The Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu
A unique multi-activity program to Machu Picchu...
The Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu, is a five or seven day program, offering an insight into the history and culture of the Lares and Sacred Valleys. Starting in Cusco and ending in Aguas Calientes, the program combines visits to Machu Picchu, important archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley and remote highland villages with a choice of daily cultural and hiking activities. All activities are designed to take guests off the beaten track and bring them into contact with local people and traditions. This includes accommodating guests at comfortable mountain lodges, which are developed in conjunction with local communities and have minimal impact on the environment.
Cusco to the Sacred Valley
After setting from your hotel in the morning you will head up into the hills surrounding Cusco to exit the city and then descend into the Sacred Valley. Choose between a cultural visit to a traditional textile centre at Awanakancha and exploring Pisaq Market or an invigorating morning hike between two rural communities.
Enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca” lunch at the isolated community of Viacha before walking down to the archaeological site at Pisaq. Deserted at this time of the afternoon, you’ll have the ruins almost completely to yourselves as you explore with your guide. From here it is a short drive to Lamay Lodge where you will spend the night, recovering from the day’s exertions with a delicious three-course meal served by the lodge’s chefs.
After a short walk around the town of Lamay to visit a local bakery and collect bread for the children you’ll meet in the remote Andean communities you visit in the next couple of days, you’ll be driven into the mountains to visit the archaeological site of Ancasmarca. An ancient Inca site used to store food and goods for trading, Ancasmarca is an impressive site, which is hardly ever visited.
After lunch, there is a choice of visiting the traditional weavers’ community at Choquecancha, or a mountain hike to the remote village of Huacahuasi, where you will spend the night. Run as a joint venture with the local community, the lodge provides an interesting insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people in both the culture and commerce of modern-day Cusco. Being able to admire the starry skies from the comfort of your own private jacuzzi has to be one of the many highlights of staying in this unique spot!
Huacahuasi to Ollantaytambo
You’ll have some free time in the morning learning more about the heritage and day-to-day activities of the Huacahuasi community before setting off for your chosen activity for the day. The cultural activity is a trip to a local farmer’s market and Pre-Inca and Inca Museum to discover more about Peru’s rich civilizations of the past, mountain biking on the banks of the Urubmaba River or a spectacular hike into the mountains above Huacahuasi. The only full day hike in the program, it includes lunch served by the lodge’s chefs at the banks of Lake Ipsaycocha. Overnight at K’uychi Rumi outside of Urubamba.
Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu
Spend the morning exploring the town and archaeological site at Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. Once the royal estate of Inca-Emperor Pachacutec and a stronghold against the Spanish conquistadors, the temple at Ollantaytambo was an important ceremonial centre for the Incas. As you walk around the temple and hear about the strategic architectural planning which went into its construction, you will also get a sense of its mystical history… an ideal introduction to the wonder of Machu Picchu.
For those feeling energetic there is also an early morning hike to the Inca storage structures high above Ollantaytambo, offering magnificent views of the town and the main archaeological site across the valley.
Just before lunch you will take the train along the famous Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu. Overnight at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel and spend the afternoon exploring the hotel’s gardens set amongst the cloud forest with its many hummingbirds and exotic plants.
After an early start you will take the bus up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary to enter the ancient citadel. Making it up before sunrise will allow you to see the sun rise over the iconic Sun Gate as it covers the structures and terraces with resplendent light.
Explore the site with your guide, taking in the watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Climb the towering mountainside of Huayna Picchu for dramatic views that stretch from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon Jungle or take the long climb to the Sun Gate to appreciate the citadel from afar.
After lunch in Aguas Calientes you will return to Ollantaytambo by train to be met and transferred back to Cusco.
Click here to see a video about the Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu.