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Inca Trail to Machupicchu 4D/3N

VERY IMPORTANT TO BOOK EARLY FOR 2020: Trek permits for the Inca Trail are limited to just 500 people and this includes all support staff such as guides, porters and cooks (approx 200 trekkers and 300 support staff). Inca Trail trek permits for departures in 2020 are likely to go on sale at the beginning of October, many dates will sell out almost immediately particularly for departures in April, May, June, July & August 2020. Please try to book before the end of September 2019 to avoid disappointment.

DESCRIPTION

The great adventure of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is for those who live passionately, always looking for a new experience! This is a fascinating dream to fulfill and is the most famous trek of all South America. The beauty of the views and the archeological sites that surround the Inca Trail are second to none. This tour is ideal for those who are filled with energy to hike all the way to Machu Picchu in the trip of a lifetime!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Inca Trail is the best Trek in Peru
  • This trek is ideal for adventure seekers, couples, friends, nature lovers, and intrepid people
  • See natural bridges, snowcapped mountains, waterfalls, wildlife, and the cloud forest
  • The Inca Trail trek is listed in the TOP 5 best treks in the world by multiple different magazines

Day 01: Cusco to Wayllabamba (12km)

The first day of the trek is relatively easy and serves as training for the days to follow. Travellers are collected early from their hotels (5:30 – 6:00am) and travel by bus, past the picturesque villages of Chinchero, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, for the 2.5 hour scenic trip to kilometre 82 (the start of the trail). Buses normally stop at the town of Urubamba or Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley for about an hour to give people the opportunity to have breakfast.

The start of the Inca Trail at km82 Having arrived at km 82 hikers cross the Vilcanota River and follow the trail to the right as it climbs steeply up from the river. After passing through a small village, the ruins of the Inca hillfort of Huillca Raccay come into view high above the mouth of the river Cusichaca (‘happy bridge’). The Incas, when they conquered the area, built a fort here since the site commanded an excellent view up and down the Urubamba valley and controlled the entrance to the Cusichaca valley. It is a simple descent down to the Cusichaca river. From parts of this trail there are great views of the Cordillera Urubamba (Urubamba mountain range) and the snow capped peak of Veronica 5860m.

You’ll also get a good view over the extensive Inca ruins of Llactapata (also known as Patallacta on some maps). Llactapata means ‘upper town’ in Quechua and was first discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and was primarily an agricultural station used to supply Machu Picchu with maize, the staple crop of the Incas. The settlement comprised over one hundred buildings, houses for the workers and soldiers, including five baths.

For a further 7 km the path follows the left bank of the river up to the small village of Wayllabamba (3,000m). The name in Quechua means ‘grassy plain’. We will probably spend the night here depending on the speed of the group. This is the last place along the trek that you can buy snacks and drinks.

Day 02: Wayllabamba to Pacamayo (12km)

The steep climb up to the first pass (4200m)Climbing up from Wayllabamba following the left bank of the Llulluchayoc river for about 1 hour brings you to ‘Tres Piedras’ (three stones) and a small bridge over the Huayruro river. There is a small campsite here toilet facilities. The stream is named after the Huayruro which is an ornamental tree. It’s seeds are red and black. Many of the porters from the Ollantaytambo district are also known as Huayruros because of their traditional red and black ponchos! A little further on you’ll enter a beautiful cloud forest passing a waterfall.

A further three hours trek through steepening woods and increasingly spectacular terrain brings you to the treeline and a meadow known as Llulluchapampa (3,680m). It is another 1.5 hours climb to the first and highest pass of the trail (Abra de Huarmihuañusca or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass) at 4,200m. During this part of the trail hikers are exposed to the Andean elements: first scorching sun and then, closer to the pass, freezing winds. Once at the top hikers can celebrate having completed the most difficult section of the trail.

The decent from the pass is steep although not difficult, following the trail on the left side of the valley to the valley floor and to the 2nd night’s campsite at Pacamayo (3,600m). There are toilet facilities here.

Day 03: Pacamayo to Wiñay Wayna (15km)

From Pacamayo it takes about an hour to climb up to the ruins of Runkuracay. These small circular ruins occupy a commanding position overlooking the Pacamayo valley below.

SayacmarcaAnother 45 minute hike will bring you to the top of the second pass: Abra de Runkuracay (4,000m). At last you’ll feel that you are walking along the trail of the Incas with paving, for the most part, being original. The descent down the steps from the pass is steep so take care. This section of the trail, up until the 3rd pass, is particularly beautiful as the path crosses high stone embankments and skirts deep precipices. After about 1 hour from the 2nd pass you’ll arrive at Sayacmarca by way of a superbly designed stone staircase. The name Sayacmarca means ‘Inaccessible Town’ and describes the position of the ruins perfectly, protected on three sides by sheer cliffs. No one knows the exact purpose of these ruins.

You have to backtrack a little to rejoin the trail as it passes Conchamarca, a small Inca dwelling situated in the shadows of Sayacmarca, which was probably a tambo for weary travellers on their way to Machu Picchu. From then on the path descends into magnificent cloud-forest full of orchids, hanging mosses, tree ferns and flowers, passing through an impressive Inca tunnel, carved into the rock, on the way.

The trail then climbs up to the 3rd pass (3,700m). The view from the pass offers excellent views of several snow-capped peaks including Salkantay (6,180m) and Veronica (5,750m). A few minutes after the pass is Phuyupatamarca, the most impressive Inca ruin so far. The name means ‘Town in the Clouds’. Access to the ruins is down a steep flight of stairs passing six ‘Inca Baths’ probably used for the ritual worship of water.

Leaving the site via an impressive Inca staircase leading from the west side of the ruins (the far end from the baths) you descend a thousand or so steps. Be careful with your knees which will feel the strain by the end of the day.

After about an hour of walking through cloud-forest you may just be able to see the tin roof of the Trekkers Hostal at Wiñay Wayna (no longer used), although it probably won’t be for another 2 hours until you arrive.

Wiñay Wayna is the last official campsite before Machu Picchu.

A short trail leaves from the southern end of the hostal to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna. The name in Quechua means ‘forever young’ and is named after a variety of pink orchid which grows here. The ruins comprise magnificent agricultural terraces set in an impressive location. There are also many buildings of good quality stonework and a sequence of 10 baths, suggesting that the site was probably a religious centre associated with the worship of water. Ritual cleansing may have taken place here for pilgrims on the final leg of the trail to Machu Picchu.

Day 04: Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu (5km), Return to Cusco

The trail from the Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu is clearly marked and takes about 1.5 hours. We’ll wake early at 4.30am, have breakfast and set off on the trail again by 5.30am to get to Machu Picchu before sunrise. The sky starts getting light by 5:30am and the first rays of the sun reach Machu Picchu at about 7am. The trail contours a mountainside and drops into cloud forest before coming to an almost vertical flight of 50 steps leading up to the final pass at Intipunku (Sun Gate). Suddenly the whole of Machu Picchu is spread out before you in all its glory – a fantastic sight for all.

When you arrive at the ruins you’ll have plenty of time to take photos of Machu Picchu from the classic view point’. When the group is back together again we descend to the main entrance where you can safely leave your large backpacks. You can also go to the toilet and have a quick coffee in the restaurant just outside the entrance. The group will re-enter the ruins with the same guide for a complete tour of the major sectors. The tour takes about 2 hours so after the tour you’ll have free time to explore the ruins alone. For information about climbing Huayna Picchu (optional)

The group will then take the bus down to Aguas Calientes town for lunch (at the ruins there is only one restaurant and it’s very expensive). The bus journey takes about 30 minutes. There are several small restaurants in Aguas Calientes to satisfy all budgets. You may also wish to pay a visit to the town’s famous thermal springs which feel great after having completed the trail. Entrance to the springs costs US$5, allow 2 hours to really enjoy them.

The train departs from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (time can vary subject to ticket availability) and you’ll arrive back in Cusco , Included in our standard service is the tourist bus from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes, return on the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo where you will be collected and taken by bus back to Cusco.

Important note: 

The above trek itinerary is typical of 98% majority of our Inca trail 4 day groups. However campsites used during the trek may be subject to change depending on availability of spaces as issued by the UGM (the government authorities that control access to the Inca Trail). The UGM are responsible for allocating the campsites to the various trekking companies. Although we try to make Wiñay Wayna our last campsite (since it is only a 2 hour trek to Machu Picchu) we cannot guarantee this to be the case and on occasions we have been allocated space at Phuyupatamarca (nearly 5 hours from Machu Picchu). These matters are the same for all trekking companies and are outside of our direct control.

 

WHAT IS INCLUDED?

  • Pre-departure briefing:You will meet your guide  in your hotel for an orientation to the trek and we will provide you the duffle bags which will be carried by our porters. The meeting will be at 6:00 PM the evening before your trip begins.
  • Transport:Collection from your hotel in the morning and transportation in a private vehicle to Km 82 (the starting point of the trek).
  • Experienced Guide: English speaking, professionally educated, and official tour guide. Your guide will explain the culture and surroundings along the entire route. He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time worry-free!
  • Personal tents:Like our ancestors, we are very considerate of the Pachamama (Mother Earth). Therefore, our campsites are adapted to the environment to avoid generating negative impacts. 2 people stay in each 4-person tent to allow for higher comfort and luggage security. Our tents are 3-season ready and highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance during our treks.
  • Camping equipment: Dining and kitchen tents, tables, chairs, and all cooking equipment (carried by porters).
  • Foam mats or sleeping pads: to put under your sleeping bag (carried by porters)
  • Accommodation:3 nights in tent
  • Trekking Cook: A chef specialized in cooking on the trail, with an assistant, will prepare all of your delicious meals along the journey to replenish your energy. You will never go hungry!
  • Meals:3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 dinners and Snacks (Vegetarian, vegan or special menus are available at no extra cost)
  • Wake up tea:Every morning at the campsite, you will woken up with a cup of coca tea! Our staff will bring the tea to your tent so that you will be warmed from inside out before you start your day.
  • Tea time:Every afternoon before dinner, the cooks will provide popcorn, biscuits, coffee, hot chocolate, teas, hot water, etc. After a long day of hiking, you will not have to wait until dinner to relax, warm up, and enjoy a bite to eat!
  • Daily snacks – Days 1, 2 and 3:Our snacks consist of local fruits, biscuits, chocolate, caramels, etc. We will give this snack to you at the beginning of each day in your cloth bag.
  • One cloth snack bag per person:To avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment, we will give you a cloth bag for your snacks.
  • Products for hygiene: Each morning, you will be provided with a warm water, wet towel to clean yourself up with.
  • Medical kit:Our crew will bring a first-aid kit, including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Train tickets:From Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (“Expedition” service with Peru Rail  (subject to availability)
  • Transport: Private transport from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco (Day 4)
  • 24-hour guest service:We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for ease of communication and preparation with the agency leading up to your trek.

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Sleeping Bags: You can rent one from our company if you do not have your own. Our sleeping bags are effective and durable to protect from temperatures as low as -18ºC (0ºF). They are mummy form and include a sleeping liner. The bags are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips.
  • Walking Sticks:You can rent a set from our company if you would like.
  • Last Day: Lunch and Dinner  in Aguas Calientes
  • Personal clothing and gear
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for our staff:please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish.
  • Additional costs  delays out of control of the management (landscape, bad weather condition, itinerary modification due to a safety concern, illness, change of government policy, political instability/strike, etc.)

Private Group Service:Price in US Dollars per Reservation:

  • one Person: USD 1200.00
  • 2-3 People: USD 700.00 per person.
  • 4-6 People: USD 650.00 per person
  • 7 -+ People: USD 600.00 per person

Share Group Service:

  • 1 – + People: USD 500.00 per person.

DISCOUNTS

  • 18 to 25 years old: US$30 Information required on student card: name of university, student name, photo of student, expiration date etc. A copy of the card at booking is required & government approval for discount.
  • Under 18 years old: US$30 Please send us a copy of your passport at the time of booking.
  • Under 11 years old: US$40  Please send us a copy of your passport at the time of booking.

EXTRAS 

  • Sleeping Bag – US$20 per person per trek (It will be clean and warm)
  • Air Mattress – US$20 per person per trek (Therm-a-rest mattresses)
  • Walking Poles – US$15 per pair per trek (Professional Poles that can be extended)
  • Personal tent – US $30 – (Tent is for single trekkers only)
  • Vistadome Train Upgrade  – US$57 per person (For the return to Cusco (Poroy) at 4:43 pm)
  • Huayna Picchu Mountain  – US$35 per person (Please request when you book your Trek)
  • Machu Picchu  Mountain –  US$30 per person  (Please request when you book your Trek)
  • Single supplement US$30 per night (for solo travellers with single room)

Inca Trail FAQs

Inca Trail 4 day Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How far in advance do I need to make a trek reservation?

As far in advance as possible. The government has strictly limited the number of people allowed on the Inca Trail (permits are issued to about 200 trekkers per day plus 300 porters). We therefore recommend that you try to make your Inca trail reservation as far in advance as posible you may have to be more flexible with your departure date as soon as you know the dates of your international flights (check that your passport isn’t about to expire

Q2: What about payment, do you need a deposit?

After we have confirmed your trek booking you will need to pay a trek deposit of US$300. The deposit can be paid by PayPal (preferred method as it is quick), or by bank transfer. The remaining trek balance needs to be paid in our office in Cusco at least 1 day prior to the trek departure date, before 7.30pm. Payment is to be made in cash US dollars (preferred) or local currency. When we confirm your trek booking we will send you more details about how to pay the trek deposit. Please note that the trek deposit is non-refundable & non-transferable. The deposit is used to purchase your trek permit and reserve space within the group. After purchasing the permit (or submitting your details to the government) we cannot change the date of trek departure or change the name or passport number on the trek permit.

Q3: Is the trek difficult, do I need to be fit?

The Inca Trail is a 43km (27 mile) hike through mountainous regions involving trekking for 5-7 hours at high altitude and over rough terrain. The maximum altitude reached on the trek is 4200m above sea level. On the second day of the trek we ascend 1200m. Make no mistake, the Inca Trail is a fairly difficult trek and you should be well prepared and healthy prior to starting it. You should be fit and take regular exercise. Try walking 15km in a day or go to the gym in the months leading up to the trek. It is also important to be well acclimatized to the altitude. Try to spend 2 or 3 days in Cusco (3400m) prior to starting the trek. This time can be put to good use visiting the city of Cusco, nearby Inca ruins and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The good news is that virtually everyone in the last few years who started the trek finished it ! Only a handful have had to turn back

Q4: Can I have vegetarian meals, vegan, special meals?

We offer standard meals as well as a vegetarian meal option. Just let us know if you want vegetarian meals when you book your trek.
Vegetarian meals have no red meat, chicken or fish. We will assume that eggs and dairy are OK. We don’t cater specifically for vegans as it can get too complicated for our cooks (remember they are cooking in a tent). Most of our main meals in the evening are served as a buffet service so you can always leave what you don’t like. If there is a particular food that you don’t like (i.e. tomatoes, onions, mushrooms etc) we will ask the cook to do his best to leave them out of the dish but we cannot guarantee this. We can also cater for lactose-intolerant and gluten free diets (mild reactions only, no life threatening allergies accepted). We reserve the right not to accept a trek booking based upon dietary requirements, this may be because we already have several people already booked requiring special meals and don’t want to make life too difficult for our cooks. Thanks for you understanding in this matter.

Q5: I have asthma / diabetes / another medical condition. Can I still do the trek?

You must disclose at the time of booking any medical condition that could affect your ability to do the Inca Trail trek. Peru Wild Treks reserves the right not to accept a trek booking if we feel that a medical condition may put your life or the lives of any of our trekking staff or other clients at risk on the trek. People with heart conditions, knee problems, severe asthma or pregnant should not participate in the trek. People with mild asthma / diabetes will have to consult their doctors and follow their doctor’s advice. They will also be required to be accompanied by a trekking companion on the trek at all times who will trek at their sides and be familiar with any medicines required in case of an emergency. Peru Wild Treks reserved the right to cancel the trek booking of a client if the client has not fully disclosed at the time of making a booking a medical condition that may pose a risk to the health of the client and/or other trekkers. No refunds will be given in this instance.

Q6: When do I have to arrive in Cusco ?

We require everyone to be in Cusco for at least 2 nights prior to starting the trek, although 3 nights is even better. You must pay your trek balance at least 1 day before trek departure. Please note the trek balance needs to be paid in Cusco at anytime.

Q7: Should I hire an extra porter?

About 50% of the group hire the services of an extra porter to carry their personal items. A ‘half porter’ can be hired for the 4 day trek for US$85 (2018) This price includes porters entrance fees, meals, transport and wages. If you hire the services of a half porter you can give him a maximum of 6kg (13lbs) to carry which is usually sufficient for your sleeping bag (about 2.5kg), mattress (1 kg) and change of clothes (about 2.5kg). However the porter will not walk at your side during the trek so you will still need to bring a day pack to carry essential items such as water, snacks, camera, warm sweater and rain jacket. When you pay the trek balance in our office in Cusco we will give you a duffle bag so that you can put your items in that, which you will give to the porter on the day of the trek.

WHAT YOU HAVE TO TAKE WITH YOU

  • Original Passport (the same used for booking your trek)
  • Valid student card (if you booked as a student)
  • Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
  • Water storage: 2-3 L (Camelbaks are encouraged).
  • Comfortable hiking boots with ankle support
  • Sleeping bag (can be rented from SAM Travel)
  • Headlamp: essential
  • Toilet paper

WHAT TO PUT IN THE DUFFEL BAG (If you hired a extra porter from us)

As a Direct Local Tour operator, we provide you with a duffel bag at your briefing and INCLUDE an extra porter, who will carry up to 7 kgs or 14 pounds including your 2.5kg sleeping bag, mattress and extra clothing.

  • 2 t-shirts
  • 2 hiking pants at least
  • 4 sets of undergarments
  • 3 sets of hiking socks
  • Couple Fleece/ Thermals
  • Warm clothes, down jacket — 2nd campsite temp around 3º C.
  • Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
  • Comfortable shoes for camp
  • Quickdry towel. We provide small ones, you might prefer something larger.
  • Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to wash.
  • Battery Charger: No electricity along the trek
  • Large plastic bags will be provided at the office — Please ask for them.
  • Sleeping bag: It has to be at least -15ºC – This can be rented from us for $20 USD.

TOILETRIES

  • Face moisturizer
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Wet wipes
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Personal medications
  • First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc.

WHAT TO PUT IN THE DAY BACKPACK

  • We highly recommend a small backpack 30 to 40L for hiking in the day. A big backpack will not be allowed into Machu Picchu. The remainder of your belongings will be in your duffel bag at camp.
  • Water: Please supply your own water until the first lunch spot, then we will provide you with cold boiled water at every meal time. Please bring your canteens.
  • Sun Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlamp: essential
  • Wool Hat
  • Rain gear
  • Fleece
  • Snacks like chocolate bars, cereal bars or any dry fruits
  • Coca leaves
  • Rain plastic poncho (provided by SAM)
  • Gloves
  • Camera
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
  • Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips

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