The Inca Trail is one of the most famous and demanding hikes in the world. Since the rediscovery of MachuPicchu in 1911, adventurers from all over the globe have come to Peru to experience the rich history and beautiful scenery of the Inca Trail.
The day you arrive in Cusco, we will meet with you at your hostel/hotel to introduce ourselves and finalize trek payments. It is important that we recieve this payment in advance so we can purchase all food for the trek. The night before the trek, you will have your pre-departure briefing. At this meeting we will discuss the final preparations for the trip and answer any remaining questions.
Of the hike is fairly easy and serves as training for the days to follow. Our hikers are picked up early from their hotels (5:30am – 6:00am) and travel by bus through the pretty villages of Chinchero, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo for a two and a half hour scenic trip to kilometer 82, the start of the trail (2550m/8269ft) Our buses normally stop at the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley for about an hour to give passengers the opportunity to have breakfast.
At km 82, our hikers cross the Vilcanota River and embark on this unforgettable journey. The hikers will be amazed by the great views of the Cordillera Oriental and the snow-capped peak of Veronica. We will start our trek not far from where Hiram Bingham returned in 1915 to begin his re-discovery of the Inca Trail. From here, the trail is flat for almost two hours until we get to our first Inca site, Llactapata. On our way we will pass through the resting point of Mescay, where there are bathroom facilities. The path then follows the left bank of the Cusichaca River to the small village of Wayllabamba (3000m/9900ft), where we will camp for the night.
Is perhaps the most challenging day of the trek because we will be hiking 5 hours uphill. In the morning, we will pass by Llullucha Pampa, the last place along the trail that you can buy snacks and drinks. We will continue hiking uphill for two hours until we arrive to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass. (4200m/13779ft) this is the highest point of the Inca Trail. Once at the top, our hikers can celebrate having completed the most difficult section of the trail and can take some beautiful pictures of the scenery. We will then start to go down for one and a half hours until reach our second campsite at Pacaymayo (3600m/11880ft), where there are bathroom facilities.
We will depart from Pacaymayo to Wiñaywayna. This day we will walk for almost 15 kilometers and see four Inca sites along the way. Many of our hikers say that this is the longest but easiest day. From Pacaymayo, it takes about an hour to climb up to the ruins of Runkuracay. These small circular ruins occupy a commanding position overlooking the Pacaymayo Valley below. Another 45 minute hike will bring us to the top of the second pass (3900m/12870ft). Descending from the pass, the first ten minutes is steep and you must be careful. This section of the trail is beautiful, as the path crosses high stone embankments and deep precipices. After about one hour from the second pass we will arrive at Sayacmarca by way of a superbly designed stone staircase.
The name Sayacmarca means ‘Inaccessible Town’ and describes the position of the ruins perfectly, protected on three sides by sheer cliffs. From then on, the path descends into a magnificent cloud-forest full of orchids, hanging mosses, tree ferns and flowers. On the way, we will pass through an impressive Inca tunnel carved into the rock. The trail then climbs up to the third pass (3550m/11550ft). From here, there are spectacular views of several snow-capped peaks, including MachuPicchu Mountain and the town of Aguas Calientes. The Inca site Phuyupatamarca is located a short walk from the third pass and after visiting the site, we will continue walking down over 2000 steps all the way to our final campsite, Wiñay Wayna (2750m/8910ft). Wiñay Wayna is carved deep into the hillside above the Urubamba River. Meaning “forever young” in Quechua, Wiñay Wayna is a picturesque campsite that offers hot showers and this will be the final opportunity we have to thank our porters for their tremendous efforts at the tipping ceremony, as they will descend downhill the next morning while we continue on to our final goal.
On our final day, we will wake up before dawn and prepare for one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of our lives, arriving at MachuPicchu. We will leave the last campsite at about 5:30am, and after an hour of walking we will arrive to ‘Inti Punku’ (‘The Sun Gate’) at 2730m/8792ft. From Inti Punku, you will be amazed by your first dramatic view of the sun rising over MachuPicchu.
After soaking in the view, we will walk down the final part of the trail and approach the ancient city, where we will be able to celebrate our accomplishment and take unforgettable pictures together.
We will descend to the main entrance, where we can leave our backpacks, go to the bathroom, and enjoy a quick coffee. After our break, we will re-enter MachuPicchu for a walking tour of the mysterious city, followed by four hours of free time for your own exploration of the site.
In your free time, you can choose to climb for 45 minutes to the peak of Huayna Picchu (2750m/8940ft). To climb this mountain, you must first buy tickets, which are available on line in this website http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/. The tickets for Huayna Picchu are limited to 400 people per day (200 from 7am to 9 am and 200 from 10 am to 12pm).
After enjoying our final hours at MachuPicchu, you will take the bus down to the town of Aguas Calientes, where we will meet for lunch. You will then be given your train tickets for the return trip to Cusco.
Our four-day group service trek is the most frequent Inca Trail trek that we offer. This service is perfect for small groups of friends, couples, and individuals.