This trip will be personally guided by Dr. Gary Zeigler, renowned Inca expert, archeologist, Andean explorer, and Pre-Colombian historian.  Gary has been, and continues to be responsible some of the most important and profound discoveries in the Andes for more than 40 years.  His bio is written in full below.


Segment 1: April 12th – April 20th (and beyond?) $2800

Exploration of Inca Trails on Horseback from Cusco to Machu Picchu

April 12 Fly Lima

April 13 Fly Cusco

April 14 Horseback begins

April 18 Machu Picchu

April 19 Cuzco



Segment 2: April 16th – April 29th (and beyond?) $2995

Trek to Choquequirao,   Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sister 

April 16 Fly Lima

April 17 Fly Cusco

April 18 Machu Picchu

April 26 Back to Cuzco

April 28 Fly Lima

April 29 Fly Home


COMBINED PACKAGE: April 12th – April 29th $5000




I organized 3 lengthy Hudson Valley Hikers treks in Peru between August, 2010 and April, 2011.  I’m as passionate about the Inca as much as I am about the sheer magnificence and beauty of Peruvian Andes.    This time I’ve coordinated with Gary Zeigler who I’m eminently honored and proud (beyond words, actually) to call my friend.   Not only will we visit stunning landscapes at the most lush time of year, but we’ll be taught from arguably the world’s preeminent expert on the Inca Empire and members of his expeditionary team.  He has been written about in countless books and academic articles, and televised on Discovery Channel, History Channel,

BBC, National Geographic, Reader's Digest, and The Lonely Planet.  He is also the author of an upcoming book to be released in April on Choquequirao. It will be the first comprehensive work about Machu Picchu’s sacred sister. So those who join will leave with a trove of unforgettable memories and photos, and a comprehensive understanding of the Inca and its culture.   And very strong butts and legs.  


There are two segments to our journey, the first begins in Cuzco where we’ll embark on 5 day tour, all on horseback.  Riding for 5 to 6 hours each day and from site to site, we’ll investigate the length of the beautiful Sacred Valley with all of its spectacular Inca ruins and ceremonial sites. We'll be learning about cutting edge theories based on recent scientific research and discovery.  We’ll end this portion at none other than famed Machu Picchu where we’ll meet those who are joining us for the second segment.  The second leg will be nothing shy of a magical 9-day trek from Machu Picchu to Choquequirao just as the Inca did it 500 years before.  Everyone is encouraged to do both for a truly comprehensive exploration of the lnca heartland. 



A brief personal history about our Guide:


I met Gary by sheer luck while doing some exhaustive research for my third and final HVH trek in 2011.  At the time I’d read about a dozen books on the Inca, the most fun of which were the actual narratives from prior expeditions.  Through their accounts, these explorers basically helped me identify the hardest-to-reach places of interest that were off the typical tourist trails.  No matter which book I picked up, or whichever website I visited with an expeditionary tale from the 1970’s onward, I tended to notice this guy Gary’s name.   To me, at least, he seemed to be an integral part of every significant discovery since Machu Picchu.  At one point, after getting some of the best leads from a treasure trove of a website I decided to express my gratitude to the site's author for the wealth of info it provided.  Can you imagine my surprise when 45 minutes later I received a reply from none other than Gary Zeigler, himself? (I still have the emails to prove it)   Fast forward five months to the night before our trek to Choquequirao, I had the great pleasure of meeting and sharing an evening over a few beers with Gary and his roundtable of Inca experts.  Afterwards, I remained in regular contact with him, especially when I spent time exploring so many of Pre-Colombian archaeologic sites on my own journey of discovery through Peru.  Gary gladly provided me with knowledge and insight as to the places I needed to visit or avoid.  Apparently happy with my enthusiasm for everything Inca, Gary has always kept me in the loop with important breaking news and information, and welcomed me to arrange a trip with him.  


I've decided now is the time. 


To make this happen, all we need are just 6 people for each segment.  All proceeds from it will go towards future research and exploration of the region.


1.       A detailed itinerary,  advisories, travel insurance

2.       An equipment and preparation list

3.       Health and physical requirements checklist

4.       Slideshow presentations Segment 1: Horseback

  1. 5.      Slideshow presentations: Andean Archaeology

  2. 6.      Suggested reading list

  3. 7.     Biography:

8.       Frequently Asked Questions (coming soon)

9.       Contact information for Adventure Specialists, Inc.



1. Itinerary



2013  April Classic Ride Combined with the Trek to Choquequirao,  Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sister


17 days $5000 - April 12-28

9 days $2800 April 12-20

12    days $2995 April 16 -28


Segment 1: The Classic Inca Trail Ride


Lodge to Lodge exploration of Inca Trails on Horseback from Cusco to Machu Picchu; An educational journey on quality horses to key Inca ruins finishing with famous Machu Picchu.


We have decided to offer alternatives for those wishing to experience Peru without riding horses. We have combined these options within this one itinerary to allow couples and friends with diverse abilities and interests to travel together.


Sample Itinerary: We may vary the route from trip to trip but count on seeing and experiencing the best of the Inca heartland.


April 12, Day 1

This will be a travel day from home and you may choose to arrive on an overnight flight to Lima, especially if traveling from North America, and connect directly to Cusco early the following morning. Arrangements can be made to assist you onto your connecting Cusco flight OR we can help with overnight accommodations in Lima and we can advise you of the process should you feel uncomfortable in strange airports.


April 13, Day 2

We meet your arrival at the Cusco airport. We will gather at the Hosteria de Anita near the central plaza. Please eat some lunch either in the plaza or before you arrive. In the afternoon, we will transport the group to Pisac, less than an hour drive from Cusco. We choose to avoid your first night at 11,300 feet in elevation in Cusco. Our hotel, the Royal Inca in Pisac sits several thousand feet lower in the comfortable lushness of the Sacred Valley. We plan an afternoon visit to the ruins of Pisac. The Inca emperor, Pachacuti first built a Royal Estate at Pisac prior to building Machu Picchu and in much the same style. In the evening we gather for dinner and discussion at our quiet lodging.


April 14, Day 3

RIDERS: The following morning, we drive to the rim of the Cusco basin to meet the waiting horses. Our journey begins in rolling hills, noticeably etched by ancient fields and agricultural terraces. We climb over a pass and down to several blue lakes hosting a noisy assortment of Andean shore birds. We have a gala lunch and a discussion of Inca activities here.  We then ride to the famous town of Chinchero at around 12,000 feet in altitude. An early colonial period church and large plaza frame  well-made Inca walls that once were part of the Emperor Topa Inca’s Royal Estate. (Saddle time 4-6 hours.)


NON-RIDERS: We drive a short distance up river to visit the seldom seen pre-Inca, Huari culture ruins of Piqtillacta. Here we tell the story of what happened prior to rise of the Inca. This Huari administrative center had 200,000 buildings associated with its compound as well as a recently found burial site. Afterwards, we’ll stop to see Tipon, an Inca experimental crop, water works site.


We all unite in our unique accommodations in Chinchero, slipping into the hotel bar for a warming spirit, then off to a hot bath before meeting again for dinner. Although we are at 12,000 feet tonight, for the duration of the trip we sleep between nine and ten thousand feet.


April 15, Day 4

A leisurely breakfast and shots of strong local coffee fuel us for the day's adventure.  

Cinches pulled up tight, girths to you Brits, Yankee easterners and other flatlanders, we move smartly out at a trot along gentle, level trails through small farms and country villages on a high plateau of rolling hills and immense grasslands. A spectacular panorama of the great Ice peaks of the Vilcanota range crowns the near horizon. Sometime around mid-day we arrive at an isolated cathedral seeming lost and forgotten by time and modern civilization.  We are pleasantly surprised to discover our support vehicle and crew awaiting us with the table set for lunch. The destination for the afternoon ride is the Salineras. This is a huge area of terraces which form hundreds of baths all fed by a single saline stream. The salt water is allowed to evaporate leaving the salt to be mined and carried out by burros. The Salineras are worked now much as they were in pre-Hispanic times. For those who prefer, the van will take you to the site for an extended visit before driving you to the inn. Or those in for the full day ride will have the opportunity for some faster riding across the high plateau before descending into the valley of the Salineras on a spectacular trail above the glittering white pools. We ride on into the welcoming courtyard of a very comfortable and friendly Inn.  Valet parking with our wranglers seeing to the needs and comfort of our hoofed friends, we amble toward the evening watering hole. (Saddle time 6-7 hours.)


NONRIDERS- go by van to Maras and then join up with the Riders for lunch at the lost Cathedral and tour the Salineras.


April 16, Day 5

Saddled up, ponies energized, rearing to go, we ride out in early morning light, horseshoes clattering along the ancient stone paved trail. The powerful equatorial sun reflects brilliantly off of high ancient ice fields. Steadily, we climb up some 3000 plus feet along an old Inca trail to explore the enigmatic Inca ruins of Pumahuanca. Not much is known about this interesting complex of Inca buildings located in a magical setting below immense, 2000 feet high, glacier shaped granite walls. Gary Ziegler and the Andean Research Project conducted a study here in 2007. It is his opinion that it was the residency of a local governor, administering the rich crops and llama herds that the valley once hosted. Like most Inca sites it had multiple uses. It was likely a tambo or way station on the Inca road leading over the high pass beyond. Several of the buildings are storehouses (qolcas), others are unusually large residences. Several viewing platforms, usnus and carved replica rocks suggest a ceremonial function as well.  We talk about this in detail as our cameras click and flash inside the tall walls.  Time permitting, we ride on up the valley to lunch above a spectacular waterfall. We return to our comfortable small inn for hot water showers and happy hour. (Saddle time 5-6 hours.  If you choose not to ride today our bus can take you shopping for pottery in Urubamba or stay for a leisurely day hanging out or light hiking from the Inn.)


April 17, Day 6

Early breakfast and we’re off. Riding past the picturesque village of Pichingoto, we’ll ascend almost 1000 meters above the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our trail takes us to the little known magical Inca site of Moray.  Located in a complex geological region, we pass ancient salt mines, sink holes and other natural phenomena to arrive at a complicated, unusual archaeological complex of circular walls, structures and terraces that remain a mystery to modern science. As of this writing, Colorado archeo-hydrologists Ken and Ruth Wright have conducted an investigation at Moray. After a lunch outside overlooking the Sacred Valley, we ride to Maras which boasts a 400 year old colonial church. This traditional colonial town is quite large but smaller than it was when it thrived on mining salt deposits. Here we sadly say goodbye to our equine companions and the wrangler crew.


Tying up near an old Inca bridge, we hop a short ride in our support vehicle to visit the major Inca temple/fortress of Ollantaytambo. Probably built by the great Inca ruler, Pachacuti in the 1460s, it was the site of Hernando Pizzaro’s defeat by Manco Inca in 1536. Constructed of finely cut polygonal stones and rhyolite blocks, the fortress and nearby town represent the best of Inca architecture and construction. Large worked blocks, some weighting as much as 100 tons were quarried from a site more than a thousand vertical feet above the valley floor using a technique of pecking with hammer stones, then skidded down and across the Urubamba river several kilometers to the temple site. Inclined ramps were built to raise the blocks several hundred feet up hill to the construction area. We take ample time to examine the complex and ponder its many mysteries. Late in the afternoon, we arrive at another carefully selected Inn. The rooms tastefully furnished in the best of neo-colonial style around stone-lined gardens full of blooms. We travel on by iron horse the next morning. (saddle time: 6-7 hours)


April 18, Day 7

The first part of our magical journey concludes with the narrow gauge train ride to the New World's most spectacular archaeological monument, Machu Picchu. We breakfast then hop aboard the morning narrow gauge train heading down valley. An interesting hour of click, clack and sway with all of the accompanying sounds and smells of rural Peru takes us to the bustling backpacker town of Aguas Calientes, the portal for Machu Picchu.  Soon we are gathered at the gateway to the famous "Lost City of the Incas"


Our guide walks us through magnificent architectural monuments and temples, pointing out key ceremonial features that represent mountain and sun worship incorporated into the design by Machu Picchu's builders under royal mandate of the Inca Emperor Pachacuti. Those on just the first trip return for an evening in Cusco with everyone on their own to try out the different cafes and restaurants for dinner and a free day for shopping and exploring the next day.


Those heading for Choque spend the night in Aguas Calientes below the Machu Picchu ruins.

For those only doing the Choque trek. April 16-fly to Lima, April 17 fly to Cusco, April 18 join the Classic Ride at Machu Picchu.



Segment II: Trek to Choquequirao, Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sister


About the Trip: "This unique adventure follows a series of forgotten Inca trails through some of the wildest country in the world. During event filled days, we travel back in time, traveling through medieval villages, past cascading waterfalls, over high passes and explore remote ancient ruins. Our route traverses the Andes at altitudes between 7,000 and 15,000 feet, taking us well above timberline before finally descending into the high cloud forest. We observe varieties of delicate orchids, rare birds, plants and seldom visited Inca ruins. The news has been full of stories about Choquequirao, Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sister. We will spend time at this important site as well as allow the option to compare it to Machu Picchu. Ample time is programmed to experience key Inca sites and modern Andean culture. As backpacking hoards crowd the guidebook trails, we plan our route along little known, seldom traveled routes that once were the main arteries of the highland Inca homeland. By utilizing sturdy mountain horses and mules, we are able to climb over high passes on steep trails that take us beyond the capabilities of most backpackers and trekking groups.


April 18, Day 1 (see last day, Segment I above)

April 19, Day 2

Wakeup call…coffee, breakfast…we take the train to the hydro-elecric plant-the furthest point on the track and then we are soon bouncing along the back roads in a tough overland bus or van, to arrive, after a spectacular drive on good roads over Andean passes, to the tiny settlement of Totora. The staff sets up a large dining tent with tables and chairs. One or two persons are assigned a four person sleeping tent. 

Meals are prepared from fresh meats, grains and vegetables. Our seasoned (no pun intended) cooks are well experienced in catering to vegetarian diets for those of that calling.


Before the evening meal, we enjoy happy hour with popcorn, assorted hot beverages and for those who imbibe, our famous expedition vodka martini or a glass of select Chilean wine. BLD


April 20, Day 3

Trek to Yanama. Leaving tents and baggage to follow, we set off on horseback up a winding trail into the remote Cordillera Vilcabamba range. If weather permits, spectacular views of geometric Inca fields dominate the valley below.  Crossing a high ridge to the Yanama Valley, we travel by several small forgotten farms, Chacras, cultural remnants of the distant past. These people live much as did their Inca ancestors, planting potatoes with a digging stick and keeping a rugged Andean existence tolerable with coca leaves and corn beer. We camp in the Yanama village school yard situated in a dramatic high spot overlooking the village and its picturesque valley.



April 21, Day 4

Trek down to Maizal.  After tea and coffee served in bed along with a tub of warm washing water, we breakfast in the large tent then head out (usually around 8:30 or so). Now traveling by horseback and foot with accompanying mule pack train Joining another major Inca road at Yanama, we climb 3000 ft. up a precipitous trail carved carefully through the cliffs of San Juan Pass to pass by an abandoned colonial period silver mine, Mina Victoria (whose victory? we don’t know). We have our first view of the immense Apurimac drainage far below. This deep canyon and its powerful river is one of the great geographic wonders of the Americas. The Apurimac which means “voice of god or mighty speaker” in Quechua, thunders hundreds of miles through the remotest part of the Andes to eventually, along with a multitude of sister rivers, become the Amazon.


We follow a seemingly endless winding trail down 3000 ft. to camp at our wrangler Fruelon Munos’ small farm carved out of the precipitous mountain side. Today, we might explore the interesting Inca period settlement of Corihuyrachina (Victoria’s Secret) located and excavated by our National Graphic expedition and Gary Ziegler in 2001. Climbing slowly through cloud

forest, we have the afternoon to explore, take photos and marvel at the extraordinary views of the great Ice peaks above and plunging canyons below. BLD


April 22, Day 5

Trek to Pinchu Unoyoc. Down to the Rio Blanco.... We bathe, and enjoy tropical warmth. A condor drifts lazily in the afternoon thermals high above. Then we climb up another 1500 feet to camp at the Inca temple site of Pinchu Unoyoc. An unusual shrine to the sacred spring which still flows through carefully constructed stone fountains rising above our camp.


April 23, Day 6

Today is the final 3000 ft. climb to our objective. By late afternoon we have reached a spectacular camp site among massive stone constructions and jungle tangle near the imposing walls of an ancient ceremonial city.


April 24, Day 7

CHOQUEQUIRAO-Nestled at 10,000 ft., on a prominent ridge overlooking the profound Apurimac chasm with backdrop of ice sculptured mountain cathedrals, this mythical Lost city rivals Machu Picchu in beauty and importance. We are learning more every year of this major, seldom visited, Inca site. It is first mentioned in writings by the British historian, Sir Clement Markham who visited the area during the last century.  Layover Day At Choque, a leisurely day with extra coffee and late start allows time for an Andean traditional feast, Pachamanca. (potatoes, lamb and spices cooked in a pit covered hot stones) and a guided tour of the site.BLD


April 25, Day 8

Reluctantly departing, we descend a winding steep trail some 6000 feet down to the Apurimac River. Crossing over a swaying Inca style, cable bridge suspended above the raging rapids, we make a bivouac camp above the river.


April 26, Day 9

Completing the trek out to the road head village of Cachora, sadly bidding horses, mules, cooks and wranglers goodbye. We toast our staff and the successful completion of a magical journey back through time. We bus back to Cusco and the comforts of a modern hotel.


April 27, Day 10

Free day Cusco


April 28, Day 11

Fly to Lima and the home. Breakfast at the hotel then we help you onto the morning flight to Lima. Adios amigos… buen viaje.



Some Background Information:


This is a safari style quality adventure using pack-stock to carry all gear and camping amenities. An experienced staff of bilingual guides and local packers accompany a small group of guests. Comfortable camps offer delicious meals prepared from fresh meats, grains and vegetables served in our large dining tent with tables and chairs.


One or two persons are assigned a weather tight, quality, four person sleeping tent. Each day begins with a pan of hot water and coffee or tea served at your tent. Before the evening meal, we enjoy happy hour with popcorn, assorted hot beverages and for those who imbibe, our famous expedition vodka martini and fine Chilean wineEveryone is assigned a saddle horse. Our well trained, sure-footed, no nonsense horses (we own and train them ourselves at our Sacred Valley facility) are generally a bit smaller than American and European saddle horses but carry us over the high passes with amazing energy. We do limit rider weight to 220 lbs. (100kls) (Comfortable, padded, new South American-style saddles are used.)


About our Guiding Company:


Adventure Specialist Peru is managed and co-owned by Edwin and Fanny Duenas. Edwin and Fanny are Quechua speaking natives of Cusco. Both hold law degrees having given up a successful law career to establish ASP with Colorado based Adventure Specialists USA. Fanny manages operations. Edwin directs field projects, logistics and is the senior Guide.


Edwin is unusually knowledgeable about the Inca, traditional culture and history. He is a field associate with the Thomson - Ziegler Andean Research Project continuing with ongoing explorations. He is an excellent guide, ethno-historian and field leader.


ASP bases from a small ranch near Cusco where they maintain a well-trained and maintained remuda of quality trail horses. The horses are used for the Classic Inca trail, Inn to Inn ride, In Search and other selected treks and mounted archaeological tours.

Adventure Specialists USA may be the founders of Adventure travel in Peru, having trained the first guides and formed the first agency in 1970. They recently, sold their interest in one of the largest Peru agencies to focus on specialties: archaeology, documentary films, deluxe Andean treks and Inca research in partnership with the Duenas family. They are dedicated to offering the best personal service and ulta-quality programs that only a small, highly experienced, successful group can offer.


Guides : Machu Picchu Programs


GARY ZIEGLER, founder of Adventure Specialists, has a far flung history which includes a Ph.D. in archaeology, archaeological expeditions into remote Peru and Mexico, work for National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, museums and universities. Gary has been organizing and leading expeditions and groups in Peru since 1964. His accomplishments include the first ascents of seven high ice peaks and the discovery and documentation of new archaeological sites. In June, 2000, he co-directed and led an expedition documentary film production in Peru for the Discovery Channel. In 2001 Gary co-led a National Geographic expedition which located and excavated the Inca outpost of Corihuayrachina. In 2002 and 2003 he co-led the Thomson-Ziegler Expeditions that located and investigated the important Inca sites of Cota Coca and Llactapata near Machu Picchu. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London and the Explorers Club of New York.

Gary Ziegler began designing and guiding A.S. educational adventure programs in Peru in 1971. Edwin, Fanny and US manager, co-owner of adventure Specialists,USA, Amy Finger, maintain the highest standards with hands on management and continuing development of new and ongoing programs.



EDWIN DUENAS Now a partner in the company, leads most of our horse treks each season. A native of Cusco, he is fluent in Quechua, Spanish and speaks Italian and English well. As close to a living Inca as one can get, his family history goes back before the conquest. One of Peru's most experienced backcountry guides, he is an avid student of Andean history and culture. Edwin holds a doctoral and law degree from Peru's San Antonio Abad University. When not in the field, he practices civil law in downtown Cusco. Edwin is an extraordinary skilled and knowledgeable trip leader who gives his all to each program. Other equally qualified guides may lead several of our trips each season



 Scheduling Suggestions:


Arrival:  We recommend arriving in Cusco a day or two before the program for altitude acclimation if possible.  You will enjoy added time exploring the many interesting aspects of the region and extra time helps acclimation to the high altitude. We arrange hotels, other services and suggest itineraries for a 10% service fee over the actual cost


Lima: Flights from Cusco arrive between 8:30 AM and 2:00 PM. Depending on your connecting flight schedule home, you have several options. U.S. bound flights seem to leave either late at night or early in the morning.


We recommend arriving at Lima from the United States at the last available time, usually between 9pm and 6am, and remain in the terminal until you can board the first flight to Cuzco. (Most world-travelers to Cuzco choose this option) You can also sleep in Miraflores for the day or overnight but it is an hour taxi-ride. Miraflores is a bustling upbeat suburb of Lima above the beach where one can enjoy relaxing or endless activities. We can make the hotel arrangements and transfers to and from the airport.



Peru is subject to strikes, weather, landslides and many events beyond are control which may cause changes and delays. (You must always remember to be patient with the Peruvian way – precision is not their calling card!)  We may also change the route from time to time for other good reasons. Please come prepared to cheerfully accept the unexpected with the insurance that you are in the hands of the most experienced and best adventure program operator in Peru.


Travel Insurance:

We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance when you book. This can reimburse you if cancel last minute due to sickness or other emergencies. One company Gary and his team recommends is Travel Guard 1-800-826-7488 or go online to for some comparison quotes. I personally have used World Nomads in the past and I found them to be both inexpensive and reliable. And I’ve actually used it!



Air Travel:

Deals look great these days. I’ve seen with a simple search NYC > Lima at $599 including taxes and fees, r/t.



The price includes accommodations in safari style camps, tourist class or better hotels and inns (double occupancy), land travel, meals except in Cusco, all trip gear, horses, tack, bilingual guide and local support staff, entrance fees.



Not included are airport taxes, air travel, bottled drinks, gratuities, optional activities, personal expenditures, meals in Cusco, costs resulting from illness or injury and emergency evacuation, program changes and delays beyond our control.



Call or e-mail me or go directly to Aventure Specialists at to answer your questions or make a reservation.


Carefully read the application/contract form for details about payment, cancellation, refunds and legal responsibilities. You can reach me at my office or Adveture Specialists  -- Bear Basin Ranch 719 783-2076 phone; 866-244-4691 toll free fax.



2. Equipment and Preparation list


__ Passport

__ Credit cards and cash for tips, Lima meals, shopping  etc.

__ Airline tickets

__Travel Insurance to include emergency medical, trip cancellation etc. Available any travel agency

__ Duffle bag or large frame less pack for the majority of your gear

__ Plastic garbage bags to line duffle for waterproofing on the trek

__ Day Pack or Fanny Pack...for daily items and camera-plastic bag to  protect__Warm Sleeping Bag (to 20ø) May be rented in Cusco

__ Sleeping pad

__ Extra Bag for Purchases...optional

__ Leisure clothing for travel and dining out. We have same day laundry service in Cusco

__ Long Underwear, helps prevent saddle sores

__ Lightweight waterproof hiking/riding boots-well broken in

__ Waterproof gaiters or half chaps for riding/hiking

__ Leisure Shoes...for camp and in town

__ Warm outer coat or parka. Or shell jacket and two polar fleece type pullovers for layering

__ Sweater-locally made alpaca sweaters can be purchased in Cuzco for about $15.00

__ Rain gear- Good quality two piece suit.. we have had poor luck with Gortex (and it will rain)

__ Hat with a Brim...essential for sun and rain protection

__ Warm cap and gloves (it can snow)

__ Assortment of light expedition clothes. pants, shirts, socks, underwear, trail shorts

__ Toiletries...biodegradable soap, sun block (#30 or more) lip balm & personal items

__ Insect Repellant

__ Personal medications... Ask your Doc about Diomox for altitude comfort

__ Water Purification Kit-iodine or filter for hotels etc. We boil camp and trail water

__ Sun Glasses...Uv is intensive at Altitude near the Equator. We recommend quality glacier glasses

__ Headlamp

__ Pocket knife

__ Water Bottle

__ Camera

__ Binoculars


3.  Health and physical requirements checklist


HEALTH: We ask that you consult your family doctor concerning what medications, shots or inoculations he or she may recommend. Unless you travel to Manu (Amazon), you will probably not be exposed to tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. The occasional case of travelers’ diarrhea can be rapidly treated with Cipro or other medication that your doctor may suggest. We have a very low incidence of illness on our trips. We eat in only the best restaurants and our own cooks are carefully sanitation trained. We have had good results with Diomox as an aid in acclimatization and alleviation of the effects of altitude. Ask your doc.



WEATHER: This is a trip of great contrasts. In the high altitude. It can get very chilly, even into the 30's at night and then zoom into the 70's during the day.  When we descend into the cloud forest, the temperature rises into the 80's.  Although the dry season normally persists April through November, it can rain (or snow at high altitudes) at any time. please come prepared.



6. Suggested Reading:


1) Lost City of the Incas: The Story of Machu Picchu and its Builders. Hiram Bingham. Orion, London.2001.

2) Realm of the Incas. Max Milligan 2001

3) The Conquest of Peru, William H. Prescott. New American Library, 1961.

4) The Conquest of the Incas, John Hemming. Hartcourt Brace 1970

5) Pizarro, Conqueror of the Inca. National Geographic. Feb. 1992 Vol. 181, no. 2.

6) The Incas And Their Ancestors, Michael Moseley. Thames and Hudson, 1993.

7) Exploring Cuzco, Peter Frost. Lima, 1984

8) Machu Picchu- The Sacred Center. Johan Reinhart, Lima 1991

9) Machu Picchu Abandoned, Gary Ziegler, Lima 1996.

10) Beyond Machu Picchu, Gary Ziegler, Crestone 2001

11) Forgotten Vilcabamba, Vincent Lee 2000

12) The White Rock, Hugh Thomson 2001

13) The Machu Picchu Guide Book, Ruth Wright and Alfredo Valencia

14) Machu Picchu; A Civil Engineering Marvel, Kenneth Wright and Alfredo Valencia,2000

15) The Birds of Machu Picchu. Barry Walker (available in Cusco)

16) The Last Days of the Incas, by Kim MacQuarrie ** highly recommended reading!



7. Biography:


Gary Ziegler is a field archaeologist, researcher and experienced Andean explorer with a background in geology. Following studies at Colorado College and completion of graduate studies at Peru's National University in the 1960s, he has led a series of exploratory expeditions and investigations in remote regions of the Andes and the high Peruvian cloud forest that continue, supported by the Royal Geographical Society, like organizations and funding

team members.


Among his better known discoveries and investigations are the Vilcabamba Inca sites, Lisascayhuana, Cota Coca and Machu Picchu's extensive ceremonial neighbor, Llactapata. He led part of the National Geographic team that discovered, filmed and excavated Inca Corihuyrachina in 2001.  He is currently completing a book on the Inca royal estate and ceremonial complex, Choquequirao with University of Colorado archaeo-astronomer, Kim Malville. The publication represents several decades of field investigations and collection of data at this enigmatic, remote mountain site.  He has co-directed and featured in films for the Discovery Channel, History Channel, BBC, National Geographic, Reader's Digest, Lonely Planet and has been a guest expert on NPR's Science Friday. He is published in profession journals and numerous publications. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London, the Explorers Club and a sometime lecturer at Colorado College. His home base is 4000 acre Bear Basin Ranch in the mountains of southern Colorado where he raises Angus-cross cows, maintains a remuda of horses and heads the  local search and rescue team.


The Andean Research Project history and Gary Ziegler

April 2000 – Present

2000-01: Ziegler planned and directed logistics for a National Geographic sponsored

exploration of the Cerro Victoria region of the Cordillera Vilcabamba in Peru. He

directed field survey mapping, led the excavation team using ground penetrating radar to investigate sacred platforms and burial sites.


2002: Supported by the Royal Geographical Society and the noted British ethno-

historian John Hemming, The project discovered, surveyed and interpreted the Inca site of Cota Coca in remote Yanama canyon. They found and mapped the Inca road to Choquequirao. Ziegler directed the investigation with British Machu Picchu authority, Hugh Thomson.They later conducted investigations with Peruvian Inca expert, Percy Paz at the large Inca ceremonial complex and royal estate, Choquequirao 2003-05: The Project rediscovered the large Inca complex of ceremonial sites and residential groups at Llactapata supporting Machu Picchu. They lLocated, cleared, identified the Sun Temple that ritualized June solstice sunrise over Machu Picchu. Ziegler directed field survey, mapping, aerial exploration with infra-red sensors with Hugh Thompson. He coordinated field teams headed by John Leivers, Tom Zuidema, and Kim Malville.


2006 - Ziegler headed the expedition to survey and investigate Inca sites associated

with Machu Picchu. They mapped the remote site, Palcay and studied other high

altitude Inca structures. They relocated and documented the Inca road to Machu Picchu from Llactapata. Ziegler coordinated field teams headed by Australian John Leivers and American researcher Paolo Greer.


2007 - The project conducted extensive exportation of cloud forest mountains between the Urubama and Lucumayo drainages north of Machu Picchu. They located several hundred undocumented structures.


2008 - Ziegler revisited the ceremonial site of Inca Wasi in the Puncuyoc range above the last Inca capital of Vitcos and Yuroc Rumi (the famous White Rock) with Australian explorer and Inca expert John leivers, Peruvian Edwin Duenas and an American supporting team. They determined the site was a sun cult temple and ceremonial pilgrimage destination associated with the nearby Neo-Inca refuge, Vitcos.


2009-010 - The project located and studied an undocumented temple site found with Google Earth. They returned to Choquequirao completing new investigations and measurements in support of the thesis that the site was a royal estate of the Inca Topu Yupanque built in part by imported Chachapoya workers from north-central Peru.


2011 - Ziegler organized an expedition with Gene Savory veteran explorer, Frank

Ciampa to the Chachapoyas region in north-central Peru to compare architectural

features there with suspected Inca imported worker construction at Choquequirao. The team discovered a large complex of unreported ruins they named Wilkapata. A return to survey and study the complex is in the planning.


2012 - Ziegler and a support team from NASA, conducted an extensive investigation of Inca ceremonial sites focusing on geo-cosmic design and placement located above the Sacred Valley and the Apurimac drainage.



Extreme Archaeology: The exploration and investigation of

Inca ceremonial sites and royal estates in the Andes of Peru

Archaeologist and Inca specialist, Gary Ziegler will present a narrated slide presentation designed to interest a general audience about his 45 year history of exploration and investigation of Inca sites in Peru's mountainous Inca heartland by foot, machete, rope and mule. He will describe the rediscovery of the remote site Cotacoca in an inaccessible deep canyon, the mountain top tombs of Cerro Victoria and the discovery, mapping and investigation of the large cloud forest complex, Llactapata near Machu Picchu.The conclusion will be a review of new discoveries, recent interpretation of astronomy and unique geo-cosmic architectural features at the spectacular ridge top royal estate, Choquequirao.


Here are some informative links about Gary I’ve found while browsing the net:

Listen to Gary’s  NPR interview

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Professionally Guided Horseback Tour of the Sacred Valley of the Inca, and Trek from Machu Picchu to Choquequirao, the two most glorious of all Inca landmarks: