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THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU-background image

THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU

cusco
5 days

The 5-day journey begins at Km 82, the marker that signifies the start of the famous Inca Trail. Our highly trained guides, who are deeply familiar with these ancient Inca footpaths, will expertly lead us through the magnificent Andean terrain. Along the way, we’ll traverse breathtaking high alpine passes, lush valleys, dense cloud forests, and rushing rivers. We’ll pass through ancient Inca remains of Andean settlements, ultimately arriving at Machu Picchu via Inti Punku (the Sun Gate). Each night, our team of porters and skilled cooks will have a delicious hot meal and a comfortable camp already set up for your convenience. Since we highly value sustainable tourism, we’ll have very little impact on the land, communities, and environment we encounter along the trail, and we will also take steps to enjoy a tranquil hike, avoiding crowds of fellow trekkers. On the final day, a guided tour of the citadel will bring Machu Picchu to life, as we explore and immerse ourselves in the magic and beauty of this ancient, mystical site. This trek is truly an unforgettable experience you’ll reminisce about for years to come.

travel itinerary
seasonMarch - December
group departuresEvery Wednesday and Sunday
mininum:2 passengers
maximum:12 passengers
Trekking
Camping
shared plan
private plan
shared plan:You will travel with other adventurers heading to the same destination.

The memorable journey begins by making our way across the riverbed from either Cusco or the Sacred Valley. We get up at sunrise, where our 5-day trek starts from a section of the Inca Trail that only few have the opportunity to visit. Most groups cross the Urubamba River at Km 82, but we’ll follow the river downstream and cross at Km 88, setting the tone for the rest of the trip - isolated, avoiding the crowds and having the landscapes all to ourselves. Upon our arrival in Chamana, a small village that’s part of the Llaqtapata Community, a warm lunch will await us at our private campsite. As evening approaches, you will have the option to visit the archaeological sites of Wayna Q’ente and Llaqtapata, charming ruins of Incan stone walls, stairs, and other incredible ancient Incan monuments and constructions that will leave you in awe. By the end of the day, we are delighted to offer you teatime, a hot shower, and warm dinner, all while reminiscing on the day’s beautiful trekking in the outdoors!

Bus ride: 87.6 km (54.43 mi)
Time: 2 - 3 hours
Trekking distance: 10.1 km (6.28 mi)
Time: 4:30 hours
https://explorandes.net/products/inca-trail-to-machu-picchu/1/map/inca_trail_day_1_map_piscacucho_chamana.jpg

We continue our journey up the narrow Cusichaca Valley, passing houses inhabited by farmers and herdsmen, until we finally reach the Andean community of Huayllabamba. From here, the cobble-stoned Inca Trail ascends steeply through an ancient native forest bursting with melodic birdsong. The trail begins to level out at our campsite at Llulluchapampa, situated just below the first pass. Here, we’ll experience breathtaking views of Mt. Huayanay and a first glimpse of the rare Andean cloud forest of Quenua, or Polyepis trees. Their reddish bark peels into paper-like sheets, hence their familiar name, “Paper Tree.”

Trekking distance: 11.7 km (7.27 mi)
Time: 7 - 8 hours
https://explorandes.net/products/inca-trail-to-machu-picchu/2/map/inca_trail_day_2_map_chamana_llulluchapampa.jpg

The day begins with a steady ascent up to Warmiwanusqa (Dead Woman’s) Pass (4228 masl / 13,871 fasl) where we’re met with panoramic views of the terrain we’ve just conquered. We can revel in a real sense of accomplishment at having reached this challenging high point of the journey. The pass is so named because its crest resembles a lying down woman. This point is nearly 1800 m (5905 ft) higher than Machu Picchu itself! Now, the much-welcomed descent to the Pacaymayo River lies ahead of us. After a hearty lunch in Pacaymayo, we ascend again to the ruins of Runkuraqay and our second pass (3968 masl / 13,018 fasl). From here, we walk down to the site of Sayacmarca on the original Inca Trail, passing a dry lake and our first signs of the mist-filled Andean cloud forest. Many plants and animals thrive in the cloud forest, including endemic species found nowhere else on Earth! We may spot hummingbirds, butterflies, and delicate orchids of various brilliant hues. Our trek along the steady ridge offers a bit of a respite from the day’s arduous climbs and challenging descents. Now we get to catch our breath a bit and admire incredible views of the beautiful Aobamba Valley below. We continue along the ridge through amazing landscapes and views of snow-capped Mt. Salkantay on the western side, as well as Mt. Pumasillo silhouetted on the horizon to the north. We follow the flag-stoned trail until we arrive at our campsite at Phuyupatamarca, whose name in Quechua means “village at the edge of the clouds”.

Trekking distance: 12 km (7.46 mi)
Time: 8 hours
https://explorandes.net/products/inca-trail-to-machu-picchu/3/map/inca_trail_day_3_map_llulluchapampa_phuyupatamarca.jpg

At last, we have arrived at the day we’ve all been waiting for; the day we get our first glimpse of the citadel of Machu Picchu! Early, but not too early, we’ll awaken for a glorious sunrise view just a short hike up the hill from our campsite, where our porters await us with steaming cups of tea. This site is known to deliver some of the most radiant sunrise views in the entire Machu Picchu Sanctuary. After breakfast, we continue our trek along a buttress, passing the ruins at Phuyupatamarca. These ruins contain an irrigation system that was built over five centuries ago, and still works today! Now, the flag-stoned trail begins to wind sharply downwards, taking us into the cloud forest to the well-conserved ruins of Wiñay Wayna (“Forever Young”) located just below the ridge. Walking in the Inca’s footsteps, along the very same trail they once used, we now trek for two hours through dense, misty cloud forest until we at last reach Machu Picchu via Inti Punku (the Gate of the Sun). We will marvel at our first sight of the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu spread out below us. After some time soaking up the glorious view, we’ll take a bus to the village of Machu Picchu, where we’ll spend the night at a local hotel. Dinner on your own.

Bus ride: 6.2 km (3.85 mi)
Time: 0.5 hours
Trekking distance: 10.9 km (6.77 mi)
Time: 7:30 hours
https://explorandes.net/products/inca-trail-to-machu-picchu/4/map/inca_trail_day_4_map_phuyupatamarca_machupicchu.jpg

A quick, half-hour bus ride brings us up the road to the gates of Machu Picchu where we’ll enjoy a guided three-hour tour of this ancient hilltop citadel. Exploring the different sectors and entering some of the houses and temples will bring these iconic ruins to life for us. As we immerse in this mystical place, we’ll feel that we’ve entered a dream of ancient times. Wandering among the Inca’s ancient manmade structures blended seamlessly into verdant natural surroundings will leave us with a sense of wonder and reverence that we may experience only once in a lifetime. In the afternoon, we’ll return to the village where a train will take us back to Ollantaytambo or Cusco. Hotel and dinner will be on your own.

Bus ride: 12.4 km (7.71 mi)
Time: 1 hour
Train ride: 43 km (26.72 mi)
Time: 1:45 hours
Our safety standards are the best in the business
included
  • Transportation
  • Professional bilingual guide
  • Hotel in Machu Picchu Village
  • Inca Trail Permit
  • Train from Machu Picchu Village to Cusco... keep reading
no included
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Dinner in Machu Picchu Village on Day 4
  • Laundry service
  • Airline tickets
  • Sleeping bags (rent available)... keep reading
what to take
  • Regular and long wicking first layer for cold weather, like polyester, nylon, or merino wool
  • Short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts, breathable fabrics, like nylon and polyester
  • Light-colored long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts
  • QuickDry Pants, trekking pants, and shorts
  • Insulated long-sleeve jacket (fleece, synthetic, down, merino wool)... keep reading
Personal First-Aid Kit
On each trip we carry a medical kit, but we suggest you bring a small personal First-Aid Kit for bruises and blisters. Knee and ankle braces are sometimes useful especially if you suffer from weak knees or ankles. Include any special medication your doctor might suggest for you.
THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
$1,640.00/5 days and 4 nights
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