Lost Cities Expedition
12 Days / 11 Nights

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Day 1: Depart from your home town. If not on an overnight flight you may need to sleep in Lima. We meet your flight at the Cusco Airport the following morning on Sunday. Arrangements can be made to assist you onto your connecting local flight in Lima, help with overnight arrangements or advise you of the process if you feel uncomfortable in strange airports.
Day 2: We meet your arrival at the Cusco airport. The afternoon is scheduled for a walking introduction to the archaeological and colonial highlights of the old capital of the Inca universe. We visit the impressive ruins of Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cusco. Our leader describes the colorful rituals and ceremonies that would have taken place at the massive walled limestone constructions and sculptured terraces surrounding the immense central plaza. We finish with a summary of the battle here in 1536 which ended the life of Juan Pizzaro. In the evening, we gather for dinner and discussion in the dining room at the centrally located, Hotel Andes de America, our comfortable lodging in Cusco. (D).
Day 3: The hotel included a full buffet breakfast giving a great start to a long day. Loading up, we drive out of Cusco, over a low pass leading down into Peru's tourist mecca, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Avoidingpopular bus tour stops like Pisac and Ollantaytambo, we hike up several thousand feet to the little know, large site of Huchuy Cusco. Believed to be an early royal estate of the Inca Roca it was also occupied and modified during early colonial years leaving a puzzle for researchers to ponder. We have a lot to examine here as we gain a perspective for Inca architecture and urban design. We overnight at a selected lodge in the valley.(B,L,D)
Day 4: Today we are up and on the road very early. We have a long drive over Malaga Pass and down again following an Inca route to the historic Inca bridge location at Choquechaca (this will all have meaning when you read John Hemming's Conquest of the Inca). We ascend a narrow winding road to it’s end high up in the Cordillera Vilcabamba. We are guests for the night at the rustic Sixpac Manco Inn owned by the local Cobos family, famous for having accompanied the Gene Savoy Expeditions of the 1960s, explorer Vince Lee’s epic journeys and several of our own explorations. (B,L,D).
Day 5: Following Hiram Bingham’s notes, we hike to Cerro Rosapata and the ruins of Vitcos, the palace refuge of Manco and the last Incas. Captured by the Spanish Captain Garcia de Loyola under orders of Viceroy Toledo in 1572, Vitcos remains fascinating and seldom visited. We also examine nearby Nusta Espanan (Yuroc Rumi), a most sacred Inca shrine and sun temple. (the white rock of Hugh Thomson's book of the same name). This will be an active interesting day with an opportunity to view and examine many unusual Inca constructions in a breathtaking setting surrounded by the glistening Ice peaks of the far Vilcabamba. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Fueled by a hearty breakfast and stout local coffee, we set out on a spectacular mountain drive down the narrow one line road to the Urubamba Canyon. Following a newly completed road high about the river we wind up and down, finally entering the deep Quebrada Santa Teresa drainage descending down from the eternal snows of Salcantay. A short drive takes us to the end of the road. We make camp in a field near the small farming village of Lucmabamba. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Following the new, recently reconstructed Inca trail to Machu Picchu, we climb steady up, eventually crossing the ridge that hosts many of the Llactapata ruins lying hidden beneath dense cloud forest vegetation. If afternoon clouds permit, we will have the first sighting of Machu Picchu from this unusual viewpoint, certainly one of the reasons that the ceremonial features that we will see later were located here. Dropping down through eerie moss coated trees, long creepers and thick undergrowth, we soon arrive at an open plain, pampa, which will be our home for the next two days. The camp is set up, Pop corn and beverages await us in the dinning tent along with a pan of warm wash water at our tent doors. Dinner follows late, leaving ample time to enjoy the setting sun, cacophony of neo-tropical bird calls and animated discussion, realizing that we are camped in the middle of one of the main groups of Inca building. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Llactapata: Briefly visited by Hiram Bingham in 1912 then lost again until our team refound his "Inca Castle" in 2003 along with a vast complex of ruins extending up the ridge and steep mount slopes that no one had realized was there. This is an interesting story that we save for the expedition. We make good use of the day to visit all we can of the various groups, features and more remote sites. Tonight we are tired, scratched, dirty and elated with what we have seen and learned. (B,L,D)
Day 9: On the trail again, we drop down into the Aobamba gorge to arrive at the end of the line rail stop. A local train departs in the afternoon each day, up bound to eventually reach Cusco late that night. An interesting hour of click, clack and sway with all of the accompanying sounds and smells of rural Peru takes us to the bustling backpacker town of Aguas Calientes, the portal for Machu Picchu. We dine out after lengthy hot showers at the Machu Picchu Inn.(B,L,D).
Day 10: Soon we are gathered at the gateway to the famous "Lost City of the Incas" Our guide walks us through magnificent architectural monuments and temples, pointing out key ceremonial features that represent mountain and sun worship incorporated into the design by Machu Picchu's builders under royal mandate of the Inca Emperor Pachacuti. Climbing aboard the deluxe express train, we return for an evening in Cusco with perhaps an after dinner sortie to the infamous "Cross Key's Pub" for drinks and lively conversation with the resident congregation of guides, expatriates, adventurers, treasure hunters and smugglers from far corners of the universe. The Cross Keys is the official launching pad and watering hole for Barry Walker, Hugh Thomson and Gary Ziegler's expeditions. Lodging at the Andes de America. (B,L)
Day 11: This is the day to relax, shop and wander around Cusco on your own or with friends. The city abounds with small shops and street side vendors selling their wares. Colorful weavings and hand made alpaca sweaters are popular gifts for friends at home. Try out a local restaurant, take a hike, or just sit in the plaza. Lodging at the Andes de America. (B).
Day 12: Breakfast at the hotel then we help you onto the morning flight to Lima.(B)
Tour includes: - Bi-lingual in english and spanish mountain guides
- Experienced cooks, camp and field staff
- All terrestrial transport on a private basis
- All food except lunches and dinners in the cities of Lima and Cusco
- All hotels except in Lima (We will arrange this if required)
- Top quality camping equipment where relevant (except sleeping bag)
- Sleeping pads
- Transfer to and from hotel in Cusco
Not included: - Lima - Cusco - Lima flights (can be arranged on request)
- Hotels or airport transfers in Lima (can be arranged on request)
- Sleeping bag (Can be hired in Cusco by per-arrangement)
- Airport tax (at present $4 internal and $25 International)
- Entrance fee to the Inca Trail ($50) (Relevant for the traditional and Sacred Inca Trail treks only)
- Bottled drinks except water or where provided with meals
- Optional tips to staff
- Items of a personal nature, e.g. Laundry
- Excess baggage changes
2011 Rates per person: $ in double occupancy. Single Supplement: $