Share this Post
The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
The Sacred Valley is mind-boggling in all its varied sights and sounds. There is so much to do and see it may seem difficult to choose. We feel it’s important to be able to take your time as you work your way down the valley towards Machu Picchu. Our journey starts in Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, and then moves to the wonderful little town of Pisac which has some remarkable terraced ruins and a lively market. From there you will continue down to the living Inca village of Ollantaytambo. Most tours simply stop for the day and head on, but we believe this little gem needs two nights for you to explore the area, unhurried and away from the daytime crowds.
Rather than taking the train all the way to Machu Picchu’s gateway town of Aguas Calientes, we arrange a spectacular one-day trek along the Inca Trail into the amazing citadel to see Machu Picchu for the first time from the Sun Gate. You will overnight in Aguas Calients and then have an entire day to explore all of Machu Picchu, both with a guide as well as through self-exploration.
There is nothing like Peruvian cuisine, and we have included a wonderful cooking class in the town of Urubamba which starts in the markets learning about the ingredients and proceeds to a full cooking class where you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You will also be able to see the fascinating Inca agricultural ruins of Moray with its famous Inca salt mines. In addition, you will experience an overnight at a BnB in Chinchero with a traditional Quechua family famous for their handmade weavings. And finally you will explore the amazing colonial city of Cusco with all its architecture, museums, historic ruins and art galleries.
CUSCO - PISAC - OLLANTAYTAMBO
Your guide will pick you up in Cusco, either at the airport if you are arriving today or at your hotel. From here you will head out to the Sacred Valley, starting with the lovely Inca town of Pisac, which sits several thousand feet lower than Cusco. (It’s a good way to start acclimatizing.) Explore Pisac’s amazing ruins and terraced hill sides, learning the stories of the site, and visit the Pisac market. Then you will continue further down the Sacred Valley to the little town of Ollantaytambo and get checked into the wonderful Apu Lodge.
Today after breakfast you have all day to explore this amazing Inca town. Ollantaytambo is a living Inca village and is worth an entire day to explore the town and the ruins. You can hike around the ruins, walk up the river, go horseback riding, visit the museum and more. We love this town, and believe it's worth more than the compulsory 2 hours most tours give it. Overnight at Apu Lodge.
HIKE THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
After an early breakfast at the lodge, your guide will arrive in the early morning to bring you to the train station. You'll ride the train for about 2 hours and get off at the 104km point to access the trail. Following in the footsteps of the Inca, you will hike a 6-mile section of the Royal Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The trail is a magnificent hike from the Choquesuysuy ruins, through an amazing cloud forest to Quetzal Falls, to the watch tower of Winayhuayna ruins. In the afternoon you will climb to the Intipunku (Gate of the Sun), the ancient entrance to the sanctuary and arrive in the late afternoon to see Machu Picchu for the first time. Then you will descend to the little town below of Aguas Calientes by bus and have time to explore or visit the hot springs. Overnight in Aguas Calientes.
MACHU PICCHU - OLLANTAYTAMBO
This morning wake up early to see the ruins before everyone else does. Catch the bus back up to Machu Picchu and your guide will give you a tour of the site, sharing all the history and lore that is known about these mysterious ruins. You will then have time to explore afterwards on your own. In the afternoon you will take the bus back down to the little tourist town of Aguas Calientes and then transfer back to Ollantyambo.
Today starts with a cooking class, which includes a walk through the market to gather your ingredients and then instruction to create several dishes while learning all about Peruvian cuisine. After lunch your guide will pick you up and bring you to Chinchero, a traditional highland Quechua town that has some great Inca ruins. On the way you will see some fascinating sites in the area including Moray, an Incan agricultural laboratory, and Las Salinas the Incan salt flats. The people of Chinchero are expert weavers and will share with you their beautiful weavings and show you what it takes to make them. Stay the night at a small family-owned BnB.
CHINCHERO - CUSCO
Today after breakfast your guide will take you to see the Chinchero ruins, explore the church and the town, and to watch a wonderful weaving demonstration. In the afternoon you will return to Cusco with the evening free to explore.
CUSCO & SACSAYHUAMAN
Today you will have a guided city tour, including the upper ruins of Sacsayhuaman. The evening is free to explore some more - grab a nice dinner in town and enjoy the nightlife!
CUSCO - DEPART
This morning you can do any last minute shopping or sightseeing and grab lunch before you head to the airport.
8D / 7N
Custom departures available year-round
Cusco - Pisac - Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Chinchero - Cusco
APPLY FOR THIS PROGRAM
Share this Trip