The Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu is the most popular trek in South America: It combines a gratifying physical challenge with the opportunity to visit magnificent Inca remains only reachable by foot in the midst of unparallel natural beauty. High passes with breathtaking vistas of surrounding snow peaks and mountains filled with lush tropical vegetation joined by a well-preserved cobblestone trail that is a unique expression of Inca engineering. Over 30 years’ experience in operating Inca trails have polished this itinerary to become what we consider the best way to experience the Inca Trail.
At 7:30 a.m. in the morning, we will pick you by private vehicle from your hotel for a comprehensive Sacred Valley tour the day before you enter the Inca Trail. This is the natural and most efficient way to get close to the trail head while getting acclimatized and familiar with Inca trails. We will drive over the “Ccorao” pass above Cusco to descend on a winding road to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here we will hike on Inca trails trough the magnificent Inca citadel of PISAC considered as one of the outstanding Inca remains because of the quality of the stonework and breath-taking location on a mountain saddle overlooking the Sacred Valley. After a 1 1/2hour visit and hike, we will drive down the mountain for a short visit to the colonial town of the same name with a quick stop at their famous Indian handicraft market. Afterwards we will drive following the Urubamba River downstream to Urubamba city; here we will visit the local food market and have lunch at a local restaurant nearby. Afterwards we will visit Ollantaytambo, considered the most authentic living Inca town. This town has been continuously inhabited since Inca times until the present, conserving its original urban layout and stone walled homes. A guided walking tour through the extensive ruins and cobblestone paved narrow streets will make you feel like you are travelling back in time. From here, we will travel for 40 minutes on a mostly unpaved road to our beautifully situated permanent campsite “Camp Km. 82” set on the banks of the Urubamba River, very close to the entrance to the trail at Km. 82. Located at 2700 meters above sea level (8,900 feet), it offers indoor plumbing, hot showers and a firewood sauna. From the camp, we also enjoy panoramic views of the snow-capped Mt. Veronica (20,275′). This private campsite is the resting point before all our Inca Trail treks and is a wonderful place to relax and prepare for the challenge ahead.
After a nutritious breakfast, you will be introduced to our crew and Porters, many of them will be wearing their traditional clothingbefore they change into their trekking outfit. A short walk over to the Inca trail control station, to quickly go through the Inca Trail entrance control procedure and begin our trek following the left bank of the Urubamba River. After a couple of hours of gentle hiking, we reach a viewpoint to enjoy the extensive Inca ruins of Llactapata. Your Guide will share an explanation about this interesting site and we continue hiking, this time away from the Urubamba River ascending and following the Cusichaca River towards the village of Huayllabamba, we have a picnic lunch nearby and continue ascending to our 2nd campsite right below the remains of the Inca settlement of Paucarcancha: a small pristine set of remains nicely restored you can visit and soak in the magic surrounding it. You will find your tents set up and ready for you. Time to rest before we are served a complete dinner and retire for the night.
Total distance: 12 km (7,47 miles)
Estimated walking time: 5-6 hours
Maximum altitude point: 3,000 m (9,840 ft)
Campsite altitude: 3,000 m (9,840 ft)
After enjoying the beauty of this special campsite and a nutritious breakfast, we begin hiking on a shortcut trail above the village of Huayllabamba. We register at the Park’s 2nd control station (now in the protected area) to continue on an ascending trail with increasingly rewarding views. We will hike through an interesting cloud forest of native trees before we reach our lunch spot at “Llullucchapampa”. We have lunch enjoying views of the far away Huayllanay Glacier on the opposite side of the valley below. Energized with lunch we will slowly gain altitude and tackle our highest pass known as “Warmiwañusta” or Dead Woman’s Pass (4,200 meters above sea level). We’ll want to take time for a rest and shoot the classical pictures before we begin descending a winding trail to reach our campsite at Pacaymayu about 1 ½ hours away down in the valley.
Total distance: 11 km (6,84 miles)
Estimated walking time: 7-8 hours
Maximum altitude point: 4,200 m (13,776 ft)
Campsite altitude: 3,580 m (11,742 ft)
An early nourishing breakfast bolsters our energy for a day’s hike, this time on the original cobblestone paved trail left by the Incas. We will appreciate the lovely changes in vegetation and geology as we pass through different ecological zones. We climb up and over the second-high pass at 3,950 Mts. On a clear day, our efforts will be rewarded with stunning views of the snow-covered peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the lush valley vegetation. Now we can be certain that we are on the original Inca Trail, masterful Inca engineering is today’s highlight as we discover the Inca remains of Sayajmarca at 3,640 Mts., explore them, have a picnic lunch nearby and continue hiking on the incredible cobblestone trail. You will notice outstanding retaining walls that keep the trail leveled, you will also walk through a tunnel and enjoy exotic flora and fauna before we reach the incomparable site of Phuyupatamarca, THE PLACE ABOVE THE CLOUDS. At 3,680 meteres above sea level, this will be our last campsite on the trail. We have enough time to soak up some of the magical charm of this marvelous campsite and you will know why we consider this a very special place.
Total distance: 10 km (6,21 miles)
Estimated walking time: 5-6 hours
Maximum altitude point: 3,950 m (12,956 ft)
Campsite altitude: 3,700 m (12,136 ft)
We will rise early to watch the sun come up with the exiting idea in mind that today we will reach Machu Picchu, the lost City of the Incas. After breakfast, we say good-bye to our crew and porters and we have a chance to voluntarily tip them. Most of them will take a detour from the main trail and head to where they catch the return train to go home. After breakfast, we hike on lush high jungle terrain for a couple of hours. We go down a clear stone paved trail with numerous incredible stairways, a small tunnel and several viewing terraces. We will reach the Inca remains of Wiñay Wayna (FOREVER YOUNG) to visit this outstanding Inca site and have lunch nearby. We continue on to Inti Punku (THE GATE TO THE SUN). From here, we first see the spectacular city of Machu Picchu below us. After recuperating our breath and taking memorable pictures we`ll quickly descent along the wide royal Inca road to enter the mysterious citadel. Here we will have a tour in detail of the site at a less crowded time of the day and enjoy wondering in the midst of its eternal beauty. Take the bus down to the train station to catch the return train to Cusco (Option of a first class train that includes a delicious dinner). Expect to be at your hotel in Cusco at 11 p.m. B and Box lunch.
Total distance: 11 km (6,84 miles)
Estimated walking time: 5 hours
Maximum altitude point: 3,700 m (12,136 ft)
Machupicchu altitude: 2,400 m (7,872 ft)
*Note: Campsites may vary
5D4N Classic Inca trail USD $850.00 (Required minimum 2 participants to open group. Single traveller please contact us)
INCA TRAIL DISCOUNTS
All documents needed to obtain discounts must be scanned (clean enlarged copy please) and emailed to us before we purchase permits (at the time of booking) otherwise you will not be able to obtain the discount.
There are a variety of train departure times and prices. We reserve return trains for all our passengers as a precaution but you are welcome to book/buy your own if you prefer. We will reserve what we consider the most convenient return train for you and avoid the ones that pollute the air with extensive black smoke. We will bill you trains separately in your Final Balance. (Price is the same as offered in the train web-site plus a 6% Credit Card commission). If you prefer, you can choose to purchase your train tickets directly (please let us know if you do so we can cancel the reservations we make). You can obtain your train tickets at the following web sites: www.incarail.com.pe, www.perurail.com.
NOTE: We are presently booking all our Inca Trail passengers on the Inca Rail Voyager return train leaving M. Picchu at 7pm. You can expect to arrive to your hotel in Cusco at about 10:30pm.
ADD ANY OF THESE OPTIONALS TO ENHANCE AND COMPLETE YOUR VISIT