A hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu can be one of the most wonderful trekking experiences in South America. This trek takes you through enchanting scenery with different landscapes and climates and arriving at the spectacular city of the Incas: Machu Picchu. However - the popularity of the trail has been its onw demise. Too many trekkers have contributed to the erosion and general deterioration of the trail. Things have improved a little since the Peruvian Government has started to impose strict regulations on how many people will be allowed on the trail at any one time. But this has also led to dissappointment as spaces are quickly filled, usually several months in advance. Our recommendation would be to try one of the alternative Inca Trail Routes, though if you book early enough you may be able to secure a space on the classic Inca trail, which undoubtedly offers a special experience.
The day begins early, between 06:15 to 07:00am when participants will be picked up from their hotels in Cusco. We will drive through the villages of Yucay, Urubamba and other until after a 3 hours drive we arrive at Kilometer 82 (2,600m / 8,528ft). This is the first control point and all tourists have to register before starting on the trek. From this point, 42 kilometers of mountains, Andean valleys, rivers and tropical forests separate us from Machu Picchu.
The first part of the trek to our first camp at Wuayllabamba village is mainly flat, with slight ascents and will take approximately 2 ½ hours until we reach the Llactapata's (town in the heights) archaeological group. From there we will enter the valley of the Kusichaca River from where the route follows a slight ascent up to Wuayllabamba's camp, located at 3,100 meters (10,168feet).
Walking time approx. 4:30
(B, BL ,D).
After breakfast, we start our second day, considered by many trekkers the most difficult, since we have to climb 1,100 meters up to reach the highest point of the whole circuit, the Warmihuañusca ("dead women") high pass at 4200m (13,776ft). The slow ascent will take about 4 ½ - 5 hours approximately. The pass offers astonishing views of the surroundings and the magnificent landscape. This is a windy area so is important to wear warm clothes. Once over the pass we continue our way down to the Pacaymayo Camp located at 3,500m (11,480ft).
Walking time approx. 5 to 6 hours
(B, BL, D)
The third day, is not only the longest but also the most interesting. It begins with a 1½ ascent to the Runku Raccay's Pass located at an altitude of 3,950m (12,916ft). Along the way on we will visit the interesting ruins known as Runkuracay (oval building) at 3800m (12,464ft).
Once over the pass the rest of the way will descend towards the interesting ruins of Sayacmarca located at 3,600 meters. In Inca times this was used as a control point for the roads connecting with Machu Picchu. Passing a beautiful cloud forest, we will continue up to the pass of Phuyupatamarca, ("town above the clouds") at 3,670m (12,038ft).
From here we will descend on an impressive path of endless rock steps until we arrive near the Inti Pata's remain. Located at 2850m (9,348ft), this complex of terraces and platforms cling to the hillside of a mountain covered by thick vegetation. The trail finally leads to Wiñayhuayna's camp ("Forever Young") located at 2,700 m (8,856 ft).
Walking time approx. 6 to 7 hours
(B, BL, D)
The day begins earlier than usual, at about 04:30am, in order to make our final trek towards the city of Machu Picchu. After 1½ hours we arrive at the Inti Punku ("Sun Gate") at 2,700m (8,856ft), from where we will have the first impressive views of the majestic Inca City of Machu Picchu. From here it is only 1 km more before we arrive at the city and enjoy a guided tour of the most important places. At about 13:00 we will be taken by bus from the citadel down to the village of Aguas Calientes. In the afternoon we take the train back to the city of Cusco.
Walking time to Sun Gate approx. 2 to 3 hours
For further information, rates or booking inquiries please contact Sacred Earth.
Departures are guaranteed with minimum 2 participants.
Note: during the trek baggage weight allowance per passenger is 8kgs (this to be carried by our horses)
The trek is subject to space availability which is regulated by a trekking license scheme. Only 400 licenses, total, are issued per day. It is crucial to book this trip well in advance to ensure getting a license on your preferred travel dates.
Fixed departure trips are also available and leave Cusco regularly, however, spaces fill up early and it is essential to book well in advance to secure your departure.
Weight allowance per passenger: 8kg (this to be carried by porters). Passengers must carry a day back pack with their personal belongings (box lunch, warm clothing, photo camera, etc.).
For further information or booking inquiries please contact Sacred Earth.