Authentic Andean Journey ~ 9 days / 8 nights
The Sacred Valley, Cusco & Machu Picchu
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This authentic journey weaves classic destinations with unique cultural immersion experiences, affording authentic engagement in a cultured Indigenous point-of-view.
Savor the ambiance of the Sacred Valley, find yourself surrounded by breathtaking scenery and begin your exploration of the Inca legacy through our 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 our customs, cuisine, music and dance. Admire our arts. Delve into our philosophy; understand our history and way of life.
Walk our ancient pathways. Enrich your perspective. Confirm human quintessence.
Recommended for a profound unforgettable cultural immersion that enhances the spirit.
Sacred Valley Highlights
- Engage in this rare opportunity for authentic social interaction, personal comfort and cultural participation while visiting rural Peru.
- Experience the Sacred Valley of the Incas stepping back in time, visiting its finest archeological sites, picturesque villages and colorful markets.
- Savor exquisite Peruvian cuisine rooted in ancient agriculture.
- Stay at charming Pisac Inn, situated on the main plaza of Pisac ~ settle into your room in the quaint little town in the Sacred Valley for the duration of your stay. No packing and unpacking.
- Absorb small town life in the Sacred Valley.
- Enjoy daily excursions with in depth, educational stories and explanations by local native guides with our indigenous voice.
- Visit a traditional community and participate in their communal workday ~ a cultural exchange that deepens the appreciation of Quechua history and social life.
- Marvel at Machu Picchu, one of the new 7 wonders of the world.
- Explore Cusco, capital of the vast Inca State, navel of the ancestral world.
- Join in our commitment in the preservation, protection and celebration of endangered Andean traditions and cultural heritage. Traveling with us directly supports sustainable tourism.
- Enrich your life. Expand your horizons.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas surrounded by magnificent mountain Apus, extended fields replete with crops and the stunning Wilkamayu river running through this fertile valley’s heart. Where sacred corn grows and iridescent hummingbirds emanate their joy. Pisac offers a pleasant climate and the enchantment of a colorful small town with cobblestone streets and friendly faces. The Andes… snow peaks soaring in the distance over charming communities, Inca sites, and quaint village markets. Delve into this journey full of pre-Columbian reflections. Pristine nature. Blossoming fuchsia and kantu flowers that entice. A profound heritage wrapped in layers of colorfully elegant wisdom and contemporary sophistication. The inspiration of authentic Peruvian hospitality.
Day one / Thursday
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.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: L, D
Sacred Valley Highlights
Day two / Friday
Cusco Archeological Sites
After breakfast enjoy a 30-minute scenic drive to explore pre-Columbian sites outside of Cusco including the sacred spring of Tambomachay, the 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. Enjoy lunch at one of Cusco’s fine restaurant recommended by your guide, and return to Pisac for a quite afternoon.
Upon return to Pisac Inn relax before dinner or enjoy a treatment at *Unucha Spa. You can make an appointment ahead of time for any afternoon after your excursion.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: B, D (lunch not included)
Cusco City and Archaeological Highlights
Day three / Saturday
Moray & Salineras 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, in depth explanations, the sharing of stories; and connect to the natural cosmic cycles of the Andes.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: B, Picnic, D
Salineras Salt Mines and Wiñay Taki Highlights
Considerations: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for hiking and a picnic in the countryside. Bring a daypack with layers for drastic temperature changes; be prepared for sun, cold and possible rain. Bring camera, sunblock and sunhat, and plenty of drinking water. You can leave any personal belongings in the car. Bring small change for photos and souvenirs.
Day four / Sunday
Pisac Archeological Site & Market
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 an ideal setting for a picnic lunch with magnificent vistas up and down the valley. Embark upon a breathtaking walk down to the town of Pisac and enjoy the afternoon exploring Pisac’s colorful Traditional Indian Market. Visit the traditional food section where locals buy and trade their produce and 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.
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 dinner.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: B, Picnic, D
Considerations: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for hiking and a picnic in the countryside. Bring a daypack with layers for drastic temperature changes; be prepared for extreme sun, cold and possible rain. Bring walking poles if needed, this is one of the big hikes of the trip. Bring camera, sunblock and sunhat, and plenty of drinking water. Consider bringing chocolate or nuts for energy. This day you must carry everything you need in your daypack, including the provided picnic bag lunch. Bring small change for photos and souvenirs.
Day five / Monday
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 quite evening with dinner.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: B, L, D
Amaru Community Highlights
Considerations: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for walking and working in the fields that you don’t mind getting dirty! Bring your hand wipes and Purell this day, and be prepared for rustic conditions. Bring a daypack with layers for drastic temperature changes; be prepared for extreme sun, extreme cold and possible rain. Comfortable walking shoes are suggested; hiking boots are not necessary. Bring camera, sunblock and sunhat, and plenty of drinking water. You can leave any personal belongings in the car, but the car will drop you off and you will walk up, so the car will not be nearby. Bring cash to purchase textiles; they are hand made and one of kind pieces. You can take as many photos as you would like; please do not give change for photos in Amaru. Be prepared for authentic cultural immersion at its height, and come with respect, honor and open mindedness as guests invited into a sacred ancestral culture.
Day six / Tuesday
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 Cabana Boutique Hotel Meals: B, Picnic (dinner not included)
(hotel upgrade available)
Considerations: You must bring your passport; you cannot ride the train or enter Machu Picchu without!
For Ollantaytambo outing: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for hiking and a picnic in the countryside. Bring a daypack with layers for drastic temperature changes; be prepared for sun, cold and possible rain. Bring camera, sunblock and sunhat, and plenty of drinking water. You can leave any personal belongings in the car. Bring small change for photos and souvenirs.
For the overnight in Aguas Calientes: Pack your overnight bag, and a separate daypack. forget your insect repellant. Bring money for dinner in Aguas Calientes and lunch out the following day at Machu Picchu.
Day seven / Wednesday
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.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: B, D (lunch not included)
Machu Picchu Highlights
Considerations: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for hiking. 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. Bring a daypack with layers for temperature changes; be prepared for sun, cold and very possible rain. Bring camera, sunblock, sunhat, repellant, and plenty of drinking water. You will have to carry your day pack 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.
Please let us know if you want to hike Huayna Picchu, as this requires a separate entrance ticket with entrance fee, and is not included. Spaces are very limited, and gets fully booked months ahead of time.
Day eight / Thursday
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. Your day continues to unfold with a city day in Cusco. Stroll through the streets of Cusco, admire the Inca walls, and visit the Plaza de Armas and the main pre-Colombian Inca Temple, Coricancha. Have a relaxing lunch out on the town in a fine restaurant recommended by your guide. Shop at boutiques that feature high quality alpaca in contemporary designs, or visit the central market. Upon return to Pisac enjoy a special farewell dinner.
Hotel: Pisac Inn Meals: B, D (lunch not included)
Kusi Kawsay, Kusi Ñan and Cusco Highlights
Considerations: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for a day exploring the city. Bring a daypack with layers for drastic temperature changes; be prepared for sun, cold and possible rain. Bring camera, sunblock and sunhat, and plenty of drinking water. You can leave any personal belongings in the car. Bring money for lunch and shopping.
Day nine / Friday
Enjoy breakfast before leaving for the Cusco airport. Meals: B
The order of your itinerary will change depending on the day you arrive.
Destinations: The Sacred Valley, Cusco & Machu Picchu
Description: High altitude, mountainous terrain. Easy driving tours and day hikes.
Altitudes: Cusco 11,200 ft, Pisac 10,000 ft, Machu Picchu 7,500 ft, Amaru 10,500 ft
Length: 9 days / 8 nights
Category: Boutique (3 star level)
Journey Series: Our Signature Journey
Available: Small group or private
Season: All year
Pace: Moderate, with time for relaxation
Interests: Cultural & Culinary, Andean Heritage, Spirituality & 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 available.
Beer, wine and cocktails are available, but are not included in tour 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.
If you are interested in our Immersion Series, Special Interest Series or Trekking Series, please see our sample itineraries. These trips are based on our Authentic Andean Journey including extra events and activities with specialists for a more immersive travel experience.
Our Extensions: Add on extensions if you want to explore more areas of Peru.
Travel Information: See our Travel Information & FAQs
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 recommended reading and a packing list.
- Starting from $2,100 US dollars per person for a minimum of 6 passengers
- Pricing according to number of travelers and time of year
- Customized & private pricing upon request
- Airport transfers and all ground transportation upon arrival to Cusco airport in a private tourist level vehicle
- 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
- Charming accommodations at Pisac Inn 7 nights, standard double occupancy
- 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; day of visit to be determined depending on final itinerary.
- 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
- Overnight in Aguas Calientes 1 night, standard double occupancy
Airfare, travel insurance, 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.
- Our small group sizes are minimum 6 & maximum 12 passengers; private groups can be any size, and will be priced accordingly.
- Prices per person are based on double occupancy – a single room has an additional cost, upon availability.
- You can customize your trip with hotel upgrades; 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.