The dramatic plot structure of this Peru journey has you exploring the Sacred Valley, sampling the Inca Trail, and arriving on foot to the gate of climactic Machu Picchu. The denouement is an exploration of Cusco and a foodie experience in Lima.
But the most important part of any good story is the characters you meet. This service-minded trip is all about people. Collaborate with indigenous communities through the innovative non-profit, Andean Alliance. Visit an inspiring educational project that provides access to schooling for marginalized girls.
DAY 1: ARRIVE LIMA
On arrival in Lima you’ll be met by your airport assistance that will take you to your hotel located at the airport for a well-deserved rest.
Overnight Costa del Sol Ramada Lima Airport
DAY 2 – LIMA – CUSCO – SACRED VALLEY
Today you will be met at the hotel with our representative who will assist you at the airport for your flight to Cusco. Once in Cusco your guide and transport will be waiting for you. The drive from Cuzco airport to the Sacred Valley takes about 1h30 minutes. The Valley is located 1600 feet lower than Cusco City, therefore allowing a gentle acclimatization process to increasing altitude.
On your way to Sacred Valley we will stop at Awanakancha, where you can meet native weavers and see South American camelid species, including llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas. Then, we take the route to Pisac so you can visit the market and archeological site. Enjoy a picnic lunch in a beautiful location.
Depending on your specific interests, your guide will lead you walking the narrow paths along the Pisac Inca ruins, a quite impressive archaeological site, where you will find large terraces, ancient cemeteries and a number of buildings formerly used as residences for high-ranked personalities, and also as worship areas. Together with the archaeological site, the traditional market is one of Pisac’s attractions; there you find the time to walk slowly from one stand to the other, admiring the typical art-crafts and at the same time watching and even trying some of the local products.
Finally, continue driving towards Ollantaytambo.
Overnight El Albergue
DAY 3: OLLANTAYTAMBO – SACRED VALLEY PROJECT – THE CHOCOLATE MUSEUM
This morning, your guide and transport will take you to Ollantaytambo, a still living Inca village set below ancient ruins retaining the stonework, narrow streets, and family courtyards of pre-Columbian times. Ollantaytambo was an important ceremonial and administration site during Inca times. Actually here took place one of very few battles where the Incas defeated the Spanish conquerors. Here you will also have the chance to walk the Inca-Ruins uphill steps; this is a steep ascent, offering great views to the valley as a final reward to the effort. The charming village offers a unique opportunity to sense and experience an Inca Village.
At lunch you will visit an organic farm located in one of the amazing Inca Terraces at Ollantaytambo. Here you will participate on the preparation of a Typical Pachamanca, a traditional cooking technique in which different products are cooked underground by wood-fire heated stones.
During the afternoon you will participate on a fun and interesting hands-on chocolate workshop, where you will learn about the entire process going from the cacao seed to the chocolate, knowing that Peruvian cacao has been awarded as one of the best organic cacao in the world.
Overnight El Albergue
DAY 4: CALCA – ALIANZA ANDINA – YUCAY
This morning, visit the Sacred Valley Project, a non-profit organization based in Ollantaytambo dedicated to improving access to education for young women from low-income families in remote, mountain communities of the Sacred Valley.
After the visit, say goodbye to Ollantaytambo and begin our drive towards Calca Village. We stop for lunch in Urubamba at one of our favorite restaurants in the Sacred Valley.
Continue driving to Calca where we meet our friends at Alianza Andina Project. The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development collaborates with indigenous communities and socially responsible entities to create a positive lasting environment which supports human development and a healthy future.
This afternoon will be an introduction to the Project. We may tour the farm, practice for greenhouse volunteer project, have a brief orientation for what we will be doing in Lares and learn about the story, projects, philosophy and experience.
Finally, drive back to the hotel.
Overnight The Green House Bed & Breakfast
DAY 5: LARES – ALIANZA ANDINA – HUARAN
We pick you up early from your hotel in Huaran and transfer you to the community of Pampacorral in Lares where you will participate on day school activities. Volunteering at the school greenhouse may include activities such as: Help out with weeding, harvesting and bed preparation; plant flowers around the greenhouse and school; help improve the greenhouse.
Enjoy lunch with the students. During the afternoon you can choose between the following activities: Play some games with the students; take a short hike out to see the family greenhouses, experience local/traditional farming practices; take a tour of Pampacorral. A group of students can show you around and teach you something unique about their culture. This might include a lesson on medicinal herbs that grow naturally in the community, a cooking lesson, traditional farming techniques, etc. Something the community would be proud to share with you.
During the late afternoon, drive back to your hotel in Yucay.
Overnight The Green House Bed & Breakfast
DAY 6: THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
Early in the morning you’ll depart from the hotel to the Ollantaytambo train station, where you will board the Vistadome train towards Aguas Calientes. This rail journey is one of the most spectacular in the world as it follows the Urubamba River through the Canyon of Vilcantota to the Lost City of the Incas.
Our train will stop in the jungle for us to venture onto the Inca Trail with our expert guide. After crossing the Vilcanota River you will visit the preserved Inca site, “Chachabamba” and then follow the trail to an impressive archaeological site called “Wiñay Wayna.” Observing the masterful Inca engineering used to create these structures is a highlight of the trail and sure to amaze you. The site features a series of Inca baths that help pressurize water for agricultural irrigation and the city’s food production. Before continuing towards “Inti Punku” you can stop for lunch and let the first views of Machu Picchu astound you. A quick descent along the wide royal Inca road takes you to Machu Picchu´s gate. The afternoon, when most people have left the area, is a nice time to relax and observe the citadel. At this time of day the sunlight allows you to appreciate one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in a special way.
The Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is located in Aguas Calientes town´s outskirts; this is a quite unique property, which not only has a beautiful infrastructure, built in harmony with nature, but amazing jungle-like gardens where you will find orchids, tea plantations, exotic birds (especially hummingbirds) and other charming surprises. This hotel is the perfect complement to actually enjoy the full Machu Picchu experience.
Overnight Inkaterra Machupicchu Pueblo Hotel
DAY 7: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHUPICCHU – CUSCO
Today you will be amazed by your guided visit of Machupicchu Citadel. After your visit enjoy lunch at MachuPicchu Sanctuary Lodge restaurant.
In the afternoon you board a bus down to Aguas Calientes, where you are lead to the train station to board the Train back to Ollantaytambo. Your private transport will be waiting to drive you all the way back to Cusco.
Overnight Casa San Blas
DAY 8: CHICUCHAS WASI SCHOOL AND CUSCO VISIT
During the morning your transport and guide will meet you at the hotel in order to start an amazing day at Chicuchas Wasi School.
Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls is located in Cusco City and provides free education to poor indigenous female children who are otherwise forgotten by mainstream education. They will learn traditional academic skills together with courses related to art and local traditions. This is a good way to empower these girls so that they can have more opportunities to build a future for them and for their families.
On way to the school we will do a short stop in order to buy some snacks that we will share later today with the girls. Once at the school we will meet the staff in charge and hear an introduction of the work that they are doing. Then you will visit a couple of classrooms and spend time in one of them, sharing with the children and working together on a fun assignment. Finally it is time to play and to share the snack that you brought.
During the afternoon your guide will be available to take you visit the City Center. The itinerary will be built according to your specific interests, which may include a visit to the Cathedral, Qoricancha Sun Temple or perhaps drive to Sacsayhuaman Inca Site.
Overnight Casa San Blas
DAY 9: CUSCO FOODIE EXPERIENCE – LIMA – INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
During the morning your driver and guide meet you at the hotel to start this amazing culinary tour.
The day starts at San Pedro Market, where you can appreciate full spectacle of color and authenticity. Your guide will show you the different native Andean Peruvian products. Then you drive to the outskirts of Cusco where you find a charming space that has been conditioned as a kitchen and dining area. There you will participate on a hands-on cooking class, where you will prepare typical Peruvian drinks such as chicha morada and of course Pisco Sour. Then you will continue preparing a starter, a main course and a dessert, always using native Andean ingredients. This fun and interesting experience finishes around the table, enjoying what you have cooked.
Return to you hotel where your transport pick you up and take you to the airport to board your flight back to Lima. Upon arrival to Lima your airport assistance will assist you with your check in at airport.