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Off the beaten track Inca trail & Unique Qeros Community Experience

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Meet the descendants of the Inkas and visit Machu Picchu but TRAVELLING DIFFERENTLY to get there !
Duration illustration

Duration

11
nights
Location illustration

location

Peru
Peru
Group size illustration

Group size

From 2 to
12
Season illustration

Best season

May - September
Accommodation illustration

Accommodation

Homestay - Hotel (when it is possible) - Farmstay
Meeting point illustration

Meeting point

Cusco
Category illustration

Category

100% unique
Cultural
Trekking
Level degree illustration

Difficulty

Medium
Medium
You’ll need to be fit and capable of hiking for up to 7-9 hours a day

Presentation

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🤫This route is 100% unique and not done by any other agency or company 🤭


Come and join us for the part 1 (6 days) or part 2 (6 days) OR BOTH (12 days) 😍


You will have the privilege to discover the Q’eros Descendants of the Incas and the remote villages 🛖


Some highlights include :


👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 Enjoy breathtaking and challenging treks through the High Andes, have the unique opportunity to take part in the sacred practices of the Q’eros 🤩


🍽 Lunch picnic in beautiful mountain scenery, hike and receive the Nusta Karpay (Seven Goddess) Initiations


🧂 Travel through the Sacred Valley visiting working Inka Salt Terraces trek to a Corn beer tavern


🏊‍♀️ Enjoy the hot-springs of Cocalmayo where you can relax until sunset 🌅


😍 Tour of the main citadel with the guide and the most important parts of this Inka city !


Leave a positive impact with this trip working with a local guide and small businesses 💚

VERY IMPORTANT!

You should come to Cusco and have at least 2 days at elevation before doing the trek in order to avoid altitude sickness, If you want extras such as hotels in Lima or Cusco, local excursions and local flights, we can add for extra costs too!

About the price :

Prices Travel Differently

Details

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PART 1:

DAY 1

Arrival day to Cusco, evening briefing.

Today meet at the joining hotel at any time.

Ideally we will have a briefing around 6pm to go through important trip information, take final payments, hand out any equipment being rented.

Your hotel with breakfast is included. Located in the Bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, just a few blocks and a 10 minute walk from the main square of Cusco centre. 😎


DAY 2

Cuscocity tour, free afternoon in Cusco.

This second day in Cusco is a preferred requirement to further adjust to the elevation. You are already at 3400m but the next day you will be between 3600m and 4300m (really 😱) for this reason we need everyone to be ready and able to handle the higher elevations in the days ahead.

In the morning, we will offer a short walking tour with our English-speaking guide to give you a very good introduction to the Inka capital.  🛖

Tour on foot (9-11am). By walking, it is easy to get to most popular spots such as the cathedral, San Pedro market, the Bohemian part of Cusco known as San Blas, and the famous pedestrianized stone street of ‘hatumrumiyoc’. Cusco historical centre is relatively concise and takes only some minutes to cross the main blocks and cobbled streets.

Once the tour has finished, you can decide to visit any museums or temples around the city or have lunch. If you would like us to arrange anything else, such as a cookery class or horse riding, or visits to the Inka Planetarium then this is an additional cost. Otherwise this will give you time to prepare your kit for the trek ahead.

Overnight Cusco Hotel in San Blas with included breakfast.


DAY 3

Qeros trip – day 1.

Are you ready to awaken the explorer within you, that wants to traverse a very special off-beaten-track! 🤫

Then we invite you to join us on this mystical journey to the community of the Q’eros people and the living, breathing reality of the Andean Cosmo vision!


INTRODUCTION TO THE QEROS EXPERIENCE :

The Qeros community is made up of five tiny villages, all comprised of humble stone houses in the Peruvian Andes. Collectively, the community is home to 600 people and 6,000 llamas and alpacas.

They have remained mostly isolated for the last 500 years. Their contact with the Peruvian government and church is extremely rare, allowing them to preserve the ancient knowledge that they acquired directly from the Incan period.

The translation of Q’ero is “Sacred Glass”, and is a tool that is used formally in rituals. It signifies the acquisition of knowledge. The meeting of such an untouched indigenous community is a rare and inspirational experience. Ceremonies, along with daily life, are pure and far removed from anything we might expect from a modern civilization. It is a chance to perceive Pachamama through the eyes of the Q’eros, and to understand the ways in which they interact with each other and their environment. Despite the harsh and basic conditions that they live in, sharing with the Q’eros community is heart opening and enlightening.

During this journey we will be enjoying breathtaking and challenging treks through the astonishing High Andes, and will have the unique opportunity to take part in the sacred practices of the Q’eros, which include devotion to Pachamama, as well as an introduction to the ancient initiation of Hatun Karpay (Great Initiation). The Q'eros have been conducting these initiations since the Incan Empire, and they have been the only ones to preserve these traditions.


Itinerary:

  1. You will depart after breakfast. Then drive to Ocongate (3 hours) for Lunch and meet the first Qeros family.
  2. From there, you will receive a Coca Leaf Reading and Despacho (offering to Pachamama) to request blessings and permission for the journey.
  3. There may be the opportunity to visit the town and market depending on time and schedule.
  4. Accommodation is rustic, in rooms with mattresses and extra blankets if you need them
  5. Dinner and accommodation at cozy Qeros guesthouse with beautiful views of the Sacred Mountain Ausangate
  6. Once we leave the road, we hike on a spectacularly beautiful scenic trail for 4 hours before arriving to a beautiful lake, where we will receive our ceremony of Despacho and take lunch
  7. We then continue to the Qeros community itself another 2 hours.


DAY 4

Qeros trip – day 2.

After breakfast we head out on a dirt road for 3 hours to start the trek to the high, remote mountain village of Perki. Once we leave the road, we hike on a spectacularly beautiful scenic trail for 4 hours before arriving to a beautiful lake, where we will receive our ceremony of Despacho and have lunch.

We then continue to the Qeros community itself another 2 hours.

After a long day, we will finally meet the Qeros people and be received with a warm welcome.

In the evening we have a local Q´eros dinner and sleeping will likely be on the floors of these houses on mattresses.

Accommodation (basic) in Qeros village homes. Mattresses and sleeping bags/blankets provided.


DAY 5

Qeros trip – day 3.

Energizing breakfast, before hiking to a powerful mountain (2 hours) for the Great Initiations (Hatun Karpay).

Lunch picnic in beautiful mountain scenery and hike back to the Q’eros village and receive the Nusta Karpay (Seven Goddess) Initiations.

Here you will see a fragment of the Nusta Kuna Karpay Rites, but what does it exactly mean? 🤔

In the Andean spiritual tradition the Nusta Kuna represents the Goddesses and Sacred Archetypal Feminine energies of Nature. They are the original princesses and Goddesses of the Andean cosmology, coming from the great mountains and sacred lakes in Peru.


Is it good for everybody?

The Nusta Karpay Rites are open to both men and women, and are available to everyone regardless of their spiritual orientation.

If you wish to heal the Divine Feminine within yourself, and carry that healing into the world, or you just want to bring greater peace and unity to our planet and unity to our planet, this ancient Rite is the best for you.


What effect will it bring you?

These initiations have a deep effect, they support and accelerate your spiritual growth. They help you find a new balance with yourself, connected with the healing of Mother Earth.

The Nustas have gentle yet powerful energy; to deeply heal and restore the balance of the feminine aspect not only within yourself but with the feminine in all of creation. Many people have closed hearts due to the pain they have suffered in some way in life. They do not trust their own hearts to be exposed to anyone fully, and perhaps not even themselves.

Therefore, in order to walk the path of a healer, you must be willing to work on yourself first and to learn to trust and open your heart more and more. You must be willing first to heal your own heart before you try to work on others, in this sense. As you cleanse the layers of hucha (heavy energy) from your heart, then your sacred sight becomes even clearer.


In our Q'ero Trek you can experience the opening of the Munay (the energetic power of love situated in your heart and correlated to the fourth chakra) in the first part of the initiation called Hatun Karpay: in this phase, the Shaman will open the nine gates of your heart to soften it and make it express itself in all its aspects.

The nine gates (also called the temples of the heart) are the following: temple of joy, sadness, humility, hope, anger, ego, harmony, sweetness and wisdom. This step is so important, especially for Inca shamans and Inca people.


Why?

Because without opening and activating the heart, one may not proceed further on the path. All actions of healing must be done with integrity and integrity can only come when you act from the heart.

Once your heart is free and open, you will gain more personal power. You will be able to more precisely draw upon the light and pure living energy from the universe in unfathomable ways.

Once you face your pain and open your heart more and more, you will have the Munay necessary to create deeper and deeper connections and relationships with all of life on Mother Earth.

Strenthening your connection to all of nature with love, respect and integrity helps you be able to communicate and hear nature so you can call upon the support you need and give back that support. In essence, it is truly how can become a caretaker of Pachamama.

All these things together and much more demonstrate the profound value and significance of Munay.

Local dinner and sleeping in tent accompanied by the sounds of absolute silence.

Accommodation (basic) in Qeros village homes. Mattresses and sleeping bags/blankets provided


DAY 6

Qeros day 4, transfer to Sacred Valley.

We start with a local breakfast and say goodbye to the community of the past two days where we stayed.

We will then start the half-day drive back to the Sacred Valley. We transfer to Pisac (15 minutes) where we can take time for lunch and catch up on wifi in a café. From then we can check into our hotel take a hot shower and fresh clothes and do some further exploration of this pretty town or its ruins if we still have the energy.

Explore at leisure the town square full of cobbled market streets and shops.


PART 2:

DAY 7

Travel through the Sacred Valley visiting working Inka Salt Terraces trek to a Corn beer tavern. 🧂

At around 9 am we head off and go to the viewpoint of the Salineras Salt terraces. The Salt Terraces of Maras are thousands of small plots of land where salt precipates naturally forming deposits all around, the salt is then taken and processed to becoming what we have on our dinner tables in Cusco and elsewhere. Salt ornaments as well as bath-salts, spiced salts and salty chocolate are all for sale at the various shops located on-site. It then will be possible to trek down to the Sacred Valley in 40 minutes and have the car meet us there.


We then drive another 30-40 minutes alongside the river Urubamba to Ollantaytambo town. On the way, we could offer to stop at a Chicha housea local tavern where they make corn beer. Learning the process of the staple drink of the Peruvian Andes.

At lunch, we can have in a typical restaurant and to conclude our first part of the day.

We can then decide to rest in town/homestay where they can offer workshops such as ceramics. Or we can take a short half-day hike on some nearby trails. Then to our homestay in the community of Chichubamba.


DAY 8

Drive to Ollantaytambo and visit town (ruins optional) travel by road to Santa Teresa (option to take Mountain bikes and raft along the way.


We would start around 7-7.30am from Urubamba. We drive just 30 minutes to Ollantaytambo where we can get coffee/snacks.

Around 8.30 we will then depart up a continuously snaking road up to the pass of Abra de Malaga at 4450m with some astounding views of the Veronica glacier if clear enough (can often be misty) and dramatic scenery behind us.

Snaking roads on one side, and Banana plantations on the other


At this point those who wish to hire mountain bikes will take around 2 hours to descend on the road, we then glide down the other side into the denser vegetation which soon transforms into more tropical like growth, banana plantations quickly appear everywhere and humidity becomes suddenly obvious. This takes about 2.5 hours.


Extra costs $40 USD per person all equipment provided and led by bike instructor/guide.

NOTE - You should have a good level of experience of bike-riding, however, there are no serious physical/technical challenges, as it is downhill and on the right road.


We stop for a buffet lunch in beautiful surroundings and a chance to visit a small Inka site called Huamanmarca.

We will then drive half an hour to the town of Santa Maria and embark on our rafts to take on the Rio Santa Teresa.

Rafting can be done as a beginner, river grades 2-3 max. 1.5 hours in the river. Includes briefing & safety equipment, professional raft guides, transport. Arrangements should be made 24 hours in advance.

We then arrive at the hot springs of Cocalmayo where we can relax until sunset.

We then head to the community of Lucmabamba and stay next to the coffee plantations with Sonia, Walter and their children Rodrigo and Bridget.

Included – breakfast, box lunch, hot-springs entry fees, Dinner, trek leader, transport where applicable, accommodation in a homestay, towels and showers.


DAY 9

Tours of the coffee plantations and trek part Inka Trail to ruins of Llactapata. Lodge & Machu Picchu panoramic viewpoint.

In the morning, we start with an interactive coffee tour with the native people of the area and demonstrate the traditional methods of which they organically cultivate their coffee plantations. There will be an opportunity for everyone to toast and grind the coffee beans as well as try their organic coffee. You can buy products from them if you wish.


We will then continue through the coffee and banana plantations, we can also look out for granadillas - a member of the passion fruit family, yucca and avocados. After lunch, a walk uphill of around 700m and 3 hours takes you through beautiful garden-like scenery. Fruit trees, flowers, coffee and banana plantations are in abundance.

Some of the path is ancient Inka Trail and just over 3 hours with stops you should arrive to the most wonderful view over to Machu Picchu. Here there are some Inka Tambos (Small rest houses) known by the name as Llactapata. We walk from here down until 15 minutes to our rustic mountain lodges.

Llactapata was supposedly an Inka site or religious temple with incredible energies. We try to appreciate this remarkable site and view point to Machu Picchu by getting there when there are no groups and it will be peaceful. We then descend with another 30 minutes to our simple lodges but incredible viewpoint that offer what is hopefully an amazing panoramic for both the sunset and sunrise.

Ascent: 3-3.5 hours/4.5 miles’ – 6900 ft to 8950 ft. Descent: 0.5 hours/1 mile 8950m – 8530 ft

Included – breakfast, box lunch, coffee tour, dinner, trek leader, transport where applicable, accommodation, towels and showers.


DAY 10

Trek from Llactapata to Hydroelectric and hike to Mandor waterfalls on the railway to finish in Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu village.

After breakfast, we hike downhill for 2 hours to the start of the railway known as ‘hidroelectrica’. Around 10 am, we can continue on a flat section along the railway for 2 hours.

Lunch will be taken at a spot about half-way along the railway - there could be the option to detour at some local waterfalls known as ‘Mandor garden’. Depending on time and trek stamina.

We should arrive to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu village) by late afternoon. At this time we can relax once checked into the hotel. We offer a free evening to decide where you want to eat as dinner is not included for the final evening. We will arrange for the guide to meet you in the reception at some time in the evening so you have the plan fresh for the next morning when you go to Machu Picchu.

Descent: 2 hours/3.5 miles – 8530 ft to 6590 ft + Level walking: 3 hours/6.5 miles

Note - There is a train to take 2 times daily to get to Machu Picchu village in 1 hour. It is an extra cost of $33 USD and can be purchased on the day. 2.50pm is the only ideal train.

Accommodation: Aguas Calientes decent hotel. Mantu Boutique 3 stars.


DAY 11

Machu Picchu guided visit and return by train and road to Cusco

Today is the day to visit the ruins of Machu Picchu. We start after breakfast around 7.30am before taking a 25 minutes shuttle bus to the main entrance where we meet our guide and go inside to explore and some personal time with photos. We then proceed on a tour of the main citadel with the guide and the most important parts of this Inka City. Our time slot only allocates us a few hours to enjoy, but with an early start people will be getting hungry early too, so we can head down to get lunch in town and then board our train at 2.30, 2.55, or 3.20pm to get as back to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley in 1.5 hours, then a 2-hour drive by road onto Cusco for a reasonable hour around 6-7pm so time to eat out in the evening once back.


DAY 12

Tour finishes after breakfast.


If you want to know more about this trip, here is the video of one of our travelers last year (just before the COVID crisis): https://youtu.be/Vpit-fjdkmg

Included :

• All meals as indicated in the planner

• 11 nights accommodation in a mix of homestays, farmstays, lodges and decent hotels

• All transportation in private van throughout trip

• Trek Guide assistance to lead, coordinate, translate, 2nd guide after 7 trekkers

• Entry fees to Salt Terraces

• Cusco city tour

• Transport (some local/private van) depending on route and logistics for duration of entire trip

• Local workshops – traditional agriculture, organic coffee production, corn beer (chicha brewing),

• Hot springs visit + entry fee

• Boiled water provided at homestays daily

• Guided tour in Machu Picchu sanctuary

• Entry fee to Machu Picchu sanctuary

• Shuttle bus up to the Machu Picchu sanctuary

• Expedition train back from Machu Picchu village to Ollantaytambo

• Private van back to Cusco

Not included :

• Trip insurance – please do get as required for period of your trip.

• Any PCR tests or vaccinations applicable to the trip at time of travel (we can help from Peru with obtaining a PCR test)

• International, national airfares to get to Cusco (we can help with local flights if needed)

• Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain entry permit if extending from Machu Picchu ($20 per person)

• Any train upgrades. Extra train on day 8 into Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu village).

• Shuttle bus back down ($12 USD) or walk down in 1 hour 20 minutes).

• Optional excursion to discuss and planned when here including – White-water Rafting, Horse-riding, mountain biking.

• Any other meals or accommodations out-with the presented itinerary or dates.

• Extra night in Cusco before or after treks (can be arranged)

YOUR ECOLODGE

Your guide

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Matt

Yaneth

Matt is originally from Scotland and traveled to many countries before settling in Peru in 2006 as a Tour Leader responsible for groups of tourists from all over the world. He has more than 300 treks to his credit !


He has worked for years as a volunteer for the famous association: South American Explorers (founded in 1977 by the journalist Donald James Montague). He was the last one to fight to keep the Cusco agency open, but it wasn't enough, so he is independent now.


Considered as a unique explorer, as are those who book with him. His hikes meander through unfamiliar trails, you'll never read about in the Lonely Planet. As they say, "the best views come after the hardest climb," and with Matt, you'll see the authentic side of this often overlooked South American gem.


Yaneth is Peruvian and has been a Tour Leader for over 13 years in Peru ! She started as a volunteer for the South America Explorers association, then participated in many projects to support sustainable development on a large scale. She is in charge of all operational aspects, ready to make your trip a dream come true !



Matt

Matt

Matt is originally from Scotland and traveled to many countries before settling in Peru in 2006 as a Tour Leader responsible for groups of tourists from all over the world. He has more than 300 treks to his credit !


He has worked for years as a volunteer for the famous association: South American Explorers (founded in 1977 by the journalist Donald James Montague). He was the last one to fight to keep the Cusco agency open, but it wasn't enough, so he is independent now.


Considered as a unique explorer, as are those who book with him. His hikes meander through unfamiliar trails, you'll never read about in the Lonely Planet. As they say, "the best views come after the hardest climb," and with Matt, you'll see the authentic side of this often overlooked South American gem.


Yaneth is Peruvian and has been a Tour Leader for over 13 years in Peru ! She started as a volunteer for the South America Explorers association, then participated in many projects to support sustainable development on a large scale. She is in charge of all operational aspects, ready to make your trip a dream come true !


Yaneth

Yaneth

South Andes Travel


Reviews

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Valentin C

Amazing trip to Peru (M&friends)

Alright folks! Is what Matt will tell you before embarking on a uniquely beautiful experience.Traveling with Matt as our trusted guide and his lovely family has been a real treat. He is very knowledgeable about Peruvian culture and history and had every day and activity well planned ahead. Matt was very patient with us and flexible to changing some parts of our trip.For an amazing trip to Peru, you can choose Matt and his team with confidence!Muchas gracias Matt, Feli & Theo!Stefan, Raluca & Valentin

...

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Global72497

M& friends. Tks Matt!

Do not hesitate to trust Matt, he will try to satisfy any desire. He is the kind of person who makes things seem easier. A beautiful family that helped us have a dream vacation. Tks Matt, Feli and Theo and good Luck for the future!!

...

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Ioan D

Hellooo folks, this is not a trip, it is an experience!!

Traveling in Peru with Matt and his family was like a dream come true. In two weeks we covered more than we expected, from the Amazonian Jungle, to cities like Cusco, Arequipa and Lima; from Machu Piccu to the Rainbow Montain; from living in fancy hotels to living with locals and metting shamans.Our group is traveling a lot. Many of us are almost 'professional holidaymakers'. We all agree that Matt is unique in this line of business. He is always available, full of energy and information about the places we visit, full of humour and laid back and, above all, full of resources for solving all problems. And believe me, we had quite a few of those, including the C word ( covid). Afterall, we all enjoyed to the maximum and returned back home ready to resume life.If you want a full experience of Peru, we strongly recommend Matt's team. Enjoy!!

...

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