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Lares Valley Journey & Machu Picchu

From $3,695

  • Get off the beaten path in the Lares region—visit ancient sites on the celebrated "Inca Weaver's Trail" and enjoy a high-altiude Andes experience in one of Peru's most remote regions
  • Choose from a variety of activities on this flexible, à la carte itinerary including spectacular hikes, and authentic encounters with local weavers, farmers and craftspeople
  • Finish up your exploration with a fascinating in-depth tour of Machu Picchu, a highlight of any Andean adventure

Just north of Cusco lies a little-traveled region of tranquil lakes and rugged peaks, where farmers grow crops as they have for centuries and children in brightly colored ponchos herd llamas through lush green valleys. Join us on spectacular hikes and drives through the villages and landscapes of Lares, discovering traditional Andean life by day and staying in stylish, comfortable lodges at night. You'll journey along the ancient "Inca Weaver's Trail" and also see the best of the Sacred Valley—from the ancient ruins at Pisac to fascinating Ollantaytambo, a well-preserved Inca town with some of South America's oldest occupied dwellings. End your adventure with a visit to iconic, mysterious Machu Picchu. This is a remarkable journey back in time with a flexible itinerary that gives you a whole new way to experience the land of the Incas.

Day 1: Arrive in Cusco

Arrive in Cusco, Peru, where you'll be greeted by a representative and transferred to your luxury hotel—the ideal spot to relax and get used to the high altitude before your trek. Cusco was the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and, today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its ruins and vibrant beauty. The day is free to explore or unwind back at the hotel. You’ll meet the rest of your group tonight for an orientation and welcome dinner.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Palacio del Inka-Cusco

Day 2: Explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Today we'll descend from Cusco into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, full of lush green fields and surrounded by striking mountain peaks. Choose from a range of activities including exploring the archeological site of Chinchero, where colonial buildings rest atop Inca foundations, visitng the salt evaporation ponds at the natural salt mines of Maras, and enjoying the sites at Moray, believed to be an Inca laboratory dedicated to the study of foreign plant species. Or, you may choose to embark on strenuous yet memorable hike with impressive views of the Ausangate mountain peak to the complex of Huchuyqosqo, thought to be the Palace of Viracocha, the eighth Inca ruler. Enjoy a hearty lunch amidst this Incan palace, as you learn more about its history and impressive construction techniques. After re-charging, make your way back down to the valley floor.

Optional hikes:Taucca to Huchuyqosqo and Calca 6 hours (moderate to challenging); Moray to Maras salt mines 2 to 3 hours (easy)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Lamay Lodge

Day 3: Take an inspiring look at Pisac

After a hearty breakfast, it's time to head for Pisac. Located high up on a ridge at the same elevation as Cusco and overlooking the valley, Pisac is famous for its vibrant market and impressive Inca ruins. A morning visit to check out the unique array of products at the market will inspire you with a small taste of the rich culture yet to be explored on your journey. Alternatively, travelers seeking inspiration in nature can opt for a challenging hike over a 14,000-foot pass surrounded by amazing views of the Andes Mountains that guard this magnificent valley. Later, enjoy exclusive access to the isolated community of Viacha, where you will learn about its artisanal potato farming practices and enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca" meal, cooked under hot stones. After lunch you will visit Pisac's archaeological ruins, which extend from a fortress to a temple complex where you’ll see some of the finest Inca stonework in existence. This afternoon excursion offers a unique opportunity to explore the complex free of crowds, with the sun setting behind the peaks.

Optional hikes: Amaru to Viacha 2 to 3 hours (moderate to challenging); Viacha to Pisac complex 1 to 2 hours (easy)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Lamay Lodge

Day 4: Go deep into Lares

After a glimpse of the region's rich Andean tapestry, you'll go deeper into the heart of Lares. A scenic drive into the mountains follows the celebrated “Inca Weaver’s Trail,” which will take you through stops at the archaeological site of Ancasmarca. This old Inca complex of ancient granaries, dwellings and farm land is located at the intersection of the higher end of the Sacred Valley and the cloud forest communities of Lares, which made it a strategic spot in ancient times. After lunch, travelers can choose between visiting the traditional weavers’ village of Choquecancha or a scenic drive and a moderate/strenuous hike amidst turquoise blue lakes and towering peaks to the remote village of Huacahuasi. A night spent at our lodge at Huacahuasi will give you insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people in both the culture and commerce of modern-day Cusco.

Optional hikes: Cuncani to Huacahuasi 3 to 4 hours (moderate to challenging); Qelquena to Huacahuasi 2 to 3 hours (moderate)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Huacahuasi Lodge

Day 5: Learn from locals in the village of Huacahuasi

If you’re in the mood for a more cultural experience today, you can walk through the village of Huacahuasi and learn more about its heritage and daily activities. The expert weavers will share their stories, each depicted in artful textiles full of traditional Inca/Andean symbols and imagery. Then take a cooking class, or just enjoy a walk to a beautiful waterfall near the village. For those who want to go deeper into these remote mountains, challenge yourself with an all-day hike to Quiswarani. Although very strenuous, this trek has amazing views of turquoise lakes and majestic mountains as you travel on well-worn paths edged with wildflowers, passing herds of alpacas and llamas grazing on hillsides as you make your way over steep passes.

Optional hikes: Quiswarani to Qelquena 6 to 7 hours (challenging); lodge to waterfalls 1 to 2 hours (easy)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Huacahuasi Lodge

Day 6: Enjoy an expedition to Ollantaytambo

Spend some time in the morning learningabout the heritage and day-to-day activities of the Huacahuasi community. Then embark on another spectacular hike from our lodge, through varied terrain and over a high pass, to the adjacent valley leading to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo. If you prefer to see more of the Sacred Valley, you can drive back for a visit to an ethnographic museum featuring the history of Peru’s rich civilizations of the past. Afterwards, you can enjoy lunch in the Urubamba countryside on your way to Ollantaytambo, where you can spend time meandering through its charming maze-like streets. If you feel like some action before the drive back down to the Sacred Valley, an afternoon bike ride through fields along an old path can be arranged. We will overnight at a hotel in Ollantaytambo.

Optional hike: Huacahuasi to Patacancha 5 to 6 hours (moderate to challenging)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 7: Discover Ollantaytambo

An early morning short hike to Inca storage structures high above Ollantaytambo will give you a magnificent view of the town as well as the archeological site across the valley. You can explore the town's magnificent ruins, including the fortress, the ceremonial center, and the town itself—once an Inca capital and a stronghold against the Spanish conquistadors.You'll get a sense of Ollantaytambo's mystical history as your guide takes you back in time on a tour, and learn more about the temple's importance as an Inca ceremonial center and as one of the best examples of Inca architecture. At noon you will embark on a scenic train ride along the famous Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu, whose charm lies in a history that began as a small railway stop and evolved into a bustling town still bisected by the train tracks. Overnight in Aguas Calientes.

Optional hike: Pinkuylluna Mountain above Ollantaytambo 1 to 2 hours (moderate)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 8: Explore Machu Picchu

Awake early to catch the bus up to Machu Picchu, where you can experience the morning light over the sanctuary and explore the ruins in depth before the train arrives with day visitors. Enjoy a thorough walking tour of Machu Picchu, visiting the various main structures and learning about their importance in the lives of the Incas. Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Remember to take a moment to quietly sit, listen to the wind, and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Some may even choose an uphill hike on Huayna Picchu for dramatic views from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon jungle.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Palacio del Inka-Cusco

Day 9: Depart from Cusco

Explore Cusco in the morning before bidding “adios” to your traveling companions and catching a connecting flight to Lima, and home.

  • Breakfast

Aug 09 - 17, 2015

Aug 23 - 31, 2015

Sep 13 - 21, 2015

Oct 11 - 19, 2015

Apr 10 - 18, 2016

May 29, 2016 - Jun 06, 2016

Jun 08 - 16, 2016

Jul 10 - 18, 2016

Aug 14 - 22, 2016

Aug 30, 2016 - Sep 07, 2016

Sep 18 - 26, 2016

Oct 16 - 24, 2016

pricing

2015 PRICES
$3,695 (7-16 members)
$3,895 (4-6 members)
$1,200 single supplement

2016 PRICES
$4,295 (8-16 members)
$4,795 (6-7 members)
$1,200 single supplement

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Huacahuasi Lodge — Community of Huacahuasi in the Lares Region

This lodge, set high on a hillside above the village of Huacahuasi, boasts spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. In the ancient Quechua language, the name of this community means “House of Spirits or Sacred Objects,” whereby spirits can also be interpreted as physical phenomena including waterfalls, mountains, or man-made shrines. The atmosphere of this lodge reflects the spirit of the mountains and the history of the region, and integrates local building styles with a modern decor. The main entrance hall is centered around the “tree of life,” a large Quenua tree, a typical plant of the region. Since the area is well known for its weavers, the public areas of the lodge display local weavings as well as paintings and Andean crafts. The dining and bar areas are illuminated by large windows overlooking the village and access valley. Guest rooms have radiant heating, private bathrooms, balconies with its own jacuzzi, and all amenities.  Upon arrival, the guests are greeted with hot or cold drinks and hot towel to freshen up.

Lamay Lodge — Lamay town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Lamay lodge is situated at the edge of the quaint village of Lamay in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, just an hour away from the city of Cusco. Its architecture follows the design of a traditional Spanish colonial hacienda, but with updated lines and sophisticated details. The lobby and lounge areas feature comfortable couches and chairs facing the garden, and the restaurant and bar, framed by tall windows and ceilings, are decorated with rural motifs and crafts. As in a traditional hacienda, a large garden is the center of activities and an excellent place to sit and read or take pictures. The use of local materials, like wood, stone, and adobe, as well as hand-woven rugs and decorative lighting creates a welcoming atmosphere—an ideal place to relax at the end of the hiking day. Guest rooms open up to views of surrounding peaks, and are decorated with warm colors that complement the wood and stone walls. A large Jacuzzi can be found in the garden amid the flowerbeds. From the lodge, guests can walk and explore the village and meet the local people who still wear traditional clothing.

Palacio del Inka-Cusco — Cusco

Facing the Sun Temple "Koricancha," this romantic, personalized hotel is a traveler's favorite, reaching 11th place on Condé Nast Traveler's list of top South American hotels. Rooms furnished in a classic, traditional style ensure the hotel maintains its serene character despite its central location. 

  • Get off the beaten path in the Lares region—visit ancient sites on the celebrated "Inca Weaver's Trail" and enjoy a high-altiude Andes experience in one of Peru's most remote regions
  • Choose from a variety of activities on this flexible, à la carte itinerary including spectacular hikes, and authentic encounters with local weavers, farmers and craftspeople
  • Finish up your exploration with a fascinating in-depth tour of Machu Picchu, a highlight of any Andean adventure

Just north of Cusco lies a little-traveled region of tranquil lakes and rugged peaks, where farmers grow crops as they have for centuries and children in brightly colored ponchos herd llamas through lush green valleys. Join us on spectacular hikes and drives through the villages and landscapes of Lares, discovering traditional Andean life by day and staying in stylish, comfortable lodges at night. You'll journey along the ancient "Inca Weaver's Trail" and also see the best of the Sacred Valley—from the ancient ruins at Pisac to fascinating Ollantaytambo, a well-preserved Inca town with some of South America's oldest occupied dwellings. End your adventure with a visit to iconic, mysterious Machu Picchu. This is a remarkable journey back in time with a flexible itinerary that gives you a whole new way to experience the land of the Incas.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cusco

Arrive in Cusco, Peru, where you'll be greeted by a representative and transferred to your luxury hotel—the ideal spot to relax and get used to the high altitude before your trek. Cusco was the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and, today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its ruins and vibrant beauty. The day is free to explore or unwind back at the hotel. You’ll meet the rest of your group tonight for an orientation and welcome dinner.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Palacio del Inka-Cusco

Day 2: Explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Today we'll descend from Cusco into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, full of lush green fields and surrounded by striking mountain peaks. Choose from a range of activities including exploring the archeological site of Chinchero, where colonial buildings rest atop Inca foundations, visitng the salt evaporation ponds at the natural salt mines of Maras, and enjoying the sites at Moray, believed to be an Inca laboratory dedicated to the study of foreign plant species. Or, you may choose to embark on strenuous yet memorable hike with impressive views of the Ausangate mountain peak to the complex of Huchuyqosqo, thought to be the Palace of Viracocha, the eighth Inca ruler. Enjoy a hearty lunch amidst this Incan palace, as you learn more about its history and impressive construction techniques. After re-charging, make your way back down to the valley floor.

Optional hikes:Taucca to Huchuyqosqo and Calca 6 hours (moderate to challenging); Moray to Maras salt mines 2 to 3 hours (easy)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Lamay Lodge

Day 3: Take an inspiring look at Pisac

After a hearty breakfast, it's time to head for Pisac. Located high up on a ridge at the same elevation as Cusco and overlooking the valley, Pisac is famous for its vibrant market and impressive Inca ruins. A morning visit to check out the unique array of products at the market will inspire you with a small taste of the rich culture yet to be explored on your journey. Alternatively, travelers seeking inspiration in nature can opt for a challenging hike over a 14,000-foot pass surrounded by amazing views of the Andes Mountains that guard this magnificent valley. Later, enjoy exclusive access to the isolated community of Viacha, where you will learn about its artisanal potato farming practices and enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca" meal, cooked under hot stones. After lunch you will visit Pisac's archaeological ruins, which extend from a fortress to a temple complex where you’ll see some of the finest Inca stonework in existence. This afternoon excursion offers a unique opportunity to explore the complex free of crowds, with the sun setting behind the peaks.

Optional hikes: Amaru to Viacha 2 to 3 hours (moderate to challenging); Viacha to Pisac complex 1 to 2 hours (easy)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Lamay Lodge

Day 4: Go deep into Lares

After a glimpse of the region's rich Andean tapestry, you'll go deeper into the heart of Lares. A scenic drive into the mountains follows the celebrated “Inca Weaver’s Trail,” which will take you through stops at the archaeological site of Ancasmarca. This old Inca complex of ancient granaries, dwellings and farm land is located at the intersection of the higher end of the Sacred Valley and the cloud forest communities of Lares, which made it a strategic spot in ancient times. After lunch, travelers can choose between visiting the traditional weavers’ village of Choquecancha or a scenic drive and a moderate/strenuous hike amidst turquoise blue lakes and towering peaks to the remote village of Huacahuasi. A night spent at our lodge at Huacahuasi will give you insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people in both the culture and commerce of modern-day Cusco.

Optional hikes: Cuncani to Huacahuasi 3 to 4 hours (moderate to challenging); Qelquena to Huacahuasi 2 to 3 hours (moderate)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Huacahuasi Lodge

Day 5: Learn from locals in the village of Huacahuasi

If you’re in the mood for a more cultural experience today, you can walk through the village of Huacahuasi and learn more about its heritage and daily activities. The expert weavers will share their stories, each depicted in artful textiles full of traditional Inca/Andean symbols and imagery. Then take a cooking class, or just enjoy a walk to a beautiful waterfall near the village. For those who want to go deeper into these remote mountains, challenge yourself with an all-day hike to Quiswarani. Although very strenuous, this trek has amazing views of turquoise lakes and majestic mountains as you travel on well-worn paths edged with wildflowers, passing herds of alpacas and llamas grazing on hillsides as you make your way over steep passes.

Optional hikes: Quiswarani to Qelquena 6 to 7 hours (challenging); lodge to waterfalls 1 to 2 hours (easy)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Huacahuasi Lodge

Day 6: Enjoy an expedition to Ollantaytambo

Spend some time in the morning learningabout the heritage and day-to-day activities of the Huacahuasi community. Then embark on another spectacular hike from our lodge, through varied terrain and over a high pass, to the adjacent valley leading to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo. If you prefer to see more of the Sacred Valley, you can drive back for a visit to an ethnographic museum featuring the history of Peru’s rich civilizations of the past. Afterwards, you can enjoy lunch in the Urubamba countryside on your way to Ollantaytambo, where you can spend time meandering through its charming maze-like streets. If you feel like some action before the drive back down to the Sacred Valley, an afternoon bike ride through fields along an old path can be arranged. We will overnight at a hotel in Ollantaytambo.

Optional hike: Huacahuasi to Patacancha 5 to 6 hours (moderate to challenging)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 7: Discover Ollantaytambo

An early morning short hike to Inca storage structures high above Ollantaytambo will give you a magnificent view of the town as well as the archeological site across the valley. You can explore the town's magnificent ruins, including the fortress, the ceremonial center, and the town itself—once an Inca capital and a stronghold against the Spanish conquistadors.You'll get a sense of Ollantaytambo's mystical history as your guide takes you back in time on a tour, and learn more about the temple's importance as an Inca ceremonial center and as one of the best examples of Inca architecture. At noon you will embark on a scenic train ride along the famous Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu, whose charm lies in a history that began as a small railway stop and evolved into a bustling town still bisected by the train tracks. Overnight in Aguas Calientes.

Optional hike: Pinkuylluna Mountain above Ollantaytambo 1 to 2 hours (moderate)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 8: Explore Machu Picchu

Awake early to catch the bus up to Machu Picchu, where you can experience the morning light over the sanctuary and explore the ruins in depth before the train arrives with day visitors. Enjoy a thorough walking tour of Machu Picchu, visiting the various main structures and learning about their importance in the lives of the Incas. Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Remember to take a moment to quietly sit, listen to the wind, and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Some may even choose an uphill hike on Huayna Picchu for dramatic views from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon jungle.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Palacio del Inka-Cusco

Day 9: Depart from Cusco

Explore Cusco in the morning before bidding “adios” to your traveling companions and catching a connecting flight to Lima, and home.

  • Breakfast

Huacahuasi Lodge — Community of Huacahuasi in the Lares Region

This lodge, set high on a hillside above the village of Huacahuasi, boasts spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. In the ancient Quechua language, the name of this community means “House of Spirits or Sacred Objects,” whereby spirits can also be interpreted as physical phenomena including waterfalls, mountains, or man-made shrines. The atmosphere of this lodge reflects the spirit of the mountains and the history of the region, and integrates local building styles with a modern decor. The main entrance hall is centered around the “tree of life,” a large Quenua tree, a typical plant of the region. Since the area is well known for its weavers, the public areas of the lodge display local weavings as well as paintings and Andean crafts. The dining and bar areas are illuminated by large windows overlooking the village and access valley. Guest rooms have radiant heating, private bathrooms, balconies with its own jacuzzi, and all amenities.  Upon arrival, the guests are greeted with hot or cold drinks and hot towel to freshen up.

Lamay Lodge — Lamay town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Lamay lodge is situated at the edge of the quaint village of Lamay in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, just an hour away from the city of Cusco. Its architecture follows the design of a traditional Spanish colonial hacienda, but with updated lines and sophisticated details. The lobby and lounge areas feature comfortable couches and chairs facing the garden, and the restaurant and bar, framed by tall windows and ceilings, are decorated with rural motifs and crafts. As in a traditional hacienda, a large garden is the center of activities and an excellent place to sit and read or take pictures. The use of local materials, like wood, stone, and adobe, as well as hand-woven rugs and decorative lighting creates a welcoming atmosphere—an ideal place to relax at the end of the hiking day. Guest rooms open up to views of surrounding peaks, and are decorated with warm colors that complement the wood and stone walls. A large Jacuzzi can be found in the garden amid the flowerbeds. From the lodge, guests can walk and explore the village and meet the local people who still wear traditional clothing.

Palacio del Inka-Cusco — Cusco

Facing the Sun Temple "Koricancha," this romantic, personalized hotel is a traveler's favorite, reaching 11th place on Condé Nast Traveler's list of top South American hotels. Rooms furnished in a classic, traditional style ensure the hotel maintains its serene character despite its central location. 

Dates and Pricing

Aug 09 - 17, 2015

Aug 23 - 31, 2015

Sep 13 - 21, 2015

Oct 11 - 19, 2015

Apr 10 - 18, 2016

May 29, 2016 - Jun 06, 2016

Jun 08 - 16, 2016

Jul 10 - 18, 2016

Aug 14 - 22, 2016

Aug 30, 2016 - Sep 07, 2016

Sep 18 - 26, 2016

Oct 16 - 24, 2016

pricing

2015 PRICES
$3,695 (7-16 members)
$3,895 (4-6 members)
$1,200 single supplement

2016 PRICES
$4,295 (8-16 members)
$4,795 (6-7 members)
$1,200 single supplement

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Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure