Day 01 Cuzco
In Cusco meet your local guide and transfer to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring this fascinating city, and getting used to the altitude.
Cusco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network. The city attracts travellers who come not just to visit a unique destination but also to experience an age-old culture very different from their 20th century way of life; one could easily spend a week just in and around the area. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and you don’t have to go far to see other major Inca ruins. It is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend.
Every year Cusco attracts thousands of travellers who come to delve into its noble but tragic past. It is the perfect base for optional explorations around the city and area as well as a range of outdoor activities.
Cusco’s numerous colonial churches are one of the city’s most common sights. The Cathedral was started in 1559 and took 100 years to build; it is also one of the city’s greatest repositories of colonial art. Immediately in front of the entrance is a vault containing the remains of the famous Inca historian, Garcilaso de la Vega. Also worth visiting are the churches of La Compañía, La Merced and San Francisco.
While most ruins are just outside of the city, the main ruin within is that of the Coricancha, once the Inca Empire’s richest temple. Today the ruin forms the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. During Inca times this temple was literally covered with gold, but within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors this incredible wealth had all been melted down. It is left to the individual imagination to envision the magnificence of the original structure.
There are several good museums in Cusco, including the Archaeological Museum, which also houses a small art museum, the Regional History Museum and the Religious Art Museum. Our best advice for exploring Cusco is to wear a comfortable pair of shoes, arm yourself with a city map and set off to explore!
Day 02 Ollantaytambo
Travel through the stunning Sacred Valley of the Incas, visit the impressive Pisac ruins, the colourful artisan market (market days only) and the large ruin site of Ollantaytambo that lies adjacent to the town of the same name where we catch our breath and prepare for the hike ahead.
Ollantaytambo is your first taste of what lies ahead on the Inca Trail. The town and fortress of Ollantaytambo are strategically situated overlooking the beautiful Urubamba River Valley. This major ruin site is known as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering. It is admired for its huge steep terraces guarding the Inca Fortress and for being one of the few places where the Spanish lost a major battle during the conquest. We spend the night in this small town before heading out for the start of the hike the next morning. Hostal
Day 03 – 06 Inca Trail
The 01-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is physically challenging but worthwhile, and the excursion is within the ability of most reasonably fit. It is a 44-km (27 mile) hike, with 3 high passes to be crossed, one of which reaches an elevation of 4200m (13776 ft). The trail is often steep, and it may rain even during the dry season. The temperatures at night may fall below zero, so it is important to come prepared.
Depart Ollantaytambo for km 82 where we begin our walk in the footsteps of the Incas. Our local crew of porters, a cook, and an experienced, knowledgable guide look after us for the duration of the hike. Porters carry the majority of the gear for the hike, so those travellers doing the hike only carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera, etc. As you walk the trail that linked this ancient empire, admire breathtaking views at every step as we move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. Depending on the season, you may see a great variety of flora, including miniature and large orchids, and fiery rhododendron bushes.
You pass several smaller ruin sites, the first of which is Llactapata. The second day climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass. At 4198 m (13769 ft) above sea level, this pass is the highest point of the trek. The second pass of the hike is at 3998 m (13113 ft) where on clear days, we enjoy superb views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. The trail goes through some beautiful cloud forest on the gentle climb to the third pass, where you will walk through a causeway and a tunnel, both original Inca constructions. The highest point of the third pass is at 3700m (12136 ft). On clear days you are rewarded for all this work with beautiful views of the Urubamba Valley below. Soon you reach the serene ruins of Phuyupatamarca, or the ‘Town above the Clouds’, at about 3650 m (11972 ft) above sea level. We will camp either here or an hour and a half further along close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) ruins, a grandiose terraced hillside site, with panoramic views of the valley below and just a short hike from Machu Picchu.
On the final day of the hike we climb the steps to the Sun Gate overlooking the peaks that surround Machu Picchu. When the morning is clear, there is no way to describe the feeling of the first views of Machu Picchu, as the mist rises off the mountains early in the morning and the famous site appears in front of you. Following the visit to Machu Picchu, time allowing, travellers can opt to visit the Inca Bridge (15 min walk away) for no additional charge.
Machu Picchu is both the best and the least known of the Inca ruins. It is not mentioned in any of the chronicles of the Spanish conquistadors and archaeologists today can do no more than speculate on its function. The local Quechua farmers in the area knew of Machu Picchu for centuries, but it was not until an 11-year-old boy led the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in search of Vilcabamba) to the site on July 24, 1911, that the rest of the world became aware of its existence. At that time the site was covered in thick vegetation, and Bingham and his team returned in 1912 and 1915 to clear the growth. Over the years, much work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.
Distances of the Inca trail:
Day 1 Km 82 to Wayllambama
Approximate distance: 11 km
Estimated hiking time: 5-6 hrs
Day 2 Wayllabamba to Paqaymayo
Approximate distance: 12 km
Estimated hiking time: 6-7 hrs
Day 3 Paqaymayo to Wiñaywayna
Approximate distance: 16 km
Estimated hiking time: 8 hrs
Wiñaywayna to Intipunku (Sun Gate)
Approximate distance: 4 km
Estimated hiking time: 1.5 hrs
Intipunku to Machu Picchu
Approximate distance: 1.5 km
Estimated hiking time: 45 mins
Meals (3B, 3L, 3D)
Day 07 Cuzco
Today is free to explore Cusco, considered the mecca of Peru and rightly so. This beautiful colonial town offers much to the visitor with its nearby ruins, cobble-stoned streets, museums, churches and lively atmosphere. Among the more adventurous optional activities available in Cusco are: horseback riding around archaeological sites such as Sacsayhuaman, Tambo Machay and Puca Pucara; white water rafting on the Urubamba River; and mountain biking down to the Sacred Valley, perhaps visiting an Inca ruin along the way. Hotel
Day 08 – 09 Amazon Jungle
Fly from Cusco, high in the Andes, to Puerto Maldonado, deep in the lowlands of the Amazon jungle. Travel by motorized canoe to our lodge in the Tambopata Rainforest Area, which holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area. Explore the jungle with experienced local guides based in the Amazon before flying back to Lima for a final night out.
About half of Peru is located within the Amazon Basin, however, due to its isolation, not a lot of it is available to the casual traveller. Puerto Maldonado is the region’s principal city and is serviced by air from the capital and from Cusco. The town is situated at the confluence of the Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers, and is a bustling, booming tropical frontier town. Its principal activities are gold mining, Brazil nut collecting, timber extraction, agriculture and ecotourism. After a brief stop in the town we depart on an afternoon boat trip by motorized canoe to our jungle lodge. Depending on flight arrival times we have either a boxed lunch aboard the boat or lunch upon arrival at the lodge. During our voyage you will have the chance to see bird species typical of the river or forest edge such as Black Skimmers, Pied Lapwings, Capped Herons, Jabiru Storks, Roadside Hawks and several species of kingfishers, swallows, and flycatchers. The Tambopata area includes habitats ranging from the Andean highlands around the rivers’ headwaters through some of the last remaining intact cloud forests to the lowland rainforests of the Amazon basin. The area is renowned for its diverse plant and animal populations and include over 1,300 bird species (including 32 parrot species – 10% of the world’s total), 200 mammal species including 4 species of primates, 90 frog species, 1,200 butterfly species and 10,000 species of higher plants—all protected within the reserve. Some of the more famous residents are the Harpy Eagle, the prehistoric looking Hoatzin, tapir, peccary, jaguar, ocelot and playful river otters who live in the area’s oxbow lakes.
The lodge itself combines native architectural style and materials with low-impact eco-friendly technology. Rooms are simple but comfortable, with mosquito netting for individual beds, flush toilets, showers ( hot water), and kerosene lamps for lighting ( electricity). Local community members make up the majority the lodge staff, including multilingual Naturalist Guides. Here you have the opportunity to learn from them not only about the area’s rich flora and fauna, but also about their extensive practical uses for medicinal plants and other forest plant resources, through traditional techniques for building, fishing, and hunting. Lodge (Meals 2B – 2L – 2D)
Day 10 Fly Puerto Maldonado to Lima
End the tours
Included / Not Included
What is Included:
- Pre-departure briefing
- 3 night Hotel (2N Cusco – 1N Ollantaytambo)
- Sacred Valley Tours
- Amazon Tours 2days
- fly ticket Cusco – Puerto Maldonado – Lima
- Inca Trail 4days
- Collection from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transport to km.82 (starting point of the trail)
- Inca Trail and Machupicchu entrance fee (days 1-4)
- Personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks. Our tents are 3-season, highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance in field. Kailas or North Faces Tent
- One inflatable sleeping pad per person
- Dining tent with tables and chairs
- Kitchen tent
- Toilet tent with bio-degradable toilet facilities
- English speaking professional guide (2 guides for groups of over 10 people)
- Chef and cooking equipment
- Porters (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment)
- Accommodation for all our staff
- Meals (03B, 03L, 03D + daily morning snack + daily tea service except last day). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
- One textile snack bag per person, to avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment
- Filtered boiled water from lunch time on 1st day onwards
- Bio-degradable personal hand soaps
- Bio-degradable dishwashing detergents used by our kitchen staff
- Others: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunch time if requested with enough time ahead
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (Expedition, Vistadome, upon request)
- Transfer train station to hotel in Cusco
What is not included
- Breakfast on the first day
- Lunch and dinner on the last day: after the guided tour at Machupicchu, you can enjoy free time to further visit the ruins and choose to have lunch either in Machupicchu or in Aguas Calientes at your own expense. Arrival in Cusco is estimated after nightfall, dinner being at your own expense too
- Sleeping Bag
- Visit to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes: a relaxing way to end-up the trek while you’re awaiting the return train to Cusco, only 10 minutes from the village center, entrance fee is s/10.00 (Peruvian Soles). Towels can be hired in Aguas Calientes
- Huayna Picchu entrance fee: if you would like to climb this mountain a new entrance fee applies ( US$80)
- Tips: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish
What we Recommend that you Bring
- A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
- Sandals or jogging shoes for a higher comfort while at camp
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping
- Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
- Camera and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – no malaria risk has been reported
- Toilet paper
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc. Please note that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. This recommendation applies for all clients being used to a specific snack, as it may happen that it is not included in our selection
- Water container and water for the first morning. Important notice: plastic water bottles are no longer allowed into the Inca Trail. Plastic water containers (ie. Nalgene) or metal ones are recommended
- Optionally: water- sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem so far
- Small towel
- Swimsuit (if you wish to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
- Cash in soles and/or US$
- Original passport
- Original International Student Identity Card (in case you have applied for a student discount)
- walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage the Inca Trail)
Prices & Availability
Price information: Price per person 2020
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Available discounts (these discounts are not cumulative)
- Students: US$ 30.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card. Please note that Youth Travel Cards are not valid)
- Teenagers: US$ 40.00 (up to 15 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
- Children: US$ 60.00 (up to 7 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
DEPARTURE ON 2020
Inca Trail Availability
The exact information provided by you will be submitted to the governmental institution in charge of regulating the access to the Inca Trail and will be included in the official permit to enter the Inca Trail on the requested date. Should there be any change in the above-mentioned data (ie. New passport number), we kindly request you to inform the Reservation Department at Terra Quechua Tour Operator via email as soon as possible. The government reserves the right not to allow the entry to any visitor whose data are not the exact ones as those in the official permit. Terra Quechua Tour Operator excludes any responsibility for a no entry in case the passenger information has changed without prior notice to us.
Inca Trail permits are available. You can book your trip for this date.
- January: Availability
- Fefruary: Also note that the Inca Trail will be closed for general maintenance during the month of February each year. Also, closures may occur at various times throughout the year due to inclement weather or other conditions beyond our control. During these periods, any tour affected will do the Lares Trek
- March: Availability
- April: Availability
- May: Availability
- June: Availability
- July: Availability
- September: Availability
- October: Availability
- November: Availability
- December: Availability
Inka Trail Frequently Asked
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: Is the trek difficult, do I need to be fit?
The Inca Trail is a 43km (26 mile) hike through mountainous regions. The maximum altitude reached is 4200m above sea level. On the second day of the trek we climb 1200m. Make no mistake, the Inca Trail is a fairly difficult trek and you should be well prepared and healthy prior to starting it. You have to be moderately fit and take regular exercise. Try walking 15km in a day or go to the gym in the months leading up to the trek. It is also important to be well acclimatized to the altitude. Try to spend 2 or 3 days in Cusco (3400m) prior to starting the trek. This time can be put to good use visiting the city of Cusco, nearby Inca ruins and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The good news is that virtually everyone in the last few years who started the trek finished it Only a handful had to turn back. (see tips on staying healthy on the trail below).
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: How far in advance do I need to make a trek reservation?
As far in advance as possible. The government has strictly limited the number of people permitted on the Inca Trail (permits are issued to about 200 trekkers per day plus 300 porters). We therefore recommend that you try to make your Inca trail reservation as far in advance as possible as soon as you know the dates of your international flights.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What do I need to bring for the hike?
Travelers only need to bring their own personal supplies and a sleeping bag. If you do not have a sleeping bag, these can be rented in Cusco for a reasonable rate ($20 per all trips). A duffle bag will be provided for your belongings on the Inca trail so travelers do not need to bring a large backpack unless desired. Proper sungear, comfortable trekking clothes, mosquito repellant, hiking shoes, a flashlight, a camera, and 1-2 refillable water bottles are recommended. Rain gear is also recommended during the wet season (December- March) and cold weather gear (warm jacket, thermals, hat and gloves) is recommended for the dry season (especially June- August).
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: Which campsites do you use?
Campsites are subject to change depending upon the crowds and the season. We generally try to camp in less trafficked areas so that travelers can enjoy the natural beauty of the Inca trail and minimize environmental impacts. Our typical campsite choices are Huayllabamba, Pacaymayo and Wiñay Wayna or chaquicocha.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What are the guides like?
Our Adventure,Tour guide are among the very best and most experienced guides anywhere. They are from the surrounding Cusco/ Sacred Valley area and speak fluent English, in addition to Spanish and the native language of Quechua. Most have 10 years of experience leading Inca trail hikes and all have training in the history, spirituality, culture, and ecology of the area.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO:Can I have vegetarian meals?
Our cooks can provide vegetarian meals no problem. Just let us know your dietary requirements when you book your trek.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: I have a food allergy, can this be catered for?
A6: We have plenty of clients who have allergies to nuts, wheat, etc. Please give us details of your allergy at the time of booking. Please indicate the severity of the reaction and what type of medicines you have to take in an emergency. If your allergy is severe you must be accompanied by a friend on the trek who is aware of your allergy and the location of any required medicines. Due to the nature of the remote geographical location of the trail and the lack of suitable nearby medical facilities Peru Treks will not accept any responsibility, either directly or indirectly, for any problems due to your special medical/dietary requirements. We suggest that you to check with your doctor before booking the trek.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: I have asthma / diabetes / another medical condition. Can I still do the trek?
You must disclose at the time of booking any medical condition that you may have that could affect your ability to do the Inca Trail trek. Terra Quechua hikers reserves the right not to accept a trek booking if we feel that a medical condition may put your life or the lives of any of our trekking staff or other clients at risk on the trek. People with heart conditions, knee problems, severe asthma or are more than 18 weeks pregnant should not participate in the trek. People with mild asthma / diabetes / pregnant less than 18 weeks will have to bring a medical note from their doctor stating that they are fit to undertake the trek. They will also be required to be accompanied by a trekking companion on the trek at all times who will trek at their sides and be familiar with any medicines required in case of an emergency. Peru Treks reserved the right to cancel the trek booking of a client if the client has not fully disclosed at the time of making a booking a medical condition that may pose a risk to the health of the client and/or other trekkers. No refunds will be given in this instance.
Due to the nature of the remote geographical location of the trail and the lack of suitable nearby medical facilities along the trail Peru Treks will not accept any responsibility, either directly or indirectly, for any problems due to your special dietary requirements / medical condition. We suggest that you check with your doctor before booking the trek.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: How is drinking water supplied?
Although there are places to purchase bottled water occasionally along the trail, we recommend that travelers bring their own refillable bottles to limit plastic waste. Water is boiled, treated with iodine, and then filtered with one of our portable filters (Katadyn and PUR commonly used). It is available in the morning to fill your bottles and at every meal.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What do I need to bring on the trek?
Backpack, sleeping bag, thermarest mattress (we will provide you with this but you have to carry it), rain jacket, strong footwear, one complete change of clothing, sweater, jacket (something warm), water bottle (metal or nalgene type) and sterilizing tablets (Micropur are recommended and can be bought in local pharmacies in Cusco), flashlight and batteries, broad-brim or peaked cap, sunblock, insect repellent, toiletries and toilet paper, selection of small snacks, chocolate, dried fruit, biscuits etc, camera and spare batteries (nowhere to charge your camera during the trek). For your own personal hygiene we also recommend that you bring a small bottle of antiseptic/anti-bacterial hand gel to clean your hands each time after using the camp toilets and before eating any snacks / meals. You also have to bring your original passport with you on the trek, with the same passport number you originally made your reservation with, otherwise you will be unable to go on the trek. Photocopies are no longer acceptable.
We will buy your Inca Trail trek permit using the names & passport numbers that you send us with your trek booking application. You must bring these same passports with you to Cusco and take them on the Inca Trail. If the name or number in your passport is different from the name and number on the trek permit, the government authorities will not allow you to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund. If you plan to renew your passport between making the trek booking and actually starting the trek please see the section below about Frequently Asked Questions relating to passport numbers. If you make a trek booking at the student price you must send us a copy of your ISIC card at the time you pay the trek deposit. If you fail to bring your ISIC card on the trek the government authorities will not allow you to start the trek. You will not be given the opportunity to pay the extra difference in price and you will not be entitled to a refund. These are government regulations and apply to ALL licensed Inca Trail tour operators.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What do I need to carry?
Unless you hire an extra ‘third of a porter’ you will need to carry all of the above personal items. We include porters to carry all the other items such as tents, food and cooking equipment.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: Do I need to bring walking boots?
Walking boots are recommended as they provide support to the ankle which reduces the risk of injury especially when trekking in the wet season (December – March). However it is important that your boots are comfortable and well worn-in and not brand new. Many people prefer to trek in tennis shoes but extra care should be taken. We do not recommend trekking in sandals or using new boots or hiring boots prior to the trek. Make sure the shoes are sturdy enough for the duration of the trek and will not fall apart.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What equipment is supplied by Adventure Life?
We supply the sleeping tents, dining tents, tables, chairs, toilet tents, cooking equipment, water purifiers, sleeping mattress (the thermarest), and other camping equipment. Our outfitter purchases the highest quality equipment in Peru and older equipment is evaluated and replaced on a regular basis.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: Can I use trekking poles / walking sticks on the Inca Trail?
Many people like to hike with trekking poles or walking sticks. This is fine as long as the poles will not cause damage to the stone paving along the Inca Trail. If the trekking poles have metal spikes then these must be protected by rubber tips. We recommend bringing some spare rubber tips with you. Rubber protectors can also be bought in several shops in Cusco. Wooden walking sticks are obviously fine as long as you bring them with you from home. Recently government authorities have stopped trekkers using wooden sticks that could have come from local forests (to prevent deforestation of protected Andean forests). Metal trekking poles can also be hired in our office.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: Where can I store the bags that I do not need to take on the Inca Trail?
Any bags that you don’t need to take on the Inca trail can be left at your hotel in Cusco. Nearly all hotels have a luggage deposit and rarely charge for this service as long as you are returning to the hotel after the trek. You can also leave valuables in the hotel safe, but remember to bring your passport and some emergency money. We do not store clients luggage or valuables in our office.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: How many porters and trekking staff are in the group?
Terra Quechua Peru is committed to looking after our porters and our trekking weights are carefully calculated so that our porters are not overloaded. The group sizes given below show the absolute minimum number of porters that we will provide for each group. As a professional company we will guarantee these numbers. Obviously we will use extra porters if any of our clients decide to hire the services of an extra third of a porter up until the maximum number of porters per group permitted by the government. This is why we limit each client to a maximum of just a third of a porter i.e. maximum 6kg.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What if I have a medical emergency while hiking the trail?
Guides carry a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts/ scrapes, etc.). They receive Red Cross First Aid and other emergency training every year. Our guides lead over 500 travelers along the Inca trail each year and we have rarely had a traveler unable to complete the hike. In these rare instances when someone has not felt well enough to finish the hike, he/ she has been escorted back to Cusco and generally felt well enough to re-join the group in Machu Picchu via train a few days later. Cusco has the nearest modern medical facilities so travelers with a serious medical emergency would need to be evacuated there. Guides and porters have pre-established evacuation strategies in place should this need occur.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What is the food like on the Inca trail?
A cook accompanies every group on the Inca trail. Almost invariably, travelers comment on the delicious menu. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and hearty snacks are provided for your hike. Meals are a mix of local specialties and international favorites. For a sample menu, check out our Inca Trail Menu below. Vegetarian meals are also available upon request. Other special dietary requests can usually be accommodated as well with sufficient notice.