and lava lizards. Snorkeling will give you a chance to
cool off and see marine fauna, such as Galapagos penguins,
nesting sea turtles (January to March) and white-tipped
(585 sq. km.) is the fourth largest in the archipelago. The eroded
shapes on its black lava shoreline form pools that house a variety
of wildlife and are wonderful for snorkeling. Wet landing on
the dark-sand beach at Puerto Egas. Most of the landscape
is tuff-stone layers and lava flows; the surroundings are prime
for observing Darwin's finches, Galapagos doves,
Galapagos hawks, hunting herons, great blue
herons, lava herons, American oyster catchers
and yellow-crowned night herons. You will enjoy the sight
of marine iguanas grazing upon algae beds at low tide,
sharing space with red Sally light-foot crabs. There is
a colony of fur seals swimming in deep pools of cool water,
called "grottos". This is an excellent place for swimming
and snorkeling in search of octopuses, sea horses,
starfishes and other sea life caught in the small tidal
pools. In the ocean, you can admire moray eels, hammerhead,
white-tip and Galapagos sharks, golden and
white-spotted eagle rays, jacks, wahoos,
tunas, groupers, red-tailed and dog snappers,
sea lions, sea turtles (November to May), black
and yellow-black Galapagos corals, sea fans and
sponges. Overnight on the Grace.
Santa Cruz Island (986 sq. km.) is the second largest in the
archipelago and the most populated. Home to the Charles Darwin
Research Station, it has many trails, beaches and places for
snorkeling. Flora include cacti, saltbrush and
mangroves. Fauna include
several of the 11 remaining subspecies of giant tortoises,
marine iguanas, sharks and various species of waterbirds
and landbirds, such as vermillion flycatchers and Darwin's
finches. Morning excursion to the Santa Cruz Highlands,
where you will observe Los Gemelos, twin volcanic craters,
and Cerro Chato. Chances are good for sighting the famous
giant tortoises that gave these islands their name. Additionally,
you can walk inside the dormant lava tubes.
Afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin
Research Station, staffed with international scientists conducting
biological research and conservation projects. Here, you can
admire giant tortoises, part of the program to breed,
rear and reintroduce different subspecies of tortoises back into
their natural habitat. Surrounding the station is an impressive
giant prickly-pear cactus forest with many land birds.
Afterward, some free time to walk around the town of Puerto Ayora.
Overnight on the Grace.
Española Island (61 sq. km.) is medium in size and the most
southerly. More outlying, it has been able to preserve a high
portion of its endemic fauna. Aside from the sea lion colonies,
this is one of the most important bird-watching sites. It is
unique among the islands in having the only colony of waved
albatrosses, which is also the world's largest colony. It
has a beautiful white beach, the well-known blowhole and one
of the most impressive and varied seabird colonies of the Galapagos.
After a dry landing at Suarez Point,
you will learn more about the lava terrain while crossing the inactive
lava fields. As soon as you step foot on this island,
many species can be spotted close up, such as a large colony
of marine iguanas, lava lizards and the colorful
Sally light-foot crabs. After a short trek, you will encounter
colonies of masked and blue-footed boobies, whose
nesting grounds sometimes overlap the trail. You will also find
giant frigate birds, red-billed tropic birds and
swallow-tailed gulls. After crossing the nesting grounds,
you reach the colony of about 15,000 waved albatrosses
(April to November). Their mating rituals are a highlight of
our visit. Nearing the end of this excursion, you will visit the
famous blowhole, where water shoots into the air to almost 23
meters (75 feet).
Make a wet landing on a white-coral
beach on Gardner Bay, amidst a large colony of sea
lions. This site has no trails, therefore no hiking, but
from this open area you can spot Galapagos hawks, American
oyster catchers, Galapagos doves, hood mockingbirds,
large cactus ground finches, yellow warblers, lava
lizards and marine iguanas. This is a excellent place
for swimming and snorkeling -- the best spot is by the rock outcropping
that looks like a turtle. Often snorkelers see many of the Galapagos'
marine species, such as king angel fish, creole fish,
damsel fish, parrot fish, manta rays, white-tipped
reef sharks and many more. Overnight on the Grace.
Day 10: Galapagos Cruise (San Cristóbal Island)
Two hours from San Cristóbal
Island is the Sleeping Lion, a magnificent rock that
rises 500 feet straight out of the sea. A split in the rock has
formed towering walls on either side of a narrow passage through
which small vessels can navigate. Continuing to San Cristóbal
for a dry landing at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, we'll have
time to walk around town before transferring to the airport for
the flight to Guayaquil and your connection to Lima.
Important note: This itinerary is
subject to change without notice for various reasons, including
but not limited to safety, weather, mechanical breakdown, unforeseen
emergencies, and the discretion of the captain, guide, yacht
operator and Galapagos National Park.
Arrival in the five-century-old colonial
city of Lima, "City of the Kings" and the capital
of Peru. Reception and escorted transfer to your hotel in the
garden district of Miraflores, high above the Pacific Ocean and
home to the city's grand 19th century mansions. dinner of vanguard cuisine by resident chef Diego Muñoz at Mesa 18.
Overnight in the Orient-Express Miraflores Park.
At ancient Peru's most exalted pilgrimage
site, eroded temples speak of the pre-Columbian cultures that worshipped the earth god Pachacamac ("he who gives life to the universe").
When the Incas arrived, they respected the temples and religion
of those people, allowing them to worship that god alongside
the Incas' own god, the Sun. For their deity, the Incas erected
a great stone temple on a cliff above the sea. When the Spaniards
arrived, they destroyed the holiest place in their lust for gold
but found that the only treasure it contained was spiritual.
Nearby Lima, founded by the conquistador
Francisco Pizarro in 1535, came to be the capital of the New
World for a period of three years. It reached its grandest
splendor in the 17th and 18th centuries. The city has two principal
attractions: the colonial quarter, where a visit to La Casa de
Aliaga is to go back in time to the earliest years of the Spanish
conquest, and the archaeological museums,
which display gold, ceramic and textile masterpieces of Peru's
pre-Inca and Inca civilizations.The
country's independence movement was led by Jose de San Martin
of Argentina and Simon Bolivar of Venezuela. San Martin proclaimed
Peruvian independence from Spain on July 28, 1821, marking the
end of the colonial period and the beginning of the republican
morning, walk with your guide in the heart of the city, which
preserves its Spanish colonial heritage of the 16th-18th centuries.
It was Francisco Pizarro, the founder of Lima, who determined
the area for the Plaza de Armas as well as the location
of the structures around it. In the center of the plaza is a
splendid bronze fountain of 1650. Around the plaza and originally
dating back to the city's beginnings in 1535 are the Cathedral,
destroyed in the earthquake of 1746 and rebuilt in 1758; the Archbishop's Palace, rebuilt in 1924; and the Presidential
Palace, rebuilt in 1937. Surviving intact is La Casa de
Aliaga. Built in 1535 by Don Jeronimo de Aliaga, a
member of Pizarro's conquering forces and co-founder of the city,
it is still inhabited by the original family. Your visit to this
antique-filled mansion is to go back in time to the earliest
years of the Spanish conquest of Peru.
On your walking tour, enter the 1674 La Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, the most spectacular of Lima's colonial-era
churches. It features cloisters and interiors of Spanish tiles;
Moorish-style, carved-wood ceilings; a fine museum of religious
art; a 17th century library of twenty-thousand books, many dating
from the first years of the city's founding; and catacombs begun
in 1546. View the exterior of the 1599 La Iglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo, Lima's oldest
convent, and enter the 1758 La Catedral for a short visit. In contrast to the religious structures, the 1735 Torre
Tagle Palace, with its gorgeous baroque stone doorway and
carved-wood balconies, is the city's best surviving example of
secular colonial architecture.
Lunch of traditional Peruvian cuisine
at the Café del Museo,
located in the gardens of the Museo Larco and directed by Peru's most prestigious chef, Gastón Acurio. Founded in 1926,
the Museo Larco exhibits
the world's largest private collection of pre-Columbian art --
a treasure trove of gold, silver, semi-precious stones and textiles.
The collection's predominant strength is in Mochica ceramics,
of which the erotic ones are the most famous. Their notariety
ought not to obscure the fact that the museum presents a complete
view of the cultural development of ancient Peru through a selection
of its 45,000 pieces, housed in a colonial building of the 18th
Return to your hotel to relax. This
evening, dine at Astrid & Gastón.
When the restaurant was founded a decade ago by Gastón
Acurio and Astrid Gutsche, the restaurant's cuisine was largely
French. Both chefs had studied in Paris' Le Cordon Bleu. Gradually,
though, as they rediscovered Peruvian flavors and culinary traditions,
the kitchen began to incorporate local dishes and ingredients,
moving towards the current sophisticated Criollo concept that
characterizes the restaurant today and makes it one of the highest
notes in the Peruvian culinary scene. Overnight in the Orient-Express Miraflores Park.
But the favorite residence of the
Incas was at Yucay, about four leagues distant from the capital.
In this delicious valley, locked up within the friendly arms
of the sierra, which sheltered it from the rude breezes of the
east, and refreshed by gushing fountains and streams of running
water, they built the most beautiful of their palaces. Here,
when wearied with the dust and toil of the city, they loved to
retreat, and solace themselves with the society of their favorite
concubines, wandering amidst groves and airy gardens, that shed
around their soft, intoxicating odors, and lulled the senses
to voluptuous repose. Here, too, they loved to indulge in the
luxury of their baths, replenished by streams of crystal water
which were conducted through subterraneous silver channels into
basins of gold. The spacious gardens were stocked with numerous
varieties of plants and flowers that grew without effort in this
temperate region of the tropics, while parterres of a more extraordinary
kind were planted by their side, glowing with the various forms
of vegetable life skilfully imitated in gold and silver! Among
them the Indian corn, the most beautiful of American grains,
is particularly commemorated, and the curious workmanship is
noticed with which the golden ear was half disclosed amidst the
broad leaves of silver, and the light tassel of the same material
that floated gracefully from its top.
-- William H. Prescott,
The History of the Conquest of Peru, 1847
Breakfast. Early transfer to the airport for the
flight to Cuzco, the capital of the ancient Inca Empire,
called Tawantinsuyo. The name of Cuzco is a Spanish version
of the native word Q'osqo, which means the "Navel of the
Universe". Arrival, reception and drive to the Sacred
Valley of the Incas. On the way, visit Chinchero, the
birthplace of the rainbow, according to Inca legend. The village
is on the altiplano, or highlands, above Cuzco and the Sacred
Valley, at an elevation of 12,340 feet, and rises against a superb
Andean landscape dominated by eternally snow-capped peaks. This
late 15th century agricultural center maintains its Inca traditions,
one being its composition of "ayllus", or groups of
indigenous, related families that work communally in the cultivation
of their fields.
Traditional weaving is preserved, in
part, through the efforts of The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, which has arranged a private demonstration
by one of the finest weavers. Another tradition that traces it
roots back to the Incas is the barter, or "trueque", market. In Chinchero, people still meet to trade good
for goods, just as in ancient times, when money did not exist.
The market, noted for its textiles, takes place in the main square,
at the foot of an Inca wall. Such traditions are not unique to
Chinchero; they still exist throughout the altiplano of Peru.
The pueblo exhibits a peculiar Andean-Hispanic architectural
style, and paintings by the famous native artist Chiwantito hang
in a beautiful colonial church. The canvases are in the Cuzqueña
style, dating back to the early Spanish period.
Afterward, visit the impressive archaeological
site of Moray. These circular terraces were built by the
Incas in natural sinkholes on a limestone plateau overlooking
the Sacred Valley and, according to experts, were used to grow
crops in different microclimates. Nearby, below the colonial
town of Maras, are age-old, terraced salt mines. At a scenic place along the route, we'll set up a table and chairs for a picnic lunch prepared by chef Tatiana Mendoza of Cuzco. If you
like, take a three-quarter-hour walk down rural paths to the Urubamba River, where your driver and car will be waiting. Arrival
at your hotel, the gracious Rio Sagrado, on the banks of the Urubamba, the Inca's sacred river.
At a nearby hacienda, an honored shaman will conduct an ancient ceremony still observed by the indigenous
people of Peru. To perform this ritual, the shaman, Hubert Lazarte, gathers such traditional items as coca leaves and wine for a simple offering. Each participant selects three coca leaves and chews them while making wishes for health, well-being and luck, then adds the leaves to the tribute, which includes medicinal and aromatic plants. The shaman prays in the Inca language of Quechua, asking Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) and the Apus (mountain spirits) to grant the wishes as he burns the offering on an altar before burying it in the earth. After this memorable experience, you will return to your hotel. For dinner, executive chef Federico Ziegler presents a delicious fusion of Urubamba’s best kept culinary secrets, Peruvian traditional zest and international delicacies. Dinner and overnight in the Orient-Express Rio Sagrado.
Breakfast. Drive through along the Urubamba River to the colonial town of
Pisaq, where a popular handicraft fair take place under the main
square's century-old tree, with wares displayed on vividly patterned
and colored textiles. On Sundays, the traditional mass is held
in Quechua, the Inca language, at the local church, which is
attended by the village leaders from the surrounding communities.
They wear their typical costumes and carry their traditional
scepter of authority, or vara, that gives origin to their
name of Varayoc.
High on a mountain above, tower the imposing
remains of an ancient settlement. The Pisaq ruins take
up the entire mountain and are made up of different neighborhoods,
or squares, the main one being Intihuatana, which is admired
for the architectural skill of its constructions. Its central
feature is a monumental solar calendar on a promontory from which
there are spectacular outlooks. At the same time, the pre-Hispanic
cemetery is of great interest, as it is the largest found in
this part of the continent, containing thousands of tombs, some
of them looted. Pisaq also is famous for the colossal terraces
that circle the mountains and the fabulous watchtowers, which
were used as observation points as well as for control and military
A lunch of nouvelle Andean cuisine by chef Ricardo Behar at 3 Keros. El Huacatay and 3 Keros fight for the title
of the best restaurant in the Sacred Valley. The two restaurants
greatly elevate the gastronomic offering of the valley.
Continue to the Ollantaytambo archeological site, a gigantic agricultural, administrative,
social, religious and military center in the era of Tawantinsuyo.
According to legend, the fortress belonged to a powerful lord, Ollantay, who fell in love with Princess Cusi Coillor, daughter of Inca Pachakuteq. It later served Manco Inca after his defeat
by the Spaniards at Saqsaywaman.The architectural
style of its streets and squares reflects Inca town planning,
with enormous polyhedral stones forming the walls and trapezoidal
doorways of temples and palaces set along rectilinear and narrow
streets, which have been inhabited continuously since Inca times.
Above the town, a mountain rises which
houses innumerable Inca constructions, such as magnificently-crafted
temples and terraces. One striking construction is the partially-destroyed
main temple, believed to be the Temple of the Sun, whose carved-stone
facade is made up of six perfectly-sculpted, red monoliths. The
mountainside on which this enormous fortress is built is strategic:
it dominates three valleys that come together at this point.
Across one valley, tremendous blocks of stone lie abandoned along
the route from the quarry site to Ollantaytambo, their uncompleted
journey marking the arrival of the "Conquistadores". Return to your hotel. Dinner and overnight in the Orient-Express Rio Sagrado.
transfer to the station to meet your guide and board the train
for a descent into the Urubamba Valley to reach Machu Picchu (Old Peak), the "Lost City of the Incas". The Orient-Express
Vistadome's recently renovated carriages have panoramic windows,
offering enhanced photographic opportunities. Refreshments will
be served. Upon arrival, your guide will accompany you to the
Orient-Express Sanctuary Lodge, near the top of Machu
Picchu and next to the ruins.
A sumptuous buffet luncheon of regional cuisine by chef Paulino Huaman at the Sanctuary Lodge's Tinkuy Restaurant. On your private tour this afternoon, you will
ponder the many theories about this mysterious citadel, including
the latest -- that it was Inca Pachacuti's winter palace.
The word "ruins" is misleading, as the site is actually
in a remarkable state of preservation -- only the wood and palm-frond
roofs have decomposed over the centuries. Surprisingly, the Spaniards
never discovered the sanctuary, and it remained unknown to the
outside world until Hiram Bingham's expedition of 1911. Its discovery
captured the world's imagination, and its allure has never diminished.
Walk back to the hotel. From its terrace
and nearby lookouts, you will be able to watch the sunset, southern
constellations and sunrise over the citadel, from high above
the canyon of the Urubamaba River. A gourmet dinner of Peruvian-Mediterranean cuisine by chef Huaman at the Sanctuary Lodge's Tampu Restaurant. Overnight in the Orient-Express Sanctuary Lodge.
The temples and royal chambers, throughout
the Empire, were lined with gold, and, in preparing the stone,
they left niches and empty spaces in which to put all sorts of
human or animal figures: birds, or wild beasts, such as tigers,
bears, lions, wolves, dogs and wildcats, deer, guanacos, vicuñas
and even domestic ewes, all of which were made of gold and silver...
Imitation of nature was so consummate
that they even reproduced the leaves and little plants that grow
on walls; they also scattered here and there, gold or silver
lizards, butterflies, mice and snakes, which were so well made
and so cunningly placed, that one had the impression of seeing
them run about in all directions...
In all the royal mansions there were
gardens and orchards given over to the Inca's moments of relaxation.
Here were planted the finest trees and the most beautiful flowers
and sweet-smelling herbs in the kingdom, while quantities of
others were reproduced in gold and silver, at every stage of
their growth, from the sprout that hardly shows above the earth,
to the full-blown plant, in complete maturity. There were also
fields of corn with silver stalks and gold ears, on which the
leaves, grains, and even the corn silk were shown.
In addition to all this, there were
all kinds of gold and silver animals in these gardens, such as
rabbits, mice, lizards, snakes, butterflies, foxes, and wildcats...
Then there were birds set in the trees, as though they were about
to sing, and others bent over the flowers, breathing in their
nectar. There were roe deer and deer, lions and tigers, all the
animals in creation, in fact, each placed just where it should
-- Garcilaso de la Vega,
The Royal Commentaries of the Inca, 1609
Day 15: Machu Picchu - Orient-Express Vistadome - Cuzco
Breakfast. Entrance into the ruins. Day
of exploration with your guide or on your own. Start by ascending
Machu Picchu for sunrise, which due to the high, surrounding
mountains does not occur until around 7:00 am. It takes an hour
to walk up to Intipunku (Sun Gate),
the end of the Inca Trail and the ancient entrance into the sanctuary.
Its majestic panorama of the citadel, seen from on high, is the
first view the Incas had upon arriving from Cuzco. Other memorable hikes lead to the top
Picchu (a strenuous,
two-hour round-trip), the Temple of the Moon(a moderate, four-hour round-trip), the Inca
easy, one-hour round-trip) and Machu Picchu's multitude of hidden
nooks and crannies.
A lunch by chef Huaman at the Tampu Restaurant. Descend from Machu Picchu at mid-afternoon and walk to the station
for the train departure. Evening arrival at the Poroy Station,
on the outskirts of Cuzco, reception and transfer to your hotel.
A dinner of inspired dishes influenced by French cuisine and created with local produce of the highest quality by executive chef Federico Ziegler at the Restaurante El Tupay. Overnight in the Orient-Express Monasterio.
Breakfast. This morning, see all four species of South American camelid -- the llama, alpaca, vicuña and guanaco -- at Awana Kancha, a
living museum of Andean culture. From Awana Kancha, drive to the nearby Inca monuments of Tambomachay, Puka Pukara, Qenqo and Saqsaywaman. Tambomachay is believed to have
been dedicated to the worship of water and its aqueducts are
fed by springs all year long. The site includes a liturgical
fountain and three terraces with structures made from polyhedral
blocks of stone, joined without mortar. The setting is bucolic
and the spring water is cold, pure and delicious. Drink
from the sacred fountain and make your devotions to one of life's essential elements.
Puka Pukara (red
fortress) is located at a strategic point along the road to Antisuyo
(the jungle quarter of the Inca Empire). It served as a checkpoint
and was a military and administrative center. The Inca's retinue
received food and lodging here when he stopped at Tambomachay,
on his way to the Sacred Valley.
Qenqo is a vast, rocky hilltop carved into staircases, holes and channels, probably built to store the chicha (fermented maize beer) used in Inca rituals. The site features a semi-circular patio studded with several large niches surrounding a stone figure embedded within a chamber, rather like an idol inside its own shrine.
To truly appreciate fortress of Saqsaywaman, one must realize that
what may now be seen is only the base of a colossal construction
of a series of three successively-higher, defensive structures
made from enormous blocks of stone, joined together with great
Inside this triple enclosure, three
tall towers were erected on a large narrow ground. The largest
of them was called Mayac Marca, which means the round tower.
It was built over a clear, abundant spring, fed by underground
canalizations, concerning which nobody knew from where or how
they came... This round tower contained rooms with gold and silver
paneled walls, on which animals, birds, and plants figured in
relief, as though in a tapestry. It was here that the king lived
when he came for a rest in the fortress...
The two other towers, which were
round, not square, in shape, were called Paucar Marca and Sacllac
Marca, and were used to house soldiers of the garrison, which
was composed only of Incas by privilege, ordinary men, even combatants,
not being allowed inside this fortress, which was the house of
the Sun, both its arsenal and its temple...
An underground network of passages,
which was as vast as the towers themselves, connected them with
one another. This was composed of a quantity of streets and alleyways
which ran in every direction, and so many doors, all of them
identical, that the most experienced men dared not venture into
this labyrinth without a guide, consisting of a long thread tied
to the first door, which unwound as they advanced....
It would have been in the interest
of the Spaniards to maintain this fortress, and even to repair
it at their own expense, because, quite alone, it gave proof
of the grandeur of their victory and would have served as a witness
to it for all eternity. And yet, not only did they not keep it
up, but they hastened its ruin, demolishing its hewn stones,
in order to construct their own Cuzco homes at less cost.
They made their portals and thresholds
with the big flat stones that formed the ceilings, and to make
their stairways, they did not hesitate to tear down entire walls,
provided they were based on a few stones that could be used for
And so, that is how the Spaniards
destroyed the Cuzco fortress.
-- Garcilaso de la Vega,
The Royal Commentaries of the Inca, 1609
Saqsaywaman was considered a fortress
by the Spaniards, since it was a place of defense, weapons and
war. It was considered the House of the Sun by the Incas because,
at the same time, it was a place of worship and sacrifice. Notably,
it was the site of the most important ceremony of the empire,
Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun. Its name means "Satiated
Hawk" and it was built in approximately 77 years (1431-1508),
during the reign of Inca Yupanqui and Wayna Qhapaj. It began
being destroyed from 1537 until 1561, becoming the base for the
building of the Spanish Cathedral, churches and homes. "Neither
the bridge of Segovia, nor the buildings built by Hercules or
the Romans, are so worthy of being admired, as this" says
the Spanish chronicler and soldier Pedro Sancho de la Hoz, who
saw Inca Cuzco intact, along with Pizarro in 1533.
A lunch of traditional Andean cuisine by chef Rodolfo Rolando in the patio of Pacha Papa. Just
across the street, visit an artisan's workshop and the Church of San Blas (built in 1562). It houses an imposing pulpit from the late 17th
century that, for many, is the finest example of a carved wooden
structure in the world. Chiseled from a single cedar trunk, the
pulpit features angels, demons, saints, virgins and beasts. A
native artist, Juan Thomas Tuirutupa, is believed to have been
the sculptor. The main altarpiece is Baroque and exceptionally
the pride of the capital, and the wonder
of the empire, was at Cuzco,
where, under the munificence of successive
it had become so enriched, that it received
the name of Coricancha,
or "the Place of Gold."
H. Prescott, The History of the Conquest of Peru, 1847
Afternoon walking tour in the imperial
city of the Incas to their ancient monuments, including the Stone of Twelve Angles, Huacaypata (Leisure
Square -- now called the Plaza de Armas and dominated by the Spanish colonial Cathedral). the fine Inca walls of Inti Q'ijllo,
the Ajlla Wasi (the House of the Virgins of the Sun) and Qorikancha (the Temple of the Sun). All of these constructions date from the era of 1440
A.D., when Inca Pachakuteq, desiring a capital befitting his
great empire, pulled down the adobe city and rebuilt Cuzco in
The Inca palaces were in the form of
"canchas", or enclosures, formed by massive stone walls
with living quarters, temples and courtyards within. Throughout
Cuzco, you will see the Inca walls, built upon by the Spaniards
in colonial style. The Cathedral was built over the Inca
Wiracocha's palace. The Palacio Arzobispal, or Archbishop's Palace,
was erected in the 16th century in an Arabesque style on the
walls of Hatunrumiyoc, the palace of Inca Sinchi Roca, which
contains the Stone of Twelve Angles. The Church of Santo Domingo
(begun in 1534), was built over Qorikancha, the most important
religious structure in the Inca Empire. When the earthquake of
1950 collapsed much of the superimposed colonial architecture,
it revealed the ancient Temples of the Sun, the Moon, the Stars,
Thunder and Lightning, and the Rainbow.
The interior of the temple was the
most worthy of admiration. It was literally a mine of gold. On
the western wall was emblazoned a representation of the deity,
consisting of a human countenance, looking forth from amidst
innumerable rays of light, which emanated from it in every direction,
in the same manner as the sun is often personified with us. The
figure was engraved on a massive plate of gold of enormous dimensions,
thickly powdered with emeralds and precious stones. It was so
situated in front of the great eastern portal, that the rays
of the morning sun fell directly upon it at its rising, lighting
up the whole apartment with an effulgence that seemed more than
natural, and which was reflected back from the golden ornaments
with which the walls and ceiling were everywhere incrusted. Gold,
in the figurative language of the people, was "the tears
wept by the sun," and every part of the interior of the
temple glowed with burnished plates and studs of the precious
metal. The cornices, which surrounded the walls of the sanctuary,
were of the same costly material; and a broad belt or frieze
of gold, let into the stonework, encompassed the whole exterior
of the edifice.
Adjoining the principal structure
were several chapels of smaller dimensions. One of them was consecrated
to the Moon, the deity held next in reverence, as the mother
of the Incas. Her effigy was delineated in the same manner as
that of the Sun, on a vast plate that nearly covered one side
of the apartment. But this plate, as well as all the decorations
of the building, was of silver, as suited to the pale, silvery
light of the beautiful planet. There were three other chapels,
one of which was dedicated to the host of Stars, who formed the
bright court of the Sister of the Sun; another was consecrated
to his dread ministers of vengeance, the Thunder and the Lightning;
and a third, to the Rainbow, whose many-colored arch spanned
the walls of the edifice with hues almost as radiant as its own...
All the plate, the ornaments, the
utensils of every description, appropriated to the uses of religion,
were of gold or silver. Twelve immense vases of the latter metal
stood on the floor of the great saloon, filled with grain of
the Indian corn; the censers for the perfumes, the ewers which
held the water for sacrifice, the pipes which conducted it through
subterraneous channels into the buildings, the reservoirs that
received it, even the agricultural implements used in the gardens
of the temple, were all of the same rich materials. The gardens,
like those described, belonging to the royal palaces, sparkled
with flowers of gold and silver, and various imitations of the
vegetable kingdom. Animals, also, were to be found there --among
which the llama, with its golden fleece, was most conspicuous--
executed in the same style, and with a degree of skill, which,
in this instance, probably, did not surpass the excellence of
-- William H. Prescott,
The History of the Conquest of Peru, 1847
In the time of the Incas, this garden...
was entirely made of gold and silver; and there were similar
gardens about all the royal mansions. Here could be seen all
sorts of plants, flowers, trees, animals, both small and large,
wild and tame, tiny, crawling creatures such as snakes, lizards,
and snails, as well as butterflies and birds of every size; each
one of these marvels being placed at the spot that best suited
the nature of what it represented.
There were a tall corn stalk and
another stalk from the grain they call quinoa, as well as other
vegetables and fruit trees, the fruits of which were all very
faithfully reproduced in gold and silver. There were also, in
the house of the Sun, as well as in that of the king, piles of
wool made of gold and silver, and large statues of men, women,
and children made of the same materials, in addition to storerooms
and recipients for storing the grain they called pirua, all of
which, together, tended to lend greater splendor and majesty
to the house of their god the Sun.
All of these valuable works were
made by the goldsmiths attached to the Temple, from the tribute
of gold and silver that arrived every year from all the provinces
of the Empire, and which was so great that the most modest utensils
used in the temple, such as pots and pans, or pitchers, were
also made of precious metals. For this reason, the temple and
its service quarters were called Coricancha, which means the
place of gold.
-- Garcilaso de la Vega,
The Royal Commentaries of the Inca, 1609
your hotel.This evening, at the Museo de Arte Precolombino,
you will see 450 pre-Inca and Inca masterpieces dating from 1250
B.C. to 1532 A.D. Afterward, dinner of nouvelle Andean
cuisine by Manuel Cordova at the Map Café,
in the museum's courtyard. Overnight in the Orient-Express Monasterio.
to the airport for the flight to Lima. Arrival, reception
and transfer to your hotel. Morning drive to Pachacamac, the
most reknowned pre-Inca and Inca pilgrimage site of the coast,
dating back to 200 AD. It was originally devoted to the worship
of the earth god Pachacamac: "he who sustains or gives life
to the universe". Upon returning to Lima, lunch at the extraordinary Huaca
Pucllana restaurant, located on
the grounds of a 1,500-year-old adobe pyramid built by the original inhabitants of Lima. The cuisine is a reinterpretation
of the Peruvian Criollo tradition by chef Marilú Madueño
(Le Cordon Bleu Paris).
Afterward, continue to Barranco for a visit to one of the country's finest
crafts shops: Mari Solari's Las Pallas. Once Lima's beach
resort, this district is now the home of Peru's most prestigious
artists and writers. Among its colorful, colonial mansions is
the Palacio de Osma, now the Museo de Arte Colonial Pedro de Osma, which focuses on colonial Peruvian art from
the country's cultural centers of the day. La Puente de los
Suspiros (The Bridge of Sighs) is a romantic outlook over
the ocean in the loveliest part of the quarter, said to inspire
artists. Next to it is La Iglesia de La Ermita (The Church
of the Hermitage), built on the spot where legend has it that
a glowing image of Christ appeared to guide sailors home from a tempest at sea. After arrival back at the hotel, have a farewell drink at the bar, order from room service or just rest before the transfer to the airport for your Overnight Flight Home. Relax in the VIP Club while awaiting departure and enjoy a buffet of light fare and beverages, including Peru's famous pisco sour. Day Room in the Orient-Express Miraflores Park.