This five-day program allows the traveler time to explore and enjoy the amazing archaeological sites, landscapes and nature along the way. While most other programs force trekkers to speed through the stunning high-altitude Inca Trail, take the time to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will camp the first three nights, enjoying great meals and sturdy tents. The hikes average six to seven hours each day, including time to explore the Inca sites we pass through and to take in the unparalleled scenery. On the fourth afternoon you will arrive at Machu Picchu after the crowds have left, and have time to explore the tranquil ruins. After a well-deserved night at a comfortable hotel, return to Machu Picchu to see the ruins in perfect morning light. In the afternoon you will return to Cusco by train. This program is specially designed to offer a more relaxed trek and a deeper understanding of Inca culture.
Day 1 - Tuesday: Chilca - Huaylabamba
A spectacular drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas takes you to Chilca, our trailhead.Crossing a footbridge, you take an undulating trek thorugh a dry cactus zone beneath soaring views to the snows of Mt Veronica, with the turbulent Urubamba river on our right. We pause on a bluff high above the Cusichaca valley for a view of imposing sculpted terraces of Llaqtapa, a massive Inca farming complex. Then we turn south and follow this side valley upstream to the village of Huayllabamba, where you camp. Lunch and Dinner.
Day 2 - Wednesday: Huaylabamba - Pacaymayo
From Huaylabamba you begin a steeper ascent, climbing the Llullucha Valley along a stream that rushes through enchanted native unca woodland. Crossing the rim of a small plateau, you abruptly find yourselves in the puna, the treeless grasslands of the high Andes. Here a strecht of open trail climbs beneath mighty crags to the first and highest pass, Warmiwanusca (4,200m/13, 776ft). From Warmiwanusca you can look back to the spectacular snowpeaks and valleys of the Huayanay massif, and ahead to a distant view of tomorrow's trail to the second pass. Descending a stepped stone trail we encounter the campsite in a clearing of the forested Pacaymayo Valley. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Day 3 - Thursday: Pacaymayo - Phuyupatamarca
You will pick up an Inca stairway and ascend again past the small Inca site of Runkuracay. As you reach the second pass the landscape opens onto spectacular new views to the snowpeaks of the Pumasillo range. You will descend again to the ruins of Sayacmarca (inaccessible town) an intricate labyrinth of houses, plazas and water channels, perched precariously on a rocky spur overlooking the Aobamba Valley. The Inca trail, now a massive butressed structure of granite paving stones, continues along the steep upper fringes of the cloud forest through a colorful riot of orchids, bromeliads, mosses and ferns. At the third pass we camp by pinnacles topped with Inca viewing platforms, overlooking the archaelogical complex of Phuyupatamarca (Cloud level town). Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Day 4 - Friday: Phuyupatamarca - Machu Picchu
You will explore the woundrous maze of Inca stone towers, fountains and stairways spilling down the mountainside at Phuyupatamarca, you will then begin a long descent through ever changing layers of cloudforest. An Inca stairway partly cut from living granite leads us finally to the site of Winay Wayna (Forever Young), the largest and most exquisite of the Inca Trail sites. In the afternoon we follow the last strecht of trail accross a steep mountainside through a lush, humid cloud forest of giant ferns andbroad leaf vegetation. Suddenly we cross the stone threshold of Intipunku (Sun Gate) and encounter an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry a backdrop of twisting gorge and forested peaks framing the magical city of Machu Picchu. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
You will walk the last hour or so down the royal flagstone walkway, past outlying shrines and buildings and through the heart of Machu Picchu. Camp is in a meadow by the water sculpted boulders of the Urubamba, near where Hiram Bingham crossed in 1911 on the way to the historic archaelogical discovery.
Day 5 - Saturday: Machu Picchu - Cuzco
Return to Machu Picchu by bus and spend the day in both guided and individual exploration, visiting the most fascinating features of this astounding and mysterious Inca settlement. Some will want to take the optional hike to the summit of Wayna Picchu for an amazing overview of the site, while others may want to investigate Machu Picchu's multitude of hidden nooks and corners. After a full on experience of this glorious monument to the Inca achievement, return to Aguas Calientes and board the return train to Cuzco. Breakfast and Lunch.
Note: Park authorities may occasionally designate different campsites than those indicated.
Your package includes:
Briefing lecture before the tour.
A licensed, well-trained, English-speaking guide.
Spacious North Face tents, and mattressThe North Face V-25 tent is a three-person expedition tent use for just two passengers to offer clients more space and comfort.
Dining tent, tables and chairs, and cooking equipment; Chef and Assistant Chef preparing healthy, hearty meals.
Lunch at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge (last day).
Well-paid and well-treated porters and staff.
Private transportation from Cusco to the start of the trail.
First Class train - the Vistadome.
Bus transportation to/from Machu Picchu.
Permit fees to the Inca trail.
Entrance tickets to the archaeological sites.
Hotel accommodation at Machu Picchu area.
High quality maps and 24-hour telephone assistance in Lima and Cusco.
Not included: meals in the cities, alcoholic beverages, extras, tips, laundry service, additional tours, insurance, airline tickets, sleeping bags, hiking boots, and other personal gear.
Although the trek is rated as moderate, we strongly suggest spending at least two nights before the start of the trek to totally adjust to the altitude.
Do some exercise before you go.
Altitude at the Inca Trail: Minimum 2430m/Maximum 4200m.
Keep hydrated. Drink Plenty of water that also helps to acclimatize to the altitude.
The paving on the trail is irregular. Please be careful with your steps.
The maximum kilogram per person: 15.43 pounds/7 kilograms which you have to store in the provided duffle bag.
The Andean weather can be unpredictable, despite the sharp divide between dry and wet seasons. The dry season runs from May to October or November (the best time for this amazing trek); the rainy season goes from December through April. Nevertheless, in the forested fringes of the Amazon basin where Machu Picchu lies, showers are not uncommon at any time of year. Therefore rain pants and jacket are essential gear that should always be in your daypack.
Please be advised that the operator of the train to Machu Picchu, Peru Rail, is announcing new regulations for the passengers traveling in all daily schedules
On boarding, an ID ( identification) and the train ticket will be required. A photocopy of the passport or other ID is accepted. If the passengers will overnight in the Machu Picchu area, they must take the original passport or ID, along with the Andean Immigration Card, so that the hotel may exonerate the sales tax of the overnight. The Andean Immigration Card is handed by the plane crew upon arrival in Peru. Only carry on or backpacks will be allowed with the following characteristics: Not more than 5 kilos or 11 pounds,not more than 62 inches (157 centimeters) (height+length+width).Backpacks or Carry On will go with the passenger, and by no means should block the access gates or the corridors.
This package is recommended from April to October, not reccomended from November to March due to rainy seasons.