The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful treks in the world, and one of the few that remains from ancient times. The trail leads to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, the final destination of many Incas' pilgrimage in days gone by. A sense of magic and mystery surrounds Machu Picchu and every hiker will feel this sensation in a very tangible way.
Along the way you will see many Inca ruins. Your guide will introduce you to the history and culture of the Incas, as well as the amazing building and architectural techniques they used and that have withstood many earthquakes over hundreds of years.
Dramatic scenery, soaring mountain peaks, heavenly views above the clouds....around every mountain corner a breathtaking scene awaits you. The scenery changes every day; the type of vegetation you will encounter on your first day is completely different from the last day of your journey.
The Inca Trail is inside the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, where biologists have recorded over 350 species of orchids and ornithologists have recorded over 400 species of birds, including the biggest hummingbird in the world (Patagonia gigas) known as the giant hummingbird. The spectacled bear which has facial coloring that resembles eyeglasses and is also known as the andean bear, can also sometimes be seen by those fortunate enough to spot it.
These are some of the reasons why we highly recommend the Inca Trail to photographers, nature lovers, and those who enjoy an adventure and want to experience the most unique hike in the world.
We are looking forward to taking you on a memorable adventure.
DAY 1: WARM-UP DAY TO HUAYLLABAMBA (L) (D)
We start off with an early morning pick up from your hotel in Cusco. From there we take a three hour drive through beautiful villages and towns along the way to the starting point of the trek at PISCACUCHO, also known as Km. 82. Here you will have a chance to purchase last minute supplies and equipment such as bottled water, rubber tips for your walking poles and coca leaves, in case you did not get them beforehand.
Our hike starts along a trail surround by cacti and a dry forest, with a view of WAQAYHILLCA (NEVADO VERONICA), the tallest mountain along the Urubamba mountain range. After a couple of hours of hiking and a stop for lunch, we enter the CUSICHACA VALLEY where the vegetation becomes jungle like. We can expect to arrive at our camp by 4 pm with a delicious dinner served by our chefs at 7pm.
DAY 1 QUICK FACTS:
Distance covered: 12 km (7.5 miles)
Time: 7 to 8 hours
Lowest elevation: 2700m (8,858 feet)
Highest elevation: 3000m (10,168 feet)
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Inca ruins: Today you will see the ruins of Q´anabamba and Willkarakay
from afar and stop to visit the ruins of Patallaqta.
DAY 2: CHALLENGING DAY THROUGH DEAD WOMAN'S PASS (B) (L) (D)
You will once again have an early wake-up call in the morning, however, we hope the nice cup of coca tea served to you in your tent by one of the crew will make up for it. You will also be given a bowl of warm water to wash your face and brush your teeth before having a delicious breakfast, after which we will start our hike around 7am. This day is especially demanding because of the altitude and the ascent to the highest point on the Inca Trail.
The first two hours of our hike winds through a high altitude jungle, a cloud forest and grasslands with a spectacular view of MOUNT WAYANAY. Once we reach the top of Dead Woman's Pass at WAMIWAÑUSQA (4,215m), we descend to the campground at PAQAYMAYO (3650m) where we will stay for the night.
DAY 2 QUICK FACTS:
Distance covered: 11km (7 miles)
Time: 7 to 8 hours
Lowest elevation: 3000m (9,842 feet)
Highest elevation: 4215m (13,776 feet)
Level of difficulty: Demanding (nothing is impossible in the land of the Incas)
Inca ruins: Seen in the distance
DAY 3: HISTORY LESSONS AND A FULL DAY OF HIKING (B) (L) (D)
On Day 3 we undertake the longest stretch on the Inca Trail, but in return, you will have amazing views, see Inca ruins and the most beautiful orchids along the way. We start with a one hour ascent to the second pass on the Inca Trail RUNKURAQAY (3950m). After taking some time to rest here, we descend to explore the Inca ruins at SAYAQMARCA before we head to our lunch camp. After lunch, we start our long descent towards the camp at WIÑAYHUAYNA where we will spend the last night.
DAY 3 QUICK FACTS:
Distance covered: 16km (9,941 miles)
Time: 8 to 10 hours
Lowest elevation: 3650m (11,975 feet)
Highest elevation: 3950m (12,959 feet)
Level of difficulty: Moderate to demanding
Today you will explore the ruins of Sayaqmarca
as well as Wiñayhuayna.
DAY 4: MACHU PICCHU (B)
We leave WIÑAHUAYNA earlier than any other day of the trek, and hike for one and a half hours to the Sun Gate, where we will have our first view of the sacred city of the Incas, Machu Picch. Once we arrive we will have a three hour guided tour of the most important sites in Machu Picchu. Afterwards you will have time to enjoy the amazing ruins at your leisure.
When you are ready to leave, a bus will take you down to AGUAS CALIENTES, where a farewell lunch with the rest of the group before taking the train back to Cusco will mark the end of your hike.
DAY 4 QUICK FACTS:
Distance covered: 6km (3.7 miles)
Time: 5 to 7 hours: 2 hour trek and 3 hour tour in Machu Picchu
Lowest elevation: 2400m (7,874 feet)
Highest elevation: 2700m (8,858 feet)
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Inca ruins: Machu Picchu