Sacred Valley Week

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

overview

This trip offers a marvelous, focused introduction to Peru's Andean Quechua culture of today and the Inca civilization of the past. Your in-depth exploration will include the city of Cusco and the nearby ruins, the surrounding villages and markets of the Urubamba Valley, and the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu. Gain a broad view of the vanished cultures of the high Andes through the insights of your native guide.

We are happy to customize this trip just for you, with your particular interests or travel dates in mind. Extend your stay with an optional four-day excursion to the Peruvian Amazon or a visit with the indigenous community on Lake Titicaca.

itinerary

itinerary

  • 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
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  • Day 2: Cusco/Pisac Ruins & Market
    Pisac Ruins

    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
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  • Day 3: Chinchero, Salt Pans & Ollantaytambo Ruins
    Learn about local textiles

    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
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  • Day 4: Pumamarca & Machu Picchu
    Machu Picchu ruins

    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
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  • Day 5: Machu Picchu
    Further explore Machu Picchu ruins

    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
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  • Day 6: Cusco Ruins & the Jakima Project
    Enjoy the colors, sounds, and scents of the market during your free evening.

    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
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  • Day 7: Cusco/Lima/Onward
    Say goodbye to this historic and colorful country

    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
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Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Aug 8-14, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$2,850
domestic flights not included; 2 person cost: $3295 per person 2015: $2950 2 person cost:$3395
Single Supplement:
$975
hotel upgrades may be available
Need to Know

Need to Know

SPECIAL NOTE: Portions of this trip are divided into day tours, and depending on your departure date, you may or may not be in a group consisting of different people each day. Please ask for further clarification if needed.

The Amazon 4-day Adventure Extension
Fly from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, and spend three nights at a rustic eco-lodge on the Tambopata River. Return to Lima and connect to international flights home.

Other Extensions include:
Lake Titicaca, Nazca Lines & Paracas, Colca Canyon Adventure, Isla Palomino excursion from Lima, and more.

For more details on these extensions please request our Peru extension trip notes or click the Extension links on this page.

Duration:
7 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
2
cozy lodges to comfortable, delightful hotels
Group Size:
4-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
2
cozy lodges to comfortable, delightful hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Nazca Lines & Paracas

Duration: 3 days

In this coastal desert region you can find traces of ancient cultures, study the mysterious designs of the  Nazca Lines, and watch the sea lions as they frolic in the Paracas National Park.

Colca Canyon Adventure

Duration: 3 days

This short excursion to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon takes you to one of the world’s deepest gorges and the “Cruz del Condor” where you can scan the skies for a glimpse of the majestic birds.

Lake Titicaca

Duration: 3 days

Extend your trip to the famed Lake Titicaca, located in the Andes between Peru and Bolivia. It is the highest navigable lake in the world, and South America’s largest freshwater lake. The trip takes you to the islands of Uros and Taquile.

Lima

Duration: 1 days

If you have time in Lima, enjoy a tour of the city, or venture out a little further for a wildlife boat trip around Isla Palomino.

Peru Amazon Adventure

Duration: 4 days

Tambopata is one of the world's most diverse wildernesses and also one of the best preserved. This 4-day adventure is a unique rainforest experience and a perfect compliment to any trip in Peru.

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