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Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic sights in South America, and with it being surrounded by lush valleys, high passes and Inca ruins, this trek is one you will never forget.
Enjoy exploring ancient Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire, when you first arrive, it makes for a fantastic acclimatisation warm up hike. Trekking on Inca-paved paths and steps, our route takes us up through lush cloudforest with breathtaking views of snow-capped Andean peaks, as we head through the demanding Dead Woman’s Pass (4200m). We finally come to the Sun Gate, which overlooks Machu Picchu, where your first magical glimpse provides an unforgettable reward for your efforts.
Day 1: Fly London to Lima
Transfer to hotel.
Day 2: Arrive Cuzco
After a trip briefing, the afternoon is free to explore the sites of this historic city, or simply adjust to the altitude by watching the world go by in one of the numerous cafés on the Plaza de Armas.
Day 3: Tambo Machay – Cuzco (Trek approx. 5-6 hours)
Our first day’s trek takes us to Tambo Machay, an ancient ruin high in the hills above Cuzco. We pass some more amazing Inca sites as we walk downhill to Sacsayhuaman, a huge and impressive ruin. As well as beautiful scenery and fascinating ruins, today’s trekking offers excellent altitude acclimatisation.
Day 4: Cuzco – Km82 – Wayllabamba
We head out along the Sacred Valley via the Ollantaytambo ruins to the Trail’s starting-point at Km82. The undulating path follows the Urubamba River until a gentle climb takes us to our camp at Wayllabamba. We get great views of Mount Veronica, standing at 5000m.
Day 5: Wayllabamba – Pacamayo (Trek approx 8-12 hours)
The big climb! Rising from camp all the way to Dead Woman’s Pass at 4200m, this is a relentless and steep climb on narrow trails, first through grassland, then cloud forest, eventually opening out onto pasture where we will have lunch with snowcapped mountains behind us and a distant view up to the top of the pass, still several hours ahead. We camp at Pacamayo, below the ruins of Runkurakay.
Day 6: Pacamayo – Winay Wayna (Trek approx 8-10 hours)
Now on the true Inca Trail, the path is mostly steps with ruins every mile or so along the way to Sayacmarca ruin (3600m). We pass through an Inca tunnel in the rock gently climb on to the ruins of Puyupatamarca, then descend steep steps to our campsite at Winay Wayna.
Day 7: Winay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Cuzco (Trek approx 3 hours)
We walk to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate, along a beautiful stretch of trail scattered with ruins. We should arrive at Machu Picchu before the crowds arrive from Cuzco. We enjoy a guided tour around this extraordinary site, and then have plenty of time to soak up the unique atmosphere. In the afternoon we meet in Aguas Calientes - anyone who wishes can go down early to soak their aching limbs in the village’s hot springs. In the late afternoon we take the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cuzco by bus.
Day 8: Free day Cuzco
There may be an opportunity to visit a local community project, before meeting up again to celebrate our achievement at dinner this evening.
Day 9: Depart Cuzco
We board the morning flight to Lima and excplore the relaxed coastal suburb of Miraflores for a few hours, before returning to the airport in time for our flight back to London.
Day 10: Arrive London