A less visited trekking region that can be visited before Machu Picchu
Included meals are indicated in parentheses: (B,L,D)
Arrive to Lima, former capital of the Spanish empire in the Americas, and transfer to your first class hotel ideally located in the Miraflores district, Lima’s main cultural and commercial district. This is the best area of town for strolling around and is home to many of Lima’s best restaurants. (If you are interested and time permits, private tours of Lima or visits to any of Lima’s museums can be arranged; we can also arrange culinary tours focusing on Peru’s increasingly renowned cuisine or art tours for those with special interests.)
Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores (upgrades available to Hotel B, Miraflores Park Hotel, and others)
You will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight over the Andes to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire. Upon arrival in Cusco, you will be met for transfer into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The Sacred Valley is at lower elevation from Cusco (9,000 instead of 11,000 feet) and provides a more comfortable place to acclimatize. En route to your hotel you will stop at the ruins of Pisac, where you will have great views of the Sacred Valley and the opportunity to do some easy downhill walking. Afterward, you will stop for lunch at an acclaimed local restaurant and then be dropped off at your hotel, a traveler favorite in the region due to its local charm and beautiful location.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
Today you have a privately guided tour visiting some of the most impressive and interesting sites in the Sacred Valley, including Maras, Moray and Ollantaytambo. You’ll get out and see the Sacred Valley on your own two feet, with the chance to do some acclimatization walking (your private guide will be there to accommodate whatever level of additional hiking you want to do; additional days of acclimatization can be added as desired/needed).
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
Today you start the Lares Trek. You transfer to the town of Huaran, where you begin by walking upwards along a mountain stream towards the east, steadily gaining ground. As you leave the Sacred Valley behind you, you enter into an area that has changed very little in the thousands of years that people have lived here. Arrive to Cancha Cancha, a small village of stone houses in a valley below Pachacutec Pass. Your camp will already be set up for you when you arrive. (Total elevation gain: about 3000 feet; about 6 hours of hiking; overnight at elevation of 13,080 feet.)
Camp at Cancha Cancha (B,L,D)
Your trek continues as you wind your way up to Pachacutec Pass, at 15,480 feet. The pass, named after the most storied leader in Incan history, is suitably spectacular, surrounded by snow capped peaks with magnificent views in both directions. You will pass stone houses and herding communities along the way. You continue down towards the traditional village of Quiswarani where you will camp for the night. (Total elevation gain: about 2000 feet; about 7 hours of hiking; overnight at elevation of 12,600 feet.)
Camp at Quiswarani (B,L,D)
Your trek finishes with a hike up to Huilquihasa Pass (14,600 feet), past emerald lagoons and with expansive Andean views. After arriving to Cuncani, you follow a gently sloping path along the Lares River toward the Hot Springs. The temperature rises as you come out of the higher Andes where you’ve spent the last 2 nights. Enjoy an unhurried dip in the Hot Springs and take in the easygoing atmosphere of this scenic mountain valley. (About 5-6 hours of hiking; overnight at elevation of 10,500 feet.)
Camp at Lares(B,L,D)
Today after breakfast you will transfer by vehicle down into the Sacred Valley from Lares (about 2 hours scenic drive), to the starting point of your hike, which begins at the Urubamba River and follows an uphill trajectory until it meets up with the classic Inca Trail. You then continue along the last part of the Inca Trail until you get to Inti Punku (the Gate of the Sun) where you get your first view of Machu Picchu. Descend to the ruins for a visit before heading down to Aguas Calientes to rest. You will do an in-depth exploration of Machu Picchu starting in the morning. About 5 hours total hiking today.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B,L,D)
Today you make a visit to Machu Picchu in the early morning to observe the ruins. This is a great way to experience the site when there are far fewer people around. You’ll have the chance to hike up to Huayna Picchu as well, the mountain that towers above Machu Picchu. After visiting the ruins you will make your way down to the train station for your afternoon train back to Cusco.
Palacio del Inka (upgrades to Palacio Nazarenas or other hotels are available) (B)
Today you have a privately guided tour of this fascinating city, visiting the historical highlights and also making a visit to the massive fortress of Sacsahuaman that sits on the hill overlooking all of Cusco. This fortress is where the Incans made their fiercest stand against the Spanish conquistadors. You’ll have the option to walk down from Sacsahuaman to central Cusco by way of the San Blas neighborhood. Dinner on your own out at one of the city’s excellent restaurants.
Palacio del Inka (B)
In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival to Lima you will have assistance at the airport in making your connecting flight home. If you have extra time in Lima, we often arrange a driver for our clients so you can go out to eat or see some of Lima prior to your departure.