5 days from £2000pp plus international flights.
This lodge to lodge adventure takes in some brilliant hiking and the traditional villages of the Lares region in the mountains around the Sacred Valley. You will get an insight into the past and present day life. It combines the iconic Inca site of Machu Picchu with scenes of rural life, little changed over the centuries, as men and women dressed in brightly-coloured hand-woven textiles work agricultural terraces, tend animal herds, walk the mountain passes between villages and trade at local markets.
You'll be trekking along ancient routes through valleys and across lofty mountain passes, pausing to admire the snow-capped Andean peaks and panoramic vistas. There are villages, too, and Inca sites to explore along the way.
All this leads up to Machu Picchu, famous 'lost city of the Incas', which you'll explore with your guide on the final day of the holiday. That first tantalising sight, often through swirling early morning mist and cloud, is unforgettable. As the cloud lifts you'll become aware of the sheer scale of the citadel, and, walking among the ruins, the insights of your guide coupled with your own imagination will bring the scene vividly to life.
With the help of a driver and vehicle you'll be able to access more remote areas than would be possible by trekking alone, and should you prefer not to trek on any particular day you can ride in the vehicle, still enjoying the scenery. The guide will also be able to offer alternative hikes and activities each day according to fitness levels and personal interests, so this is a flexible itinerary. Accommodation is in comfortable mountain lodges in gorgeous settings, with all creature comforts, plus a simple lodge at Ollantaytambo. At Machu Picchu you'll be staying in a top notch hotel.
If you want to meet real people, experience day-to-day life in the Andes, see amazing Inca sites and learn about culture past and present, this holiday is just what you're looking for.
This holiday begins early on day 1 in Cusco and includes a pre-tour briefing in the eve of the trip, and ends late in Cusco on day 5. For this reason you will need at least one night's accommodation in Cusco at either end of the itinerary, which we will be happy to book for you.
There is a longer, 7-day version of this trek, visiting the community of Chinchero and the Inca site of Huchuyqosqo, and including a longer hike from Quiswarani village. Please contact us for details.
You'll leave Cusco early this morning, driving into the Sacred Valley for about an hour to the start of the trek, at an altitude of 3,850m. You'll be walking steadily uphill for about 2 hours to Challwaccasa Pass (4.250m) with time to pause and take in the panoramic mountain views. Heading back down you'll have lunch at the Viacha community, cooked in the traditional manner beneath hot stones. Then you'll follow the route along a restored Inca trail to the site of Pisac, with its impressive agricultural terraces. There's plenty of time to explore before continuing to Pisac village from where your driver will take you to Lamay Lodge for dinner and an overnight stay. The hiking time today is about 6 hours. Lunch, dinner
After breakfast and a walking tour of Lamay it's a 2 hour drive towards Lares, north of the Sacred Valley. En-route you'll stop at the ruins of Ancasmarca for a guided tour. You'll have lunch in Lares, after which there's a choice of activities. You can drive to the small town of Choquecancha to view the Inca ruins and colonial church, or do an easy 2-4 hour hike near Quelquena. If you're feeling more energetic you can tackle a moderate 4-5 hour hike near Cuncani village. Whichever option you select you should be at Huacahuasi Lodge in time to shower and change before dinner. Full board
You'll set off from the lodge, walking through Huacahuasi village, witnessing people in traditional dress as they go about their everyday lives, including women working on weaving looms. A broad trail leads gently uphill to the Ipsayocha Pass (4,499m). As you walk you'll encounter local people travelling between villages, many leading animals. From the pass you'll descend to Lake Ipsayocha for lunch. Keep your eyes open for condors soaring high in the sky. The route carries on to the village of Patacancha (3,848m), another weaving centre. From here you'll be driven to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley and your hotel for the night. Today's hiking time is about 6.5 hours, including lunch. Full board
This morning you have a choice between an easy hike to the Inca site of Pinkuylluna, or a tougher route that visits the higher ruins and rewards you with even better views. You'll be back in Ollantaytambo by mid morning for a guided tour. This site was settled in the 15th century and retains the original Inca grid layout and many fine stone buildings. In the late morning you'll catch the train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the foot of Machu Picchu, enjoying a picnic lunch on board. Having checked in to Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel, you'll have the afternoon free to stroll around the gardens and explore the town. Breakfast, lunch
After an early breakfast you'll head up to Machu Picchu where your guide will take you on a 2-hour walking tour of the citadel, telling you about its history and letting you soak up the special atmosphere that pervades the ruins. If you want you'll have the chance to climb the steep Inca staircase of Huayna Picchu, a tough 2-hour hike that is rewarded by magnificent views of the mountain peaks. You'll return to the hotel in Aguas Calientes for lunch, later taking the train to Ollantaytambo. From here it's a 1-2 hour drive back to Cusco, arriving around 7-8pm, where you'll be dropped off at your hotel. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £2000 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2017 guide price pp sharing: £2000 on fixed departures from March to December.
2 nights twin-share accommodation in mountain lodges; 2 night twin-share hotel accommodation; all meals from lunch on day 1 to lunch on the last day; tea, coffee, filtered water and soft drinks at the mountain lodges; transport to and from your hotel in Cusco; vehicle transfers as specified; vehicle to transport baggage; guide; return train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes; guided tour of Machu Picchu; entrance fee to Machu Picchu and permit for Huayna Picchu
International flights and taxes; visas; vaccinations; insurance; accommodation in Cusco; alcoholic drinks; all drinks at the hotels; tips; personal expenses; optional activities (eg Machu Picchu visit on day 4)
Getting there: This trip starts and ends in Cusco. You'll need a flight to Lima and a connecting domestic flight to Cusco. From Europe Iberia Airlines and KLM are most frequently used for this route. Return flights from the UK will cost from about £900. We are happy to book flights for you.
How this holiday helps
This excellent Andean trek in Peru is run by a company committed to helping their local communities. They work through a charity arm known as Yanapana.
Taking this trek not only helps local people, but it's a great experience for you as you stay in comfy but remote mountain lodges, and there is flexibility in how much hiking you have to do.
Yanapana is a not-for-profit Civil Association whose purpose is to reduce the condition of extreme poverty in the Andean Highlands, and improve the quality of life through sustainable community development. Most of the projects are related to education and health for those families and individuals in poverty so they have helped schools and clinics, but they also help with income-generating projects such as organic coffee production, women making handmade textile, provision of clothing in the cold periods and so on.
Their work here is invaluable to many people, and taking this trek helps them achieve their goals.
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Find the best time to visit Peru
Flight time: Both KLM and Iberia have flights to Lima via Europe, leaving the UK early in the morning to arrive in Lima in the evening. The flight time is about 14 hours. It is also possible to fly to Lima via America.
Language: Spanish and Quechua are the official languages.
Visas: Not required for British travellers (up to 90 days). EC nationals can ask us for further advice.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if visiting the rainforest. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended in the rainforest.