ACTIVITY ITINERARY AND DESCRIPTION:
DAY 2: CITY TOUR: CATHEDRAL, QORICANCAHA, SACSAYHUAMAN, QUENQO, PUCAPURA, AND TAMBOMACHAY.
We will meet you in your hotel lobby at 1:00 pm to begin this tour. Our first stop will be Cusco’s Plaza de Armas where we will visit the famous Cathedral. After touring this sacred church, you will continue on foot with your group through the ancient Inca streets from the Plaza de Armas to Qoricancha, the Temple of the Sun. In Qoricancha you will see the clash between Inca culture and Catholicism, and you will have the opportunity to see firsthand the difference in building methods between the 2 eras. Take time to appreciate the incredible Inka architecture of this temple! It was one of the main temple of the Incas and where all of their major highways departed. The high altar made in bronze in the Catholic church is one of the the high light.
From Qoricancha your group will walk down Avenida El Sol and take a bus to drive up and outside of the city. It will takes 25 minutes to arrive to the majestic Inca site Sacsayhuaman. We will enter the ruins site and the guide will lead you around and explain this incredible sire. You will have extra time to explore on your own.
From Sacsayhuaman you will take a short bus ride to Quenqo where you will see some altars from Inca times. Next, we will drive to Puca Pucara, a small circular Inca site. Finally, you will visit Tambomachay, the temple of water, and you will be able to see the impressive water fountains. We will then drive back to Cusco and end our tour in the main square. If this is a private tour, we will drop you back off at your hotel.
DAY 3: SACRED VALLEY AND OVERNIGHT IN AGUAS CALIENTES
Our driver will pick you up from your hotel lobby at 8:00 am and drive you to the the Sacred Valley. Along the way, we will visit Awana Cancha, a weaving center. Here, you will learn the differences between llamas, alpacas, vicunas and also different varieties of potatoes and corn that are special in the Sacred Valley. This is a great place to purchase gifts and real alpaca clothing.
We will drive from here to the Pisaq Inca ruins. These are amazing ruins that are located on top of one of the mountains in the Sacred Valley. We will be able to see hundreds of terraces used for agriculture, where the Incas farmed corn, potatoes and quinoa. We will also see the religious and astronomical side of the Incas at these ruins. It is an amazing place to take photos there are nearly endless views of the spectacular valley below.
We will get back in the car and drive to the Pisaq market and town. This is the most traditional market and another great place to purchase gifts. Here, you can also try some of the local delicacies that many of the local farmers bring to sell. This is also where we will stop for our lunch break.
We will drive through the Sacred Valley after lunch to Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo was an Inca checkpoint where they protected Machu Picchu and the valley against any enemies (Ollantay is the name of the leader, Tambo is a lodging place). After your tour you have extra time to wander around the site before dinner in any one of the local restaurants. In the evening, you will head to the train station which is around a 15 min walk from the main Plaza. The train will depart at 7:00 pm and you will arrive in Aguas Calientes about 2 hrs later. A guide will be waiting at the train station to pick you up and bring you to your hotel.
DAY 4: MACHU PICCHU – RETURN TO CUSCO.
Today, we will visit Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world. We encourage you to wake up early in the morning to enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then get to the bus station to try to catch one of the first buses beginning at 5:30 am (they are all first come first serve). This bus will take around 25 min to get to Machu Picchu. As soon as you arrive, we will go to the best spot to get a panoramic view of the landscape, ruins, and the sunrise over the mountains. You will then have a 2 hr guided tour around Machu Picchu. There will be plenty of free time afterwards to explore on your own. If you have tickets to climb the amazing mountain of Huaynapicchu, your guide will direct you to where this hike begins. Please make sure this is arranged at least a month in advance of your visit, as tickets do sell out. It is $25 USD per person. Once you are done exploring all that the ruins have to offer, you will take a bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch.
Then we will take an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo and from there take a private bus to return to Cusco and your hotel.
DAY 05: MORAY AND MARAS SALT MINES (8:30AM – 2:30PM)
Today, you will travel to Peru’s historic Urubamba Valley. Located between Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Urubamba Valley is known for its lush scenery, picturesque colonial towns, and magnificent Inca fortress.
We will pick you up from your hotel around 8:00 am and head to Moray. The drive is about 1:20 min long and is breathtaking. We will drive through the snow capped peaks of the Andes, lush yellow fields of wheat, and pass through some traditional villages. Finally, we will arrive at the fascinating display of terraces in Moray. Moray has three amphitheater-like terraces made by the Incas. These terraces are carved deep into the earth in a bowl shape and were thought to be used to determine the optimal conditions for growing crops.
Once we finish exploring Moray, we will head to the salt mines of Maras, which are about 2 miles away. The small village was a former salt-producing center dating back to colonial times. There are over 3000 salt pools carved into the mountain side, which are filled daily by a little stream of water. Be sure to try the salty water and take in the beauty of the area. Once you are done with the visit, you will head back to Cusco to enjoy some lunch on your own.
DAY 06: SOUTH VALLEY TIPON, PIKILLAQTA, ANDAHUAYLILLAS (08:30AM – 14:30PM)
In this tour you will explore the beautiful South Valley of Cusco and get off the traditional tourist trail. The South Valley is known for its spectacular natural landscapes and incredible architecture. We will explore Inca architecture in Tipon, pre–Inca Wari architecture in Pikillacta, and a beautiful chapel, known as the “Sistine Chapel of America”.
We will pick you up from your Hotel between 9:00-9:30 am to start our adventure.
First Stop: Tipon
The Tipon Archeological Complex is located 24 km southeast of Cusco. Tipon is one of the lesser visited sites in the Cusco area, but it is equally as impressive as those in the Sacred Valley. It is an ancient Incan site and thought to be a royal garden commissioned by Wiracocha. It is one of the most elaborate examples of agricultural terracing created by the Incas. These tall terraces, which run up the narrow valley are irrigated by an aqueduct from Pachatusan and the mountain is located above the site. In addition to the terracing, there are also some other structures at Tipon including baths, a temple complex, canals, and aqueducts.
Stop 2: Pikillaqta
Pikillacta is the only pre-Inca site in the Cusco area. This adobe complex was built around 700 to 900 AD by the Huari people. In the area there is a small Inca site just a short walk from Pikillacta, known as Rumicolca, a travel checkpoint for the Incas.
Stop 3: Andahuaylillas
Here we will discover the the “Sistine Chapel of Peru,” a church that is home to golden altars, paintings, and many colored ceilings. The chapel is simple and unassuming on the outside, but on the inside you’ll find masterpiece after masterpiece.
On our return to Cusco we will pass Saylla, where people can enjoy the delicious and infamous pork chicharrones (optional).
We return to Cusco around 3:30 p.m.
- Transfer in/out of Cusco.
- Tours with professional English speaking guides
- Ground transportation for City and Sacred Valley tours
- Tourist class expedition round trip train ticket to Aguas Calientes
- Breakfast at the hotels
- 01 Night Hotel Accommodation in Aguas Calientes
- Bus tickets to Machu Picchu (round trip)
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
- Guided 2 hour tour in Machu Picchu
- Transportation to Cusco
- All Taxes
- Tourist tickets
- Huaynapicchu ($25 per person)/Machu Picchu Mountain ($20 per person)