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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 5 Days

The famous Five-Day Classic Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu arriving at the Sun Gate fourth day in the afternoon.

Follows the same course as the Four-Day trek, but goes a bit slower, spending more time at each ruin along the way. Normally done in smaller groups, this is a great alternative for those worried about their hiking capability and speed or for families with younger hikers. The last night will be spent at the hotel.

Known as one of the world’s ten best hikes,This is the original pilgrimage route for the Inca to their most sacred temple and is a highly popular route, being trekked by hundreds of visitors each day.

Our Classic Inca Trail trek takes you all the way to Machu Picchu with an overnight stop in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, before returning to the site the next day for a full tour. There are a number of reasons why we think this is a better option than staying at the final campsite. Firstly, the gate on the path from the last camp is locked until 5:30am by which time every trekker is in a long queue to start walking another two hours until Machupicchu. When the gate opens there is a headlong rush with lots of pushing and shoving along a wet and narrow trail. The reason for this rush is that everyone wants to be first to get to Machupicchu and sun gate to take the best photos of Machupicchu uncrowded. However, even if you are the first person to get there from inca trail, it is going to be crowded because they open at 6 am Machupicchu. And the irony is that most days there is heavy morning mist over the site and nothing can be seen at all.

This  alternative route has the advantage of avoiding this crazy early morning stampede. You can walk  to the Sun Gate in the early afternoon, almost invariably by yourself, and take time to enjoy the last section of the Inca Trail. The weather is generally better later in the day and there will be far less people photo-bombing your pictures. We then drop down to a hotel in Aguas Calientes where you can enjoy a shower and a good night’s sleep, before returning the next day, fully refreshed, to tour the Machupicchu site. But please book early, because permits sell out months in advance.

FROM
$790

Day 1: Cusco – Ollantaytambo – KM 82 – Wayllabamba

We will depart for your Inca Trail Trek from Cusco at 5 a.m. in a private transport to arrive in the Inca’s Sacred Valley. We’ll have a break in Ollantaymabo for breakfast, then drive to Km 82, the starting point of the Inca Trail. We start our hike walking along the left shore of the Urubamba River, following the trail along a flat terrain, to the community of Miskay (2800 m /9184 ft). The first two hours of the trek are relatively easy as we make our way to our first Inca site, Patallacta. This is an Inca checkpoint for the approach to Machu Picchu. After we arrive to Patallacta, we will make our way down into the canyon to enjoy lunch and the views of Patallacta. From Patallacta, we will continue on the trail at an easy pace, while enjoying the scenery and hearing stories from your tour guide. It’s about a two hour walk to reach our camping site at the village of Wayllabamba (3,100 meters).

Total Distance: 12 km (7,800 miles)

Estimated Walking Time: 5 hours

Maximum Altitude Point: 2,600 m (8,692 ft)

Campsite Altitude: 3,100 m (10,168 ft)

Day 2: Hatunchaca – Dead Woman’s Pass – Pacaymayo

We wake up early to begin our ascent to Dead Woman´s Pass. The views of the snow-capped mountains and the cloud forest are fantastic. This first stretch is the most difficult part of the trek. It consists of a steep ascent that stretches for nine kilometers, which will bring us to the first mountain pass in the Inca Trail, Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s pass). We will stop for early lunch at Llulluchapampa to relax and to buy any last essentials. We may be able to see deer and falcons in this area. From Llulluchapampa, the landscape changes from cloud forest to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). We will have the chance to spot domesticated llamas and alpacas, who graze on ichu (one of the few plants that grow at that altitude). Following, it’s a two hour walk up to the pass, where we can enjoy the beautiful panorama. After we’ve made it to the pass, it’s downhill for the rest of the day. After about two hours, and have a free afternoon in the Pacaymayo valley.

Total Distance: 10 km (7,376 miles)

Estimated Walking Time: 6 hours

Maximum Altitude Point: 4,215 m (13,821 ft)

Campsite Altitude: 3,600 m (11,811 ft)

Day 3: Pacaymayo – Runcu Raccay Pass – Phuyupatamarca

After breakfast, we will continue our hike up the opposite side of the valley, as we make our way towards the second pass on the trek. Along the way, we will see fantastic views of waterfalls and flora and fauna. Half way up, we will stop and visit the Inca site of Runcu Raccay (an Inca watchtower), and to catch our breath before we continue our climb to the pass (4,000 meters). From the pass, we will once again begin our descent back into the cloud forest. After about an hour, we arrive at Sayacmarca, one of the most beautiful ruins on the Inca Trail, where we’ll have a guided tour. From Sayacmarca, we will continue to our lunch spot at Chaquicocha (dry lake), where you will see some of the fantastic flora and fauna the Inca Trail has to offer. From Chaquicocha onwards, we will walk along Inca flat (gradual inclines), as we make our way towards our final campsite, Phuyupatamarca (3,680 meters). This area of the Inca Trail had stunning views of the Vilcabamba mountain range, as well as abundant flora and fauna. After another two hour walk, we’ll arrive to our campsite, where we’ll get our first view of Machu Picchu mountain and the Urubamba river. We’ll settle in to our campsite, and have the chance to explore the Inca site. As the sun goes down, we can enjoy the beautiful sunset over the snow-capped peaks.

Total Distance: 13 km (8,136 miles)

Estimated Walking Time: 9 hours

Maximum Altitude Point: 4,000 (13,123 ft)

Campsite Altitude: 3,680 m (12,033 ft)

Day 4: Phuyupatamarca – Wiñay Wayna – Sun Gate – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes

Today, we will have the chance to enjoy one of the most spectacular sunrises on the Inca Trail, weather permitting. After breakfast you´ll have a guided tour of Phuyupatamarca, and then we will start our way down the long descending stone steps. This will lead us to Wiñay Wayna (2,650 m/8, 692 ft), which is where we will have the lunch. As we near the bottom of the staircase, we’ll take a side path of the main route to visit the site of Intipata (Terraces of the Sun). This site has beautiful views of the Sacred Valley. It was an important agricultural site for Machu Picchu. We’ll spend some time at Intipata, and then continue on to Wiñay Wayna, the biggest archaeological site on the Inca Trail, besides Machu Picchu. It 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. After our visit, we will have our last lunch with the porters. Following, it is a tradition on the Inca Trail to have a thanking ceremony for all the hard work the porters and cooks have provided. If you wish, you may leave a tip for them, at this time. After we’ve said goodbye to our team, we will carry on to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), where we’ll get our first views of Machu Picchu. It takes about an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones in the highland jungle to reach the Sun Gate. Following, it is about another hour down to the site itself. Upon arrival, we’ll have a chance to enjoy the sunset and to see Machu Picchu without crowds, before taking the bus to your hotel in Aguas Calientes.

Hotel: Wiraccocha Inn (or similar)

Total Distance: 11 km (614 miles)

Estimated Walking Time: 5 hours

Maximum Altitude Point: 3,680 m (12,033 ft)

Day 5: The Most Important Day (The Lost City of The Incas) – Cusco

We will wake up early and board one of the first buses to Machu Picchu, to enjoy the sunrise at the citadel (if the weather allows). These buses are first come, first serve, starting at 5:30 a.m. You’ll have a two hour tour of the Inca citadel, and then some free time to explore. If you have purchased permits for Huayna Picchu, your guide will show you where this climb begins. It will take you 45 minutes to the top and another 45 back down. This needs to be booked in advance, and costs $75 per person. When you are done with the citadel, you will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes, and meet for our last lunch in town. Lunch with your group is optional and is not included in the trek cost. Following, you will take the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo, where our private bus will be waiting to take you back to Cusco and drop you off at your hotel.

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