From Lima, we fly to Cusco then drive to the Sacred Valley of the Incas exploring the places, people and culture as we make our way to Machu Picchu. After visiting our wonder, we take the train back to Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire where we enjoy the eclectic mix of ancient tradition and modern vibrancy. We spend a day searching for the famous, endangered condor which has spiritual significance to the people of Peru, before returning to Lima for your flight home.
Day 1 – Arrival Lima
Welcome to Lima – An Ancient Summit representative will welcome you and privately transport you to your hotel. The location of your hotel will be decided based on your arrival time.
Day 2 – To Cusco and Sacred Valley
Our representative will be back to help get you checked in for the flight to Cusco. Enjoy your flight over the Andes. Upon arrival in Cusco you will meet your guide and your driver and begin your picturesque journey towards the Sacred Valley. We have not structured any definite tours today and depending on how you feel we can stop and have experiences. Today is your day to take it somewhat easy as a first day in the high altitude. Your guide is with you and willing to go as fast or as slow as you need. There is so much to do and see in the magical Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Day 3 – Sacred Valley: Moray, Maras & the Incan Salt Terraces
Today is the day to enjoy the very special ranch belonging to Nina’s dear friend Pablo. We have horseback riding and your opportunity to visit Moray, Maras and the incredible salt terraces. After a short orientation and accompanied by your chalan1, you set off on rural paths, passing small villages. Traveling on your Peruvian Caballo de Paso, the national horse of Peru, we are transported into a rural lifestyle, meeting and greeting villagers in their everyday lives, where we respectfully interact in their cultural space and get a glimpse of their daily rhythms. Using paths that have existed since before the time of the Inca’s, you will enjoy truly impressive views, as well as a wonderful packed lunch in the great outdoors along the way.
1 Originally, the title given to a Peruvian Paso horse rider. Typically, the best horse rider in a Peruvian town or village. A Chalan must earn this title. It is a title of respect
Day 4 – Sacred Valley: Ollantaytambo & exploring
Today we visit the ancient fortress village of Ollantaytambo. This site is one of the few places the Spaniards lost a battle during the conquest and might very well be the reason why they never found Machu Picchu! The archeological site is a good introduction of the wonders to come and the village is still very authentic (except for the tourist bits). A specially prepared lunch awaits you at the home of Nina’s dear friends in the Sacred Valley. Wonderful home cooking and seasonal ingredients come from their own organic garden. There will also be time to enjoy their lovely gardens. A member of this family is a well-known Peruvian artist and if home, will invite you to visit his studio. This home is not open to the public, so it is a very special and authentic experience. After lunch adventures are up to you and your guide.
Day 5 – Express Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
Very early this morning, we will board our train from Ollantaytamno for the panoramic journey to ‘Km 104’, where your Inca Trail trek begins. Crossing the Vilcanota River via a beautiful bridge we arrive at Chachabamba, the first Inca site on the trek. Leaving this site, the path continues into a forest offering some welcomed shade. We reach a beautiful waterfall and continue to the Inca site of Wiñay Wayna (‘Forever Young’). The journey continues to Inti Punku (Sun Gate) and your first inspiring view of our Wonder of the World!
Day 6 – Explore Machu Picchu
After breakfast, your guide will meet you for the bus back up to start your SUNRISE guided tour and Huayna Picchu or Montana Machu Picchu climb. Today you will learn about this most amazing architecture and the mysterious temples to better understand the sophisticated ideas of this highly advanced culture. Lunch is served at the Sanctuary Lodge when you are ready. Later this afternoon we board the train and return to the Sacred Valley where your now familiar driver will be waiting to drive you to your hotel. Free evening to relax and reminisce about the wonders.
Day 7 – Sacred Valley to Cusco
Today, with special memories and an understanding of why the Incas called it the Sacred Valley, we begin the drive out of this special place and get on the road to Cusco. Along the way, we will make some stops depending on what inspires you. We have the option to stop at a beautiful glacier fed lake where you can enjoy the nature. After this, we can head even further down and off the beaten path to visit an authentic village whose inhabitants still practice their traditional lifestyle. Not a usual tourist stop but something we love to share with you. This a place we are dedicated to working closely for sustainability and education of the children. Our “Moms” welcome you for a demonstration of their ancient weaving tradition and you can participate if the spirit moves you. Nina’s son, Julio, runs the after school-learning center and is very committed to the children. A documentary about our work was filmed here. The day ends In Cusco where you can wander out and explore on your own. Cusco is wonderful at night.
Day 8 – Cusco
Today is your private tour of the city of Cusco. A city famed for its blend of Spanish and Inca cultures and has long been the inspiration for many an artist and chef. Once the principal city of the Inca empire, and is now the undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas. Today we can visit the Koricancha Temple, a classic example of the fusion of Inca and Western cultures. Sacsayhuaman, as well as several other iconic archeological sites can be visited if you wish. Your guide always has more ideas and ways of showing you this incredible city based on your interests.
Day 9 – Condor Search in Chonta
A unique adventure today. The drive starts along a well-paved road with stops at two archaeological sites — Quillarumilloc, a former Inca moon temple, and Tarawasi, an important ceremonial center. You have beautiful views of Mt. Salkantay and the Limatambo Valley before arriving at the community of Chonta to begin the hike. There are 4 different viewpoints over the astounding Apurimac Canyon. From these strategic areas, you’ll have the opportunity to see the majestic Andean condor in its natural habitat and hopefully as up close and personal as one can possibly get. It is one of the largest flying birds in the world and can have a wingspan of over 9 ½ feet.
Day 10 – Cusco to Lima and home
This morning you have some free time in Cusco before we meet you at your hotel to drive you to the airport for your flight to Lima. The timing will be decided based on your international departure time. Upon arrival into Lima, our representative will help you check into your international flight home.