Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley of the Incas

Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley of the Incas

Destination: South America  |  Duration: 12 days  |  Call to Personalize your Custom Journey

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley truly are the wonders of Peru. Take yourself on a mysterious and magical journey to the iconic citadel in the sky built at the height of the Inca Empire. Then descend by train into a land of gorgeous landscapes, isolated villages and colonial towns, and the temple and palace ruins of the Sacred Valley to the Inca.

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Day 1: Peru and the Sacred Valley

Once you arrive in Cusco your private driver will be waiting to whisk you away to your home for the next three nights in picturesque Ollantaytambo, the heart of the sacred valley. The quaint little town of Ollanta is home to two massive Inca ruins and is the best surviving example of Inca city planning. It’s been inhabited continuously since the 13th century and is the perfect place to experience daily life in the Sacred Valley, especially in the evenings once the hordes of tourists of passed through on their way to Cusco or Machu Picchu.

Night in Ollantaytambo

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley

Day 2: Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo

Today you are picked up at the hotel and head towards the town of Pisaq. This town is famous for its Indian Market held in the town’s main square. You will be able to appreciate handcrafted ceramics, jewelry, woven items and lots of other interesting articles made by the local artisans.  After our visits to the Pisaq Market, we keep going until our arrival to the city of Urubamba where we will stop for a buffet lunch. In the afternoon we will head back towards the town of Ollantaytambo, where the famous fortress is located.

Night in Ollantaytambo

Moray Salt Mines

Day 3: Salt Mines and Chinchero Market

We will head towards the town of Maras. Very close to the village, we can find the oldest salt mines in the continent. These mines provided salt to the Inca Empire. Salt was of extreme importance to the Incas, it was used to preserve food. The locals still work these mines. After Maras, we will visit the town of Moray famous for its “andenes” (platforms created by the Incas to experiment with the different micro-climates for agricultural purposes.

In the afternoon you will enjoy a private guided trip to Chinchero village. The visit combines Inca archeological sites, typical Andean community, a colonial church, and a colorful market which to date, on its “market day” practice the tradition of “barter” goods. On the way you will see some of the most scenic spots in the Sacred Valley.

Night in Ollantaytambo

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley

Day 4: Private Tour of Machu Picchu

You will board the Vistadome Train to go to Aguas Calientes where your guide will be waiting to take you on your tour of Machu Picchu. The city was built by the Incas on a narrow ridge between Machu Picchu (“old peak” in the local Quechua language) mountain and Huayna Picchu (“young peak”) mountain at an elevation of 8,000 feet. In order to truly understand the significance of the Lost City of the Incas is to know that the Incas revered nature and worshipped Pacha Mama, or Mother Earth.

During this comprehensive guided tour, you will learn about and see such significant sites of the ruins such as the Temple of the Condor and how it points in the direction of the sun. Or how in the Temple of the Sun, the sun enters one window during summer solstice and how the sun enters a different window during winter solstice. And you will be amazed to see how the Sacred Rock takes an identical shape to Yanantin Mountain directly behind it.

Night at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley

Day 5: Hike to the Peak of Machu Pichhu

Take the first bus up to the Lost City of the Incas for your once-in-a-lifetime trek to the top of Huayna Picchu, which hovers nearly 1,000 feet above and behind the Lost City of the Incas. The trek to the top is not for the faint of heart. But once you reach the peak will be rewarded with 360-degree views of the towering Andes and the ruins of Machu Picchu below that will literally take your breath away!

After a hearty lunch and good rest, the second part of today’s journey takes you up the Inca Trail to Intipunku, otherwise known as the “Sun Gate”. It is this point that the adventurous who do the 3-1/2 day trek of the Inca Trail peer down on the ruins for the first time as they watch the sun rise above while contemplating their last push to arrive at Machu Picchu.

Night at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu train to Cusco

Day 6: Machu Picchu to Cusco

Today you can get one last glimpse of the Citadel in the sky before winding your way down to Aguas Calientes and boarding the train for Cusco. You’ll see stunning views and small authentic communities along the way. Sit back, relax and ponder the incredible sights of Machu Picchu on your way to Cusco. Once the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is known for its archeological ruins and Spanish colonial architecture.

Night in Cusco

Cusco, Peru

Day 7: Private Tour of Cusco

Today’s comprehensive tour of Cusco and the most important surrounding architectural sites begins with a visit to Qoricancha, which means “Golden Courtyard”. It was once considered to be the most sacred site in the Inca religion and was the center of the Inca world.

Following Qoricancha, you will visit the Cusco Cathedral which was started in the year 1559 and lodges the greatest collection of Peruvian colonial art. It is also said to be one of the most beautiful and significant monuments in the Americas. The next stop is the Plaza de Armas which was the epicenter of social life and where major religious holidays were celebrated by the Incas. On the northern outskirts of Cusco sit the ruins of the famous Citadel, Sacsayhuaman. The spectacular fortress was built with huge carved boulders adjoined with incredulous accuracy. We’ll have plenty of time to discover the massive fortress on your own.

Night in Cusco

Barroco Andino Route

Day 8: The Barroco Andino Route

Today you will discover the Andean baroque art of four living temples of Cusco on a private guided tour. One temple is in Cusco and three in the South Valley which comprises the geographical area that connects the capital of the Inca Empire with the jungle of Madre de Dios and Lake Titicaca. This scenic route of one of the best expressions of the Peruvian Andean Baroque artistic movement, including the Canicunca Chapel, the Saint John the Baptist Church in Huaro, the Saint Peter the Apostle Church of Andahuaylillas and the Society of Jesus Church in Cusco.

Night in Cusco

Lake Titicaca

Day 9: Andean Explorer to Lake Titicaca

This luxury train trip will depart to the southeast along the Hutanay River through green fields dotted with willow trees and eucalyptus trees across remote communities gathered around colonial churches. The train will cross Oropesa, a working community who is responsible, to provide daily bread consumed in the imperial city. Before you reach Lake Muina, the train will cross the valley road to reach Huambutio Vilcanota River, which plunges steeply into the gorge before widening to reach the Grand Canyon of the Urubamba.

In Rumicolca you will approach the great stone doorway of the same name, silent guardian of the southern entrance of Cusco in the Incas time. For the Wari culture, the predecessor of the Inca culture, it was served to channel water aqueduct from the picturesque Laguna from Lucre to the walled city of Pikillaqta.

Night in Puno

Aymara women, Lake Titicaca

Day 10: Aymaras Villages

Today you will visit the places of the Aymara indigenous people. The city of Chucuito and the famous temple of fertility called “inka u and u” was formerly called Temple of the Sun (Inca). Aramu is a rock wall where a door is carved in low relief. This place is mysterious, locals believe that there are spirits haunting the door and the area is full of energy.

The village of Juli is also known as Little Rome of America. The first missionaries (Dominicans) came here in 1539 and established doctrines to evangelize the people building churches like Rome in Italy. Juli churches have their windows made Alabaster stone, as this type of stone catches the light.

Pomata was founded by the Spanish in 1534 and is known as the philosophical highland balcony from where you have a spectacular view of Lake Titicaca. The chapel of Santa Barbara rises at the foot of Calvary hill and in 1576 the colonial church of St. James Baroque brownstones built in the area. Inside there are catacombs where the remains of the bishops of the Altiplano.

Night in Puno

Uros Island

Day 11: Uros and Taquille Islands

On this private full day tour, you will take a motorboat from the port of Puno to the floating islands of the Uros. The Uros Islands are a group of 70 man-made islands floating in Lake Titicaca that are made from Totora Reeds. The inhabitants, known as the Uros Tribe, continue to hunt and fish the local waters they occupy.

Continue our trip in the Titicaca Lake until the arrival to the Taquile Island thru the back part of the island at the port of Chuno. Visit the craft center that boasts very fine handcrafted items. Lunch will be provided on the island before we depart on the scenic boat ride along Lake Titicaca back to Puno.

Night in Puno

Lima, Peru

Day 12: Homeward Bound

Today you will be picked up at your Puno Hotel in the morning for a private transfer to the local Juliaca Airport. Once you arrive in Lima you can opt for an optional city tour while waiting for your evening flight home.