Participante in one of Latin America's most vibrant fiestas in Peru
For nine days engage in the vibrant living culture of Peru through an active, farm-to-fork focus. Make a lasting and positive impact by sustaining endangered Andean traditions. Meet organic farmers, master weavers, Andean chefs and other friends and local hosts who invite us into their lives and their homes, giving us an unparalleled access into the vibrant, cultural heart of Peru.
Of course no trip to Peru would be complete without ambling the ancient cobblestone streets of Cusco, exploring deep into the cultural and natural wonders of the mystical Sacred Valley and embarking on an in-depth pilgrimage to the breathtaking Inca sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
- Participate in one of Latin America's most vibrant fiestas "Virgen del Carmen" and join one of te iconic dance troupes for lunch.
- Kayak the placid waters of Lake Huaypo or Piuray and prepare a pachamanca, a ceremonial feast cooked on super-heated stones buried underground.
- Walk hundreds of crystalline saltpans at Maras and witness salt being collected by hand in the same way it has been done for hundreds of years
- Hike a splendid, yet virtually untrodden Inca trail near Accha Alta passing shepherds and schoolchildren, grazing alpaca glacier-fed creeks & ancient burial sites
- Visit with the indigenous artists of remote Accha Alta to learn how the 2,000 year-old Peruvian textile arts play a role in Andean life, rituals and festivals
- Explore the mysterious Inca citadel at the measured pace it deserves, for two days and one night at one of South America's most breathtaking lodges
Duration: 9 days Start Location: Cusco End Location: LimaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Fly to Cusco and continue to Sacread Valley
Meet-up in Lima for a short morning flight to Cusco. After a coca leaf tea, we drive to Pisac, where a gourmet catered picnic lunch awaits. The Inca ruins of Pisac are considered amongst the finest anywhere and boast commending views out over the Sacred Valley below. Our two-hour downhill trek to town allows us time to absorb the full magnificence of this place. Continue by private vehicle to Huarán, our bucolic base for the next few nights.
Day 2 : Crop Circles, Surreal Salt & Ollantaytambo
Visit Moray, home to a series of enormous, cascading agricultural terraces, each forming its own unique microclimate. Later, walk alongside hundreds of crystalline saltpans at Maras and witness salt being collected by hand under the potent sun, much in the same way it has been done for hundreds of years. After a re-invigorating lunch, explore the idyllic market town of Ollantaytambo. Marvel at the enormous stone Inca-designed fortifications and explore them in-depth.
Day 3 : Master Weavers, Pre-Inca Grain Silos Hidden Trails of Accha Alta
Drive to a trailhead roughly 90 minutes from our lodge. Stop in to meet the master weavers of Accha Alta before visiting a series of pre-Inca storage silos on a dramatic mountain ridge above the town. Experience a virtually unknown, yet splendid trail on a 3-hour, mostly downhill walk passing alpaca, shepherds, Andean meadows and creeks, ancient burial sites and a dramatic rock canyon. Share a picnic lunch en route.
Day 4 : Kayak & Pachamanca, continue to Paucartambo
Transfer to the bucolic Lake Huaypo or Piuray, where our friend Pio, the owner & highly regarded chef of El Huacatay, leads us in the preparation of a traditional pachamanca, and Andean feast cooked on super-heated stoned buried in the earth. While our feast slowly roasts underground, climb aboard kayaks for a 90-minute water-based exploration of the lake.
In the afternoon, drive 3 1/2 hours to Paucartambo, a small town that for several days in July becomes the site for one of Latin America’s most vibrant folkloric celebrations.
Day 5 : Virgen del Carmen Celebration
The Virgen del Carmen is one of the most vibrant, colorful folkloric festivals in all of Latin America. As its name implies the festival pays homage to the Virgin of Carmen & draws thousands of revelers from all over Peru. We are invited to share a traditional festival breakfast of freshly roasted pork at Rosa’s, a friend and local resident of Paucartambo. Her home serves as a convenient base throughout the day. We are bestowed the honor of joining one of Paucartambo’s comparsas (dance troupes) for lunch, a true insider’s experience that transports us into the local heart of these festivities. Return to Urubamba this afternoon.
Day 6 : Along the Orchid Trail - Machu Picchu
Transfer to board the panoramic Vistadome train for the 90-minute ride this morning to Aguas Calientes. Continue to the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, nestled in its own nature reserve below Machu Picchu. Enjoy an exploration of South America’s largest orchid garden and a nature walk accompanied by an expert naturalist guide.
Day 7 : Magic Pachu Picchu
Rise early to catch the bus up the zigzagging road to Machu Picchu in order to be amongst the first to arrive at the ruins around sunrise. Our Andean specialist guide explains the history of this magical complex, unveiling the nature of its most important structures. After a few hours guided, enjoy a few more hours on your own to explore secret corners of the site or just meditate
and feel the energy of this special place. Board the late afternoon Vistadome train in Aguas Calientes for the approximately three-hour trip to Cusco, arriving this evening.
Day 8 : Cusco Unveiled
Cusco is, simply put, one of the most beautiful Spanish colonial cities of the Americas. Today is dedicated to an in-depth exploration of this charming city on foot. Delve into one of Cusco’s boisterous, fragrant open markets to see and taste some of Peru’s exotic fruits and produce.
Continue your urban explorations with historical visits including: Santo Domingo, built directly on the Inca stone base of the Koricancha temple (the Temple of the Sun), the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the artists’ neighborhood of San Blas and the monumental ruins of Saqsayhuaman, with stunning views over Cusco.
Day 9 : Cusco at Leisure, Fine Folk Art & Homeward Bound
Enjoy a last, unstructured morning in Cusco. Wander its narrow, cobblestone streets and its shady plazas, or visit the small, finely displayed Museum of Pre-Colombian art, or simply relax and people watch from a café overlooking San Blas. Transfer to the Cusco airport your short afternoon flight to Lima.
Our driver will be waiting in Lima to take you to the restored colonial villa of Mari Solari, who awaits our visit. A resident of Peru for over 40 years, Mari is amongst the country’s foremost folk art experts & collectors. Hear stories & insights on the deep-rooted folk art traditions of Peru as well as a glimpse of Mari’s private collection.
Return to Lima’s airport in plenty of time to check-in for your overnight flight back to the U.S.
DATES: Best time to go: July Departures: Jul 12 - 20, 2014
$4,995 (4 to 14 members)
$995 Farm Fresh Lima Extension
Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations.
If you prefer single accommodatins, you must pay the Single Supplement Fee. If you're traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we'll try our best to find you a roommate. If that's not possible, the single rate will apply.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Jim Kane is recognized leader in the field of sustainable travel and the former Community-Based Travel columnist for Transitions Abroad magazine. In 2003 he founded Culture Xplorers, a specialty travel company with a simple vision: to foster an immersive, participatory travel experience by connecting travelers and local people through a celebration of their living culture and traditions. Jim is a frequently invited speaker on the subject of transformative travel at conferences and educational institutions throughout the U.S., amongst these, the Educational Travel Conference (ETC), the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, the Luxury Expo and the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS). “Crafting this active, meaningful, one-of-a-kind Peru adventure hand-in-hand with MTS is a dream collaboration distilling my two decades of relationship building in Peru with MTS’ 40 years of adventure travel expertise. I can’t wait to personally host this July’s Virgen del Carmen trip for Mountain Travel Sobek!”