Stay 2 nights at the Machu Picchu ruins in the renowned Sanctuary Lodge. Contemplate the towering Andean peaks (Incan gods) at sunrise over Machu Picchu, dine at a private hacienda overlooking the Sacred Valley, shop Pisac's colorful market, and be carried away by native music on this gay Machu Picchu & Peru tour. Conclude at the Hotel Monasterio, an amazing former monastery.
Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Hanns Ebensten Travel has been leading gay tours to Machu Picchu and other sites throughout Peru for over thirty-five years. From the excitement of Lima to the beauty of the Sacred Valley and the charm of Cusco, our intimate tour of Peru is filled with wonder.
Our tour starts in Lima, with a rare look into a private art collection and a tour of South America's oldest colonial home (the family still lives there). We spend two days exploring the Sacred Valley, with its lovely terraced fields and beautiful river views.
Then we head to Machu Picchu, a wonder of human strength and spirit whose mystery still haunts the stones of this great city. Our rare two-night stay is at the renowned Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel located adjacent to the ruins. We conclude our tour with two nights in Cusco at the Hotel Monasterio (a former monastery, complete with beautiful courtyard), voted as the top hotel in South America by readers of CondeNast Traveler Magazine. This itinerary allows plenty of time for sightseeing and leisure and offers a taste of the best Peru has to offer.
• Tour Lima and see stunning architecture and unusual museums.
• Enjoy a scenic ride over the Pampa de Anta to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
• Ride the train through the beautiful Urubamba Gorge.
• Explore Machu Picchu, the most dramatically situated archeological site in the world.
• Hike, rest and relax for two nights at the Orient Express Sanctuary Lodge, an exquisite site overlooking the beautiful ruins.
• Discover Cusco, the ancient Inca capital, high in the Andes.
If you are interested in a thrilling trek, consider Hiking the Incan Trails with our gay group!
Days 1 - 2 -
There are no activities scheduled on the arrival day, so you can schedule your flights to arrive in the evening of Day 1 or during the night. Whenever you arrive, we offer a transfer to our hotel, where rooms have been reserved starting from the evening of Day 1. On Day 2, we enjoy a full day tour of Lima including the Colonial section, the cathedral, San Francisco Church, and the presidential palace. We will also visit a private art collection and a Museum showcasing Peru's heritage. This evening we enjoy dinner at the Huaca Pucllana Restaurant overlooking a pre-Incan site.
Days 3 - 4 -
In the morning we transfer from our Lima hotel to the airport for the scenic one-hour flight over the Andes to Cusco.
Upon arrival at the Cusco Airport, we will transfer to our private air-conditioned van for a ride into the Sacred Valley. We drive over the Pampa de Anta Pass, then descend a steep mountain road into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, one of the loveliest valleys on earth. Look for llamas, women dressed in colorful clothing and stunning mountain vistas as we make our way through the valley. During our two days in the Sacred Valley, we will visit the Incan ruins at Ollantaytambo. We spend the next two nights in our unique hotel that captures the essence of the Valley. A day in this beautiful and fertile valley provides us with a restful interlude between our busy days of sightseeing. A short morning drive takes us to Pisac, with its extensive Inca terraces, the remains of a royal palace and a colorful market. After lunch at a private hacienda, the afternoon is at leisure.
Days 5 - 6 -
Today, we drive to Ollanta station where we board the train for Machu Picchu. Riding along the Urubamba River is an exciting and visually stunning experience. We pass through narrow gorges and see lovely terraced fields verdant with vegetation high up in the mountains. Our home for two nights is the fine Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, managed by Orient-Express. Lunch will be served upon arrival.
Just beyond the terrace of our hotel is Machu Picchu, a complete Inca city high on a mountain saddle, sometimes hidden in a forest of clouds. Its steeply terraced slopes fall away to the river, which rushes through a great hairpin bend 1,200 feet below. The Spaniards supposedly never found it, and for centuries it remained unknown, untouched and overgrown with vegetation. In 1911, Dr. Hiram Bingham rediscovered it and brought it to the world's attention. Since then, Machu Picchu has attracted travelers, explorers and archeologists. Much has been written and revealed about this great city, but much is still debated and unknown.
Over the next two days, we will have plenty of time to contemplate the mystery of this fascinating site as we walk among the ancient ruins of staircases, temples and a sundial. Nothing is more delightful than stretching out on a blanket alongside the Inca walls amidst the wildflowers, lying in the sun, reading, writing up travel notes, or daydreaming.
Dawn is an incredible sight at Machu Picchu. As the clouds part and the sun appears over the tops of the snow-capped Andean peaks, the light begins to color the ancient stones. Shadows and light transform the ancient city. If you wish you can be awakened early to hike to the top of Huayna Picchu, a challenging climb of about an hour and a half (not recommended when wet), and return to the hotel for a well-earned breakfast.
During our time here, we can return to the Inca city at our leisure, making additional hikes to the Sun Gate or to the curious Inca drawbridge, or simply relaxing in this unique place.
Days 7 - 8 -
Our last morning at the Sanctuary Lodge is free for one final personal exploration of Machu Picchu. After lunch (on your own) we take the bus from our hotel down to the railroad station in the valley, and return to Cusco by train and bus, a journey of approximately four hours.
For our stay in Cusco, our accommodations are at the stylish Hotel Monasterio, a restored 16th century monastery now managed by Orient-Express. The traditional Spanish-style rooms are beautifully appointed and offer oxygen enrichment for those who feel affected by the altitude. The courtyard, dining area and main hall offer a quiet charm unknown in most hotel experiences. Dinner is on your own this evening, with a wealth of fascinating restaurants to choose from in the nearby main square.
On our morning tour of Cusco we see the great Spanish colonial churches and palaces built upon massive Inca stone foundations. The cathedral is atop the Inca Wiracocha's palace. Santo Domingo Church stands upon the huge semi-circular walls of Coricancha, the Inca temple dedicated to the sun. To saunter along the cobbled streets of Cusco is to see archaeology come to life. Lunch is on your own, then dinner is at a very special restaurant inside a museum.
Day 9 -
In the middle of the day we transfer from our hotel to the airport for the one-hour flight to Lima. Travelers leaving in the late evening can make arrangements for a day room at a hotel by Lima Airport, sightseeing or last-minute shopping. Individual extensions to an Amazon eco-lodge or to a private island in Lake Titicaca may also be available following our tour. Please contact us if you would like to extend your Peruvian holiday.