The Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu offers the perfect combination of adventure travel and cultural immersion.
It is a lodge-to-lodge journey through the rich history, living culture and magnificent landscape of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Majestic archaeological sites lead to remote and uncrowded trails taking travelers through mountains and valleys, abounding in natural beauty and dotted with Andean communities, where the locals are master weavers and their traditions are still firmly rooted in ancient Inca culture.
Expert guides will tailor your individual experience with a choice of adventure activities and cultural encounters. Then, as breathtaking sunsets paint the Andean sky, you will 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: Arrival in Lima
Arrive in Lima. Airport assistance and overnight at the Costa del Sol Ramada Airport Hotel just a short two-minute walk outside customs.
Day 2: Cusco
Altitude: 11,100’. Airport check-in assistance for one hour flight to Cusco and transfer in to your hotel. Afternoon half-day guided orientation of ancient Inca temples, Spanish churches, local markets and the surrounding ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Your guide will also direct you to shops, museums and markets where you can explore on your own.
Days 3: Sacred Valley of the Incas
Begin your adventure with a journey from the urban setting of Cusco into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, full of lush green fields and surrounded by striking mountain peaks. Explore the ancient archeological site of Chinchero, study the natural Inca salt mines of Maras and marvel at the astonishing circular terraces of Moray.
DAY 4: Sacred Valley of the Incas
The famous market of Pisaq 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 hike surrounded by amazing views of the Andes Mountains that guard this magnificent valley.
Learn about artisanal potato farming practices and enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca” meal, cooked under hot stones.
Days 5: Lares Valley
Go even deeper into the heart of Andean culture in the Lares Valley. A scenic drive along the celebrated “Inca Weaver’s Trail” allows you to visit the unique and uncrowded archaeological site of Ancasmarca. Choose optional hikes to the ancient weavers’ village of Choquecancha, or opt for hiking amidst turquoise blue lakes and towering peaks to the remote village of Huacahuasi, where you will spend the night.
Days 6: Lares Valley
Walk through the village of Huacahuasi and learn more about its heritage and daily activities. Meet expert weavers and farmers who will share their stories, and take a Peruvian cooking class. For those who want to go deeper into these remote mountains, challenge yourself with optional hikes to enjoy the company of alpacas and llamas, and make your way over challenging mountain passes. The lodges on this trek are run in joint venture with the local communities and aim to protect the indigenous cultural heritage and the environment.
Day 7: Explore Ollantaytambo
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. 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.
Day 8: Sacred Valley of the Incas
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.
Day 9: Machu Picchu
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.
Day 10: Return to Lima
Transfer to Cusco airport for flight to Lima. Airport reception and room for day-use at the at the Lima airport until your flight departure.