Many are the routes that lead to Machu Picchu but none of them is quite like the Inca trail, the most famous pathway in the Americas. After flying to Cusco, which you explore along with other ancient Inca sites in the Sacred Valley, you begin a four-day odyssey high in the Andes, crossing forests and thick mists, climbing thousand-year-old stone steps and discovering the sites of ruined Inca fortresses and cities, while enjoying majestic views. The reward comes with the first, exciting sighting of Machu Picchu from the Inti Punku, followed by a tour of the citadel itself.
Llaqtapata: Historic Inca town in the Kusichaca Valley at the beginning of the trail. The site features three clear sections: religious, residential and agricultural.
Warmiwañuska: The highest point on the trail offers views that are as impressive as the emotions you experience when you reach this ravine.
Runkurakay: See the ruin of a small Inca checkpoint, which boasts magnificent views.
Sayacmarca: Visit these enigmatic Inca ruins, whose former function remains a mystery.
Phuyupatamarka: This fascinating ‘town in the clouds’ has a still-functioning irrigation and fountain system.
Wiñay Wayna: These vertiginous Inca sites show houses over farming terraces.
Machu Picchu: The lost city of the Incas is hidden on top of an Andean peak, offering views not only of the mountains, but also of the Inca past.
A transportation service awaits your arrival at the Cusco Airport to transfer you to your Sacred Valley hotel. On the way, stop and visit the Inkariy Museum, bringing pre-Columbian Peruvian cultures to life. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel. Overnight at selected hotel in Sacred Valley.
Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy today at leisure. Optional activity: Sacred Valley tour. Overnight at selected hotel in Sacred Valley. Breakfast included.
Pick-up from the hotel at a very early hour followed by a transfer to Piskacucho, the starting point the Inca trail, with a stop en route at Ollantaytambo for 15 or 20 minutes. On arrival in Piskacucho, begin the hike to our camp in Wayllabamba. Lunch is served along the way. At about the halfway point is the first archaeological site of the trail, Llaqtapata ('High Town' in Quechua) which was a produce warehouse complex during Inca times. Continue to Wayllabamba at 3,000 metres above sea level, which is located in a beautiful valley surrounded by wooded peaks. Dinner is served in the camp. Overnight in the camp tent on a full-board basis.
Rise early and enjoy breakfast in the camp before beginning the most demanding section of the hike, with a gradient of 1,200 metres. Reach Llulluchapampa after a couple of hours and rest for a few minutes, before continuing to Warmiwañuska (‘Dead Woman’s Pass’), the highest point along the trail at 4,205 metres. Rest for a few minutes before descending to Pacaymayo, which is at 3,590 metres, to camp for the night. In this area, deers can be found and, with a bit of luck, spectacled bears. Overnight in the camp tent on a full-board basis.
Today is the longest and the most impressive route due to the four archaeological complexes and the cloud forest you encounter along the way. There is an initial ascent of 360 metres but from here on in, it’s all downhill, with the night spent in camp at 2,700 metres. The first stop of note is at Runkurakay (‘Oval Fortress’) which was an Inca checkpoint. Continue the hike in the shadow of snowcapped peaks towards Sayacmarca (‘Inaccessible Town’) stopping to explore the ruins of this mysterious Inca outpost. Head back on the trail, heading to Chaquikocha, where we stop for a reinvigorating lunch. At about this point, the vegetation becomes more tropical. Stop at the Inca ruins of Phuyupatamarka (‘Town in the clouds’) and then traipse through a ‘cloud forest’ towards the camp at Wiñay Wayna (‘Forever Young’). Overnight in the camp tent on a full-board basis.
A very early start to the day, which marks the culmination of the Inca trail at Machu Picchu. Arrive at Inti Punku (‘Sun Gate‘) in time to witness sunrise over the citadel. A two-hour guided tour explains the origins behind this awe-inspiring citadel and the most prominent landmarks. Return to Aguas Calientes for lunch at the famous Café Inkaterra a beautiful thatched-roof restaurant hemmed in between the railway and a mountain. Return to Cusco by train in the evening. Overnight at selected hotel in Cusco. Breakfast and lunch included.
Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy the day at leisure. Optional activity: Cusco city tour. Overnight at selected hotel in Cusco. Breakfast included.
Pick up from your hotel at the established time and transfer to the airport. Breakfast included.
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