8. Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu: 2-Day Private Tour
Day 1: Cusco–Aguas Calientes
After hotel pick-up in Cusco at around 8:00AM, you will drive to Chinchero to start the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu Tour. Your first visit will be to the main square, filled with its well-preserved Inca walls and altars. Following this, you will visit a textile center for a brief introduction and learning experience of the art of Andean textiles. Local weavers will guide you through a step-by-step process of the ancient science of Andean weaving as it has been done since long before the Inca.
As you continue on your way to our next site, wyou will pass through lush agricultural fields and small rural communities. Weather permitting, spectacular views of snow-capped peaks line the horizon far into the distance. Your next stop will be Moray, with its spectacular terraces of concentric rings, which has been proven to be an experimental center for understanding the various climates and temperatures of different crops or agricultural plants, perhaps even used for domestication of different crops. After exploring Moray, you will descend lower in elevation to the salt mines of Maras, an important production center dating back to pre-Inca times. Here there are over 3,000 salt pools carved into the mountain side, filled daily by water seeping from the Earth, referred to by the locals as the "tears of mother earth".
In the afternoon, your train will depart from the town of Ollantaytambo to the train station in Machu Picchu. You will have the option of visiting some local hot springs before retiring to your hotel.
Day 2: Machu Picchu–Cusco
You will rise at first light for breakfast, before you head to the bus station to take the first buses up to the majestic mountain of Machu Picchu, also known as the “the Crystal City”. We recommend arriving early enough to catch sunrise before receiving a guided tour which last about 2.5 hours, followed by free time to explore the site on your own. If booked in advance, it will be arranged for you to climb Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu Mountain. You will agree on a time to meet in the afternoon in Aguas Calientes where you can board the train back to Ollantaytambo followed by a private bus or van back to Cusco. Once back in Cusco you will be returned to your hotel of origin, marking the end of your tour.