For this adventure we immerse in the mystical world of Incan history and travel the Great Inca Road between the ancient sites of Choquequirao and Machu Picchu. Our journey follows in the footsteps of the legendary Chasqui runners who supported the vast Incan empire delivering communications along the 24,000-mile Inca Road. As we trek between these two lost cities we will have opportunity to view impressive landscapes, explore high Andean villages and travel through five climate zones – including Andean Puna and Cloud Forest where endangered condors are common. Along the way we will immerse in the Andean way of life and see the mountains through the eyes of these historic messengers. And from one breathtaking setting to another, we end your incredible journey with four unforgettable days at one of the planet’s most incredible wildlife destinations, Galapagos.
The Chasquis were known as some of the greatest runners in history capable of relaying messages at speeds of over 200 miles per day at altitudes above 13,000 feet. While these great athletes were endowed with incredible strength and stamina, they also had wisdom and a way of connecting with the land and its inhabitants that helped propel them along the steep mountainous terrain. Through this connection it’s said they were able to flow like water over rock. We will explore this connection and perspective throughout the journey as we travel in their footsteps.
Our route will traverse one of the most stunning sections of the Inca Road, between the great city of Choquequirao and the citadel of Machu Picchu. Choquequirao is considered one of the most remote ancient ruins in the world and is currently visited by fewer than 70 people per day, which the Peruvian government plans to change when it builds a road and tram system to the site in the near future. Currently the site is only accessible by two-day walk across a 5,000-foot deep canyon.
Situated at 10,000 feet Choquequirao is located in pristine cloud forest and features extensive waterways, temples and agriculture terracing as impressive as Machu Picchu. While the site is only 30% excavated, the energy of the site is profound and there are ample opportunities to find solitude as we explore the origins of this remote lost city. While at the site we will work with local shaman and participate in a traditional Despacho ceremony giving gratitude to the spirit of Pachamama.
As we explore the rich history of the Andean people, we also discover the diversity of the land. Peru boasts the highest concentration of microclimates in the world, and our journey travels through five climate zones, including rare cloud forest, which is home to one third of Peru’s birds, mammals and frogs. Here we will see an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, including bromeliads, orchids, butterflies, giant hummingbirds and the Andean condor.
As we venture deeper into the Andean highlands the landscape opens into high alpine Cordillera, passing near permanent glaciers and high villages. The mountains here are sacred to the Andean people and we honor these great spirits, as we pass within view of the Apus Kiswar, Quriwayrachina, Pintuyu. Here we begin to see the magnitude of how great the Chasqui runners were as we travel elaborate stone paths constructed centuries ago and still in use by local people today as they pass these steep mountains.
After descending Victoria pass at 14,000 feet we discover the small village of Yanama where we will connect with the local people through the practice of Ayni as we participate in a service project to improve the local school. The following day we ascend a majestic valley surrounded by high peaks climbing to our highest point at 15,272 feet as we cross Yanama Pass. From here we get our first glimpses of Salkantay, the second most dominant peak in Peru, known as the Savage Mountain and the ruler of weather and fertility.
The climate changes quickly as we descend 7,000 feet from high alpine into into lush tropical vegetation passing fruit groves and coffee plantations that have been present since Incan times. We have the opportunity to visit the hot springs near Salkantay before descending the Santa Teresa river valley passing many small villages.
We then venture back up into cloud forest to the ancient site of Llactapata. Here we will enjoy a beautiful moss covered forest and explore the ancient observatory which is perfectly aligned with Machu Picchu across the valley.
We are now within site of our final destination as we make our way down to Aguas Caliente traveling through abundant forests filled with parrots and orchids. Upon arrival we will have opportunity for a soak in the hot spring and enjoy a fine meal as we explore this quaint village and relax in preparation for our visit to Machu Picchu the next day. In the morning we travel up to the citadel and spend the day exploring this expansive site, connecting to its energy and learning the role this ancient ruin played in the Andean cosmology. While here we will have the chance to climb Huayna Picchu, the steep prominent mountain that defines the site and hike to the more remote Temple of the Moon which few visitors experience where we hold our final Andean ceremony. In the afternoon we descend and board our train back to Cusco where we will enjoy a comfortable hotel stay and final dinner at one of the finer restaurants in Historic San Blas.
The next day we fly to Guayaquil Ecuador and the following day, take a 2 ½ hour flight to Baltra Island, to arrive in the Galapagos and board our stunning floating home for the coming days. First stop is the Charles Darwin Research Station & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center to witness the incredible successes of the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguanas breeding programme. We will also meet the famous Lonesome George, the last surviving specimen of Pinta Island.
Today we travel from Baltra to North Seymour Island to visit a large colony of sealions living amongst herons and lava gulls and thriving on the isolation and richness of their natural habitat. In the afternoon we have more incredible up-close wildlife encounters, with a two-hour walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigatebirds and swallow-tailed gulls. You will also meet sea lions, land iguanas, and on a lucky day, you might even come across a Galapagos Snake. There is the option to snorkel on both encounters.
A ‘wet’ boat landing on Santa Fe Island makes it a perfect day for a deep water snorkel. Surrounded by sea lion colonies on landing, we will head ashore to venture through endemic cactus forest – home to the Santa Fe land iguanas, Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, finches and mockingbirds. A climb to the highest point above South Plaza Islet will take us through impressive cactus forest and more iguanas, to discover tropicbirds, a Nazca and blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls. Day 17 will be a relaxing walk around Kicker Rock – home to many Galapagos sea animals – followed by a visit to the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve on San Cristobal Island, to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs, before the return flight to Guayaquil.
Homeward bound and it is time to leave one of the planet’s most extraordinary wildlife destinations for home, with a happier and more courageous heart, a fulfilled mind and soul and an enriched view on this incredible planet we call home.
The Sacred Valley of Peru is one of the most mystical places in the world and is home to some of Peru’s greatest historical sites. Our trip includes local flights from Lima and includes one night accommodation in Lima. The adventure begins and ends in the Incan capital of Cusco where we will have one nights stay in one of the luxury hotels, enjoy a group dinner and explore the city.
The next morning we travel by private bus through the mountains to the town of Cachora where we begin our adventure. We will be supported by porters and mules throughout the trip, and camp for 10-nights in four season tents in established campsites. Participants will only be required to carry a small daypack during the day with water, snacks and extra clothing. All meals will be prepared fresh and served in our well-provisioned cook tent. There are also many small tienda’s along the route that sell snacks, drinks and supplies.
As this is one of the more challenging treks in Peru we take an extra mule and also have points where vehicle transportation can provide assistance if necessary. The route distance covers approximately 75 miles with a minimum elevation of 4,800 feet and a maximum of 15,300, which we reach on Day 7 allowing plenty of time for acclimatization.
At our final destination of Machu Picchu we will have a group dinner and one night stay at a first class hotel in the village of Aguas Calinete. We will then either take a bus or take the short beautiful hike up to Machu Picchu to explore the site. We return in the afternoon and board the train for the four-hour journey back to Cusco and check into our hotel.
The next day we fly to Guayaquil Ecuador for a one night stay in this coastal city. The next morning we fly to Baltra Island in Galapagos and then board our luxury private cruise ship for a 4 day/3 night sail of the legendary Galapagos Islands. We return to Guayaquil for our final night stay and closing party at one of the many fine restaurants in the historic center, before departing home the following day.
Since 1993 Rob has traveled to over 20 countries leading people on climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and multi-sport adventures. He has experience as a certified Mountain Guide and Search and Rescue Practitioner, climbing mountains on five continents and is a veteran of over fifty expedition adventure races and ultra running events. Rob now enjoys developing one of a kind adventures that create opportunities for people to explore the world through conscious travel. Through bridging the gap between ancient wisdom and modern knowledge he offers transformative experiences that explore the land, culture and mythology of each destination, supporting people in stepping beyond their comfort zones, expanding their perspectives and learning universal wisdom that can be applied in overcoming perceived challenges in any area of life.
As a Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, Rob has completed studies in Meditation, Eastern Philosophy, Western Psychology, Energy & Sound Healing and Shamanic Practices. He has also coached individuals in the areas of Health, Fitness, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Rob holds a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Health from Illinois State University and has 20 years experience in Environmental Sustainability.
Julio Ceasar Camacho
Julio was born in Cusco, the great ancient capital of the Incan Civilization and his family came from the small town of Pisaq in the Sacred Valley. He did his entire education in Cusco, and studied Tourism and Business at the local university in Cusco San Antonio Abad. When he was a teenager he was a boy scout, which introduced him with the outdoor world and the Andes Mountains.
Julio now works as a freelance tour guide, and runs his own outdoor company organizing trips exploring the Andean world. He is very knowledgeable about the Incan history and Andean culture. He has been leading trips for 15 years throughout the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu, Salkantay, Ausangate, Vilcabamba, Urubamba, Choquequirao and in Cusco. His background is Mestizo native from Peru and he speaks Quechu, English and Spanish. He has two lovely children a daughter of 16 and a son of 11.
We have designed this trip to be completed by anybody with a good level of physical fitness and good mental preparation. As this program is all about helping people break through barriers and achieving goals, we offer a coaching program to anyone wishing to improve their conditioning and skills prior to the trip. As such we will be offering a short pre-trip to Colorado where we will get out into the mountains and do training at altitude. An added independent coaching program is also available for those wishing to do one-on-one personal transformation work in connection with trip.
Fixed Departure Dates:
Single Occupancy Add On, Upgrades & Group Pricing Available.
Group Size: 8-24