Our Ultimate Lares Trek offers the ideal blend of mountain scenery, glacial lakes, waterfalls, high plains, and charming Andean villages. With opportunities to bask in the lovely hot-springs at Lares village, or barter for weavings at local markets, each day will offer a new adventure. The final site of the Pumamarca ruins and the picturesque walk along an original Inca trail beside massive and well- preserved Inca terraces, will guide you to the back entrance of Ollantaytambo, which signifies the completion of this voyage. From the Inca Fortress town of Ollantaytambo, you will board the famous Vistadome train for the scenic ride to KM 104 where you will embark on your journey along the Royal Inca Trail to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu! Spend the night in the charming town of Machu Picchu Pueblo, allowing for an early morning experience an entire day exploration of this new wonder of the modern world. Relish in the history of these spectacular ancient ruins, led by an expert guide. Return to Cusco at the end of it all, left dreaming of your recent adventure.
* This trip includes a 5 day small group trek with a few private, customized days pre-trek.
Welcome to Peru! Upon arrival at the airport in Cusco, you will be greeted by your driver, who will be waiting for at the barrier outside the arrivals gate (he/she will be holding a sign with your name on it). They will transfer you directly to the hotel*, for a smooth and comfortable start to your adventure.(This service is on a private basis.)
*Please Note: Check-in is not until 2:00 PM. Early check-in is on request, however it cannot be guaranteed. In the event your room is not ready you will be able to store your luggage at the hotel and explore the surrounding area on your own until check-in time.
After you have had some time to settle in you will meet your guide for your introductory tour of Cusco. You will have an expert guide at your disposal to show you some of the highlights of this beautiful city. Tell him what you like and he can advise as to the best route for your tour.
You may choose to start with the Plaza de Armas and a visit to its impressive cathedral. Qoricancha temple, once home to life-sized statues in solid gold is another very popular option.
If time permits, you could visit one of the bustling markets, full of tropical fruits fresh from the Amazon or even head up through the San Blas artisan district to San Cristobal church for a spectacular view over the red-tiled rooftops of Cusco. At a convenient time, your guide will arrange a full briefing for the days ahead. (This service is on a group basis.)
This lovely walking (or vehicle) tour is a superb introduction into the Inca heritage of Peru.
This morning you will set off to stretch your legs with a delightful hike in the hills above Cusco. First, you will visit the impressive site of Sacsayhuaman. Huge stone ramparts surround a beautiful grass amphitheater here, a sight not to be missed! Once the scene of fierce battles, it now hosts the annual re-enactment of traditional Inca ceremonies such as Inti Raymi and Warachikuy. On Sundays, you typically see families from Cusco head up here to play, fly kites and dig traditional huatias, a method of cooking potatoes in the ground.
Next up on your excursion, is the Inca water temple of Tambo Machay lying at 3700m (12,000 feet) followed by a special picnic lunch. A trail through the fields leads you to the intricately carved Inca Temple of the Moon. From here, a beautifully preserved section of the royal Inca Trail leads you down into the old San Blas district, home to the city's artists and finally into the Plaza de Armas. Admire the impressive cathedral there, before making your way to Qoricancha temple, once home to life sized statues in solid gold. (This service is on a group basis.)
Today's adventure takes you to the Sacred Valley. First head towards Chinchero plain before taking a dirt road to the incredible ruins of Moray. These rarely visited circular ruins are thought to have been agricultural experimental stations in the times of the Incas. After visiting the ruins you follow an ancient mule trail with spectacular views of the snow capped Cordillera Vilcanota. You will also see examples of the finest Andean farming on our way. You head back across the plains to the interesting town of Maras for lunch.
In the afternoon you descend from Maras to the amazing Salinas, a series of salt pans that have been worked since Inca times. You explore this amazing site then descend to the Urubamba river and your awaiting vehicle, which returns you to your hotel in Urubamba for the night. (This service is on a group basis.)
This morning you will depart for your trek! A scenic drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas takes you to the start of your trek, at the small village of Totora. You follow an ancient Inca trail into a narrow canyon, where Inca tombs perch in the cliffs. Emerging from the canyon you pass through tiny rural communities before arriving at a delicious picnic lunch. Your bus then takes you to the small and very traditional community of Quishuarani, your camp for the night (3700m/12,140ft). (This service is on a group basis.)
This is a stunning day of hiking. You leave camp behind and climb past colorfully dressed locals, and up towards the native forests that we have been heavily involved in re-planting. These forests harbor Andean deer, vizcachas and several rare species of birds and are essential to the future of this area.
A further push and you reach the stunning views from your highest pass of the trek, the Huchayccasa pass (4450 m/14600 ft). A chain of emerald blue lakes fills the hillside below you, and in the distance rise the snow clad Urubamba mountains. Descending through hand turned potato fields you come to the ancient community of Cuncani at (3800m/12,4600 ft).
Fueled by a hearty lunch you carry on along the valley floor to reach the once notorious village of Huacahuasi. Once home to bandits and cattle rustlers, it is now a peaceful place to spend the night. You are sure to be visited by local women selling the hand woven textiles for which the area is famous and entertained by the cheery local children who accompany you as you walk. (This service is on a group basis.)
Another great day awaits you. After a hearty breakfast, you begin to climb gently towards your final pass. This is a day filled with encounters with locals. Strong-legged men head off to work in the potato fields, wooden plows slung over their shoulder. Rough-handed women sit, legs outstretched weaving their traditional clothes on wooden looms. And small children sit motionless guarding herds of alpaca and llama, their ever faithful dog by their side.
From your camp, you begin towards the final pass. Lying at 4,200m/13,780ft the Ipsaycocha pass marks the border between Lares and the Patacancha Valley. You start gently and then climb one final steep section to gain the summit. If you are lucky, you will have spectacular views of Mount Veronica. You take lunch by the beautiful Ipsay lake then follow an ancient trail to the Patacancha Valley and the village of Patacancha where the trek ends. Our waiting vehicle takes you to your hotel in Ollantaytambo for the night so you can enjoy a refreshing shower and soft bed. (This service is on a group basis.)
Early this morning you'll leave the hotel and walk to Ollantaytambo Train station to catch the train to Machu Picchu. Jumping off at KM104 you pass through the control point and begin your Royal Inca Trail trek.
First, you visit the recently restored ruins of Chachabamba before gradually ascending through tropical cloud forest up towards the base of Wiñay Wayna. Here you climb more steeply on old Inca stairways through these beautiful terraces, stopping to explore the various buildings and water features.
Here we can enjoy our packed lunch, with a great view. You then continue on perhaps the loveliest part of the whole Inca Trail. Lush vegetation flanks you on either side, the scent of wild orchids fills the air, and all around you brightly colored tropical songbirds fill your ears with song.
Soon you will reach a final set of stairs to arrive at Inti Punku, the gateway of the Sun. As you step through the old stone gateway, Machu Picchu appears laid out before your eyes. After plenty of photos, you carry on past this wonder of the world to catch the bus down to the lively town of Machu Picchu Pueblo and a well-deserved hotel and shower.
Total hiking distance: 11 km
*Please Note: While walking all you need is your daypack as your overnight luggage will be transferred to your hotel in Machu Picchu town to await your arrival. (This service is on a group basis.)
Today you explore the pinnacle of Inca engineering - Machu Picchu. For years it was lost to the jungle. Rediscovered in 1911 by the Yale professor Hiram Bingham, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, Machu Picchu exceeds all expectations. This astounding site lies in an even more astonishing location. Perched high on an inaccessible hilltop it is protected by huge cliffs and the raging Urubamba river. Things are slightly easier now than in the time of the Incas and so you start your day with a twenty-minute bus ride up to the site.
You will arrive early, allowing you to explore the ruins in the company of your guide, before they get too busy. The guided tour takes around two hours leaving you a few hours free to wander amongst the old Inca walls and just sit and take in the scale of the place on your own. For those who want to walk a bit more, you could take the hour long trail up to the Sun Gate, or a shorter trail to visit the Inca Bridge which once spanned a sheer cliff face.
Eventually, the time comes to catch the bus down to Machu Picchu Pueblo and board your train back along the Urubamba River. The scenery is beautiful and the train jolts softly along, allowing you to sit, stare out the window and reflect on a wonderful week. (This service is on a group basis.)
Upon arrival in Ollantaytambo train station at 5:30 PM you'll be transferred to your hotel in Cusco. Enjoy the evening to rest and relax at your leisure!
Sadly, the time has come to say goodbye to Peru. At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the airport in good time to board your ongoing departure flight...Buen Viaje! (This service is on a private basis.)
One of our top picks in Cusco, this restored republican house from the 17th century is located in the artisan neighborhood of San Blas. The hotel has 20 rooms, two cozy patios, a massage room, breakfast area, and terrace. Highly rated for cleanliness, featuring free WiFi access and a daily breakfast, Quinta San Blas by Ananay Hotels provides accommodation with impeccable service in Cusco. The property is 100m from Hatun Rumiyoc and 200m from San Blas Church. Rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV, a safety-deposit box and a wardrobe. All of them have private bathrooms with free toiletries. The 24-hour front desk provides helpful information for getting around the area.
Located in the heart of the Sacred Valley of Cusco, boutique hotel Lizzy Wasi is a haven that boasts a refined yet cozy ambience. A refurbished century- old adobe cottage, it offers a unique environment surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, ideal for relaxation and refueling. Lizzy Wasi is run by its owner, Liz, an American who came to Peru and fell in love with the country and its people. She will make sure that you receive comfortable accommodations and detailed personal attention that will make your trip an unparalleled journey of adventure and pleasure. Each guest room, authentically decorated, counts with details such as goose down blankets, security safes, and hair dryers.
Camping on the Lares Trail is an experience like no other. Meet and become friends with the porters and cooks that will support your journey as you weave your way through the Peruvian Andes. While walking all you need to carry is a daypack. Your luggage is carried by the porters, your tents are put up for you and your food is prepared for you. All you have to do is shoulder your daypack and enjoy the walking. Tents are new and sturdy and can fit up to two people each. Nothing beats waking to the smell of breakfast and stepping out of your tent to spectacular panoramic views of the mountains.
Hotel Pakaritampu is located in the town of Ollantaytambo, in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, 1 hour and 30 minutes by car from Cusco. The local train station of Ollantaytambo offers easy access to Machu Picchu, on a scenic journey that is just 1 hour and 15 minutes away from the hotel. The property boasts 37 guestrooms that feature spectacular views of the area, lovely balconies, and a private bath with hot water and a shower. Nestled in the mystical wonders of the Andes, you will be surrounded by picturesque gardens and a variety of typical flora of the region.
Step into the smart, contemporary and cozy confines of El MaPi, amidst the picturesque Machu Picchu Pueblo. Discover an efficient, lively and friendly atmosphere, which will welcome you into a wondrous escape from real life worries. The flowing lobby creates a sense of vitality. Lofty ceilings, panoramic windows and an open air cafe, allow natural light to filter between tall eucalyptus dried branches, creating a lovely and relaxing ambiance. Make the most of your enlightening visit to Peru’s most famous destination, the Machu Picchu archaeological site, with the perfect home away from home at El MaPi.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.
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