DAY 01: CUSCO – WAYLLABAMBA
Between 6:00 and 6:30 am, we pick you up at your hotel in our own private bus. We then drive to Piskacuchu (2700 masl), a community located on the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco –Machupicchu railroad. Starting at this point, we cross the bridge and walk along the left shore of the Urubamba River as it flows north-west along the Sacred Valley. Following the trail along a flat terrain, we arrive in Miskay (2800 masl), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the Inca city of Patallacta (2750 masl). We continue trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca River, gradually climbing for about five hours until we reach our first campsite in the Wayllabamba village (3000 masl). All along the way we will see spectacular views of the Vilcanota ridge 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.
DAY 02: WAYLLABAMBA – PACAYMAYO
We wake up at around 6:00 am, and after breakfast we 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. Along this climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). On the way to the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman´s Pass), we see domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at that altitude. We 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 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. Immediately after the pass, we descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600 masl), where we camp after approximately 6h of hiking.
DAY 03: PACAYMAYO – WIÑAYWAYNA
This day is the longest but also the most impressive and the most interesting, due the number of archaeological sites that we visit and learn about from our guide. From Pacaymayo we climb to the second pass, the Abra de Runkurakay (3970 masl). Half way up, we 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 descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud-forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624 masl). 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 arrive at the third pass, the Abra de Phuyupatamarca (3700 masl). 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 and the long descending stone steps along which we will continue on to Wiñaywayna (2700 masl). At this campsite we find a lodge 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 an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector.
DAY 04: WIÑAYWAYNA – MACHUPICCHU
On this fourth and last day we get up at 4.00 am to leave Wiñaywayna an hour later and climbto 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 may see the sunrise over the sacred citadel of Machupicchu. From Intipunku we descend into Machupicchu, and 40 minutes later we enter the citadel from the highest point through the ¨House of the Guardians¨. We then descend to the control point where we register ourselves and leave our backpacks. We immediately begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. You 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 visit the Temple of the Moon and the fabulous Inca Bridge. In the afternoon, we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in the thermal baths. From here we take the train to the city of Cusco, where we will arrive after nightfall.
WE RECOMMEND TO BRING
- A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
- Rain jacket or poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco
- Strong footwear, ideally trekking or sport shoes
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleece and sweaters
- Sleeping bag
- Mattress: will be provided by the agency but is to be carried by you
- Flashlight and batteries
- Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain or cold
- Sun block
- Insect repellent Toilet paper
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, etc.
- Water bottle and sterilizing tablets (ie. Micropur)
- Small towel
- Swimsuit (if you intend to go to the hot springs)
- Cash in soles and/or US$ (no ATM machines in Aguas Calientes)
- Original passport and original ISIC Card.
- Optional: walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required)
OPTIONAL SERVICES TO BE HIRED
- An extra porter to carry your personal items: US$ 70.00 / 4 days. A porter can carry up to 18 kg, which should be enough for 2 people.
- An extra hotel night in Aguas Calientes can be booked for you at an additional cost depending on the hotel you choose.
- If you wish to visit Machupicchu again the following day, the additional cost of the entrance fee.
- Vistadome Service train (First Class) instead of the Backpacker one (Tourist train).
- Sleeping Bag rent:
Students: (students require a valid International Student Identity Card and must be below 26 years of age)