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10 - Day program

Soul of the Andes Festival Experience

June 16th – June 25th, 2019
Join us to celebrate Inti Raymi and Qoyllor’Ity, two of the most revered festivals in Cusco, as you journey through the Sacred Valley and Lares region to Machu Picchu and beyond.

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Inti Raymi and Qoyllor’ Ity

are two of the most revered festivals in Inca/Andean tradition and take place during the winter solstice in Cusco.  On June 16th, 2019, take part in the celebrations on the Soul of the Andes Festival Experience, including breathtaking hikes through the Sacred Valley and Lares region to Machu Picchu and fascinating workshops on topics from “The Andean Cosmovision” to “Traditional Andean Farming Techniques” that will give you insight into age-old Inca/Andean traditions and give meaning to your participation in these magical festivities.





Welcome to Cusco! After hotel check-in and some free time to settle in, our adventure begins with a late afternoon tour of the city, followed by a trip briefing and welcome dinner at El Mercado.

Overnight: El Retablo—Cusco


    After an early breakfast, we begin our journey to Q’oyllor’ Ity with a scenic drive to Wakarpay Lake, including a stop at the Tipón archaeological site along the way. Once at Wakarpay, enjoy a picnic lunch on the shores of the lake and a visit to the adjacent Totoracocha archaeological site. After lunch, we continue our drive and explore Pikillaqta archaeological site en route to Mahuallani to join our Andean neighbors for the festival procession to the Qoyllor’ Ity shrine, and campsite.

    Overnight: Premium camping at Qoyllor’ Ity


      The celebration continues at Qoyllor’ Ity as we embark on an early morning hike to the Sinakara Glacier and glacier lagoon. Upon arrival, we will join an Andean Q’ero (shaman) and participate in a Pachamama gratitude ceremony. Midday, a picnic lunch will be served before we begin our hike from Sinakara back to Mahuallani to meet our MLP driver for a late afternoon return drive to Cusco.

      Overnight: El Retablo—Cusco


        After breakfast, enjoy a half-day round-trip hike to the fascinating and newly restored Inkilltambo archaeological site near Sacsayhuaman on the outskirts of town. Inkilltambo served as an important ceremonial huaca (Quechua for ‘gathering place’), and is a fascinating example of Inca architecture.

        Overnight: El Retablo—Cusco


          Today we will spend the day in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. In the morning, enjoy a scenic ride and brief tour of the charming town and vibrant marketplace of Pisaq. Afterwards, we continue by car to the Andean community of Viacha for a traditional Pachamanca lunch, followed by a workshop/lecture on age-old Andean farming techniques including a ceremony alongside the locals to honor Mother Earth for her bounty. In the afternoon, we will hike to the Pisaq archaeological site for some of the best views of the valley, before meeting our MLP driver for the ride to Lamay Lodge.

          Overnight: Lamay Lodge (9,705’/2,958m)


            From the Sacred Valley, we begin our exploration into the remote Lares region. First, we will visit the unique Ancasmarca archaeological site and then continue on to Choquecancha for lunch and an introduction to traditional Andean weaving techniques from the all-women master weavers of the community. Afterwards, a community leader will take us on a walk to learn about harvesting medicinal plants, along with an explanation of their amazing properties and applications. Mid-afternoon, our driver will again meet us for a breathtaking drive to Huacashuasi Lodge and some relaxation time. Before dinner, we will gather again for a workshop/lecture on ‘Andean Celebrations’ and a traditional Winter Solstice ceremony.

            Overnight: Huacahuasi Lodge (12,585’ / 3,835 m)


              Today we will drive further into the Lares region before circling back to the Sacred Valley. Our first stop will be in the sheep herding community of Marcacocha to participate in their unique gratitude ceremony for the Apus (Inca gods) to ensure the health of the flock. Afterwards, we will continue on to Pumamarka for a picnic lunch before exploring the archaeological site. Our next stop will be the fascinating town of Ollantaytambo, where we will catch a late-afternoon train to Aguas Calientes.

              Overnight: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel


                Your journey to Machu Picchu begins at dawn with a rollicking uphill bus ride, followed by a fascinating two-hour guided tour of the citadel. After the tour, we will embark on a hike up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain* for dramatic views that stretch from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon Jungle. After the visit we will have lunch in Aguas Calientes before catching an afternoon train to Ollantaytambo followed by a sunset drive back to Cusco.

                Note: *Depending on permit availability.

                Overnight: El Retablo—Cusco

                  DAY 9 INTI RAYMI FESTIVAL

                  Prepare for an exciting day of pageantry and celebration! After breakfast, the day begins with a front-row seat to the morning festivities at the Koricancha (Inca temple of the sun). From there, everyone will move on to the Plaza de Armas in the center of town for an impressive re-enactment of the ancient Inca winter solstice ceremony before beginning the procession to Sacsayhuaman for the main event. A lavish tribute to Inti, the Inca god of the sun, you will watch as the ‘Inca emperor’ and his entourage perform sacred rituals in a moving ceremony accompanied by musicians and dance troupes from the entire region—truly a sight to behold! Afterwards, we will follow the procession back to Cusco for a farewell lunch and late-afternoon and evening at leisure.

                  Overnight: El Retablo—Cusco

                    DAY 10 FAREWELL

                    Breakfast at hotel and transport to the Cusco airport.


                      ● 10D/9N round-trip itinerary starting in Cusco.
                      ● Departure date: June 16, 2019
                      ● Rate is per person based on shared accommodations.
                      ● Single traveler accommodation request: subject to a 25% supplemental fee.
                      ● Single traveler willing to share accommodations: subject to a 10% supplemental fee.
                      ● After May 1, 2019, payment in full ($4,500 USD/per person) will be due at time of booking.

                      SERVICES INCLUDE:

                      ● Transportation services during the programmed itinerary.
                      ● All lodging during the programmed itinerary.
                      ● All meals except:   B&L on Day 1; D on Day 3; L&D on Day 4; D on Day 8; D on Day 9; L&D on Day 10.
                      ● Service of a bilingual guide (Spanish/English) during all program days. Tours of archaeological sites are led in English.
                      ● Entrance fees and permits to points of interest and archeological sites.
                      ● Guided visit to Machu Picchu.
                      ● Filtered water, tea, coffee, juice, and soft drinks at all MLP lodges (alcohol, sports drinks, and bottled water not included).
                      ● Gratuities for MLP staff at the lodges and in the field.*  Gratuities for your guide are not included and are at your discretion. In general, we suggest $10-$20 USD/day (per person) for assistant guides.

                      *Note:  Gratuities at MLP-affiliate hotels and premium camping installations are not included.

                      Inti Raymi & Qoyllor’ Ity

                      Soul of the Andes Festival Experience

                      Inti Raymi and Qoyllor’ Ity are two of the most revered festivals in Inca/Andean tradition and take place during the winter solstice in Cusco.  On June 16th, 2019, take part in the celebrations on the Soul of the Andes Festival Experience, including breathtaking hikes through the Sacred Valley and Lares region to Machu Picchu and [...] Contact Us

                      Inti Raymi

                      The entire region of Cusco comes together in June for Inti Raymi, the annual celebration to honor the Inca god of the sun, Inti. Through colorful processions and elaborate re-enactments of sacred Inca rituals, both city dwellers and Andean villagers join to give thanks to Inti as their primary source of life and abundance.

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                      Qoyllor’ Ity

                      Qoyllor’ Ity (Quechua for ‘bright white snow’), is the annual Andean winter solstice celebration to honor of the stars and constellations in hopes of a prosperous harvest and New Year. The festival includes a procession to the Qoyllor’ Ity shrine under the full moon, comprised of Andean farmers and villagers, locals from Cusco, and multiple groups of musicians and dance troupes, like the well-known Paucartambo and Quispiscanchis, from the rural highlands. As the sun rises, revelers kneel to receive the first rays of the sun after this auspicious moon.

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