Explore the city of Cusco, The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Sandwiched in this expedition is a trip through the Huallanay Range,
Known as the alternate trek to Machu Picchu. With the backdrop of the rich-hued mountains and imposing glacier, it is a favorite for many hikers in Peru. It truly is the road less traveled where you will see campesinos working the land with their ancient tools as well as remote Inca sites. The day ends camping on the beautiful ancient land.
Expect a full day commencing with Sacsayhuaman – whose mystery as to why and how it was built still has us guessing today – an impressive site designed to instill in the populace the strength and wealth of the imperial Incan rulers. We continue to Quenko, a place that was used for worship and a great place to discover and learn about Andean spiritual life. Afterwards, a stop in the heart of the city to visit Koricancha, the most important of all the Inca temples dedicated to the Sun God. The Spanish colonists destroyed the temple to build their own Church of Santo Domingo blending these two cultures with the Inca stonework integrated into the church structure. After lunch we will explore the native culture and variety of foods including the unknown number of potatoes at the San Pedro market; or over to the San Blas area to visit workshops and galleries of the local artists.
As we head out to the Sacred Valley we’ll stop in Awanacancha to learn about Llamas and Alpacas, including how the wool is transformed into beautiful textiles using the ancient back strap loom by renowned weavers of the area. Panoramic views of jagged snow peaks will greet us along the way to Pisac, an Incan citadel built on a mountain saddle with outstanding views. We’ll visit the first artisan market in the area that has thrived in this location for more than 40 years, and enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the many restaurants surrounding the square. After we will continue driving along the Urubamba to Ollantaytambo, where two significant ruins stand guard on either side of this small town that has been inhabited continuously since the days before the Inca. We will spend the night here, in a three star hotel.
As we begin our trek in the Huallanay Range we’ll ascend approximately 3000 feet beginning at Chilca toward the Silque Canyon. We will follow a stream that shrinks to a trickle and leads us to tall granite walls that the orchids and bromeliads call home.Â As we climb higher we will be able to observe Veronica Mountain, known as the mightiest in the Urubamba range. About midway we will break at a perfect spot with amazing views for lunch. In the evening we’ll camp near Lake Ancascocha.
DAY 4 – Quesca
A hearty breakfast will get us ready for the day’s challenging hike. We will be travelling toward the high Huayllanay Pass, just shy of 15000 feet. We zigzag up the steep trail to an original cobblestone Inca Trail the paves the way to the high pass. Along the way we can spot Condors the mighty Andean bird, Andean geese and Black Ibis as well as the remarkable views of the waterfall filling the glacier.
We will enjoy a picnic lunch in the midst of the high mountain scenery, then descend to Quesca, set amongst scarcely populated small settlements. At a distance, views of the classic Inca Trail can be observed, as well as patches of the distinctive Ichu – a grassland from the Puna where we will break for camp. For an entirely different unique experience we can descend for another hour and half to Paucarcancha Bamboo Forest and stay in an Inca Tambo with huts, showers and bathrooms, situated in the valley.
DAY 5 – km82
After breakfast we will spend the morning exploring Paucarcancha and then begin our descent on the well maintained trail down a narrow canyon until reaching the village of Huayllabamba. This is where the trail meets with the classic Inca Trail along with numerous hikers that will be going in the opposite direction from us. We’ll continue until we reach a lookout point with breathtaking views of the Llactapata archaeological complex which is the perfect spot for lunch and some exploring. After, we will hike another two hours upriver to our private campsite at km 82. Here we’ll spend the night in the comfort of roomy tents, indoor plumbing equipped with toilets and hot showers, and a eucalyptus firewood sauna.
DAY 6 – Machu Picchu
After a healthy breakfast and a 10 minutes walk, We will board the Inca rail service to Machu Pichu to visit this city built in the 15th century at the height of the Inca Empire.Our knowledgeable guide will give us an interpretation of this remarkable Inca site,great photograph opportunities.box lunch at the site, we’ll continue wondering through the ruins to take in the glorious views and perhaps a llama or two. . At the end of the day we will catch the bus down and return by train to Cusco.