The Big Getaway
From the beaches of Puglia to Peru’s towering verdant peaks, four romantic and restorative destinations.
The Outdoor Adventurers
Explore Machu Picchu and the Amazon, and consume Pisco Sours galore.
When to go: May through November
Hours from NYC: Eight
Peru is a country with multiple personalities. There is the sacred valley of the Incas, where rustic colonial villages dot the countryside; the vibrant city of Lima; and the mind-blowing wonders of Machu Picchu. There’s such variation, in fact, that a week in Peru feels like several vacations in one.
Where to Stay:
The Inkaterra hotels promote sustainable tourism and “barefoot luxury,” which means someone will turn down your bed and bring you a sugary Inca Kola at 2 a.m., but you may sometimes be without electricity. Start in Cuzco, the onetime Incan capital, at Inkaterra La Casona (from $720), a sixteenth-century mansion that’s now a cozy boutique hotel. Inkaterra Machu Picchu (from $608) has log cabin–style cottages and an orchid garden with 400 native species.
What to Eat:
Potatoes abound in Peruvian cuisine. The best preparations are causa (cold, mashed, and served with avocado and langoustines) and papas a la Huancaína (doused in a spicy cheese sauce). Other native dishes to try are aji de gallina (chicken in yellow chile sauce), and, if you can find it, cuy (guinea pig). In Cuzco, go to Pacha Papa or Tunupa for traditional fare. In Lima, try La Huaca Pucllana, which overlooks archaeological ruins.
To Do, by Day:
Give your body a day to adjust to the altitude. In Cuzco, hit the Catedral, which boasts Baroque altars and richly colored oil paintings, including a distinctly Peruvian take on The Last Supper. (The apostles ate cuy—who knew?) Other go-to spots include Awana Kancha, where you can get up-close with alpacas, and the agricultural terraces in Moray. But the highlight of any trip to Peru is undoubtedly Machu Picchu. Take a two-hour train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. Wake up at dawn to catch the first bus so you can watch the sun rise over the ruins—then you’ll be poised to sign up early to make the grueling hour-long hike up nearby Huayna Picchu mountain, which offers unparalleled views.
To Do, by Night:
In Cuzco, grab a Pisco Sour at Fallen Angel, a lounge where bathtubs filled with fish double as tables, or have a Cusqueño (the national beer) at Los Perros. Should you wake with a hangover, try chewing on coca leaves (vendors sell them on the street for the equivalent of $2).
Flights leave often from Cuzco to Puerto Maldonado. Hop a boat to Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica (from $1,084 for two nights; ask for the tree house). Take a canoe around Lake Sandoval to seek out howler monkeys and anacondas or sign up for a treetop walk to see blue-headed parrots and three-toed sloths.
How to Get There:
LAN airlines has a daily direct flight to Lima, plus connections to Cuzco.
From the Winter 2009 New York Wedding Guide