The Inca Trails is called in Quechua “the Inka Language” Qhapaq Ñan - refers to the network of trails) were without a doubt is one of the marvels of Tahuantinsuyo, according to the Peruvian historian, José Antonio del Busto, who explains that the Inca “King” Huayna Capac most increased the network of trails in order to quickly mobilize his army.
The trails varied in quality and size, they could be 6 to 8 meters wide on the coast but, in the mountains the paving was only one meter wide but the path was audaciously steep and climbed over the difficult Andean mountains.
Meals: Lunch, snacks, afternoon tea and dinner.
Accommodation: Camping facilities.
Distance: 11kms/6.8 mls (6 hours more or less of hiking)
Walking Time: Approximately 6 hours (including picnic lunch in route)
Walk and Terrain: Walk, canter on open roads, some steep ascending
Trekking Km 82 “Piscacucho to Wayllabamba”
Today begins your adventure of a lifetime; We will pick you up from your hotel in our private van very early in the morning at 5:30am. You will be transferred in one hour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where our van going to take us to Piskacucho, which is called kilometer 82, where the Classic Inca Trail begins. On the way, we stop for breakfast in Ollantaytambo at 6:30-7am to load up on energy for our start of the trail. (Breakfast is not included). Upon arrival at kilometer 82 at 11:30am, we will have some time to organize ourselves, At the Inca Trail first control point be ready to show your entrance tickets, passports and (if paying a student rate) your student card.
At the start of the trail (2720m/8923ft) we cross the Vilcanota River and follow its route to the right. The first day is relatively easy, a warm-up along the Inca flat terrain. There are great views of the Incan Fortress (‘Huillca Raccay’), the vast and incredible Inca site of Llactapata, (officially called ‘Patallacta’), and the beautiful snow-capped peak of ‘W’akay Willca’ (5860m/19225ft) known in books as Veronica. Our first campsite is in Wayllabamba (3000m/9842ft) in the temperate green valley with the same name. Temperatures at night are around 5ºC depending on the month.
During the day, we will enjoy spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains Veronica, (5,860m/19,337ft), the lush green valley around us and a myriad of flora and fauna.
Meals: Breakfast, water, lunch, snacks, afternoon tea and Dinner.
Accommodation: Camping facilities.
Distance: 16kms/10mls (9 hours more or less of hiking time)
After waking up at 5 to 5:30am and enjoying a hot breakfast, we start a steep ascent towards the highest pass, abra de Warmihuañusca or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ at 4200m/13779ft. On this day, you will feel a real sense of achievement upon reaching the top! After a well-deserved rest, we begin the descent to where we stop for lunch, which is located at Pacaymayu (3550m/11646ft).
On our way up to the pass, we will be able to see an array of hummingbirds and a combination of other species of bird life. There will be plenty of time to appreciate the incredible variety of native plants and the ´Polylepis´ or Q’ueuña trees which grow in the astonishing cloud forest located at 3650m/11972ft! After lunch, begins the second two-hour steep climb to Runkuraqay pass (almost 4000m/13,123ft). We arrive at our campsite by 5 pm. Temperatures at this campsite are around 4ºC during the night.
Meals: Breakfast, water, lunch, snacks, afternoon tea and dinner.
Accommodation: Camping facilities and hot showers.
Distance: 10kms/6.2mls (5 hours more or less of hiking)
This is the most impressive day so far; keep this in mind as you ascend on day three! We wake up for breakfast at 6am and start the day with a gentle climb to visit the archaeological site of ‘Phuyupatamarca’ (meaning ‘Town in the Clouds’). Here we reach the third highest point on the Inca trail (3680m/).
The views of the mountains, canyons and surrounding areas are spectacular! The Inca site of ‘Phuyupatamarca’, is located a few minutes’ walk from the third pass. After visiting this site, we continue walking down 3000 stairs through the cloud forest to the impressive agricultural Incan site of ‘Intipata. After taking some time to visit this site, we continue until we arrive at our third campsite Wiñay Wayna. (2680m/8792ft). Today, we will only walk about 4 to 5 hours.
We arrive at camp by lunchtime! Temperatures during the night are about 12º C. A short walk from our campsite is the famous Incan site of ‘Wiñay Wayna’ (‘Forever Young’). Even if you are feeling tired after your day’s trek, it´s a moment you cannot miss, the most impressive site on the Inca trail.
Distance: 8.9kms/5.5mls “By Bus in 25 minutes”
At around 4:00am it´s time to wake up, have breakfast and start day 4 on the Inca trail to get to Machu Picchu on time. This is the final part of your journey, arriving by 6:00am to reach Inti Punku or The Sun Gate. At that point, the majestic Machu Picchu Citadel is in front of us with its intense beauty – an incredible sight for all to see. The reality of what the Inca people must have encountered on their taxing journey to this expansive temple of Machu Picchu.
At this point, we walk downhill towards the Machu Picchu Citadel. (2400m/7872 ft.) After walking 40 minutes, we enter the citadel from the top through the “House of the Guardians”. From there we proceed to the control point where we register and leave our belongings. Your professional guide will direct you throughout the astounding ruins and its main streets.
You can wander around the town squares as well as climb the intricately carved stairways made from stone. Machu Picchu is considered as the world’s spiritual center by esoteric wisdom. Once the guided tour is over, you will have free time to explore the site on your own.
You will also have time to indulge in a few of the following activities on your own if you choose (not included in the price)
Climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain and appreciate the beauty and magnificence of Machu Picchu from there.
Other optional activities in Aguas Calientes include a visit to the new local museum or bathe in the hot springs.
Back to Cusco: You will descend to Aguas Calientes by bus (included) and later board the Expedition train to the Ollantaytambo Train Station “Train departure time can vary according train schedule and availability”. In Ollantaytambo Train station you will meet our private van and be transferred to your hotel in Cusco.
*** Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountains hike depends on availability; please let us know if you want to add one of these extra hikes at the time of your booking.
*** We only take ITEP EcoTravel clients in our vans / cars – We do not use public transport.
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Great Trek! The views were spectacular and worth the hike. If unable to adapt to the altitude the guide will find an alternative option with first aid services at hand. They have vegetarian options for the meals provided. You learn about the culture and the experience is one of a kind! I Will be back to try the other routes! Jorge did a great job!amazing guide.
Good was amazing, we even had cake! Jorge was full of good information and made it great tour
Did the Private Inca Jungle excursion with some adjusted camping options and loved the areas where we camped (or tried to camp as well). Flexibility is the name of the game in those mountains and this team knows how to handle it. They led a great excursion and taught us a lot about Peru and the Andean Mountains where we were cutting through. All good things for this company! Awesome adventure.