Day 1. Cusco City Tour and Inca sites
Posada de Atahualpa
Cusco City Tour
We set off with our local guide to visit Cusco, the great palace of the Inca “Hatun Cancha Rumi”– in the Quechua language, “of the Great Stone Fence” – where we will see the famous “Stone of twelve angles”, a gigantic block of granite with 12 corners perfectly framed in a large, rather famous stone wall; the main square; and the majestic cathedral. Then we take a tour of the Korikancha, “Temple of the Sun“. This was the most important place of worship at the time of the Incas. Later, the Spanish went on to build their own structure on top, called the Convent of Santo Domingo.
After lunch, we drive out of the city to visit the following Inca sites:
- Kenko ceremonial centre, considered a holy place by the Incas.
- We will take a trip to Tambomachay, an archaeological Inca site known as El Baño del Inca, “The Bath of the Inca“. This spectacular venue has a series of aqueducts, canals, and waterfalls that run through the terraced rocks. The function of the site is uncertain; it may have served as a military outpost or as a type of spa resort for the Incan political elite.
- Then we tour around Puca Pucara, a military ruin. This fort is made of large walls, terraces, and staircases and was part of the defence of Cusco, known as the Red Fortress.
- Finally, we visit the impressive fortress of Sacsayhuaman, strategically built on a hill overlooking Cusco and famous for its enormous carved stones–some of them standing over 9 meters high (30 feet) and weighing over 350 tons.
Overnight stay in Cusco.
Day 2. Inca Sacred Valley: Pisaq, Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
Sacred Valley of the Incas
Early in the morning, we start our excursion with a tour of the Urubamba valley, “The Sacred Valley of the Incas”. Our first stop will be the Inca Ruins of Pisaq, which lay atop a hill at the entrance of the valley. These ruins are separated along the ridge into four groups: Pisaqa, Intihuatana, Q’allaqasa, and Kinchiracay. Once you have taken in the breathtaking scenery, we visit the rather picturesque Pisaq market where you will not only be amazed by all of the artisans at work, but you can also practice your bartering skills - a mainstay of current-day culture in Peru. The market is open every day.
We then travel to Urubamba, the city where we will enjoy a buffet lunch.
After lunch, we continue along a scenic route to the fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo - the best surviving example of Inca city planning and the most “atmospheric”. The flights of terraces leading up above the town are superb, as well as the panoramic views of the valley. This region is special because it was one of the last areas in which construction was performed by the Incas prior to the arrival of the Spanish.
In the late afternoon, we will travel by train to Aguas Calientes, where we transfer to our hotel and relax for the night.
Day 3. Tour of Machu Picchu
Posada de Atahualpa
This is the day we enter Machu Picchu, and quite possibly the highlight of your experience in Peru. Many things have been written about this magical place, but to experience it in person… it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. We will arrive at the entrance gate by 6:00 am, in time to view the spectacular sunrise from the cover of Inti Punku, this in itself is an experience worth sharing with friends. Between surreal clouds and a clearing sky, our guide will share with you the secrets and the architecture of this Lost City of the Incas. For those keen on climbing Huayna Picchu, you will not be disappointed; your effort will be rewarded by a panoramic view of Machu Picchu.
In the late afternoon, once you have taken in the stories and breathtaking sights of one of the most famous Wonders of the World, we travel back to Aguas Calientes, where you can reflect on your extraordinary day by taking a well-deserved relaxing bath in the hot springs.
It is then time to take our train to Ollantaytambo and transfer to our hotel in Cusco.
Day 4. Salinas de Maras, Moray, Chinchero – Cusco
End of the Tour
Salt Pans of Maras
After breakfast, our excursion begins with a trip to the archaeological complex of Moray where the Incas cultivated various crops in circular amphitheatre-like terraces. We then continue on to the salt pans of Maras, and as though you are going back in time, you will have the opportunity to witness the local people extracting salt as it was done in the time of the Incas. Have your camera ready to go because the scenery is addictive!
We continue on to the village of Chinchero, in the centre of the great plateau located between the Cusco valley and the Urubamba River, which offers a spectacular view of the Cordillera del Urubamba. We will visit the village, the archaeological remains, and the lovely church that has many paintings in the style of the Cusco School.
Late afternoon we then arrive in Cusco.
Transfer to Cusco airport to board the flight to Lima. Optional: transfer to your hotel of choice, in case you decide to spend a few more days in Cusco.
*At your request, we can book your flight from Cusco to Lima.