The Inka Trail Classic or Qhapac Ñan in Quechua language, is one of the most famous trekking all over the world. The Inka trail was the path used by the Inka (King) to arrive in Machu Picchu, built in the top of the Andeans mountain range. This Trail is a network with more than 30.000km from the south of Colombia to the north of Chile and Argentina. It is an impressive communication channel, the must old in America, built with an advanced technology over the mountains range, with tunnels and bridges to connect different cities and communicate them.
We will pick you up from where ever you are staying in Cusco, Urubamba or Ollantaytambo. Pickup from Cusco will be at 4:30 AM, from Urubamba 5:30 AM and if you stay in Ollantaytambo, the pickup will be at 6:30 AM. During the briefing, one day before, every detail will be explained to you. We will then drive to Km 82 after the sacred valley where the Inka trail starts, arriving at about 7:00 AM.
After a delicious breakfast prepared by our cook, we’ll go through the first Inca Trail checkpoint to begin our trek (please make sure you have your original passport with you to enter the Inca Trail). The first 2 hours of the trek are relatively easy as we make our way to our first Inca site, Patallacta which is an ancient Inca checkpoint for the approach to Machu Picchu. From Patallacta it’s another 2-hour hike to our lunch stop. After lunch, we will hike for another 2½ hours until we reach the first night’s campsite at Ayapata 3300 meters (10800FASL).
On this last stretch, we pass through 2 small communities. If you want to buy any energy drinks or snacks you can do it there. Also, you can buy any essential items such as batteries that you may have forgotten. We’ll arrive at our campsite by 5:00 PM and after settling in for a bit you can relax and have a hot drink and snack with your team of porters, chefs, and guides. By 7:30 PM your dinner will be ready. Finally, you can get some well-deserved rest.
Your porters will wake you up early with a hot cup of coca tea to get you ready for the day. This day is the longest day and we will start early. We’ll hike for roughly 4 hours to the highest pass of the trek, Dead Woman’s Pass 4215 meters (13829 feet). Upon reaching the pass we’ll stop for a short break to enjoy the views before setting off again to descend to the next valley (Pacaymayu Valley – Hidden River). It’s another hour and a half down to the lunch spot with a chance to refill your water bottles.
After lunch, we begin ascending again to the second pass of the trek, it’s 2 hours to the pass. Along the way, we’ll stop at a small Inca site (Runcu Raccay) and see two huge waterfalls cascading down the opposite side of the valley. After the second pass, it’s another hour downhill hike to reach the magnificent Inca site, Sayacmarca (an otherwise inaccessible village). We’ll stop here for a rest and have a quick tour of the site and then watch the sunset over the Vilcabamba mountain range. Then another 20 minutes walking until a stop for the night at our second campsite Chaquicocha (Dry Lake, 3600 meters). After dinner, if you’re not too exhausted, we can do some star gazing and we’ll point out the fascinating Inca constellations. In the magnificent Southern Hemisphere sky, away from all the artificial lighting, this sky is something to behold!
We begin early again, waking up at 6:30 am to begin what is considered the most beautiful day of the whole Inca Trail. We hike for 2 hours along what we call “Inca flat” (gradual inclines) and begin to enter the jungle, known as the Cloud Forest. As we walk we will have the opportunity to see the Salkantay, the second highest snow-capped mountain in the Sacred Valley, and the Vilcabamba mountain range.
Towards the end of the Inca flats we begin to make our way up to the last peak at Phuyupatamarka 3600 meters (11800FASL) the edge of the east Andean range, now we will be next to the Amazonas. Down the valley, we can see Machu Picchu Mountain but not Machupicchu city. The last 3 hours walk down to our last campsite, close to Wiñay Wayna, the most spectacular Inca site on the trail after Machu Picchu. During the descent, we visit 2 Inca ruins, Phuyupatamarka (Town in the Clouds), and Intipata (Terraces of the Sun).
We arrive at our campsite around 1:00 PM to have lunch and then relax for the entire afternoon so that you’re relaxed and ready for your final day at Machu Picchu. At around 4:30 PM your guide will give you a short orientation and you will visit the Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna, spending about an hour and a half there. We will explain the significance of the site and combine all the information given during the trek so you’re fully prepared for your visit to Machu Picchu the following day.
We like to spoil our guests as we enjoy our last feast with the porters and chefs. It’s an Inca Trail tradition to organize a ceremony in the evening to introduce the team to the tourists once again and to thank them for the great job done. It is advisable to go to bed at a reasonable time in order to get up in the early hours of the morning to arrive at Machu Picchu at the crack of dawn in the Intipunku (the sun gate) the principal gate of Machupicchu.
Wake up time is at 3:30 AM. We’ll eat breakfast at 4:00 AM and wait at the checkpoint to be one of the first to start trekking when they open the gates at 5:30 AM. We’ll wave goodbye to our team of porters and chefs and then it’s “Forward On” to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). From there we have spectacular views of the mountains and Machu Picchu in all its greatness. We reach the Sun Gate by 6:30 am and then it’s just an hour trek downstairs to reach the Lost City of the Incas. As we approach Machu Picchu the views of the city just get better and better!
At about 7:40 AM we’ll reach the final checkpoint and enter Machu Picchu to begin our 2 hours private guided tour, after that time you will have free time to explore Machupicchu by yourself, also you can add one of the additional mountains like Machupicchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu mountain if you are planning to climb one of those to have a panoramic view of Machu Picchu. After the exploration, you can leave Machu Picchu when you want and then we will walk down to Aguas Calientes to reach the train station to return to Ollantaytambo, and outside of the train station, one person will be waiting for you to take you back to Cusco downtown.
We have almost Daily departures for this tour. The weather is dry all year. However, between December and April, there are a few rain spots, but it is not a big deal. The Inka trail is closed in February for Maintenace. The temperature can be around 22°C during the day and 10°C During the night. Nevertheless, The fist part of the Inka Trail Classic is a bit cold 15°C during the day and 5°C during the night. That is why on this tour you need summer and winter clothes. Click to check the Peruvian wheater.
There are many destinations into Machu Picchu like the Machu Picchu Mountain, Huayna Picchu Mountain, the Inka Bridge, and the Sun Gate, the first 2 have to be booked on time and the last 2 are for free. Click to know more about The Destination inside of Machupicchu.
Maybe you know that Machu Picchu was not the principal city of the Inka empire. However, was a sacred temple to receive the new year. If you are interested to know the timeline of the Inka history, I recommend you to visit Cusco (the capital of the Inka Empire), Click to see The Destinations in Cusco. After Cusco, the Inkas built the Sacred valley, Click to see The Destinations in the Sacred Valley, and then they built Machu Picchu and the great Inka Trail. if you visit those destinations first, you will be an Inka History expert when you reach Machu Picchu.
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