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INCA TRAIL

INCA TRAIL

Overview
Destinations
Machu Picchu
Itinerary

Day 1: Inca trail day 1

With the Classic Inca Trail, your lifelong adventure begins today! At 4:30 a.m., your guide will take you up in our private vehicle from your Cusco hotel. From there, we go to Piskacucho, also known as Kilometer 82, the start of the Classic Inca Trail. We stop for breakfast in Ollantaytambo around 6:30-7:00 a.m. on the way to refuel for our first major day. (There is no breakfast included.)

We'll have some time when we arrive at KM82 (8:30 a.m.) to organize ourselves, use the toilets, apply sunscreen, insect repellent, and so on. You will hand over your duffel bag to the porters here, leaving only a compact daypack with the necessities for the walk. For further details, see our packing list. If you booked as a student, be prepared to show your passports and student ID card at the Inca Trail checkpoint. All of your permits and tickets will be with your guide.

You will cross the Vilcanota River and follow its magnificent journey at the start of the trail (2,720m/8,923ft). The first day is a gentle warm-up through the rolling 'Inca flat' landscape. The Huillca Raccay Inca Fortress, the vast and incredible Inca site of Llactapata (also known as Patallacta), the Urubamba mountain range that separates the jungle from the Andes Mountains, and the beautiful snow-capped peak of Veronica (5,860m/19,225ft), also known as W'akay Willca, are all visible. At Hatunchaca, you have your first gourmet meal, after which you just have roughly three hours of walking to camp.

Our first campsite is about 2 hours past Wayllabamba (3,000m/9,842ft), a little settlement located in the temperate green valley of the same name. Depending on the season, nighttime temperatures can drop to as low as 5oC. The dry season, which runs from May through September, is generally cooler.

Your afternoon tea and snacks will be waiting for you when you arrive at camp. Enjoy a nice beverage before settling into your tents, which will be waiting for you.

  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, snacks, afternoon tea and dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 12kms/7.5mls (about 6 hours hiking)
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Day 2: Inca trail day 2

At 5:30 a.m., your guide will greet you with a nice mug of tea or coffee. Before getting up for a great and full breakfast, enjoy your hot beverage in your sleeping bag. You begin a tough ascent towards the highest pass, Abra de Warmihuausca, commonly known as Dead Woman's Pass, at 4,200m/13,779ft, with your daypacks as light as possible. Reaching the summit on this day will give you a wonderful sense of accomplishment! After a well-deserved photo stop, you continue the descent to Pacaymayu (3,550m/11,646ft), where your lunch will be served.

You'll witness a variety of hummingbirds and other bird species as you make your way up to the pass. There will be lots of opportunities to admire the wonderful variety of local species as well as the Polylepis, or Q'ueua trees, which thrive in the spectacular cloud forest at (3,650m/11,972ft)!

You begin the second two-hour difficult ascent up Runkuraqay pass (4,000m/13,123ft) after a gourmet lunch. By 5 p.m., you've arrived at your campsite, where afternoon tea and snacks await you. During the night, the temperature at this campsite is around 4°C.

  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, snacks, afternoon tea and dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 16kms/10mls (about 9 hours hiking)
  • Difficulty: Moderate/challenging

Day 3: Inca trail day 3

Keep in mind that this is the most impressive day so far as you soar on day three! Before you get up for breakfast, your guide will wake you up at 6 a.m. with another hot mug of tea or coffee in your tent. The day begins with a gradual ascent to the Phuyupatamarca archaeological site, which means "Village in the Clouds." The third highest point of the Inca route (3,680m/12,073ft) is reached here. The mountain, canyon, and surrounding area views are breathtaking!

A little distance from the third pass is the enormous Inca site of Phuyupatamarca. After visiting this site, continue walking through the cloud forest for another 3,000 steps to the spectacular Inca site of Intipata. The temperature will rise as you descend from the highlands. You're getting close to not only Machu Picchu, but also the Amazon jungle! After visiting Intipata, you continue on to Wiay Wayna (2,680m/8,792ft), your third campground. You will only stroll for 4 to 5 hours today. By midday, you'll be in camp! The nighttime temperature is at 12o C.

The famed Inca site of Wiay Wayna, which means "Forever Young" in Quechua, is just a short walk from your campsite. It was named for a unique orchid that thrives in the area.

  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, snacks, afternoon tea and also dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 10kms/6.2mls (about 5 hours hiking)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 4: Inca trail day 4

It's time to get up at 4:00 a.m. with more hot drink and begin day 4 on the Inca Trail. This is the last leg of your journey, and you should arrive at the Sun Gate, also known as Inti Punku, by 6:00 a.m. The majestic Machu Picchu Citadel, with its mystic grandeur, will be in front of you at that point, an incredible sight for anyone to view. As the sun rises behind you, you can see sunlight spilling down like molten goal over the fortress from the Sun Gate. Finally, we descend to Machu Picchu Citadel (2,400 meters/7,872 feet). We access the citadel from the top through the "House of the Guardians" after a 40-minute trek. We then go to the control post, where we register and drop off any bulky backpacks or walking sticks. Only small bags, such as camera bags, are permitted inside the castle. Walking poles are prohibited due to the risk of damaging the stones.

Your tour will last approximately two hours and will be led by your guide. The Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows, Sun Dial, Quarry, and the House of the Inca are all included in your tour of Machu Picchu. You'll also learn about the three sectors that Machu Picchu is separated into: agricultural, residential, and religious.

Those who have booked extra hikes up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain in advance will have opportunity to enjoy the vistas on their own after your tour. You'll take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes for lunch once you've had your fill of the amazing vistas of Machu Picchu (not included). Depending on when your train leaves, you may have time to go shopping, sightseeing, or visit a museum or hot springs.

The train will return you to Ollantaytambo via the beautiful Urubamba River. The canyon is tight in Aguas Calientes, and the river has numerous excellent whitewater parts. If you gaze up high on the steep canyon wall, you can see Wiay Wayna from the train! Your driver will meet you at the railway station exit in Ollantaytambo and drive you back to your Cusco hotel in our private vehicle. You should arrive at your hotel around 19:00.

Meals included: Breakfast
Distance: 6kms/3.7mls
Difficulty: Easy

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*If you have a specific hotel we will be happy to prepare a personalized quotation for you.

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4 days
from $620 usd

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