Sacred Earth Travel - Sustainable Nature and Adventure Travel

Slow Travel: Plants and People of Peru

FIXED DEPARTURE (Day 1): Nov 22 - Dec 1, 2014

This exciting journey takes us to the lake communities of Lake Titicaca in the highlands of Peru, and to Cusco and Machu Picchu, in search of ancient plant knowledge and traditions. We explore the agricultural traditions, participate in making some local dishes and become acquainted with regional vegetables we might not recognize from home. We will also meet textile artisans and weavers and learn about the ancient art and craft of dyeing with plant materials and the symbolism encoded in the traditional costumes that are still commonly worn in the highlands of Peru. Those who wish to immerse themselves even deeper in the plant knowledge and explore 'the other side' of Peru, can add an extension to the jungle, where you can meet with curanderos and shamans, and learn about cultivating and gathering plants in the rainforest.

A few words about Titicaca Lake & Taquile: At an elevation of 3,800 meters (12,500+ feet) above sea level, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. It is also the largest lake in South America, with a surface area of 8,340km2 (5,560 square miles). Among the various islands lying offshore is the Island of Taquile. Inhabited since the pre-Inka times, Taquile has several archaeological sites, a vast amount of terracing, and a wide network of walkways and footpaths connecting all points on the island. The present day population retains its traditional customs, native dress, and socio-political system. Furthermore, the people of Taquile are renowned for their talent as musicians and weavers. Their fine textiles have attained international acclaim and have officially been recognized by UNESCO, in 2005, among 42 other Masterworks of World Heritage.

Day 0: Arrive in Peru

If you are arriving in Peru today, we can arrange a pick up service at the airport to transfer you to a city hotel in Lima, and a return transfer to the airport the following morning in order to catch your flight to Juliaca. If you are already in Peru, ignore day 0.

Day 1: Fly to Juliaca - Transfer to Lachón

Catch your flight to Juliaca, where we will meet you at the airport. Together we will drive to the community of Lachón, situated on a peninsula located on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. A native family of Lachón will welcome us and prepare a delicious home-cooked meal for us. This is where we will spend the night. Today your guide Alejandro Trevisán, a well-known agriculturist, who will accompany the trip, will present the itinerary and will introduce the theme of this tour with a presentation about the "Ancestral Agricultural Traditions of the Andes".
Accommodations: Rural House in Lachón (Homestay)
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch


Day 2: Llachón to Taquile

A motor launch will be waiting to take us to Taquile. Here we will meet Hector Huatta – our local guide. Taquile island is interconnected by a network of pedestrian roads of pre-Inka origin. Hector will guide us on these ancient trails, showing us the archaeological remains, pointing out flora and fauna.
Accommodations: Rural House on Taquile (Homestay)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 3: Taquile & Llachón

We will have the morning to enjoy the peace of this place. At noon Héctor will prepare a "huatia" for lunch. A 'huatia' involves a very ancient technique, whereby foods are cooked by the heat of stones. Later our launch will return us to Lachón, where we will spend the night.
Accommodations: Rural House en Lachón
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 4: Cusco

In the morning we will drive across the highlands from Lachón to Cusco, the heart of the ancient Inka Empire.After checking in at Casa Andina Classic Hotel the rest of the day and evening is at your disposal.
Accommodations:Casa Andina Classic Cusco
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (on the road)

Day 5: San Pedro Market, Cooking Class and Museum of Plant Traditions

First we will visit the market of San Pedro, an ideal place to get to know more about local culture and we will have the opportunity to obtain some local supplies which we will later use in a cooking class especially designed for you where we will cook delicious Peruvian recipes outdoors. After lunch, we will visit the Museum of Sacred, Magic,and Medicinal Plants where we will learn all the ancient shamanic and herbalist traditions as well as the vegetable richness ancient therapeutic traditions of South America.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Classic, Cusco
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Pisac and the Amaru Community

Today we will visit Pisac ruins which in Inka times served as a special planting laboratory to increase the varieties of crops that could be grown in the mountains. We will learn much about the ancient agricultural system of the Incas. Afterwards we will continue to the Amaru community where we will learn how the descendents of the Incas manange their lands and grow their crops today. Amaru is an interesting community of artisans that specialise in textiles. In the Andean world textiles are not only valued as articles of clothing, but also they continue to a system of communication, since in their designs are shown the life of the community and their own worldview. The weavers of the community of Amaru will teach us about the ancestral process of dyeing ghe Andean textiles, focusing especially on plant dyesl The inhabitants of this community will shate with us the secrets that these harvests in the Andes reveal, which are very connected to their believes and their connection with Nature. In the afternoon we will drive to our hotel.
Accommodations: Qawana Sacred Valley
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Pisac Garden

Day 7: Community of Ampay – Visit the botanical garden of Pisac

Today we will visit the community of Ampay where its members will be waiting to welcome us and to show us their crops for about two hours; thus, we will learn more about the native plants of the Andes and their medicinal and curative properties. Later we will drive to Pisac for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the botanical garden of Pisac. This garden houses the flora and botanical richness of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, an effort which for decades has succeeded in gathering and preserving hundreds of native and foreign species, highlighting the Latin American cactus and medicinal plants. If you like, we will visiKusi Ñan, a project which originated in the Waldorf Andina Kusi Kawsay School, established by its first graduates who decided to establish a microbusiness community producing vegetables and organic medicinal plants. In the evening we will participate in a ceremony for the Earth and have an introduction to the Coca leaf in the Andean world.
Accommodations: Qawana Sacred Valley
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 8: Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Today we will make our way to Aguas Calientes, the closest village to Machu Picchu. Providing trekking licenses are still available at the time of booking, you can choose to do the 'Sacred Trail' a one day trek to the ruins. Those who do not want to walk, (or if trekking licenses are not longer available) will take the train to Aguas Calientes. The whole group joins in Aguas.

Trekking: In the morning we take the train from Ollontaytambo station to Km 104 of the railway, the starting point of our trek. After passing the ruins of Chachabamba we begin a four-hour ascent. Along the way, we have a spectacular view of the Urubamba Valley until we finally reach the magnificent ruins of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). From this point on we continue on one of the best preserved sections of the trail, through a wet cloud forest rich with a vast diversity of plants and animals. Finally we reach the entrance at Intipunku (Gate of Sun) after which opens up an unforgettable sight of natural beauty and human artistry: the magical city of Machu Picchu.
We board a bus to the town of Aguas Calientes.

Those who are not walking will take the train to Aguas Calientes around midday.
Accommodations: Hotel Andina
Meals: Breakfast (for the hikers lunch will also be provided)

Day 9: Aguas Calientes - Cusco

In the morning we take a bus back to Machu Picchu, to learn more about this fascinating, surprising and mysterious Inca settlement, built in the fifteenth century as a religious center and palace for the Inca Pachacutec. Optionally, you can climb to the summit of the mountain Huayna Picchu, from where you get the best view of the entire Inca citadel. In the afternoon we return to Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Cusco.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Classic, Cusco
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10: Return home or Extension to the Amazon

After breakfast you will be transferred back to the airport where you can either return to Lima to catch your flight home, or continue to the Amazon for an extension program to the rainforest.

Price per person, based on double occupancy

with 1 day short Inka Trail: US$2750
with Machu Picchu by train: US$2650
single supplement: US$375

Minimum number of participants: 6 / Maximum number of participants: 12

Extension Program: Slow Travel - Plants and People in the Amazon

For further information and booking inquiries please send us and e-mail.