<span id=”mce_marker” data-mce-type=”bookmark”></span><span id=”__caret”>_</span><span id=”mce_marker” data-mce-type=”bookmark”></span><span id=”__caret”>_</span><strong>From the colonial and pre-Columbian grandeur of Cusco</strong>, with all the comforts it offers to travelers from all over the world, we explore the land of the Incas.The Sacred Valley of the Incas was the fertile heart of the Inca Empire, and its people still farm amid the ruins of their ancestors’ culture, and trade in their colorful markets.We then travel to Machu Picchu as Inca pilgrims once did: on foot along the world famous Inca Trail, a spectacular trek through the biodiverse Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, with it’s fascinating archaeological remnants of the Inca culture.<b>Important Detail: </b>To be in good health and shape to be part of this adventure.
After the arrival at the airport you will be transferred to the hotel in Lima
Flight from Lima to Cusco
After breakfast you will be transferred to the Lima airport for your flight to Cusco, where upon arrival you will be brought to your hotel. Cusco lies in the exceptionally beautiful Andean countryside at 3400 meters above sea level and its legacy as the hub of the Inca Empire is readily apparent: Most of the cities’ streets are lined with Inca-built stone walls and crowded with Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas.
The city of Cusco on foot (half day)
We begin our tour with a visit to the cathedral, followed by Qoricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun, which boasts the finest remaining examples of Inca stonemasonry. We will also walk through streets lined with Inca walls on our way to the San Blas neighbourhood, famous today, as it was in Inca times, for its skilled craftsmen.
The ruins of Saqsaywaman and Pisaq
In the morning, after breakfast, we will explore the ancient Inca sanctuary of Saqsaywaman with its immense monolithic walls. Afterwards we will visit the amphitheater at Qenqo, the fortress of Puka Pukara and the ritual Inca baths at Tambomachay.
Afternoon visit of Pisaq Ruins (half day)
Pisaq’s ruins stand high above the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s, and comprise an Intiwatana, a temple complex, residential areas and extensive agricultural terracing.
Chinchero market, the saltpans of Maras and fortress of Ollantaytambo
Chinchero is a traditional village with an interesting early colonial church built on what was once an Inca temple. The colourful markets of the valley sell crafts, jewellery and textiles, as well as traditional produce which local people trade.
The saltpans of Maras
The salt mines at Maras consist of 3000 small pools. A number of salt water springs emerge from the hillside and are channelled along canals using the natural gradient. This process is repeated every three days and the water evaporates leaving behind the salt which slowly solidifies. The salt is then packed into plastic sacks to be sold in the region’s local markets and exported as far away as Japan.
Ollantaytambo is the only surviving example of Inca urban planning. We will visit the agricultural areas around the village, the irrigation system, granaries and the fortress-temple built by Inca Pachacuteq.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
A complete network of interconnecting roads linked Cusco to its provinces and other kingdoms and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was part of that system. This spectacular trail runs from high mountains down to cloud forest, passing through ecological zones filled with an enormous variety of plants and birdlife and a number of archaeological sites.
Llactapata / Llulluchapampa
From the village of Huayllabamba the trail climbs through high Andean woodland to a plain called Llulluchapampa just before the first pass, from where there are excellent views of the Huayanay mountain chain.
Llulluchapampa / Phuyupatamarca
After two hours we reach the pass of Warmiwañuska (4050m/13,280ft), before descending as far as the Pacaymayo We then descend along a paved Inca road to the ruins of Runcuracay and Sayacmarca. Here we enter the cloud forest and in the afternoon the trail descends via a stone stairway to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca.
Phuyupatamarca / Machu Picchu
The trail descends a vertiginous slope along stone Inca steps for approximately three hours to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, a beautiful Inca site set in dense forest. In the afternoon we will walk for another two hours until we reach Intipunku, the Sun Gate, from where we will get our first glimpse of Machu Picchu.
In the company of our guide we will visit the temples, houses, agricultural terraces and palaces and also have some time to explore the ruins independently. We will return to Cusco in the afternoon by train.
Free day in Cusco
Today there is the option to explore the colonial city of Cusco by yourself.
Book an extra one or two days in:
The Tambopata National Reserve
Spend more time in the Amazon forest! Our experienced naturalist guides are on hand to reveal to you the many wonders of the rainforest and to answer your many questions during forest walks and while travelling on rivers and lakes. In the evenings we hold brief conferences and presentations on different aspects of the fauna, flora and ecology of the tropical forest. And of course, you might choose to remain an extra day or two at our Eco Lodge in order to simply relax and enjoy its comforts and cuisine.
Why not choose to extend your stay in Peru and visit the shores and islands of Lake Titicaca?. Among the attractions of Lake Titicaca are the many archaeological sites in the area around the lake, and islands where life has gone on largely unchanged for centuries. The floating Uros reed islands were established by a pre Inca culture to isolate themselves from more dominant ethnic groups, while the picturesque islands of Taquile and Amantani are inhabited by descendants of the Incas who continue many of the customs of their forebears.
Trekking in the Andes
Our experienced staff has been outfitting and leading treks in the Andes for more than 34 years. Choose from one of our many programs and join us on a journey into Peru’s ancient past and living cultures travelling on foot as the people of the Andes have always done. Peru is a trekker’s paradise.
The 2 day / 1 night Inca Trail (also known as the short Inca Trail) is a relatively undemanding hike including a visit to Wiñay Wayna (“Forever Young” in Quechua), one of the most beautiful archaeological sites on the entire Inca Trail
It is highly recommended to do this excursion in 2 days with a night’s camping. This gives you the chance to visit Pitumarca and Machupitumarca, experience camping in the wilderness and enjoying the walk to and from Vinicunca at a leisurely pace
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