Cusco City – Inca Ruins
At 1 p.m., we will meet you at your hotel lobby to begin your tour. From here, you will head to Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, where you will visit the famous cathedral. Following, you will continue on foot through an ancient Inca-built street from the Plaza de Armas to the Q’oricancha, the Temple of the Sun. At the Q’oricancha you will be able to compare and contrast the building methods of the Incan culture and Catholicism. This was the key spiritual center of the Incas, which leads to all four quarters of the Inca Empire. There is also a bronze, high altar to be seen.
From Qoricancha, your group will walk down Avenida El Sol, where you will take your 25 minute bus outside of the city. You will arrive at the majestic Inca site, Sacsayhuaman, where your tour guide will show you around.
From Sacsayhuaman, you will take a short bus to the Quenqo Inca site to observe some altars from Incan times. Following, you will drive to Puca Pucara, a small circular Inca site, finished by a visit to Tambomachay, the temple of water. You will be driven back to Cusco and dropped off at your hotel.
Pisaq – Ollantaytambo
We will pick you up from your hotel at 8 a.m. and head towards the Sacred Valley. Along the way, we will visit Awanacancha, a weaving center and alpaca farm. You will observe the differences between llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and guanacos, as well as the different varieties of potatoes and corn, that are special to the Sacred Valley. Following, we will drive to the Pisaq Inca Ruins. We will see hundreds of terraces for agriculture, where the Incas farmed corn, potatoes, and quinoa. The religious and astronomical side of the Incas will be visible, at this sight.
Afterwards, we will descend into Pisaq market, the most traditional handicraft market. You will have the opportunity to try some of the local delicacies during our lunch break. After lunch, we will drive through the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo, an Incan checkpoint, where they protected Machu Picchu against any enemies. This is the best example of an intact Inca village, with its waterways running through the quaint streets of the town. Your tour guide will set you up in your hotel before you have a chance to explore, relax and enjoy dinner.
Maras – Moray – Chinchero - Train to Aguas Calientes ( Machu Picchu )
After a 6:30 a.m.breakfast, we will drive to Salineras/Maras Salt Mines. There are 3,000 salt pools, which act as evaporation chambers. They spill out of the mountain and down the mountainside at 12,000 feet above sea level. Owned by local farmers, these pools have become the main economic activity for all the locals.
After the mines, we will drive to Moray Inca Archeological Center. The Inca used Moray as a way to study farming. They built terraces and experimented with different vegetables. You will see each terrace of Moray and the differences in growth they provided.
We will then drive to Chincheros, where we will see some Inca terracing, used as the perfect location to farm potatoes. The entire Inca civilization got their supply of potatoes from here. We will also see one unique, colonial church, that was built by the Spaniards, on the top of the Inca palace. Finally, we will visit one final textile center called as Chinchero Textile center by chinchero people.
We will head back to Ollantaytambo, where you can enjoy dinner at one of local restaurants, the take amazing 2 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes where you will be brought to your hotel, to prepare for your next day, visiting Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu (the Sacred City of the Incas )
We encourage you to wake up early in the morning to get to the bus station for one of the first shuttle-style buses, starting at 5.30 a.m. This bus will take about 25 minutes to get to Machu Picchu. As soon as you arrive at the complex, we will take you to the best spot overlooking all the ruins. There will be a rendezvous to observe the sunrise and see a spectacular view of the Lost City of the Incas. You will then have a two hour, guided tour around Machu Picchu, followed by time to explore on your own. If you have tickets to climb one of the mountains of Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu, your guide will then direct you those trails. Due to popularity, be sure this is arranged at least two months in advance. Once you are finished exploring Machu Picchu, you will take a bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch, followed by an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo. We will have Cusco Explora van transportation back to Cusco, where we will drop you off at your hotel.