Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 5 Days and 4 Nights
The Inca trail is one choice jewel of the treks in Perú,Cusco: : close proximity of high snowcapped peaks, hanging valleys, deep gorges and broad wide expanses of Andean highland plateau, cloud forest and semidry Andean valleys. We will trek a section of the original Inka Trail to Machu Picchu and have a chance to see the different ecosystems and archaeological sites. Plus, the train rides to and from Machu Picchu along the Canyon of the Urubamba River, are thrilling and impressive treat unto themselves.
Difficulty of the trek: easy to moderate , good physical conditions.
Day 1: Distance: 10km-Altitude: 2570 to 2850 mts-hours 5-camping 2850 mts.
Day 2: Distance: 8km-Altitude: 2850 to 3850 mts-hours 5-camping 3850mts.
Day 3: Distance: 14km-Altitude: 3850 to 3950 to 4221 mts- hours 8-camping 3650mts.
Day 4: Distance: 9km- Altitude: 3650 to 2450 mts-hours 7 -hotel 2060mts.
Day 5: Distance: 7km- Altitude: 2060 to 2450 to 3000 mts, hours 7, back to Cusco 3300mts.
Ecosystems: Scrub bush vegetation, andean semi dry forest, cloud forest, inter andean valleys. grass land, alpine, glaciers.
Highlights: Some Inca remains. High biodiversity, flora, fauna. Ancient Inca road, sacred mountains, amazing landscape.
Climate: The temperature varies in between below cero 2ºC,morning ,night to 20ºC,middle day to 25ºC day.Mountain climate, sunny to cloudy,windy.
The Inca road system called Capac Ñan (beautiful road or Great Inca road) it was the most extensive and complex ancient system in the new world. It is believed that this main road built it by the Incas was the main net work system that connected the four cardinal points in this part of the world. This sacred road was also part of the Inca empire high way of the Tawantinsuyo( the empire of the four corners).Chinchaysuyo(the north region,Contisuyo( the south region),Collasuyo (the west region) and then the Antisuyo( the east region )ending in the jungles of the unexplored Amazon
It use to run from south to north and from west to the east parts of the Andes with several primary and secondary roads that were connecting several sacred places, Inca cities, shires and administrative places as well military stations.All of them with great scale, beauty and functions, providing also all kind of sources for the people, helping the redistribution and spreading around the messages of the Incas, carried by Inca runners who where coming from the capital Cusco. The Capac ñan was a great web and work system with all the communication well organize with imperials and government messages and member in duty, used by the Inca people .In this way the Incas achieve a well organize empire and only with one language, one religion and one culture ,The Inca culture.
The Capac ñan covered a distance of over 40 thousand kilometers of primary and secundary roads made it by the Incas or added to their sistem from preInca civilizations and over 3000 kilometers long in a territory filled with one of the longest mountain range called the Andes over 9000 kilometers long, one of the densest jungle in the world the Amazon and one of the dries places in the world the dessert of Peru and Atacama. With elevations in between 100 to 5000 mts providing access to different ecosystem and territory estimates in over 5,000,000 square kilometers of territory, where the Incas built and crossed mountains valleys rivers and glaciers. The main road of the Incas was also beginning in the great capital of the Inca empire Cusco or Qosqo (navel of the world).According with the evidence found in this capital .There was the four main roads beginning in the sacred plaza of Aukaipata in the heart of the Inca capital city and used to go to the four directions of the empire ending in the places like the jungle and the high plateau of the Andes. Others covering valleys and then deserts ending close to the ocean.
It went in to places like Ecuador and Colombia in the north .as well to places like Bolivia, Argentina and the deserts of Atacama in between Peru and Chile. To access to those Inca roads it was mandatory to get permissions because many of f those Inca roads were used by members of the high classes and soldiers as well many representers of the government in duty. In some bridges taxes where charged as well many messagers were running through stations to deliver the messages that were connecting the different places.
The most spectacular and scenery road is found near Cusco that connects some sacred cities like Machu picchu, Choquequirao, Vilcabamba, Vitcos, Espiritu pampa.as well Sacred mountains called Apus like the Mythic Ausangante (6384 mts) and the Salcantay (6221mts).Finally some of those Inca trails are connecting communities in the area of Lares and the sacred valley ending some of the in the jungles of the department of Cusco.
DAY 1 – Cusco, Piscaycucho Tarayoc
We depart from Cusco at 8:30 am, driving northeast for about 2 hours until we reach the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here, we will see the archaeological sites of the once great Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo build by the incas in the beginig of the 14th hundreds with incredible stone work and masory ,built in pink granit.Temples and astronomical obeservatories as well administrative and militar buildings make of this place a very good stop.This place was part of the tambo system organization. After this stop, we’ll continue driving for an hour until reaching the kilometer 82 marker(Piscaycucho,2,570 meters), where we’ll have lunch and prepare our kits. The local porters will be helping us carry the hiking gear, camping equipment, and commissary goods. After all the arrangements we are all set and ready to enter the National Park. From this point onward, the Inca Trail is noted for having beautiful archaeological sites and an abundance of orchids, bromeliads, and humming birds. The rich Andean vegetation is also home to the Chilca bush (bacharis peruviana), Molle tree (Schinus molle), and Tara tree (Caesalpina spinosa)plants: frequent sources of many local medicines. After a three-hour hike, we will arrive at the beautiful site of Patallacta (alt.2,740 meters) where we will stop for snacks and a tour of the remains. Then, we will resume our hike by following the gorge of the Urubamba River(one of head waters of the Amazon River) and then meeting the Cusichaca river in between three valleys.The hiking conditons and moderate diffculty and found different terraiins with dirt and part of the remains of the Inca trail. Along the way, we will come across incredible views of the Urubamba mountain range and its towering snow peaks like the Veronica glacier at 5700mts. At the end of hike, we’ll arrive at our first camp, Huayabamba (2,850 meters), where hot drinks, delicious food, and a beautiful setting await you.
DAY 2 – Tarayoc, Llulluchapampa
Day two begins with a hot breakfast and the chance to watch the sunrise between 6:30 and 7:30 am. Because we are camping in the middle of the mountains, it does take the sun a bit longer to emerge from the surrounding peaks. Prepare for a breathtaking experience as this majestic landscape is brought back to life in the morning light.
Today, we’ll be hiking of mostly uphill trails. As we make our ascent, keep an eye out for the changing ecosystems that surround you, for the interandean valley is known for its diverse ecological landscape. The first ecosystem you will notice is the Andean semidry forest with its unique scrub bush vegetation of asteraceas, bromeliads, and muss. Observe the rich birdlife as finches, seedeaters and hummingbirds flutter past you. After a few hourson the original Inca trail, we will break at Yuncaypata (3200meters) to take in the incredible view of the snow peaks of Huayanay (alt5,188meters).
Later on, we will encounter another ecosystem as we head into the Unca woodland (Myrcianthes oreophyla). This area marks the beginning of the cloud forest and is rich in ferns, orchids, bromeliads, and muss. After another two-hour hike, we will arrive at the Andean Páramo (alpine tundra) called LLulluchapampa (3,650meters), where we’ll be setting up camp for the night.Today hike is about 8 km.Before dark, get in some bird watching with the abundant finch and hummingbird populations; they’re everywhere. Then, enjoy a hot dinner and a good night’s rest before another long day of hiking.
DAY 3 – Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca
Today, we have an early start as it is our longest day. We’ll be traveling of trail that will take us through a succession of different valleys and ecosystems. Once we arrive at the Warmi Wañusta pass (alt 4,201meters), the highest point of the trek, we’ll begin our descent towards Phuypatamarca. On our way down, we’ll stop and visit several archaeological sites before reaching our second pass of the day at Runkurakay (alt 3,780meters).
Then, we’ll continue down to visit the remains of Sayacmarca( a former religious retreat) with the chance to see some beautiful orchids (odontuglosun myanthum) and Aya zapatillan(Calceolaria cypripediiflora).We’ll take a break for lunch and resume our hike on one of the most beautiful sections of the trail, well known for its incredible views of the surrounding snow peaks and the misty cloud forest that lies below. After about an hour, we’ll reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (“place above the clouds”) (alt 3,620meters), where we’ll be putting up camp.Enjoy spectacular views of the Urubamba mountain range, the Urubamba gorge, and the surrounding mountains of Machu Picchu as you settle in for the evening.
DAY 4 – Phuyupatamarca, Machu Picchu
Today, we set out towards Machu Picchu will take about 5 hours. Along the way, we’ll see more fascinating Inca remains and unique cloud forest species, such as the orchids and bromeliad plants, and tanager and wren birds.After an hour or so, we’ll arrive at what is probably known as the most beautiful archaeological site on the entire trail: Wiñay Wayna. Wiñay Wayna means “forever young” in Quechua and is also the name of the epiphytic orchid (Epidendrum secumdum) that is prevalent in the area. Take a minute to behold the bird population… it is undeniably impressive… and beautiful. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch shortly after we come to the Sun gate (Intipunku 2,950 meters) to give you a better chance to absorb the beauty around you. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take pictures of the city of Machu Picchu from above. After lunch, we’ll continue down with frequent stops for more opportunities to see Machu Picchu from above. Once we arrive at the beginning of the Machu Picchu site, we’ll go exploring and tourinjg this sacred site probably used by the Incas as a religious retreat and astronomical obervatory.also some free time before taking the bus down to the town of Aguas calientes, where we can enjoy a hot meal and relaxing evening in a local hotel.
DAY 5 – Machu Picchu
Wake up early for a sunrise tour of Machu Picchu that will last about two hours were we will explore de site in order to discover purposse of the city.It was build by the Inca number nine during the times of Inca Pachacútec and it was his palace (John Rowe1990) during the expansion of the Inca Empire.Also probably for military and commerce because the proximity to two different ecosistems with natural resources and for the coca plantations.A Royal Inca state and city with Militar purposse and comercial and ceremonial purposses since the found 8 different roads that connect Machu picchu withthe out site..In the city too you find Astronomical and Religuios retreats. Gain an intimate perspective on what is often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas.”
Machu Picchu is situated at the beginning, or “eye brow”, of the cloud forest. This allowed access to different altitudes, each with unique ecological conditions. The crops found at Machu Picchu include different varieties of corn, chilies, quinoa, tomatoes, trees, potatoes, suggesting that this was a good place to acclimate and domesticate species from the high and low jungles that later would be successfully introduced into the hanging valleys and elsewhere.
This small valley was suitable for the building of temples and astronomical observatories, plazas,palaces, streets, utilitarian and functional buildings,
ceremonial places, granaries, store houses and terraces for agriculture, Inca roads.
By analysis of soil, seeds, wood, and bones, Carbon Dating situates Incas in the area during the mid-1400s to mid-1500s. Machu Picchu was built by the Inca number 9 who named it “Pachacutek” or “Cusi Yupanqui”. Throughout the site, there is fine masonry and beautiful stonework, all of which is done without mortar. Construction used outside sources for laborers and two large granite quarries nearby. It is believed that the site was occupied by royalty and dignitaries, and that it was visited by the Inca and his entourage or royal court. Even though it was never quite completed, local scholars and historians believe that within a mere 100 years Machu Picchu was built, inhabited, and abandoned.
Several roads connect to bring pilgrims and essential supplies to Machu Picchu, the site of temples and astronomical observatories dedicated to the sun, moon, stars, the universe, the mother earth “Pachamama” and the creator “Wiracocha”.
All these beautiful buildings were occupied by royalty, nobility and important people and their entourages. These were palaces, religious retreats, plazas, ceremonial places, astronomical observatories and they also served as military stations, store houses, granaries, and terraces for farming, all connected by Inca roads. Construction included existing rock, the small valley itself, and the mountain. Fine masonry and well carved, well-polished stonework, all assembled without mortar. The work was done by laborers from elsewhere who used ramps, rollers, and manpower.
Afterwards, choose between climbing one of the nearby mountains, Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu (about a 2 to 3 hour hike), or exploring Machu Picchu on your own. Later in the afternoon, we will have one last lunch together before catching ourtrain back to the imperial city of Cusco.
We Provide and Include: Itinerary transport roundtrip from Cusco-Licensed, Bilingual, history and naturalist Tour Guides-All Itinerary Meals, including vegetarian & snacks, Safety orientation and Equipment for optional activities-First Aid kit and Oxygen-Tour specific Sleeping bags, air mattresses and Expedition grade tents-Dining tent, Cook & Services, staff, Porters 02 perperson-Ecological, portable toilets-All Entrance Tickets-Bus up and down for Machu Picchu-Pre-purchased Return Train connections to Cusco.optional hikes in Machu picchu and Huayna picchu mountains and the Intipunku Inca trail
We can recommend the best and more comfortable hotels or we can take care of the reservations for you.
For adjusting to tour altitude, we suggest one day tours like the Sacred Valley hike,one day River Rafting before the Apurímac River and the City Tour of Cusco hike. As Guides we offer 100% Gauranteed Information, for your sensibilities – about the best specific hotel rooms and services around Peru, like extra windows and other amenities.
What to bring
This is a list designed to advise you what equipment is appropriate to bring according to the weather conditions predominating at the time of your trip:
Jeans and other pants are good as well.as well any clothes that cover the request of being water proof or resistance to water or cold are fine as long they are resistance to the conditions are fine.
- Flashlights (at least one headlamp among them).
- Sun Block; Insect Repellent.
- Towels (Small; cotton and hygienic).
- Rain Gear (Pants and Jacket)
- A couple of pairs of socks, perhaps even an extra pair.
- One pair of trousers for the evening plus two more pairs for trail use (zipp-offs).
- Sandals for River OR DRYSHOES.ASWELL use or CAMP OR HOTEL use (Teva types).
- Low ankle height hiking shoes or regular hiking boots (check the season).
- Reading material.
- Binoculars (always useful regardless of season and activity).
- Bathing Suit.
- Water Bottle (I liter capacity).
- Good Sun glasses, perhaps two sets.
- A bandana for neck protection.
- A couple of sets of underwear (perhaps an extra pair).
- Camera and plenty of film.
- Passport (plus a couple of Xerox copies).