A truly immersive journey through the ancient history, living culture and magnificent landscape of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Expert guides will tailor your individual experience with a choice of adventure activities and cultural encounters. Stay overnight in unique mountain lodges to prepare for the next day.
Trips booked from Novermeber 1st to December 14th, 2018 can save up to $800 AUD per person based in shared accomodations.
After an early breakfast, depart Cuzco for the Urubamba Valley, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You will enjoy a very scenic drive through Pisac and Qoya (9,514’/2,900m), with its charming colonial church. After about a 1.5-hour drive (the last section on a dirt road), you will reach the Ayar Cancha community where you will start hiking at an elevation of (3,800m). The trail winds uphill for two hours to Challwaccasa Pass (13,943’/4,250m), which grants great views of the peaks of the Vilcanota and Vilcabamba mountain ranges and, in the distance, the giant snow-capped peaks of Ausangate and Salcantay. Head downhill to the community of Viacha (12,795’/3,900m), where you will enjoy a gourmet lunch.
After a well-earned rest, walk through a restored Inca trail that leads to the stunning archaeological site of Pisac 3200m), which dominates the valley below. The lower slopes of the surrounding mountains feature impressive agricultural terraces and irrigation systems dating from Inca times. After exploring the ruins, continue downhill for an hour to the picturesque village of Pisac (9,750’/2,972m), well known for its colourful handicraft market held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Your vehicle will be waiting to take you to the town of Lamay (9,649’/2,941m), where you will overnight at a comfortable lodge. Dinner and overnight at Lamay Lodge.
A great day awaits as you hike one of the most beautiful trails in the Cuzco region! Depart Lamay early in the morning and take a scenic two-hour drive toward Lares, the region north of the Sacred Valley. Leaving the main road, arrive at the quaint village of Quiswarani (3,829m), where you will begin your hike. the trails head westward up a small valley dotted with lakes and herds of grazing alpacas, then narrows into a series of switch backs to Abra Huchuyccasa pass, which you will reach after three hours.
Enjoy the most amazing views of distant mountain ranges and stunning turquoise lakes, whose brilliant hues are the result of bronze metal elements in their icy waters. Descending slightly, continue hiking another hour toward our second pass of the day at Phoñaccasa (4,387m). From here, descend to Qeywaqocha Lake for a leisurely lunch, then end your hike at the village of Qelqena (3,647m). Along the way enjoy spotting native bird species, including Andean Geese, Ducks, and Plovers. Your vehicle meets you at the trailhead for the drive to the famous weavers’ village of Huacawasi (3,800m).
Huacawasi is a famous weavers’ village, where the men still wear traditional colourful ponchos and women’s attire includes wide handmade skirts and decorated hats. Your hike starts right from Huacawasi Lodge, and as you walk through the village you will immersed in scenes of community life, including women working on looms and children heading to school. The wide and easy trail takes you uphill for 2.5 hours to the top of Ipsaycocha Pass (4,442m) where you enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains. As you hike, you will often meet locals traveling from village to village with their goods and herds of animals. Descend gently for about 40 minutes to Lake Ipsaycocha (4,292m) where you may have the chance to see Condors circling effortlessly in the sky while enjoying your lunch.
Continue your descent for 2.5 hours to the village of Patacancha (3,848m) where high quality weavings are also produced. Your vehicle will meet you here to take you to the Inca town of Ollantaytambo (2,792m) in the Sacred Valley.
After your three days of hiking, enjoy a more relaxing day by having a leisurely breakfast and visiting Ollantaytambo, which boasts an impressive archaeological site and a well-preserved Inca town structure. This was the estate of Emperor Pachacutec who conquered the region, building the town and the ceremonial centre. Ollantaytambo dates from the late 15th century and has some of the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in South America. After lunch at the hotel, catch your train for the 1.5-hour ride to Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu town.
After a very early breakfast at the hotel, walk to the bus station for the 30-minute ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Your trip leader will give an introductory two-hour guided tour of the evocative ruins, after which you will have the option of climbing the sheer Inca staircase of Huayna Picchu, a steep and vertically quite challenging hike that affords encompassing views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountain ranges (about a two-hour hike). Afterwards, meet up with your guide again and return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch.
The afternoon train ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes about 1.5 hours, and then a private vehicle drives you back to Cuzco (an additional 1.5 hours). Upon arrival in Cuzco, you will be transferred to your selected hotel.