Leaving Cusco by bus and heading north to the village of Huarocondo, we’ll descend into the gorge of Pachar, towards the Urubamba River, 2900 m (9514 ft). Here we’ll encounter the starting point of our trek: the footbridge of Parpishu. Now the trail starts ascending slowly, leaving the valley behind and below us, and continues to Watuq´asa Pass (3800 m / 12,467 ft) where we will find an Inca wall and an ancient storage/ administrative building, or tambo. This site is known as Qosqoqáwarina (Viewpoint of Cusco), and we will be taken by the surrounding panoramic views as we enjoy a hearty lunch. We will then continue along a trail that descends to the left, ending in a tranquil valley with a flowing stream running through it. Here, we’ll find the community of Chilipahua (3840 m / 12,598 ft), where we will camp for the night.
ANCASCOCHA & THE INCA TRAIL EXPRESS
National Geographic Magazine has rated this Inca Trail alternative trek as one of the top hikes in the world! This is truly the road less traveled by, for those who crave time away from crowds, amidst the beauty of nature. The journey begins at the Parpishu Footbridge and ascends amidst the dramatic backdrop of Mts. Salkantay and Verónica. Crossing through rugged terrain, remote mountain communities, ancient ruins, and diverse ecosystems for around 37 km (23 mi), the trek culminates at the village of Camicancha, near Km 77 on the railroad tracks to Machu Picchu. On day 4, we will board the train to Km 104 to walk along the pathway that covers the final stretch of the Inca Trail, where you will have a taste of the famous longer Inca Trail hike, and the thrill of entering Machu Picchu through Inti Punku, the Gate of the Sun. On our last day, we will spend time exploring Machu Picchu, one of the ancient wonders of the world.