This trek originally designed as an alternative trek to the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, turned out to be a favorite one for many people. The authenticity of the environment and outstanding beauty makes this trek very special. The terrain is similar to the Inca trail with the difference that you hardly meet other trekkers on the trail; you will experience the peasant life as you watch people work the land, camp near their homes and encounter little visited Inca sites in the midst of a pristine environment reminiscent of ancient times.
GRADING A SEASONApril to November PROGRAM 3 days / 2 nights
DAY 1: CUSCO / SACRED VALLEY | INC: L
On the day before you will begin your trek at 7:30 a.m. in the morning, we’ll pick you by private vehicle from your hotel for a great Sacred Valley tour. This is the natural and most efficient way to get close to the trail head while acclimatizing and getting familiarized with Inca trails. We will drive over the “Ccorao” pass above Cusco to descend on a winding road to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here we will hike on Inca trails through the magnificent Inca citadel of PISAC considered as one of the outstanding Inca remains because of the quality of the stone work and breath-taking location on a mountain saddle overlooking the Sacred Valley. After a 1 1/2hour visit and hike we will drive down the mountain for a short visit to the colonial town of the same name with a quick stop at their famous Indian handicraft market. Afterwards we will drive following the Urubamba River downstream to Urubamba city; here we will visit the local food market and have lunch at a local restaurant nearby. Afterwards we’ll visit Ollantaytambo, considered the most authentic living Inca town. This town has been continuously inhabited since Inca times until the present, conserving its original urban layout and stone walled homes. A guided walking tour through the extensive ruins and cobblestone paved narrow streets will make you feel like you are travelling back in time. Stay at Hotel in Ollantaytambo for the night.
DAY 2: OLLANTAYTAMBO/SILQUE/ANCASHCOCHA | INC: L/D
We pick you up early from your hotel in Ollantaytambo and transfer you to Chillca where we meet our crew and begin our hike up towards the Silque Canyon. We pack our animals and begin to ascend by way of narrow canyon following a stream that will gradually get smaller; we can observe tall granite walls on the sides of the canyon populated by a large variety of orchids and bromeliads, filling the environment with magnificent colours when in bloom. We continue by crossing the stream several times until we reach higher lands and find our campset up near the village and lake of “Ancashcocha” , a warm cup of tea is waiting for us at the dinning tent and later a delicious dinner before we settle for the night. Beautiful views of the “Veronica” mountain are seen behind us most of the way.
DAY 3: ANCASCOCHA/PAUCARCANCHA | INC: B/ L/ D
After a hearty breakfast we are ready for this challenging day. We begin ascending towards the high Huayllanay Pass (4,550 meters). At first we take a steep zigzag trail up to where we find an original cobblestone paved Inca trail that will take us smoothly towards the high pass. Not far we can spot the beautiful waterfall that feeds into the Ancashcocha glacier lake. The wild “Huallata” or Andean Geese and Black Ibis are often spotted in this high area. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in the midst of this high mountain scenery; later as we begin descending from the
pass we will enjoy beautiful views of high mountains, we will pass by the ruins of Inca Rajay and further down we find small settlements scarcely populated by native peasants that mark our way to the village of Q’esqa. Further along we follow a long descending trail into greener vegetation while views of the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu appear in the distance. Later in the afternoon, we’ll reach our campsite next to the beautiful Inca remains of Paucarcancha: A unique Inca settlement restored to original condition that probably served as a “Tambo” or rest point and also a control point between two canyons that lead the way to the main trail to Machu Picchu. Views of the nearby Glacier, snow peaks and well preserved Inca remains are the highlight of this day during our trek.
DAY 4: PAUCARCANCHA/ KM 82| INC: B,L,D
After breakfast we begin to descend on a well-defined trail down a narrow canyon until we reach the Hatunchaca Bridge near the village of Wayllabamba where we meet the Classic Inca Trail and the numerous hikers that will be going the opposite direction from us. We continue to hike down a wide trail until we reach a lookout point to observe the Llactapata archaeological complex: this large Inca remain was restored a few years ago. Further along as we continue descending we’ll find scattered peasant’s homes along the trail until we reach the Valley floor next to the Urubamba River. When we reach the valley we continue upriver to our private campsite at Km. 82. Located right in front of the spectacular Veronica Glacier a warm cup of tea and cookies will be waiting for us at the dining room. Here we camp the night in the comfort of roomy tents, indoor plumbing toilets, hot showers and a firewood sauna for your enjoyment.
DAY 5: KM 82 / MACHU PICCHU | INC: B, BL
Very early we begin a short trek to the local train station, where we will board a train that will take us up to the km 104. Here we begin our trek, crossing the Urubamba River at the hanging bridge built on the foundations of an old Inca bridge. On the other side of the river, we register at the checkpoint and then visit the well-preserved Inca remains of Chachabamba. From here, we begin our ascent following a steep original Inca trail to the beautiful Inca remains of Wiñay Wayna. We will visit this spectacular Inca remains that houses a series of Inca baths that also helps pressurize water for an efficient irrigation of the numerous agricultural terraces that produced food for its inhabitants and for nearby Machu Picchu. A several miles long stone channel also brought water from Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu. We will continue through Inca trail until we reach Inti Punku. At this point, we are suddenly surprised with the first view of the spectacular city of Machu Picchu below us. We take some time to assimilate the view, catch our breath and take some photos, while enjoying the magnificence of it all; before we begin to descent along the wide royal Inca road. We enter the mysterious citadel to enjoy a visit of the site. Later, we descend by local bus to the town of Aguas Calientes were we will board the train back to Cusco.
End of our services.
PLEASE NOTE: Campsites in this itinerary may vary. They are subject to change according to assignments made by the governmental institution regulating the use of the Inca Trail.
- Transport in private vehicle from your hotel in Cusco to the Sacred Valley and to the trail head.
- Entrance to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.
- Guided tour in Machu Picchu.
- Round trip train from Km 82 to Machu Picchu and back to Cusco.
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary.
- Service of local official tour guides.
- Service of camp staff: Cook and assistants
- Mule Skinners and Horses to use as pack animals.
- Emergency horse for every 6 participants on the Huayllanay trek portion.
- Tents used for double occupancy.
- Dinning tent, tables with tablecloths, silverware and chairs.
- Toilet tent with bio-degradable chemical toilets.
Price Does Not Include:
- Entrance tickets to sites (Boleto Turistico BTG)
- Meals not specified after each itinerary day.
- Optional tipping to staff.
- Medical expenses for any emergency.
- Travel insurance
- Train tickets
- Other expenses of a personal nature (liquor, laundry, and so on.)
- Sleeping bag
- Walking sticks
*If your clients prefer not to bring their sleeping bag or walking stick we can rent them at an additional cost. Please let us know in advance so we can book these items.
Get in touch with us!