This four-day journey combines beautiful scenery of the Andean white capped mountains and the lifestyle of the Quechua people living in the cold climate high up in the highlands. The adventure begins with a drive from Cusco to the village of Lares (3,100mt/10,170ft) traveling through small Andean communities, seeing many fields of potatoes, corn and more, being worked by the locals using ancient techniques. On this adventurous trek we will use llamas as pack animals (horses will also be used), just like ancient Incan times. During our trek we will visit the many traditional villages that have preserved their ancient Inca culture and still wear their colorful cultural clothing. Breathe in the cold brisk air as you ascend to the high passes and take in views of the amazing lagoons, and mountainous views. Get close up to the many herds of llamas and alpacas. Then visit the quaint town of Ollantaytambo said to be built by the Inca Pachacutec and walk on the original Inca streets. Spend the night in Aguas Calientes and the next morning visit the amazing sanctuary of Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Day 1: Cusco – Lares Hot Springs – Huaca Wasi
You will be picked up early in the morning from your hotel and drive to Calca taking in striking views of the lush Sacred Valley of the Incas and the Urubamba River. Once we reach the town of Calca (2940mt/9,646tt) we will turn off and ascend up to the Huaca Casi Pass (4400mt/14,436ft) catching stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Then descend to the Lares hot springs (3200mt/10,499ft) where there are over two interesting paved terraces with six pools, all with different temperatures ranging from warm to very hot to include one of swimming pool size so you can actually swim for some exercise. Dip into the medicinal waters and relax. After lunch, we meet the handlers with llamas and horses to start an easy climb of about 4 hours to the small Andean Village of Huacawasi (3600mt/11,811ft). Along the way you will see the local farmers tending their fields using ancient agricultural techniques and see the herds of llamas and cows. Finally, we will reach the village of Huacawasi, our campsite, which has many homes built of mud and thatched roofs. You will have time to visit with the locals. The climate is cold so bring warm clothing.
Meals L, D
Time of bus trip: 4 hours
hiking time: 3 to 4hours – Distance: 8km/5m
Day 2: Huacawasi – Ipsay Pass- Patacancha
After an energizing breakfast we begin our up-hill hike for about 4 hours to the Ipsay Pass (4400mt/14,436ft). From the top of the pass you will catch breathtaking vistas of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, llamas and alpacas, and isolated villages with the Quechua people doing daily activities. We will be able to see their colorful textile designs and make some purchases. Thereafter, we head down-hill to the lovely village of Patacancha (3650mt/11,975ft) where the Quechua traditions are alive. They are well-known for their colorful unique textiles and their interesting red ponchos. Our campsite is nearby so you will have a chance to visit with the locals.
Meals B, L, D
Hiking time: 7 hours – Distance: 15km/10m
Day 3: Patacancha – Willoq – Pumamarca – Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu Town
Today we get familiar with the ancient traditions of the Quechua people of Patacancha. Then we continue our cultural trek down through the picturesque village of Willoq (3400mt/11,156ft) also known for their colorful weaving. Thereafter, continuing to the Pumamarca Ruins (3200mt/10,499ft) to admire the numerous terraces and cemetery. We will have lunch while admiring the area. Afterwards, we continue walking down to the original Inca town of Ollantaytambo (2792mtmt/9,160ft) where you will see the water canals running alongside the homes and the spectacular ruins from a short distance. Thereafter, we will walk to the train station and take the expedition train 34 to
Machu Picchu Town (2040mt/6,727ft) to spend the night in a comfortable hostel.
Machu Picchu Town: Hostel
Meals (B, L)
Hiking time: 7 hours – Distance: 16km/11m
Day 4 – Machu Picchu Town – Machu Picchu Archeological Complex – Cusco
This morning we will take the early bus for the 25 minute ride up to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, the archaeological site where the Incas once roamed. Listen to your guide as he or she talks about the mysterious ruins. Visit the extraordinary Temple of the Sun with exceptionally carved stones, Temple of the Three Windows features huge trapezoidal windows, Intihuatana the solar clock which translates to the, Hitching Post of the Sun, Funerary Rock Hut believed to be a place where the Inca nobility were mummified, and the many temples, terraces, and corridors. After a glorious visit with your guide enjoy some time at leisure to further explore the mysterious grounds feeling the positive energy that abounds the area which has withstood time. Later on in the afternoon you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes where you can enjoy a delicious lunch (on your own). Afterwards, you will board the expedition train to Poroy where our staff will be waiting in private transport to transfer you to your hotel in Cusco. Optional: Climb Wayna Picchu (extra cost of US$15) if available or do Machu Picchu Mountain.
End of Services.
Hostel to Hotel at extra cost
- Trip briefing before departure.
- Bilingual guide (English-Spanish).
- Handlers with Llamas and horses (including back-up horse).
- Emergency horse
- Transport to trail head/transport to hotel at end of trek.
- All meals on the itinerary (B= Breakfast L= Lunch, D= Dinner). Vegetarian meals, gluten free, or gluten on request at no extra cost.
- Maximum animal weight per passenger: 8kg/16Ibs. We supply all handlers’ provisions and insurance in case of accidents and/or illness.
- Camping equipment: double tents (single tent available – $25), kitchen/dining, toilet tent, tables, stools, all kitchen gear.
- First-aid kit and oxygen.
- Round trip train tickets Ollantaytambo-Aguas Calientes-Ollantaytambo.
- Hostel in Aguas Calientes. (Upgrade to a higher category hotel at an additional cost)
- Round trip ticket bus: Machu Picchu Town/Machu Picchu archaeological site.
- Entrance to Machu Picchu.
Services NOT Included:
- Hotels in Cusco.
- Domestic flights.
- Entrance: Wayna Picchu if available or Machu Picchu Mountain always available.
- Any expenses incurred in preparing for the trip, such as, but not limited to, non-refundable airline tickets or travel insurance, nor additional expenses encountered as a result of flight or train schedule changes, delays, strikes, cancellations, missed connections, acts of God or war.
- Personal items like individual gear, sleeping bag (Peruvian Andean Path rents sleeping bags: $25 per person for entire trek), medicines, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
- Walking Poles US$12 per set
- Single tent $25
- Meals not mentioned in itinerary, alcohol drinks
We highly recommend at least 2 days acclimatizing to the high altitude before doing the trek in the high Andes.