CHINCHERO, MARAS & MORAY
Wander through the farmlands and history of the plains of Anta
The road linking the town of Maras and the archaeological site of Moray is a "single track" which is excellent for practicing "cross country" with ups and downs that make this experience exciting. From here we can see unique views of the Urubamba Mountain Range like the Chicón, the Pumahuanca and the Wakay Willca mountains. The Maras village is an agricultural town whose inhabitants are mainly engaged in the extraction of salt.
In the morning, we leave from our hotel to drive up to the high plateau of Anta. This full day experience begins at Cruzpata, a community located nearby the lagoon of Piuray that belongs to the town of Chinchero. We will start pedaling along an old dirt road (trail) that will help us to get used to the bikes.
Heading to the archaeological site of Moray where travelers can visit this area known for being a former agricultural laboratory used to experiment with varieties of native potatoes. They were planted in different ecological `oors`, each `oor` representing a separate climate.
After a break in the nearby town of Maras, we will continue our cycling experience along the paths leading down to the salt mines. It is up to the passengers and their experience level to decide whether we descend to Pichingoto town in the Sacred Valley. Then, we return to our hotel.
Altitude range: 2900-3540m
Degree of difficulty: Moderate
Meal: Picnic lunch, box lunch or Pachamanca (you can read more about it below)
DAY 1 - CUSCO TO HUAYLLABAMBAEarly in the morning, we take the way leading from Cusco to Km82 (2750 mt/9130 ft), this is our check point at the beginning of the trek. The trail follows the river valley for a while; this is a good training day before the second more challenging day. Along the way we will pass Wilkaracay with its impressive view of Patallacta which are both important Inca remains. It is just the beginning of a holy trail full of sanctuaries. Today, after about 7 hours walking we will reach our first camping place at Huayllabamba (3000 mt/9842ft). On reaching our camp for the evening we will be met by our trek team, the porters who will have already set up camp and our cook who will be preparing our evening meal. Day Distance: 12 km / 7.3 ml Approximate Walking time: 6-7 hrs Meals: L, D + Snacks
DAY 2 - HUAYLLABAMBA TO PACAYMAYOEver optimistic, the sun will be shining on our second day as we follow the Inca trail to Warmiwañusta (Dead Woman’s Pass). This is considered to be the most challenging trek day as we cross this highest point of the trail at 4200m (13779ft), prepare for a steep uphill until we summit. The sense of achievement is a reward in itself, then a beautiful stone trail will show us the way as we descend to our tents in the campsite at Pacaymayo (3580 mt/11740 ft). On reaching our camp for the evening we will be met by our trek team who will have already set up camp and our cook who will be preparing our mouthwatering evening meal. Day Distance: 11km / 7 ml Approximate Walking time: 8 to 9 hrs. Meals: B, L, D + Snacks
DAY 3 - PACAYMAYO TO PHUYUPATAMARCAWaking up just in time to be served a hot drink, our tents pitched within the surroundings of the cloud forest. After a good and healthy breakfast we continue along this ancient trail passing small marshes, continuing over the second mountain pass of the trek. It is the second highest point of the hike (3,900mt/12,950ft). As we descend we will see the flora and fauna become more abundant with hummingbirds accompanying us along our route. We have lunch at Chaquicocha (3500 mt/11,620 ft) a fine place for a break in the middle of the cloud forest. The last two hours of the day, are some of the most memorable and breathtaking views of the Inca Trail. We reach our last campsite when the sun sets at Phuyupatamarca, a befitting name meaning 'town in the clouds'. Day Distance: 12 km / 7.3 ml Approximate Walking time: 8 to 9 hrs Meals: B, L, D + Snacks
DAY 4 - PHUYUPATAMARCA TO MACHU PICCHUWe begin the final leg of our trek to the lost city of Machupicchu. We descend for 3hrs, about 900m below from Phuyupatamarca. On the way down there are a couple of Incan Archaeological sites: Intipata first, and then Wiñaywayna which is just 2 hrs before the Sungate entrance (“Inti Punku”). Having taken time to enjoy the first glimpse of Machu Picchu; we walk down in to the astonishing complex for a full tour to learn from our guide all about this fascinatingly unique Citadel. Later we take the bus down to be on time for the train back to Ollantaytambo, from here, our private transport will bring us back to Cusco. Day Distance: 7.3 km / 4.5 ml Approximate Walking time: 5 hrs Meals: B, L + Snacks
After a great morning, we head down towards Ollantaytambo & the Hotel El Albergue for `pachamanca` a traditional style of Peruvian cooking. There is an organic farm here at the hotel where they host a Pachamanca Farm Lunch as well as visits to a Cañazo (sugar cane liquor) distillery and coffee roasting facility with tastings of these artisanal products.
The pachamanca is a traditional Incan meal cooked upon hot rocks and includes a tour of the hotel and our adjacent organic farm. You're welcome to participate in the preparation of the pachamanca, and while the food cooks, you can visit the farm and learn about traditional and contemporary organic farming practices. The lunch includes a variety of cuts of chicken, pork, and lamb with alpaca, rabbit and cuy upon request,
Andean potatoes and camote, organic vegetables, a variety of house-made salads and sauces as well as chicha morada (purple corn beverage). Most dietary restrictions can be covered, and wine and beer are available upon request.
The lunch is served at covered picnic tables right on the farm with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers and Inca archaeological sites.