Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Perú.

Inca Residence

Duration: 5-6 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Cost: $120 / group of two people

One of our most beautiful and most balanced treks – combines a car ride through Sacred Valley and the mountain villages; a 2 hour trek uphill to reach a reconstructed Inca site; and a picturesque trek downhill to a breathtaking waterfall and further down to cornfields. 

We leave Molino by 8am to make sure we reach our destination before the sun starts hitting for good. After a c.45min car ride through valleys and canyons we park the car and continue on foot. We climb the hills for 1-2 hours depending on the fitness of the group. Sporadically, we share the trail with the locals – men and women who carry food for workers in the fields, or come back home from the market. We pass the ruins of the Inca observation point located strategically with 270 degrees views over the valley. Finally we reach our destination – the reconstructed Inca site with two houses, a tall grange and surrounded by a water channel. The site is so quiet one can enjoy the sound of water and the spectacular panorama of mountains and valleys.

We then descend to a waterfall 150ft tall and continue further down under the refreshing shadow of the trees – a luxury in Peruvian Andes ! – until we reach the car. Tired but hopefully in great moods we come back to Molino for lunch.

Cantera Ollanta

Duration: 6 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Cost: $120 / group of 2 people
Walking time: 5 hours

We depart from Molino early in the morning and drive for 20 minutes past Ollantaytambo.

We leave the car in one of the nearby villages and start ascending.

We can choose a steeper or a less steep trail depending on your level of fitness and acclimatization.

After walking for two to four hours we arrive to Cantera, an ancient site where large stones were extracted, carved, then used for the construction of Ollantaytambo and surrounding villages.

From Cantera we can admire a beautiful panorama of the valley and, much closer to us, a green plateau where a few white and grey horses are running freely, too scared though to approach us.

Abra Malaga

Duration: 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $100 / group of 2 people
Driving time: 2.5 hours
Walking time: Optional

This is a trip for those who prefer to admire landscapes while driving.

We can start from Molino at any point during the day but no later than three hours before dusk.

We drive past Phiry and engage in a serpentine road that climbs in numerous hairpin bends and will take us straight to Abra Malaga, a mountain pass located at 11,861 feet. During the rainy season, Abra Malaga will be covered in mist. During the dry season, snow is common.

Just before reaching Abra Malaga we pass the approach to Mount Veronica (18,642 feet), the highest mountain in the area. The beautiful Veronica is not an easy summit but there is always a handful of climbers who attempt it every year. We may see a small group repacking their belongings as they prepare for the ascent.

After we pass Abra Malaga, we must drive slowly as this is the favorite route of many agencies that organize bicycle rides so you will see large group of tourists riding their hired bicycles dangerously close to the cars. Twenty minutes later we are in a different world – that of a jungle; warm, vaporized, evergreen, with large banana leaves weaving in the wind. We stop for a snack and a short walk, then get back to the car and take the same serpentine road back to Molino.

Making textiles

Duration: 4 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $120 / group of 2 people
Driving time: 2 hours
Walking: Optional

For our guests interested in learning more about Andean culture and lifestyle we organize a half day trip to a nearby mountain village of Patakancha. There you will learn first hand about the making of textiles, as well as operating a chaquitaclla, an ancient agricultural tool used in the high plateaus to cultivate the most basic of foods, the potatoes.

We start from Molino in the morning or right after lunch and drive to Ollantaytambo. From there we drive on an unpaved road that climbs in numerous hairpin bends, passing by terraced potato fields, a handful of houses, colonies of eucalypto, and an imposing morena.

After 45 minutes of driving and a 10 minute trek we arrive to the house of our host Juan who will show us how to operate chaquaticlla (optional) while his wife can teach us how to weave – something she is doing everyday. You can admire the neat household built by Juan and the amazing textiles woven by his wife – mantas for women, poncho for men and sofa spreads that come in every color, pattern and size.

After a short snack we drive back to Molino.

Silent Village

Duration: 5 hours
Difficulty: Regular
Cost: $100 / group
Walking time: 4.5 hours

A half day trek on the slopes just above Phiry.

Admire wild vegetation in the lower parts, and beautiful views of Mount Veronica all along. As you move up, experience walking through steep, abandoned Inca terraces before having lunch in the Silent Village, a vast plateau with a few old stone houses no longer in use.

Excellent for acclimatization and introduction to more strenuous treks. Can be extended to a full day trip to the Laguna, a lake high in the mountains.

 

Lamay

Duration: 5-6 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $120 / group of 2 people
Driving time: 4 hours
Walking: Optional

We drive along Urubamba River to the other side of Sacred Valley. 

Enjoy a picturesque ride through the valley and its remote villages – sometimes composed of just three or four houses – that very few tourists ever visit. As we leave the main road and start climbing up on a sand road, the landscape will change quickly. Corn fields and goats in the lower parts of the hills will give way to smaller and steeper potato fields, then grass fields, then vast green and red swamps where the time froze and the silence is perfectly undisturbed. 

Depending on how much time you have and if you are willing to walk, we can stop in one of the picturesque miradors above Lamay for a picnic and a mini trek. 

Inca Waterfall

Duration: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Regular
Cost: $60 / group of 2 people
Walking time: 2 hours

A short trek above Molino.

We first take the solid road that leads to Cinco Chamanes,  a nearby hotel that was blessed by five shamans which is why we call it Cinco Chamanes.  It is better to start the trek relatively early as this area is heavily exposed to the sun.

After twenty minutes, we turn right at the fork and continue on a narrower path along a mountain stream, and later through a forest.

We finally arrive to a picturesque waterfall. We need to cross to get to the Inca ruins – in fact just a beautifully placed and well preserved stone window. We continue a few more steps to get to a plateau from which we can admire the panorama of the road leading to Abra Malaga, the highest mountain pass at 11,861 feet, and Quillabamba, the capital of fruit valleys that extend on the other side.

Excellent for acclimatization.

Terrace Phirymarca

Duration: 2 hours
Difficulty: Regular
Cost: $60 / group of 2 people
Walking time: 1.5 hours

This is a short and pleasant trek to Terrace Phirymarca located just opposite Molino.

The terrace has the shape of a triangle, with two sides straddling the Sacred Valley and the hills adjacent to Mount Veronica’s slopes, the highest mountain in the neighborhood at 18,642 feet. Once you have reached the top, admire panoramic views from this beautiful balcony strategically overlooking the valley, and two roads –  one leading north to Quillabamba, another running west to Machu Picchu.

The trek can be taken anytime during the day.

Molino Garden

Duration: 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: Free

There’s no need to leave Molino to enjoy the nature. Take a stroll in Molino gardens to admire a growing variety of flowers and trees. Each of them has been carefully planted and taken care of. To water the plants we use the water channel that runs down from the mountains and crosses Molino land. We use only natural sheep fertilizer which is why many of our plants grow gorgeous all while keeping the soil fertile. 

Many flowers come from the seeds collected in Molino. Molino’s flagship trees are figs – they really feel at home here. You will also see plums, avocados, capuli, packay, chirimoya, apples and granadillas. Molino’s favorite flowers are fuchsias, kantu, sunflowers, African lily, sweet pea and cosmos.