High passes with vistas of snow peaks; lush tropical vegetation joined by a well preserved stone trail; these are what make the Inca trail to Machu Picchu
the most popular trek in South America as well as a gateway to the Inca remains by foot. The trip begins with exploring the Sacred Valley to quickly help you get acclimated to the altitude.
The adventure begins with an exploration of the Sacred Valley starting with Pisac, an Incan citadel built on a mountain saddle with outstanding views. We’ll visit the first artisan market in Cusco that has thrived in this location for more than 40 years, and enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the many restaurants surrounding the square. After we will continue on to explore Ollantaytambo, where two significant ruins stand guard on either side of this small town that has been inhabited continuously since the days before the Inca. The day will end at the private camp grounds Camp Km 82 where we’ll be greeted with a warm meal in a glassed in dining room with beautiful views, warm showers, and cozy tents waiting for us.
Today we head to Paucarcancha, covering a total distance of 7.50 miles. Hiking a mere 1,000 feet we will follow the Urubamba river through a temperate forest, then meander through the Cusichaka valley with the beautiful Veronica Mountain behind us definitely take the time to turn around and take in this site. After a lunch break we will move off the main path and go to the secluded Bamboo Forest until we reach right where three valleys converge. Here, where these great people came together from all parts, is an Inca site where we will camp in pre-made huts made from straw and sticks.
As we zig zag through the ascending trail to reach Dead Woman’s pass we will take in the lovely changes in vegetation and geology as we wander through the different ecological zones When we reach the height of the trek at 13,800 feet we will have the time to take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. We’ll descend to 11,500 FT and make camp along the Pacaymayo, or Hidden River. After this vigorous 6 mile hike we can all look forward to a good meal and comfortable night’s sleep.
By far the most beautiful day, we retrace the steps of the Incas on this original ancient stone path they made so long ago. On a clear day we are rewarded with unparalleled views of snow covered mountaintops. We will have the unique experience to explore Runkurakay and Sayamarka, ancient ruins that were once respites for the weary traveler. After a picnic lunch we will complete our 5 mile trek as we head to the marvelous campsite of Phuyupatamarka, the city above the clouds situated 12,000 ft high.
Waking up to the spectacular sunrise and amazing views of the Sacred Salkantay Mountain is the high light of the entire trek. The day’s trek is mostly downhill through lush jungle abundant with orchids, begonias, other wildflowers, and an impressive terrain created from the bedrock carving through granite. Coming to WinayWayna (Forever Young), we’ll stroll the housing complexes and agricultural terraces built into the steep hillside looking over the Urubamba.Â After a stop for lunch we’ll finish the last 4 miles of our journey through the beautiful high jungle section until reaching Inti Punku (The Gate to the Sun). From here we will be greeted with quite an impressive view of Machu Pichu. A bus will take us to our hotel in Aguas Calientes for the night.
This will be a very full day exploring the amazing area of Machu Pichu which we will reach by a 25 minute bus ride.Â We will spend three hours exploring this ancient and mysterious citadel, wandering past people and llamas alike. Your guide will try and provide some of the answers to the many questions about this unique place. We can then take a look from the distance to the inca bridge. The return to Cusco is aboard the Vistadome train savoring incomparable views.
For those interested in a more challenging hike you can climb Huayna Picchu and off to the great cave,4 hours round trip. or Machu Pichu Mountain 3 or 3.1/2 hour trip by request,because and special travel arrangements may be needed.