Inca Trail to Machu Picchu|
PeruPeru Private Service 5-day Itinerary
Peru’s best-known hike visited by thousands of tourists every year. This 43-km trek combines the visit of mysterious archaeological sites, amazing mountain scenery and lush cloud forest rich in Andean flora and fauna, ending in the Sacred Inca City of Machupicchu.
The 5 day version is an excellent alternative to avoid most of the crowds found on the 4-day classical route and to reach quieter, more distant and beautiful campsites.
Day 01: Cusco - Llactapata We will depart Cusco at 4:30am in a private transportation which will drive us to km.82, the starting point of the Inca Trail. We will start our hike walking along the left shore of the Urubamba river.
Following the trail along a flat terrain, we will arrive in Miskay (2800 m.), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the Inca city of Patallacta (2750 m.). From this point, we will descend to the ruins, next to which we will set our camp, after an approximated 3 hour walk. We will spend the afternoon exploring and visiting the archaeological site.
Day 02: Llactapata – Llulluchapampa We will wake up early to continue trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca river, gradually climbing until we reach the farming community of Wayllabamba (3000 m.).
All along the way we will see spectacular views of the Vilcanota mountain range on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive Veronica peak reigns at 5832 meters above sea level. Not to mention the diversity of wild flora and fauna that can be found all along the valley.
Continuing through the trail, we will leave Wayllabamba behind to begin the most difficult part of the trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km and reaches the first mountain pass in the Inca Trail, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s pass).
We will only climb halfway up the pass, stopping at Llulluchapampa, where we will camp and spend the night. Along the climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation), having the chance to spot domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at that altitude. We will also cross an area of the so called cloud forest, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows and the Andean bear, which is also called the Spectacled Bear ( Tremarctus Ornatus).
We advise that on this day and the next one specially, your day pack is well stocked with candies, chocolates and coca leaves that will keep your sugar level high, and help with altitude sickness.
Day 03: Llulluchapampa – Phuyupatamarca After breakfast, we will continue our hike up the highest point in the Inca Trail, reaching the mountain pass of Abra Warmihuañusca (4200m.) after about 2 hours. Immediately after the pass, we will descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600 m.), from which we will then climb to the second pass, the Abra de Runkurakay (3970 m.).
Half way up, we will visit the archaeological complex with the same name. This site, located at 3800 masl, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower. After going over the pass, we will descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud-forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624 m.).
This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals. Continuing up an easy climb, we will arrive at the third pass, the Abra Phuyupatamarca (3700 m.). Along this climb we can appreciate the magnitude of the Incas´ ancient craft, by walking along paths semi-detached from the mountain, and seeing rocks that fill up ravines in perfect order, saving the trail from the multileveled Andean geography.
We go through an Inca tunnel to later arrive at the aforementioned pass and down to the complex of the same name. This is one of the most complete and best preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machupicchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. Curiously, Phuyupatamarca means ¨town over the clouds¨. From above, one can observe a sophisticated sacred complex made up of water fountains with solid foundations, and also impressive views of the Urubamba River valley. We will set our camp in Phuyupatamarca and spend the night there.
Day 04: Phuyupatamarca – Wiñaywayna – Puente Ruinas Today we will start our way through the long descending stone steps which will lead us to Wiñaywayna (2700m.), where we will find a campsite equipped with a restaurant, bar and bathrooms with hot showers.
The campsite has the same name as the complex located only five minutes away from the lodge. Wiñaywayna is the biggest archaeological site in the Inca Trail besides Machupicchu and consists of an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector, offering spectacular views over the already narrower Urubamba River valley.
We will then leave Wiñaywayna to climb to Intipunku, or The Sun Gate. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle.
From this fabulous spot, we will enjoy spectacular views over the sacred citadel of Machupicchu, weather permitting. From Intipunku we will descend into Machupicchu, pass straight through and down to what will be our last campsite at the base of the mountain, below the ruins and beside the Urubamba River.
In the evening, we may visit the village of Aguas Calientes and enjoy a relaxing bath in its hot springs.
Day 05: Puente Ruinas - Machupicchu – Cusco We will wake up early and board a bus which will take us up to Machupicchu where we will begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours.
We will then have free time to walk around, climb the Huaynapicchu Mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machupicchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it, or we can visit the Temple of the Moon and the fabulous Inca Bridge.
In the afternoon, we will meet in the town of Aguas Calientes to take the train back to the city of Cusco, where we will arrive after nightfall.
* Departure and arrival times are approximated.
** Campsites are subject to change according to the designation of the governmental institution regulating the use of the Inca Trail, as well as to our guide’s criteria and the evolution of the group.
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