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 yourself 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 yourself 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 1 - peru

Day 1: Arrival in Cuzco

Arrive at the Cuzco airport by 9am and take a short taxi ride to meet your guide in central Cuzco. At 10am, there will be a trek orientation meeting and then you’ll head out for the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with your English-speaking local Peruvian guide.

In the Sacred Valley, the town of Ollantaytambo, you will spend two nights at a boutique lodge, resting in rooms surrounded by eucalyptus trees and lush, green mountains. Interiors are colourfully decorated to reflect the Andean setting, with assorted curios and detail work made by local artisans, who were employed in all aspects of the construction. The hotel is set within a garden of local and international plants and flowers, so you will be in good company. 

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Day 2:  Sacred Valley

Immerse yourself in the contemporary culture and outstanding Inca sites of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. In the morning you will explore Ollantaytambo’s Sun Temple, the site of one of the few battles between Incas and the Spanish invaders where the Incas were successful in repulsing the attack of European horses and armour.

Ollantaytambo village is a time capsule, the best-preserved example of classic Inca town planning. The irrigation system harkens back to Inca days and still functions superbly. In the afternoon, the group will drive up a side valley to visit the remote village of Accha Alta. At the weaving cooperative, you meet with women who continue to weave on their backstrap looms, using locally-sourced vegetable dyes with patterns rooted in the landed cultural tradition. Learn how young girls are taught to spin and weave as soon as they are old enough to care for the animals in the fields. Spinning and weaving become, in equal measure, an expression of their individual identity and of their membership in their community.

Day 3

Day 3: Huayllabamba

At the Inca Trail trailhead at Piscacucho, you will meet your team of porters, pass through the trailhead control point where passports and trail permits are reviewed, and cross the river on a suspension bridge to enter the park. Hike along the left bank of the powerful Vilcanota River, beneath the impressive snowcapped Nevado Veronica. The valley is dry, with Opuntia and Cholla cactus common. Where irrigation is possible, you walk adjacent to fields of corn. In the rapids below the trail, you can spot Torrent ducks swimming in the eddies as they graze the algae growing on the riverbed. Explore the enormous Inca ruins of Llactapata, then turn south and begin to gain altitude, climbing up the narrow side valley of the Cusichaca River. Camp tonight on a quiet terrace belonging to a local family in the hamlet of Huayllabamba at 2,954 m/9,690 ft.

  • Hiking Distance: 11.4 km/ 7.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 300 m/ 984ft 

Day 4

Day 4: Pacaymayo

Climb steeply through fields and and an intriguing forest of indigenous queuñal and chachacomo trees, then emerge above the treeline and reach Warmiwañusqa Pass at 4,234 m/13,887’. The ascent and descent of First Pass is the toughest challenge of the entire route for the majority of Wild Women. Enjoy magnificent views from the pass to the Huaynay Range snow peaks and distant Inca ruins. Descend to camp at Pacaymayo in the valley below the pass at 3,613 m/11,850 ft.

  • Hiking Distance: 7.7 km/ 4.83 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,280 m/ 4200ft
  • Elevation Loss: -621m/-2037.4ft

Day 5

Day 5: Phuyopatamarka

Climb steeply to reach a 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: 7km/ 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 362 m/ 1,190ft
  • Elevation Loss: -296m/ -971ft

Day 6

Day 6: Machu Picchu

You will descend steeply all day, following the famed Royal Highway through 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 cloud forest, leading to the Gate of the Sun overlooking Machu Picchu. Reach this highlight in the golden sunshine of late afternoon, and descend toward the Inca city when it is nearly empty of visitors. Hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes.  

  • Hiking Distance: 9km/ 5.8miles
  • Elevation Loss: -1,150 m/ -3,772ft

Day 7

Day 7: 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 6am when the gates are open to the public. An early start gives you more options to hike some of the peripheral trails, such as Huayna Picchu. 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 10pm.

Day 8

Day 8: 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.

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 ($895USD) based at an eco-lodge by Tambopata National Reserve.

Highlights include:

Claylicks – 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.

Life in the Rainforest – Visit a working jungle farm and a real Brazil nut concession to learn about the way of life in the rain forest. You will taste exotic tropical fruits and discover medicinal plants from the local families.

Adventure in Nature – Kayak and Stand-Up Paddle on the Tambopata River and rappel to a Canopy Platform.

Contact Kate at kate@wildwomenexp.com for details!

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