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This alternative trekking tour gives you a wide-open angle focused on the Andean Culture of the Sacred Valley. You’ll spend several days at either one or two remote Andean communties and trek in between. You’ll be able to live alongside local farmers with stays within the communites. Learn from them personally about how they keep their local traditions and of course eat what they grow on their farms too. There are a wide array of activities you can participate in including, farmining, weaving, traditional stone masonry and carpentry, fishing. In the final part of the trip, we hike on a rarely travelled Inka trail route down to the archealogical site of Pisac for a guided tour before a transfer back to either Cusco or on to Machu Picchu or any other destination upon request.
Is it for you?? Make sure you have some degree of open-mindedness when it comes to crossing cultures and whats available e.g wifi or phone signals in some places might not be possible! Ensure your fitness and stamina are already adequate for multiple day hiking. Altitude ranges from 3800m-4100m so you would also need to take this into account, e.g you should have been acclimated (2 days at least) before embarking on the trip.
NOTE – this trip can be made into just a 2 day visit (one community only) or a 3 day visit (one or two communities). Cost and amount of inclusions would reduce.
*The initial price showed is based on a group of a minimum of 4 people. However, if you are a group of more than 4 people, the price will adjust with discounts accordingly at the moment of booking.*
First day 8.30 or 10:00 am departure.
Normally, we leave around 10am so that we can stop along the way at various points of interest.
However, If you wish to leave a little earlier (8.30am) in order to visit the Inka sites of Sacsayhuaman Puca Pukara, Qenqo and Tambo Machay, let us know in advance and we can include the ticket for just another $25 USD per person, but the guide and transport is already included and paid for this day as everything is along the way.
For snacks we can try Empanadas at a local bakery and a traditional corn with cheese.
(We will get a bigger meal in the evening at the village).
Afterwards we will visit the Potato park where you can find 100+ varieties of Potato and try some of them if you like.
Our local family live in the village of Amaru located very near to the potato park.
Your hosts for the evening would be Rufina and Elojidio. They are both farmers and weavers and can demonstrate to you their skills on what they do. They also have several children.
In the evening, we receive a hearty dinner in Amaru community, bed for 1 night. Private Rooms for 2 people then a hearty breakfast the next morning. Courtesy towels, hot showers are available too. No WIFI
After breakfast we need to walk 1 hour to a large lake called Quimsacocha (4000m). After some time navigating the lake and photos we started another lake, Azulcocha (4100m) in 30 minutes without much climbing. For the third lake (possible the most exotic, but needing to climb for 1 hour more) and 350 meters to Pumacocha and a superb panoramic view of the area with Azulcocha below. We are continue to our next stay at the village of Viacha hiking down for around 3 hours
Note: If you wish to reduce hiking and use time for fishing on the lake then this could also be offered at an extra cost.
Trekking time 4-5 hours or less depending if all 3 lakes are covered.
During our hike down to our guesthouse stay in the small village of Viacha, along the way it may be possible to view some ancient rock paintings as well as the nearby lagoons.
At our accommodation we are introduced to Julian and his children (Noe and Rosemaria). Julian built his house with his own hands using local materials and constructed using techniques passed down from the Inkas. His house vibrates warmth and homeliness. He has a treasure trove of antiques such as farming tools, textiles, musical instruments and weapons some of which are originals found in the area, whilst others are replicas he made himself.
He has catalogued all the native plants and herbs of the area and will give a short lecture on their uses as well as the rest of the crops that grow on the surrounding farms.We will then take dinner and discuss the activities for the next day.
After a local dinner we have comfortable if basic accommodation in private rooms of 2-3 and bathrooms are outside in their own block and also have gas powered showers. Towels and bed linin are supplied it will be cold so thermal underwear and warm socks ideal for the sleep.
Build a Huitia (traditional oven)
This where you need to build a small oven in the style of an Igloo using hardened mud and stones. You feed the inside with straw for it to gain heat adding in native potatoes when hot enough. Then you smash it, collapsing the entire construction and leave the roasted potatoes to be carefully picked out when cool enough.
Weaving with Alpaca Wool
Julian has a herd of 30 Alpacas. We can learn how they take the wool, wash it, dye it and finally weave it using giant looms into some of the finest fabric you can find on the market
Trout fishing at the nearby Lake
Learn the local way of fishing for trout. There is a 1 hour uphill hike involved in getting there and half hour return on the downhill.
Traditional farming and agriculture
No machines allowed. This is all hands on deck and using some of the original tools used for centuries. Except to lend a hand and join in with the labor so not for the faint-hearted, but an experience of a life-time.
Traditional stone Masonry and Carpentry
Learn skills from Julian himself as he shows how he sculpts stone and wood to using traditional techniques typical of the housing in the area.
Note – Most of the activities take several hours so we would ideally have time to do one of them in the morning and one of them in the afternoon with a traditional ‘Pachamanca’ lunch where the food is cooked in a hole in the ground.
Today, we head down on Inka Trail route back into the Sacred Valley.
After breakfast we say goodbye to our hosts and begin the walk down to Pisac on ancient Inka trail. Most of this route has yet to be completely restored and as such has still not been caught up in the tourism hype such as the Inka trail in to Machu Picchu. However given we are heading towards another spectacular archaeological site and an abundance of stunning views and small Inka ruins all the way, we highly rate this non-touristic version!
We will finish with a guided tour of the main site which displaces some of the finest examples of Inka terraces anywhere in the country. We then continue into the scenic town of Pisac itself full of markets and shops and options for a lunch at your own discretion.
Total trek time 2.2.5 hours (add 1.5 hours more for stops with the guide and tour of the ruins)
Drive time back to Cusco from here is less than 1 hour. Or on to Ollantaytambo (for train to Machu Picchu) in 1 hr and 40 minutes.