The llama trek expedition goes along the Ausangate mountain. Although not as popular as the classic Inka Trail, this is a stunning trek through the wildest and most rarely visited areas of Peru. The trek is one of the quietest in the region and you'll likely not see another trekker. The expedition begins with comfy overnights in hotels in an excellent location, tours of the wonders of Cusco, acclimatization hikes in the marvelous sacred valley, and visits to fascinating archaeological sites between Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. You will hike the astonishing one-day Inca trail to Machu Picchu before the trek to enjoy in its full glory one of the wonders of the world. The trekking takes place at high altitude and the terrain will change from steep stairs at the beginning of the expedition to lose gravel, then swampy to rugged trails in the Ausangate region. Our campsites are focused on your comfort and safety with high quality tents. We are equipped with oxygen tanks, satellite mobile phone, first-aid, etc. with highly trained staff. Our campsite is near colorful glacier lakes
The city of 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 will drive above the city of Cusco to Tambomachay, a ritual site dedicated to the water. After the visit we will start our hike back to see Sacsayhuaman, 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".Included Lunch and dinner on your own.
Preparing for the high-altitude hike, your first encounter with an Inka trail will be today. You will visit classic Inca ruins perched on a hill top in Pisac, where the western side is a gorge with vertical walls that house Incan burial sites on its sheer face, and on its eastern side lays a very fertile valley, along with well-preserved Incan farming terraces. Way up on the crest of the mountain there are hanging stairs and Incan "condos", surrounded by awesome views. After lunch we will visit Ollantaytambo in Urubamba to witness an exquisite example of Incan stonework: the unique Sun Temple made out of pink granite boulders each weighing 50 tons and is an exquisite example of Inka stonework that was almost finished when the work was interrupted by the Spaniards' guns, germs and steel. We will 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.Included Lunch.
The train we will take on this day follows the dramatic Urubamba River with its striking scenery of white granite cliffs cloaked by a cloud forest full of thousands of orchids, ferns and bromeliads. We will hike a classic Incan trail in the cloud forest, passing through the exceptional ruins of Wiñay Huayna 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 stay to enjoy the sunset until the park rangers close the park to visitors.Included Box lunch.
Today we'll have a 3 to 4 hour guided tour of Machu Picchu, 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 will take the train back to Ollantaytambo and drive up to Chinchero for our overnight stay.Included lunch & dinner.
We'll take a scenic drive to the trailhead at Mallma where we'll meet our llamas and horses who will carry all of our our equipment to our campsite. The trek will be along Quechua communities with very deep Inca traditions. Alpaca and llama farmers, they still design most of their daily clothing making them very colorful. Our trek chef will provide our daily delicious meals in our dining tent. Our campsite is on the shores of Singrenacocha Lake, where locals believe that is named after the the mermaids that swim and live in it.Included: breakfast | lunch | dinner.
We'll enjoy a spectacular sunrise on the Vilcanota range to start the morning, followed by our breakfast facing glaciers towering above 19,000 ft. Today we will start the hike along the shores of the most amazing turquoise colors of the lake. As we climb to the pass the wild life of the high Andes will remind us of how remote we are. Callangate Mountain and many other glaciers will host us after the pass and lead us to our campsite by another glacier lake.
Today we will start our trek on a trail used very little by trekkers and usually used by people searching for gold in the near Tres Picos Mountains. We will cover 2 high passes with steep climbs. Otorongo Lake is highly used by new healers for their initiations.
After trekking for a few days parallel to the Vilcanota range, today we will go across the range with a trek into the thin air and a close up view of the glaciers.
We'll have a very early start today with the sunrise and finish our day with a sunset. A challenging day of trekking across Palomani Pass at 16,810 ft., today is the closest we get to Ausangate Mountain at 20,940 ft.
Today is our farewell trek from the Andes with a climb to Warmi Saya Pass (16,400 ft.) and the second climb to the top at 16,564 ft. to see Rainbow Mountain. The mountain is striped with colors ranging from turquoise to lavender to maroon and gold. After the superb views of Rainbow Mountain we will hike down to meet our bus and drive back to Cusco.
Morning for shopping (depending on your international flight departure time); afternoon flight to Lima for your international connection or connect to one of our post-trip extensions in Peru or to Bolivia.