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Join Women's Quest for a once-in-a-lifetime, customized tour to discover the magical wonders and irresistible culture of Peru! Besides enjoying yoga sessions, you will hike and explore the magnificent archaeological sites of Cusco, Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu with expert local guides. You will also meet and participate in activities with local musicians, artists, and healers who will share their traditions and ceremonies with your group. This is your opportunity to truly connect with Pacha Mama (Mother Earth)!
On this retreat, you will be staying for two nights at Encantada Casa Boutique Spa Hotel, one night at El MaPi Hotel, and the last five nights at Casa Colibri Eco-lodge.
In the first two nights of this retreat, you will be staying at Encantada Casa Boutique Spa Hotel. It is a locally owned boutique hotel in the artsy neighborhood of San Blas with a fantastic view overlooking the city center. The facilities include private bathrooms with 24-hour hot water, hairdryers, down duvets, heaters, telephone with direct dial system, Wi-Fi, Cable TV, safe deposit, 110 and 220-volt electricity supply, and non-smoking rooms.
You will spend one night in Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes) in order to have a base from which to explore the ruins. You will be staying at El Mapi Hotel, a newer upscale hotel which is located near the train station and close to where the buses leave for the ruins. The hotel staff will make sure you are comfortable and able to get a good night’s sleep, a healthy dinner, and an early breakfast to fuel you for the two days spent extensively exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu.
Women’s Quest has looked high and low for the perfect eco lodge which actually feels like a hidden oasis in Sacred Valley with its flowers, gardens, and beautiful trees along the footpaths to your individual bungalows. This slice of heaven is called Casa Colibri Eco-lodge. Women’s Quest reserves the whole area just for you!
Each day on this trip will be totally different. Women's Quest will give you a “day by day” itinerary upon request. You will be getting up early on most mornings to get out and hike (sunrise at Machu Picchu), see the sacred sites, and visit local weavers and artisans. You will restore and rest in the afternoons with yoga or massage.
You do not need to participate in everything. You can pace yourself so that it is the perfect amount of activity for you. Women's Quest fully supports you in doing as much or as little as is right for you at the moment. The schedule gives you a sense of the flow of each day. It is subject to change, depending upon the needs of the group, weather, etc. You will go over the schedule each day at breakfast.
You will try to practice yoga or stretch out every day but many times, you will be out hiking and exploring. You will begin each adventure-filled Women’s Quest day with a unique “awakening the senses” yoga. This gentle but powerful practice draws inspiration from yoga, qigong, and tai chi, and is a perfect way to prepare the mind, body, and senses for the activities of the day. When you get up for the morning hikes, you will stretch out in the afternoon.
During the activities of the day, you will cultivate a yogic focus, bringing with you an awareness developed in the daily yoga. You’ll take mini “yoga breaks” during the day, finding opportunities to feel suppleness and receptivity of the body as you draw the beauty of the environment into your cells.
The yoga practice on this retreat is designed to be accessible for all levels. Both fresh beginners and experienced practitioners will deepen their practice according to individual needs and desires. Variations will be offered and the instructors work with the principle that each person can find a relationship with an “inner voice” that guides the balance of challenge and ease.
On this retreat, you will be hiking every day. While in Machu Picchu, you will hike for two days which are really amazingly beautiful hikes and long days. You will also hike Gaby’s favorite trail in the Sacred Valley for about five hours. Alternatively, you can stay and hike along the beautiful river for about one to two hours. The distance will not necessarily be great, but the hiking will often be steep up and down at high elevations on uneven stonework sometimes with exposure (safe but impressive).
While adjusting to the higher altitudes, you are recommended to taking it slow, eating lightly, abstaining from alcohol, and drinking lots of water. Mild symptoms that some people experience usually subside in a couple of days. In order to prepare for the altitudes, Women's Quest recommends you to spend time walking at higher elevations in the days / weeks immediately prior to the trip.
You will spend two days exploring the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. Arriving by train from the Sacred Valley, you will explore the ruins in the afternoon of your first day and hike down with the full moon, staying in the ruins until sunset, one of the quietest times of the day. You will return early the following morning in time to witness sunrise over the ruins.
The amazing guide, Gaby, will accompany you both days. In the first afternoon, she will give a full tour of the central ruins with its ceremonial center, sun-dial, still functioning water channels, and impressive stonework, all built in harmony with the surrounding mountains of the high jungle.
On the second day, you will hike some of the most famous trails at Machu Picchu, ascending the Inca staircases to the top of the spectacular Huaynu Picchu, descending down Inca steps and ladders to the back side of the mountain to explore Temple of the Moon and circling back to the main ruins on an awe inspiring ancient trail cut right into the side of the mountain.
You will hike above Cusco to visit the zigzagging walls and impressive fortress of Saksaywaman where you will be introduced to some of the greatest megalithic stonework in the world. You will explore the expansive area including the carved boulders and hidden underground caves of Qenqo, and further up, a fascinating area still being excavated, known as “Temple of the Moon”. Gaby will help you understand the significance and theories about the awe-inspiring and sophisticated construction of Saksaywaman and beyond.
Even though it is larger and not as intact as Machu Picchu, Pisac is well worth exploring for a full day as there is so much to see and discover including its sun temple area, vast terraces, intact water systems, hill side tombs, and famous craft market. The local guide will help you to engage and connect with your surroundings with an earth offering ceremony at a special spot high in the Pisac ruins.
High above the Sacred Valley at 12.000 feet and famous for its women weavers, you will spend the morning witnessing a weaving demonstration using native plant dyes and techniques. It will then followed by a walk and guided tour of the beautiful Chinchero ruins.
You will admire the magnificent circular terraced basins of Moray considered as a sophisticated agricultural experimental center built by the ancient people who inhabited these lands. It is a perfect place to do a meditation before you go to Sacred Valley.
While you are staying in Sacred Valley, near the village of Urubamba, you will enjoy a special guided hike up a mountain valley not often visited by other tourists. There, you will be able to explore some rarely visited ruins or waterfalls and see how the local Quechua people live high in the mountains.
This retreat will take you to explore the stunning archaeological sites of Cusco, Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu including Machu Picchu ruins, Saksaywaman, Pisac, Chinchero ruins, Moray, and Pumahuanca.
Daily breakfast, 5 lunches, and 4 dinners will be served for you during the retreat. Vegetarian options and other food preferences or dietary restrictions will be available. A healthy breakfast buffet featuring fresh fruit, juices, coffee, tea, yogurt, granola, eggs, bread, butter, and local berry jams will be served each morning at all of the accommodation.
In addition, box lunches will be provided for carrying in your day packs when you go out exploring. In Cusco, you will enjoy two special catered restaurant meals near Plaza de Armas featuring local fare. While in Sacred Valley, you will have daily breakfast at the lodge and then go out for dinners near the hotel in Urubamba to explore, listen to local music, and enjoy different Peruvian specialties.
One of the highlights of this trip is to sample Peruvian food, the gourmet cuisine of South America. Peruvians take great pride in the preparation, presentation, and nutrition of their food which includes a huge variety of colorful, locally grown vegetables, grains, and fruits. The unique dishes of the highlands feature local crops including the world’s largest variety of potatoes, olluco, corn, purple corn, quinoa, amaranth, fava beans, native berries, and other delights.