Our Sneaky Peru trip aims to get you immersed in the Peruvian Culture as you enjoy day hikes. It's a trip designed for people who love the outdoors, culture and archeology but long for a hot shower and a very comfortable bed at the end of a physically active day. Our day hikes offer life-changing experiences, full of discoveries of llama farms, alpacas, colorful farmers markets, and Andean communities.
Cusco, known as the home and residence of gods and the spiritual and political capital of the Incan Empire is a city built in the shape of a puma that can only be seen from the air. You will walk through Incan streets that are illuminated by the sun every winter solstice, and experience some of the most important Incan and Spanish religious sites, such as Qorikancha, also known as the Golden Enclosure, which displays a sophisticated stone construction technology, and Cusco Cathedral, which is still in use today and contains an art gallery consisting of 17th-century canvasses in the Cusco School of painting, with a special highlight consisting of "The Last Supper" featuring a guinea pig.Lunch and dinner on your own.
We start our day by going up to Tipon, a masterpiece of water management and a ceremonial place dedicated to the womb of mother earth. Because the waterworks were constructed as part of a country estate for Incan nobility, Tipon has beautiful stone structures built in the imperial Incan style of finely cut stone fountains and is akin to those at Machu Picchu. The intricate baths and irrigation channels still function five centuries after the Spanish conquest, which provides Tipon with an endless, soothing soundtrack of running water. After lunch we will explore Sacsayhuaman by foot, an Incan fortress 400 ft./120m above the city of Cusco. The site was built with massive boulders, some of which weigh more than 100 tons. Interestingly, the Spaniards did not believe that such monolithic stones could be moved by human beings and they attributed Sacsayhuaman's construction to the mythical Cyclops. Thus, this type of architecture is known as the "Cyclopean Inca style".Lunch included.
On this day a scenic drive will take us to the community of Patabamba where we will begin our hike along farm fields heading towards Sihuas at 13,110 ft./3,990 m. Sihuas has a unique landscape of farming terraces that are still in use today by the locals. From there, we will ascend to the highest pass, Pukamarca at 13,320ft./4,060mt. We will descend into a small canyon that opens onto a small plateau where Huchuy Qosqo, which means "Little Cusco" is located. This site overlooks the Sacred Valley and is across from the Urubamba range. The site was built because the 8th Inca King Wiracocha became the first king to abdicate his reign due to his own failure in defeating the Chankas' attempt to take the city of Cusco. Once his son Pachacutec started his reign Wiracocha was placed into retired seclusion. After a well-earned rest at the site we descent down to the Sacred Valley.Box lunch and dinner included.
Our coach will switch back up to the Sapacto community for a hike across the high Andes and along the shores of high-altitude lakes surrounded by swamps, where llamas and alpacas graze. This geography also houses various types of high Andean birds. From the pass at 14,400 ft./4,390m we will enjoy the fabled mountains known as Sahusiray and Pitusiray. At 5,900 m/19,400 ft., these are the highest peaks in the Urubamba range. After lunch will have an interaction with and enjoy a presentation by the weavers of the community of Accha Alta. Nestled on a steep mountain slope close to the ruins of Ancasmarca, this is an ancient Incan citadel with an extraordinary view. An expert weaver will introduce to us the villagers that knit and weave in natural Alpaca wool. Their textiles are characterized by thin sections of plain weave and wide ley (supplementary warp technique) designs. One of the most popular ley designs is wasqa qocha, or long lakes. Knitters in Accha Alta use a unique technique called bolitas to create diamond patterns in small bobbles. Before starting their chullo, a knitter ties thousands of small knots into their yarn, which as they knit turn into the decorative bobbles on the outside of the chullo.Box lunch and dinner included.
Rafting along the Urubamba river, especially the Ollantaytambo section, is one of the most picturesque ways to see the Sacred Valley. We will run exciting class III rapids. Next we'll walk through the marvels of a superbly preserved Incan town named in honor of an Incan warrior called Ollantay, who was deeply in love with Kusi Qoyllur, the forbidden and "high maintenance" daughter of King Inka Pachacutec. Here we'll witness an exquisite example of Incan stonework: the unique Sun Temple made out of pink granite boulders each weighing 50 tons. During the years of the Spanish conquest, Manco Inka defeated the Spaniards several times in this town, which illustrates a fine example of how Inca towns were laid out for safety and defense.Lunch and dinner included.
Enjoy one of the most geographically exhilarating hiking days as we climb up to the pass of Wajratanca at 15,370 ft./4,680 m. Here you will have the option to climb up to 15,700 ft./4,800 m so as to enjoy a royal view over the Cordillera Urubamba which makes up for all the efforts of each step. We will descend along the Tastayoc Valley through communities where locals still dress in colorful, traditional clothing.Box lunch and dinner included.
The train we will take this day follows the dramatic Urubamba River with its striking scenery of white granite cliffs cloaked by the cloud forest which is full of thousands of orchids, ferns and bromeliads. The cloud forest features prevalent views along the trail and touches the towering mountains. We will pass through the exceptional ruins of Wiñay Wayna and through the Sun Gate Pass at 2,750 m/9,000 ft. This is truly one of the world's most thrilling viewpoints and the only way to see Machu Picchu in its full glory. You will have a chance to linger and enjoy the sunset until the park rangers close the park to visitors.Box lunch and dinner included.
Machu Picchu is the only major Incan site to escape 400 years of looting and destruction by the Spanish conquistadors. To be sure, it is not an ordinary Incan settlement; it sits on a nearly inaccessible location high above the Urubamba gorge and contains exquisite engineering and architecture. Was it a spiritual destination and pilgrimage center located within a sacred geography? Or perhaps a royal retreat for the king, Inka Pachacutec? Or maybe the biggest or the first agricultural research center built by the Incans? Whatever its purpose may have been, you will have a chance to explore every corner of the majestic Machu Picchu. In the afternoon we will return by train.Lunch and dinner at your own expense.
Depending on the time of your international flight departure, there will be a chance in the morning for shopping, or you'll take an afternoon flight to Lima for your international connection. You may also choose to take advantage of one of our optional post-trip extensions at this point.
For the day hikes you will be based in the Sacred Valley. From there you will leave for each hike.