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n area of phenomenal natural beauty, friendly people and fabulous mountain scenery, Peru has long been a mecca for hikers and trekkers. Teaming with Mountain Lodges of Peru, we have crafted an excellent itinerary to Peru and the unforgettable archaeological site of Machu Picchu – one of the “new“ Seven Wonders of the World.
The tour starts in the Sacred Valley, where we acclimate to the high altitude for a couple of days while exploring Inca sites before heading into the Peruvian Andes to begin our trek to Machu Picchu. Whereas most trekkers and tours hike to Machu Picchu via the overused “Inca Trail,” Mountain Lodges of Peru has pioneered an exciting alternative to the iconic landmark via the far-less traveled Salkantay Route. Staying in these With comfortable lodges, sumptuous cuisine we make the trek to Machu Picchu and spend a full day exploring this Inca site, before heading back to Cusco and the US.
Moderate Touring – Demanding Trekking
This trek traverses a pass at 15,213 ft, with sleeping elevations ranging from 6,900 ft to 12,800 ft. This trip requires that participants be in excellent physical condition and participate in a regular cardio-vascular exercise program prior departure from the USA. Though not the rainy season, mountain weather is unpredictable and the trek is subject to snowfall, storms, ice, rain, wind and other mountain hazards. Circumstances may mean that some days could be long and arduous for some people. Flexibility and a sense of humor are mandatory.
Anyone with a history of medical problems, particularly cardiac or respiratory, should consult a doctor before considering this tour. Release of liability and a medical certificate, signed by a physician will be required from all participants.
Day 1: Arrive Peru/Cusco – to Sacred Valley (9000 ft)
You will be met on arrival in Cusco and transferred to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, which at 9000 feet is two thousand lower than Cusco. Our overnights in the Valley will allow for better acclimatization, while giving us an opportunity of exploring this historical Inca site. An easy day to help us acclimate to the high altitude. After our afternoon “trek orientation” meeting we have free time to explore the valley.
Day 2: Exploring Sacred Valley – acclimatization hike
Day of exploration and hiking as we visit Pisac, not only an Inca site, its also well know for its Sunday market. After spending some time at the market we climb up the hill to explore the Incan ruins, known as Inca Písac. Continue on to Chinchero, another small wonderful Andean Indian village that dates back to the Inca times, offering panaramic views of the Sacred Valley, with the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the snow-capped peak of Salkantay dominating the western horizon.
Days 3 & 4: Exploring Cusco (11,050 ft)
After our morning acclimatization hike we drive (day 3) to Cusco and check into our hotel before heading out to explore the city and to experience it’s outstanding shopping and dining experiences..
As we walk the wonderful winding streets of old Cusco, we will see old Inca stone walls sitting side by side with the lovely balconied terraces of the Spanish colonial architecture, which is very distinctive in this part of South America. We will walk the Plaza de Armas, explore the Cusco Cathedral, which includes some terrific historic artifacts and a vast quantity of gold, and see the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Virgins of the Sun, which contain some of the best examples of ancient Incan architecture.
Day 5: To Trailhead / Trek to Soraypampa (12,500 ft)
Depart Cusco and make the approximately three-hour drive to Salkantay trailhead. En route, visit Inca site at Tarawasi and take a coffee break in the lovely town of Mollepata. We then start our lovely -hour hike, with or first trail lunch, to our lodge at Soraypampa.
Day 6: Acclimitazation Day / Soraypampa (12,500 ft)
After breakfast, hike to glacial lakes at base of mount Huamantay. Remainder of day at leisure, or option for additional hike or horseback ride to nearby cloud forest.
Day 7: Over Salkantay Pass to Huayraccmachay (12,600 ft)
Full day hike via Salkantay Pass to Wayra Lodge. Hot lunch provided en route. Phenomenal views of Salkantay Peak, one of the Inca civilization’s most sacred mountain peaks, throughout the day.
Day 8: To Colpapampa Lodge (9,200 ft)
A shorter trek day as we descend rapidly into the cloud forest and Colpapampa. Arrive at the lodge and enjoy traditional Peruvian “barbecue” for lunch. Spend time relaxing at the lodge and experience the fantastic views from the lodge’s strategically placed Jacuzzi!
Day 9: Hike to Lucmabamba (6.900 ft)
Departing the Colpa Lodge, follow the course of the river today as we descend to Lucmabamba and the Lucma Lodge, nestled in a verdant setting of coffee plantations and a variety of lush, tropical foliage and fruits.
Day 10: To Aguas Calientes (6,200 ft)
A long trekking day today. After an intense uphill hike through the cloud forest, we crest the pass and are rewarded with our first magical glimpse of western ramparts of Machu Picchu. After exploring some Inca ruins, descend to the hydroelectric train station to complete our journey to Aguas Calientes. After checking into our hotel, have dinner at hotel.
Day 11: Exploring Machu Picchu
We wake up early to have breakfast at the hotel and armed with a picnic lunch we make our way to the nearby bus station for the 30-minute ride up to Machu Picchu. This is simply one of the world’s most amazing travel moments. Although and often photographed iconic site, Machu Picchu is one of those rare places that truly lives up to the hype. Often the site is shrouded in cloud and mist early in the morning, but as the sun’s rays penetrate the cloud cover and burn off the haze, the site in all of its glory reveals itself. With the famed Huayana Picchu standing sentinel over the ancient city, Machu Picchu seemingly looks to have stepped out of the pages of history.
A complete guided tour of Machu Picchu will be provided, and then we have the rest of the late afternoon to explore on our own or with our guides before returning to Aquas Calientes.
Day 12: Exploring Machu Picchu – to Cusco
We will rise early this morning to once again visit Machu Picchu at sunrise (you do have the option of sleeping in, skipping the second Machu Picchu visit and enjoy the Hotel grounds or spa). Late morning we walk over to the train station and take the modern tourist train to Ollantaytambo (approximately 1.5 hours). At Ollantaytambo, a private vehicle awaits to take us to Cusco (another 2 hours). We have the rest of the afternoon to relax, explore or do some last minute shopping in Cusco. We will meet in the evening for our “Farewell dinner” at one of Cusco’s fine restaurants.
Day 13: Depart Cusco/Peru
You will be transferred to the airport in time for your outbound flight.
2016 Trip Dates: October 29 – November 10, 2016
Trip Duration: 13 days / 12 nights
Starting City: Cusco, Peru (Airport Code – CUZ)
Ending City: Cusco, Peru (Airport Code – CUZ)
2016 Land Cost
7 – 8 participants: $5,880 per person
9 – 11 participants: $5290 per person
If single occupancy is required, please add $2070
Minimum: 7 participants
Maximum: 11 participants
Included in Land Cost
• All accommodations as listed in the above itinerary, based on double occupancy
• All taxes and service charges
• All special events listed in the itinerary
• All ground transportation using non-air conditioned vehicles within Peru
• All entrance fees to all monuments, museums etc. during sightseeing excursions
• All city sight seeing excursion with experienced English-speaking local guides
• Full trek support (local guides, baggage poterage, meals etc.)
• All meals as listed in the above itinerary
• All arrival/departure airport/hotel transfers
• Services of TourDirect Top Guide & Trek Leader Sanjay Saxena (Day 1 to Day 13)
• Services of local Tour/Trek Manager (Day 1 to Day 13)
• TourDirect Medical ($25,000) and Evacuation ($500,000) insurance plan
Not Included in Land Cost
• International airfare, departure taxes and en route stopovers to and from Peru
• Internal Peru airfare (supplement noted separately)
• Items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, laundry, phone calls, etc.
• Movie, video and still camera fees
• All tips/gratuity to local staff (guides, drivers, bell boys, lodge staff etc.)
• Trip cancellation, travel delay or baggage insurance.
(Note: This optional coverage is highly recommended and can be purchased through Destination Himalaya)
• Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond TourDirect’s control
You must have a valid passport whose expiration date is beyond 6 months from the date of your return to the U.S. The passport must also have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you will be visiting in Asia.
Peru – Visas are not required for US citizens traveling to Peru for tourism.
High Altitude: Please note that we will reach altitudes of more than 15,000 feet on this tour, with sleeping elevations above 12,000 feet. Anyone with a history of medical problems, particularly cardiac or respiratory, should consult a doctor before considering this tour. A medical certificate, signed by a physician, will be required from all participants for this tour.
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