Independent Vacation (min 2 people):
Day 1: Arrive Cuzco. On the morning of day 3, you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred privately to the airport. Fly to Cuzco and be meet at the airport upon arrival and transferred privately to your hotel. Stay 2 nights in Cuzco to acclimatise to the altitude of 3,500 metres. Time is free as everyone experiences the altitude differently. First day definitely rest and for the second take the day as you find it. Avoid alcoholic drinks and red meat to help. Overnight 2 nights in Cuzco at your hotel of choice.
Day 2: Private half-day city tour, Awanacancha and nearby ruins. You will begin your tour visiting Awanacancha, where South American camelidae are bred. Learn about the superb fibres of llamas, alpacas and vicunas as well as the ancient weaving techniques which are still used. Proceed to Sacsayhuaman, strategically placed on a hill, this Inca construction was believed to have been a fortress.
Here you will be able to appreciate the amazing and enormous stones that fit together with amazing precision. Return to Cusco city were you will visit the 16th century Cathedral and the Colonial art that is housed here. Your last stop will be Santo Domingo’s Convent, which was also the Koricancha temple, the most important Incan temple devoted to worship of the sun. According to the chronicles, it was covered in gold sheet and filled with golden representations of nature.
Day 3: Private Sacred Valley including Pisac, Moray, and Ollantaytambo Ruins. Pick up from your hotel today for an unforgettable full day excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Inca. Today’s highlights include visits to the Indian market of Pisac and a tour of the fortress and village at Ollantaytambo. Return to Cusco in the evening. If taken as a private service, this excursion can include the spectacular ruins and terraces above Pisac.
The engineering and preservation of the terraces are unrivaled anywhere else in South America, and the whole hillside rises skywards like a light of giant, green steps. Near the top is a large complex of temples, observatories and grain stores linked by cliff-hanging paths. Overnight 1 night in Urubamba at your hotel of choice.
Day 4: Start the Inca Trail: Cusco to Wayllabamba. Early this morning you will be picked up from your hotel early. The Inca Trail, gracefully winding through the jagged peaks and high-mountain jungles of Peru on its way to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, is what adventure travel is all about. No other place on earth combines such spectacular natural beauty with such marvelous intrigue.
Over a distance of only 27 miles, the Inca Trail passes through high-mountain desert, cloud forest, mountain passes with elevations of nearly 14,000 feet and orchid-rich jungle on its way to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. The Trail seems to traverse and transcend both space and time as trekkers along the route experience the same stunning vistas - and the same inexplicable sense of power - as those seen and felt by the ancients on their pilgrimage to Machu Picchu during the height of the Inca Empire. We will pick you up at your hotel in our own private bus.
Then we will drive to Piskacuchu, a community located on the 82nd kilometre of the Cusco Machu Picchu railroad. Starting at this point, we will cross the bridge and walk along the left shore of the Urubamba River as it flows north-west along the Sacred Valley. Following the trail along a flat terrain, we will arrive in Miskay (2800 masl.), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the Inca city of Patallacta (2750 masl).
We will continue trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca river, gradually climbing for about five hours until we reach our first campsite in the Wayllabamba village (3000 masl). All along the way we will see spectacular views of the Vilcanota ridge on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive Veronica peak reigns at 5832 meters above sea level. Not to mention the diversity of wild flora and fauna that can be found all along the valley.
Day 5: Inca Trail - Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo. We will wake up at around 6:00 am, and after breakfast we will leave Wayllabamba behind to begin the most difficult part of the trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that that stretches for 9 km. Along this climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). On the way to the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuanusca (Dead Woman`s Pass), we will see domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at that altitude.
We will also cross an area of the so called cloud forest, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows and the Andean bear, which is also called the Spectacled Bear (Thermarctus Ornatus). We advise that on this day specially, your day pack is well stocked with candies, chocolates and coca leaves that will keep your sugar level high, and help with altitude sickness. Immediately after the pass, we will descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600 masl), where we will camp after approximately 6h of hiking.
Day 6: Inca Trail - Pacaymayo to Winaywayna. This day is the longest but also the most impressive and the most impressive and the interesting, due the number of archaeological sites that we will visit and learn about from our guide. From Pacaymayo we will climb to the second pass, the Abra de Runkurakay (3970 masl). Half way up, we will visit the archaeological complex with the same name.
This site, located at 3800 masl, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower. After going over the pass, we will descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud-forest to finally arrive at Sayamarca (3624 masl). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canal. Continuing up an easy climb, we will arrive at the third pass, the Abra de Phuyupatamarca (3700 masl).
Along this climb we can appreciate the magnitude of the Incas' ancient craft, by walking along paths semi-detached from the mountain, and seeing rocks that fill up ravines in perfect order, saving the trail from the multi-leveled Andean geography. We go through an Inca tunnel to later arrive at the aforementioned pass and down to the complex of the same name. This is one of the most complete and best preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and is located on the highest of a mountain.
Curiously, Phuyupatamarca means town over the clouds. From above, one can observe a sophisticated sacred complex made up of water fountains with solid foundations, and also impressive views of the Urubamba River (2700 masl). At this campsite we will find a lodge with a restaurant, bar and bathrooms with hot showers. The campsite has the same name as the complex located only five minutes away from the lodge. Winaywayna is an impressive complex made up of an agricultural centre with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector.
Day 7: Inca Trail - Winaywayna to Machu Picchu. On this fourth and last day we will get up at 4:00 am to leave Winaywayna an hour later and climb to Intipunku, or The Sun Gate. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, we will see the sunrise over the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. From Intipunku we will descend into Machu Picchu, and 40 minutes later we will enter the citadel from the highest point through the House of the Guardians.
We will then descend to the control point where we will register ourselves and leave our backpacks. We will immediately begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. You will then have time to walk around, climb the Huayna Picchu mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machu Picchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it, or you can visit the Temple of the Moon and the Moon and the fabulous Inca bridge. At approximately 4:00 pm will take the train back to Cuzco for a final night in Cuzco and a nice hot shower. Overnight 1 night in Cuzco at your hotel of choice.
Day 8: Departure from Cuzco. This morning after breakfast you have most of the day at leisure. After lunch today you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to your the airport.
Also see tour packages in:
South America Peru Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Archeology/History