Welcome to Peru! After flying into Cusco, our transfer takes us to our boutique hotel just blocks from the Plaza des Armas. This afternoon we explore by foot the Koricancha Sun Temple and the Inca Museum. Enjoy a light dinner on your own this evening. All meals are on your own today.
This morning we?re off to visit some very well preserved archaeological sites of the Incan civilization. Our guide shares with us what archaeologists believe were the practices and traditions of the Inca. With this information, we glean a better understanding of their lives. After our visit to Sacsayhuaman, we hike down to Pachapapa for lunch. This afternoon, we visit the chocolate museum for the "Beans to Bar" workshop where we learn to prepare chocolate beverages and more. We end the day with dinner at one of Cusco?s premier restaurants. Overnight at El Retablo B&B. All meals included.
Today we explore the local towns of Pisac and Viacha and hike among ancient Inca ruins. We later return to our lodging where we are treated to a pachamanca meal, cooked under hot stones. All meals included.
- Easy active option (Level 2): Visit the town and market of Pisac. Short drive to the village of Viacha. Hike down to Pisac ruins before driving to the lodge. Late afternoon free. Walking 1?2.5 hours.
- Moderate option (Level 3): Begin the hike from the village of Amaru, high in the Andes, to Challwaccasa Pass (14,170') where we're rewarded with great views of impressive mountains. Hike downhill to the community of Viacha where we enjoy a well-deserved picnic lunch. Later, our hike leads us to a bird's-eye view of the stunning archaeological site of Pisac. Drive to lodge. Hiking: 6 hours, 5.1 miles. Elevation gain/loss: +1,170'/-2,740'.
Today's journey begins with an hour's transfer to Ancasmarca, where we explore an old Inca site that features a variety of ancient food storages, dwellings and farming areas. After today?s activities, we end at Huacawasi Lodge. All meals included.
- Easy active option (Level 2): Drive to archaeological site of Ancasmarca and tour the ruins. Continue driving to Choquecancha, a remote community boasting an impressive Inca tambo and colonial church. This is a unique opportunity to meet traditional weavers renowned for the quality of their textiles. Lunch in town. Arrive at lodge. Walking 1?2 hours.
- Moderate option (Level 3?4): Begin hike at Cuncani. Hike for about two hours to Cruzccasa Pass (13,740'). From the pass, hike a one-hour descent to picnic lunch spot. Another hour's hike brings us to Huacawasi. Hiking: 4 hours. 3.4 miles. Elevation gain/loss: +1,437'/-1,240'.
This morning prepare your luggage before heading out on your excursion. Tonight?s lodging is in Ollantaytambo. All meals included.
- Easy active option (Level 2): Scenic drive to the community of Huilloc (1 hour). Continue on to the sheepherding community of Marcacocha and participate in a traditional Andean ceremony to honor the apus for the good health of their flock. Lunch at the archeological site of Pumamarka and then easy hike to Ollantaytambo town, visiting the amazing agricultural terraces along the valley. Walking: 2 hours.
- Vigorous option (Level 4): Depart from Huacahuasi lodge and hike over a mountain pass at an elevation of 14,646'. End in Patacancha Village. Our vehicle will meet us here to take us to the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. Hiking: 7.5 hours, 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: +2,250'/-2,211'.
After breakfast, our day begins with a short hike to the Pinkuylluna Ruins?structures that the Inca once used for storage. At the site, we have magnificent views of the town of Ollantaytambo. We have a guided tour of the fortress, an excellent example of Inca architecture and the perfect preview for our next destination, Machu Picchu. Midday, we embark on a scenic train ride along the Urubamba River Valley to Aguas Calientes, a vibrant town below the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. All meals included.
Very early this morning, we head up to Machu Picchu for a full day of exploration. Several options await us: a hike to the dramatic viewpoint of Intipunku (the Sun's Gateway), an easy walk to an ancient Inca drawbridge, a more vigorous hike to the Temple of the Moon, or an ascent up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (based on permit availability). As a group, we tour the grounds with our guide who shares theories about the structures and their importance to the Inca. Our lodging is at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel for a second night. All meals included.Hiking: Optional Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain hike may be unguided and is steep with some exposure. Permits are limited. An alternative optional hike may be available if Huayna Picchu permits cannot be obtained.
Bags are packed and ready before heading down to breakfast this morning. We catch the morning train back to Cusco and arrive in time for late afternoon flights home. Breakfast included.