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- Days 3 to 4
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The Machu Picchu Inca Trail
Tour Lenght:4 days / 3 nights.
Activities: Cultural, Archaeological, Ecological, outdoor.
Spots to visit: Wayllabamba / Pacamayo / Wiñay Huayna /
Machu Picchu .
Every day except Sundays of 2011 / 2012 from Cusco.
No Operating: All February.
Domestic Flights: Not included.
Min. Paxs: 02 pax, max. 16 pax.
This is our most popular trek and offers visitors the most economical method to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. A pool service is basically a group that you can just join. You'll be trekking with like-minded hikers from all over the world, a great chance to meet new friends and travel companions. The Inca Trail is Peru's best known hike and perhaps in the World too. This 43km trek combines visits to archaeological sites, amazing mountain scenery and lush cloud forest rich in native plants such as orchids with many different species of hummingbirds.
Day 1 KM 82-WAYLLABAMBA
Between 8:00-08:30 am we will pick you up from your hotel and transfer to Piskacuchu (2700m) which is a small community located 82 along the railroad from Cusco to Machu Picchu (also known simply as km82). Hikers cross the VilcanotaRiver and follow the trail to the right as it climbs steeply up from the river. After passing through the small village of Miskay, the ruins of the Inca hill fort of Huillca Raccay come into view high above the mouth of the river Cusichaca ('happy bridge'). It is a simple descent down to the Cusichaca River. From parts of this trail there are great views of the Cordillera Urubamba and the snow capped peak of Veronica 5860m. You'll also get a great view over the extensive Inca ruins of Llactapata (also known as Patallacta on some maps). Llactapata 2750m means 'upper town' in Quechua and was first discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and was primarily an agricultural station used to supply Machu Picchu with maize, the staple crop of the Incas. The settlement comprised over one hundred buildings, houses for the workers and soldiers, including five baths. For a further 7 km the path follows the left bank of the river up to the small village of Wayllabamba (3,000m). The name in Quechua means 'grassy plain'. This is the last place along the trek that you can buy snacks and drinks.
Day 2 WAYLLABAMBA-PACAMAYO
We will wake up at about 6:00 am and after breakfast we will leave Wayllabamba behind and begin the most difficult part of the trek. Following the left bank of the LlulluchayocRiver for about 1 hour
brings you to 'Tres Piedras' (three stones) and a small bridge over the Huayruro river. The stream is named due the Huayruro which is an ornamental tree, it's seeds are red and black.Many of the porters from the Ollantaytambo district are also known as Huayruro because of their traditional red and black ponchos! A little further on you'll enter a beautiful cloud forest passing a waterfall. A further three hours trek through steepening woods and increasingly spectacular terrain brings you to the tree line and a meadow known as Llulluchapampa (3,680m). It is another 1½ hours climb to the first and highest pass of the trail (Abra de Huarmihuañusca or 'Dead Woman's Pass) at 4,200m. Once in the top hikers can celebrate having completed the most difficult section of the trail.The decent from the pass is steep although not difficult, following the trail on the left side of the valley to the valley floor and to the 2nd night's campsite at Pacamayo (3,600m). There are toilet facilities here.
Day 3 PACAMAYO-WIÑAY HUAYNA
This day is the longest but also the most impressive and most interesting due to the many Inca ruins that we will visit along the way. From the campsite at Pacamayo it takes about an hour to climb up to the ruins of Runkuracay (3800m). These small circular ruins occupy a commanding position overlooking the Pacamayo valley below. Another 45 minute hike will bring you to the top of the second pass: Abra de Runkuracay (4,000m). At last you'll feel that you are walking along the trail of the Incas with paving, for the most part, being original. The descent down the steps from the pass is steep so take care. This section of the trail, up till the 3rd pass, is particularly beautiful as the path crosses high stone embankments and skirts deep precipices. The trail then climbs up to the 3rd pass (3,700m). The view from the pass offers excellent views of several snow-capped peaks including Salkantay (6,180m) and Veronica (5,750m). A few minutes after the pass is Phuyupatamarca, the most impressive Inca ruin so far. The name means 'Town in the Clouds'. Access to the ruins is down a steep flight of stairs passing six 'Inca Baths' probably used for the ritual worship of water. Leaving the site via an impressive Inca staircase you descend a thousand or so steps. Wiñay Wayna is the last official campsite before Machu Picchu; there is a restaurant where you can purchase drinks and even a well deserved cold beer, as well as hot showers ($1.5) and toilet facilities. A short trail leaves from the southern end of the hostel to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna. The name in Quechua means 'forever young' and is named after a variety of pink orchid which grows here.
Day 3 WIÑAY HUAYNA - MACHU PICCHU
We'll wake early at 4.15am, have breakfast and set off on the trail again by 5.15am to get to Machu Picchu before sunrise. The sky starts getting light by 5:30am and the first rays of the sun reach Machu Picchu at about 7:00am. The trail contours a mountainside and drops into cloudforest before coming to an almost vertical flight of 50 steps leading up to the final pass at Inti Punku (Sun Gate). From this point you will be able to see sunrise over Machu Picchu which is spread out before, an unforgettable experience. From Inti Punku we will descend for about 40 minutes to Machu Picchu. We descend to the main entrance where we will have to register and where you can safely leave your large backpacks. You can also go to the toilet and have a quick coffee in the restaurant just outside the entrance. With just your daypack on the group will re-enter the ruins with the same guide for a complete tour of the major sectors. The tour takes about 2 hours so by about 10:30 you'll have free time to explore the ruins alone. The train return to Cusco departs from Aguas Calientes which is the nearest village to the ruins of Machu Picchu. The train departs at approximately 16:30 (time can vary) and you'll arrive return in Cusco for about 21:00. Included in our standard service are the tourist bus from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes, the train return to Cusco and a transfer from the station to you hotel. Sometimes, however, we buy train tickets just return as far as Ollantaytambo and then bring you return to your hotel in Cusco by private bus. The later method usually works out about 30 minutes quicker. We suggest that after visiting Machu Picchu that you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes by 15:30 in the latest (assuming train departs at 16:30)
|Very Important Remarks !
Personal porters can be hired to help carry your personal items such as clothes, sleeping bag etc. They can be hired for $70 for all 4 days and will carry up to a maximum of 18kg (usually 1 porter between 2 persons is more than sufficient). You can hire the services of a half a porter to carry up to 9kg for US$35. However, even with a personal porter, you will still need to bring a day pack for essential items. About 30% of the group usually has personal porters to help them. If you hire a porter we will provide you with a sack to put your items in to give to the porter. This extra porter will help you carry: duffle bag or sack (we will provide you with this), sleeping bag, mattress (we will provide you with this), clothing, sweater, jacket, wooly hat, scarf, gloves (something warm for at night), flashlight and batteries, toiletries. Be aware, your personal porter, however, will not walk at your side so you will still need to bring a day pack for essential items. You will meet up with your porter at lunch time and in the campsite late in the afternoon.
Equipment to be carried by yourselves: small day pack, water bottle and sterilizing tablets, warm sweater, broad-brim or peaked cap, sun protection cream, insect repellent, toilet paper, selection of small snacks for the day etc, camera, lightweight plastic poncho just in case of rain (can be bought in Cusco for US$1) Important note: You must decide if you want to hire the services of a personal porter in advance when making your trek reservation since we need to purchase the porter's trekking permit. You cannot decide to hire an additional porter once you arrive in Cusco.
We can provide vegetarian meals or cater for special diets with no extra cost. Just let us know at least 2 days prior to trek departure.
Sleeping bag hire
If you haven't got a sleeping bag or you don't want the hassle of bringing one with you then we have sleeping bags in our office for rent. The price is US$2 per person per day.
When you go on the trek it is best to leave any luggage that you are not going to need behind in Cusco. Nearly all the hotels in Cusco provide a secure luggage deposit. Put any valuables in their safe. Very rarely do hotels charge for this service especially if you are returning to the same hotel after the trek. If there are any problems with your hotel we can arrange to store your luggage at our office.
Time of arrival in Cusco
Unless you plan to stay an extra night in Aguas Calientes, you will return to your hotel in Cusco for approximately 9pm on the 4th day of the trek.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Machu Picchu Inca Trail
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Frequently Asked Questions - Inca Trail
If you're unable to find the answer to your
question in our F.A.Q please do not hesitate to
How long is the Inca trail?
How difficult is the Inca Trail?
Is altitude sickness common, and how high is the Inca Trail?
When do we reach Machu Picchu?
Do porters carry our luggage while on the Inca Trail?
How cold does it get on the Inca Trail?
What type of accommodation is used on the Inca Trail?
Is purified water available on the trail?
What type of food will we get on the Inca Trail?
How much should I tip the guides and porters?
What are the requirements to hike the Inca Trail?
The Inca Trail is 43 kms (27 miles) long and depending on which campsites are used the approximate hours hiked per day are:
Day 1: 5 hours
Day 2: 8 hours
Day 3: 7 hours
Day 4: 4 hours
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How difficult is the Inca Trail? The Inca Trail is considered a moderate hike. It's not a technical hike but there are a lot of Inca staircases to walk up and down, and the altitude may affect some individuals. We recommend purchasing a wooden walking stick while in Peru as it will help with your balance and reduce the load on your knees. We ask that you not use a metal tipped walking stick as it can harm the fragile environment along the trail.
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Is altitude sickness common? And how high is the Inca Trail? It's impossible to predict who will be affected by altitude. Your ability to adapt to high altitude is determined by your genetic makeup and has little to do with fitness or health. Most people will have no problems as long as they take the time to acclimatize properly. A full day spent in Cuzco (3249m), taking it easy and drinking plenty of water, is usually enough for most people. The highest point you will reach while hiking the Inca Trail is 4200 meters. You will sleep at 3600 meters for one or two nights.
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When do we reach Machu Picchu and how much time do we spend there?
You will reach Machu Picchu at sunrise on Day 4 (the hike begins at approx. 3am). After viewing the sunrise you will be met by a local guide who will take you on an informative 3-hour tour of the ruins. After the tour you will have a few hours of free time to explore the area on your own before the group travels by bus to Aguas Calientes where we catch the train back to Cuzco.
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Do porters carry our luggage while on the Inca Trail? No! In Cuzco prior the departure, at the evening briefing the day before, you will be adviced to carry a small backpack in which you can place up to 7kg of personal items. If you don't want to carry your backpack the advice is to hire a personal porter along with your booking for the trail. Items not required while on the trail can be stored safely at your hotel in Cuzco. All you will be required to carry is a daypack containing items you will need during the day (ie. Water, camera, sunscreen, rain poncho, etc..).
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How cold does it get on the Inca Trail (will I need to bring hats and mitts)? Cold. The altitude means it can get quite chilly, especially during the Andean winter (May - September) when the temperature can drop to below zero degrees (Celsius) at night. It can still be cool at other times of the year and so we recommend bringing thermal underwear and a warm sleeping bag. You can purchase warm, inexpensive and locally made hand-woven mitts and gloves in Cuzco.
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What type of accommodation is used on the Inca Trail? Three-person tents are used to accommodate two same-sex travellers. There are a few places where permanent but very basic toilet facilities exist and when they are not available our team will set up portable toilet tents. Trekkers are provided with a bowl of hot water (and a hot drink) every morning in their tent. Is a sleeping bag and mat included? Sleeping bags are not included and so we recommend bringing a compact three-season sleeping bag. A popular alternative is to rent a sleeping bag in Cuzco. They are clean, warm and cost approximately USD$10 (for all three nights). Some renters may choose to bring a sleeping bag liner or sheet. Foam mats are provided however some travelers also bring their own self-inflating mat (ie. a Thermarest).
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Is purified water available on the trail? Bottled water can be purchased on day 1 and on the evening of day 3 of the Inca Trail however we discourage trekkers from purchasing bottles as it increases the amount of garbage that must be packed out. Boiled water will be provided every evening after dinner so that you can refill your water bottle(s). If you wish to add water purification tablets you should bring these with you.
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What type of food will we get on the Inca Trail? Our cooks prepare excellent high-energy meals appropriate for a trek of this nature. The menu usually includes pasta, rice, chicken, fresh fruit and vegetables and a variety of oatmeal, eggs and other breakfast foods. Vegetarian alternatives are available upon request at the time of booking.
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How much should I tip the guides and porters? Tipping is at your discretion but always appreciated. A good rule of thump is anywhere from $5-10 dollars per day for the porters.
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What are the requirements to hike the Inca Trail? To hike the Inca Trail with you must be over 12 years of age, with moderate level of fitness, and hold a passport that is valid for up to 6 months after you return to your home country. We will require your passport at the time of booking, as this is essential to purchase the Inca Trail permits. Bookings should be made 3-4 months in advance to ensure a permit could be obtained. A limited amount of permits are available each day for hikers, in an effort to preserve the trail.
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