Day 1: Arrival into Lima
Arrive into Lima, pick up by your private transfer and head into Lima city. Stay overnight at the lovely, Second Home Hotel, the home of a local artist located in the heart of the Bohemian district of Barranco.
Overnight at Second Home
Day 2: Lima to Cusco
Take a morning flight from Lima to Cusco. Once in Cusco, your guide and transport will be waiting for you. Have lunch at a local restaurant and then head the beautiful rural region of the Sacred Valley. The Valley is located 1600 feet lower than Cusco City, allowing for a gentler acclimatization process to the high elevation of the Andes.
Your guide and transportation will be available in case you would like to continue exploring the area in the afternoon.
Overnight El Albergue
Day 3: Local Andean Community & Pisac
In the heights of the Sacred Valley, there are humble and hospitable people who maintain traditions that have survived for thousands of years. They live in community and know how to read the signs of nature. Many of the women still create intricate and skilled textiles, weaving in impressive iconography, unique flora and fauna, and all from hand-spun, hand dyed wool and alpaca fibers. Typical cuisine is made from diverse roots, tubers, grains products, and vegetables – many of which share a common past linked to pre-Hispanic cultures.
This morning, your guide and transport take you to visit an authentic Quechua Andean community. After a warm welcome, the community will invite you to participate in their daily activities. Weaving and agriculture are two of the most important skills performed here since pre-Columbian times, so you will have the chance to walk through the fields with your hosts, learning not only about the native products, but also about the different plants used to dye their textiles. Then you will learn about the entire dying and weaving process, having the chance to try your hand at it yourself. Have a picnic lunch afterward.
During the afternoon, we take the route to Pisac so you can visit the market and archeological site. Depending on your interests, your guide will lead you through the narrow paths of the Inca ruins of Pisac, an impressive archaeological site where you will find large terraces, ancient cemeteries, and a number of buildings formerly used as residences for high-ranked members of the Inca nobility. Together with the archaeological site, the traditional market is one of Pisac’s attractions; there you find the time to walk slowly from one stand to the other, admiring the typical art-crafts. The market is known for silver too.
Overnight at El Albergue
Day 4: Pick from two, options — Via Ferrata or Horse Riding
Today you will keep exploring the Sacred Valley. You can choose between the following options:
Option 1: Via Ferrata (shared service: joining a group)
The Ferrata route, located in the heart of the Sacred Valley, just 5 minutes from Ollantaytambo, is a 300 meter (980 ft) cable and iron ladder network nested on a 1,000 foott cliff overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas. These cables and ladders have been carefully placed to ensure a safe climb, even for beginners. Enjoy the best view of the Valley like a true pro!
The Ferrata Route is the name used to describe the high paths founded in the Alps, using fixed cables and iron ladders to climb difficult sections (Another name is Klettersteig). Originally, Ferrata routes were built in the Italian Dolomites for the movement of troops during World War I.
Each climber is tied to a steel cable which runs throughout the entire route. This helps maintain the physical difficulty of climbing while providing access to a very high, and extreme vertical sections of the mountain, which usually would only be accessible to the most experienced rock climbers. Box Lunch.
Overnight at El Albergue
Optional: Overnight at the Via Ferrata Skylodge Adventure Suites, where you can sleep within a completely transparent hanging bedroom, which allows you to appreciate the impressive view of the Sacred Valley by night surrounded by the Milky Way.
Option 2: Horse Riding
Your guide and transport will take you to Maras Village. After a short explanation to get to know your “Peruano de Paso” and a demonstration on how to ride this noble and graceful horse, we will depart from Maras Village. We will ride through spectacular places, where few people come through and where nature puts on its best to impress you. Thanks to the horses, you will be able to closely observe the local farming activities, stopping to admire the views along the way.
We will visit the archeological site of Moray, known as the “Inca center of agricultural experiments” and the Salinas de Maras with their astonishing salt wells that reveal ancient secrets. We will also admire indescribable landscapes of raising sacred mountains. Among the peaks, you will be able to distinguish the 682 meters high “Waqaq Willka” (“Crying sacred mountain”), known as La Verónica, as well as the guardian of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, “El Chicón”, 5,530 meters above ground. You will also have a panoramic sight of the “Vilcanota” mountain chain.
Overnight El Albergue
Day 5: Trek Begins, Ollantaytambo – Silque – Ancashcocha
We pick you up early from your hotel in Ollantaytambo and transfer you to Chillca where we meet our crew and begin our hike up towards the Silque Canyon. We will pack our animals and begin to ascend by way of a narrow canyon, following a stream that will dwindle as you gain altitude. Observe tall granite walls on the sides of the canyon, where you can spot a large variety of orchids and bromeliads, filling the environment with magnificent colors when in bloom. We continue by crossing the stream several times until we reach higher lands and find our camp, set up near the village and lake of Ancashcocha. A warm cup of tea will be waiting for you at the dining tent and later, a delicious dinner before settling in for the night. Beautiful views of la Veronica mountain can be seen from here.
Day 6: Trek Day, Ancashcocha – Paucarcancha
After a hearty breakfast, we are ready to begin a challenging day of trekking. We begin ascending towards the high Huayllanay Pass (4,550 meters). At first, we take a steep zigzag trail up to where we find an original Inca trail that will take us towards the high pass. Not far from here, we can spot the beautiful waterfall that feeds into the Ancashcocha Lake. The wild Huallata, or Andean Goose and Black Ibis are often spotted in this area. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in the midst of beautiful mountain scenery. As we begin descending from the pass, we will pass by the ruins of Incarajay, as well small settlements that mark the way to the village of Q’esqa.
Further along we follow a long descending trail into greener vegetation while views of the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu appear in the distance. Later in the afternoon, we’ll reach our campsite next to the beautiful Inca remains of Paucarcancha: A unique Inca settlement restored to original condition that likely served as a Tambo or rest point, and a control point en route to the main trail to Machu Picchu.
Day 7: Trek Day, Paucarcancha – Apu Veronica Camp Km. 82
After breakfast, we begin to descend on a well-defined trail down a narrow canyon until we reach the Hatunchaca bridge near the village of Huayllabamba where we meet the Classic Inca Trail and the numerous hikers that will be going the opposite direction from us. We continue to hike down a wide trail until we reach a lookout point to observe the Llactapata archaeological complex, which has been recently restored and excavated. From here on a clear day, you can see both Huayna Picchu and the Machu Picchu complex in the distance. Further along on the descent, we’ll pass more small settlements en route to the Urubamba Valley. When we reach the valley, we will continue upriver to our private campsite at Km. 82. Located right in front of the spectacular Veronica Glacier, a warm cup of tea and cookies will be waiting for you at the dining room. Here, we camp the night in the comfort of roomy tents, with hot showers and a wood fired sauna.
Day 8: End of Trek, Piscacucho – Machu Picchu
In the morning, we will board the train to Machu Picchu Pueblo. The train to Aguas Calientes lasting about 1.5 hours, with the landscape changing dramatically as you descend along the Urubamba river. Upon your arrival at the station, your will take you directly to the Machu Picchu citadel. The Incas worshiped nature, and built many of their structures in harmony with the dramatic landscape. Your guide will slowly lead you through the citadel, explaining the different theories about the buildings and temples. During the day you can keep exploring the area, perhaps walk to Inti Punku – The Sun Gate, or you can visit the Inca Bridge.
In the evening, take the bus back to Machu Picchu Pueblo (also called Aguas Calientes).
Overnight at Hotel El Mapi Hotel by Inkaterra
Day 9: Depart Machu Picchu for Ollantaytambo and back to Cusco
Take a relaxed morning in town, and perhaps revisit Machu Picchu to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain! Early in the afternoon, board the train back to Ollantaytambo, where your private transport is waiting to transfer you to Cusco. On the way, visit the nearby Incan site of Sacsayhuaman.
Overnight at Casa San Blas Boutique Hotel
Day 10: Cusco City
After breakfast, your guide will share some of the most interesting historical sites in Cusco with you. Highlights include the Santo Domingo Convent, once the Sacred temple of the Sun, also known as the Coricancha. This was the very heart of the Inca Empire, and the inner walls here were once covered in heavy sheets of gold to reflect the sun’s rays. Wander through San Pedro Market, where you can sample fascinating fruits and vegetables from all over the Sacred Valley. Or, explore the lovely San Blas neighborhood, filled with artist studios and excellent eateries where you can sample some of Peru’s best flavors.
Overnight at Casa San Blas Boutique Hotel
Day 11: Depart Cusco – Lima – International Flight
Today after a hearty breakfast, transfer to the airport to board your flight back to Lima. Upon arrival to Lima, take your international flight home!