5 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Imagine having the most famous trek in the world, all to yourself. Your 5 day Inca Trail does just that. By leaving later than everyone else, and allowing an extra day, you spend the whole trek out of sync with others.
Built over 500 years ago, this mythical trail to the lost city of Machu Picchu was a pilgrimage route reserved only for Inca nobility. It remains an exclusive trail, with permit numbers strictly controlled. From windswept mountain passes to lush tropical jungle, bustling villages to lonely ruins this is the journey of a lifetime through some of the most beautiful and varied scenery of any trek in the world.
- Walk in the footsteps of the great archeologists Hiram Bingham
- Follow the same trail he pioneered up the Sacred Valley
- Explore amazing Inca ruins culminating in the greatest of all, Machu Picchu
- Visit Machu Picchu twice once in the late afternoon and once in the morning.
- Get away from the crowds in our specially designed itinerary
- Walk among the giant Andes and their wonderous snow capped peaks.
Perched in a spur of the Urubamba Valley, nestled away in the Andes mountain range, high above the Urubamba River lays the deserted city of Machu Picchu, once home to the thriving ancient civilisation of Incas; a united community situated and dwarfed by the mountains of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. Abandoned a century after being built and swallowed by an overgrown extension of the jungle, Machu Picchu sat silent just waiting to be discovered, its existence remaining a secret to the outside world up until 1911.
After extensive excavating, archaeologists have been able to identify and develop a layout of the lost city, dividing areas into agricultural and urban sections. The agriculture section made up of both small and large terracing all built in accordance to the natural slope and layout of the land, extending onto the surrounding mountain fields and the urban areas divided into East and West, littered with plazas, temples of worship and staircases with a total of three thousand and something stairs.
Construction of the sanctuary of Machu Picchu began approximately around the mid- 15th century, the city flourished for a 100 years before being abandoned when the Incas became under threat from the invasion and conquest of the Spanish. There is no evidence in the Spanish invasion archives that they ever made it to the mountaintop and thus created speculation that the real reason for abandonment of the city was due to an outbreak of smallpox that ravaged the community.
The purpose of Machu Picchu to this day remains unclear. The discoverer of the "City of the Incas" Hiram Bingham, pondered theories that the city provided a convent for Inca women to be educated on how to serve the ruler of the Inca Empire and coterie, Bingham believed that 75% out of the hundreds of skeletons found on site were female, further modern studies deduced that a more accurate split of 50/50 between the two genders. Bingham also theorized that Machu Picchu was actually the fabled Tampu-tocco, the site that the forefathers of the Inca race were said to have originated from.
Today, the preserved history, artefacts and culture of Machu Picchu all contribute, to the newly claimed title of being one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
The lost city, now found.
DAY 1: Private bus to KM 82 and start trek, camp beside Llactapata ruins.
DAY 2: Hike up to just below 1st pass. Camp at Lluluchupampa with great views.
DAY 3: Over 1st and 2nd pass and camp at Phuyopatamarca "The place above the clouds".
DAY 4: Visit Wiay wiay and arrive late PM into Machu Picchu, overnight hotel Aguas Calientes
DAY 5: Full day with private guide in Machu Picchu, PM luxury train & bus return to Cusco.
Note : Flights for Lima to Cusco can be booked through us. Price depends on how in advance you book and if there are school holidays or not. However as a guide prices are between $600 and $700 return.
Please Note: The price is based on twin share accommodation. Single supplement is $85 per person.
Hotels in Lima : We can arrange for accommodation in Lima as well as transfers there. We use the 4 star Hotel Boulevard, Miraflores. Per night twin for room is $160 and a triple room is $240. Transfers to and from airport are $55 each way.
FLIGHTS TO PERU
There are no direct flights to Cusco. To fly into Peru you must fly into Lima first. Many stay overnight there before flying to Cusco. If you would like we can arrange your flight to Peru and your domestic flight from Lima to Cusco return.
Day 1: Ollantaytambo and the Inca Trail : Your five day Inca Trail is carefully tailored to avoid the crowds. By leaving later than everyone else, and allowing an extra day, you spend the whole trail out of sync with other tourists. Thus you will literally have the trail to yourselves.
This morning you visit the old Inca town of Ollantaytambo. After a look around and some lunch you have a short drive to the trailhead at Piscacucho (km 82). Here you meet the porters and cooks that will support your journey to Machu Picchu. With the crowds now long gone, you hike an undulating trail above the Urubamba river to camp beside the spectacular ruins of Llactapata (2,788m/9,146ft). Whilst walking all you need to carry is a daypack. Your luggage is carried by the porters, your tents are put up for you and your food is prepared for you. All you have to do is shoulder your daypack and enjoy the walking.
Day 2: Inca Trail: Llactapata to Llulluchapampa : After a hearty breakfast you climb gently up the Cusichaca valley to the small hamlet of Huayllabamba. This is the last inhabited place on the trail. A little steeper now, you head up the beautiful Inca path, past hummingbirds and stunted cloud forest to your camp at Llulluchapampa (3,680m/12,073ft). This beautiful grassy area has outstanding views and you may be even see the Andean deer that come to feed here.
Day 3: Inca Trail: Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca : Today is the most challenging day but also the most exhilarating. You climb to Dead Woman’s Pass (4,212m/13,819ft) the high point of the trail before dropping into the Pacasmayo valley. Climbing once more you pass the Inca control post of Runkuracay to the second pass of the day (3,998m/13,117ft). On a clear day there are spectacular views towards Pumahuanca mountain in the Vilcabamba range.
You continue on well preserved Inca trail to Sayacmarca. Located at the junction of two old Inca roads, historians still argue over its exact purpose. A few more gentle ups and downs and you arrive to your stunning campsite for the night, Phuyupatamarca, or ‘the place above the clouds’ (3,650m/11,975ft).
Day 4: Inca Trail: Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu : This is the day you finally reach Machu Picchu. As you step out of your tent the views are stunning. Perhaps you will see the sun rising over the snow capped mountains of Salkantay (6,200m/20,341ft) and Veronica (5,800m/19,029ft). Or perhaps you will have a cloud inversion, with the clouds filling the valleys beneath your feet. After saying a fond farewell to your porters it is time to put on your boots and head to Machu Picchu.
You descend through the cloud forest on beautiful Inca stairways, to Winay Wayna, another interesting ruin full of swallows and orchids. Finally you contour the hillside to arrive at Inti Punku, the gateway of the Sun. As you step through the old stone gateway Machu Picchu appears laid out before your eyes. After plenty of photos you carry on past this wonder of the world to catch the bus down to the colourful town of Machu Picchu Pueblo and a well deserved hotel and shower.
Day 5: Machu Picchu tour and return to Cusco :
Today you explore the pinnacle of Inca engineering - Machu Picchu.
For years it was lost to the jungle. Rediscovered in 1911 by the Yale professor Hiram Bingham, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, Machu Picchu exceeds all expectations.
This astounding site lies in an even more astonishing location. Perched high on an inaccessible hilltop it is protected by huge cliffs and the raging Urubamba river. Things are slightly easier now than in the time of the Incas and so you start your day with a twenty minute bus ride up to the site.
You will arrive early, allowing you to explore the ruins in the company of your guide, before they get too busy. The guided tour takes around two hours leaving you a few hours free to wander amongst the old Inca walls and just sit and take in the scale of the place on your own. For those who want to walk a bit more, you could take the hour long trail up to the Sun Gate, or a shorter trail to visit the Inca Bridge which once spanned a sheer cliff face.
Eventually the time comes to catch the bus down to Machu Picchu Pueblo and board your train back along the Urubamba River. The scenery is beautiful and the train jolts softly along, allowing you to sit, stare out the window and reflect on all you have seen.
For those with more time we can offer you extensions to the Amazon rainforest, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon and Arequipa or even to the little visited northern Peru.
- Transport to and from the trail in private vehicle
- All camping and cooking equipment including Thermarests, spacious two person tents, dining, cook and toilet tent
- Extensive First-aid kit including Oxygen
- Professional English and Spanish speaking guides trained in first-aid and C.P.R.
- Cook team with correct wages, transport to trail head, food, tent and insurance.
- 3* hotel in Aguas Calientes.
- All meals as indicated in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
- National or International flights
- Personal expenses
- Sleeping bag (available for rent at $10 a night)
- Airport taxes (if applicable)
- Travel insurance and tips.
Amazon Rain Forest
Arequipa Colca Canyon
Bike The Sacred Valley
Half Day Cusco Ruins
Puno and Lake Titicaca