Duration: Half Day
Located above the town of Pisac are the Pisac ruins, including a stone fortress with an impressive view of the valley. On the colonial town of Pisac, which preserves its Inca foundations, raises the hill known as the Intiwatana, with one of the finest terraces (Andenes) in the region. On the summit, the Incas built an astronomical tower with nice carved stones from which they could observe the course of the sun.
Duration: Half Day
Visit to Chinchero, a picturesque town near a pleasant small lake on a high plateau with an attractive church built on an Inca temple. Recent excavations have revealed many Inca walls and terraces. Every Sunday, at the market, there is a wide selection of hadicrafts, including weavings, pottery and alpaca goods.
PIQUILLACTA AND ANDAHUAYLILLAS
Duration: Half Day
Piquillacta, pre-Inca citadel from the Huari culture, keeps its strange architecture. It is located in the Cusco Valley near the Huacarpay Lake. Andahuaylillas is a town built by Spaniards, famous for its church dating from the 17t h century. Its interior is richly decorated with numerous murals and paintings, it is known as the “Peruvian Sistine Chapel”.
TIPON AND KAIRA
Duration: Half Day
In the ancient times, the Incas made research and experiments in Tipon. This tour includes a short visit to the town of Tipon and Kaira, the University of Cusco’s Andean Plant Research Center, were technicians are trying to recover the forms of agriculture used by the Incas.
INTI RAYMI FESTIVAL (June 24th)
This is the most majestic pre-Hispanic ceremony to render homage to the sun. Today, the Inti Raymi festival evokes the splendid Inca ritual of Yore, being carefully scripted by Cusco professors, archaeologists and historians. The central event is acted out on the esplanade below the imposing fortress of Sacsayhuaman, 2-Km.s outside the city of Cusco. There, step-by-step, thousands of actors enact a long ceremony giving thanks to the sun god, Inti. The Inca ruler is borne on a royal litter from the Koricancha, or Temple of the Sun to the Huacaypata, the city’s main square, where he commands the local authorities to govern fairly.
For those passengers staying in Yucay or Urubamba, the following excursions are available:
We leave at 9:00 am from Cusco. We will raft for about two and a half hours, returning around 6pm if the rafting site is a bit of a drive away. Ollantaytambo is the most downstream site. It has class II and III rapids and a few large rocks that create one slide. Huambutio is the calmest site, where we take school groups. It has class II and III rapids.
ECOLOGYCAL WALKS IN MACHU PICCHU
To enjoy Ecological Walks, you just need good shoes, be healthy and full of spirit to enjoy Machu Picchu. Climb the ladders up the Putukusi mountain; hike to Mador waterfall or along our mile long gardens and cloud forest. Assisted by bilingual guides.
1. Machu Picchu Mountain
Duration: Approximately 5 hours
Walk over a rock-paved Inca trail. Since it is seldom used, the surrounding nature is almost intact. You may see birds, lizards, butterflies, begonias, bromelias and orchids in natural display.
From this trail, the Wiñay Wayna, Choquesusuy and Intipata remains can be observed from afar. At the summit, are three large fortified watchtowers, overlooking the historic citadel of Machu Picchu, the ice-capped mountains of Salkantayand La Veronica, as well as Putukusi and Wayna Picchu mountains.
2. Wiñay Wayna – Choquesusuy – Aguas Calientes
Duration: Approximately 6 hours
From Machu Picchu’s historic citadel, the last part of the Inca Trail winds, upwards to the Wiñay Wayna remains. Near these ruins a waterfall intensifies the magical and sacred character of this archaeological ritual complex. From there we return to the hotel down a zigzagging trail used by the lodge, descending the mountain, to the Choquesusuy remains. The beautiful walk offers a new experience on the Inca Trail: a visit to sacred places, part of the Inca purification rituals.
3. Choquesusuy Remains
Duration: Approximately 4 hours
These remains are a very important part of the archaeological complex of Machu Picchu, with five large water fountains in the lower part, and a large altar with circles of stone facing the rising sun. This could be the first step in the purification of the soul previous to the ascent of Wiñay Wayna and further up to Machu Picchu. Visit to the ruins. One hundred meters farther up, is the 60-meter cascade of the Quetzal waterfall.
4. Mandor Cataract
Duration: 3 1/2 hours
From your hotel go to Puente Ruinas and continue to Mandor, one of the best places for bird watching. As you walk along the old railway you will find yourself high up, walking almost at the level of the canopy of trees, with a magnificent view. Here nature offers you its parrots and may distract you as you spot orchids, bromelias, butterflies and birds. The cloud forest is dense with large trees and giant ferns.
5. Putukusi Mountain
Duration: 3 1/2 hours
Climb a steep rustic wooden stairway nailed to the rock with an almost vertical ascent amid cloud forest vegetation, an adventure not suitable for those who fear highs. The view of the mountain is magnificent, crowned with a panoramic view of the Machu Picchu remains and at your feet the village of Aguas Calientes and the Mandor Valley.
FULL DAY HUCHUY QOSQO TREK
A fantastic full day trek in the surroundings of Cusco, departing close from Chinchero, crossing a mountain pass and then reaching Huchuy Qosqo, an ancient Inca archaeological site, with stunning views over the Sacred Valley.
We leave Cusco at 7:00am in a private transport that takes us to Chinchero to then follow on to Tauca, the starting point of our trek. We start hiking uphill amidst a beautiful mountain scenery with presence of llamas and alpacas until we get to the only mountain pass of this program at 4500m/14760ft. We then descend for an approximated 1,5h more to reach the Inca archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo, with 2-level constructions in what used to be a stop in the Inca route to Lares. After lunch, we continue descending to Lamay, where a private transport will take us back to Cusco. Estimated arrival time around 18.00-19.00.
MOUNTAIN BIKING PROGRAMS
Peru has one of the largest networks of Inca and mountain biking trails in all of South America. Mountain biking offers the chance to visit Cusco and its spectacular surroundings in a different way, following the innumerable trails that connect with the most amazing sites in the region, passing through remote villages out of the reach of motorised vehicles, and having the chance to get to know local Andean communities and learn their amazing life-style.
The following programs have been designed having in mind mountain-bikers of all levels. All programs offer an excellent combination of daily activity, adventure routes and cultural sightseeing. Trips are available from half a day to 6 days/5 nights and cater for all levels of experience.
These programs have been developed for visitors staying in the Cusco area. However, itineraries within all of Peru are available and can be designed tailor-made. Please contact us for more information.
FULL DAY CHINCHERO – MORAY – MARAS
An extremely versatile route, offering excitement, culture and spectacular scenery. Suitable for all types of cyclist, from beginners to the most experienced.
On this route, situated less than an hour away from Cusco, we visit the ruins of Chinchero, the impressive terraces of Moray (an ancient Inca agricultural experimentation area) and the Maras Salt Pans.
A combination of defined paths and narrow trails which pass through the agricultural fields, offer the cyclist the chance to feel the freedom of the great outdoors and to enjoy a day of excitement on the down-hills, together with the satisfying sensation of exercising on the flat ground and the gentle up-hills. Impressive views of the Vilcanota mountain range accompany us throughout the journey.
Max. Elevation: 3,740m / 12,270ft
Min. Elevation: 2,890m / 9,480ft
Difficulty level: 2 – 3 (Range: 1-5)
Average riding distance: 35km
Estimated time: full day
The Potato Park focuses on protecting and preserving the critical role and interdependency of indigenous biocultural heritage (IBCH) for local rights, livelihoods, conservation and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity. The Park is located in an area known as a microcentre of origin and diversity of potatoes, one of the world’s major food crops which has been protected for centuries by the deeply rooted local food systems of Quechua peoples. The Potato Park, as its name denotes, celebrates the tremendous diversity of native potato varieties and other native Andean crops characteristic of Andean food described by the IBCHA model.
CUSCO FARM TOUR: VISIT THE NATIVE POTATO PARK & LOCAL COMMUNITIES
- Learn all about the unique cultivation process of the native potato of the Pisac people while helping to preserve the biodiversity and biocultural heritage of the community.
- Experience the cultivation and importance of these native potatoes in this indigenous community from local groups such as the “Papa Arariwa” and the “Qachum Waqachi”.
- Observe the flora and fauna of the beautiful landscape while visiting local spots such as the Kinsa Q’ocha lagoon.
Explore the indigenous community and all it has to offer on this tour of the Potato Park! Meet the local community, learn about the unique process of potato cultivation, and see the beautiful flora and fauna of Peru!
Tour Start Address:
Main entrance of the Mercado de Abasto de Pisac, Cusco, Peru
08:00: Travel to the Pisac community of Paru Paru to start your tour.
09:30: Receive an introduction to the park with local guides from the community. Discover this amazing area of indigenous biocultural heritage!
10:10: Learn about the cultivation process of the potatoes in the park. Experience the agro-biodiversity of the native potatoes and the conservation work that is being done here, first-hand with the local “Guardians of the Potato,” the Papa Arariwa.
10:40: Take a short break to enjoy some refreshments and a taste of parboiled native potatoes served with a variety of peppers made by the Collective of Women of Culinary Art, known as the Qachum Waqachi.
11:20: Visit the Kinsa Q’ocha lagoon to get a special inside look at the exposition on the native potatoes and the current adaptation to climate change. Here you can learn how the cultivation of these potatoes is significant to the surrounding environment with the Papa Arariwa.
11:50: Take the opportunity to participate in an optional short trek by way of Kinsa Q’ocha. On this 30-minute adventure, you can observe the beauty of he local landscapes, plants, and animals with local guides. The Qachum Waqchi.
13:50: Return to the Pisac community. Please note: In order for lunch to be provided, this tour must be booked in advance.
THE GREAT CEREMONY OF PAYMENT OR CULT OF MOTHER EARTH (PACHAMAMA)
This ceremony consists in offering a retribution to our sacred MOTHER EARTH, for all the blessings received during the time of life.
Our ancestors the INKAS, worshiped and venerated with great festivities, music, dances, and the great offering, consisting of edible products of agricultural origin, marine elements and elements of animal origin, small amulets that attract fortune, various elements in sweets, candies , chocolates according to our teacher (CHAMAN), indicates that sweets and products that are of animal origin (fetuses and animal baits) are of their preference and these are placed in the offering.
The payment ceremony to the MOTHER EARTH is carried out according to what was announced in the sacred readings of the coca leaf, this shows us signs of flaws, in the life of the VISITOR, and this offering will go to rectify them, either in the different fields of life (HEALTH, MONEY, LOVE, etc.).
The sacred coca leaf, is still an important element, so that all requests are made with these, and the visitor has a very special connection, because they are directly involved with the requests, this is the beginning for ordering the different elements already described, and this process will end in forming a great package or OFFERING.
For being respectful of our Andean tradition and spirituality, we built a ceremonial center (TEMPLE), dedicated exclusively to this sacred ceremony, we are aware that there are energetic places where offerings can be made to MOTHER EARTH, according to our MASTER, descendant of our ancestors, cannot be done anywhere.
To end the great offering or PAYMENT, with the presence of the sacred earth elements represented by: WATER (the chicha or fermented corn), FIRE (the big bonfire), EARTH (the place or pucara), AIR (winds, incenses), they will be sent accompanied by great prayers and petitions, the offering will dissipate in the FIRE, or will be buried in the space or pucara, according to the decision of the MASTER, with it the ceremony ends.
IMPORTANT: Participants in the ceremonies, can take pictures and therefore avoid distorting the ceremony and do so in complete silence, as the ceremony requires a degree of coordination among the participants and concentration by the Andean Priest.
FULL DAY TREKKING TO RAINBOW MOUNTAIN – VINICUNCA
Enjoy a magical trip to the Ausangate’s Valley in a trek of 3 hours, in which you’ll appreciate a colorful mountain, similar to a rainbow and known as “Cerro Colorado”. Mountain Vinicunca is located at 5,000 meters above sea level, the number of minerals that contains the mountain give it this colorful appearance and make it so singular.
At 3:30am pick-up from your hotel and start the trip in a touristic transport, in our path will pass through few small towns such as Checacupe, Pitumarka y Chilca. The final stop will be in Pampachiri situated at 3800 meters above sea level. Once there, the guide will explain some interesting details of landscape and history then will be time for lunch.
Later on, we will initiate an uphill trip of 7 km. (4 hrs. approx.) towards the Mountain Vinicunca also known as “Cerro Colorado” due to the range of colors that has. In the surroundings you will see outstanding views of the imposing Apu Ausangate. You will have a time for taking photographs.
After a while, we will start or return-trip (for 3 hrs. approx). On the way will make a stop for lunch and then after some time travelling will get to the starting point, Panpachiri. From this place: return transferring to Cusco, the trip will last 3 hrs. and at around 7:00pm will finish in your hotel
HIKE MORAY TO MARAS
Hike high above the Sacred Valley
A fascinating insight into rural Peru
A beautiful one day hike with fantastic views throughout. You combine the unique Inca site of Moray with the charming colonial village of Maras before heading on down to the stunning salt pans. With a delicious al fresco picnic lunch and stunning views of the snowcapped Urubamba mountain range all day long, this is one of the best day hikes in the area. And one that very few visitors get to do.
Highlights -Visit the mysterious circular ruins of Moray -Enjoy fantastic views of Sacred Valley snow peaks -Learn about the centuries old salt extraction process
We head towards Chinchero before taking a dirt road to the incredible ruins of Moray. These rarely visited circular ruins are thought to have been agricultural experimental stations in the times of the Incas.
After visiting the ruins we follow an ancient mule trail with spectacular views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcanota. We will also see examples of the finest Andean farming on our way. We head back across the plains to the interesting town of Maras for lunch.
In the afternoon we descend from Maras to the amazing Salinas, a series of salt pans that have been worked since Inca times. We explore this amazing site then descend to the Urubamba river and our awaiting vehicle, which returns us to your hotel for the night.
- Distance: 5 or 12 km (3 ¼ or 7 ½ miles)
- Time: 1 or 2 ½ hour
- Descent: 485m (1600ft)
- Altitude: 2900m – 3385m
- Included: transport, lunch, entrance fees to saltpans, English-speaking guide