Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

About the Experience

There’s a reason this place is considered sacred.

A reason it draws so many souls year after year, to clamber over its damp stones, and through the rising mist. There are places in this world that words simply can’t touch. Words are incapable of capturing the light, the drama, the way it feels to look down upon the majesty of The Lost City of the Incas.

This trail will ask things of you. It will ask you to be present, strong, and determined. It will challenge you with its steep, rocky inclines, and then reward you with dappled sunlight dancing across the mountain’s splendour.

Your expert Peruvian guide will beckon you forward, and you will move skyward, up into the clouds, as high as 4200 meters. Each clomp of your boots pulls you deeper into this mystical beauty, and as your steps mark the earth of this sacrosanct land, your smile will stretch wide as the horizon.

At night, you nod to the cascade of stars, then slip into your tent, your belly filled with the delights of a locally prepared meal. Sleep will be heavy, and your dreams filled with visions of fluffy-faced llamas, bright cloth snapping the wind, and winding wondrous stairs. Stairs leading you to the person you will have become at the end of this journey – a woman who has walked the blessed Inca Trail.

 

 

 

 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

About the Experience

There’s a reason this place is considered sacred.

A reason it draws so many souls year after year, to clamber over its damp stones, and through the rising mist. There are places in this world that words simply can’t touch. Words are incapable of capturing the light, the drama, the way it feels to look down upon the majesty of The Lost City of the Incas.

This trail will ask things of you. It will ask you to be present, strong, and determined. It will challenge you with its steep, rocky inclines, and then reward you with dappled sunlight dancing across the mountain’s splendour.

Your expert Peruvian guide will beckon you forward, and you will move skyward, up into the clouds, as high as 4200 meters. Each clomp of your boots pulls you deeper into this mystical beauty, and as your steps mark the earth of this sacrosanct land, your smile will stretch wide as the horizon.

At night, you nod to the cascade of stars, then slip into your tent, your belly filled with the delights of a locally prepared meal. Sleep will be heavy, and your dreams filled with visions of fluffy-faced llamas, bright cloth snapping the wind, and winding wondrous stairs. Stairs leading you to the person you will have become at the end of this journey – a woman who has walked the blessed Inca Trail.

 

 

 

 

DAY ONE: ARRIVAL IN CUZCO

Arrive in Cusco, historic heartland and former capital of the Incan Empire. You will meet at 2:00 pm in the hotel lobby for your welcome to Peru! We’ll have an orientation walking tour of the most characteristic places in the centre of Cusco. You will see vivid examples of the mixture of Inca and Spanish cultures such as the Stone of Twelve Angles at the Inca Roca Palace on Hatun Rumilloc Street. Get your cameras ready for your first glimpse of the heart of the city, “the Plaza de Armas”, surrounded by colonial arcades and four churches.

Finally, you will participate in a Bean to Bar Chocolate Workshop where you learn to make Peruvian chocolate! At the workshop, you will be able to learn the entire chocolate-making process starting with the cocoa tree from the Peruvian jungle and the beans. You will make your own chocolates (120 g) with milk or dark chocolate and more than 15 different flavours to choose from.

Tonight’s welcome meal is a set menu at a local Peruvian restaurant.

 

DAY TWO:  SACRED VALLEY

In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel to start with a visit to the Sacred Valley. On the way, you will stop at a point known as El Mirador, where you’ll be able to see the whole Sacred Valley and learn about the Inca history. The Sacred Valley was undoubtedly a key area of settlement to the Incas; its combination of agreeable climate and fertile plains bestow an unusual abundance for the high Andes. Here the Incas sculpted the mountain flanks with vast contour terracing and irrigation channels. Our driver and guide will suggest where the best points are for pictures.

Later, you will drive towards the ruins of Pisac. At the ruins, you will see and learn about different aspects of Inca culture. You can see a great fine art of stone works and impressive agricultural terraces all over the place. Then, we visit the town of Pisac and wander through the local market, known for its multi-coloured textiles, local foods, and indigenous clothing – a great opportunity to pick up some souvenirs as well as take some great photos.

You will head to a community in the Valley (https://awamaki.org/) to learn about local lifestyle and activities and if our visit coincides with market day you can spend time browsing the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos and maybe practice some of the local language, Quechua. Later you will continue the tour visiting the town of Ollantaytambo which has been built over an ancient Inca town.

This is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning and one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. Ollantaytambo’s archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below. Afternoon transfer to your hotel.

 

DAY THREE: HUAYALLABAMBA

After a tasty breakfast, the group will head to the archeological site of Ollantaytambo situated on a hill-top landscape with surrounding terracing and ciclopean rock carvings. From the hill-top, there is an extraordinary view of the village below and the surrounding countryside.

Later, we’ll drive to Km 82 (Piscacucho) where we start the hike following the section of the original Inca we follow the Urubamba river and cross it at Km 88. We stop to have lunch at Chamana trail and then continue hiking for 3 more hours to get to Huayllabamba. (3,100 m).

 

DAY FOUR: PACAYMAYU

We start walking after breakfast at around 7 AM. For 3 – 5 hours we’ll continue up as the trail ascends steeply to a large Pampa below the first pass, where we have lunch at Llullcha Pampa (3900). Here, we have a breathtaking view of Mt. Huayanay! Along the trail up this narrow hanging valley, we begin to see a cloud forest that harbors the Queñua tree (polilepis), a rare forest to be found in the Andes.

After lunch, we’ll continue for 2 – 4 more hours to get to Dead Women’s Pass(4 215 meters) from there we’ll walk downhill for 2 – 4 more hours to arrive at Pacaymayu campsite (3600 m.)

 

DAY FIVE: PHUYOPATAMARKA

Climb steeply to reach the second pass at 3,975 m/13,038’, and follow a fine Inca highway down to the exquisite ridge-top ruins of Sayaqmarka. Further on, pass through a tunnel and remarkable luxuriant cloud forest vegetation. Camp at the superb Phuyopatamarka ruins at 3,679m/12,067 ft overlooking the Vilcanota River far below. Phuyopatamarka is Quechua for “City above the Clouds”. The views from your campsite toward the sacred peak of Salcantay are sublime.  

  • Hiking Distance: 14 km/ 8.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 362 m/ 1,190ft
  • Elevation Loss: -296m/ -971ft

 

DAY SIX: MACHU PICCHU

This morning is our last chance to say thank you to our amazing porter team! There will be a formal tipping ceremony.

You will descend steeply all day, following the famed Royal Highway through the orchid-rich cloud forest to Winya Wayna ruins. The final part of the trail on the east side of Machu Picchu Mountain is a stunningly beautiful traverse on finest Inca stonework through a cloud forest, leading to the Gate of the Sun overlooking Machu Picchu. Reach this highlight in the golden sunshine of the late afternoon, and descend toward the Inca city when it is nearly empty of visitors.

We rejoice in our hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes (2400 metres) with showers and real beds!

  • Hiking Distance: 8 km/ 4.9 miles
  • Elevation Loss: -1,150 m/ -3,772ft

 

DAY SEVEN: MACHU PICCHU/CUZCO

Return to the site by shuttle bus. Those wishing to view sunrise over Machu Picchu can take the pre-dawn shuttle bus, which delivers you to the main gate of Machu Picchu at 6 am when the gates are open to the public. An early start gives you more options to hike some of the peripheral trails. There is an in-depth guided tour of the ridge-top city, allowing a full day so you have ample time to explore. Descend to the nearby village of Aguas Calientes in time for dinner before boarding an evening train to Ollantaytambo, with continuing transfer and arrival at your Cuzco hotel around 10 pm.

 

DAY EIGHT: CUZCO

Your tour ends after breakfast. The rest of the day is unscheduled to allow free time for you to shop or tour other parts of the city before your departure. For those moving on to the Amazon Extension, you will continue onwards to explore the Amazon!

 

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!

AMAZON RAINFOREST LODGE EXTENSION (4 DAYS)

Want to stay on for a few extra days of adventure to explore the Amazon? We are also offering the option of a 4-day package $1,195 USD, optional single upgrade $295 USD, based at an eco-lodge by Tambopata National Reserve. This extension is only offered as an add on to to the Inca Trail Trek To Machu Picchu.
Please contact info@wildwomenexpeditions.com to book!

 

Our Amazon lodge is located four hours by motorized canoe from the Puerto Maldonado airport. The Refugio Amazonas Lodge is located in a 200-hectare private reserve within the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve. Please note that flights are not included in the Amazon extension price. You will have to purchase a morning flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado on the last day of your Inca Trail trip. On the fourth day of your Amazon extension, you will have to book an afternoon flight from Puerto Maldonado-Cusco. Your extension will be a “choose your own adventure” trip. There will be an À la Carte menu of different activities each day.

 

 

DAY ONE: JOURNEY TO TAMBOPATA

Upon arrival in Puerto Maldonado, you will be greeted by one or more of the guides from Rainforest Expeditions and then taken to a waiting vehicle.

After taking care of luggage, we take a 40-minute drive (with our boxed lunch) to the Infierno Community Port where we board long, sturdy canoes equipped with outboard motors and head upstream to Refugio Amazonas.

The three-hour boat ride is pleasant and often includes our first sightings of macaws, heron, caiman and capybara. Once the boat arrives at the lodge dock, you will have officially arrived into the wild rainforests of Tambopata!

Settle into your room and relax before dinner.

  • Overnight: Twin Superior Room

 

 

DAY TWO-THREE: AMAZON RAINFOREST

Immerse yourself in the Amazon Rainforest! Choose daily from the options below:

  • Clay Licks – Take a boat trip to the Chuncho Clay Lick inside the Tambopata National Reserve to see macaws descend to eat clay lick on clear mornings.

 

  • Discover a New Species – Join the lodge resident and help him collect insects that will be genetically sequenced. Every month, a lucky guest discovers a new tiger-moth, scorpion-wasp, caddisfly or treehopper species that are new to science!

 

  • Canopy Tower – The 30-meter scaffolding canopy tower gives you spectacular views of the vast expanses of standing forest. You will have good chances of spotting toucans, parrots, macaws or mixed species canopy flocks.

 

  • Camera Trapping at a Mammal Clay Lick – Configure camera traps at a nearby mammal clay lick and download wildlife photos from the past few days to help scientists find out what is present at The Big Grid, our 288-kilometre trail system experiment.

 

  • Life in the Rainforest – Visit a working jungle farm and a real Brazil nut concession to learn about the way of life in the rainforest. You will taste exotic tropical fruits and discover medicinal plants from the neighbouring local families that we are helping integrate into the ecotourism industry.

 

  • Ox Bow Lake – We will paddle around the Lake Condenado on a catamaran, looking for wildlife such a hoatzin, caiman or horned screamers.

 

  • Natural Construction Rooms – Bedrooms open out onto the surrounding rainforest, allowing you to enjoy this diverse ecosystem even during downtime, with wild animals, including monkeys, often visible from the lodge. The dining room is a huge open building with a loft on the second story for an eye-level view of the surrounding rainforest canopy.

 

  • Mountain Biking- If you like action, this is a great way to explore and experience the beauty and excitement of the rainforest along ten kilometres of trails. We provide a GT mountain bike, helmet and cycling gear, water bottle, and your very own mountain bike guide.

 

  • Wired Amazon Science Lab – You will be able to hang out with resident biologists as they peer through a stereoscope to properly identify insect specimens before mounting them and sending them off to the University of Guelph for genetic sequencing.

 

  • Wellness Centre – Enjoy massages and aromatherapy at the wellness centre.

 

  • Overnight: Twin Superior Room

 

 

DAY FOUR: DEPARTURE

Catch either the 7:00 am or 8:00 am departure from the Lodge to Puerto Maldonado. Load up the canoe and motor back to civilization. You will be driven to the airport where you will retrieve your luggage and catch your departing flight to Lima or Cusco.

  • Overnight: Not included