This seven day multi-sport adventure vacation includes a visit to Machu Picchu.
Travel back in time almost six hundred years to the age of the Inca Empire on this vacation adventure. Raft the Class II-III Urubamba River, zip-line on six different cables and explore the fascinating archaeological remnants of the Inca civilization with our knowledgeable Peruvian guides. In addition to other notable ruins along the way, our trip includes a visit to Machu Picchu—the lost citadel of the Inca—and two extraordinary nights at the renowned Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, a Cairn Travels partner, where spacious two-room cottages provide families with plenty of space to relax and unwind.
Day 1-2: Welcome to Cusco, capital of the vast Inca Empire. Cusco sits at an altitude of 11,000 feet, thus requiring a few days to acclimate. Spend a few days relaxing and getting to know this unique city. The hotel is located a few blocks from the main square, making it easy to navigate on foot. Strolling Cusco’s cobblestone streets, notice both marvelous Incan architecture and Andean Baroque structures from the Colonial Period. Cusco today is also known for its extraordinary handicrafts, and is home to some of Peru’s most talented textile and ceramic artists, as well as to superb restaurants and lively nightlife.
Day 3: This morning, meet the small guided group you will be traveling with. The journey begins at the Sacred Valley and the historic town of Ollantaytambo, considered the last gateway along the Inca Trail in rote to Machu Picchu and home of the Incan archaeological site of Ollantaytambo. Visit this famous market with a guide to purchase ingredients for a well-balanced breakfast: fruits, oatmeal, milk, cheese, bread and eggs. Help prepare breakfast and spend time interacting with local schoolchildren in an Andean village. Take some time and relish in the smiles, laughter and youthful energy! Have lunch at a local restaurant before the short transfer to the hotel. After rest, there is an option for a guided tour of Ollantaytambo. Explore the village and Inca sites while learning the history of the surrounding area.
Decorated in soothing terra-cotta colors and warmed inside by real fires, this small and cozy hotel is perfect for relaxation.
Day 4: After breakfast, depart on a three to four hour trans-Andean journey towards Machu Picchu. Ascend the winding road up the high pass of Malaga, reaching 14,160 feet, before making the descent into the Amazonian cloud forest and the village of Santa Maria, located on the backside of Machu Picchu. Continuing to El Mangal Farm, (where you will stay this evening) have lunch before heading to the river.
Ready for rafting, you will be well prepared with a safety briefing before starting the river adventure through fun, Class II-III rapids. Navigate fun rapids and float through a scenic, jungle environment. Back at the farm this evening, take time to rest and explore the abundant cacao, coffee and fruit plantation.
Day 5: Ready for another day of adventure but first, enjoy a farm-fresh breakfast before continuing the journey toward Machu Picchu. A two-hour drive will bring you to Cola de Mono, located near Santa Teresa village.
Cola de Mono is home to a zip line canopy tour, where you’ll receive safety instructions, gear-up, and soar through the jungle canopy on six different zip line cables. The approach to reach the zip line is steep and conditions are humid and often slippery, so we take our time to reach the first platform. The exciting canopy tour reaches almost 500 ft off the valley floor.
Next will be a short drive to the start of a three-hour/six mile hike along the spectacular Urubamba River canyon to Machu Picchu Pueblo. While hiking notice the abundance of local flora along the way.
(If you prefer not to hike, there is an option of boarding a train at 4:30 PM for the 45-minute train ride to town.)
With beautifully appointed casitas discreetly tucked among the trees, the lodge this evening is more than a base for visiting Machu Picchu—it is a destination in itself. This Andean hideaway is just a short distance from the bustling town of Machu Picchu Pueblo, but it feels miles away, set deep within a cloud forest.
Day 6: Today, get an early start to make the most of your time at Machu Picchu. A guide will introduce you to the ‘Lost City of the Incas.’ Made up of approximately 200 distinct buildings, Machu Picchu is believed to have been a religious retreat and royal estate. The residences, temples, storage areas and public areas are built mainly from blocks of granite, each piece fitting together with almost unbelievable precision. No mortar was used in the Inca-style construction, yet at most junctions even the slimmest of blades cannot wedge between the pieces of stone.
Included is the option to hike up Huayna Picchu, 1,180 feet higher than Machu Picchu. For many trekkers, climbing Huayna Picchu is one of the highlights of a visit to Machu Picchu. The views of the Citadel and surrounding landscape are extraordinary from the top and well worth the climbing effort.
After lunch return to town and spend the afternoon exploring and taking in the lively culture of this bustling little town. You may prefer to immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings of the hotel, home to fantastic bird watching as well as the world’s largest native orchid collection!
Day 7: Today can be one of relaxation or taking in activities such as another visit to Machu Picchu. You may also enjoy strolling the streets and shops of this quaint town or visiting the local hot springs.
You can go back to Machu Picchu but must pay transport and entrance fees. Note that regulations limit the number of visitors to Machu Picchu and therefore if you wish to return this day, advance notice may be required to ensure a ticket to enter is available.
Around 3:30 PM, board the train for the return journey to Cusco. Travel by rail to Ollantaytambo and by vehicle back to Cusco. Check into the hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant, toasting an incredible adventure!
Day 8: Say good bye to Peru as your driver takes you to the Cusco airport for your return flight home.