of the 2,300 km (1,400 miles) of roads built by the Incas in South
America, this is Peru´s most famous trekking route and possibly one of
the most spectacular of the Americas. Every year, some 25,000 hikers from
around the world walk along the extraordinary 43 km of this stoned-paved
road built by the Incas leading to the unassailable citadel of Machu
Picchu located in the depth of the Cuzco jungle.
journey starts in the village of Qorihuayrachina, at kilometer 88 of the
Cuzco-Quillabamba railways and takes three or four days of strenuous
walking. The route includes an impressive variety of altitudes, climates
and ecosystems that range from the high Andean plain to the cloud forest.
Travelers will cross two high altitude passes (the highest being Warmiwañuska
at 4,200 masl) to culminate the hike with a magical entrance to Machu
Picchu through the Inti Punko or gateway of the sun.
One of the main
attractions along the route is the web of ancient settlements built in
granite rock by the Incas like Wiñay Wayna and Phuyupatamarca immersed in
an overpowering natural scenery. Hundreds of species of orchids,
multicolored birds and dreamlike landscapes provide the ideal backstage
for a route that every hiker should walk at least once.
DAY 01 CUZCO - INCA TRAIL
Wake up call 3:30 AM.
Luggage picked up at 4:00AM from your rooms. Breakfast at the hotel´s
restaurant following a 2 to 3 hour bus ride to Chilca in the Sacred Valley
of the Incas. Few miles before, we will make a pit stop at Ollantaytambo,
where you may buy some additional supplies for the tour, including camera
films, walking sticks (highly recommended) and locally made “power bars”.
During rain season it is recommended to buy plastic bags to cover your
gear. At starting point you will be checked and signed in the control
book. Then, with your water supply fully loaded starts the first tract of
day 1. It consists of a 3 to 4 hour trek (depending on your physical
condition) to the lunch resting point over-sighting the Llactapata ruins.
After a nice hot lunch it starts the second tract of day 1. This tract
takes around 3 to 4 hours including some mildly hard slopes. Day 1 ends at
approximately 4:00 – 5:00PM, just under the large and toughest second day
climb. Camp tents are for two people and you will be able to buy some
beers from locals to celebrate your first day .
02 INCA TRAIL
This day is
definitely the toughest. Wake up at 5:00AM and breakfast. The trek
lasts up to 6-7 hours of hard climb, which includes some gentle and
some steep slopes. The, ascend includes a first 2 to 3 hours tract
along a beautiful rainforest scenario. After this first ascend you
will reach a resting point were you may reload your water bottles
and regroup with your teammates. Now comes the hardest part of the
trail. A 2 to 3 hour climb were you would reach the highest point of
the whole trek, at 4,200 m.a.s.l (12,800 feet above sea level).
After reaching the summit, then it is all downwards. After 10
minutes of downhill you will get to the lunch break point. Lunch at
your lunch-tent, recharge energies and complete the downhill to
camping point number 2 in Pacaymayo. There you will find clean
bathrooms and the possibility of taking a shower (very cold water
only). Approximate arrival time to camping area between 3:00 to
DAY 03 CUZCO - INCA
the most beautiful day of trekking. The trek initiates with a 45-minute
mildly hard ascend before reaching the beautiful ridge-top ruins of
Sayaqmarka. Take a little rest and continue for the second and last
significant climb for the day. After this point, it is all easier. You
will visit the Phuyupatamarca ruins following a beautiful trek surrounded
by dense and unique vegetation, including caves, awesome ruins and
stunning views. Day 3 ends after a 2 to 3 hours downhill of over 12,000
steps. You will reach camping point around 3 – 4 PM. Camping on day 3
maybe arranged at Wiñay-Wayna ruins (we will check for availability on
this issue); here you will find a nice Hotel were you can take a hot
shower for US$ 1.5 and drink many beers (if you arrive early you may get a
bed at the hotel). Very good news: You are at 1.5 hours from Machu Picchu.
DAY 04 INCA TRAIL - MACHU PICCHU CUZCO
up 5:00am and start an easy 1 -2 hour trek to arrive to the Inti
Punku or Gateway of the Sun. From this site you will get your first
real view of Machu Picchu. The ruins will be 15 minutes down-slope.
Congratulations!!! You have completed the challenging and unique
Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
INFORMATION REGARDING INCA TRAIL
It won't be that cold at night b/c you sleep at lower
elevation, make sure you've got a good waterproof stuff bag. You
can also rent down there but they are not high quality.
Comfortable trekking shoes- cannot emphasize
enough. I had terrible blisters even though I took
very broken in hiking boots. problem is that they were a tad too
large and I had never hiked such elevation changes (i.e. up and down)
so the slight slippage just created a real problem. Make sure
they fit right, buy insoles.
Wool socks- Buy good hiking socks and bring 1-2 pairs for each day.
Good if they are the kind that wick moisture away.
Short and long
sleeves t-shirts- This is all you
will wear. Long Sleeves were good at night. Bring 2
for each day of hiking in case it rains.
Plastic poncho- spend the $20 bucks and get a heavier one.
Water bottle or
are very nice on the trail, otherwise bring at least two large
Nalgene. Might consider bringing some Gatorade powder packets.
1 Sweater - Go with a fleece and/or a pullover rain jacket
2 trousers- you will be hiking in these at least one day and will want
to wear them at night.
Sun-block cream- yes
Insect repellent- not as bad as you might think. I don't think they like
Camera and film- don't stop snapping, panoramic, black and white and zoom are
recommended. Go digital and stick them on your personal e-album
so we can see them too!
Flashlight- buy a cheap headlamp so you're hands are free when walking
around the campsites
Shorts-In Lima and Cuzco you can wear these during the day but a
pair of pants that zip-off into shorts are handy for packing less
Bathing suit- yes.
Towel- buy a backpacker's towel so it doesn't take up much room
sweets, dried fruits-All for sale on
Soap- from the hotel, probably won't use it except to wash hands
Alcoholic drinks- buy a pint in Cuzco and save it for a shot at the top
of Dead Woman's pass.
Toilet paper- Just grab a roll from the hotel in Lima, you're going to
love those bathroom tents.
things to consider
Snacks- buy a bunch of Cliff Bars and/or similar items for the trail.
The food is very good but you're burning tremendous calories.
Variety is good.
bags-To keep stuff dry
both in and outside your pack.
Treatments- might get second skin and/or athletic
tape to prevent rather than treat
Walking Sticks- They sell these at the trailhead. buy one. the
balance really helps when climbing.
Shoes- I already discussed boots but I would recommend some Tevas for
river rafting in Cusco and walking in Lima.
Batteries- for mp3 players and cameras.
pills-Not necessary, they will boil water
in the mornings.
will be required to carry your own equipment, so please limit size and
weight. You may hire the services of a personal porter to carry your
luggage at an extra charge of US$40.00 each, one per person.
night previous to the Inca Trail Trekking the tour guides will advise you
as to the details of the trek.
climate in this zone is relatively moderate during all year round. Rainy
and warm during the months of November to March, dry and moderate between
April to October. The minimum annual temperature ranges between 5°C and
11°C. During the months of June, July and August the temperature reaches
many times under cero during the night. The maximum annual temperature
ranges between 20°C and 26°C.
hours of daily trek vary according to the characteristics of the ground
and the physical fitness of the participants. Estimated times: From
Chillca to Huayllabamba 6:30 hrs.; from Pacaymayu to Wiñayhuayna 8:00
hrs; from Wiñayhuayna to Inti Punku 2:00 hrs.
vegetarian diet can be provided if desired, previous notice, indicating
the foods you do not take.