Andean Exploration ~ 13 days / 12 nights
Peru & Bolivia
The Sacred Valley, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Island of the Sun
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This is a unique opportunity to authentically experience the essence of ancient Andean culture. Walk gently along the pathways of origin in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, travel to the highest navigable lake of the world, Lake Titicaca, and visit the Islands of the Sun and Moon. This beautifully woven exploration into the Andean world through a native perspective combines visiting magnificent pre-Columbian archeological sites and exquisite Peruvian cuisine with profound cultural immersion events, allowing you to cultivate an intimate relationship to this land, its people and customs.
Savor the ambiance of the Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca and the Islands of the Sun and Moon. Find yourself surrounded by breathtaking scenery and begin your exploration of the Inca legacy through its Quechua descendants. Visit ancient sites, colorful markets, and partake in an ancient living culture rooted in agriculture. Immerse yourself in the spirit of this Inca land. Discover the profoundly elegant simplicity of Andean people and celebrate their customs, cuisine, art, music, and dance. Learn about their philosophy, understand their history and way of life. Walk the ancient pathways and enrich your perspective. This will be a profound, unforgettable cultural immersion experience that will enhance your spirit.
- Engage in this rare opportunity for authentic social interaction and cultural participation while visiting rural Peru and Bolivia.
- Experience the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Lake Titicaca and the Islands of the Sun and Moon stepping back in time, visiting the finest archeological sites, picturesque villages and colorful markets.
- Savor exquisite Peruvian cuisine rooted in ancient agriculture.
- Absorb small town life in the Sacred Valley while staying at the charming Pisac Inn.
- Enjoy daily excursions with indepth educational stories and the expertise of local native guides with their indigenous voice.
- Visit a traditional community and participate in their communal workday, a firsthand cultural perspective that deepens the appreciation of Quechua history and social life.
- Marvel at Machu Picchu, one of the 7 wonders of the world.
- Explore Cusco, capital of the vast Inca state, navel of the ancestral world.
- Marvel at the highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca, and absorb the majestic reflections.
- Enjoy an unforgettable view of the sunset reflection on the Andean Glaciers.
- Join in our commitment in the preservation, protection and celebration of endangered Andean traditions and cultural heritage. Traveling with us directly supports sustainable tourism.
Andean Exploration Itinerary
The Andes… where sacred corn grows and iridescent hummingbirds emanate their joy. The Andes… snow peaks soaring in the distance over charming communities, Inca sites, and quaint village markets. The Andes… a profound heritage wrapped in layers of colorfully elegant wisdom and contemporary sophistication. The Andes… the inspiration of authentic Peruvian hospitality.
Day 1 / Monday, August 19
Arrival Sacred Valley
Take a spectacular morning flight to Cusco, “the navel of the world”, land in the heart of the Andes and be greeted at the Cusco airport to begin your exclusive journey. Enjoy a stunning one-hour scenic drive to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Revel in the striking beauty of the snow topped peaks, mountainsides delineated by Inca terraces, and fields that cover the valley floor. Arrive to Pisac with lower altitude and small town charm. Settle into your room at Pisac Inn and enjoy a cup of coca tea to help you acclimate. Savor your first in a series of delicious meals spun into a select set menu prepared by the Inn’s Restaurant, Cuchara de Palo so you may explore the diversity and richness of Peru’s ancient agrarian heritage. Take the afternoon to rest or explore the cobblestone streets of Pisac on your own. Gather for an orientation reception with a welcoming Pisco Sour followed by a fireside dinner. In the evening participate in a traditional despacho blessing ceremony.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: L, D
Sacred Valley Highlights
Day 2 / Tuesday, August 20
Moray & Salt Mines
Embark on a scenic drive through the Sacred Valley and up to highlands of Moray; delight in the patchwork fields and awe-inspiring vistas. The advanced Inca astronomical knowledge tied into agrarian feats are seen in Moray’s astounding circular terraces. Following a picnic lunch surrounded by an expansive natural beauty, continue to the Inca Salt Mines still in use today. Hundreds of scintillating pools provoke a sense of peaceful timelessness. After a full day of exploring, your return to Pisac Inn feels like coming home. Wander through Pisac as the market is broken down before another memorable meal in Peru.
Dinner followed by festive traditional music and dance with Wiñay Taki Ayllu, a local group of musicians, artists and visionaries dedicating their lives to preserving their Andean culture. This is a special opportunity to meet some of the founding families of the Kusi Kawsay Andean School, as well as teachers and students who participate in this remarkable presentation that follows the Andean Agrarian Ritual calendar celebrated at Kusi Kawsay. Enjoy this evening full of music, dance, indepth descriptions, the sharing of stories; and connect to the natural cosmic cycles of the Andes.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: B, Picnic, D
Day 3 / Wednesday, August 21
Cusco Sites & City
After breakfast visit Kusi Kawsay Andean School and the school’s organic farm, Kusi Ñan. Learn about this exceptional educational project and unique vision that honors Andean tradition combined with elements of Waldorf Pedagogy. Delight in the beautiful school grounds, dedicated teachers and smiling students. Then enjoy a 30-minute scenic drive to explore pre-Columbian sites outside of Cusco including lunar and solar observatories of Kenko, and megalithic Sacsayhuaman whose zigzag walls are built with some of the largest stones to be found in Inca masonry. You will be captivated by the introduction to Andean astronomy and sacred geometry, the foundation of Andean culture that will be expanded on each day of your journey. After lunch at one of Cusco’s fine restaurant recommended by your guide, stop by the Centro de Textiles, and return to Pisac for a quiet late afternoon before dinner.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: B, D (lunch not included)
Cusco City and Archaeological Highlights
Day 4 / Thursday, August 22
Begin your day with a breathtaking one-hour drive through the heart of the Sacred Valley to the Inca town Ollantaytambo. Visit Ollantaytambo’s magnificent archeological site with an impressive astronomical observatory, irrigation waterways and ceremonial site. Learn about the Llama constellation and explore the quaint town that was built in the shape of a corncob. After lunch enjoy a spectacular train ride to Aguas Calientes, where you will have a nice dinner out and spend the night in preparation for an early start to Machu Picchu the following morning.
Hotel: La Cabaña Boutique Hotel Meals: B, Picnic, (dinner not included)
Considerations: You must bring your passport; you cannot ride the train or enter Machu Picchu without it.
For the overnight in Aguas Calientes: You can leave your things in your room at Pisac Inn and take an overnight bag and a daypack to Machu Picchu. Don’t forget insect repellent. Bring money for dinner in Aguas Calientes and lunch out the following day at Machu Picchu. Bring comfortable layers of clothes for temperature changes and hiking shoes; be prepared for sun, cold and possible rain. Bring camera, sunblock, sunhat, and a water bottle if you have it.
Day 5 / Friday, August 23
Get an early start to take the 20-minute bus ride up steep slopes to magnificent Machu Picchu, renown as a wonder of the world. Isolated among mountain peaks, this awe-inspiring site carries sacred mathematical and scientific wisdom yet to be fully discovered. Explore the important sectors full of astronomic explanations, and revel in the beautiful natural setting and ancient ruins. Take bus down to Aguas Calientes to catch the afternoon train to Ollantaytambo and drive back to Pisac. Enjoy dinner upon your return to Pisac Inn.
Pisac Inn Meals: B, D (lunch not included)
Considerations: You can leave your overnight bag at the hotel in Aguas Calientes, and we will make arrangements for the hotel to take luggage to the train station in the afternoon. You will have to carry your daypack at all times, unless you check it in a day locker up at Machu Picchu at your own expense. You must have your passport. Bring money for lunch and souvenirs. If you use walking poles, you may need them today.
If you want to hike Huayna Picchu please let us know when you book your trip to ensure availability. Reservation spaces are limited and there is an entrance fee that is not included in your trip.
Day 6 / Saturday, August 24
Community of Amaru
Delight in a 45-minute drive into the majestic high Andes and walk through the patchwork fields replete with potatoes, fava beans and corn to the traditional highland community of Amaru, where a genuinely authentic way of life is still practiced to this day. You will be welcomed with an endearing sweetness rarely felt in this day and age by this community that is consciously preserving and practicing their ancestral heritage. Through participation in a communal agrarian workday a beautiful cultural exchange unravels as you experience this incredible opportunity to step back in time and appreciate a quality of life with an admirable simplicity that is strikingly moving and profound. Enjoy a traditional lunch prepared with their prized agrarian products as the women begin to spin their naturally dyed wool. Others meditatively set up their back strap looms to share their ancestral weaving skills with us. This wonderful opportunity to purchase textiles directly from the weavers is not to be missed. Return to Pisac and enjoy a quiet evening with dinner.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: B, L, D
Day 7 / Sunday, August 25
Pisac Archeological Site & Market
Enjoy a free morning exploring Pisac’s colorful Traditional Indian Market. You can visit the traditional food section where your guide will treat you to a tastefest. Admire the beautiful faces and calm excitement that transforms Pisac on Sunday. This is a wonderful opportunity to buy gifts to take home with you. After lunch visit the Pisac archeological site where the staggering agricultural terrace work is among the most extensive in the area following the shape of the mountainsides in entrancing concave and convex forms. The central astronomic and ceremonial area is widely acclaimed as some of the finest stonework, comparable to that of Machu Picchu. This expansive site provides magnificent vistas up and down the valley. Embark upon a breathtaking walk down to the town of Pisac, or return with the van to the Inn. Enjoy a sunset stroll along the cornfields or simply relax with a Pisco Sour as you people watch either at the sidewalk café or on the balcony before your last dinner in Pisac.
Pisac Inn Meals: B, Picnic, D
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Day 8 / Monday, August 26
Drive to Puno
After breakfast enjoy a relaxing seven-hour scenic drive to Puno. Along the way, visit the Raqchi archeological site featuring unusually large adobe constructions. Continue the spectacular drive with a picnic lunch en route and possible stop at hot springs, time permitting. Upon arrival to Puno, enjoy a nice dinner out.
Hotel: in Puno Meals: B (lunch and dinner not included)
Considerations: bring a swimming suit in your daypack and change for the towel rental.
Day 9 / Tuesday, August 27
Uros & Copacabana
Visit the unique Uros people still living like thousands of years ago on the only floating reed islands in the world. Enjoy a three and half hour drive to Copacabana, with spectacular scenery through villages and plains on the southern shore of the lake. Along the way visit the mystical Aramu Muru Door.
Hotel: in Copacabana Meals: B (lunch & dinner not included)
Day 10 / Wednesday, August 28
Island of the Sun
Enjoy a boat ride to Island of the Sun. Visit the Pilcocaina temple, Incan grand stairs, and three fountains of eternal youth. Spend the night on the Island of the Sun with views of the lake.
Hotel: Island of the Sun Meals: B, L, D
Considerations: Pack a small overnight bag and bring a daypack. Upon your arrival at Island of the Sun be prepared to walk to the lodge. Staff will be waiting at the port to carry your overnight bag up to the lodge so that you can enjoy your walk. Given that the luggage will be carried up by pack animals we ask you to please bring only the necessary items for your stay; a maximum of 10 kg (22 lbs.) per person. Don’t forget sunscreen and sunhat.
Day 11 / Thursday, August 29
Island of the Sun
Visit Island of the Sun, and continue to the Island of the Moon. Return to Puno for dinner and overnight.
Hotel: Puno Meals: B (lunch & dinner not included)
Day 12 / Friday, August 30
Get an early start to drive to Sillustani, a sacred ancient burial site. Visit traditional stone house complexes of Hatun Ayllu, a traditional highland community. Sillustani has an absolute calm, as though time has stopped, being an ideal place for meditative reflection. Visit Umayu Lagoon and Island – a boat ride of 20 minutes to a natural reserve for wild vicuñas.
Hotel: Puno Meals: B (lunch & dinner not included)
Day 13 / Saturday, August 31
Transfer to airport for morning flight to Lima from Juliacca.
Meals: B (lunch & dinner not included)
Destinations: Peru, Bolivia; The Sacred Valley, Cusco
Description: High altitude, mountainous terrain with hiking & trekking
Altitudes: Cusco 11,200 ft, Pisac 10,000 ft, Amaru 10,500 ft, Machu Picchu 7,972 ft, Lake Titicaca 12,420 ft
Length: 9 days / 8 nights
Difficulty: Intermediate to Difficult
Category: Boutique (3 star level)
Journey Series: Trekking Series
Available: Small group or private
Season: All year (Trekking is not recommended in rainy season, January & February)
Pace: Moderate, with time for relaxation
Interests: Hiking & trekking, Cultural & Culinary, Andean heritage & worldview, Sacred geometry, astronomy & agronomy
Dates: We specialize in weaving dream journeys with our guests; therefore we do not have set dates unless it is an organized Special Interest small group. Please contact us directly to check availability and coordinate dates.
Accommodations: This trip is based out of Pisac Inn on the historic plaza of the small town of Pisac in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Small and comfortable, our boutique hotel is charming, full of artistic details that celebrate our local Andean heritage. Settle into your room for the duration of your stay, no packing and unpacking allows you to create a personal relationship to the land and the people.
- A hotel upgrade is possible for part of the trip.
Meals: This trip includes meals with exclusive daily set menus that are creatively designed and prepared by our chef at the hotel’s restaurant, Cuchara de Palo, The Wooden Spoon. We use the finest local products with the clear intention of exploring the richness of Peruvian cuisine, while celebrating the diversity of legendary and nutritious ingredients that are fresh, organic and native of Peru.
Sitting down for a lovely meal, including a soup or salad, main course, dessert and beverage, is one of our trip highlights, with no dish repeated. We love food, and invite you to savor Peru’s culinary explosion.
Vegetarian and special diet menu’s are available.
Beer, wine and cocktails are available, but are not included in price.
The few meals not included in your program will be eaten out at restaurants recommended by your guide.
Unucha Spa Treatments: Upon return to Pisac Inn after your daily excursions, you can spend the afternoon relaxing, exploring the market, or enjoy a treatment at our Spa before dinner. The treatments are inspired by the ancestral legacy of our pre-Columbian healing tradition. We recommend the herbal bath and massage combo. Reservations are required; space is limited and treatments are not included. Please make appointments ahead of time for any afternoon.
Peru Cultural Journeys: Please see our Sustainability Section to learn more about our vision, our commitment to socially and environmentally responsible tourism, our cultural projects, and our recent international certifications with TourCert and AENOR.
Extensions: Add on extensions if you want to explore more areas of Peru.
Travel Information: Click here for information on flights, passport, visa, & immunizations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Please see our FAQ section for more information.
Once you book the trip and make a down payment, we will send you a complete Travel Pack with detailed information, including reading and packing lists.
Price Per Person:
- Early Bird: $3,395 USD (before April 1, 2019)
- Full price: $3,695 USD (after April 1, 2019)
- Prices are in US dollars per person for a minimum of 8 passengers
- Single room supplement $658 USD per person (since not available in some locations)
$800 deposit required to reserve your spot, which is not refundable after May 1, 2019. Before May 1 deposits can be refunded less a $300 registration fee.
Full payment is required by July 8, 2019.
Prices are based on double occupancy. For single occupancy, add an additional $658.
USA Tour Facilitator: Judy Ramsey
If you are interested in joining Judy for a Lima Extension before the Andean Exploration begins, please let us know.
- Airport transfers and all ground transportation upon arrival to Cusco in a private tourist level vehicle (including to Puno, to Copacabana, and transfer to Juliacca airport in Puno)
- Private, specialized, professional, English speaking native guides on excursions and during special events
- Entrance fees to all historical sites on daily excursions
- Cultural events with local Andean specialists
- Fresh, organic meals celebrating Peruvian cuisine in special set menus as on program
- Visit our Social Projects: The Kusi Kawsay Andean School & Kusi Ñan Organic Farm, exceptional educational projects that honor Andean tradition with elements of Waldorf pedagogy
- Visit the Apu Runawana in the traditional community of Amaru
- Tourist class train from Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo
- Bus from Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
- Charming accommodations at Pisac Inn 6 nights, standard double occupancy
- Accommodations in Aguas Calientes 1 night, standard double occupancy
- Accommodations in Puno 2 nights, standard double occupancy
- Accommodations in Copacabana 1 night, standard double occupancy
- Accommodations on Island of the Sun 1 night, standard double occupancy
Airfare, travel insurance, Bolivian Visa, personal expenses, special events not included in program, spa treatments, any tips or donations, meals eaten out as indicated on program, and any snacks or beverages not included at mealtime.
- The cost of our tour is in U.S. dollars per person
- Group size is minimum 8, maximum 12 passengers
- Prices per person are based on double occupancy – a single room has an additional cost, upon availability
- You can customize your trip with add on special events, and extensions.
- Taxes may apply
- Programs and prices are subject to change and availability, and may not be applicable on some dates and holiday seasons