Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Day 01: Cusco - Hatun Chaka
We will be picking you up from your hotel at 4:00am, from there we will travel by private transportation to Piscacucho or Km 82 (2,800 m/9,184 ft), a community located on the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco –Machu Picchu railroad. Starting at this point, we cross the bridge and walk along the left shore of the Urubamba River (quechua language: Wilkamayu wich means Sacred River) as it flows north-west along the Sacred Valley. On the way to the first camp site we can see one of the most beautiful glacier mountains, local people called Wakay Willka (5,835 m/11,139 ft) wich means Sacred Tears. Following the trail along a flat terrain, walking for around 2 hours, we arrive in Miskay (2900 m/9,512 ft) a tiny local comunity where you can share with local people the Local Beer (Corn Beer or Chicha Beer), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the Inca City of Llaqtapata which means Town on a Hillside in Quechua (2800 m/ 9,184 ft), this city served as the local center for agricultural administration, it has more than 100 buildings organized in Inca kanchas, streets and squares. A few meters down is a hermitage called Pulpituyoq. We continue trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca River, gradually climbing for about 3 hours, on the way we can watch inkas farming terraces, local people are still using some of them until we reach our first campsite in the Hatun Chaka community (3,000 m/9,676 ft). From this camp site we will see spectacular views of the Alto Urubamba Mountain Range on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive La Veronica glacier reigns at 5,835 m/19,139 ft . Not to mention the diversity of wild flora and fauna that can be found all along the valley.
Hiking time: 6 hours
Day 02: Hatun Chaka - Pacaymayo
We wake up at around 5:30 am, and after a big breakfast we leave Hatun Chaka, 25 minutes hiking we get Wayllabamba Village to begin the most difficult part of the trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km. Along this climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). On the way to the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman´s Pass) 4,200 m/13,780 ft , we see domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at that altitude. We also cross an area of the so called mountain forest, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows and the Andean bear, which is also called the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctus Ornatus). Also we can see local trees such as Queuñas, Pisonay, Chachacomo, Unka , they are much strongest than the eucalyptus tree (from Australia) We advise that on this day specially, your day pack is well stocked with candies, chocolates and coca leaves that will keep your sugar level high, and help with altitude sickness. Immediately after the pass, we descend into the Pacaymayo Valley (3,600 m/11,808 ft), Camp Site. On the way down we can see nice mountains, big water falls and quite places to meditate.All the afternoon to relax and explore some places.
Hiking time: 8 hours
Day 3: Pacaymayo - Phuyupatamarca
This day is very exciting but also the most impressive and the most interesting, due the number of archaeological sites that we visit and learn about Archaeology, History, Religion, Flora and Fauna from our Tour Guide. From Pacaymayo we climb to the second pass, the Abra de Runkurakay (3,950 m/12,956 ft). Half way up, we visit the first archaeological site Runkuraqay , at 3,750 m/12,300 ft (it consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower . It was discovered by explorer Hiram Bingham in 1915, have only a single north-facing entrance and exit.This site was a Look out Station on the way to the sacred city of Machu Picchu, from this place we can see the first pass Abra Warmiwañuska, Water Falls located and the second camp site , . After going over the Second Pass (Runkuraqay Pass), we descend towardsYanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud-forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3,624 m/11,874 ft). It means Innaccessible Town This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals. Hiram Bingham named the site Cedrobamba in 1915 after discovering a cedar wood forest nearby. it was renamed in 1941 by antrhoplogist Paul Fejos to reflect the site more accurately. Continuing up an easy climb, enjoyind spectacular olaces , jungle, mountains, glaciars, beautiful flora and fauna mixing with a quite landscape, we arrive to our Camp Site Abra de Phuyupatamarca (3,600 m/11,808 ft). From this place , we have spectacular views to watch La Veronica glacier ( in quechua Language: Wakay Willka which means Sacred Tears - 5,875 m/19,270 ft), for local people a Sacred Mountain in all the Sacred Valley , Salkantay glacier (in Quechua language: Wild Mountain – 6,285 m/628520,615 ft , and the famous Machu Picchu Mountain – Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Hiking time: 7 hours
Day 04 : Phuyupatamarca - Puente
Ruinas ( Close to Aguas Calientes
This day is very relaxing and many chances to take beautiful pictures. From our camp site we have a nice Sunrise from where we can see La Veronica and Salkantay Glaciers. On the way down , we visit Phuyupatamarca Complex, it means Town above the clouds , beacuse at nigth the clouds settle in thenravines and the complex rises majestelly above them. However, at sunrise the clouds disappear.Along this way we can appreciate the magnitude of the Incas´ ancient craft, by walking along paths semi-detached from the mountain, and seeing rocks that fill up ravines in perfect order, saving the trail from the multileveled Andean geography. We go through an Inca tunnel to later arrive at the aforementioned pass and down to the complex of the same name. This is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. From above, one can observe a sophisticated sacred complex made up of water fountains with solid foundations, and also impressive views of the Urubamba River valley and the long descending stone steps along which we will continue on to Wiñaywayna Complex, it means ¨Forever Young¨ (2,700 m/8,856 ft). Here we can visit one of the most beautiful archaeologycal site before getting Machu Picchu . It was an important ownship for the inkas, it was divided into four distict sectors.There is the agricultural area with terraces, the religious or ritual area, the tower area which boasts some of the best architecture and the urban sector. We have Luch here. On the afternoon a nice hiking without people, watching the Urubamba Valley. An hour later and climb to Intipunku, or The Sun Gate. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, we may see the sunrise over the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. From Intipunku (Sun Gate: 2,720 m/8,922 ft), we descend into Machu Picchu, and 45 minutes later we enter the citadel from the highest point through the ¨House of the Guardians¨. We have a chance to see theSunset in Machu Picchu City. Then we are taking a bus to our Camp Site: Puente Ruinas (closet o Aguas Calientes Village, very quite place).
Hiking time: 6 hours
Day 05: Machu Picchu - Cusco
We take an early bus to Machu Pichu, we are one of the first people who visit the city , having this chance to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain (the second Challenge in this trail) , where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machu Picchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it, or the Temple of the Moon and the spectacular Inca Bridge (restored). Exploring the Machu Picchu City (Pilgrimage City), we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in the thermal baths. From here we take the train to the city of Cusco, where we will arrive after nightfall.
Transport: bus and train