During the next 3 days you'll paddle the class 4 and 5 rapids of the Apurimac River, one of the upper tributaries of the Amazon. The deep granite gorges, inviting white sand beaches, and world class white water make this river trip one of the best in the world!
The adventure continues on as we hike the Inca Trail. Few hikes in the world can offer such variety of scenery, staggering views, and such a mix of jungle and high sierra. Plus, porters will carry our gear for this 4 day journey to Machu Picchu.
From the Sun Gate, arrive into Machu Picchu, perhaps the most awe-inspiring of all the ruins discovered in the 20th Century. Step back in time and decide for yourself what is truth and what is legend in this Lost city of the Incas.
We are proud to offer this extraordinary cultural and exciting adventure. Please join us.
Day 1 (July 27):
Arrive in Cusco, Peru. Usually this requires departing the USA on the previous day. You’ll be met at the airport and taken to your hotel, the Picoagua.
Explore Cusco and start to acclimatize to the 11,000 feet elevation. In the Inca times, Cusco was a Holy city, a place of pilgrimage and was vitally important to the Quechuas. Today Cusco is a thriving marketplace. You’ll have the opportunity to join our local guide for a tour of the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, You’ll see stone blocks 26 feet high weighing more than 361 tons. It has been said that these ruins are one of the most astounding megalithic structures of the ancient world; however, these ruins are only a small taste of what you will see at Machu Picchu!
The active part of the adventure begins. Start with a four hour drive to the Apurimac river, an upper tributary of the Amazon river. During the next three days, we will run numerous class 4 rapids and one class 5 rapid in a magnificent gorge. We camp each night on the river, and our guides will keep you happy with delicious and abundant meals cooked over an open fire. The Apurimac's deep granite gorge, inviting white sand beaches, and world class white water make this river trip one of the best in the world! Night 5 will bring us back to our hotel in Cusco, where we’ll be on our own to explore the town for dinner and nightlife if you have the energy.
The adventure continues on the Inca Trail.
The whole of Peru was once cris-crossed with Inca and pre-Inca highways paved with thick interlocking blocks of stone. Sometimes these highways followed the valleys, but just as often they traversed the high mountain sides, tracing impossible pathways and forming narrow ledges over the bottomless gorges of the Andes. The trails were built for men on foot and lightly burdened llamas. Frequently, their gradients gave way to steps, tunnels and long zig-zag trajectories down steep faces. The part of the trail that we trek along was formerly the royal highway to Machu Picchu. The trail was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1915. Few relatively short hikes in the world can offer such variety of scenery, staggering views, and such a mix of jungle and high sierra. Certainly no other walk known to us will lead you along an ancient highway from one secluded ruin to another, each in a breathtaking setting, each almost perfectly preserved, offering shelter, solitude, and views that no pen or camera can ever adequately record.
Our hike on the famous Inca Trail begins at Kilometer 77, where we meet our porters and start up the trail. Today's hike is fairly easy with a gradual incline. Visit archeological sights at Wilkaray and admire the incredible views of the snow capped Wecheywilk. Our trek will also include the sighting of Inca agricultural terraces and more ruins along the way. We will camp at 7 000 feet, well below our first 14,000 foot pass. The altitude more than the gradient will test our hiking stamina and endurance. Fortunately, we will be able to call on the strength of the legendary Quechua, whose high altitude lungs bear our burden with greater ease. In addition to carrying the bulk of our load, the porters and support staff will have camp made for us each night on the trail.
We pass through the incredible cloud forests of Yunkachimpa and Corralpunku and slowly work our way up the first pass at 14,000 feet. The views are impressive from up here, as if finding ourselves on an eagle perch above the clouds. We then descend down to the ruins at Runkurakay and sleep for the night. Our porters will charge ahead of us and set up camp. They’ll be a welcome sight with hot tea as we stagger into camp.
We ascend the second pass of 13,000 feet visiting the archeological sites of Sayacmara located on the edge of the jungle. Plant and bird life become more varied and incredible views of the Urubamba river valley come into view. Our last night of camping on the Inca Trail is spent at Peyhupetmarka (above the clouds), an amazing place with views of the 20,000 foot peak Salcantay rising on one side, and the Urabamba river canyon 5,000 feet below on the other side.
This is a spectacular day of hiking as we marvel at the engineering feats of the Inca. Stone stairs carved right into the mountain, tunnels and bridges as we descend into the rainforest. We take a 15-minute detour to visit the haunting ruins of Winay Wayna (meaning “Forever young”) where a well deserved cat nap is a welcome afternoon treat. We arrive at the spectacular Sun Gate of Machu Picchu in the golden light of afternoon after the last tourist buses have left the ruins. Machu Picchu, the lost, mysterious city of the Incas lies before us. One of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, Machu Picchu is a perfectly preserved Inca city that was lost in the dense jungle for hundreds of years. This is perhaps the most famous and awe-inspiring of all the ruins discovered in the 20th century. Discovered less than a century ago, Machu Picchu allows us to step back in time and experience the wonder of living in a stone hewn ancient Inca city that continues to mystify scholars with its spectacular engineering. After our brief initial visit we take a bus to the small town of Aguas Calientes nestled in the steep Urubamba river valley. We check into the hotel to rest up and enjoy a delicious dinner with the group at one of the local restaurants.
In the morning, we take a bus up the twisty road back to Machu Picchu (those that still have the energy are welcome to hike the steep staircase straight up to the ruins). We spend most of the day at the ruins with our knowledgeable Peruvian guide that will show us all the wonders of Machu Picchu. In the late afternoon, we climb aboard a first class train for a spectacular ride back to Cusco. The train tracks themselves are a miracle of human ingenuity and tenacity. The ride down the mountain will give you ample time to reflect on your journey by foot and provides us with an early evening arrival in Cusco. After freshening up at the Hotel Picoagua, we gather at the lively Inca Grill on the main plaza in town for a delicious and festive farewell dinner. Cheers to a great trip through magical Peru!
Day 11: Departure day. Morning in Cusco. Most flights leave early in the morning.
Member: $1925 for the full trip. There is a non-rafting option, which is $1475
Also see tour packages in:
South America Peru Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking
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