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CUZCO DAY HIKES AND TOURS
We start across the fertile plain of Chinchero rich with grain, potatoes and beans. Labor intensive local farming techniques are well demonstrated in route. We arrive at the circular Inca ruins of Moray where we enjoy a picnic lunch. Time is permitted to fully explore these fascinating ruins. Moray is believed to be an Incan agricultural center used to improve high altitude crops – an essential commodity for the huge Inca armies and road building teams essential to support the empire. Mule trails then takes us to the ancient town of Maras with its outstanding Spanish door arches and a vast church. Maras is famous for its spies – due to its strategic location above the Sacred Valley. We then drop down into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. En-route are some of the most astounding saltpans covering the whole of the hill-side. These saltpans were mentioned in conquering Spain’s chronicles. We finally meet our vehicle again beside the Urubamba river for the drive back to Cusco.
An early morning departure takes us to the magnificent Vinicunca also known as the Rainbow Mountain of Peru. A stunning multi colored landscape that will leave you in awe and amazement of its beauty and snow peaked surroundings. After a few hours driving in a safe private van we arrive at our starting point. We set out on a challenging hike starting at 14,500ft / 4,677m with a slow ascent to 16,466ft / 5,020m; going through mountain meadows passing alpacas and llamas along the way. We will have a packed lunch and spend some time enjoying this remote natural beauty, you can even hike up one of the highest slopes to get a 360 degree view of the sacred mountain of Ausangate and the surrounding mountains before heading back to our vehicle to return to Cusco. For an extra fee you may choose to ascend on horseback if available. This is a rewarding day hike that you will never forget!
We start out today’s adventure at the small traditional hamlet of Huilloc, a place where the Incan traditions still run strong, with many people wearing the traditional costumes. Huilloc is famous as a weaving center and is a good chance to see traditional ponchos being made and worn before commencing our days hike with a short steep climb up to Puma Marca – a remarkably well preserved and extensive Inca ruin with spectacular views down the valley towards Ollantaytambo. We follow an Inca Trail along the steeply terraced valley down towards Ollantaytambo, stopping in route for a picnic lunch. We will have time to visit the Inca town of Ollantaytambo before returning back to your hotel in Cusco, the Sacred valley or catching the late afternoon train to Machu Picchu.
Puma Marca to Ollantaytambo: A short sharp climb awaits us following an old dirt road to reach the impressively located Puma Marca ruins. We then begin a meandering descent again on an old Inca trail and following the course of an ancient Inca water channel, passing many well-preserved terraces in route before reboarding our bus for the short road transfer to Ollantaytambo.
The route follows an incredibly well-preserved Inca Trail from the quaint town of Chinchero down to the small village of Huayllabamba. This beautiful lush valley combines interesting Incan ruins, original Inca trails and spectacular views of the natural scenery. Time permitting, we can visit Chinchero town and if doing this tour on a Sunday, we can visit the Sunday market as well as a weaving display. In the late afternoon we can visit the larger town of Urubamba and visit a local pottery shop before returning to our hotel that evening in Cusco or the Sacred Valley.
We start by driving high above Cusco and the outlying town of Corao and we reach the end of the road above Lake Qoricocha. Here, we see some ancient Inca platforms (“Apachetas”) at the pass. These are believed to mark the boundary and entrance to the Huchuy Cusco Inca Estate. The rest of the day’s trek follows a well-preserved ancient Inca trail to Pucamarca to see the church, and an Inca bridge through a narrow canyon and emerging high above the spectacular Sacred Valley of the Incas. After lunch we head to the entrance gates of Huchuy Cusco and the extensive ruins themselves. Little is known about this mysterious site, ‘little Cusco’ as it translates in Quechua, it may have been the country retreat of one of the first Incas. Its three-storey high storage houses, extensively trapezoid-niche walls, large main central square, three-meter-high terracing walls and its hidden location above the Sacred Valley make this gem a real pleasure to explore.
We embark today from our hotel and take a drive up above Cuzco into the rural area by the ruins of Quenko above the city where our horses will be waiting for us. Our experienced horsemen will show us how to saddle and mount the horse. Then we’re off! Our guide takes us through the agricultural fields of Salcantay and through incredible scenery of open fields and quaint rocks, Andean valleys and great views of the mountain scenery surrounding us and the lush and fertile fields. We pass through several interesting and unknown Incan ruins including the rarely visited “Balcon del Diablo.” We return to our starting point later in the day to return to Cuzco.
We take an incredible scenic bike ride that takes us through some incredible Andean scenery in the Sacred Valley. We start in the quaint village of Chinchero on a dirt road llama track that caters to all people, for those who want the technical routes and easier lines for light bikers. The bike ride gives us incredible views of the beautiful mountain scenery that surrounds Cuzco and the Sacred Valley including the Chicon glacier and the snowcapped Mount Veronica. We then come to the Moray ruins which we can enter into and visit, and then we pass through the town of Maras. From here we go on a long downhill bike ride to the pre-Incan Salineras (salt mines) and then on to the valley to the Urubamba river to end our tour and then return to Cuzco to relax.
On arrival we will inflate the rafts and following a full safety briefing and instruction in the art of White-water rafting, we set off for approx. two hours of fun white-water rafting. The river starts gently with time to practice the maneuvres required, then builds up with more fun rapids through a beautiful canyon where we will hopefully see torrents ducks and views of the surrounding peaks. After approx. two hours of rafting, we reach our takeout point and enjoy a full picnic lunch before your transfer to catch the train to Machu Picchu.
All of our Cuzco day hikes and tours include pick ups and drop offs. All our tours include bilingual guides and all entrances. Our hikes include a snack-pack and/or picnic lunch, they also include an emergency vehicle with a first aid kit to accompany the tour. On horseback riding and mountain biking all necessary equipment is provided.
One should come well prepared for outdoor activity at temperatures ranging from 40 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain. On this trek we may experience all extremes of Peruvian climate. For several of the Cuzco day hikes and tours the majority of the day is a vehicle supported trip, so any spare clothes or equipment can be stored in the vehicle when not in use, leaving you to walk freely. A list of things to bring would include:
Rain is possible at any time of year, especially in high mountains and cloud forest, and one should always be prepared. The climate in sites we will visit is as follows:
Cuzco: days are warm if sunny, chilly if cloudy. Nights are cold in Cuzco.
The Sacred Valley: days are warm if sunny. Nights are cold.
Rainbow Mountain: cold mornings, warm afternoons, can be windy and cold on the peak.