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Tucked under the tawny skirts of formidable foothills about 15kms/9.3 miles north of Cusco as the condor flies, via a narrow road and hairpin turns, the Sacred Valley holds its head high. The valley has long been the home of attractive colonial towns, isolated weaving villages, handicraft markets and lofty 10th and 11th century Inca Citadels of Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Urubamba.Visiting the Salt Mines and Moray terraces, which were made by building containment walls filled with fertile earth. They were watered through a complex irrigation system. At the base of the terraces, there is a rainwater storage system. The entire system allowed for the cultivation of the Incas to grow over 250 types of vegetables. Explore amazing ruins and the fabled Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. The Inca City of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is the articulating center of its surroundings, a masterpiece of art, urbanism, architecture and engineering of the Inca Civilization. The working of the mountain, at the foot of the Huayna Picchu, is the exceptional result of integration with its environment, the result of a gigantic effort as if it were an extension of nature.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
We will pick you up at your hotel at 7:30am, with our private van and head towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas, taking the direct route to Pisac. We stop first at the Mirador of Taray to enjoy a classic view of the Urubamba valley and its traditional farming villages. You will see how the agriculture in the Sacred Valley has changed little in the past five hundred years. Onward, we drive to the archaeological site of Pisac, where you can see the biggest Inca cemetery with more than 2,000 tombs. There, we can admire the incredible farming terraces carved into the mountain, explore the Inca tunnel and the religious area of this important citadel. Here, we will spend about 2 hours, exploring the Inca city. Then, we head down to the colorful market of Pisac, spend about 20 minutes visiting it and then drive to Urubamba for lunch.
With timeless charm, we visit the archeological site of Moray also known as “The Greenhouse of the Incas” a deep bowl of architectural wonder. Levels of terraces are carved into a huge bowl, which was excavated by the Incas. The terraces have varied microclimates depending on how deep into the bowl they are placed. Archeologists believe that they were used by the Incas to discover the optimal growing conditions for their crops.
Continuing on our journey to the colonial town of Maras, we look down onto the pre-Inca salt mine. Thousands of saltpans have been passed down through countless generations and used for salt extraction since before Inca times. A hot spring at the top of the valley discharges a small stream of heavily salt laden water, which is diverted into saltpans and evaporated to produce salt. This is one of the few places in the world where you can find naturally pink salt!
Finally, we drive to Ollantaytambo, having time to explore the age old and bustling Inca village and the massive Inca Ruins, with a tour provided by our guide. Visit the ruins of the Sun Temple at the top of the formidable terraces and learn about the importance of this site for the Inca during the beginning of the Spanish conquest.
After time for dinner, we take the train to Aguas Calientes, where you spend the night in our hotel. The train departs Ollantaytambo at 19:04 and arrives in Aguas Calientes at 20:45.
This is the day you have been waiting for! We take the bus to Machu Picchu archeological site, arriving for the guiding tour, making sure we tour every nook and cranny of this New 7 Wonder of the World and UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. On your 2.5 hours private tour, your guide will expertly direct you through the enigmatic ruins and its most important sites. You will see the Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows, Sun Dial, Quarry, the House of the Inka, the urban areas, agricultural terraces and many different types of architecture.
If you wish to indulge in a few of the following activities on your own, you can (not included in the price)
Climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain and appreciate the beauty and magnificence of Machu Picchu (US$75 per person)
You can also take time to walk to the Sun Gate, 2 hours round trip or the Inca Bridge, 1 hour round trip. (No additional fee)
Other optional activities in Aguas Calientes include a visit to the new local museum or to the hot springs. (Entrance fee to enter)
When you are ready, you will descend to Aguas Calientes, have a leisurely lunch on your own, and later on board the train for your departure at 14:55 or 15:20 for the return trip with the Expedition train to the Ollantaytambo train station where you will catch our private van back to Cusco and your hotel. You can expect to arrive at your hotel by 19:00.