For the traveller, necessary stops include the narrow Sacred Valley of the Incas (elevation 8,200 feet), just outside of Cuzco. Here, the Sol y Luna Lodge boasts a stable of Paso horses for meandering alongside the Urubamba River.
Then there is Macchu Pichu, the sacred site chosen by the great Inca ruler Pachacuti in 1450. Built at 8000 feet to be close to the Gods, it was ruined by the Spaniards in the 16th century—not to be rediscovered until 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham.
Cuzco itself—the Inca capital—is a cobblestone city of 350,000 whose countless churches, museums, galleries, and shops are perfect for exploring on two feet. Inkaterra La Casona and the Orient-Express Hotel Monasterio offer ideal accommodations in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Arequipa, a city known for its volcanic white rock churches, monasteries, and mansions, is also the gateway to 62-mile-long Colca Canyon, which is twice the depth of the Grand Canyon.
Finally, there’s the option to explore Peru’s Amazon jungle aboard the small ship Aqua. It’s worth finding the time…