Adventurer's Route to Machu Picchu

 

Active adventures and cultural exploration off the beaten path

Uncover the hidden gems of the Lares region with a daily selection of hikes and cultural adventures

DESTINATION  |   ACTIVITIES  |   LODGES  |   ITINERARY  |   DATES & PRICES  |   VIDEO  |   FAQs

Welcome to the Sacred Valley and Lares

Explore the very heart of Peru’s Sacred Valley. The less-traveled Lares route to Machu Picchu provides a stunning alternative to the well-trodden Inca Trail. Along this route, travelers are treated to awe-inspiring vistas as well as exclusive visits to ancient archaeological sites and traditional villages.  

Our lodge-to-lodge adventure is perfect for trekkers and non-trekkers alike, combining hiking options for all levels with authentic cultural experiences. Walk the bustling stone streets of Cusco, and delve into Incan history at archaeological sites like Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, Ancasmarca, and Ollantaytambo. Hike to turquoise Andean lakes, waterfalls, and remote villages. Immerse yourself in the captivating culture of the Peruvian highlands, and learn from renowned indigenous artisans. For the grand finale, spend two days taking in the majesty of Machu Picchu.

Daily exploration

Each day you will have a choice of cultural encounters and active hikes

A variety of hikes and cultural activities are designed to appeal to a wide range of travelers. Travel companions may choose to participate in different activities and meet up later to compare experiences.

Your Lodges

Accommodations for this adventure are a combination of comfortable lodges in remote communities and charming hotels.

Your accommodations throughout this adventure combine authentic character while supporting the local indigenous communities of the Lares region and Sacred Valley. Delicious meals made with locally sourced ingredients are served fresh daily, while comfortable beds and modern amenities guarantee a refreshing night’s sleep,  More about your accommodations »

Your Itinerary

Day 1 | Arrive in Cusco, Peru

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Arrive in Cuzco in the mid-morning. A walking tour orients you in this legendary city of stone and sky. Visit the Plaza de Armas and cathedral before making your way to the Temple of the Sun and the Inca Museum..

Day 2 | Cusco Market, Cooking Class, Sacsayhuaman

A morning visit to San Pedro market starts the preparation for your cooking class in which you’ll learn about Peru's rich culinary heritage and try your hand at crafting local flavors. You'll then enjoy the fruits of your labor at lunch.

The afternoon is rich with impressive Incan archeological sites as you explore Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, Q'enqo and the imposing fortress of Sacsayhuaman.  Tonight, you will learn more about your Lares activities at the guide briefing.

Day 3 | Cusco - Chinchero - Lamay

You'll depart early for the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your first stop will be the market town of Chinchero for a visit to the market square and Spanish church built atop Incan foundations. You will then have two optional activities:

  • Cultural: Spend a little longer exploring Chinchero before continuing to the unusual ancient circular-terraced agricultural site of Moray. Visit the interesting Maras Salt Mines and have an easy walk to the village of Pichingoto.

  • Moderate Hike: Enjoy a 5-mile guided hike downhill from Chinchero to the village of Urquillos, where you’ll meet your ride to Lamay Lodge for the evening.

Enjoy your overnight at Lamay Lodge (alt 9,705')

Day 4 | Lamay - Pisac - Viacha

Today you have a choice of three optional morning activities, followed by a whole group cultural excursion.

  • Cultural: Drive to the market town of Pisac. Tour the town and market and then continue by vehicle up to the village of Viacha.

  • Moderate Hike: Drive to the town of Amaru for a 2.5- to 3-hour, 5-mile moderate hike to Viacha, crossing Challwaccasa Pass (alt. 14,200').

  • Optional scenic bike ride upstream along the Urubamba River from Lamay Lodge to Pisac town
    (available for additional cost)

In Viacha, you will learn about artisanal potato farming practices, including some hands-on activities, and enjoy a traditional Pachamanca lunch, cooked under hot stones. Following lunch, a 40-minute easy and scenic downhill walk brings you to the nearby Pisac archeological complex for a tour of the site free from crowds.

Return to Lamay Lodge by vehicle in time for dinner and a good night's sleep.

Day 5 | Lamay - Lares - Huacahuasi

Start with exploring the village of Lamay before continuing to the archeological site of Ancasmarca for a guided tour of these impressive and seldom-visited ruins. You'll continue to the town of Lares for lunch, after which you will have a choice of three activities.

  • Cultural: Drive to the village of Choquecancha, known for its intricate weaving techniques and use of traditional dyes. Enjoy a guided tour of the ancient Incan ruins found in and around the village. After your visit, continue to Huacahuasi Lodge.

  • Easy to Moderate Hike: Enjoy a 2- to 2.5- hour, 2-mile hike from Quelquena via Quelquena Pass (alt. 12,595') to Huacahuasi Lodge.

  • Moderate Hike: Enjoy a 3.5- to 4- hour. 3.4-mile hike from the village of Cuncani via Cruzcasa pass (alt. 13,838') to Huacahuasi Lodge.

Your stop for the night is Huacahuasi Lodge (alt. 12,585'), created and operated in joint venture with the local community to protect the cultural heritage and environment of the region.

Day 6 | Huacahuasi

Today is an all-day outing and you have a choice of three activities. You return to Huacahuasi Lodge for overnight.

  • Cultural: Visit the local community of Huacahuasi and join villagers in their homes to learn about village life and local traditions. Return to the lodge for a cooking class and lunch. Enjoy the balance of the afternoon at your leisure.

  • Easy Hike: Enjoy an easy walk to a nearby waterfall. Return to the lodge for lunch, with the balance of the afternoon at your leisure.

  • Moderately Strenuous Hike: Drive to the village of Quiswarani and enjoy a 5.4-mile hike via Huchuyccasa Pass (alt. 14,505') and Phoñoccasa Pass (alt. 14,475') down to Qeywaqocha Lake for a picnic lunch. Continue hiking down to the village of Quelquena for the drive back to the lodge.

Overnight: Huacahuasi Lodge, BLD

Day 7 | Huacahuasi - Ollantaytambo

Following breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive to the remote village of Huilloc, where you will have a choice of a cultural or active adventure before lunch, and another choice of cultural or active adventures after lunch as you descend into Ollantaytambo.

  • Cultural: Explore the village of Huilloc and nearby sheep herding community of Marcacocha. After lunch, you’ll explore the Pumamarka archaeological site, then drive to Ollantaytambo and spend the afternoon exploring the maze-like alleys and passageways.

  • Moderate Hike: A morning hike from Huilloc (alt. 11,587') for a moderate, undulating, 5-mile hike to Pumamarka (alt. 11,187’). Following lunch, enjoy another moderate, 3.7-mile hike down to Ollantaytambo (alt. 9,356’).

  • Optional late afternoon visit to a locally-sourced craft brewery in the Sacred Valley
    (available for additional cost)

Overnight: Kuychi Rumi Lodge, BLD

Day 8 | Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu

Early risers have an option of two active hikes up the slopes of Pinkuylluna Mountain that looks across the valley to Ollantaytambo. Later risers will join the hikers for a guided tour of the archeological site of Ollantaytambo.

  • Early morning moderate hike up the lower slopes of Pinkuylluna Mountain

  • Early morning moderate-challenging hike up the higher slopes of Pinkuylluna Mountain

You may have some free time to explore the town and market before your mid-day rail journey to Machu Picchu Pueblo. After arriving in the afternoon, the rest of your day is free to explore the town and hotel gardens.

  • Optional hike along the classic Inca Trail from Km 104 to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu
    (subject to availability and additional cost)

Overnight: Hotel Machu Picchu Pueblo, BLD

Day 9 | Machu Picchu

An early start gets you up the winding road to the magnificent Machu Picchu archeological site. You'll have a guided tour of the Inca citadel before choosing between two activity options.

  • Free time to explore the ruins on your own, possibly including a walk up to the Sun Gate.

  • A guided hike up Huayna Picchu peak from where you will enjoy amazing views of the sanctuary below.

Enjoy lunch at Sanctuary Lodge at the ruins, then return to the site for to explore on your own. You're free to take the bus back down the hill to your hotel at your leisure or stay at the site until closing.

Overnight: Hotel Machu Picchu Pueblo, BLD

Day 10 | Cusco

Your morning journey back to Cusco will deliver you in time for lunch at one of Cusco's popular restaurants and to enjoy some last-minute shopping. You will be transferred back to the Cusco airport in time for your late afternoon outbound flight.

 

Video

A taste of what to expect

For more videos, click here

Dates & Prices

The Adventurer’s Route to Machu Picchu operates round.  All prices are per person, double occupancy unless otherwise specified.

2019 Departures | Scroll down for 2020 departures

Dates Price
Nov 7 - Nov 16 $4,095
Nov 14 - Nov 23 $4,095
Nov 27 - Dec 6 $4,095
Dates Price
Dec 5 - Dec 14 $4,095
Dec 12 - Dec 21 $5,295
Dec 19 - Dec 28 $5,295

2020 Departures

Dates Price
Mar 5 - Mar 14 $4,295
Mar 7 - Mar 16 $4,295
Mar 19 - Mar 28 $4,295
Mar 25 - Apr 3 sold out
Mar 30 - Apr 8 $5,495
Apr 7 - Apr 16 $5,495
Apr 9 - Apr 18 $5,495
May 1 - May 10 $5,495
May 6 - May 15 $5,495
May 16 - May 25 $5,495
May 27 - Jun 5 $5,495
Jun 5 - Jun 14 sold out
Jun 20 - Jun 29 $5,495
Jun 26 - Jul 5 $5,495
Jul 3 - Jul 12 $5,495
Jul 11 - Jul 20 $5,495
Jul 13 - Aug 22 $5,495
Jul 17 - Aug 26 $5,495
Aug 1 - Aug 10 $5,495
Dates Price
Aug 4 - Aug 13 $5,495
Aug 8 - Aug 17 $5,495
Aug 11 - Aug 20 $5,495
Aug 13 - Aug 22 $5,495
Sep 12 - Sep 21 $5,495
Sep 24 - Oct 3 $5,495
Sep 26 - Oct 5 $5,495
Sep 29 - Oct 8 $5,495
Oct 4 - Oct 13 $5,495
Oct 6 - Oct 15 $5,495
Oct 15 - Nov 24 $5,495
Oct 22 - Oct 31 $5,495
Nov 7 - Nov 16 $4,295
Nov 9 - Nov 18 $4,295
Nov 19 - Nov 28 $4,295
Nov 26 - Dec 5 $4,295
Dec 10 - Dec 19 $4,295
Dec 17 - Dec 26 $5,695
Dec 25 - Jan 3 $5,695

Supplements, inclusions and exclusions

Single Guests

  • Requested single: 25% surcharge

  • Willing to share: 10% surcharge

Children

  • Children under 12: 50% discount sharing room with adult

  • Children 13 - 16: 25% discount when sharing room with adult.

Inclusions

  • Roundtrip airport transfers as specified in itinerary

  • All hotel/lodge accommodations (double occupancy, unless Single purchased) as specified in itinerary

  • All meals as specified in itinerary

  • All non-alcoholic beverages

  • All guides, activities, tours, entry fees and sightseeing arrangements as specified in itinerary.

Exclusions (costs subject to change without prior notice)

  • Not included are any airfare, airport taxes and fees

  • Tips for guides (at your discretion)

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Laundry

  • Other items of a personal nature

  • Insurance coverage for trip cancellation-interruption, travel accident, travel delay, baggage delay or baggage theft (we recommend you obtain coverage for these items), medical or hospitalization expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I go?

Peru's winter season (May to October) brings mild temperatures to the coast, and clear skies to the highlands, although it gets quite chilly in the evenings in June and July.  

What will I see?

The Adventurer's Route to Machu Picchu takes you away from the main tourist route into small indigenous communities and wilderness not seen by most visitors. Hidden Incan ruins dot the remote countryside of the Lares region, and small villages practice ancient weaving and traditinal farming techniques handed down from ancient times. You'll also have ample time to take in the iconic treasures of Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. 

How can I be sure this trip is right for me?

The Adventurer's Route offers a daily choice of cultural and active exploration to suit most abilities and interests. Cusco and the Lares region are at significant elevation (up to 12,000'), so we recommend a moderate level of fitness.  For those choosing the more active walks and treks, we recommend additional preparedness. Good balance, health and proper footwear are essential for the most enjoyable adventure.

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