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Cultural Lares Adventure

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South America
Peru,  5 Days - 7 Days From $ 2,400 per person Themes
Eco Adventure
Eco Cultural
Styles
Solo Explorer
Couples
Group Expeditions

Highlights

Embark on a cultural exploration of the Urubamba Valley, the celebrated "Sacred Valley of the Incas," and the spectacular archaeological site of Machu Picchu, combined with a hike in the less visited and uncrowded Lares region north of Cusco, noted for its rural atmosphere, traditional weavers attired in colorful dress, and roving herds of alpacas and llamas—an authentic slice of Peruvian life.

Summary

Comfortable mountain lodges serve as deluxe "base camps" for daily hikes that bring you to remote passes with views of a panorama of waterfalls, snow peaks, and turquoise glacial lakes, with the occasional condor soaring above, and to tiny Andean highland communities unchanged for centuries, where you can meet local weavers and farmers and get a glimpse of the distant past.

Offering unique adventures, ideal for a variety of hiking levels and abilities and at day's end, relax in a comfortable lodge with wonderful amenities—it's the best of both worlds! Expert guides travel with the group for the entire journey and share their knowledge of natural history, culture, and local traditions.

Both the 5 Day and 7 Day itineraries include explorations of the breathtaking Inca sites of Pisac, with its remarkable stone structures, Ollantaytambo, where the rebel Inca leader Manco Inca defeated the Spanish in battle, and incomparable Machu Picchu, the crowning glory of the Incas and the archaeological wonder of all South America. 

Availability

Available from March to December.

Activity (Activities)

Birding
Hiking & Trekking
History & Culture
Eco Lodge

Green Approach

Eco-Ventional

Certification

Rainforest Alliance Verified

Why Authentic Ecotourism?

Although the company has historically had an active yet private role in the socioeconomic development of the communities to which they neighbor, in 2006 the company sponsored the creation of an NGO named Yanapana Peru.

Yanapana Peru has set two important goals for its first stage of development:

  • to elevate the level of education for more than 150 families in the area;
  • to give an incentive to the local population to take an active role in the development of tourism in the area.

 

Daily expeditions will lead you along seldom-traveled highland trails surrounded by exquisite snow-capped peaks, past roving herds of llamas and alpacas, around impossibly hued turquoise lakes, and through graceful waterfalls.

Your destinations will include fascinating archaeological sites, thought-provoking agricultural and commercial Andean cooperatives, and bustling towns and markets showcasing the flavors of the region as well as the wares of its skilled artisans. Most importantly, you will travel to hidden communities unchanged for centuries for a unique up-close visit with the local people.

Expert guides tailor the experience with an offer of à la carte activities and daily cultural encounters. At each day’s sunset, 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 SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS | EXPLORING PISAQ  

The town square is often the center of activity throughout this region, but so too is the town market, and none is more alive than the famous market at Pisaq. A morning visit to check out its unique array of products 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 morning hike surrounded by amazing views of the Andes Mountains that guard this magni- cent valley. Later, enjoy exclusive access to the isolated community of Viacha, where you will learn about its artisanal potato farming practices and enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca” meal, cooked under hot stones. After lunch you will visit the archaeological complex at Pisaq, an afternoon excursion that oers a unique opportunity to explore the complex free of crowds, with the sun setting behind the peaks.

Activity Menu (morning to noon): - Cultural activity: Visit Awanakancha (an Andean camelid exhibition and traditional textile center), the town of Pisaq and local market, and experience an encounter with members of the local community of Viacha. OR - Hike: From the local community of Amaru to the local community of Viacha / Duration 2.5-3 hrs. / Moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,200´ - 4,328m. Group Activity: Group lunch at the local community of Viacha. In the afternoon, the whole group visits the Pisaq archeological site together, before heading to the lodge. Overnight: Lamay Lodge (el. 9,705’- 2,958m.), located in the town of Lamay, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

DAY 2 LARES REGION | INCA SITES AND VILLAGES

Now that you have gotten a glimpse of the rich Andean tapestry, today you will have the opportunity to go even deeper with an exploration into the heart of the Lares Valley. A scenic drive into the mountains, along the celebrated “Inca Weaver’s Trail”, allows you to visit the unique and uncrowded archeological site of Ancasmarca along the hub-town of Lares. After lunch, you can choose between visiting the traditional and ancient weavers’ village of Choquecancha, or opt for hiking amidst turquoise blue lakes and towering peaks to the remote village of Huacahuasi, where we all meet to spend the night. is lodge, which is run in a joint venture with the local community and aims to protect the cultural heritage and the environment, provides an interesting insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people in both the culture and commerce of modern-day Cusco.

Group Activity (morning to noon): In the morning, briey explore the town of Lamay and visit the archeological site of Ancasmarca.Group lunch at the town of Lares. Activity Menu (afternoon, after the group visit): - Cultural activity: Visit the town of Choquecancha, meet with local weavers and visit the old church. OR - Hike: From Quelquena to Huacahuasi / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Easy to moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 12,595´- 3,839 m. OR - Hike: From Cuncani to Huacahuasi / Duration 3.5-4 hrs. / Moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 13,838´- 4,219m. Overnight: Huacahuasi Lodge (el. 12,585’ - 3,835m.), located in the local community of Huacahuasi, in the Lares Region.

DAY 3 SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS | EXPEDITION TO OLLANTAYTAMBO

Spend some time in the morning learning more about the heritage and day-to-day activities of the Huacahuasi community. en, 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; or try a 2 in 1 activity, hiking from Lares Pass to the Local Community of Totora after an incredible biking tour from Huacahuasi to the town of Lares. 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.

Activity Menu (all day): - Cultural activity: Drive back to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, visit a local farmer’s market and a Pre- Inca and Inca cultural museum. Enjoy lunch at a countryside restaurant and in the afternoon explore the town of Ollantaytambo. OR - Bike and hike activity: Bike from Huacahuasi to Lares town/ Duration 1 hr. / Easy to moderate/ and then embark on a beautiful hike from Lares pass to the village of Totora / Duration 3 hrs. / Easy to moderate. Enjoy lunch at a countryside restaurant. OR - Hike: From Huacahuasi to Patacancha / Duration 7 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,646’ - 4,464m. Route lunch at Ipsaycocha lake. Afternoon arrival in Ollantaytambo. - Optional bike excursion (afternoon): Drive back and explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas on mountain bike / Duration 2 hrs./Easy to moderate. Enjoy a visit to an artisanal brewery in which many of their beers are made with local products (is activity has an additional cost). Overnight: Hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (el. 9,284’ - 2,830m.). Note: Guests that opt for the cultural activity and guests that opt for the bike and hike excursion will meet for lunch in Urubamba at a countryside restaurant and visit the town of Ollantaytambo together in the afternoon. Guests that opt for the hike will meet up with the rest of the group late in the afternoon at the hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

DAY 4 SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS | DISCOVERING OLLANTAYTAMBO

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 magnicent 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.

Activity Menu (early morning, before the group activity): - Hike: Lower Pinkuylluna mountain above Ollantaytambo / Duration 1-1.5 hrs. / Moderate. OR - Hike: Higher Pinkuylluna mountain above Ollantaytambo / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Moderate to challenging. Group Activity: In the morning, after the optional early morning activities, explore the archeological site of Ollantaytambo, before boarding the train to the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes). Overnight: Hotel in Aguas Calientes town (el. 6,232´-1,900m.), located in the base town of Machu Picchu.

DAY 5 MACHU PICCHU | THE SANCTUARY

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.

Group Activity: Early in the morning visit the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Activity Menu (late morning, after the group activity): - Cultural activity: Free time to explore the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu (el. 7,872´ - 2,400m.). OR - Hike: Guided hike of Huayna Picchu mountain / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 8,924´ - 2,720m. Note: Huayna Picchu mountain tickets are subject to availability.

Departure City

Cusco

Finishing City

Cusco

Group Size

Maximum of 7 per Trip Leader

Inclusions

 

  • All transportation services mentioned in the detailed itineraries.
  • Daily activities “a-la-carte” (Daily choice of hikes, soft adventure or cultural activities).
  • Entrance fees to tourist and archeological sites (Includes one day entrance to Machu Picchu and a permit to entry Huayna Picchu).
  • 4 or 6 nights (According to the program) of accommodation in lodges/ hotels.
  • All Meals (Except breakfast on day 1 and dinner on the last day of the program).
  • Guides services (Excluding moments in the program which are labeled on your own).
  • All gratuities (Excluding guides).

Best for:

Couples

Not as good for:

Little Greenies

Other Necessary Information

We always recommend that our guests spend at least two nights in Cusco prior to the start of your trekking adventure (if your travel allows it) in order to better adjust to the elevation. We would be happy to take care of your hotel reservations, transfers and can set up personalized tours during your stay in Cusco. Enjoy exploring the city of Cusco and its surroundings, which offer many great cultural and historical attractions. Additionally, you can enjoy fine dining, traditional shows, and bargain shopping.

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