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Cusco Adventure – 7 Days of Culture, Adventure & History

7 Days

Experience the essence of Cusco with a 7-day adventure featuring Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, and Rainbow Mountain. Enjoy cultural immersions, scenic hikes, and local culinary delights. Begin with a special lunch and cultural experience at Piuray Lake, visit the Amaru community, and hike the Short Inca Trail. Explore Machu Picchu, the Sacsayhuaman fortress, and Inkilltambo. End your adventure with a visit to the colorful Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain. Ideal for those seeking a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Overview

Experience the essence of Cusco with a 7-day adventure featuring Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, and Rainbow Mountain. Enjoy cultural immersions, scenic hikes, and local culinary delights. Begin with a special lunch and cultural experience at Piuray Lake, visit the Amaru community, and hike the Short Inca Trail. Explore Machu Picchu, the Sacsayhuaman fortress, and Inkilltambo. End your adventure with a visit to the colorful Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain. Ideal for those seeking a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Highlights

  • Machu Picchu Exploration: A guided tour of the iconic Inca citadel, exploring its history and architecture.
  • Sacsayhuaman & Inkilltambo: Discover the impressive Sacsayhuaman fortress and the lesser-known Inkilltambo site on the outskirts of Cusco.
  • Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain: Visit the vibrant, off-the-beaten-path Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain, a beautiful alternative to Vinicunca.
  • Piuray Lake Experience: Enjoy a special lunch and cultural immersion by the scenic Piuray Lake.
  • Short Inca Trail Hike: Trek the picturesque Short Inca Trail leading to the Sun Gate and stunning views of Machu Picchu.
  • Amaru Community Visit: Engage with local farmers, learning about traditional Andean agriculture and culture.

Schedule

Day 1 Arrival at Cusco, special lunch and experience at Piuray Cusco
Day 2 Amaru farming community & Pisac Sacred Valley
Day 3 Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Machu Picchu
Day 4 Machu Picchu exploration Machu Picchu
Day 5 Sacsayhuaman and Inkilltambo, a less-known Inca site Cusco
Day 6 Palcoyo, the other Rainbow Mountain Palcoyo
Day 7 Transfer out Cusco

Itinerary

We'll be heading into the Andes today. A morning flight leads us to Cusco (Flight is not included). Try to book a seat on the left side of the aircraft, as it offers the best views on bright days. We'll expect you at the airport upon arriving, ready to take you to the Sacred Valley Incas. Because of its lower elevation (2 870 m or 9 415 ft) and peaceful atmosphere, this valley is the perfect place to enjoy your first days in Cusco while you acclimate. The journey is scenic and takes around one and a half hours. However, we have a special stop organized for you today. On route, we'll take a slight detour to Piuray Lake, on the outskirts of Chinchero Village. This lake is surrounded by beautiful countryside and views of snow peaks in the distance. We'll enjoy a tasty lunch here at a small private property overlooking the lake. Depending on our timing, before or after lunch, we can take a short walk with a group of local farmers to some old nearby terraces where they will show us about rural life in the Andes and their daily farming activities. After spending some of the afternoon at Piuray, we'll continue to your hotel in the Sacred Valley.

Today, you'll venture away from the tourist routes to explore the Sacred Valley from a different perspective. The first stop will be at the Andean community high in the mountains slopes above Pisac. This traditional village has kept its ancient traditions alive, farming methods, and weaving techniques. Your local hosts will be happy to share and teach you, first-hand, about their traditions. Amaru is a farming community that is slowly becoming known for its agricultural practices, particularly for their tubers. They can grow over hundreds of different types of potatoes in their fields. Take part in the sowing or harvesting, depending on the season. You'll also find various Andean superfoods, such as quinoa, kiwicha, and medicinal herbs. Afterward, join your hosts at the table and share a typical Andean meal. After leaving Amaru, we'll head to Pisac Archaeological site, one of the most amazing Inca sites in the area. If you fancy a walk, we can descend through Inca stone steps from the archaeological site to Pisac village, known for its colorful streets and charming atmosphere. Alternatively, we can opt for a return to our hotel via private transport. It's a day filled with unique cultural experiences and natural beauty, offering an authentic taste of life in the Andean highlands.

Are you ready for the challenge? The short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a beautiful yet moderately challenging 7-mile (11 km) hike through a cloud forest that leads to the Sun Gate—the original gateway into Machu Picchu. Rise and shine, as it will be an early start, as you need to catch one of the first morning trains from Ollantaytambo to Km 104, where the short Inca Trail begins. The exact start time will depend on the available train choices.

Upon disembarking the train, you and your guide will check in at the national park office and then cross the Urubamba River to begin the adventure. Depending on your hiking speed and interest, there are two Inca sites you can visit on your way to Machu Picchu: Chachabamba and Wiñaywayna. However, the main highlight of today is the trail itself (and the views), so there is no need to rush to try and see everything.

This trail is mostly uphill, and the first segment can take up to 4 hours. At Wiñaywayna, you can have a well-deserved rest with a bit of time to explore one of the most beautiful places on the Inca trail, which includes an impressive cascade that falls just next to the site.

To reach the Sun Gate from here, you must hike another 2.5 miles (4 km) through the forest. This segment is flatter but still has some ups and downs. The last 300 feet (100 m) includes a rather steep stone Inca stairway before being rewarded with the first glimpses of Machu Picchu from "Inti Punku," which is the original name of the Sun Gate. The sights of the famous Inca citadel from here are breathtaking.

After another pause to enjoy the views, you and your guide will begin the final 1.2-mile (2 km) section of the hike. This is an easy downhill walk that should only take about 35 minutes. You'll eventually reach Machu Picchu and enjoy some of the most classic views from "The Guardian's Hut." Take your time. Today is just approaching, but we'll be exploring Machu Picchu fully tomorrow.

Maximum Altitude: 2732 m / 8964 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2088 m / 6850 ft
Distance Travelled: 10.79 km / 6.67 ml (to Inti Punku)
Approximate Walking Time: 7 hours

Today is the big day! Early in the morning, we take a 20-minutes bus up the steep zigzagging road to Machu Picchu Citadel, located on an impressive mountain setting. We'll have a 3-hour guided excursion so we can have a better understanding of Machu Picchu and the Incas culture. Our guide will be happy to answer all the questions you may have. Afterward, you'll return to Aguas Calientes, where you will have free time to enjoy a delicious lunch before boarding your return train back to Ollantaytambo. Upon arriving, our private transport will be waiting to take you to your hotel. Notes: If requested, we can include the hike to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain for an extra cost. Be sure to be at the train station 30minutes before your train departure. Please don't forget to bring your passport with you, since it will be required when entering Machu Picchu.

Today, a short drive takes us to Sacsayhuaman, the imposing Inca fortress overlooking Cusco city. After visiting the must-see in Cusco, we continue a little further to Puca Pucara, and old Incan Outpost. From here our, we walk along an old trail following a stream that has clear signs of having been channelized in Inca times. We will cross fields and travel slowly downhill until we reach Inkilltambo, a recently restored Inca site that few people visit, even though it is right next door to Cusco. From here, we descend another 10 minutes until we find out transport waiting for us on the outskirts of the city. Finally, a 15-minute drive takes us back to our hotel in the center of Cusco.

In the afternoon, our guide will be at your disposal if you'd like to explore the city together. Alternatively, you could just decide to explore on your own or have a good rest to get ready for tomorrow's adventure.

It's time to visit the offbeat Rainbow Mountain! Palccoyo Is an extraordinary experience in the Vilcanota Mountain Range and a great alternative to the extremely popular Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain. We will pick you up from your hotel in the morning and drive for about 3 hours to the starting point of our trek. Once here, we'll be able to see the spectacular striated mountains and the snow-capped peaks of Ausangate, as we hike along the area. The hike is short and flat; you only walk about one kilometer to reach the mountain at a lower altitude (4, 700 masl) with marvelous views and few people. After some time at the top, we begin our return hike and then drive back to Cusco, where we should be arriving at around 5 pm.

Today, you have free time to explore the area at leisure. Maybe take a last walk around Cusco's shops and markets. Afterward, at the coordinated time, we'll head to Cusco's airport to board your flight to Lima and connect your flight home. Hopefully, you will be heading back full of happy memories, new friends, and great pictures of your time with us!

Included

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation and activities
  • Meals mentioned in the program

Excluded

  • Domestic and international flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional excursions
  • Personal expenses such as tips
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Any other meals, drinks, and/or services not mentioned in the program

    From $3420
    / Adult
    • Location Highlights

    Trip Info

    • 7 days
    • Cusco, Sacred Valley, Pisac, Piuray Lake, Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman, Inkilltambo, Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain
    • Starting at $3420

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