4 Day, 3 Night Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: CUSCO- PISKACUCHO KM 82- PATALLAQTA- CUSICHAKA- WAYLLABAMBA.
Early pick-up at 5:00AM from your hotel, by 5:30 we are on our private transportation and on our way! Make sure you carry your original passport and ISIC card if applicable. Our journey from Cusco to Piscacucho takes approximately 3 hours, and includes beautiful views of the Sacred Valley, the Urubamba River, Andean towns, and the Inca town of Ollantaytambo.
Along the way, we will stop to stretch our legs, use the bathroom, and enjoy a small breakfast before continuing on to Piscacucho (2,680 m / 8,790 ft) where we will start our life-changing journey. We will meet our camp crew and porters who will carry our belongings during the 35-mile (43 Km) trek along the Inca Trail. Passports in hand, we will clear the official Inca Trail check point, cross a suspension footbridge across the Urubamba River, and begin our trek with a gentle climb.
The trek starts with three hours of relatively level terrain as we follow the course of the river, rewarded with superb views of Mount Veronica (18,865ft. / 5,750 m). Our leisurely walk passes through a forest of giant cacti and native bushes. At Miskay we take the trail to the left, and will gradually ascend to Willkaraccay high above the mouth of the Cusichaca River and across the Inca town of Llactapata (Terrace Town). We will take a break on flat bluff high above the extensive site, which was built as a fort because it commands the entrance to the Cusichaca Valley.
Here we will encounter our first experience of the unique terracing system that the Incan's used to grow maize (corn), a prestige crop, that needed irrigation in the dry highlands. After a short rest, we continue another 15 minutes down to our lunch site at Tayaroc. Our path is adorned with native flowers and bromeliads, growing on the boulders along the left side, and majestic views of the Andes Mountains.
Walking times are always approximate, depending on weather conditions, group ability and other factors. After lunch, another 3-4 hours will bring us to the village of Wayllabamba (3,000 m / 9,840 ft), where you will be rewarded with Macho Tea and a delicious, homemade buffet dinner. Your Tour Guides will present our plans for the next great day. Have a good night. Buenas Noches!!!
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 10,824 ft. (3,000m)
- Min Altitude: 8,790ft. (2,680m)
- Distance Travelled: ~17.4 miles (12 km)
- Ascent: 2,034 ft. (620 m)
- Walking Time: 6-7 hours
Day 2: WAYLLABAMBA- AYAPATA- LLULLUCHAYOQ- DEAD WOMAN´S PASS- PACAYMAYO
Our day starts early; Porter’s will wake you up with a fresh cup of hot tea at 5:30AM. We will pack our belongings and eat a nutritious, warm breakfast. After we finish eating, we will re-start our trek along the Incan Trail to the Ayapata valley, which usually takes about an hour. After we reach the valley there will be a soft uphill climb through the forest and along a scenic stream, we will be walking at an elevation of 10,824ft (3,300m).
Today is our most challenging day of hiking, but we will take our time and enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the way. After a short break in Ayapata Valley we will start the biggest, most strenuous, climb of our hike, with an ascent of 3,937ft (1,200m), planned in 2 stages. The trail we will walk on is primarily constructed of 400 year-old Inca Stone steps, with large gaps between each step, making hiking a challenge. Your efforts will be rewarded, however, with spectacular views; as we are surrounded with majestic snow-capped mountain peaks (Apu Huayanay Mountains). It will take us 2-3 hours to hike the first stage, which includes several breaks to catch our breath and enjoy the views.
Our lunch stop on the 2nd day is in Llulluchapampa Valley, which has absolutely stunning views. To reach it we will continue along the Inca Trail, ascending steeply uphill through the Corralpunku Valley to the Llulluchayoc Zone, where, if we’re lucky, we'll see some of the hundreds of species of birds that inhabit this area; including: hummingbirds, falcons, black-chested buzzard eagles, and perhaps, the Condor, also known as the king of the Andean Mountains. Soon our group will enter a beautiful cloud forest, also known as the Polylepis woodlands, or the treeless grasslands of the Puna Región, home to the tarucas (Peruvian deer) and pumas. From here, you can see the highest mountain of our trek, Dead Woman´s Pass.
At Llulluchapampa our camp crew will be waiting for us with a delicious Peruvian lunch, set against a stunning visual backdrop. After lunch you will have time to rest and recoup, and then we will continue onto the second stage of our hike for another 2-3 hours. The trail continues to climb large, stone steps, some of them newly laid to protect the mountain from erosion. You can walk at your own pace and stop to catch your breath, while enjoying the truly marvelous vistas. We will gain another 1,968ft (600m) in elevation to reach the top of Warmiwañusca Mountain (Dead Woman’s Pass), which marks the highest elevation of our journey at13,776ft (4,200m). Here you will experience an unforgettable moment, as the top of this mountain is a sacred place for the ancient Incan’s, or maybe the lack of oxygen is finally catching up with your brain! Either way you’ve made it through the hardest part of our journey!
Once our entire group reaches the top of Dead Woman's Pass, we will take a short break before beginning a steep descent into the Pacaymayo Valley for another 2-3 hours to reach our camp for tonight. Our campsite has one of the most incredible views of the entire trek, as it stretches over a valley, nearby waterfalls and snow-covered peaks. Once we arrive, we'll stretch our legs, set up our tents, enjoy a "Family Tea Time" and another incredible and rejuvenating buffet dinner.
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 13,776ft (4,200m)
- Min Altitude: 9,840ft (3,000m)
- Distance Travelled: ~7.45 miles (12 km)
- Ascent: 2,954ft (900m)
- Walking Time: 7-8 hours
Day 3: RUNKURAKAY- SAYAQMARKA- CHAKICOCHA- AOBAMBA- PHUYUPATAMARKA- INTIPATA- WIÑAYWAYNA
Our day starts early again, with hot tea and a smile arriving to your tent around 5:30AM. We will breakfast as a family and prepare for the most visually stunning day of our hike. After breakfast concludes (around 7:00AM), we will pick up the Inca Trail, which starts with a steep, but short climb (~1-hour), to the Runcuracay Ruins. These ruins are a circular structure with rectangular outbuildings perched on the edge of the valley. It served as an Incan-Tambo, which is where chaskis, or runners, would rest, guard the post or serve as lookout. After a short break here, we'll continue uphill for another hour to reach our second pass, Abra de Runcuracay (12,956ft / 3,950m).
Our journey continues as the path winds between two tarns where Andean gulls sometimes gather. We'll approach a second pass, boasting excentional views, in clear weather, you can look back to the Dead Woman’s Pass and look forward to a breath-taking sweep of snow-capped peaks; which includes the Pumasillo Mountain (Puma’s Claw) (19,685ft / 6,000m). From here, most of the trail is downhill and will take us through a short tunnel after which we'll encounter a series of tight switchbacks, dropping height quickly, until it reaches a small viewpoint atop a promontory.
After reaching the promontory our descent becomes more gradual as the path begins to curl across the slopes. To the right of the trail lies a large, algae-covered lake, and up ahead you will see Sayacmarca, an ancient Incan town. We'll stop there to explore, and listen to our guide who will provide us with interesting historical facts as well as local legends passed down through the ages. Once we are rested our trek will continue descending until we reach Chakicocha (11,000ft / 3,400m), which is where we will stop to rest and eat another rejuvenating lunch.
After lunch the hike becomes exceptionally beautiful, almost other-wordley. We will pass the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, as we descend to Wiñaywayna and Intipata, while enjoying dramatic vistas of the Aobamba Valley. This stretch of the trail is made of well-preserved paved stone, still in great condition after many centuries of trekkers. Your lungs will appreciate the fact that today’s hike is steadily lowering our elevation, and significantly shorter than yesterday’s. Our journey will eventually lead to Phuyupatamarca (the Town of the Clouds), but first, we will pass through a short, natural tunnel in the mountain. After visiting this site, we will descend about 2,000 stone steps to Wiñaywayna. If you have not had any knee problems up to this point, you may after this descent. (In all seriousness, if you have prior knee injuries, or suffer from joint pain, we recommend hiring a porter to run ahead with your belongings, as well as bringing/renting trekking poles to relieve some of the stress on your joints).
We will have a short hike to Intimate, which is another important Inca site and has one of the most breathtaking views of the entire trek. After taking a family photo here and enjoying the incredible vistas we will hike a short ways to our camp site for the night. Our camp site at Wiñaywayna (8,856ft / 2,700m) will be waiting for us, and we will arrive around 5:00PM. Once we've had time to rest a bit in our tents, you have the option to hike an additional 5 minutes to enjoy spectacular views and tour an ancient Incan site just north of our camp, which is one of the best preserved and biggest Incan sites along Inca Trail. Tea time and another delicious Buffet Dinner will serve as a fitting end for our last full day on the trail.
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Maximum Altitude: 12,300ft (3,750m)
- Minimum Altitude: 8,856ft (2,700 m)
- Distance Travelled: ~9.9 miles (16 km)
- Walking Time: 7-8 hours
Day 4: WIÑAYWAYNA- INTUPINKU - MACHUPICCHU (HUAYNAPICCHU) - CUSCO.
This is the day we've been waiting for! It will be the earliest day of our hike, as we need to get up around 4:00AM in order to get to the Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) ahead of the crowds. This ancient entry-way overlooks Machu Picchu and we will be there as the first rays of the sun strike one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Our hike from camp to the Sun Gate will take 1-2 hours, with significant upward stretches in the last half. You will be hiking in the dark for about an hour, so bring a head lamp, listen to your guides and don't step off the edge of the cliff!
From the Sun Gate, we will have a leisurely 50-minute walk downhill to the south sector of Machu Picchu (The Guardian houses). The trail ends at a series of terraces, which provide a classic view of the entire city. After enjoying a panoramic view and taking a family picture we must walk straight down to the entrance of Machu Picchu to enter the city. After a few minutes in a security line we will finally arrive to the heart of Machu Picchu where we will explore the ancient site, and enjoy a professional, and unique guide from our Trek Leader. The formal tour will end in the late morning, after which there will be a couple of hours for more exploring on your own, or to just collapse under a tree in the central plaza.
Additional Options: If your legs, lungs and energy still hold up after four days of hiking, you have the option to climb to the peak of Huayna Picchu, which offers an incredibly unique perspective of Machu Picchu. *Please note: Special permits are required to do this "hike", and they are issued in limited quantities, so if you are interested you will need book and pay in advance for this Ticket.*
After we've had our fill of Machu Picchu we will take a short bus ride to the nearby village of Aguas Calientes, where we will transfer to a train, which will take us back to Cusco. Arrival to Cusco is generally between 8:00 - 8:30PM.
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
- Maximum Altitude: (8,856ft / 2,700m)
- Minimum Altitude: (7,872ft ( Machupicchu ) / 2,400m)
- Distance Travelled: ~5 miles (8 km), plus exploration of Machu Picchu
- Walking Time: 6-7 hours