Early in the morning, we will pick you up from your hotel to take you to the town of Chinchero, about 40 minutes from Cusco, a distinctly Inca town, with its unique colonial church built by the Spaniards at the top of an Inca palace, where the past persists stubbornly, as if the spirit of a millenary culture clung to this place refusing to disappear. The native settlers, dressed in colorful traditional costumes, come down from their communities and gather in the main square to exchange their products. Seeing this group of people with deep cultural roots is a sight worth admiring.
Afterwards, you will visit the Inca agricultural laboratory of Moray, where several groupings of terraces were formed in an almost perfect circular shape at different heights, in order to achieve a gradient of microclimates with the aim of getting perfect crops. There, the Incas cultivated important foods for their diet such as corn, or the grain of quinoa, also various medicinal plants such as panti, ornamental as the flowers of Kantu and carried out many experiments of cultivation for recreation of their masters. A system of canals where today the rain is deposited assured the irrigation of the hanging terraces of the great amphitheater, the perfection of Moray was such, that to this day, it works impeccably.
Then you will visit to the famous salt mines of Maras, which were very important for the Incas as a salt supply and are still in operation today. For a few Soles you can buy a package of this salt, famous for having many more minerals than sea salt. In addition to its historical importance, the salt mines of Maras also offer an unforgettable view with the stark white of its steeply descending salt pans juxtaposed against the green of the surrounding mountain slopes.
Finally, you will visit the formidable fortress temple of Ollantaytambo, the spectacular archaeological complex that seems to have been a kind of walled gate that stopped in several war expeditions trying to reach the Inca treasure, the great steep andeneria, which protects this spectacular fortress, marks one of the few places where the Spanish conquerors lost an important battle in the year 1537.
In the highest part you will find a ceremonial center with huge blocks of stone perfectly carved in a very fine work. To build it, stones from the quarry located on the other side of the Urubamba River were used 6 km away. from distance, which shows the great ability of the Incas to transport these huge blocks using an ingenious technique that would allow them to transport them across mountainous areas and the torrential Urubamba River.
After this complete day, you will hop on board of one of the prettiest train rides in South America with final destination Machu Picchu, which rises enigmatic among the clouds of the majestic Andes. The citadel was probably the most impressive urban creation of the Inca Empire in its heyday. Its giant walls, terraces and ramps look as if they had been carved naturally in the escarpments of the rock.
This natural environment located on the eastern slopes of the Andes encompasses the upper Amazon basin, with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. At night, visit the bars along the railroad tracks to share stories with some of the hikers who successfully completed the Inca Trail, or end your fantastic day relaxing the muscles in the hot springs.
MAKE IT DIFFERENT (OPTIONAL)
We highly recommend having an extra day in the Sacred Valley. Many visitors without a lot of time on their hands almost race through the valley’s highlights and markets on a daylong guided tour. Seeing it this way is certainly a worthwhile experience, but it really doesn’t compare to experiencing everything the valley has to offer at a more leisurely pace that allows you an overnight stay or two in the valley and the chance to soak up the area’s immense history, relaxed character, stunning scenery, and in the dry season, gorgeous spring weather.
- If you do want to see the beautiful scenery and ancient buildings of Machu Picchu, book your trip early. The Peruvian Government has placed a limit on the number of people allowed to hike the trails of the citadel per day and entrances tend to book up quickly.
- For active people there is the option of hiking the one day Inca Trail or the more demanding 4 days trekking but be sure to inform us well in advance as in high season they tend to book up quickly, ask our expert travel planners to upgrade your experience
- For those who want to hike the Huayna Picchu mountain reservations has to be made well in advance, as the local authorities just allow 400 persons per day in two shifts of 200 persons each one (there is an additional to pay for this entrance)
- You might be interested in upgrading your train experience if this is the case please contact our expert travel planners
Hostel: HANAQPACCHA INN