Explora in the Sacred Valley of the incas was designed as a headquarter from where to explore a remote and great destination: Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Our lodge is within walking distance of the traditional village of Urquillos, a tiny settlement in which countless traditions are kept alive year-round by a lively and proud local community.
It took us several years to finalize our exploration routes in the Sacred Valley, as we are committed to providing our travelers with the less traveled but most rewarding experiences, away from the madding crowd of traditional tourism without missing any of the destination’s most rewarding landscapes and cultural hubs alike.
Explora is located in one of the region’s most remote ancient corn plantations close to the Urquillos village. It is designed in line with its surroundings, generating a dialogue with the high Andean mountains around the valley, as well as the surrounding plantations that are still today being harvested by townspeople.
How to get here
Once you arrive to Lima, the capital of Peru, you must connect to the city of Cusco. Our team will welcome you there and take you to Explora close to the Urquillos town, in the Sacred Valley of the incas.
6 suites (570 feet²) with views to the corn plantations and mountains surrounding the valley. Designed to take full advantage of the silence, privacy, and spaciousness of the surrounding landscape, ensuring deep rest after a long day of exploration.
The gastronomic experience in Explora in the Sacred Valley of the incas was developed exclusively by the renowned Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez, owner of the sixth best restaurant in the world, according to The World’s Best Restaurants 2019 ranking.
Our cuisine is inspired by the Andes and its diversity of products, ingredients and traditions. Through it, we want each of our travelers to deeply connect with the territory we inhabit and live a unique gastronomic experience in the Valley.
The hard work by restoration experts, jointly with the Archaeology Institute of Peru, successfully managed to preserve the cultural and ancient heritage of this region, transforming this house into a museum where travelers can recharge energies after a day of exploration.
Located opposite to the main building in the hacienda where the hotel is sited, the Pumacahua Bath House catches the eye immediately. It is clear for anyone that this brilliantly preserved colonial house has its own history to be revealed.
Ideal for explorers who wish to focus solely on the main landmarks: Cusco, Pisac, Ollaytantambo and Machu Picchu. A guided discovery of the Inca Civilization’s cradle.
Discover the Sacred Valley’s interwoven culture cultural landscapes and remote corners through our carefully crafted explorations, designed to follow the road less traveled, yet accessing the territory’s most striking routes and features.
From ancient corn plantations to perfectly preserved archaeological sites and ruins, markets, remote towns, and snow-capped mountains, the Sacred Valley is every explorer’s paradise.
Our explorations take travelers through the colonial history of Cusco and the architectural magnificence of the Incas in Machu Picchu, isolated villages, archaeological sites such as Ollantaytambo, Moray, Chinchero and Pisac, to Andean pampas and mountains or Apus, considered by locals as guardians of people and nature.
Our explorations in the Sacred Valley have been designed so as to provide travelers with an in depth experience of the Inca civilization’s cradle, allowing them to fully immerse and go deeper into the territory’s countless natural and cultural features.
For this purpose we have outlined four different exploration zones – each with its own set of unique geographic, cultural and biosphere characteristics.
The Areas we explore
In order to fully experience the valley’s rich natural and cultural heritage, while witnessing its contrasting landscapes.
We recommend you start by exploring the Quechua zone, where our lodge is located, continuing with explorations in the Suni and Puna zones, and finally the Janca zone, which may require acclimatization and specific physical preparation .
The Quechua zone is the starting point for all our explorations in the Sacred Valley. Following the winding course of the Urubamba River, this area showcases Inca architecture at its best, enclosing some of Peru’s most important archaeological landmarks, from Pisac to Macchu Picchu.
As we ascend progressively through cornfields, orchards and small villages bustling with life, we reach some of the most enigmatic and remote archaeological sites
of the valley, as is Pumamarca, a hillside fortress that once guarded the entrance to the valley’s fertile lands.
With the valley at its feet, Suni is a transition zone between the Quechua and Puna zones. Within, some of the area’s most memorable panoramic views can be found from winding paths perched high on deep gorges plunging into the green abyss below.
This zone showcases the valley’s verticality – a pivotal component around which the Incas developed their particular cosmovision.
Technological development and communal work structures can be evidenced in the extremely well-preserved ruins of the Moray experimental crop center and the Salineras de Maras, as well as the precision and craftsmanship of Tipon’s fluvial canals, which remain active to this day.
Abruptly rising from the ground beneath your feet, mountains define almost every aspect of the Sacred Valley’s identity.
As they grow in height the sheer power of altitude, combined with the cold from the perpetual glaciers perched high on their rugged shoulders, are proof of how living conditions become harsher the further from the ground you dare to go.
Explorations in the area of the Puna take travelers through narrow shepherd mountain trails and chromatic progressions of green, brown and white. This
highly dynamic zone is a feast to the eyes that varies significantly depending on the seasons and harvesting times.
Towering titans that reach into the clouds above, defying altitude and gravity in order to provide a vital experience of heaven on Earth for all who venture their slopes.
Janca is the highest part of the Peruvian Andes. Its inaccessibility simultaneously defines its essence and beauty. Due to the zone’s extreme altitude, life acquires a calmer pace; human settlements are scarce and dedicated mainly to high mountain mining.
Reaching the Janca zone requires special acclimatization due to the area’s extremely low temperatures and lack of oxygen. Likewise, this zone is mostly steep terrain, which requires technical knowledge and experience.
Biking allows us to explore and discover greater distances, feeling how the elements change throughout the day, varying in intensity –beginner or advanced– and duration – half day to full day.
The road used for this exploration goes down the south side of the Urubamba River, a quiet area of cornfields, old haciendas and manors from the 19th and 20th centuries. This bike ride is recommended for families wishing to take a long walk or for those who want to take on a sport. 32,4 km – 3h
Within a same day we can combine different types of exploration – starting with a hike followed by a bike-ride, a horseback-ride or vice versa.
Our exploration begins with a hike through a community located in the hills, and descends to the Inca ruins of Moray, a special site that was used as an agricultural research center. Afterwards, we continue on bicycle, from the top of the slopes of the valley we descend on a wide path kept in good condition.
The journey offers interesting views towards the mountains and the Urubamba river. Once the descent is finished, we continue along land parallel to the river, an area full of orchards and cornfields, as well as a great density of Inca terraces.
High Mountain Ascent
We strive to introduce our travelers to truly remote locations – and mountains are one of them. Each one has its own different demands and rewards, yet they all guarantee a revitalizing experience for mind and body alike.
We reach the community of Cuncani after a three-hour drive. Hiking upslope, we pass by a shepherds’ estancia. We then follow a trail used by the community for livestock and farming activities.
Once we reach the Chicón glacier, the hike continues through ice and snow; after the pass we enjoy an amazing view of the Sacred Valley and the Maras plateau. We descend crossing a Queuñas forest.
We hike throughout our locations. Walking at your own, committed pace, allows you to immerse in the natural and cultural landscapes we explore, varying in intensity –beginner or advanced– and duration – half day to full day.
Colores de Huaypo
During this exploration, we can get to know the daily life of local communities: shepherds and farmers.
Between November and May, the landscape is lush green and humid, while from June to October the setting features are ochre, red and yellow. Lunch is served beside a lagoon and the last span of the route takes us to at an altitude from where a broad 360° panoramic view can be enjoyed.
These are van-led explorations interrupted by short-duration hikes along the way. The combination allows travelers to access areas of particular beauty and ecological significance.
We explore the famous historical sanctuary of Machu Picchu, one of the most impressive architectural expressions of the Inca civilization. We leave the hotel towards the train station in Ollantaytambo, where we take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes to ascend to Machu Picchu by bus.
We explore this magical place for approximately three hours. This version does not include the hike to Puerta del Sol or Inti Punku. Once we’ve visited the sanctuary, we leave Machu Picchu and head towards the station to take the train back
The company and knowledge of one of our guides, is available for you to discover unique locations in the areas surrounding our lodge – either on foot or bicycle. For further information approach our exploration team.
This hike up to the chapel located on the hillside behind the hotel offers views of the valley, cornfields and mountains. The chapel is a sample of the religious syncretism of this area where Catholicism and local traditions converge.