Trip Length: 7 full days, 6 nights
Trip Type: Reasonably paced trip with entry level mountain biking and hiking, plus cultural sightseeing
Highlights:This trip was designed with familes in mind, or those looking for a nice well rounded approach to a week long visit to Machu Picchu, one of the 7 Wonders of the World in Peru. One focus was on keeping the COST DOWN no matter the age of everyone; A second focus was on clean, active fun but also SAFETY; and our third focus was on FLEXIBILITY, both in pre-trip customization but also ongoing and unlimited adjustments during the trip based on YOUR input.
Date: This trip is available on any date in 2019 with a minimum of 3 people.
Trip Price: $1999 per person adults; $1799pp children over 18; $1599pp ages 11-17; just $1199 per person for ages 2-10; and under 2 free (all trips include the $300 cost to visit Machu Picchu!).
Day 1 – Arrive to Cusco airport, where our private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide will all be waiting for you! Beautiful, two hour drive transfer to your hotel in Ollantaytambo with a few photo stops along the scenic drive. Check into your hotel, relax, and if anyone wants to get out and explore the town a little bit, the guide will be on hand to facilitate that if you wish, and/or help you take care of any arrival errands you need to do. Or, if ou prefer, they will leave you to yourselves.
Day 2– After breakfast of local fresh fruit, coffee, breads and eggs, we are going to make a short drive up into the mountains to a place known as Pumamarca, which is actually a pre-Incan fortress site with great views of all the surrounding mountain valleys. Its a nice place to kick back and run off some energy, kick a soccer ball around, and there are usually some local kids and/or Quechua natives around the site with their handmade textiles.
We will then drive further up the mountain to an indigenous community called Patacancha, known for their traditional lifestyle and manner of dress. There are usually herds of llamas and horses wandering around (and dogs, cows, chickens, etc!) and then we’ll have a big picnic lunch in a beautiful and quiet field.
Afterwards, its a really nice bike ride – or hike if you prefer – back down to town, on a wide grassy road with no cars for the first half, followed by a dirt road the rest of the way. All of it is downhill! So no pedaling as you adjust to the altitude, and mellow biking. The hike is a bit longer and more advanced but is an option for anyone who wishes.
Day 3– Ollantaytambo is home to one of the most important Inca buildings in the whole empire, which makes sense as it is one of their most important and sacred towns. Known simply as La Fortaleza (“the fortress”) this site features massive stone blocks of pink granite, as well as some of the finest stonework in all of Peru. As well as great views of town and the surrounding mountains.
Entrance fee is included, and this site takes about two hours to go through property. Afterwards, we will have lunch at one of our favorite, hand-picked restaurants in town.
After lunch we are going to another Inca shrine, this one rarely visted by other travelers yet not very far away. After about 20 minute drive we will get out of the van and make a short hike up to a cave and Incan monument, then we get to ride our bikes all the way back to town on a combination of dirt roads and old, grassy Inca road along side the river.
Day 4– Its finally time to visit Machu Picchu, one of the 7 Wonders of the World! By now you will be fully acclimated, and settled in to the rhythm of Peru culture, familiar with Inca stonework, and ready to fully appreciate its splendor. Because make no mistake, no matter how many pictures you have seen or how crowded you might worry that it is, a visit to Machu Picchu remains one of the most spectacular days one can spend anywhere.
We never get tired of it, its amazing! Take the train through the jungle to Aguas Calientes, and the included bus up to the site itself, visit as long as you want with your knowledgeable and licensed guide, then back down and train back to Ollantaytambo
Day 5– After the visit to Machu Picchu and several days beforehand of running around and exploring, most folks are pretty tired by now so this morning is definitely more relaxed, with some free time until around 11am or so, when the guide will come by for a short walk around town and some of its pretty cool highlights and features you may not otherwise have seen. Then after lunch, we are going to a couple of fantastic Inca sites that everyone loves and that are perfect for adults kids, active, nonactive, and everyone in between.
The Salt Mines are thousand year old evaporation poools that the Incas used to mine salt, and they are still producing salt today. Its a fun little site to explore, as is Moray, a set of huge rings built into the earth with various theories about their construction (one of them is that the rings took advantage of natural temperature differences in order to breed plants and crops for different altitudes.
Whatever they were, they are beautiful and like the Salt Mines, one can run around them as much or little as wanted. We also bring the bikes along today! There is a really fun and beginner to intermediate rated single track that connects the two sites, plus some riding that we know about that can be adjusted to your groups energy and skill level; actually everyone can stay in the same vicinity but ride different parts of the trail depending on how they are feeling this is a great day out for mixed ability/age group! Entrance fees are all included with your trip. Then back to town to the hotel and then dinner out on your own.
Day 6– Up until now we haven’t spent any time in Cusco, so after breakfast we will check out of the hotel and head to Cusco but not before stopping at Pisac, yet another Inca site (!) that is pretty exxpansive and yet another great place to burn off excess energy but also see some really cool history and Inca stonework.
On the way to Cusco afterwards, we can stop at a “llama farm” zoo type situation, a nice place to see some llamas if we have not yet already. (entrance fee not included but is nominal). Finally we will arrive to Cusco for a late lunch and check into our hotel and explore the big city. There are still plenty of Inca ruins here also, but most people prefer to just sort of walk around informally and soak it all in.
Day 7– Today is the final day of the trip, and depending on the time of your flight, the guide will come by to take you out around the city for last minute souvenirs, photos, or just some really good local coffee ! Whatever and wherever you want, for as long as you want, until 2.5 hours before your flight time, at which pooint they will take you the short drive to the small but crowded airport, for the checkin for your fight to Lima.
Whenever you are scheduled to fly out of Cusco, be sure when checking in to ask for a seat on the right hand side (a la derrecha) for awesome views of the Peruvian Andes !
Trip Inclusions: Private transportation, and English speaking guide, the entire week from airport pickup to airport dropoff; 6 nights hotel, (comfortable and well located two to three star hotel, upgrades available for small extra charge upon request), breakfast Days 2 through 7; Machu Picchu standard entrance ticket, Round trip train ticket, Round trip bus ticket. It also includes unlimited phone and email support with our owner from beginning to end, including 24/7 support in English to a toll free US number while you are in Peru. Also includes all entrance fees, one picnic lunch on Day 2 and one boxed lunch on Day 4, Machu PIcchu Day.
Trip Exclusions: Does not include lunches or dinners, alcohol, or optional tips to guides and drivers