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The Quyllur Rit’i tripPeru

Quyllur Rit’i (pronounced KO-yor RI-ti) is the most ‘out there’ experience we offer (or even know of!) in Peru, a very ‘out there’ country. You’ll spend two days in another world – a 24-hour-a-day world of music, dance, costumes, symbolism, pilgrimage and fireworks. This trip also includes Cusco, the Sacred and South Valleys, and outdoor adventure on the way to Machu Picchu. There is no better way an adventurous person could use 12 days in Peru!

This trip takes place only once per year, and the dates vary from year to year according to the moon cycle.


Cusco, Peru


Cusco, Peru

Maximum group size:

12 Guests


3 12 days


US$ 3,475


wMachu Picchu oCulture & Food zOutdoors FHike

Aspiring Adventures allowed me to experience Peru in an authentic, non-obtrusive, bold, adventuresome way. It wasn't a run-of-the-mill "tour"... it was an experience that truly changed me and my life. I cannot recommend Aspiring Adventures enough.

– Deanna B.

The trip in detail

Welcome to Cusco! We’ll meet you at 1pm for a traditional Peruvian meal at a local favourite restaurant. In the afternoon your guide will lead a relaxed walking tour around Cusco’s stunning historic centre – it’s important to take it easy if you’ve arrived from sea level today, as you need to acclimate to Cusco’s 3,000m (10,000ft) altitude.

Meals: Lunch and dinner included

Accommodation: Comfortable hotel in Cusco

The sunny, incredibly scenic floodplain between Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the valley of the Urubamba River is known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Pisac is a tiny, cobbled Inca village which is home to the largest handicraft market in the region and a huge Inca fortress. We’ll explore both, then set off into the Sacred Valley. We’ll need frequent photo stops as we pass still-working Inca terracing, irrigation canals, and awesome mountain vistas. Our destination is Ollantaytambo, perhaps the most perfectly preserved of all Inca towns, a maze of cobbled alleyways and sun-drenched plazas presided over by a spectacular, llama-shaped ruin.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Comfortable hotel in the Sacred Valley


This morning we’ll head up to local favourite attraction, the Lares hot springs, where naturally occurring medicinal thermal hot pools are surrounded by lovingly landscaped terraces carved out of a rushing river gorge. We’ll relax and soak before lunch, then spend the afternoon biking back down to the Sacred Valley.

As we gently descend, the landscape gradually changes from craggy Andean peaks and austere open pasture, to a verdant, bushy river gorge where traditionally-dressed locals tend flourishing llama flocks and corn crops, and the traditional weavers of Patacancha and Huilloc practise their ancient art.

Then an easy stroll (or ride in the vehicle if you prefer), through rolling farmland and views of the high Andes, brings us to Salineras – a surreal and beautiful patchwork of pools and paths that still produces salt using Inca technology and is our favourite site in the Cusco region.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Comfortable hotel in the Sacred Valley


We’ll spend today high up in the mountains, enjoying some of the best scenery of the whole trip with stunning views across the Sacred Valley, to range after range of the central Andes.

We’ll visit perhaps the most mysterious Inca site, Moray – three massive amphitheatres of incredible engineering precision and stern, magnificent beauty. Then we’ll check out Salineras – a surreal and beautiful patchwork of pools and paths that still produces salt using Inca technology, and is our favourite sight in the region!

We’ll also spend time in Chinchero, a quiet little town best known for its outdoor weaving studios, terraced Inca ruin, and intricately-frescoed colonial church.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Comfortable hotel in the Sacred Valley


This morning we’ll grind and toast beans with coffee processors, and hang out with the chichera - the lady who makes corn beer, a very local beverage whose importance in Andean culture can hardly be overstated.

Along the way we’ll taste these delicious Peruvian products, and experience firsthand how they underpin the local lifestyle and economy.

This afternoon there’s time for a little exploration of Ollantaytambo - perhaps the most perfectly preserved of all Inca towns, a maze of cobbled alleyways and sun-drenched plazas presided over by a spectacular, llama-shaped ruin – before we take the 1.5 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes, our jumping-off point for Machu Picchu tomorrow.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Comfortable hotel in Aguas Calientes

Day 3 Start hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!

We’ll get up very early this morning to take the bus to Kilometre 82, the start of the Inca Trail. The hike begins in the Sacred Valley as we follow the Urubamba River, climbing ever higher and eventually heading off up the Cusicacha Valley, through semi-arid forest and farming villages, to Wayllabamba, where we’ll camp for the night.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Camping on the Inca Trail

Walking: 12km (7.5 miles)

Minimum Altitude: 2,700m (8,860ft)

Maximum Altitude: 3,100m (10,170ft)

Altitude of camp: 3,100m (10,170ft)

Day 4 Hike over Warmiwayñusca Pass

Most of our walking time today is taken up by a stiff 1,200m (3,940ft) hike up to Warmiwayñusca (Dead Woman's Pass), the highest point of the Inca Trail. From here, if it's clear, we'll enjoy incredible views back the way we came, and onwards towards the distant, snow-capped Vilcabamba Range. Then we descend steeply into Pacaymayo, our campsite for the night with one of the best views in the Andes.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Camping on the Inca Trail

Walking: 11km (6.8 miles)

Minimum Altitude: 3,100m (10,170ft)

Maximum Altitude: 4,200m (13,780ft)

Altitude of camp: 3,600m (11,810ft)

Day 5 Runkurakay, Sayacmarca and Wiñaywayna

Today's hike takes us through some of the most stunning scenery in Peru, with cloud forest, orchids, hummingbirds and mountains on all sides, and to three gorgeous little ruins - Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, and Wiñaywayna, next to the evening's campsite. Along the way we cross the watershed of the Andes - this is one of the best days trekking in the world.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Camping on the Inca Trail

Walking: 12km (7.5 miles)

Minimum Altitude: 2,670m (8,760ft)

Maximum Altitude: 3,900m (12,800ft)

Altitude of camp: 2,670m (8,760ft)

A spectacular stone city surrounded by incredibly steep, incredibly green mountains, Machu Picchu needs no introduction and is deservedly one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

We’ll be up at sunrise so there’s time for your guide to show you around Machu Picchu’s main citadel, as well as our favourite hidden nooks and crannies, before the crowds arrive. Then there’s time for your own exploration of the massive, still-mysterious site, before we catch the train back to Cusco.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Back at our home-base Cusco hotel

There are things to do in Cusco to suit every mood and personality: churches, museums, and art galleries; adventure activities like rafting and horse riding, and organised tours. This is also the perfect day to just wander around and enjoy the spectacular mountain views, traditionally dressed locals, excellent cafes and charming architecture that characterise the historic centre of Cusco.

Meals: Breakfast included

Accommodation: Cusco hotel

The Valle Sur just outside Cusco is one of our favourite places to share with our guests, because it offers a one-day snapshot of the incredible variety of this whole region. We'll meet brujos (witches) who can read your future in coca leaves, and see how bakers create the area's famous chuta bread. We'll explore two charming, little-visited ruins: the Inca agricultural laboratory Tipón, with its still-working terraces and panoramic views, and Pikillacta, 'the flea village', which was home to 10,000 members of a pre-Inca tribe known for abundant procreation!

We'll check out the church of Andahuaylillas, so elaborate it's known as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas, and the deliberately-deformed skulls of departed Inca nobles displayed in the museum next door. On the way home there's time to sample local specialty foods like
toqto (pigskin) and cuy (guinea pig), or for the less adventurous palate, the best cakes and ice-creams in the region!

Meals: Breakfast included

Accommodation: Cusco hotel

A 2.5 hour drive brings us to Mawayani, (3,900m, 12,800ft), where our pilgrimage begins. From here it’s a walk of approximately eight kilometres (five miles) up to the Sanctuary, 4,800m (15,750ft) above sea level. Here the ceremonies – in honour of, in no particular order, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, Taytacha (Father Earth) and the Apu Ausangate (a powerful mountain god) – take place. Along the way are crosses marking places for rest, prayer, and exchanging religious icons, all accompanied by the hypnotic, pentatonic-scale music that will follow us throughout our time here.

Late in the afternoon, we’ll arrive at our comfortable campsite, among tens of thousands of other pilgrims and within sight of the Sinakara Glacier. If you have any energy left, you will find plenty to look at wandering around the site, or you might want to just relax with a cup of coca tea in our cosy dining tent.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Camping at Quyllur Rit’i

Quyllur Rit’i, the largest indigenous festival in the Americas, centres around the Sanctuary of the Lord of Quyllur Rit’i and the nearby pre-Inca holy rock which has had a chapel to the Virgin Mary planted on top of it. A procession of singing and dancing devotees continues day and night between these two points, with a stop in between to make reverence to the mountain. Fireworks go off all night, and the music never stops.

comparsas – groups of dancers – drawn overwhelmingly from rural, Quechua-speaking communities are the players. Each comparsa has its own music, dance, and unbelievably elaborate costume. Perhaps the most important personages are the ukukus: the guardian spirits of the festival, and, drawn from all the communities, the unifying link between all the groups here. They are heavily disguised in shaggy bear costumes and masks, always carry a whistle and a llama-hide whip, and speak in falsetto voices to hide their identities.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Camping at Quyllur Rit’i

This morning a solemn Mass brings the Quyllur Rit’i festival to a close. Late this morning we’ll join the trail of pilgrims winding their way back down the valley and out to the road. Here we'll meet our vehicle for the trip back to Cusco, where a hot shower, a gourmet dinner and a comfortable bed await us.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Back at our home-base hotel in Cusco

You can book your flight out of Cusco for any time today. If you’re staying on in Peru, we’d be delighted to help out with suggestions for the rest of your time here.

Meals: Breakfast included

How much does this trip cost?

US $



in a group of four to 12 people

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  • All accommodation, including tent (based on twin-share. Single Supplement available for US$400)
  • All ground transport (private vehicle and train)
  • All activities specified in itinerary
  • Dedicated Aspiring Adventures guide
  • All meals as specified (11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners)
  • Drinking water with meals
  • Entrance to all attractions specified in itinerary


  • Optional mule to carry your gear on the Quyllur Rit’i pilgrimage (add US$30)
  • Tips for your guide, driver, cooks and horsemen on Quyllur Rit’i pilgrimage
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat for camping (bring your own, or hire from us – US$40 per item)
  • Extra cost for Option B, Inca Trail hike (add US$350), plus tips for your porters and cooks
  • Extra permit to climb Huayna Picchu at Machu Picchu (US$70) ONLY AVAILABLE ON PRIVATE TRIP


Accommodations on our Peru trips are our favourites in each place. In Cusco and Sacred Valley we stay in a clean, comfortable three-star level hotel. In Aguas Calientes, we stay in quiet, quirky, family-run hotels. At Quyllur Rit'i and on the Inca Trail we camp in tents.


This trip is suitable for adventurous people who are prepared to rough it. At times Quyllur Rit’i will be cold, confronting and tiring. You will be camping in an isolated mountain valley with no infrastructure. Food choice is limited and suitable for those who consider themselves adventurous eaters. Vegetarians should bring extra snacks. We provide clean drinking water and hot food and drinks throughout the event, in our base camp.


Quyllur Rit’i means star of the snow in Quechua - the language of the Incas and of the Andean highlands to this day. Spelling is not fixed in Quechua. The Quyllur Rit’i festival is also known as Qoyllorit'i, Ccoyllor Riti, Qoyllority, Qollor Riti, Qoyllur Riti and Q'oyoriti.

Steve, co-founder of Aspiring Adventures, says

Katy invited my wife and I to join her on her annual pilgrimage to the Quyllur Rit’i festival along with her daughter who was two years old at the time. I put my hand up to ride a horse up the valley with Nina. I had a feeling she’d soon be in tears, but like her Mama, she’s a true adventurer.
Quyllur Rit’i is hardcore, but if Nina could tough it out, so can you.

Check out all our adventure tour itineraries and find groups of like-minded people to share them with. Have us create your own private and/or custom tour. Whatever you’re looking for, we’re here to make it happen!

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