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The Spirit of Machu Picchu

An exploration of our planet’s most mystical historical site high in the Peruvian Andes.
High in the Andes resides a destination so mysterious that it lay in hiding for hundreds of years. Machu Picchu – the Lost City of the Incas – originated in the 15th century, built as a massive stone citadel. Now partially uncovered, those who delve into its history are provided a spiritual encounter like none other on the planet. On our Peru journey, we’ll explore the historic colonial city of Cusco then head into the Sacred Valley, walking the traditional trails that line the slopes of some of South America’s most impressive mountains. Morning yoga and mindfulness complement our local activities, and evening meetings build the all-important recovery community that accompanies us on our journey.

Jul 15-22 – Departed
Sep 16-23 – Full

May 3-10
Jul 7-14
Sep 20-27
Private departures for families, friends & recovery groups available. Call for details.
  • Activities: Hiking, site-seeing, ruins visitation, cultural immersion, daily meditation, yoga, mindfulness workshops, recovery meetings
  • Group Size: 12-16 travelers
  • Price: $3,995 per person double occupancy (single room charge: $795 – roommate matches available at no additional fee)

Day by Day Itinerary

Arrive in Cusco after flying through Lima. You will be met by a Choose Life guide after collecting any checked luggage. Look for a sign with either your name on it, or “Choose Life Sober Adventures.” You will be brought to the Hotel Abittare where we will enjoy lunch together and then explore as a group. (If you arrived a day or more early for our adventure, please meet in the lobby of the Hotel Abittare at 12:00 noon.)

The high Andean city of Cusco maintains much of its original design from the Incan city built by ruler Pachacutec in the 1400s. The influence of the Spanish can also be felt as churches and palaces were constructed beginning with their rule in the 16th century. The result is a lively historic city of cobbled streets and stone buildings surrounded by imposing mountain vistas. Our deluxe accommodation is constructed from a renovated colonial mansion, and located in Cusco’s historical center, just in front of the archaeological temple of Qorikancha, giving us an inspiring feel for the city’s rich history. After lunch, we head out on a short walking tour of the old city before enjoying dinner at a local restaurant. We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes. In the evening, we will gather for our first meeting.

We awaken in Cusco and gather for a brief morning meditation and yoga. After breakfast and a short time to walk the cobblestone streets, we embark on a nice bus ride outside Cusco toward the highland farming communities of Pongobamba and Qoricancha where its inhabitants grow potatoes and other tubes, legumes, and grain at high elevation. The Sunday produce market at Chinchero gathers local women weavers and merchants from its surroundings. We will be able to enjoy a short walk through its Incan complex and town before finding a picnic spot in front of the stunning Urubamba Mountain range. In the afternoon, we drive to the unusual Incan concentric terraces of Moray before continuing our drive down to Yucay, a lovely farming village at the bottom of the valley where our hotel is located.

Our destination this afternoon is the charming Hotel la Casona de Yucay, a serene hacienda retreat surrounded by a magnificent mountain vista. Located on ancient land chosen by the Incas as a peaceful resting place, the hotel is in the picturesque village of Yucay in the heart of the Sacred Valley. Built in 1810 and recently refurbished, the hotel offers authenticity and modernity in equal measure. The sprawling grounds and many open outdoor spaces give guests a sense of privacy and an important connection with the region. After optional yoga, and our well-earned dinner of local fare, we review our day and set intentions for the next day during our meeting under the stars on the hotel grounds.

After a morning mindfulness and yoga session, we enjoy a breakfast of local fruits and food before heading out on a cultural excursion. Today our destination is Pisac, nestled in the Urubamba Mountains outside of Cusco en route to Machu Picchu. We’ll enjoy lunch with the people of the village of Huayllafara, a traditional community that farms corn, potatoes, beans, and quinoa. We return to Hotel la Casona de Yucay for yoga, dinner, and an evening meeting amidst the property’s tranquil grounds.

We depart for Piuray Lake, a lagoon in the valley that was once a source of water for the Incas. There we enjoy a peaceful yoga session and breakfast overlooking the setting of snow peaks in the backdrop. We spend our day kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and taking in the remarkable Andean scene. For lunch, our guides arrange a pachamanca – an authentic meal prepared in an in-ground oven with the aid of hot stones – giving us yet another opportunity to connect with the sense of place. In late afternoon we will visit the intriguing Incan source of salt at Maras before heading back to our hotel for dinner, a meeting, and to rest up for our excursion to Machu Picchu tomorrow.

After breakfast, we bid farewell to our luxury villa. We then transfer by road to the station to board our train heading towards the famed Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu. We travel through the valley in comfort to kilometer 104, where we begin a journey by foot along the trail to the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu (if you wish to skip this hike, arrangements can be made to continue straight to Aguas Calientes). The walkers’ route will wind alongside the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley; we’ll see a noticeable change in our surroundings as we enter the verdant and misty cloud forest of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Crossing a hanging bridge that spans the mighty river, we’ll visit the ruins of Chachabamba, which is believed to have been a spiritual center dedicated to water deities. From there, it’s a 3-hour ascent to a second important spiritual center, Wiñay Wayna. These ruins are built into a steep slope on the way up to the Sun Gate. This is a long, mostly uphill hike, but we take it very slowly and stop often. The views, experience, and sense of accomplishment are worth it and will stay with you forever!

After we explore for a bit, we’ll cut across the ridge above Machu Picchu to reach Inti Punku, Gate of the Sun. This is a dramatic moment, as we look down on the magnificent Machu Picchu ruins spread out far below, gaining a glimpse into a mystical, forgotten world. In the evening, we’ll retire to the comfort of our hotel, Casa Andina, located in Aguas Calientes on the shores of the Vilcanota River, with views of the surrounding mountains. After dinner, we’ll gather for a meeting and some shared stories of the day’s adventure.

We return by bus today to Machu Picchu to explore the central elements of these fascinating ruins. Our guides are experts in Inca history, and at their side you will gain insight into this remarkable site that is unavailable to the casual tourist. By special permit, we also have an option to hike Wayna Picchu Mountain, taking us along a stone pathway that rises nearly 1,000 feet above Machu Picchu. Steel cables provide support during the one-hour climb. For hikers and trekkers, a climb up this special trail represents the ultimate in Peruvian experiences, as the views of the Citadel and Sacred Valley below are exceptional from the unique perspective of the top of the mountain.

After our Machu Picchu explorations we board a Vistadome glass-ceiling train to Ollanta, giving us relaxing views during our exit from the valley. We return to Cusco where we reflect about our amazing day over dinner and settle back into Hotel Abittare for our exciting day tomorrow.

Today we explore a lesser visited route outside of Cusco that brings us from highland wetlands with abundant birdlife on a downhill journey of around 3 miles to the Cara del Inca (Inca´s face), a tranquil spot for reflection. Then we continue to the Temple of the Moon, an ancient Huaca, or ceremonial site, consisting of two caves cut into the side of a hill. Inside the cave are altars and mysterious carvings of animals and unidentified objects. The openings to the caves allow moonlight to touch the altar on certain nights. Hiking down a grassy path, we’ll continue until we reach Cusilluchayoc, the Temple of the Monkeys, with ancient stone carvings in the form of monkeys and other animals. Next, we will experience a true Peruvian Shaman ceremony where a local shaman will offer an authentic Andean and jungle ceremony for spiritual transformation, honoring the ancient healing techniques from their ancestors. We continue descending until arriving at the main plaza of the artist’s district of San Blas, where a vehicle will be waiting for us to bring us to a local Cusco restaurant where we enjoy an evening meal before our final meeting and sharing of all we’ve experienced together. Overnight at Hotel Abittare.

We gather this morning one final time for a short meditation and yoga session before breakfast and a transfer to the airport for flights homeward.  For those whose flights leave later in the day and want to further explore Cusco on your own that day, we have arranged a 3 pm late check-out, and have arranged later transfers for you.


The accommodations selected for this sober adventure were chosen for a combination of privacy, convenience, and authenticity. In Cusco, we stay in an historic colonial hotel located in the center of town. Once in the Sacred Valley, our accommodations range from one night in a remote comfortable camp with cots and bedding to several nights at a private luxury lodge with its own fruit trees and lovely grounds. All accommodations are of the deluxe or luxury category (except the tented camp) and have private bathroom facilities.

High in the Andes, our lodgings enhance the experience, providing peace, authenticity and a sense of place.

Travel Details

Recovery Activities

Our trips are specifically designed for sober travelers, and they include the services of a sober travel facilitator who runs meetings as well as meditation and yoga activities. All activities are optional, but they are designed to create community amongst like-minded people.

Activities on our adventures are all optional, and often include opportunities for participants to spend down time on their own or hanging out with others. After all, we are all about community. The hikes are all considered moderate or easy, though they take place at altitude.


Getting to Cusco, Peru

Our Machu Picchu adventure begins on Day 1 with a noon-time lunch in Cusco, followed by an afternoon walking tour of the old town. Please plan your flights accordingly. We highly recommend arriving a day early to avoid airline delays, and to acclimate. For those arriving a day early, we can book the extra night at our accommodations in Cusco, the Hotel Abittare. You are free to depart at noon or later on the final day.


Pre-Trip Extra Day Hotel in Cusco, Peru

Most travelers arrive in Cusco, Peru, a day before the trip begins so they can rest from their travels and to ensure airline delays do not impact their arrival. We have arranged a Pre-Trip Extra Hotel Night in Cusco at Hotel Abittare where we stay on Day 1 of our trip. The cost of this extra day is $95 per person in double occupancy. The single room fee is $145. The price includes airport transfer, hotel night, breakfast, and taxes. Since travelers arrive at different times, we will attempt to provide a roommate match for those requesting it but cannot guarantee that we can do so. Click here to book your extension.

If your flights require an overnight stay in Lima, we recommend booking a room at the at Costa del Sol Lima Airport hotel. It’s very convenient, with a walkway linking it to the airport. Please book directly with the hotel. You can then fly from Lima to Cusco in the morning. Again, please be sure to arrive in time for a noontime lunch and afternoon walking tour in Cusco on Day 1. 



Accommodations, services of local guides and lodge staff, services of the group facilitator, all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on the final day, airport transfers on Day 1 and final day, all activities and entrance fees, all taxes, permits, and service fees.


Not Included

Travel to the starting point of your trip, gratuities, passport and visa fees (if any), optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, and internet, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes (if any), optional travel protection insurance.

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