8 Day Lares Expedition
- Immerse yourself in local life with visits to remote Andean villages that are, for most travelers, uncharted territory.
- Embark on a private city tour of Cuzco, whose fascinating streets feature a unique concoction of Inca ruins and colonial constructions.
- Scale the ancient stone stairway up Machu Picchu’s neighboring peak, Huayna Picchu.
- Relish a Machu Picchu luxury tour with your very own expert guide to explain the history, architecture, and theories surrounding the site, before wandering independently among the iconic ruins the following day.
- Discover the delights of Peruvian cuisine at the country’s finest dining establishments.
- Enjoy enriching experiences with local artists at their workshops.
- Relax in handpicked luxury accommodations throughout your personalized trip of Peru.
Masters of farming, engineering geniuses, and creators of a religion that combined features of animism, fetishism and nature worship, the Incas are without a doubt one of the world’s most interesting and mysterious ancient civilizations. This Machu Picchu luxury tour allows you to learn about Inca’s accomplishments, from the triumphal constructions of Machu Picchu and the intricate stonework of the old Inca capital Cuzco, to the ingenious agricultural terraces that dot the stunningly serene Sacred Valley. Discover what this fascinating civilization embodied during its glorious heyday with this customized tour centered on Peru’s Inca heritage.
The first day is for your tour of Cuzco, the capital of the Inca Empire, where you’ll visit Sacsayhuaman, an immense Incan complex with impressive stonework, and Koricancha, one of the most important Inca temples (the walls were once actually coated in gold!). You’ll also stop at the Cathedral where you’ll learn about the intricacies of the Cuzco School of Art and view fascinating historical artifacts.
We leave Cuzco and head to the Chinchero Plateau to explore Chinchero, an important town in Inca times. The most striking remnant of this period is the massive stone wall in the main plaza which has ten trapezoidal niches. There are beautiful views overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with the Cordillera Urubamba and the snow-capped peak of Salkantay dominating the western horizon. Chinchero is believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. Visit the salt mines of Maras, a salt-producing center that dates back all the way to pre-Inca times where over 3000 salt pools all carved into the mountain side. Discover Moray’s mysterious concentric circular terraces which, according to some scholars, was an agricultural research center. Then we will have lunch in a local restaurant where we can savor dishes made with locally grown produce. After a leisurely lunch we head for our hotel in the valley. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy beauty of this famous valley.
Meals: B, L, D
We will drive a bit farther to our starting point, the plains of Huaran (3.000m / 9.840ft) where we will meet our wranglers with their horses and commence our trek. The trail ascends steadily for 4 hours to the center of the valley of Huaran, following the river Cancha Cancha to a small community of the same name. Along the way we’ll be able to see the traditional farmland of the locals, enjoy the view into the impressive valley of the river and walk through the typical Polylepis woods, which unfortunately are diminishing. This vegetation is particularly interesting due to its abounding wildlife, especially hummingbirds. In the village we will be able to enjoy a traditional Andean lunch and continue with our hike after a short break. After two more hours of hiking we will reach our campsite “Acopata” at 3.950m (12.960ft). We will spend the night here after a traditional dinner and a short briefing for the next day.
Meals: B, L, D
After breakfast we continue our ascent. This is the longest and most exhausting day of the trail. We will climb for about 3 hours to the highest point called “Pachacutec” at 4.750m (15.580 ft). The view from up here is breathtaking, you can see the impressive mountains and the glaciers Pitusiray and Sahuasiray as well as emerald green lakes. From there we descend for about 2 hours to the glacier lake Qoyalaycocha where we will break for our traditional lunch. After a short break we continue for another 2.5 hours to the village of Quishuarani. Along the trail we will be able to observe free range flocks of llamas, alpacas and sheep and, with a bit of luck, we might be able to spot the gray Andean deer, the Andean goose, falcons, ducks or even the noble Andean fox.
We will camp at the community center which offers bathrooms and a campsite. In Quishuarani you will be able to purchase alpaca textiles which are still handmade according to the original style and tradition of the Lares valley. In the afternoon we will provide a small snack and later our ample traditional dinner.
Meals: B, L, D
We begin our hike gradually up towards the Andean community of Cuncani (3,808m /12,493ft). After lunch and rest, we will continue our hike up to the Huacahuasi (4,100m / 13,451ft), the place where we will make our camp and will be able to see amazing view of the mountains and waterfalls.
Meals: B, L, D
We leave our campsite and head towards the highest point Ipsaycocha, which is characterized by the raising of camelids and agriculture. Continuing our trek downhill through this narrow valley of Patacancha. Here we will take our private transport which will take us to the town of Ollantaytambo, where you will have time to explore and see this amazing archaeological site, the last living Inca town before going to our hotel to spend the night.
Meals: B, L, D
We pick you up early in the morning from your hotel and drive to the train station to board the train that will take us to Km. 104 (the starting point of the hike). After crossing the suspension bridge over the Urubamba River we visit the archaeological site of Chachabamba (2,150m / 7,052ft). From here, we will hike upwards for about 10 km 6.2 miles (approximately 4 hours) and get to the magnificent archaeological site of Wiñayhuayna (2,700m), an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector, as well as an urban sector. On the way we will appreciate the vegetation of the forest. After having our box lunch we will continue for about one hour farther into ‘lnti Punku’ (The Sun Gate) at 2,730m (8,792ft), from where we will have our first dramatic and impressive view of Machu Picchu (2,430m / 7,972ft). As we are going down, we will take a side path off the trail to take a bus that transports us to Aguas Calientes where you will check into your accommodation.
Meals: B, L, D
Today we will take the bus back to Machu Picchu. This is one for your bucket list. Uncover the mystical secrets of Machu Picchu during a guided private tour of this Incan citadel. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the most important parts of the ruins to wonder at how they were constructed. After the tour, you’ll have free time to further explore the ruins or just sit back and appreciate the majesty of Machu Picchu. You can also hike to the top of Huayna Picchu for a bird’s eye view of the ruins and valley beneath you. The steep path takes about an hour and a half to ascend. (Please note that only 400 hikers are allowed to climb Huayna Picchu each day and that tickets will need to be purchased in advance along with your Machu Picchu entrance.)
After a day you’ll remember for the rest of your life, you’ll depart from Aguas Calientes by train for Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival at the train station you will be met and transferred to your Cuzco hotel.
Meals: B, L, D
- Private Bus: Cuzco – Sacred Valley, Sacred Valley – Huaran, Patacancha – Ollantaytambo, train station – Cuzco.
- English speaking, professional guide for the trek and Machu Picchu.
- All meals Days 2 through 8, boiled water for drinking during the trek.
- Chef and cooking equipment.
- Quality double tents and mats, tables and chairs.
- Horses to carry food, cooking and camping equipment and 8 kg of luggage per person.
- First Aid Kit.
- Train ticket from Ollantaytambo to the start of the short Inca Trail and back, transfer to Cuzco.
- One night hotel in Aguas Calientes.
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu.
- All necessary adventure and trekking equipment will be provided so all you need bring is yourself.
- International flights and domestic taxes.
- Travel Insurance (compulsory)
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