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Day 1: Sacred Valley of the Incas - Treasures of the Sacred Valley
Begin your adventure with a downhill road trip from Cusco into the lush green fields of the Sacred Valley of the Incas surrounded by striking mountain peaks. Explore the archeological sites of Chinchero and Moray and study the salt evaporation ponds at the natural Salt Mines of Maras. Alternately, choose to embark on a challenging, yet memorable hike to the complex of Huchuy Qosqo. Enjoy a hot lunch at this Incan palace and learn more about its history and impressive construction techniques. After recharging, make your way back down to the valley floor.
Day 2: Sacred Valley of the Incas - Exploring Pisaq
Early morning departure from Cusco. Option to visit to the celebrated market at Pisaq or take a moderate hike in the hills and mountains over the Sacred 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.
Day 3: Lares Region, Inca Sites and Villages
Go deeper into the heart of the Lares region. A road journey into the mountains will take you through remote archaeological sites. After lunch, choose between visiting a traditional weaver's village or a scenic drive and a moderate/strenuous hike amidst turquoise blue lakes and towering peaks to the remote village of Huacahuasi. Locals will give you insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people in both the culture and commerce of modern-day Cusco.
Day 4: Lares Region, Encounter with the Community
If you're in the mood for a relaxing cultural experience today, you can walk through the village of Huacahuasi and learn more about its heritage and daily activities. The expert weavers will share their stories, each depicted in artful textiles full of traditional Inca/Andean symbols and imagery. Then take a cooking class, or just enjoy a walk to a beautiful waterfall near the village. For those who want to go deeper into these remote mountains, challenge yourself with an all-day hike to Quiswarani. Although strenuous, you will be rewarded with amazing views of turquoise lakes and majestic mountains as you travel on well-worn paths edged with wildflowers, passing herds of alpacas and llamas grazing on hillsides as you make your way over steep mountain passes.
Day 5: Sacred Valley of the Incas, Expedition ot Ollantaytambo
Embark on another spectacular hike from our lodge, through varied terrain and over a high pass, to the adjacent valley leading to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo. 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. After, enjoy lunch in the Urubamba countryside on your way to Ollantaytambo, where you can spend time meandering through its charming maze-like streets. If you feel like some action before the drive back down to the Sacred Valley, an afternoon bike ride through fields along an old path can be arranged.
Day 6: Sacred Valley of the Incas, Discovering Ollantaytambo
Enjoy a short, early morning hike to Inca storage structures high above Ollantaytambo for magnificent views of the town and the temple. After, enjoy a guided tour of the fortress, one of the best examples of Inca architecture and revel in its mystical history...a perfect introduction to the wonder of Machu Picchu. Midday, embark on a scenic train ride along the Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, a bustling town below the Machu Picchu Sanctuary.
Day 7: Machu Picchu, The Sanctuary
At dawn, begin your visit to Machu Picchu with a rollicking uphill bus ride. As you enter the Sanctuary, the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light. Prepare to be awed by the 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. Optional uphill hike on Huayna Pichhu. Lunch in Aguas Calientes. Afternoon/Early evening return to Cusco by train and private coach.
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