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Highlights of The Andes 8 Days/ 7 Nights

Hightlights of the Andes

There are many reasons to visit Peru. With its vibrant cityscapes, breathtaking vistas, mountaintop ruins and ancient cultures & traditions, visitors to the Land of the Incas are simply spoiled for choice. But with most people having limited time to experience the country, how do you choose what to see?

We are delighted to offer this 8-day package which we believe takes you to the very best that Peruvian Andes has to offer. We visit Cusco the country’s 2nd city and cultural capital and we immerse ourselves in the magnificent Sacred Valley of the Incas before trekking deep into the Andes on the spectacular Lares trail. What better way to then finish this stunning itinerary than by visiting one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu.

Our tours are designed to give visitors a real taste of the Peruvian way of life; visiting local villages still steeped in ancient traditions, taking guided tours of the ruins of sacred ancient sites, and sampling delicious local delicacies at local markets and restaurants. Accompanied at all times by our expert, English-speaking guides they will provide the commentary that brings the sights and sounds of this epic trip to life!

This incredible package includes all hotels, airport transfers and some meals (see itinerary below for details)

Overview

  • Day 1: Welcome to Cusco
  • Day 2: Cusco Half Day Tour
  • Day 3: Cusco – Sacred Valley Tour
  • Day 4: Cusco – Sacred Valley – Fondo Huaran – Cancha Cancha – Acopata
  • Day 5: Acopata – Pachacutec Pass – Quishuarani
  • Day 6: Quishuarani – Cuncani – Lares Hot spring – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
  • DAY 7: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
  • Day 8: Departure from Cusco

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Cusco

An APT representative will meet you upon arrival at Cusco airport and transfer you to your hotel in the centre of the city. The city sits at an altitude of over 3,399 m /11,151 ft and so everyone takes a little while to acclimatize to the altitude. We recommend you rest or take the remainder of the day to start to explore this beautiful city at your own pace.

  • Overnight: Tierra Viva hotel or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast (depending on the time of your arrival)

Day 2: Cusco Half Day Tour

After breakfast you can enjoy a leisurely morning at your hotel before we pick you up for our half day city tour.

Our tour begins at the fascinating “Koricancha” Temple. Named after the Quechua for Gold, this is one of the most important temples built by the Incas. As you marvel at the exquisite architecture on display, our guides will share the history of the site with you.

We continue on to the magnificent main square with its 1 stunning cathedral. The Main Cathedral is home to approximately 300 paintings of religious art from the Cusqueña School (entry to the Cathedral is included). The square itself is quite literally buzzing with street vendors and artists, and is a wonderful place to just sit and soak up the atmosphere.

Next, we visit the impressed Inca construction of Sacsayhuaman, located on a high hill above Cusco city, is characterized by colossal stone pieces weighing several hundred tons. The Inca builders cut and polished these massive stones to form into terraces of zigzagged walls that extend hundreds of feet. Although only a small portion of the original site remains, Sacsayhuaman’s cyclopean dimensions continue to inspire awe at the scale and audacity of Inca stone architecture. Then, we visit the temple of Qenqo, which is uniquely carved out of a single gigantic monolith. Stretched across a hillside the temple marries man-made tunnels with natural chambers, one of which features 19 small niches which form an amphitheater. The original purpose of the amphitheater has been lost over time, but most agree that the area was used for sacrifice and worship to the Gods of the sun, moon and stars! We will also visit Puca Pucara, a site once used by the Incas as a military control centre.

Our tour completes at Tambomachay (Temple of the Water), an Inca site which consists of a series of aqueducts, canals and waterfalls that run spectacularly through the terraced rocks (entry to the site is included).

At the end of a long but rewarding afternoon you will be transferred back to your hotel for an evening of leisure.

  • Overnight: Tierra Viva hotel or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3: Cusco – Sacred Valley Tour

This morning we leave Cusco after breakfast to drive over the magnificent Andes towards the Sacred Valley. We quickly descend to the valley floor and drive along the banks of the sacred Urubamba River to the village of Pisac and Inca ruin of Pisac located at 2,972 m/ 9,750 ft.

Pisac is a town famous for its traditional artisan market, and there will be time to browse and buy some authentic local souvenirs if desired. The town also has extensive ruins which we will explore while enjoying stunning views of the Sacred Valley. Your guide will walk you through the ruined temples, houses and altars, pointing out ancient carvings that still survive today. The highlight of the tour is the famous Intihuatana (literally translated as ‘the hitching post of the sun’) a religious construction used like a clock to measure when it was the time to celebrate the Winter Solstice, one of the most important celebrations and rituals of the ancient Inca Empire.

NB. For anyone preferring to spend more time at Pisac market instead of visiting the ruins, please advise your guide so they can organize a time and place to collect you later.

Leaving Pisac we continue to Urubamba where we will make a stop for lunch (not included) at an excellent local restaurant. A short drive onwards is Ollantaytambo (2,792 m/ 9,160 ft) a town located right in the heart of the Andes. Here, we will spend time exploring the spectacular temple of the Sun. The temple is created from enormous rock monoliths, many of which have been elegantly carved to create water fountains, stairs and terraces.

We will stay overnight in Urubamba for a good rest ahead of our trek which starts early in the morning.

  • Overnight: San Agustin Hotel or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4: Cusco – Sacred Valley – Fondo Huaran – Cancha Cancha – Acopata

We collect you early from your Urubamba hotel to take you by private van to the beginning of the Lares trek at Huaran, deep in the Sacred Valley. After preparing and packing the horses that will carry our equipment, we being our trek heading North.

The first part of the trail climbs gently following the banks of the Cancha Cancha river towards the community of the same name. All along the walk we will see cultivated fields and pass through old Polylepis forests. The vegetation here attracts a large variety of bird life, and the views of the valley itself are stunning so have your cameras and binoculars at the ready! We will stop for lunch roughly half way through the hike.

Passing through the village of Cancha Cancha (3,956 m/12,976 ft) after around 6 hours of hiking we reach our campsite at Acopata. Our team of Porters will have arrived ahead of us to prepare the camp, so all you need to do is to switch into some warmer clothing (the nights in the Andes can be a little chilly!) and enjoy the magnificent sunset and the stunning display of stars and constellations in the Andean night sky.

We will enjoy a sumptuous dinner together, prepared by our camp kitchen team. You will be amazed (and your stomach delighted!) at the culinary treats our chef can create in his mountain kitchen.

  • Meals: breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping
  • Maximum altitude.: 3,956 m/12,976 ft
  • Mínimum Altitude: 3,000 m/9,840 ft
  • Distance to walk: 12 km
  • Approximate walking time: 6 hours

Day 5: Acopata – Pachacutec Pass – Quishuarani

You will be woken by our porters with a fresh cup of coffee or Coca tea (an excellent antidote for the effects of altitude) before being served a delicious and nutritious breakfast.

Our trek then continues with a 2.5 hour climb to the highest point of the trek. The Pachacutec pass is at 4,780 m/ 15,678 ft and so, not surprisingly, the view from here is breathtaking with the snow capped peaks of the Pitusiray and Sahuasiray mountains right in front of us.

After a short rest we hike downhill for another 2 hours to reach our lunch spot, next to the most beautiful, crystal blue lake.

Our afternoon is short, with just a 1.5 hour descent into the valley. On the way we will pass several glacial lakes and we will see herds of alpacas, llamas and sheep roaming in their natural habitat. It is also possible we’ll see Gray Brocket Deer, Viscachas, Andean Geese, the rare Giant Coot, Puna Hawks and, if we are lucky, the majestic Andean Condor.

Our camp tonight is at 3,870 m/12,694 ft, close to the village of Quishuarani, a traditional Andean village with typical stone houses. ¡Once again we will enjoy a delicious, starlit dinner before retiring to our tents for a well deserved nights rest!

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping
  • Maximum altitude.: 4,780 m/15,678 ft
  • Minimum Altitude: 3,870 m/12,694 ft
  • Distance to walk: 12 km
  • Approximate walking time: 7 hours

Day 6: Quishuarani – Cuncani – Lares Hot spring – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

On our final day of trekking we hike through another valley before climbing to the second pass at Willcaccasa mountain (4,458 m/14,622 ft). The 2-3 hours trek up is challenging, and we will take our time, but the views of the Andes turquoise lakes and the surrounding valleys are well worth the effort!

After resting at the pass, we make our final descent for around 2 hours to the village of Cuncani (3,900 m/12,792 ft). From here we will be transported for 45 minutes to the Lares Valley and its hot springs, where we can all take a much-needed soak.

After lunch at Lares, we drive for around 3 hours to Ollantaytambo where we will have dinner before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. Both the drive and the train journey take us through the most spectacular scenery, providing plenty of photo opportunities!

At Aguas Calientes you will check in to your room at the hotel we have booked for you.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Hotel
  • Maximum altitude: 4,458 m/14,622 ft
  • Minimum Altitude: 2,792 m/9,158 ft
  • Distance to walk: 13 km
  • Approximate walking time: 6-7 hours

DAY 7: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

After a very early breakfast at your hotel we take one of the first buses along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise over the Andes (weather permitting). Your guide will then give a 2-hour walking tour of this breathtaking site, named as one of the new 7 wonders of the world.

It is hard to put in to words the impact of a visit to this sacred, spiritual place. Despite its popularity, there remains a sense of wonder at the beauty and architectural brilliance of the city that laid undiscovered for centuries, and is understandably near the top of Bucket Lists the world over!

Our guides are experts on the history of the site and they will bring to life the magnificent buildings that you see around you. You will also smile I’m sure at the sight of the wild Llamas roaming freely on the ancient stone walls!

If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain you can begin the hike once your guided tour concludes. Alternatively, you may choose to just spend some time by yourself exploring the site or just sitting in contemplation. Around lunchtime you will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes.

Arriving back in the town you will board the expedition train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. From here you will travel by private van to Cusco and back to your hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lowest Elevation: 2,040 m/ 6,691 ft
  • Highest Elevation: 2,440 m/ 8,052 ft
  • Overnight in Cusco: Tierra Viva hotel or similar

Day 8: Departure from Cusco

After breakfast at your hotel, one of our representatives will meet you at your hotel and take you to the airport for your journey home or on to your next destination.

Meals: Breakfast

Note: This itinerary is subject to change without prior notice according to weather conditions, strikes, roadblocks, or other events which are beyond our control. At Action Treks Peru we will always do our best to follow the itinerary as closely as possible.

Includes

Services Included:
  • Professional English speaking guide. Additional guide for groups over 8 people
  • Pre-trek briefing before the Lares trek
  • Transport from airport to Cusco hotel
  • Transport to the airport or bus station at the end of the tour
  • Admission fees to all the archeological sites in the Cusco City tour and the Sacred Valley tour.
  • Transportation from your Urubamba hotel to the trailhead of the Lares trek
  • Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
  • Round trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu on day 7
  • Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Poroy or Ollantaytambo.
  • Transport by private car from Ollantaytambo or Poroy train station to your Cusco hotel
  • Admission Ticket to Machu Picchu Archaeological site
  • Admission Ticket to Huayna Picchu (subject to availability)
  • 3 lunches, 1 dinners and 8 breakfasts
  • 3 nights accommodation in a nice and comfortable hotel in Cusco city (double occupancy)
  • 1-night accommodation in a nice and comfortable hotel in Urubamba (double occupancy)
  • 1-night accommodation in a nice and comfortable hotel in Aguas Calientes (double occupancy)
  • Entrance ticket to Lares hot springs
  • Four-person tent for every 2 people along the Lares trek
  • Thermarest Mattress for the Lares trek
  • Pillow for the Lares trek
  • Kitchen tent for the Lares trek
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs on the Lares trek
  • Eco-friendly portable toilet and toilet tent along the Lares trek
  • Chef for the Lares trek
  • Wranglers and horses to carry all the equipment along the Lares trek (food, tents, chairs, table, etc.)
  • Horse to transport 8 kg of your personal gear during the Lares trek
  • Duffle bag for your personal gear to be used along the Lares trek
  • Emergency horse in case we need it on the Lares trek
  • Hot water for washing during the Lares trek
  • Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles on the Lares trek.
  • Private guided walking tour of Machu Picchu
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank for all tours
Services Not Included:
  • Flights
  • Airport taxes
  • Hiking poles (can be rented from us)
  • Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Lunches or dinners (unless otherwise specified in the tour itinerary)
  • Tip for your staff
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
What to bring:
  • Original passport (nb. if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking you MUST bring both)
  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, tops, a few t-shirts, socks, sun hat, thermal underwear, light long pants, gloves, poncho, rain jacket)
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sun block (factor 35+ recommended)
  • Head lamp + batteries*
  • Sunglasses and sun hat
  • Camera + batteries*
  • Binoculars
  • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us) MUST have rubber tips
  • Insect repellent – 15% DEET
  • Snacks (while your crew will prepare the most amazing meals, everyone’s energy needs are different, particularly at altitude, and so you should pack some suitable snacks to make sure you are always fully energized)

Prices

Price:

  • US $1195 per person (based on two people) If the group gets bigger, the price will decrease.

Discounts:

  • Under 18 years discount: US $20.00
  • Under 7 years discount: US $35.00

Rentals:

  • Hiking poles for the Lares trek – US $20.00 (pair)
  • Sleeping bag for the Lares trek – US $25.00

Upgrades:Hotel Upgrades

  • Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel (5-star hotel) – US $245 per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Tierra Viva Machu Picchu (3+ star hotel) – US $50 per person per night (double occupancy)

Train Upgrades

  • Vistadome train -US $50 for trip from Aguas Calientes to Poroy
  • Hiram Bingham train -US $380 for trip from Aguas Calientes to Poroy

Private lodging

  • Private hotel room in Aguas Calientes – US $45 (nb. prices for upgraded hotels will be higher)
  • Private tent – US $30

Machu Picchu

  • Buffet lunch at the Tinkuy restaurant in the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge in Machu Picchu – US $45

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