- Tour Qoricancha ("The Temple of the Sun") and other Cusco landmarks
- Observe locals and sip a smoothie at Cusco's San Pedro Market
- Learn about the artisan traditions and techniques of Inca weaving
- See the ancient salt "ponds" and terraces of the Sacred Valley
- Hike with llamas and chat with Peruvian guides
- Trek to lakes and lagoons, followed by a soak in natural hot springs
|Day 1||Arrive in Cusco & Get Oriented||Cusco|
|Day 2||Tour Sacsayhuamán & Shop in San Pedro Market||Cusco|
|Day 3||Enjoy a Llama Trek & See the Salt Flats of Maras||Sacred Valley|
|Day 4||Visit Machu Picchu||Sacred Valley|
|Day 5||Tour Pisac, Ollantaytambo & Chinchero||Cusco|
|Day 6||See the Seven Lakes & Hot Springs of Ausangate||Cusco|
|Day 7||Depart Peru - End of Trip|
Day 1: Arrive in Cusco & Get Oriented
Welcome to Cusco, Peru! This ancient city is the former capital of the Inca empire, which reigned from the 13th to 16th centuries. Remember: you will be 11,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, so take it easy and remember to drink lots of water. Since Cusco was designed by the Incas as a city for walking, start your exploration of the narrow stone alleyways on foot. Take a walk through the plaza — if the weather is beautiful, it's a perfect place to sit on a balcony and have a cup of coca tea while adjusting to the elevation.
Day 2: Tour Sacsayhuamán & Shop in San Pedro MarketToday you'll tour Cusco and its surrounding area, starting with Sacsayhuamán and Quenqo, archaeological complexes used mostly for religious and agricultural rituals. Although the site of Sacsayhuamán was religious, the Spanish considered it a military fortress because of its location and the way it was built. From here, walk through San Blas, an old bohemian quarter famous for its picturesque white walls, blue doors, and creative artisan community. Continue to the Plaza de Armas, where you will be able to explore the Cathedral and admire its exquisite interiors and priceless paintings. Its construction lasted for almost 100 years, beginning in 1560 and ending in 1654.
Day 3: Enjoy a Llama Trek & See the Salt Flats of MarasStart the day early, setting off on a scenic drive to the village of Umasbamba in Chinchero, where you'll go on a walk with llamas and local guides along a light blue shimmering lagoon surrounded by Andean landscapes. Arriving in a village, you'll learn about the techniques and traditions of Inca weaving, including the use of natural plant dyes.
Day 4: Visit Machu PicchuThis morning you will be transferred to the Ollantaytambo train station to catch your early morning train to Aguas Calientes. From there, it's an easy 25-minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu. Get an early start to beat the crowds and get the best views of the ancient ruins. The 15th-century Inca citadel is located at 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) and is a masterpiece of engineering that served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Incan Emperor Pachacutec and his royal court. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Built as a seasonal residence for the emperor's family, Machu Picchu was rarely home to more than 800 people; during the royals' absence, a mere 100 servants would remain at the site to maintain the grounds. Machu Picchu was abandoned 100 years after construction and remained largely hidden to the outside world until the early 20th century.
Day 5: Tour Pisac, Ollantaytambo & ChincheroThis morning you will depart from your hotel in Cusco and travel to Pisac, one of the most important archaeological sites in the region. In this area, you'll explore ancient Inca burial grounds, irrigation systems, and astronomy centers. Next, go down to the town of Pisac, located at the bottom of the valley. This town is famous for its bustling textile market. Select from a wide assortment of colors, styles, and designs for gifts and souvenirs to take home with you.
Next, you'll stop for lunch, enjoying traditional Andean cuisine at a restaurant in a beautiful setting overlooking the Urubamba River. Then head to the ancient Incan city of Ollantaytambo, one of the few remaining places in the Sacred Valley that have retained their original Inca urban planning. Walk through the streets with Inca-era canals and view the ancient houses still in use today. Climb the agricultural terraces where you can enjoy an Inca’s-eye-view of the valley. From the top, you’ll be able to see some of the quarries from where the stone for Ollantaytambo was sourced. It’s amazing to think how far these large stones were transported from, especially considering the Incas didn’t have pack animals strong enough to carry them. Finish the day's tour in Chinchero, exploring more ruins before making your way back to Cusco for the evening.
Day 6: See the Seven Lakes & Hot Springs of Ausangate
Today you'll experience the best of Ausangate! Rise early for the drive to Pacchanta at an elevation of 14,108 feet (4,300 m), passing by quaint villages and mountain scenery on the trip. After breakfast, you will start hiking towards a series of lakes and lagoons, including Azulcocha, Otorongococha, Pucacocha, Alqacocha, and Q’omercocha. Each lake has a stunning view of surrounding mountains. Soaring ice-tipped peaks, native Quechua people, native flowers, and songbirds will complement your hike through highlands, spotting llamas and alpacas along the way. At the end of the hike, you will soak in the hot springs to relax your muscles. You'll head back to Cusco in the evening and enjoy one last Peruvian-style dinner before the trip ends on day seven.
Day 7: Depart Peru - End of Trip
Today the trip comes to an end. You'll transfer to the airport to catch a flight out. Safe travels!
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