$1229 AUD Single supplement
- Day 1 - Treasures of the Sacred Valley
- Day 2 - Exploring Pisaq
- Day 3 - Lares Region
- Day 4 - Community Encounter
- Day 5 - Expedition to Ollantaytambo
- Day 6 - Discovering Ollantaytambo
- Day 7 - Machu Picchu
- 6 nights accommodation
- 6 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners
- Transfers as per the itienrary
- English speaking guide
- Daily a-la-carte activities (except for those that specific an additional cost)
- Entrance fees and permits
- Tips for staff at the lodges and staff on the field are included (except guide tips, it is suggested US$ 5 – 10 per day)
- Scrubba Wash Bag
- International and domestic flights not mentioned above
- Travel and medical insurance
- All services, meals other than those indicated above
- Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program
- All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc
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Guardians of Andean Knowledge
A unique journey to Machu Picchu, combining adventure with cultural exploration. Study the rich cultural tapestry of the Sacred Valley of the Incas while marveling at its magnificent natural beauty. Be led you along seldom-travelled highland trails surrounded by exquisite snow-capped peaks, past roving herds of llamas and alpacas, around impossibly hued turquoise lakes, and through graceful waterfalls.
Explore fascinating archaeological sites, thought-provoking agricultural and commercial Andean cooperatives, and bustling towns and markets showcasing the flavours of the region as well as the wares of its skilled artisans. Most importantly, you will travel to hidden communities unchanged for centuries for a unique up-close visit with the local people.
Our expert guides tailor the experience with an offer of à la carte activities and daily cultural encounters. At each day’s sunset, settle into your deluxe mountain lodge run in partnership with local communities, to prepare for a new day of multi-activity adventure and exploration.
Day 1 - Treasures of the Sacred Valley
Welcome to Peru! This morning you will depart at 7am from El Mercado Tunqui Hotel in Cusco. Begin your adventure with a journey from the urban setting of Cusco into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, full of lush green fields and surrounded by striking mountain peaks. Explore the archeological site of Chinchero, where colonial buildings rest atop Inca foundations. Go back in time and study the natural Inca salt mines of Maras and the astonishing circular terraces of Moray, believed to be an Inca laboratory dedicated to the study of foreign plant species. If you prefer you may choose on this day to embark on a full-day, challenging yet memorable hike amongst impressive views of the Ausangate mountain range to the Inca complex of Huchuyqosqo, thought to be the Palace of Viracocha (the eight Inca ruler), where it is said he would enjoy the ‘reworks of the gods’ during thunderstorms. (L,D)
Activity Menu (morning to noon): Cultural activity: Guided tour of Moray Inca Agricultural site and the Salt Mines of Maras.
Hike: From Taucca to Huchuyqosqo / Duration 6 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,550 ?- 4,436 m. 2 nights Lamay Lodge (el. 9,705’ – 2,958m.), located in the town of Lamay, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Day 2 - Exploring Pisaq
The town square is often the centre of activity throughout this region, but so too is the town market, and none is more alive than the famous market at Pisaq. A morning visit to check out its unique array of products will inspire you with a small taste of the rich culture yet to be explored on your journey. Travellers seeking inspiration in nature can opt for an invigorating morning hike surrounded by amazing views of the Andes Mountains that guard this magnificent valley. Later, enjoy exclusive access to the isolated community of Viacha, where you will learn about its artisanal potato farming practices and enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca” meal, cooked under hot stones. After lunch you will visit the archaeological complex at Pisaq, an afternoon excursion that offers a unique opportunity to explore the complex free of crowds, with the sun setting behind the peaks. (B,L,D)
Activity Menu (morning to noon):
Cultural activity: Visit the town of Pisaq and local market, and experience an encounter with members of the local community of Viacha.
– Bike excursion: Bike ride along the Urubamba river from Lamay to Pisaq Town / Duration 2 – 2.5 hrs. / Easy to moderate
– Hike: From the local community of Amaru to the local community of Viacha / Duration 2.5-3 hrs. / Moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,200ft – 4,328m.
Group lunch in the local community of Viacha. In the afternoon, the whole group visits the Pisaq archaeological site together, before heading back to the lodge.
Day 3 - Lares Region
Now that you have gotten a glimpse into this rich Andean tapestry, today you will have the opportunity to go even deeper with an exploration into the heart of the Lares Valley. A scenic drive into the mountains along the celebrated “Inca Weaver’s Trail” allows you to visit the unique and uncrowded archaeological site of Ancasmarca to the hub-town of Lares. After lunch, you can choose between visiting the traditional and ancient weavers’ village of Choquecancha, or opt for hiking amidst turquoise blue lakes and towering peaks to the remote village of Huacahuasi, where you will spend the night. This lodge, which is run in joint venture with the local community and aims to protect the cultural heritage and the environment, provides an interesting insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people in both the culture and commerce of modern-day Cusco. (B,L,D)
Activity Menu (afternoon, after the group visit):
Cultural activity: Visit the town of Choquecancha, meet with the local weavers and visit the old church.
– Hike: From Quelquena to Huacahuasi / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Easy to moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 12,595 ?- 3,839 m.
– Hike: From Cuncani to Huacahuasi / Duration 3.5-4 hrs. / Moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 13,838 ?- 4,219m. 2 nights at Huacahuasi Lodge (el. 12,585’ – 3,835m), located in the local community of Huacahuasi, in the Lares Region.
Day 4 - Community Encounter
If you’re in the mood for a cultural experience today, you can walk through the village of Huacahuasi and learn more about its heritage and daily activities, with a possible visit to a farmer’s home. The expert weavers and farmers will share their stories, each depicted in artful textiles full of traditional Incan symbols and imagery. Then take a Peruvian cooking class and test your skills during lunch with the rest of the group. For those who want to go deeper into these remote mountains, challenge yourself with an all-day hike from the community of Quiswarani onto the “Trail of 1,000 Lakes”. Although a strenuous hike, you will be amazed and awakened by the simple but majestic beauty of this eden, as you enjoy the company of herds of alpacas and llamas grazing on hillsides, and make your way over challenging mountain passes. (B,L,D)
Activity Menu (all day):
Cultural activity: Explore the village, meet local weavers and participate in a cooking class.
– Hike: Visit to the community of Huacahuasi and walk to nearby waterfall / Duration 1-2 hrs. / Easy.
– Hike: From Quiswarani to Quelquena / Duration 6-7 hrs. / Challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,505 ?-4,421m.
Day 5 - Expedition to Ollantaytambo
Spend some time in the morning learning more about the heritage and day-to-day activities of the Huacahuasi community. Then, you can choose to embark on a spectacular hike through varied terrain and over a high pass, to the adjacent valley leading to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, the oldest living city in Latin America. If you prefer to see more of the Sacred Valley, you can drive back for a visit to an ethnographic museum featuring the history of Peru’s rich civilizations of the past or choose to explore the valley on mountain bike. Afterwards, enjoy lunch in the Urubamba River countryside on your way to Ollantaytambo, where you can spend time meandering through its charming maze-like streets. (B,L,D)
Activity Menu (all day):
Cultural activity: Drive back to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, visit a local farmer’s market and a Pre-Inca and Inca cultural museum. Enjoy lunch at a countryside restaurant and, in the afternoon, explore the town of Ollantaytambo.
– Optional bike excursion: Drive back and explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas, on mountain bike (2 hrs.). Enjoy lunch at a countryside restaurant and in the afternoon, explore the town of Ollantaytambo.
– Hike: From Huacahuasi to Patacancha / Duration 7 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,646 ft – 4,464m. Route lunch at Ipsaycocha Lake. Afternoon arrival in Ollantaytambo.
Note: Guests that opt for the cultural activity and guests that opt for the optional bike excursion will meet for lunch in Urubamba at a countryside restaurant and visit the town of Ollantaytambo together in the afternoon. Guests that opt for the optional hike will meet up with the rest of the group late in the afternoon at the hotel in Ollantaytambo.
Overnight at hotel in Ollantaytambo town (el. 9,284’ – 2,830m.), located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Day 6 - Discovering Ollantaytambo
From its beginnings as the royal estate of Inca-Emperor Pachacutec, to a stronghold against the Spanish conquistadors for Manco Inca Yupanqui, the temple at Ollantaytambo was regarded by the Incas as one of their most important ceremonial centers. On this day, an optional and short early morning hike to Inca storage structures high above Ollantaytambo will give you a magnificent view of the town as well as of the main archaeological site across the valley. Afterwards, as your guide leads you through a morning tour of the temple and explains its strategic architectural planning, you will also get a sense of its mystical history…a perfect introduction to the wonder of Machu Picchu. Around noon you will embark on a scenic train ride along the famous Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu, whose charm lies in a history that began as a small railway stop and evolved into a bustling town still bisected by the train tracks. (B,L,D)
Activity Menu (early morning, before the group activity):
– Hike: Lower Pinkuylluna Mountain above Ollantaytambo / Duration 1-1.5 hrs. / Moderate.
– Hike: Higher Pinkuylluna Mountain above Ollantaytambo / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Moderate to challenging.
Overnight at hotel in Aguas Calientes town (el. 6,232ft -1,900m.), located in the base town of Machu Picchu.
Day 7 - Machu Picchu
At dawn, you begin your journey to Machu Picchu with a short and rollicking uphill bus ride. As you enter the “Sanctuary” (as locals refer to it), the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light. Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Take a moment to quietly sit and listen to the wind…or to meditate and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Your imagination will soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins. Some may even choose a hike to Huayna Picchu, the iconic towering mountain often seen in photographs, for dramatic views that stretch from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon Jungle. Either way, you will be touched by a feeling of peace and rejuvenation which will linger even as you journey back to the city lights, and hustle and bustle of Cusco at around 6pm. (B,L)
Activity Menu (late morning, after the group activity):
Cultural activity: free time to explore the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu (el. 7,872 ? – 2,400m.)
– Hike: Guided hike of Huayna Picchu Mountain / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 8924 ft – 2,720m