by Jessi Minneci | July 22, 2019

When it comes to "once in a lifetime" rewards, diving with sharks -- without a cage -- in a crystalline lagoon or hot-air ballooning over herds of zebra and gazelle certainly qualify. But relatively few incentive programs can truly sport that label. Genuine bucket-list-worthy trips pique the imagination and inspire participants like little else.


By any measure, the seven dream spots profiled on the following pages provide the ultimate reward. Fiji, with its out-this-world adventures; Peru's mystical and majestic Machu Picchu; Porto, one of Europe's prized wine regions; cutting-edge Tokyo, host of the 2020 Olympic Summer Games; Queensland, Australia's stunning beaches and incomparable Great Barrier Reef; Northern Ireland, setting for Game of Thrones and top-notch golf courses; and Tanzania, the seat of the world's largest wildlife migration.
 
 
MACHU PICCHU, PERU:
Ancient, authentic, amazing

 
Stepping into the 15th-century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru is one of the most extraordinary experiences groups can have in South America. Combined with Peru's rich culture, incredible history and luxury rail excursions, the prospects of a trip here is a powerful motivator in anyone's book.
 
Top experiences: Most incentive itineraries begin and end in the city of Cusco and its Sacred Valley. Among the highlights are visits with the Urubamba communities -- the Pumahuanca, Yucay and Mara tribes, which share their ancient yet enduring way of life and culture. Winners also can enjoy a dinner inside the cloisters of a colonial convent or an al fresco group picnic in the Sacred Valley.
 
From Cusco, groups can ride in style to Machu Picchu aboard the opulent Belmond Hiram Bingham for a 3.5-mile scenic rail journey, followed by the climb up to the storied Inca citadel via an ages-old stone trail. Arrange a private guided tour of the various temples, squares and royal tombs in the sacred heights that once served as a center of worship, an astronomic observatory and the private retreat of the Inca ruler Pachacutec. Another rail experience is in store aboard the Andean Explorer, the continent's first 16-carriage luxury sleeper train, which transports participants back to Cusco through Peru's lofty plains.
 
Accommodations: Incentive properties in Cusco include the 203-room Palacio del Inka, 153-room JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, 126-room Belmond Hotel Monasterio and 55-room Belmond Palacio Nazarenas. In the Sacred Valley is the 128-room Tambo del Inka Resort & Spa. Near Machu Picchu are the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, an ecolodge with 83 whitewashed adobe casitas in the region's cloud forest, and the 31-room Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel on Machu Picchu's grounds.
 
CONTACT:Peru Tourism Bureau

Read about six more bucket-list incentive destinations at NorthstarMeetingsGroup.com