About the Journey:
The Inca trail is the most iconic trek in South America and today’s trek to Machu Picchu is the same exact pilgrimage that the Incas did years ago. You will travel through the Andes’ lush vegetation, climb through cloud forests, and explore archaeological ruins. Believe it or not, Machu Picchu is just one of many exciting parts of the trail as it is unparalleled for its ecological diversity. There are also over 250 species of orchid in the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, as well as rare animals, birds, and reptiles- several species considered to be in danger of extinction. Note that permits are required for this trek so there will be a set number of people on the trail each day.
* Note: The altitude can be a problem for beginner hikers. It is recommended to spend at least three days prior in Cusco to adjust.
We will start the day early with a three hour drive from the hotel to the starting point of the trek in Piscacucho. Along the scenic drive, we’ll pass valleys, Andean villages, and the Urubamba River. We’ll start the journey by crossing over the river, passing by a small village, and climbing up towards Huillca Raccay, the Incan fortress. We’ll continue on for great views of the ruins of Llactapata and the Urumbamba mountain range that divides the jungle and the Andes mountains. We’ll then finish our hike for about an hour and a half to our first campsite.
This morning, we will trek through a beautiful cloud forest and up to Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest pass on the trail at 4200m. Dead Woman’s Pass is one of the most iconic moments on the trek, as it should be, the hike up is difficult and the temperature can drop quickly. After the pass, the descent is steep to the valley, and we will hike until we reach our campsite at Pacamayo.
Possibly the longest day of inca trail hiking, but one that is most rewarding with beautiful landscapes. Once we leave camp it will take about an hour to ascend to the ruins of Runkuracay. We will continue on to the second pass, Abra de Runkuracay. The descent to the Sayacmarca ruins is steep so be sure to be careful with your knees. These ruins are perched on the edgy rocks, protected on all sides, which is fitting since Sayacmarca means “Inaccessible Town”. We’ll continue on into the cloudforest and climb until we reach the 3rd pass from where we will have beautiful views of the Salkantay and Veronica snow-capped peaks. After the pas, we will reach the Phuyupatamarca ruins, meaning “Town in the Clouds” from which you will descend about a thousand steps from. We will finish up the day hiking to the campsite at Winyahuayna.
Hiking to Machu Picchu takes about an hour so most people like to leave early to catch the sunrise over the ruins. We’ll hike around the mountain and into a cloudforest before coming to the steep stairs that lead up to the final pass at Sun Gate. From there you will be able to see a breathtaking view of Machu Picchu. When we arrive at the ruins we will go through a guided tour and have time to explore on our own. Then you will have the opportunity to head to the Inca Bridge or the infamous mountain of Huayna Picchu, for which you need a separate permit for. When we are done exploring, we will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes and then the train to Cusco. Once we arrive back in Cusco, private transportation will take you to your hotel.
Once your payment is done, you spot will be automatically reserved. However, please keep in mind that we require at least three people for any departures to be confirmed. For more information please visit our Cancellation Policy
A Reputable Guide:
All of the guides at Runnatrip are English speaking (fluently, not casually) and are officially certified guides which is important because a lot of tour operators will use non-certified guides because it is cheaper. Our guides are experts in these treks and will make you feel both safe and welcomed. You have the option to meet your guide in our office prior to your trek so you can learn more about what you should expect on your journey. This is very much encouraged, but not required.
Transportation is included from your hotel to the start of trek and from the end of trek to plaza de armas. This is usually a private van. Treks that include Machu Picchu also include the cost of the train ticket into the ruins.
All entrance/trek fees are covered. You are good if you bring no cash at all. However, tip is always appreciated by the guides/porters.
Evacuation Plan & Safety:
There will be at least one horse just in case of accidents, so people can be evacuated fast. We will also have a first aid kit and oxygen tank with us as well.
All Food and Water:
The mules will be carrying all of the food we will need during the trek. The food is typical camping food like soup, noodles, chicken, beans, rice, fruits, tea and coffee. We will also boil clean water to drink each morning and evening, but be sure to bring your own container.
We will also be providing tents and sleeping mats, tables (varies between treks), chairs, and cooking equipment. Each night we will set up a community tent where we will have dinner and enjoy each other’s company before we head off to bed/go our separate ways for the night.
Porters/cookes/mules to carry the equipments and handle logistics. (depending on the trek, mules can carry up to 5kg of your personal stuff (your tent will already be carried)).
What to Bring:
Comfortable and moisture wicking clothing, hiking boots, sleeping bag, toilet paper, trekking poles, lightweight sandals (to hang around campsite), bottle/container for water.
What Not to Bring:
Jeans, heavy books, laptop, knives, drugs, alcohol, and babies.