You'll need to get up early for your once-in-a-lifetime adventure! At 4 a.m., your guide will arrive at your Cusco hotel to pick you up. On the way to Ollantaytambo, relax or even sleep a little longer in our comfortable, private transportation. Your guide will give you your lunch to add to your daypack when you arrive at the train station. Your train leaves Ollantaytambo at 6:10 a.m., and you will have just over an hour to enjoy the scenery and eat breakfast (not included). Your hotel can provide you with a picnic breakfast to take with you, or you can pack your own breakfast.
Your guide will meet you at the famous Km104, where your hike will begin! (2,000 meters/6,560 feet above sea level) After crossing the Urubamba River on a beautiful footbridge, show your passport at the checkpoint and visit your first Inca site nearby. The first hour and a half is a gradual ascent with several shelters along the way to take a break from the sun or rain, depending on the season. You'll stop at several viewpoints along the way to get a good look at the Urubamba River. You will also travel through several microclimates, including a cloud forest, so be prepared for damp or even rain at any time of year. The next hour and a half of the hike is a slightly steeper uphill with a beautiful waterfall as your reward at the end!
Cross the bridge below the waterfall, take some photos, and you'll find yourself gazing up at the magnificent Wiay Wayna! (2,600 meters/8,500 feet above sea level) The history of these incredible Inca ruins is fascinating, and some parts are still hidden by dense jungle. You're hiking through lush subtropical jungle this close to Machu Picchu. Before the short 5 minute walk to your lunch spot, your guide will tell you all about the ruins as well as the incredible flora and fauna of this microclimate and answer any questions you may have.
Your lunch location is a covered shelter at the Wiay Wayna campground, the final campground for hikers on the four-day Inca Trail. There are outdoor handwashing stations and restrooms nearby. Enjoy your hearty, gourmet lunch while admiring the tropical flowers around the campground. When you book, please let us know if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions.
After lunch, you'll walk mostly flat to the Sun Gate, where you'll get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu! Despite the fact that the hour-long walk is a gentle rolling up and down, it concludes with a set of steep stairs carved directly into the bedrock by the Inca. You'll know you've arrived at the Sun Gate when you reach the stairs! It's a breathtaking view of Machu Picchu, so take your time and snap some photos. The last 45 minutes down from the Sun Gate offer numerous opportunities to photograph Machu Picchu from this unique vantage point. There are a few more important Inca sites between the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu, so take your time, enjoy walking in the footsteps of the Incas on the Inca Trail, and ask your guide questions about these historical sites on the last leg of your hike to Machu Picchu.
You will have time to take more photos from the viewing platforms above Machu Picchu once you arrive. You'll arrive in the afternoon, when the archeological area begins to empty of tourists, giving you the chance to take beautiful photos in the afternoon light with fewer people in your shots. Enjoy this magical experience before taking the bus down to Aguas Calientes to check into your hotel. After a delicious dinner, you will have time to walk around this picturesque little town, visit the hot springs, or simply relax in your hotel after such an exciting day.