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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 trek for several days on different custom-designed routes that interconnect the more remote villages, the less travelled Inka trails and rarely visited ruins. This is the ultimate off-beaten path adventure and incorporates a wide array of what to expect here from a locals point of view. Passing by Inka towns that kept its orignal form, Inka terraces still used to farm on, where oxes still plough the fields and where you can still find the pathways that local farmers young and old drove their herds of Llamas and Alpacas generations ago and still do-so, today. Better still, you’ll be able to live alongside them with stays within the communitys and your own personal family. Learn from them personally about how they keep their local traditions and of course eat what they grow on their farms too. In the second part of the trip, we transfer around the back of the Cordilleria Vilcanota and into the high jungles of the Cusco region but where farming is still ever-present albeit other crops such as Yuccas, Avodacos, Mangos, Plantains and Coffee. Again we offer a hands-on intergrative experience whilst passing through and getting to know what its really like for the native people.
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 full day hiking. For example, on some days you will be hiking just a 3-4 hours and some days 6, 7 or 8. Altitude ranges from 2000m-4400m so you would also need to take this into account, e.g you should have been acclimated (2 days at least) before attempting the hike on day 1.
*The initial price showed is based on a group of a minimum of 2 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 9:00 am departure.
Normally, we leave from the main square at 8am in order to transit to the neighbouring town of San Jeronimo which is around 40 minutes outside of downtown Cusco. Please buy your snacks for lunch before the starting point. From there, (3200m) we hike up past the farms and forests of Eucalyptus for 3.5 hours on some little tough trails to Huaccoto village 4088m. We can stop in the pampa there for snacks and picnic and then continue up to the top in 30-45 minutes and continue through to the other side of the 4250m in another 1 hour 15 minutes we shall have our first amazing views of the Sacred Valley below. From there, we are going down purely for 2 hours until a famous and spectacular church. For around 350 years pilgrims have made the route every September 14. After time for photos we transfer to Pisac (15 minutes) where we can either decide to take time for wifi in a cafe or some exploration of this pretty town. After which, we are continuing 25 minutes further by van to the village of Amaru (4000m) and our accommodation on a farm with the Elojidio and Rufinas family. The products from their farm they used to cook with are all natural and organic.
Trekking time 7 hours from San Jeronimo or 4-5 hours if taking additional transport to Huacoto and omiting 2.5 hours uphill.
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 return back down in 2 hours back to our viallge of Amaru same as previous night.
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.
This is the day for visiting the archaeological ruins of Huchuy Qosqo and walking a very nice trail in a canyon with waterfalls.
The first part will be driving from our homestay to the Sacred Valley floor until the viallge of Lamay (famous for spit-roasted guinea pig) then travelling up in a car to the ruins (2 hours in total from homestay to ruins). We have significant time for photographing the walls and terraces of this Inka site that almost nobody visits.Afterwards, we’ll trek about 1.5 hours to the village of Pucamarca and can take our picnic at some scenic spot there. And then go up another 1.5 hours to the high pass and 4335m in elevation to where we can see a panoramic 360 ° view and a large lake (Qoricocha). From there, we descend downwards to Lake Piuray in 1.5 to 2 hours.
At the end of the trek, we need to take a short ride from the lake to rest in the beautiful town of Chincheros where there are many cottages offering locally handmade crafts and artisanal textile wares – our homestay will be one of them.
Tonight we have the opportunity to stay at the home of Pascual, Fortunada and their 11 year old son Diego.
Pascual is largely involved in the Chinchero community as one of the high member he works on his ceramics projects as well as a potato farmer. Fortunada is an expert weaver and offers a short workshop to give you an insight to her hand-weaving, hand-dye techniques using natural products
Trekking time 5-6 hours
Today, we head down on Inka Trail route back into the Sacred Valley. We start trekking from some Inka Terraces and find some great views and eucalyptus forests. The descent should take us no more than 3 hours to complete.On the second half of the day (the afternoon) we have lunch in a restaurant in the town of Urubamba, we can also take any laundry from these last days to be washed, then go to our homestay in the community of Chichubamba.
Tonight we stay with Nerys and her sister Monica who run the homestay accommodation in Chichabamba and also cacao workshop were you can roast and make artisanal chocolate, along with their neighbour Bernadiño who has his artisanal ceramics workshop where you get to mould clay and paint designs.
Trekking time 3 hours
At around 9am we head off from our homestay and go to the viewpoint of the Salineras Salt terraces. The Salt Terraces of Maras are thousands of small plots of land where salt precipates naturally forming deposits all around, the salt is then taking and process to becoming what we have on our dinner tables in Cusco and elsewhere. Salt ornaments as well as bath-salts, spiced salts and salty chocolate are all for sale at the various shops located on-site. In the second part of the day, we would start around 1-1.30pm from the main square of Ollantaytambo town. We need to climb about 2 hours to get to the small Inka fort of Pumamarka. Along the way we take a gradual path, steeper in some places passing through Inka terraces, a few river crossings and some remote farm-houses. With of course some splendid viewing Time to take in the views and have some snacks at the ruins. From there it is an easy 1 hour quick descent down zigzag pathways and steps to the village of Pallata in Patacancha valley and onto or homestay community of Huilloc around 1 hour or less if we get a taxi or local van.
Trekking time 4-5 hoursDaD
Today is more of a travel day but still with some time to relax at some wonderful hot springs at the end of the drive.
We start around 9.30am for our family breakfast at our homestay, we need to travel back down the entire Patacancha valley and time to the valley and onto the town of Ollantaytambo.
We then we head up a continuously snaking road up to the pass of Abra de Malaga at 4450m with some astounding views of the Veronica glacier if clear enough (can often be misty) and dramatic scenery behind us. We then glide down the other side into the denser vegetation which soon transforms into more tropical like growth, banana plantations quickly appear everywhere and humidity becomes suddenly obvious. We stop for a buffet lunch in beautiful surroundings and a chance to visit a small Inka site called Huamanmarca.In the afternoon, we will get to the hot-springs of Cocalmayo where we can relax until sunset.
We then head to the community of Lucmabamba and stay next to the coffee plantations with a local family
In the morning, we start with an interactive coffee tour with the local community who demonstrate the traditional methods of which they organically cultivate their coffee plantations. There will be opportunity for everyone to toast and grind the coffee beans as well as try their organic coffee. You can buy products from them if you wish. We will then continue through the coffee and banana plantations, we can also look out for granadillas – a member of the passion fruit family, yucca and avocados. After lunch, A walk uphill of around 700m and 3 hours takes you through beautiful garden-like scenery. Fruit trees, flowers, coffee and banana plantations are in abundance. Some of the path is ancient Inka trail and just over 3 hours with stops you should arrive to the most wonderful view over to Machu Picchu. Here there are some Inka Tambos (Small rest houses) known by the name as Llactapata. Llactapata was supposedly an Inka site or religious temple with incredible energies. We try to appreciate this remarkable site and view point to Machu Picchu by getting there when there are no groups and it will be peaceful. We then descend with another 30 minutes to our simple rustic lodges but incredible viewpoint that offer what is hopefully an amazing panoramic for both the sunset and sunrise.
Trekking time 4 hours
After breakfast, we hike downhill for 2 hours to the start of the railway known as ‘hidroelectrica’. Around 10, we can continue on a flat section along the railway for 2 hours
Lunch will be taken at a spot about half-way along the railway – there could be the option to detour at some local waterfalls known as ‘Mandor garden’. depending on time and trek stamina.We should arrive to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu village) by late afternoon. At this time we can relax once checked into the hotel.
We offer a free evening to decide where you want to eat as dinner is not included for the final evening. We will arrange for the guide to meet you in reception at some time in the evening so you have the plan fresh for the next morning when you go to Machu Picchu.
Today is the day to visit the ruins of Machu Picchu. We start after breakfast around 7.30am before taking a 25 minute shuttle bus to the main entrance where we meet our guide and go inside to explore and some personal time with photos. We then proceed on a tour of the main citadel with the guide and the most important parts of this Inka city. Our time-slot only allocates us a few hours to enjoy, but with an early start people will be getting hungry early too, so we can head down to get lunch in town and then board our train at 2.30, 2.55, or 3.20pm to get as back to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley in 1.5 hours, then a 2 hour drive by road onto Cusco for a reasonable hour around 6-7pm so time to eat out in the evening once back.
Trekking would be 1.5-2 hours around the main Inka site and also to walk back down from the ruins to town 1.5 hours. or take the shuttle bus.