Classic Inca Trail

    Peru

    Starting From

    $2,399/person

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    Book this tour through our partner: World Expeditions

    Experience the historic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, considered by many to be one of the greatest short treks in the world.

    Itinerary

    Arrive in Lima

    You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel where you are free to rest in the hotel or just wander around Miraflores, the area of Lima where our hotel is located. Some of Lima’s best galleries and shops and restaurants are located in this area. Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima is the oldest capital in South America, with a superb combination of Spanish Colonial and 19th century European architecture. If you have time to visit a museum we would recommend the brilliant Larco Herrera Museum which also has an excellent onsite restaurant or the Museo de La Nacion or the Larco Herrera Museum. Overnight: Casa Andina Standard Miraflores Centro or similar.

    Fly to Cusco - afternoon at leisure

    Transfer to Lima airport and fly to Cusco. Try to get a seat on the left side of the aircraft for the best views of stunning snow peaks. After your transfer to our hotel located in the historic centre you will have some time to explore the city and also enjoy a few hours of rest, essential to initiate successful acclimatisation to the altitude. In the evening you will meet with your guide at your hotel for an initial trip briefing. Overnight: Casa Andina Standard Cathedral or similar.

    Tour of Cusco city and nearby ruins

    Today we have a guided tour of Cusco and its nearby ruins. The city, once capital of the extensive Inca Empire, has seen many changes since Francisco Pizarro's men took the city with such apparent ease in November 1533. We explore the city by foot to appreciate its superbly constructed Inca walls and architecturally extravagant colonial churches and palaces. This also includes a visit of Koricancha, the Golden Temple of the Sun, in ancient times. After this we take a short drive to visit the monolithic walls of Sacsayhuaman along with Tambomachay, better known as ‘the bath of the Inca’. Both sites are spectacularly set above the city. In the afternoon you may have time to explore some of the central parts of the city and a chance to look at some of the great varieties of local craft work on sale in open-air artisan markets and shops. Overnight: Casa Andina Standard Cathedral or similar.

    Drive and walk down into the Sacred Valley of the Incas

    We leave Cusco and head to the Chinchero Plateau to explore Chinchero, an important town in Inca times. The most striking remnant of this period is the massive stone wall in the main plaza which has ten trapezoidal niches. There are beautiful views overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the snow-capped peak of Salcantay dominating the western horizon. Chinchero is believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. Next we visit the mysterious concentric circular terraces of Moray which, according to some scholars, could have been an agricultural research centre. From here we head to the salt mines of Maras. This village is a salt-producing centre that dates back all the way to pre-Inca times. There are thousands of salt pools all carved into the mountain side. We walk down through the salt pans to the Sacred valley for a lunch break before heading to our hotel in Ollantaytambo. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy beauty of this famous valley. Overnight: Tika Wasi Hotel or similar.

    Second day in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

    Today we enjoy another day in the beautiful Sacred Valley with a tour of Ollantaytambo. During our time in Ollantaytambo we visit its remarkable temple/fortress set high on a ridge above the village. We also explore the quaint village itself with a fascinating mixture of Inca and Colonial architecture. This evening we have a pre-trek briefing with our trekking guide and receive our kit bags at our hotel in order to pack and prepare for our trek. Overnight: Tika Wasi Hotel or similar.

    Commence Salcantay trek (alternative trek route)

    After an early breakfast we visit the Tarawasi Archaeological Site near the town of Limatambo. Pass through the mountain village of Mollepata, where we stop for coffee before ascending a winding mountain road to Challacancha (3,870m). Here we will meet our mule driver and begin our trek to Soraypampa (3,900m) where we have lunch. After lunch we continue the climb towards the breathtaking Humantay Lake (3,869m). Return back to Soraypampa which will be the first campsite, and from where we enjoy magnificent views of Salkantay Mountain (6,270m). One of the most sacred peaks in Inca mythology.PLEASE NOTE: The exact day to day itinerary on the Salkantay Trek might vary and is dependent on the departure date and group size.

    Trek to Andenes

    This is the main day! After an early breakfast, we hike up to the highest point on the trek which is the Salkantay Pass (4,638m). There we will stop to enjoy the amazing views of snowcapped peaks of the Vilcabamba Mountain Range in every direction, and the glaciated south face of Salkantay towering above us, where Andean condors can be seen. From the pass we descend towards Wayracmachay to lunch and then continue our descent along the left bank of the Salkantay River. Observe the landscape become increasingly green, changing from highland to jungle or cloud forest. Feel the warm air rising from the jungle, accompanied by colourful butterflies and striking orchids, while arriving to the second camp at Andenes (2,890m), a beautiful spot surrounded with vegetation.

    To Lucmabamba

    Today we will hike along the Santa Teresa River Valley, through more populated rural areas. We pass through banana, granadilla, avocado and coffee plantations. A hot picnic lunch is served along the way. After lunch, we hike for about 2 hours before a private vehicle meets us for a short drive to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail (30min approx). From the head of the newly restored Inca Trail we easily make our way to the last campsite at Lucmabamba. In the evening we try some of the local coffee with our host, a local family. Dinner will be served and then spend the night in the camp.

    To Aguas Calientes

    After breakfast, we will head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata Pass (2,735m) and descend to the archaeological complex of the same name. Enjoy a distant but spectacular view of Machu Picchu Sanctuary from the southeast, a view few travelers get the chance to admire. Lunch is served in a scenic viewpoint, looking out to Machu Picchu. Later we begin the final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. Finally, we will get to the Hydroelectric Power Station, to board the train to Aguas Calientes where we spend the night. Overnight: El Mapi Hotel or similar.

    Explore Machu Picchu and return to Cusco

    Today we start early to explore these remarkable and truly enigmatic ruins. We will enjoy a guided tour of the sanctuary followed by time to explore this fascinating site at your own pace (with the accompaniment of the guide). We return by bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch (at your own expense, there are many options to choose from) then in the afternoon or early evening we depart from Machu Picchu for the train ride back to Ollantaytambo where we transfer to our vehicle for the drive back to Cusco. Overnight:Casa Andina Cathedral Hotel or similar. NB - depending on train schedules, we may arrive into Cusco very late at night.OPTIONAL HUAYNA PICCHU CLIMB OR MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN CLIMB - For the more adventurous, you can purchase an additional Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain permit (ask us for costs), and forego the guided tour of Machu Picchu which is non-refundable and non-transferable. Please be aware that this is NOT a guided climb, and it takes minimum 2.5 hours (45 mins up & 45 mins down and some time at the top). Both climbs are very steep (including many small and narrow steps) and can be slippery and are quite very exposed with vertiginous drops. Before purchasing the permit on your behalf (non-refundable and non-transferable), we require any passengers to sign a waiver form. Note - there are limited Huayna Picchu permits and they sell out fast, if you are interested in this option, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.

    Drive to Cusco airport, trip concludes

    You will be transferred to the airport in Cusco where your trip concludes.

    Additional Information

    The historic Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu is a classic hike, considered by many to be one of the greatest short treks in the world. Importantly, our trek along the Inca Trail spends ample time in Cusco and exploring some of the impressive Inca sites in the Sacred Valley. This not only allows for us to acclimatise to the altitude, but also provides a fascinating introduction to Incan culture and history before heading out onto the infamous Inca Trail. During the trek we ascend the passes, jungle trails and cloud forest to appreciate the panorama of Andean peaks that would have inspired the Inca people as we make our way to Machu Picchu. Words cannot describe the exhilaration of the first sighting of the enigmatic ruins and we allow plenty of time to visit the massive sanctuary. Rather than heading straight back to Cusco we spend a night in Aguas Calientes which vitally gives us a second visit to the ruins and an opportunity to visit the majestic site at its best, early the following morning.

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    Details

    Duration: 11 Days
    Starts in: Peru
    Group Size: 2-16

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