November 4-12, 2017
Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime, customized tour to discover the magical wonders and irresistible culture of Peru. We will hike and explore the magnificent archaeological sites of Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu with expert local guides. We will meet and participate in activities with local musicians, artists, and healers who will share their traditions and ceremonies with our group. This is your opportunity to truly connect with Pacha Mama (Mother Earth)!
What will we explore?
Machu Picchu: We will spend two days exploring the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. Arriving by train from the Sacred Valley, we will explore the ruins on the afternoon of our first day and hike down with the full moon, staying in the ruins until sunset, one of the quietest times of the day. We will return early the following morning in time to witness sunrise over the ruins. Our amazing guide, Gaby, will accompany us both days, the first afternoon giving us 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 our second day we 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 the Moon Temple and circling back to the main ruins on an awe inspiring ancient trail cut right into the side of the mountain.
Sacsayhuman: We will hike above Cusco to visit the zigzagging walls and impressive fortress of Sacsayhuaman where we will be introduced to some of the greatest megalithic stonework in the world. We 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 us understand the significance and theories about the awe-inspiring and sophisticated construction of Sacsayhuaman and beyond.
Pisac: It is larger than Machu Picchu in size, but because it was discovered by the Spanish, it is not as intact as Machu Picchu. But, 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. Our local guide will help us to engage and connect with our surroundings with an earth offering ceremony at a special spot high in the Pisac ruins.
Chinchero: High above the Sacred Valley at 12,000’ and famous for its women weavers, we will spend the morning witnessing a weaving demonstration using native plant dyes and techniques; followed by a walk and guided tour of the beautiful Chinchero ruins.
Moray: We will admire the magnificent circular terraced basins of Moray considered a sophisticated agricultural experimental center built by the ancient people who inhabited these lands, a perfect place to do a meditation before we get into the Sacred Valley.
Pumahuanca: While we are staying in the Sacred Valley, near the village of Urubamba, we will do a special guided hike up a mountain valley not often visited by other tourists. There we will be able to explore some rarely visited ruins, waterfalls and see how the local Quechua people live high in the mountains.
Included in the Price:
• 8 nights lodging. Rates are based on double occupancy, private rooms can be arranged at an extra charge.
• Meals: All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners
• Airport Transfers and all ground transportation if they are with the group. If you must leave a day early then we cannot pay for your shuttle
• Cusco/Sacred Valley Tourist Card
• Guided Tours, Ceremonies and Cultural Events
• Transportation/First Class train to Machu Picchu
• Machu Picchu Entrance Fee
• Yoga classes
* Airfare and transportation to and from the retreat is not included in the cost.
What are the accommodations?
Cusco: Our first two nights will be spent in the cultural and historical city of Cusco. Our home base for two days will be at Hotel Encantada http://www.encantadaperu.com/en/hotel-cusco a locally owned boutique hotel in the artsy neighborhood of San Blas with a fantastic view overlooking the city center. On our arrival day, we will have time to walk around and explore the historic and cultural center of the city.
Machu Picchu: We will spend one night in Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes), in order to have a base from which to explore the ruins. We will be staying at El Mapi Hotel, a newer upscale hotel http://www.elmapihotel.com/ near the train station and close to where the buses leave for the ruins. The hotel staff will make sure we are comfortable and able to get a good night’s sleep and healthy dinner and early breakfast to fuel us for our two days spent extensively exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu.
Sacred Valley/ Urubamba: Women’s Quest has looked high and low for the Perfect eco lodge which actually feels like a hidden oasis in the Sacred Valley with it’s flowers, gardens and beautiful trees along our footpaths to our individual bungalows. This slice of heaven is called Casa Colibri www.casacolibriecolodge.com. Women’s Quest reserves the whole area just for US!
Single Rooms are available at an additional cost of $500.
What will the food by like?
One of the highlights of our trip will be 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. 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 our hotels. Box lunches will be provided for carrying in our day packs when we are out exploring. In Cusco we will enjoy two special catered restaurant meals near the Plaza de Armas featuring local fare. At Illarimuy, our home in the Sacred Valley, we will have daily breakfast at the hotel and then go out for dinners near the hotel in Urabamba to explore, listen to local music and enjoy different Peruvian specialties. Vegetarian options and other food preferences or dietary restrictions will be available.
We will take care of all breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners
What is a typical day?
Each day is totally different on this trip. We will give you a “Day by Day” itinerary upon request. We will be getting up early on most mornings to get out and hike (Sunrise at Machu Picchu) and see the sacred sites, visiting local weavers and artisans. We will restore and rest in the afternoons with yoga or massage.
Tell me about the yoga?
We will try to practice yoga or stretch out every day but many times we are out hiking and exploring.
We 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 we get up for the morning hikes we will stretch out in the afternoon.
During the activities of the day we will cultivate a yogic focus—bringing with us awareness developed in the daily yoga. We’ll take mini “yoga breaks” during the day, finding opportunities to feel suppleness and receptivity of the body as we draw the beauty of the environment into our 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 relationship with an “inner voice” that guides the balance of challenge and ease.
Tell me about the hiking?
We will be hiking everyday so GET READY!!
While in Machu Picchu we hike two days which are really amazingly beautiful hikes and are long days. We also hike Gaby’s favorite trail in the Sacred Valley. This hike takes about 5 hours or you can stay and hike along the beautiful river and that hike is about 1 to 2 hours. The distances 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) We also have options for the hikes.
What is the altitude?
Cusco is at 11,150 ft., The Sacred Valley is at 9400 ft., and Machu Picchu is at 8250 ft. While adjusting to the higher altitudes we recommend 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, we recommend spending time walking at higher elevations in the days/weeks immediately prior to the trip. Please consult with a physician if you have any specific medical concerns. We have had success with people going to their doctor and getting Acetazolamide (diamox) tablets which can really help. Oxygen will be available at our hotel in Cusco and medication is available over the counter at pharmacies just in case someone needs them.
Do I have to participate in everything on the schedule?
You do not need to participate in everything; you can pace yourself so that it is the perfect amount of activity for you. We fully support you in doing as much or as little as is right for you in 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. We will go over the schedule each day at breakfast.
What weather can I expect?
November is near the end of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy season in the mountainous area around Cusco and the Sacred Valley. The heavy rains usually do not start until later in the season. This is the beginning of summer in the Andes when the days are normally pleasant with moderate temperatures in the 70s. Evenings can be quite cool at the higher elevations of Cusco and the Sacred Valley. We are asking the sun gods to bless us with sunshine for our trip, but bring your rain gear just in case of some rain showers.
What is the average age on this retreat?
We have a wide range of women who attend our retreats, from 15-70 years young. Each retreat will vary. Please contact us if you have questions about the ages on a specific retreat.
What if I am coming alone?
The majority of the women who attend our retreats come by themselves. English is widely spoken and we are here to answer any questions about travel that you may have. Although you may come alone, you will leave the retreat with new, lifelong friends!
What weather can I expect?
Tuscany in the Fall typically enjoys temperate weather. Daytime temperatures are generally in the mid 70’s and nights tend to be cool, but of course temperatures can have significant swings. When it rains in Tuscany it POURS, so do bring rain gear. Visit: www.weather.com and type in Pisa, Italy to check the local weather forecast before departure.
Cancellation policy for international camps:
• If you must cancel, a $500 deposit is NOT REFUNDABLE*
• Full refund, less deposit, will be given with at least 91 days notice *
• Within 90 days of your camp, sorry but absolutely no refund will be given
*no exceptions will be granted to the above policy.*
Please note: We are sorry but injury and illness do not disqualify you from any of the above cancellation policies. We are UNABLE to transfer deposits or any payments from one year to the next.
We reserve the right to cancel retreats with inadequate participant interest, in which case all money paid to Women’s Quest will be refunded. Women’s Quest CANNOT be held responsible for any personal expenses, such as airline tickets due to changes in itineraries or tour cancellations.