The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

(9 Opinions)
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Roger Ward

Lebanon

Our guide (German Cruz) and everyone associated with Explorandes made this an unforgettably great trip. My son and I enjoyed it tremendously. We really enjoyed the 5 day/4 night itinerary. My only “criticism” is that you fed us too well. We were expecting to have to supply ourselves with snacks during the day but the cooking staff more than supplied us with snacks and food. If we had known how well we would be provisioned we would have left some extra snacks at home and saved some space and weight.

15 February, 2019

Nicola Hodgson

United States

It was a truly amazing trip. Brilliantly organised, very well supported. Our guide Claudia was authoritative, motivating, kind and knowledgeable. We would absolutely recommend Explorandes to other people.

11 January, 2019

Ena Lee

United States

It was absolutely amazing. The guide and porters made everything so easy for us. The food was amazing, the guide was extremely knowledgeable, encouraging and helpful and the porters were so accommodating. Everything exceeded my expectations.

14 December, 2018

Robin Rietveldt

United States

High quality team, food, campsite, great route (not a lot of people around), great group size, mini inca and Machu Picchu at the end were phenomenal.

9 October, 2018

Christine Ward

United States

A trip of a lifetime! We loved every minute of every day.

7 October, 2018
1
Overview

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, verdant valleys, dense cloud forests, and rushing rivers. We’ll pass through ancient Inca ruins and remote Andean settlements, ultimately arriving at Machu Picchu via Intipunku (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.  

Duration

5 Days / 4 Nights

Season

March – January

The Inca Trail is closed in February

Group Departures

Every Wednesdays & Sundays

Private Departure:

On request  

Itinerary

Day 1Cusco / Ollantaytambo / Chamana

We rise with the sun to begin our scenic 5-hour trek, starting from a section of the Inca Trail few have visited. While many cross the Urubamba River at Km 82, we’ll follow the river downstream to cross at Km 88, setting the tone for the rest of the trek and creating some space between us and other groups. We’ll take our first break at the ruins of Q’oriwayrachina, consisting of nearly 200 ancient stone structures. After a delightful picnic lunch, we’ll cross the Urubamba River at Q’ente. Here, we’ll have the option to visit the archaeological sites of Wayna Q’ente and Llaqtapata, charming ruins consisting of Inca stone walls, stairs, and other constructions, monuments to their ancient Andean past in a country-like setting amidst the vast Inca terracing nearby. We’ll set up camp for the night at our private campsite. We are the only enterprise with access to this site, known as Chamana, a small village that’s part of the Llaqtapata Community. We are delighted to be able to offer you a hot shower after the arduous day’s trek! (L/D)

Distance: 11 km (6.83 miles)
Time: 5-6 hours

Day 2Chamana / Llullluchapampa

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.” (B/L/D)

Distance: 9 km (5.6 miles)
Time: 6 hours

Day 3Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca

The day begins with a steady ascent up to Warmiwanusqa (Dead Woman’s) Pass (4,200m/13,692ft) 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 1,800m (5,905 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 (4,050m/13,200ft). From here, we walk down to the site of Sayacmarca (3,850m/12,551ft) 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 “place of the clouds.” (B/L/D)

Distance: 14 km (8.7 miles)
Time: 7-8 hours

Day 4Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu

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 Intipunku (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. (B/L)

Distance: 11.6 km (7.2 m)
Time: Approx. 7 hours

Day 5Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo/Cusco

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. B/L

End of Services

About Our Services: The Campsites we use are not frequented by other trekking companies, and are therefore quieter, more private, and cleaner than more crowded sites. Additionally, we carry our own ecological toilet, which can be used during lunch breaks and while we are at camp: this means we are able to avoid use of the public bathrooms that are frequented by many other trekkers.

Gallery
Included
Not included

– Transportation
– Professional bilingual guide
– Train from Ollantaytambo to Km 104 and from Machu Picchu Village to Cusco
– Bus ticket Machu Picchu – Machu Picchu Village (round trip)
– Double occupancy tents with Thermarest sleeping pads
– Hotel in Machu Picchu Village
– Guided tour in Machu Picchu
– Lunch in Machu Picchu Village on day 5
– All meals during trek
– Non-alcoholic drinks
– Kitchen and dining tents
– Professional cook and service staff
– Porters to carry camping gear and luggage
– Entrance ticket to mentioned attractions
– Solar energy lamps
– Eco toilets
– Adequate garbage disposals
– First aid kit and oxygen tank

B- Breakfast / BL- Boxed Lunch / L- Lunch / D- Dinner

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips
  • Taxes
  • Personal gear
  • Laundry services
  • Additional tours
  • Personal insurance
  • Airline tickets (where applicable)
  • Sleeping bags (available for rent)
  • Extras

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Dates
START DATEEND DATEDETAILSSTATUS
17/07/201921/07/2019The Inca Trail to Machu PicchuSold out
21/07/201925/07/2019The Inca Trail to Machu PicchuSold out
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28/07/201901/08/2019The Inca Trail to Machu PicchuSold out
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06/11/201910/11/2019The Inca Trail to Machu PicchuGuaranteed
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17/11/201921/11/2019The Inca Trail to Machu PicchuTwo more to open
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