hiking and camping through ancient inca paths 4 days - 3 nights
the inca trail / world heritage site unesco. the most important inca road was the camino real, as it is known in spanish, with a length of 5200km (3230mi). it began in quito, ecuador, passed through cusco, and ended in what is now tucuman, argentina. the camino real traversed the mountain ranges of the andes, with peak altitudes of more than 5000m. el camino de la costa, the coastal trail, with a length of 4,000 km (2420mi), ran parallel to the sea and was linked with the camino real by many smaller routes. the incas built a vast network of roads to be able to communicate with the four regions of their huge empire, the inca road system was constructed in pre-columbian south america. traversing the andes mountains and reaching heights of over 5000m (16500f) above sea level, the trails connected the regions of theinca empire from the northern provincial capital in quito, ecuador past the modern city of santiago, chilean the south.
the inca road system covered approximately 22530km (14000mi) and provided access to over three million km² of territory. the networks were known as qhapap ñan (the sovereign’s highway). there are remains of the qhapaq ñan (the inca trail) throughout
peru that are still used to this day by local farmers sometimes accompanied by pack animals, usually the llama. the trails were used by the inca people as a means of relaying messages, carried via knotted-cord quipu, books, and by memory; and for transporting goods. messages could be carried by chasqui runners covering as much as 242km (150mi) per day. there were approximately 2,000 inns, or tambos, placed at even intervals along the trails. the inns provided food, shelter and military supplies to the tens of thousands who traveled the roads. there were corrals for llamas and stored provisions such as corn, lima beans, dried potatoes, and llama jerky. along the roads, local villagers would plant fruit trees that were watered by irrigation ditches.
today, hiking the inca trail to machu pichu, the so-called “lost city of the incas”. there are many well-preserved ruins along the way, variety of eco-systems and dazzling scenery. the inca trail is one of the world’s most important trekking and camping routes and is possible to get there in 2 days / 1 night or 4 days / 3 nights and find the altitude between minimum 2600m - 8528ft; maximum 4200m - 13776ft.
our classical 4 days group service trek is the most popular trek to machu picchu. with this trek service you can join one of our groups and find variety of like-minded people from all over the world. this service is perfect for couples and small groups of friends.
important: concern about overuse leading to erosion has led the peruvian government to place a limit on the number of people who may hike this trail per season, and to sharply limit the companies that can provide guides. as a result, advance booking is mandatory.
a maximum of 500 people per day, including guides and porters, are permitted to begin the trail every day. as a result, the high season books out very quickly.
note: that the trail is closed every february for cleaning.
today is the climax day hiking through the most popular ancient past through highlands tomachu picchu citadel of the incas.
around 5:30am the travelers will be collected for their hotels in downtown – cusco. the travelers will be transferred by private van with enough room for the backpacks, foods and the other personal items. this journey goes through andean village of chincheros, ollantaytambo, urubamba and finally chilca. the tour guide will recommend stopping at ollantaytambo to have country breakfast (no included in the trek price).
after 3 hours of drive the journey ends at kilometer 82, this point is the trail head of the famous inca trail to machu picchu. before to start the hike the hiker will make the check in at the control point, this is the place to check everything before to start the hiking.
the trail takes us to the first inca ruins as huillca raccay, this offer spectacular view of urubamba valley and the cusi chacca river. the trekking includes break stop for pictures and relaxing according your felling.
continue hiking on the left bank of urubamba river the hiker will be awarded with spectacular views of veronica snow capped mountain, this is considerate one of the highest mountain with 5870 meters above sea level on the cordillera urubamba (urubamba mountain range).
after 3 hours of hike you will enjoy the lunch near of llaqtapata ruins (upper town in quechua ancient language) and surrounded by pure nature and amazing views and of course guided visit of the ruins.
3 hours more of uphill and following the ancient path by the left bank of the river (around 7 kilometers) the hikers will arrived to the little village of wayllabamba. this place will be to set up the tents and spend the first night at 3000 meter above the sea level.
lunch, tea time and dinner.
available cold shower in the camp site.
after country breakfast the hikers will be ready to leave the first campsite and start the hike following the ancient path along the left bank of the lluyuchayoc river. today we recommend to hike very slow and take your time because is the hardest day to climb up the pass. after 1 or 2 hours arrival to tres piedras (three stones), there is small bridge to be crossed named wayruro (seed of good fortune) and there the hiker will stop for break and use the toilets facilities before to continue going up through cloud forest.
uphill hike for around 3 or 4 hours depending your physical condition and seeing spectacular views of lluyucha pampa (3680m). continuing going up and following the amazing landscape you will get to the first and highest pass of the inca trail, called in quechua ancient language “abra huarmy wañusca” or ingles means "dead woman's pass" (4200m). the final part of the uphill trail will be the hardest because the altitude start to make effect to the hiker don’t got good acclimatization before to this trek. inca path peru recommend expending few nights at 3400 meters above sea level (cusco) before to do this trek and reach this pass.
at the abra huarmy wañusca normally many people reach this altitude and this is the best award for celebrate. some hikers bring some special drink to share with the others taking resting, making pictures and if weather permit seeing spectacular scenes of uphill trail where some people still are making the effort to reach top.
after plenty time on the top we start a nice downhill path to the second campsite at paqaymayo valley (3600 meters above sea level). this valley offer nice views of the mountain range.
breakfast, lunch, tea time and dinner.
available cold shower in the camp site.
today the hiker will have breakfast at 7am and the start another 15km of hiking passing through archaeological site as runkuracay (pile of ruins). this circular complex is located on the top of a mountain and between the border of the andean climate and the cloud forest. to reach these ruins the trail climbs steeply up the opposite side of the valley towards the second pass. the investigation says this was a place to storage food and contains sleeping areas for the inca army.
after the guide tour of runkuracay we follow the trail leads us to the second larger inca ruins as known sayaqmarca (dominant town or inaccessible town). on the way to the ruins the hikers passing through two small beautiful lagoons next of the trail. after sayaqmarca the trail winds through jungle with orchids and bromeliads, through a tunnel, and along ridge above urubamba river to puyupatamarca (town in the clouds). with stunning views of salcantay, veronica, and pumasillo. puyupatamarca, spreads out on either side of the trail with many agricultural terraces, a long series of baths (one and than a run of five going down the slope), and at the top of the site a large bedrock platform. some archaeologists interpret the site as primarily a place to worship the mountains, but also see important water source association with the springs feeding the baths. puyupatamarca offer spectacular place to have lunch seeing the surrounded mountains.
from puyupatamarca descends via steep staircase to wiñay wayna (forever young) is an inca complex neighbor to machu picchu, on an elevated perch overlooking the urubamba river. the site consists of upper and lower house complexes connected by a staircase and fountain structures, beside the houses lies and area of agricultural terraces. this place was discovered in 1941 by paul fejos.
after exploring the ruins we go to the campsite, there is a little hostel and restaurant where you can purchase some drinks available.
wiñay wayna is the last campsite before to enter to machu picchu.
breakfast, lunch, tea time and dinner.
available hot shower in wiñay wayna old lodge for additional cost ($2.50 usd).
today hikers will wake up early, plenty breakfast will be served in the campsite and the follow clearly market path to inti punku (sun gate). after one hour the hikers will be awarded with more than 50 steps before to reach the pass of inti punku.
inti punku or sun gate is entering to machu picchu citadel, the complex can be seeing from inti punku. the hikers can arrive here before sunrise and enjoy the first rays of the sun reaching machu pucchu.
after cross the stony door the hikers will see the magnificent and beauty of machu picchu, from where hikers will be able to have an impressive panoramic view of the inca citadel. upon arrival to machu picchu, you will have a guided tour of the ruins and monuments, such as the main square, the circular tower, the sacred solar clock, the royal quarters, the temple of the three windows and the cemeteries. free time to stroll around the citadel and then meet the rest of the group to be transferred by bus to aguas calientes for lunch (not included). around 4pm the hiker will aboard the train from aguas calientes town to ollantaytambo (sacred valley) and from there one more of transfer via private van to your selected hotel in cusco.
a day before the tour, you and your fellow trekkers are given a "briefing" session where you receive information and recommendations about the trek schedule, locations of the campsites, park ecological regulations (ugm the government authorities that control access to the inca trail - machu picchu is a natural reserve protected by the peruvian state), equipment and essential materials, clothing, food, security aspects, first aid, transportation and a customer suggestion sheet.
if this is your first time going to the andes or high mountains we recommend getting information about the altitude sickness, see below some websites recommend by high mountain doctors and scientists from over the world.
ismm – international society for mountain medicine
medex – medical expeditions
february: inca trail (2 or 4 days) will be closed for maintenance, not available permit... sorry. machu picchu open all year.
january - march - april - june - july - august - september- october - november - december: theinca trail trek leaves every monday, wednesday and friday. if you have like to book for other day let know us to add the departure date. we recommend that you make a trek booking as early as possible with bank deposit of 50% and the final balance (50%) can be paid when you arrive in cusco, one day before we will meet you in your hotel or you can come to our local office.
daily departures are available all year, except every february. the inca trail is close for maintenance.
with this service, we provide a private official tour guide, assistant and porters to make your trip as comfortable as possible and you can explore much more every ruins in the old inca trail and machu pichu complex.
yes, if you want to stay an extra night in aguas calientes after inca trail trek this can easily be arranged. we will purchase your train ticket to return to cusco the following day. you need to let us know at the time of making the trek reservation so we can reserve your train tickets in advance. obviously if you stay an extra night then you will have to pay for your accommodation
for more information about the weather in the inca trail trek machu picchu, and around cusco region click here.
porters to carry up to 12kg = $300 usd ($75 usd per day) for the full duration of the tour from cusco to aguas calientes. regarding porters who carry personal items. you will need to carry with you a daypack with your camera, bottle of water, snacks, a fleece or something warm and a poncho in case of rain (unlikely in dry season but as a precaution) and anything you will need before lunch as porters do not walk alongside you. your bag will be waiting for you in your tent at campsites.
best to put everything up to 12kgs in one backpack for the porter so that you don´t have 2 large backpacks in your tent. we can provide you with a big rice sack that is not heavy but also not water proof so use plastic bags around your gear. the porters have large ponchos to cover them and the bag.
on day 2 you can hire a porter from the village of wayllabamba to carry your pack over the pass to the second campsite approximately $75 usd.
important new trail regulations inc (instituto nacional de cultura)
please note the inc has confirmed a 50% increase on the inca trail fee for trekkers and porters but from august not january 2007 as previously indicated.
a - limited number of people can enter the trail each day (500 people per day) and hikers require permits obtained in advance by a licensed tour operator to do so.
b - your passport details and isic student card if applicable must be presented to the ugm park control to obtain a permit. you most scan / fax your valid isic card at the time of booking and carry these documents on the trail or risk loosing your permit. youth travel card or istc is not accepted by the control.
c - we have daily departures for the 4 day inca trail (except in all february - the trail is closed) and from may to october (high season) you need to confirm your booking at least 3 months in advance if you do not have flexibility in a departure date.
d - for lower season dates november to april there are often many dates with permits available so just make your reservation (minimum 1 month before) through the website and confirm by email the deposit booking.
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