This is one of the longest days, but the natural beauty more compensates. We’ll pass by archaeological centers, intact Inca trail, tunnels, a wide diversity of microclimates, inter-Andean valleys, and cloud forest full of birds and hundreds of kinds of orchids.
After breakfast, we’ll gradually climb up to Runkuracay, an archaeological site half way up the mountain with a strategic view towards the valley. After our visit here, we’ll finish the last climb to the second highest pass on the trail, the Runkuracay Pass (3,800m – 12467feet), where we’ll see how the cloud forest spreads like a green blanket between the valleys. From the pass, we’ll descend towards the valley until we arrive at the next archaeological site of Sayacmarca (3,600m – 11811feet), known as “The Dominant Town” due to its commanding position above the surrounding valleys. We continue descending to our lunch spot at Chakicocha, and afterwards hike through unimaginable scenery, with countless orchid species, tunnels and foundations as deep as 10 meters. This splendid trail takes us over the third pass of the route and down to the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca (3,665m – 12024feet), from where you’ll see Machu Picchu Mountain and the Vilcanota River, valley and glaciated mountain range. If the weather cooperates, we’ll also see Salkantay (6,274m -20583 feet), the most sacred mountain of the region.
The trail zigzags down many staircases from Phuyupatamarca through thick vegetation towards Intipata and Wiñaywayna (2,650m – 8694 feet), two Inca sites near Machu Picchu but with their own impressive architecture. We’ll spend our last night of camping in the pleasant, humid climate of Wiñaywayna. This is also our last night with the cooks and porters.