Part of the 23,000 kilometers (approx.14,000 miles) of roads built by the Incas in South America are on Peru's most famous trekking route, and possibly one of the most spectacular in Latin America. Every year, approximately 25,000 hikers from all over the world travel and hike their extraordinary 43 kilometers along a stone-paved road built by the Incas, which leads to the great Inca citadel of Machu Picchu located deep in the high jungle of Cusco.
The route consists of an impressive variety of altitudes, climates, and ecosystems ranging from the Andean plain to the cloud forest. Travelers cross two high-altitude areas (the highest being Warmiwañuska at 4,200 m.a.s.l) to complete the walk with a magical entrance to Machu Picchu through the Inti Punko or "Sun Gate".One of the major attractions along the route is the network of ancient settlements built on the granite rock by the Incas such as Wiñay Wayna and Phuyupatamarca immersed in an overwhelming scenario. Hundreds of species of orchids, multicolored birds, and dream landscapes are ideal for a route that every traveler should experiment with at least once.
You can go to Machu Picchu in other ways, but the excitement of the discovery of that sanctuary, astronomical observatory, and landscape of crops in terraces, reaches greater intensity if you walk on the famous Inca Trail. Only the passion of adventure and effort reveals the secrets of those places that the Inca commanded to travel to six centuries ago from Cusco, in search of a place to build ceremonial palaces and temples.
All the routes to Machu Picchu start today as in the past in Cusco, the "navel of the world", according to the legend and capital of an empire whose power testifies to the stones that build buildings of the colonial era. At the Main Square, the center of commerce, women from different communities arrive every morning dressed in traditional clothes selling alpaca wool clothes, fruits and fresh coca leaves, whose infusion is the best relief of the walker to overcome the "soroche", the Andean altitude sickness.
On one side stands the Cathedral, built on the palace of the Inca Viracocha with stones from the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Another miscegenation has its reflection inside the temple: the natives pray to the saints with rituals closer to Inca mythology than to Christianity worship. Nearby is the convent of Santo Domingo, which, over the Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha), is a good example of architectural fusion.
Inca Trail Trek Overview
Sustainable Tourism: At Salkantay Trek Machu, we are happy to promote and practice sustainable tourism and support local communities.
Difficulty Hike: 3 Demanding.
Age Requirements: 8+ (All travelers under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult!).
Group Available: Min: 2 - Max: 8
Crew: Salkantay Trek Machu representative in Lima and Cusco and a professional tour guide, trekking chefs, and Chasquis porters.
Accommodation: Hotel*** (5 nights), Campsite on the Inca Trail Trek (3 nights).
Meals: 8x breakfast, 4x lunch, 3x dinner, 3x afternoon hot beverage
Transportation: Local flight from Lima to Cusco, tourist transportation, and train.
Camping Equipment: A double tent, Air sleeping roll mattress, feather sleeping bag (-5 grade), a pair of hiking poles, air pillow camping, and others (More details, You can view our camping equipment included!).
Day 01: Lima
Day 02: Cusco
Day 03: Sacred Valley of the Incas Tour
Day 04: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Day 05: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Day 06: Inca Trail to Machupicchu
Day 07: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Day 08: Cusco
Day 09: Departure
Highlights of the Inca Trail Trek
- Machu Picchu,"The Old Mountain" as its name in quechua, disappeared from the face of the earth in about 1532, and would not appear again until the beginning of the 20th century.
- The Inca Pachacutec was the one who conquered the region and began the construction of the great Inca citadel of Machu Picchu around 1450, converting it into a ceremonial and religious center.
- The Inca Trail is very famous worldwide, and is known by many tourists because it is part of the road networks of the Incas that united the great empire of the Incas.
- The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu existed much earlier, but was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham when he performed his work between 1913 and 1915. The Inca Trail was a pilgrimage route to Machu Picchu used by the Inca (or Emperor) in the 15th century.
- The impressive network of roads of the Incas had an initial length of 60,000 km and joined territories of the current nations of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina 39,000 kilometers survive to this day. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the best engineering works, made entirely by hand, without knowing of the existence of the wheel or iron.
- The Sacred Valley shows its mystical spirit and inspires most of the travelers who come to visit it through its peaks, history and incredible nature. Its average height is 2700 to 2900 m.a.s.l For that reason you should take precautions for altitude sickness and drink a coca tea before going up.
- The Incas gave great importance to the Sacred Valley due to the geographical richness of the area. So much was the veneration that they had for this region that according to his worldview they believed that the Milky Way was reflected in the Urubamba River, the main torrent.
DAY 01: ARRIVAL TO LIMA
The first day you will be picked up by one of our members at the Jorge Chavez International Airport to be transfered to your Hotel
On this day you can take the city tour that will take you through the three historical periods of the city of the Kings:
We start our city tour with a panoramic view of the "Huaca Pucllana" magnificent ceremonial and archaeological center built in the 4th century and considered "Sacred Town" by the Incas. The viceroyalty of Peru was the most important of the Spanish Empire and Lima wasits capital.
On the tour we visited the Historical Center of Lima, where you will appreciate more than fifty monuments and colonial buildings, highlighting the Promenade of the Republic, San Martin Square, Major Square, Government Palace, Archbishop's Palace, Cathedral Basilica, Municipal Palace between others.Visit the MONUMENTAL SET OF SAN FRANCISCO, which constitutes the largest sample of colonial religious art in America. Highlights the visit to its underground crypts known as "Catacombs".
We will visit the most traditional residential areas of the city of Lima: El Olivar Park in San Isidro and the traditional "Parque del Amor" in Miraflores, from where we will have a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean.
: The first day is an arrival day and no activities are planned, so that you can arrive at any time!
DAY 02: FLIGHT TO CUSCO CITY
This day, you will have a guided tour through the center of the city of Cusco, visit the Main Square, the Cathedral, the Temple of the Sun Qoricancha - Santo Domingo, then go out to visit the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Puca Pucara and Tambomachay , returning to the city between 18:30 hrs. and 19:00 hrs.
- The Cathedral of Cusco: We start the tour visiting the Cathedral of Cusco, the church of the Sagrada Familia, and the church of Triunfo
- The Qoricancha: After, we will visit the Qoricancha temple, the highest expression of Inca architecture and engineering. The Temple of the Sun or Qoricancha, is also currently the Convent of Santo Domingo.
- Sacsayhuaman: The impressive fortress of Sacsayhuaman is strategically built on a hill from where you can see all of Cusco. It is famous for its huge carved stones, some of which are 9 meters or 30 feet high and weigh more than 350 tons.
- Qenqo: Located four kilometers northeast of the city of Cusco, it has the archaeological groups of "Q'enqo Grande" and "Q'enqo Chico". Etymologically, it means labyrinth or zigzag, served a purely religious function, being on the outside a semicircular amphitheater with trapezoidal niches and a monolith that simulates a puma which is approximately six meters.
- Puka pukara: Puka pukara means "red fortress", because the calcareous stones with which it is built have acquired the reddish coloration of the terrain, very abundant in iron. It is alleged that he had the function of guarding Tambomach'ay, an important palace. But that, in turn, for its architectural layout and the existence of fountains, aqueducts and multiple enclosures, was a "tambo" that is, a collective shelter that offered inn and food to travelers, as well as the entourage that was to accompany to the Inca in his retirement in Tambomach'ay.
- Tambomachay: Tambomachay, is located about 8 kms. north of Cusco and very close to the ruins of Puka Pukara, it is an archaeological site that was dedicated to the worship of water and so that the head of the Inca Empire could rest. This place is also called "Baños del Inca" or "Inca Baths", It consists of a series of aqueducts, canals and several waterfalls that run along the rocks. The surprising thing about this is that from a main waterfall, the Incas created 2 secondary waterfalls, which are exactly the same. That is, if one places two empty bottles, one in each waterfall, the two are filled at the same time.
Please note: We have programated the City Tour at 1:30 p.m
DAY 03: SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS TOUR
Tour in the Sacred Valley: Pisaq, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero
- Pisac Archaeological Complex: The archaeological complex of Pisac, is located on the top of a mountain from where a good part of the Sacred Valley is dominated. This wonderful place is formed by groups of platforms and architectural structures scattered on the slopes and at the top of the mountain, Pisac is one of the most beautiful monumental centers of the valley because it combines the landscape with the impeccable finish of its buildings.
- Pisac Handicraft Market: Located 30 km from the city of Cusco, the main square of Pisac houses this market, a colorful and lively place, where the most famous Cusco handicrafts made by Andean hands are exhibited, among the handicrafts, textiles, ponchos, bags, etc. stand out. , and the ceramic handicrafts, which are reproductions of Inca archaeological pieces, such as the queros (ceremonial vessels), necklaces, etc. This fair is attended by traders and indigenous craftsmen from many villages, dressed in their typical costumes.
- Ollantaytambo: Lunch at a local restaurant in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. In the afternoon we visit the fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo, built to guard the entrance to this part of the valley and protect it from possible invasions of the inhabitants of the jungle. We will have the opportunity to walk through the streets of the town and thus have a clear idea of how this military, religious and cultural center was during the Inca Empire.
- Chinchero: On the way back to Cusco we will visit the picturesque town of Chinchero, where the remains of the royal treasury of Tupac Inca Yupanqui are found. Admire its well preserved Inca Wall in the main square and visit the beautiful colonial temple, built on the foundations of an Inca building.Finally we will transfer to the selected hotel in Cusco to spend the night
Please note: We have programated the Sacred Valley Tour between 7:00 a.m - 7:00 p.m
DAY 04-07: INCA TRAIL TREK
- First Day: Early in the morning, we will pick you up at your hotel and then go on a private bus to Piscacucho located at kilometer 82 (2,800 m / 9,186 ft), on the way we will pass through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, through the towns of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, here we will make a small stop so you can visit the local market and buy some provisions for the walk, then continue with our journey to Piscacucho. Upon our arrival at Piscacucho Km. 82 we will pass through the control, to begin with the trek along the Urubamba River. In this first section of the Inca Trail, we will visit the small community of Miskay (2,800 m / 9,186 ft), later we will begin to ascend towards a small plateau, where we will be able to delight ourselves with an extraordinary Andean landscape and an Inca construction known by the name of Patallacta, located at 2,750 m / 9,022 ft, in this place we can see some cultivation terraces that served to feed travelers from different places that took this route to Machu Picchu. Then we will continue walking through an area full of vegetation where it is very likely to observe the giant hummingbird, after having walked for about 2 hours we will arrive at our first camp located in the Huayllabamba area at 3,000 m / 9,842 ft. Huayllabamba is a small population surrounded by fields of corn, potato crops and other products, here we will have our first camp.
- Second Day: On this day we will have a great challenge, that of ascending the Abra of Warmihuañusca, to begin with, we will have a repairing breakfast, then we will begin our trek to the Valley of Ayapata which will take 1 hour to reach this sector, this is known for having a micro Andean high valley climate. Then we will pass through a narrow path full of vegetation, passing by a small bridge that will take us through a cloud forest, with unparalleled beauty until reaching the highest point of Warmihuañusca, Quechua name meaning "When the woman dies ", this point has a height of 4,200 m / 13,779 ft, along the rise you can appreciate how the vegetation changes however this place is one of the most beautiful because once we have conquered its peak, we will be compensated by a beautiful view of the snowy and Andean landscapes. Then we will descend through a winding valley until we reach a point where we will stop for lunch. During this journey it is possible to observe several types of birds. We follow the route until we reach the Pacaymayu River Valley (3,600 m / 11,811 ft), where we will have our second camp.
- Third day: For many visitors, this is one of the longest days, but at the same time one of the most beautiful, due to the presence of Inca constructions along the trail. After a nutritious breakfast we will start our hike ascending a steep path. We will pass through a second open where the impressive archaeological remains of Runkuracay (3,800 m / 12,467 ft) are located, which takes its name from its unique shape of a half circle. This semicircular shape allows to protect itself from the strong winds of the area. Then we will ascend to Yanacocha Lagoon (Black Lake) and continue until we reach Sayaqmarca (3,600 m / 11,811 ft), "The dominant town", where we will appreciate interesting Inca ruins, and we will have a panoramic view of the Acobamba Valley, the only way to Access to these constructions is through a steep stone staircase. During the tour you pass through Conchamarka, a small archaeological site recently discovered. Afterwards, we continue uphill and we will reach the first tunnel along the road, then continue climbing until we reach the third and last opening, where we will see the town of Phuyupatamarca (3,665 m / 12,024 ft), "Town above the clouds" , which is undoubtedly one of the most original citadels along the Inca Trail. It is located on the edge of a ravine. Here we will find many cultivation terraces and ceremonial fountains. After visiting this site, we will descend around 2,000 cobbled stairs until we reach the Wiñaywayna citadel (2,700 m / 8,858 ft), which means "Forever young", the name derives thanks to the typical orchids that can be found throughout the year with its red, yellow and violet flowers. This is possibly the most attractive of all the palaces along the Inca Trail, and the last urban center before reaching Machu Picchu. It was built on the slopes of the mountains, it is divided into four main parts: the house at the bottom, with more than 20 buildings, the area for the celebration of the ritual fountains, the area of cultivation terraces and the area of the tower . After exploring every corner of Wiñaywayna, we will go to our last camp, which is located a few meters from the place.
- Fourth day: On this last day, we will get up very early to have breakfast, and continue with our walk, after three hours of walking, we will reach the Intipunku or Sun Gate(2,490 m / 8,169 ft). A small complex of small buildings that apparently seem to have been used as a control. It is an excellent opportunity to take panoramic photos of the citadel of Machu Picchu. If the traveler has started the walk very early, it will arrive just at dawn, this is perhaps the best place and time to contemplate the majestic splendor of Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. For a long time it was thought that Machu Picchu was part of a legend, until the year 1911 that the North American explorer Hiram Bingham discovered it, Machu Picchu rises to a height of 2,430 m / 7,972 ft in the middle of a tropical forest, and with a extraordinary location It was undoubtedly one of the most wonderful urban creations in the Inca era. Its enormous walls, terraces, and ramps seem to be naturally cut continuously in the rocky cliffs. Then we will descend to visit the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, we will have a guided tour by our guide approximately 2 hours, followed by a free time so that you can enjoy this wonder of the world independently you can visit Wayna Picchu (it is not included in the tour) . Then we will go down by bus to Aguas Calientes (2,160 m / 7,087 ft), where you can visit the thermal baths of the town (the entrance is not included in the tour). Finally return to Cusco.
DAY 08: CUSCO
After Inca Trail ,you will arrive in Cusco, better known as the imperial city of the Incas.
This day is free so you can do some activities.
- Its original cuisine: Once arrived in Cusco we can enjoy the wide variety of typical foods of the area.
- Folklore and Living Culture: It is the best in Latin America.
- Various activities to know the city: Among them we have tracking, rafting, paragliding, ecotourism, biking, experiential tourism, cultural tourism, etc.
DAY 09: DEPARTURE
This day you will be taken to Velasco Astete International Airport where you will depart for the city of Lima. Hoping it was an unforgettable experience,we finished the 9 days of adventure and we appreciate your choice.
- Welcome by our Representative Staff at your arrival in Lima.
- 1x domestic flight: Lima - Cusco.
- All transfers from/to all airports.
- Accommodation: 3* hotels (5 nights), camping (3 nights).
- All entrance fees according to the itinerary, an Inca Trail permit including.
- Bilingual local Tour Guides as per the itinerary.
- A professional Cook for the Inca Trail.
- Porters to carry food, camping and cooking equipment and 7 kg (these 7 kg include 2kg of your sleeping bag so you will have 5 kg for your personal belongings) of each passenger's stuff during the Inca Trail.
- Meals: 8x breakfast, 4x lunch, 3x dinner and 3x afternoon hot beverages during the Inka Trail.
- Camping equipment of the Inca Trail: personal double tents, Inflatable mattress (Term-a-Rest Mattress);
- A blanket and a pillow
- A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C) for the Inca Trail;
- Duffel bag (for your personal belongings for the Inca Trail);
- Day Pack Rain Covers for the Inca Trail ;
- Rain ponchos;
- Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents.
- Food for the Inca Trail.
- Tourist land transportation in accordance with the itinerary.
- Tourist train (Expedition) from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo.
- A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town.
- Pre & post tour accommodation,
- Last flight Cusco - Lima,
- Huayna Picchu Mountain (U$ 80)
- International flights and airport departure taxes.
- Meals not mentioned.
- Travel insurance
- Tips and baggage portage to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory),
- Other extras not specified.
- Personal medication
REMEMBER TO CARRY:
About the Clothing:
No matter how many days you are going to walk, the truth is that you will pass from one altitude to another and this implies that time (weather) will change; for this the most convenient thing will be to wear comfortable clothing in small quantities.
- Sport wear.
- Trekking shoes, necessary to avoid falling or slipping during the trek.
- Impervious clothing, during the road there may be drizzles, this is very common, wet walking will be uncomfortable and can cause some respiratory diseases.
- Hats, in these times it is not new that the sun, even if it is not strong, burns. Accompany this hat with a good sunscreen Taking care of your skin and your health is a priority.
- Towel and swimsuit, during the road there are places of camping in which they put showers. You will also find some rivers, where you can cool off a bit, if the guide allows it.
- A small blanket for the nights, because these are really cold.
As you already know, during the Inca Trail, it passes the 4000 m.a.s.l and if you come from a country which is almost at sea level, then you should take the following precautions.The first days you must acclimate, to be able to adapt to the height. Here some tips:
- You must eat lightly and avoid heavy meals.
- The first days in Cusco, should be calm and without physical effort. Follow your rhythm
- Always drink bottled water, this will help you stay hydrated. If you do not want to buy bottled water, You can buy pills to purify the water.
- If you feel that you lack oxygen, rest a while.
- Also, if you feel any strange ailment, you MUST warn the guide
- When you can, drink an infusion of coca leaves.
About The Baggage:
The most advisable thing is to take a Back-Pack which you do not take off during the walk. Within it there must be few things, in themselves, the most necessary. Here the recommendations:
- Sunscreen and insect repellent.
- Personal toiletries.
- Fresh fruits, candies, chocolates (they are good to accumulate energy).
- Money (local currency-soles)
- Walking stick
- Flashlight and batteries.
- Sunglasses, lip balm
- A photografic camera.