The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is without a shadow of doubt the highlight of Peru. We pride ourselves to offer you, a unique 4 days trek full of natural beauty, with so many staggering views of the Andean Mountain range, a great mix of jungle and highlands full of flora and fauna. A wonderful hike that will take you along an ancient path, passing impressive ancient settles with fine Inca stonework constructions, perfectly preserved. A royal road that ends up in one of the most beautiful archaeological destination of South America, the great Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. At the site there will be plenty of time to explore the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu with our local guide and if you wish, you might also climb the popular Wayna Picchu Mountain.
Program 4 days / 3 nights
Day 1º: Cusco – Wayllabamba
04:00 h. You will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco and afterwards we will drive on a bus towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After approximately 2 hours we will pass Ollantaytambo Village, and then we will take a dirt road till Piskacuchu (2.700 m - 8.858 Ft.) a community located on the kilometer 82 of the Cusco –Machupicchu railroad.
We will arrive at the Km 82 around 07:30 h. At this point all hikers must show their original passport so that you get access to the Inca Trail National Park. Starting at this point, we cross the bridge and walk along the left shore of the Urubamba River, which flows north-west along the Sacred Valley. Following the trail along a flat terrain, we reach the little community of Miskay (2800 m.a.s.l - 9186 Ft.), where we make a little break to try some local chicha (maize beer) from the Andean ladies sitting along the way. Then we ascend a steep path that will lead us to a high plateau, from where, all hikers will be rewarded with a spectacular view of an Inca construction called Patallacta (2.750 m. See map). After a good explanation of our tour guide, we carry on along a gorgeous valley created long ago by the copious Kusichaca River. We will gradually climb for about two hours, till we reach a nice natural spot where our cook and porters await for us for lunch. Later on, we will walk up hill (not very difficult) for about 2 hours till we reach our first campsite in the village of Wayllabamba (Place of Good Pasture), (3000 m. - 9842 Ft.) This day is usually hot in the dry season (May – Sept), so it is advisable to wear light clothing, as well as a hut and sunscreen. Hikers will enjoy along the route spectacular views of the Vilcanota ridge on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, and might also spot the impressive Veronica Mountain (5800 m. high - 19.000 Ft.). Overnight at the Wayllabamba Campsite.
Day 2º: Wayllabamba – Pacaymayo
We will be woken up by our humble friends (the porters) at around 06:00 hrs. and after breakfast we start to climb up along a narrow valley full of vegetation and beautiful streams. On this section visitors will experience a hard path, full of steps, so we advise you to take it easy and stop to rest along the way at any time you wish. After passing the little camp zone of Yunkachimpa we will reach Lluluchapampa Village, a spot frequently used by some other hikers to camp. At this point we will be starting the climbing to the highest and most famous mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman's Pass 4200 m. - 13.780 Ft.). It will take about 2 hours to get to the top, so our recommendation is just to do it slowly, without pushing yourself too much. Our tour guide will be watching everyone, so even if you got delayed, don't worry, the tour leader assistant will be always willing to help you. It is a great idea to carry on this day some chocolates, candies and coca leaves on your day backpack; this will help to keep your sugar level high, and also help to ward off altitude sickness. Once you had reached the pass, you will be rewarded with amazing views all around you.
Afterwards, we will descend an endless winding pass of steps that cross a narrow valley, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds, like hummingbirds, sparrows and it is also home to Andean bears, called the Spectacled Bears (Tremarctus Ornatus). We will have lunch along the way, and afterwards continue till our campsite at Pacaymayo Valley (3.350 m. - 10.991), where we will take a deep rest after such a hard day. This is also an official campsite, so here you will find good showers (very cold though) and proper flash toilettes.
Day 3º: Pacaymayo – Wiñaywayna
For many visitors, this day is the longest but also the most impressive and the most interesting day, due to the number of archaeological sites that hikers can see along the way. We get up at 06:00hrs, again, and after breakfast, start off following a steep path that will lead us to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3.970 m. - 13.024 Ft.). Half way up, we will stop to visit the archaeological complex of Runkurakay. This Inca site, located at 3.700 m. / 12.139 Ft consists of a small oval structure (Runkurakay means in quechua language "egg" hence it name) it is very likely that this Inca building served as a watchtower. Some meters up we will find a small billabong, where sometimes Andean dears can be seen drinking water. After going over the pass, we descend to Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and arrive at Sayacmarca (erected building 3.600 m. 11.811 Ft.). This is an interesting Inca building in which you can find semicircular constructions, water fountains, as well as irrigation channels. After visiting these ruins, we enter the cloud-forest, walking up and down, and then come the last climb, that will lead us to the third pass, the Abra de Phuyupatamarca (3.700 m. - 12.139 Ft.) From now on, the rest of the trail is mostly downhill. We will descend some steps, then will stumble upon one of the best Inca ruins, a site constructed on a marvelous natural setting called Phuyupatamarca. (Phuyupatamarca, means ¨town over the clouds¨). From above, trekkers can observe a sophisticated complex made up of water fountains with solid foundations, and also impressive views of the Urubamba River.
The end of the day leads to the Wiñaywayna ruins, second only to Machu Picchu in beauty. This fantastic site is a perfect example of Inca terrace farming and it is located on a steep edge overlooking the Río Urubamba. The name Wiñaywayna comes from the name given to a beautiful orchid typical in the zone, and means Forver Young. We will spend the night in the camping zone of Wiñaywayna, close to a local restaurant where trekkers usually may enjoy a hot shower, as well as cold beers and party in the evening. This will be the night in which we will say good bye to our porters and cooks, as they leave us the next day before dawn. The porters will take another trail that leads directly to the village of Aguas Calientes, (last meeting point) carryng with them all camping equipment and our backpacks. Your backpacks will be left at a room deposit we have at the village, so that you can pick them up before returning to Cusco on day 4. Since we will not see the porter anymore, we will have a meeting at dinner time with them and someone from the group will have to give an speech expressing gratitude for their great help. Overnight at the Winaywayna campsite.
Day 4º: Wiñaywayna – Machupicchu
On this fourth and last day we get up at 04.00hrs, have breakfast at 04:30hrs, and by 05:00hrs, we must be on the trail towards Inti Punko (Sun Gate). This will take about an hour of hiking along a narrow trail of cloud forest. At the Sun Gate visitors will be able to see the Sunrise over the Sacred Machupicchu Mountain. After having shot some photos we will descend to Machupicchu (40 minutes away), where our guide will give us a nice explanation about this wonderful Inca Citadel. The tour will last about 2 hours, and afterwards you will have free time to wander the ruins on your own, and if you still got some strength, you might climb the HUAYNA PICCHU Mountain, the huge mountain that appears in every classic picture of Machu Picchu. It takes about 1 hour to get to the top, following very steep stairs, though is a little hard, at the top you will be rewarded with one of the most impressive views in your lifetime. All what you have to do is to ask your guide how to find the entrance. At the entrance you must registere. Apart of this hike, you may also take the optional flat trail that leads to the TEMPLE OF THE MOON, a wonderful Inca construction carved in two caves, one above the other, with superb Inca niches inside. This hike will take more than 3 hours round trip, so check if there is enough time available. After the tour in Machu Picchu our guide will give each participant a bus ticket. (this bus ticket serve to go down from the Machu Picchu ruins to the village of Aguas Calientes). In the afternoon, we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you wish, you can visit and relax in the thermal baths. The hot springs are located on the upper section of the village of Aguas Calientes, visitors may ask their local guide how to get there. Late in the afternoon we take the train back to the city of Cusco, where we will arrive after nightfall. End of the tour.