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adventure travel trip to Peru
The "lost" city of Machu Picchu.
  • Privately on Request
  • Duration 7 days
    Group Size 4-12
    Land Cost $2,850 Details
    Single Supplement $975 Details
    Lodging 2 stars, 3 stars
    Grade I-II
    Best Time

    Sacred Valley Week

    See the ruins of Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Urubamba Valley in just a week

    Day 1      Arrive Lima

    Arrive in the Peruvian capital of Lima, a modern city with charming colonial pockets situated on the coastal desert. You will be met at the airport and proceed to your nearby airport hotel for an overnight before continuing on to Cusco and the Sacred Valley.

    Lodging: Ramada Inn Lima Airport

    Day 2      Cusco/Pisac Ruins & Market

    Return to the airport in the morning, allowing plenty of time for check-in for the flight to Cusco. Your guide will meet you upon arrival at the Cusco airport, and you'll head straight out of the city to the famous market town of Pisac. On the way stop at the Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary, a one-of-a-kind rehabilitation center started by a family of biologists. In recent months species at the sanctuary have included condors, pumas, llamas, alpacas, and macaws, all rescued from poachers or festivals. Then continue to the Awana Kancha Camelid Farm, where you will have the opportunity to see all four members of the South American Camelid family. You will also learn about the amazing variety within the alpaca and the different styles of wool they produce.

    Our next stop is the picturesque Andean village of Pisac. The village is famous for its market and superb artisan stalls. You can wander and shop or, for the more energetic, climb to the extensive hilltop Inca ruins just outside town. You can follow a circular path along a well defined Inca trail past royal buildings, guard posts, terraces, tunnels and irrigation channels. Depending on time, you may also visit a traditional bakery to try freshly baked bread and learn about the culinary guinea pig practice of Peru.

    Continue on to Ollantaytambo where you will check into your hotel for the next two nights.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Hotel Pakaritampu

    Pisac Ruins
    Day 3      Chinchero, Salt Pans & Ollantaytambo Ruins

    Today begins with a visit to the Chinchero church and ruins. Chinchero is a village famous for its colorful Sunday market and its incredible weavings, and you will also visit a local cooperative and learn how the locals weave their intricate designs. Then drive across the fertile plain of Chinchero, rich with grain, potatoes and beans. See the labor-intensive local farming techniques along the way.

    From Chinchero head further into the Sacred Valley to visit the sites of Maras and Moray. Since Incan times, local people have collected salt from the terraces of Maras. This site is not on the main tourist trail, but the natural formation is spectacular. Wind your way through the salt pans and take an easy walk down to the floor of the Urubamba River Valley. Also see evidence of Incan crop experimentation at the circular agricultural terrace at Moray before returning to Ollantaytambo (aka, Ollanta).

    Ollanta is remembered as one of the few places where the Spanish lost major battles during their conquest of the continent. Climb 200 steps straight up a stone stairway to the top of the huge Incan fortress, where you will be rewarded with great views. The unfinished temple at the top was still being built when the Spanish eventually succeeded in conquering the area. This site offers an excellent example of Incan city planning: each cancha (block) had one entrance to the central courtyard, from which individual homes were entered. By the end of today you will have a much more sophisticated understanding of the structure of Incan communities.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Hotel Pakaritampu

    Learn about local textiles
    Day 4      Pumamarca & Machu Picchu

    Set out this morning on a scenic hike through the Sacred Valley that will show you lesser-known Inca ruins, bring you into traditional local communities, and also beging your acclimatization to higher altitudes.

    First drive to the small traditional hamlet of Huilloc. This traditional community is known for its ongoing use of Quechua, the language of the Incas. Huilloc is also famous as a weaving centre, and we will be able to see traditional ponchos being made.

    Your hike will start with a short, steep climb up to Puma Marca, a remarkably well preserved and extensive Inca ruin with spectacular views down the valley towards Ollantaytambo. Then follow an Inca trail along the steeply terraced valley back down towards Ollantaytambo, stopping en route for a picnic lunch.

    After lunch, take the 1 ½-hour Vistadome train ride from Ollanta to Machu Picchu, the “lost citadel” of the Incas. (Baggage limit on PeruRail is 11 lbs.)  Be sure to read about Machu Picchu in advance to fully appreciate your guide's expertise. Stumbled upon accidentally by archaeologists in 1911, it remains a mysterious site. There are no Spanish records, Incan legends, or oral histories which explain its exact purpose. Elegant ornamental stonework hints at the possibility of Machu Picchu's importance as a ceremonial center. Stay overnight in Machu Picchu Town (formerly called Aguas Calientes). The elevation at Machu Picchu is 7,900 feet.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging: El Mapi or similar

    Machu Picchu ruins
    Day 5      Machu Picchu

    This morning you’ll take a short, winding bus ride up to the Machu Picchu ruins, and your guide will lead you through the vast ancient site.  You’ll also have the option to climb the steep trail up Huayna Picchu for a great work-out and a true birds-eye view! Late in the day, return to Ollantaytambo by train and then continue to Cusco by land transfer.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Lodging: Casa Andina Private Collection

    Further explore Machu Picchu ruins
    Day 6      Cusco Ruins & the Jakima Project

    Today is the last chance on your adventure to explore Inca ruins, so make the most of it. Your guide will lead you around four extraordinary sites near Cusco: Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay. Cusco was the head of the Incan Empire and was built in the shape of a puma. The city itself is the puma’s body, and the enormous Sacsayhuaman ruins represent the head and teeth. The largest and most impressive of Sacsayhuaman’s original rocks are still in place, though only about 20% of the entire site remains today. Qenko, meaning zig-zag, consists of a large limestone rock covered with carvings with mysterious caves and alters below, and its zig-zag walls and channels are thought to have been used for ritual sacrifices. Puca Pucara, or Red Fort, is a small defensive outpost that appears red at twilight. Tambo Machay, another smaller site, is known locally as “El Baño del Inca,” or the Incan bath, as it has beautiful ceremonial stone fountains and bathing pools.

    In the afternoon, visit the Jakima Project of Chincheros at the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cuzco (CTTC). The Center was formed in response to concerns that valuable 2000-year-old textile traditions are in danger of being lost in our generation. The Jakima Project was created to engage as many children as possible from communities around Cusco to learn the basic skills of weaving and the designs native to their respective communities. [12,000’-12,350’]

    Evening free for exploring Cusco on your own.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging: Casa Andina Private Collection

    Enjoy the colors, sounds, and scents of the market during your free evening.
    Day 7      Cusco/Lima/Onward

    You will be transferred to the airport at the appropriate time for your flight to Lima this morning. Enjoy a tour of the capital city. On your tour, you will drive to the Plaza de Armas, the newly refurbished main square, where you will appreciate the majestic colonial architecture. You can see the Government Palace where Francisco Pizarro took up residence in 1538 and the cathedral/museum that houses Pizarro's remains. You may also visit the Archbishop's Palace with its beautiful balconies, the catacombs and library of the San Francisco Church and Monastery, and Plaza San Marin. Finally, you might also opt to visit the Gold Museum or the Larco Herrera Museum, which has 45,000 pieces, mainly pottery, that were excavated by Peruvian archaeologist Rafael Larco Hoyle. You will be transferred to the airport for a late flight to the U.S.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Say goodbye to this historic and colorful country

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