Day 1: CUSCO- PISKACUCHO KM 82- PATALLAQTA- CUSICHAKA
Early pick-up from your hotel will begin around 5:30 am, to board our private transportation. Make sure you carry your original passport or ISIC card. Our journey from Cusco to Piskacucho takes approximately 3 hours, with many beautiful views of the Sacred Valley, the Urubamba River, Andean towns, and the Inca town of Ollantaytambo. Along the way, we will stop to stretch our legs, use the bathroom, before continuing on to Piscacucho (2,680 m / 8,790 ft). There we will meet our camp crew and the porters who will carry our belongings during our 35-mile hike. Passports in hand, we clear the official Inca Trail check point, cross a suspension footbridge across the Urubamba River, and begin our trek with a gentle climb. We have three hours on relatively level terrain as we follow the course of the river, rewarded with superb views of Mount Veronica (5,750 m). The easy walk passes through a forest of giant cactus and native bushes. At Miskay we take the trail to the left, ascending gradually to Willkaraccay high above the mouth of the Cusichaca River and across from the Inca town of Llactapata (Terrace Town). Our vantage point is from a flat bluff above the extensive site, which was built as a fort because it commands the entrance to the Cusichaca Valley. The terracing system was used during Inca times for growing maize, a prestige crop that needed irrigation in the dry highlands. After a short rest, we continue another 15 minutes down to our lunch site at Tayaroc. Our path is adorned with native flowers and bromeliads growing in the boulders along the left side, and by majestic views of the mountains in both valleys. Walking times are always approximate, depending on weather conditions, group ability and other factors. After lunch, another 3-4 hours will bring us to the village of Wayllabamba (3,000 m / 9,840 ft), followed by an uphill climb through woods and along a stream to our first camp at Ayapata (3,300 m / 10,824 ft). You will be rewarded with Te Macho and a dinner.
Maximum Altitude: 3,300 m/10,824 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2,680 m/8,790 ft
Distance Travelled: 12 km approx
Approximate Walking Time: 6-7 hours / Ascent up: 620 m
Day 2: AYAPATA- LLULLUCHAYOQ- PACAYMAYO- RUNKURAKAY
After breakfast, we depart from the Ayapata camp around 7:00 am. This is our longest day, but one rewarded with spectacular views down several valleys and up to the surrounding snow-covered peaks. We will put in a 5-hour hike to reach our lunch camp in the Pacaymayo Valley, then another 3-4 hours to our night camp at Chakicocha. We begin with a 900-m ascent up to the Warmiwanusca Pass at 4,200 m/13,776 ft. Along the way, we ascend steeply uphill through the Corralpunku Valley to the Llulluchayoc Zone, where you can see several species of birds. With luck we’ll see hummingbirds, falcons and black-chested buzzard eagles. We’ll soon enter a beautiful cloud forest, or polylepis woodland, and the treeless grasslands of the puna. From this point, you can see the highest pass ahead. The path climbs for two more hours along a large number of steps, some of them newly laid to protect the mountain from erosion. You can walk at your own pace, stopping to catch your breath whenever you like. This last hard climb brings us to Dead Woman’s Pass, the first of two that we will cross today. Once the full group reaches this pass, we take a rest break before beginning a steep descent into the Pacaymayo Valley on the other side. You’ll find that your energy returns as we proceed along this downhill segment toward a generous lunch and rest.
In the afternoon we begin a second ascent, this time to the ruins at Runcuracay, located a bit below the Runcuracay Pass (3,950 m / 12,956 ft). From the pass, in clear weather, you can look back to the Dead Woman’s Pass and forward to a breath-taking sweep of snow-capped peaks. These include the 6,000-m Pumasillo (Puma’s Claw) massif. From here, most of the trail is downhill or gently undulating until we reach the impressive ruins at Sayacmarca. After some exploration, another 20 minutes bring us to Chakicocha (3,400 m / 11,000 ft). This will be our coldest night on the trail, at around +3 degrees C in December and -4 C in June. Tea time and Dinner.
Maximum Altitude: 4,200 m/13,776 ft
Minimum Altitude: 3,000 m/9,840 ft
Distance Travelled: 16 km approx
Approximate Walking Time: 7-8 hours / Ascent up: 900 m
Day 3: CHAKICOCHA- AOBAMBA- PHUYUPATAMARKA- INTIPATA- WIÑAYWAYNA (CAMPING)
At sunrise, you will catch sight of Sayacmarca back along the trail, perched on the side of one of the many mountains that surround our campsite. Today’s hike is exceptionally beautiful because we will pass the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, Winaywayna and Intipata, and enjoy dramatic vistas of the Aobamba Valley. This stretch of the trail is of well-kept paved stone, still in great condition after many centuries. Your lungs will appreciate the fact that today’s hike is much more down than up, and significantly shorter than yesterday’s.
In getting to Phuyupatamarca (the Town of the Clouds), we will pass through the first of two short, natural tunnels in the mountains. After visiting this site, we will descend about 2,000 stone steps to Winaywayna. If you have not had any knee problems up to this point, you may after this descent. If you have had prior knee injuries, we recommend the use of trekking poles, and perhaps an extra porter, to relieve some of the stress on your joints.
Around mid-day, we will arrive at the site of Winaywayna, which we will explore before completing a short additional hike to our camp site for the night (2,700 m / 8,856 ft). After lunch, we will visit the adjacent site of Intipata with its dramatic terrances.
A number of creature comforts will be available at this camp site. There is a bar and a small gift shop, and best of all, hot showers for a small fee. There will also be many more trekkers gathering here, ready for the final hike into Machu Picchu tomorrow. We therefore recommend taking extra care of your personal belongings here. Keep an eye on your daypacks and don’t leave anything outside your tent at night. Tea time and Buffet Dinner.
Maximum Altitude: 3,750 m/ 12,300 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2,700 m/8,856 ft
Distance Travelled: 10 Km approx.
Approximate Walking Time: 5-6 hours / Descent : 700 m
Day 4: WIÑAYWAYNA- INTUPINKU
We will get up very early - around 4:00 am - to get to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate), overlooking Machu Picchu for the first rays of the sunrise. This will be a hike of 1-2 hours, with significant upward stretches in the last half. You will be hiking in darkness, so a headlamp is strongly recommended. From Inti Punku, a final easy 40-minute hike will bring us to the entrance to Machu Picchu itself. The trail ends at a series of terraces, which present classic views of the overall city. We will continue on to explore the site, with explanations provided by the trek guide(s). The formal tour will end in the late morning, after which there will be a couple of hours for more exploring on your own, or to just collapse under a tree in the central plaza area.
Additional options: If your legs, lungs and energy still hold up after our four days of hiking, it may be possible to climb the peak of Huayna Picchu, behind the main site. However, special permits are required and they are issued in limited quantities. So if you are interested, talk with your guide(s) at the initial briefing for the trek, and remind them on the third night to make arrangements. If permits are not available, you may instead hike to the Inca Bridge or climb Machu Picchu mountain, both located near the site.
In the early afternoon, lunch will be provided at “Los Viajeros” hostel down in the town of Aguas Calientes. There you will also be able to store your backpack, take a shower and/or look around the town a bit before catching the train back to Cuzco.
Accommodation: Not Included,
Maximum Altitude: 2,700 m / 8,856 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2,400 m / 7,872 ft ( Machupicchu )
Distance Travelled: 8 Km approx plus exploration of Machu Picchu
Approximate Walking Time: 6-7 hours / Descent : 300 m
Day 5: Machu Picchu - Huayna Picchu Cusco
After an early Breakfast you can walk or take the bus back up to explore Machu Picchu more fully and of course for your climb of Huayna Picchu. If you were so tired yesterday then you have plenty of time to really capture Machu Picchu today so start out early! Buses are available from 5.30am.
You can store your backpack in Hostel and make sure you get back down to Aguas Calientes at least an hour before your train departure which is genenerally at 4.43pm but you should recheck this with your guide on day 4. Grab some snacks and drinks before boarding the train as the journey back to Cusco is about 4hours!
Maximum Altitude: 2,700 m Huayna Picchu and Cusco 3400 m
Minimum Altitude: 2000 m Aguas Calientes
We recommend that you bring:
• Original passport and (ISIC student card if applicable)
• A daypack to carry your personal belongings
• (Samari provide a duffle bag for personal porter in case you hire.)
• Warm sleeping bag Minus 8ºC
• Lighter style trekking boots with good ankle support
• Trekking poles metal tips are not allowed on the trail
• Warm clothes, layers for variable temperature especially at night
• Thermal underwear can be worn in the sleeping bag or in cold conditions
• Gloves or mittens, scarf , wool socks, woolen hat for cold nights
• T-shirts and trekking pants that zipoff to short pants for comfort
• Flash light, head torch and extra batteries
• Camera and extra batteries
• Wear a hat with a broad visor to keep the sun off your face
• Sunscreen, and sunglasses
• Personal medical kit, insect repellent
• Rain Gear: a good rain jacket, rain poncho
• Toiletries, toilet paper, small towel
• 2 litre water bottle, disposable plastic bottles are forbidden in Machupicchu site
• Water purifying tablets optional, since we provide boiled water
• Extra money for drinks and tips in soles (porters, cooks and guides.)
• Emergency money at least 200-350 extra soles.
Note: Offer valid since March 1st until January 26