Walk in the footsteps of the Inca on International Expeditions’ Custom Machu Picchu Trek on the famed Inca Trail. This four-day adventure can be combined with IE’s Machu Picchu tours or Amazon River cruises.
What is Custom Travel? The itinerary below is only a small sample of options on the Inka Trail. Every traveler can envision their ideal way to see the world. International Expeditions’ experienced Custom Travel Planners create individually tailored tours that match your style of travel, budget and timeline. Tell us the dates you wish to travel, and we’ll take care of the details.
Just call Peru Travel Planner Kim Guth at 800-234-9620 ext. 137 for more details.
Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Cusco to Wayllabamba Early this morning, meet your private staff at your hotel. Drive to Piskacuchu (8,856 ft), a community located on the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco–Machu Picchu railroad, which is the starting point of the Inca Trail. Begin your Machu Picchu trek by crossing the bridge over the Urubamba River and walking along its left shore as it flows northwest along the Sacred Valley. Following the trail along a flat terrain, arrive in Miskay (9,184ft), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the impressive Inca city of Llactapata (8,692 ft). Continue trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca River, gradually climbing for about five hours until you reach the community of Wayllabamba (9,840 ft), where we set our first camp. All along the way, enjoy spectacular views of the Vilcanota ridge on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive Veronica peak reigns. Plus, there is a stunning diversity of wild flora and fauna all along the valley. (B,L,D)
Total distance: 12 km (7.47 miles)
Estimated walking time: 5-6 hours
Maximum altitude point: 3,000 m (9,840 ft)
Campsite altitude: 3,000 m (9,840 ft)
Wayllabamba to Pacamayo
After breakfast we begin the most difficult part of the Machu Picchu trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for nine 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 Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman´s Pass –13,776 ft), you may see domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at high altitude. Cross an area of cloud forest, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows, and the Andean bear, also called the spectacled bear (tremarctus ornatus). We advise that on this day especially, your daypack 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, descend into the Pacaymayo valley (11,808 ft), where we camp after approximately seven hours of hiking. (B,L,D)
Total distance: 6.84 miles
Estimated walking time: 6-7 hours
Maximum altitude point: 4,200 m (13,776 ft)
Campsite altitude: 3,500 m (11,480 ft)
Pacamayo to Wiñaywayna
This day is the longest of your custom Machu Picchu trek but also the most impressive and the interesting, due the number of archaeological sites and the lush cloud forest area that we cross, so rich in Andean flora and fauna. From Pacaymayo, climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (13,022 ft). Halfway up, we stop to visit the archaeological complex with the same name. This site, located at 12,464 ft., consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower. After going over the pass, descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (11,887 ft). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals. Continuing up an easy climb, arrive at the third pass, the Abra Phuyupatamarca (12,136 ft). 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 multileveled Andean geography. 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 point 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 valley. Continue our Inca Trail trek down the long descending stone steps that lead us to Wiñaywayna (8,692 ft), an impressive Inca complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector, close to which our camp is located. This campsite hosts a trekker lodge, a bar and bathrooms with hot shower facilities. After visiting the impressive archaeological site, enjoy our farewell dinner at camp. (B,L,D)
Total distance: 16 km (9.94 miles)
Estimated walking time: 8 hours
Maximum altitude point: 3,900 m (12,792 ft)
Campsite altitude: 2,650 m (8,692 ft)
Wiñaywayna to Machu Picchu
On this fourth and last day you wake at 4.00 am to leave Wiñaywayna an hour later and climb to the Intipunku, or The Sun Gate. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, we may see the sunrise over the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. Travel down into Machu Picchu from Intipunku, and 40 minutes later we enter the citadel from the highest point through the ¨House of the Guardians.¨ Then descend to the control point where you register and leave your backpacks. Begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. You will then have free 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 visit the Temple of the Moon or the impressive Inca Bridge. In the afternoon, meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in its hot springs. Overnight at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo. (B,L)
Total distance: 4 km (2.49 miles)
Estimated walking time: 2 hours
Maximum altitude point: 2,700 m (8,829 ft)
Machu Picchu altitude: 2,400 m (7,872 ft)
PLEASE NOTE: Departure and arrival times are approximated. Campsites are subject to change according to the designation of the governmental institution regulating the use of the Inca Trail. Difficulty degree of this custom Machu Picchu trek is Moderate to Challenging.