The Inca Trail is walked every year by literally thousands of tourists and consists of only a small portion of the entire Inca Trail which incorporates a network of over 14 thousand kilometers (8,700 miles) through South America and is possibly one of the most impressive treks worldwide.The trail starts in the little village Vilcanota which is located at km. 82 along the railroad between Ollanta and Aguas Calientes and ends up at Machu Pichu after a 4 day and 43 km hike. During the hike we will see several ecosystems and climate types with the corresponding different types of Flora and Fauna. Two high mountain passes will be taken and finally the trek will end with an astonishing view and visit of Machu Picchu accessing this Inca City through the so called Sun Gate. During this four day trek / hike we will see several Inca Ruins, structures and settlements which are located in an extraordinary and beautiful landscape. We will furthermore see orchids, colorful birds and fairy tale like landscapes. In conclusion, it’s an experience, every culture and nature minded individual who enjoys walking outdoors, will enjoy!
(12km): You will be picked up at your hotel early in the morning (4 – 5 a.m.) after which we will travel in bus to Ollanta passing through little villages like Chinchero and Urubamba. In Ollanta we will take the train to kilometer 82 from which point we will start the Inca Trail. We will start our hike near the riverVilcanotaand follow a steep path climbing and passing through a small village reaching the ruins of Huillca Raccayhigh above the river Cusichaca. We will then descend and reach the riverCusichaca.The following 7 kilometers we will follow the left bank of this river until a village calledWayllabamba which is situated at 3000 m. where we will set camp.
(11km): We will get up early and start climbing from Wayllabamba, for about 3 hours on a path that keeps increasing its slope walking through a forest set in an impressive Andean Mountain terrain and passing a pasture called Llulluchapampaat 3680 m (12,000 feet). From this point on it is another one and a half hour climb until we reach the highest point of this mountain pass calledHuarmihuañusca (in English called Death Man´s Pass) and also the highest point of our 4 day trek, situated at 4200 m. above sea level (13,770 feet). During this part of the trail, the hikers will be exposed to the typical elements of the Andean Climate, known for the high radiation of the sun (sun screen /sun block is absolutely necessary) and while getting closer to the highest point also freezing and strong blowing winds. Reaching the top we will celebrate to have accomplished the most difficult part of this 4 day hike and start descending before we freeze up taking a steep path that is paved with Inca stairs – yet it is not a difficult descend. You might feel pain in your knees at the end of the day though. Walking canes might be of great comfort during this part of the trek (Be advised that only canes with rubber tips are allowed to avoid dammage to the trek – We can provide canes if desired). We will finally reach the second campsite called Pacamayoat 3,600 m (13,700 feet), where provisional toilets are available.
(16km): From the Pacamayo valley, we will climb steeply up on the opposite side of the valley, towards the second pass. About halfway up is a small round stone building without its roof. This Inca ruin is known as Runkuracay(4,000m). The building is known to have been a Tambo, which was in Inca times a resting post for the couriers who ran / walked the trail to Machu Picchu. It had sleeping areas for the Inca runners and stabling facilities for their animals. After Runkuracay, the trail will go on and climbs towards the second pass called Abra de Runkuracay, at 3500m. On the other side of the pass, the path descends towards a valley with a little lake. From this point on, the trail changes from a dirt path to a typical Inca stone road / path. The stones of the roadway were laid by the Incas themselves. The trail leads us to a another ruin called Sayacmarca(“the Unreachable Town”). Sayacmarca is situated above the trail and is built in such a way that it is difficult to take / reach. It is built on rock overlooking the trail, and the only access is by climbing a narrow stone staircase. On the left of the staircase, is an overhanging rock wall, making it difficult to climb, while on the right side there is a sheer drop.It is positionedthat it is almost impossible to reach. We will then head back for a little while to rejoin the Inca Trail and go on to Conchamarca, which is another “Tambo” where the Incas just to rest before walking / running the last part of the Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu. The trail continues going down for a little while until we reach a Tunnelcarved in the rocks. From that point on the trail leads up again to the third pass. Along the way we can finally observe the Salkantay(6,271m) and the Veronica(5,750m)and, just beyond it, another Inca ruin called Phuyupatamarca, the most impressive ruins so far. The names translates as “City in the Clouds”. This site appears to have had some ritual function; the rectangular structures along one side are baths, which were apparently fed from a spring higher up. The highest bath was reserved for the nobles, while the lower classes performed their ritual ablutions in the water which had already been used by the aristocracy. Below Phuyupatamarca, the trail spirals and descends steeply towards Wiñay Wayna which could be visited if desired. Between Phuyupatamarca and Winay Wayna there are several posibilities to camp.
(6km): The final section of the trail, from Huinay Huayna to Intipunku – the so called Sun Gate – is an easy hike, following a broad level path which winds comfortably through scrub and light woodland. Colourful butterflies flutter across the trail. After no more than an hour or two, the trail comes to a narrow flight of stone steps leading upwards into a small stone structure with a grass floor a few metres square. This is Intipunku, the Gateway of the Sun, and through the rectangular doorway, you can see the ruins of Machu Picchu . From Intipunku, a pathway leads directly to Machu Picchu.
Other wishes like for instance a private tour or an extra day in Aguas Calientes (5 day tour) and / or other wishes can be arranged. We are known for our flexibility. We walk generally in small groups of 6 – 8 persons. See also our 2 Day Inca Trail Program here in case you have less time