Pic­ture-Per­fect Peru

Wedding Bells (East) - - DESTINATIONS - Jen O’Brien

Imag­ine a city nes­tled in the heart of the An­des with lla­mas and lux­ury ho­tels in equal mea­sure, a place where women swathed in elab­o­rate tra­di­tional garb cradling baby goats perch out­side high­end bou­tiques, and where some of the world’s finest ex­am­ples of Span­ish colo­nial ar­chi­tec­ture sit in con­trast to rugged moun­tain peaks. This is Cusco, Peru.

Once a back­packer haven used as a pre­cur­sory stop be­fore the trek to Machu Pic­chu, this vi­brant Peruvian city, the for­mer crown jewel of the Inca Em­pire, is re-es­tab­lish­ing it­self as a world-class des­ti­na­tion.

The JW Mar­riott El Con­vento Cusco might be the most per­fect ex­am­ple of the new face of Cusco, where his­tory meets moder­nity. Built atop In­can ruins and housed in a metic­u­lously re­stored 16th-cen­tury con­vent, the prop­erty serves as both a five-star ho­tel and a mu­seum. En­ter through the 500-year-old arched en­trance­way and check in, while mar­vel­ling at an orb of 70,000 Swarovski crys­tals, de­signed in homage to the In­can sun god, shim­mer­ing be­hind the front desk. Rooms fea­ture myr­iad com­forts of home, plus 24-hour room ser­vice and oxy­gen-en­riched air to help com­bat the ef­fects of the re­gion’s high al­ti­tude.

Once you’ve ac­cli­ma­tized in the lap of lux­ury, you’ll find no short­age of ac­tiv­i­ties to fill your days in Cusco, from ex­plor­ing the nar­row streets of this UNESCO World Her­itage site to em­bark­ing on day trips through the Sa­cred Val­ley to Machu Pic­chu, and the equally bucket-list-wor­thy Maras salt mines. Evenings are best savoured back in Cusco, pisco sour in hand, at one of the city’s many top-shelf restau­rants.

Its prox­im­ity to Machu Pic­chu may be the sell­ing point that ini­tially draws you to Cusco, but you’ll quickly re­al­ize there’s much to mar­vel at in this city of con­trasts—this is one hon­ey­moon des­ti­na­tion that prom­ises to leave you en­chanted.–

Learn about unique Cusco hon­ey­moon ex­pe­ri­ences at wed­ding­bells.ca/cusco.

clock­wise from top: Enjoy stun­ning views of the An­des; Sur­round yourself in his­tory in the JW Mar­riott’s court­yard; Sip coca tea on the pa­tio to start your day; Luxe rooms fea­ture tra­di­tional tex­tiles; Machu Pic­chu is a must; De­light in din­ner at Pirqa...

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