The Sacred Valley & Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu offers the perfect combination of adventure travel and cultural immersion. Your experience on our 5 or 7 day lodge-to-lodge journey will alternate between an exploration of the astounding natural scenery of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and an intimate look at Andean culture, both in busy towns and in the most-remote of mountain hamlets.
Daily expeditions will lead you along seldom-traveled highland trails surrounded by exquisite snow-capped peaks, past roving herds of llamas and alpacas, around impossibly hued turquoise lakes, and through graceful waterfalls. Your destinations will include fascinating archaeological sites, thought-provoking agricultural and commercial Andean cooperatives, and bustling towns and markets showcasing the flavors of the region as well as the wares of its skilled artisans. Most importantly, you will travel to hidden communities unchanged for centuries for a unique up-close visit with local people.
Expert guides tailor the experience with an offer of à la carte activities and daily cultural encounters. At each day’s sunset, settle into deluxe mountain lodges run in partnership with local communities, to prepare for a new day of multi-activity adventure and exploration.
|Day 1||Exploring Pisaq|
|Day 2||Inca sites and villages|
|Day 3||Among authentic Inca Trails|
|Day 4||Discovering Ollantaytambo|
|Day 5||Machu Picchu The Santuary|
5 Day Itinerary: Essential Treasures of the Incas
Day 1: Sacred Valley Of The Incas | EXPLORING PISAQ
The town square is often the center of activity throughout this region, but so too is the town market, and none is more alive than the famous market at Pisaq. A morning visit to check out its unique array of products will inspire you with a small taste of the rich culture yet to be explored on your journey. Travelers seeking inspiration in nature can opt for an invigorating morning hike surrounded by amazing views of the Andes Mountains that guard this magnificent valley. Later, enjoy exclusive access to the isolated community of Viacha, where you will learn about its artisanal potato farming practices and enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca” meal, cooked under hot stones. After lunch you will visit the archaeological complex at Pisaq, an afternoon excursion that offers a unique opportunity to explore the complex free of crowds, with the sun setting behind the peaks.
Activity Menu (morning to noon):
– Cultural activity: Visit Awanakancha (an Andean camelid exhibition and traditional textile center), the town of Pisaq and local market, and experience an encounter with members of the local community of Viacha.
– Hike: From the local community of Amaru to the local community of Viacha / Duration 2.5-3 hrs. / Moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,200´ – 4,328m. Group Activity: Group lunch at the local community of Viacha. In the afternoon, the whole group visits the Pisaq archeological site together, before heading to the lodge.
Overnight: Lamay Lodge (el. 9,705’- 2,958m.), located in the town of Lamay, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Day 2: Lares Region | INCA SITES AND VILLAGES
Now that you have gotten a glimpse of the rich Andean tapestry, today you will have the opportunity to go even deeper with an exploration into the heart of the Lares Valley. A scenic drive into the mountains, along the celebrated “Inca Weaver’s Trail”, allows you to visit the unique and uncrowded archeological site of Ancasmarca along the hub-town of Lares. After lunch, you can choose between visiting the traditional and ancient weavers’ village of Choquecancha, or opt for hiking amidst turquoise blue lakes and towering peaks to the remote village of Huacahuasi, where we all meet to spend the night. This lodge, which is run in joint venture with the local community and aims to protect the cultural heritage and the environment, provides an interesting insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people in both the culture and commerce of modern-day Cusco.
Group Activity (morning to noon): In the morning, briefly explore the town of Lamay and visit the archeological site of Ancasmarca. Group lunch at the town of Lares.
Activity Menu (afternoon, after the group visit):
– Cultural activity: Visit the town of Choquecancha, meet with local weavers and visit the old church.
– Hike: From Quelquena to Huacahuasi / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Easy to moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 12,595´- 3,839 m.
– Hike: From Cuncani to Huacahuasi / Duration 3.5-4 hrs. / Moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 13,838´- 4,219m.
Overnight: Huacahuasi Lodge (el. 12,585’ – 3,835m.), located in the local community of Huacahuasi, in the Lares Region.
Day 3: Sacred Valley Of The Incas | HIKING AMONG AUTHENTIC INCA TRAILS
Spend some time in the morning learning more about the heritage and day-to-day activities of the Huacahuasi community. Then, you can choose to embark on a spectacular hike through varied terrain and over a high pass, to the adjacent valley leading to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo,
the oldest living city in Latin America; or try an easygoing hike from Lares Pass through an astonishing authentic Inca trail- along a beautiful canyon down to the Local Community of Totora. If you prefer to see more of the Sacred Valley, you can drive back for a visit to an ethnographic museum featuring the history of Peru’s rich civilizations of the past or choose to explore the valley on mountain bike. Afterwards, enjoy lunch in the Urubamba
River countryside on your way to Ollantaytambo, where you can spend time meandering through its charming maze-like streets.
Activity Menu (all day):
– Cultural activity: Drive back to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, visit a local farmer’s market and a Pre- Inca and Inca cultural museum. Enjoy a Barbeque lunch at a Kuychi Rumi and in the afternoon explore the town of Ollantaytambo.
– Inca Trail hike: Beautiful hike from Lares pass to the village of Totora / Duration 3 hrs. / Easy to moderate. Enjoy a Barbeque lunch at a Kuychi Rumi.
– Hike: From Huacahuasi to Patacancha / Duration 7 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,646’ – 4,464m. Route lunch at Ipsaycocha lake. Afternoon arrival in Ollantaytambo.
– Optional bike excursion (afternoon): Drive back and explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas on mountain bike from Urubamba to Pachar / Duration 2 hrs./ Easy to moderate. (this activity has an additional cost). Afterwards, enjoy a visit to an artisanal brewery in which many of their beers are made with local products. (the brewery is closed Mondays and Tuesdays).
Overnight: Hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (el. 9,284’ – 2,830m.).
Note: Guests that opt for the cultural activity and guests that opt for the Inca trail hike excursion will meet for lunch in Urubamba at a countryside restaurant and visit the town of Ollantaytambo together in the afternoon. Guests that opt for the hike will meet up with the rest of the group late in the afternoon at the hotel in The Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Day 4: Sacred Valley Of The Incas | DISCOVERING OLLANTAYTAMBO
From its beginnings as the royal estate of Inca-Emperor Pachacutec, to a stronghold against the Spanish conquistadors for Manco Inca Yupanqui, the temple at Ollantaytambo was regarded by the Incas as one of their most important ceremonial centers. On this day, an optional and short early morning hike to Inca storage structures high above Ollantaytambo will give you a magnificent view of the town as well as of the main archeological site across the valley. Afterwards, as your guide leads you through a morning tour of the temple and explains its strategic architectural planning, you will also get a sense of its mystical history…a perfect introduction to the wonder of Machu Picchu. Around noon you will embark on a scenic train
ride along the famous Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu, whose charm lies in a history that began as a small railway stop and evolved into a bustling town still bisected by the train tracks.
Activity Menu (early morning, before the group activity):
– Hike: Lower Pinkuylluna mountain above Ollantaytambo / Duration 1-1.5 hrs. / Moderate.
– Hike: Higher Pinkuylluna mountain above Ollantaytambo / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Moderate to challenging.
Group Activity: In the morning, after the optional early morning activities, explore the archeological site of Ollantaytambo, before boarding the train to the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes).
Overnight: Hotel in Aguas Calientes town (el. 6,232´-1,900m.), located in the base town of Machu Picchu.
Note: Inca Rail is the train company used for the Lares Adventure. If a special train service is required, please advise your Travel Specialist.
Day 5: Machu Picchu | THE SANCTUARY
At dawn, you begin your journey to Machu Picchu with a short and rollicking uphill bus ride. As you enter the “Sanctuary” (as locals refer to it), the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light. Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Take a moment to quietly sit and listen to the wind…or to meditate and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Your imagination will soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins. Some may even choose a hike to Huayna Picchu, the iconic towering mountain often seen in photographs, for dramatic views that stretch from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon jungle. Either way, you will be touched by a feeling of peace and rejuvenation which will linger even as you journey back to the city lights, and hustle and bustle of Cusco.
Group Activity: Early in the morning visit the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
Activity Menu (late morning, after the group activity):
– Cultural activity: Free time to explore the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu (el. 7,872´ – 2,400m.). OR Hike: Guided hike of Huayna Picchu mountain / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 8,924´ – 2,720m.
Note: Huayna Picchu mountain tickets are subject to availability. Inca Rail is the train company used for the Lares Adventure. If a special train service is required, please advise your Travel Specialist.
- All meals (except breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last day).
- Transfer services.
- Guided tours during the whole trip.
- Daily à-la-carte activities (except those that specify an additional cost).
- Entrance fees and permits to touristic and archeological sites.
- Tips for staff at the Lodges and staff in the field are included (except Guide tips, it is suggested US$ 5 – 10 per day).
- International and internal flights.
- Items of personal nature.
- Transfers in and out from the pier.
- Tips to Drivers, guides and Porters.
Travel Just 4U has competitive South America Flights to get you to the starting point of your chosen Holiday. Contact one of our Travel Consultants for a full quotation including airfares, stopovers and any additional travel you wish to organize.