Begin this adventure with tours of the ancient cities of Lima and Cusco, plus privately guided excursions to the sites of historic ruins. These educational tours provide a great introduction to the upcoming hike and give you more time to acclimatize to the altitude, increasing your chances of a successful journey. As you travel along the legendary Inca Trail by foot, you will be transported back in time as you move through the diverse wilderness of the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary. You pass numerous Inca ruins on the magnificent stone highway and take in breathtaking views from the Trail including the dazzling 20,000ft. Mt. Salkantay, one of the most sacred peaks in Inca mythology. As you crest the hill on your final day, you will be astounded by the famed citadel of Machu Picchu. After taking in the site from above, you will then descend into the citadel to explore the world of the Incas. This fully-supported trek will delight all who travel to this amazing destination.
- Often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu is the most known symbol of the Inca Empire. Roughly translated from Quechua, the language of the Inca, Machu Picchu means “ Old Mountain Peak.”
- Probably one of the most significant features of Machu Picchu history is the architecture. Like the pyramids of Egypt, it was created using massive stones hauled over great distances. However, unlike the Egyptians, the Incas didn’t use any kind of mortar to bind their stones together. Instead they cut the stones with such precision that they fit together so tightly that you couldn’t even fit a thin knife blade between them.
- Machu Picchu is called the “lost city” because the jungle had literally swallowed it when Yale explorer Hiram Bingham III “rediscovered” it in 1911. When the overgrown vegetation was removed, the complex of ruins was revealed.
- The Incas started building it around AD 1430 but was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a hundred years later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire.
- Machu Picchu is divided in 2 areas, the urban sector and the agriculture sector. The second one is a vast network of terraces and channels for the irrigation. The urban sector is divided in 2 neighborhoods, the upper and lower. In the upper one there are many temples, ritual chambers and also the royal bedroom. In the lower one there are many houses for the noblemen and their servants. Between both neighborhoods is a big plaza for ceremonies.
- The facts Machu Picchu uncovered are so amazing that on July 7, 2007 it was named one of the new seven Wonders of the World joining other wonders such as the Great Wall of China.
- The fauna in the reserve include the spectacles bear, cock-of-the-rocks or “tunqui”, tankas, wildcats and an impressive variety of butterflies and insects unique in the region.
Day 1: Arrive in Lima, welcome and transfer to hotel. Overnight in Lima.
Day 2: Wake up and enjoy breakfast, then take a private city tour of Lima. After lunch, transfer to the airport for your afternoon flight to Cusco. Transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Cusco.
Day 3: We will enjoy a private tour of Cusco city and nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko and Pucapukara to learn about the culture and history of this astonishing town. This evening, join your trekking guide for a briefing on the upcoming hike. Dinner at a nice restaurant in Cusco.
Day 4: With our local guide, depart from Cusco driving through Sacred Valley to spend a day visiting the Pisac market and ruins and in the afternoon visit the Ollantaytambo ruins and village. Overnight in Ollantaytambo.
Day 5-9: 5-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (private trek)
Day 5: Pick up at hotel and travel by private vehicle to kilometer 82. From here, you hike along the Urubambu River Stopping at Q’oriwayrakina for lunch. At Km 88, cross the small bridge at Q’ente and hike to the Uagtapata campsite. If there is time you make take a side trip to visit the archaeological remains of Qente and Machu Qente and the Llagtapata ruins, the camp is located amidst Inca terracing. (Hiking time: 5-6 hours; Distance 11 Kms). Overnight at Llaqtapata campsite.
Day 6: The Inca Trail winds slowly up the Cusicacha Valley passing houses of settlers to finally reach the Andean community of Huayllabamba. From here the Trail ascends steeply to a large pampa (meadow) below the first pass. At this campsite there is a breathtaking view of Mt. Huayanay. Along the Trail up this narrow hanging valley is a rare Andean cloud forest that harbors the Quenua tree. (Hiking time: 6 hours; Distance: 9 kms). Overnight at Llulluchapampa campsite.
Day 7: The Trail ascends at 30 degrees as it leaves Llulluchapampa campsite and beyond the tree line arrives at Warmiwanusca Pass (4,200m/13,280ft). The Inca Trail descends to the Pacaymayo River and then climbs slowly past Runkuraqay ruins. Over a low pass to Sayacmarca (the waiting village) the Inca Trail crosses a causeway on a now-dry lake past a cave and continues along a ridge to Phuyupatamarca (“village on the edge of the clouds”). (Hiking time: 7-8 hrs; Distance: 14 kms). Overnight at Phuyupatamarca campsite.
Day 8: After continuing along a buttress and passing the Phuyupatamarca ruins, the flagstone trail winds sharply down into the cloud forest to the ruins of Winay Wayna. The recently restored Inca ruins are located below the ridge on the same water-course as the previous site. After a two hour walk through a cloud forest the Inca Trail arrives at Machu Picchu and the magnificent citadel, Intipunku (“door of the sun”). Shuttle to Aquas Calientes, celebration dinner; overnight in Aguas Calientes.
Day 9: The whole morning is dedicated to exploring these extraordinary Inca remains with your local guide, including the 07:00 a.m. climb up Huayna Picchu, the hill overlooking the site. The tour is after the climb. A mid-afternoon return to Cusco by train; transportation to your hotel; overnight in Cusco.
Day 10: Free morning. Transfer to airport for your afternoon flight to Lima, depart Lima for home – evening flight.
The best way to stay comfortable on any active adventure is going lightweight. Wearing the right versatile layers will insure a system with great ventilation and maximum protection in any conditions. The items on this list are just suggestions, however traveling with these items will give you the best chance for comfort and protection while in Peru against any and all conditions. Your local Backwoods employee would be glad to help determine which product is right for you!
As with many high altitude mountain trips, the weather can change very quickly. During the night on the Inca trail, temperatures can be quite cold (15-30 degrees) with daytime temperatures ranging between 60-80 degrees. Most days will be clear and enjoyable, however, cool and misty conditions are possible, but daylong rain is unlikely!
Weight for duffle bags carried by porters during the trek is 8 kilograms (18 lbs.). This is a national park policy. This would be a great time to update your gear with some really lightweight equipment. Travel/city clothing may be stored at the hotel in Cusco during the trek.
✓ Day pack – 2,000-3,000 cu. in
✓ Large duffle bag
✓ Luggage tags and luggage locks
✓ Passport pouch or money pouch
✓ Casual Clothing and lightweight, comfortable items for travel.
✓ Valid passport.
✓ Airline tickets
✓ Electrical adapter plug
✓ Travel pillow
✓ Hiking shorts.
✓ Hiking pants – zip offs are great.
✓ Long-sleeved shirts.
✓ Long underwear / mid-weight.
✓ Fleece jacket or wool sweater.
✓ Fleece pants.
✓ Down / synthetic insulated jacket.
✓ Waterproof / breathable jacket and pants.
Cold Weather Accessories
✓ Gloves warm-weight waterproof
✓ Gloves mid-weight windstopper
✓ Ski hat
✓ Hiking boots – waterproof, lightweight, broken-in, aggressive tread
✓ Tennis shoes, a break from your boots
✓ Hiking socks.
✓ Warm socks
✓ Sock liners
✓ Sleeping bag (rated 0-10 below).
✓ Water bottles and / or Hydration Resevoir (2-3). (optional)
✓ Headlamp (w. spare batteries and bulb).
✓ Sun hat
✓ Money ($800-$1,000 in cash including some small US bills)
✓ Ski or trekking poles
✓ Pack cover
✓ Headlamp or flashlight
✓ Camera, film, tripod
✓ Batteries – extra for headlamp and camera
✓ Small binoculars
✓ Notebook, journal, pencil and pen
✓ Pocket knife or multi-tool
✓ Energy bars, hard candy, snacks and comfort foods
✓ Personal first-aid kit
✓ Watch with alarm
✓ Several Ziploc plastic bags
✓ Heavy duty trash bag
✓ Toilet paper (and baggie to put used paper while on trail).
✓ Small towel
✓ Toothbrush and toothpaste
✓ Handi-wipes (moist towels for cleaning)
✓ Hand sanitizer
✓ Personal toiletry items
✓ Sun block and lip balm
4 nights hotel accommodations (double occupancy)
Porters, cook and crew for the hike
Permits for the Inca Trail
Ticket to climb Huayna Picchu
Tents and sleeping pads
Airport transfers and in-country transportation
All meals mentioned in itinerary
All excursions and guided city tours
Expert local guides and US-based Backwoods Adventures host
3 pre-departure conference calls with your Backwoods Adventures host
International and domestic airfare
Immunizations, Visa or passport fees
Personal gear and clothing
Extras such as laundry or massages
We stay in 3 star hotels in all locations. Examples may include The Faroana Hotel, the Casa Andina hotel, or the El Albergue Boutique Hotel. Hotels subject to change based on availability.
No tourist visa is required for U.S. citizens traveling to Peru. A valid U.S. passport is all that is necessary.
Altitude – Our Machu Picchu Trip will take us to regions of high altitude. We always take our time to acclimatize properly by allowing for additional rest days. When gaining in altitude above 10,000 feet, we have included sufficient rest days to ensure that you acclimatize properly. While many people may experience minor ill effects from high altitudes, there are some who have persistent symptoms that require returning to a lower altitude or, in extreme cases, emergency evacuation. We do our best to allow a pace for everyone to acclimatize. Listening to your guide will help a great deal. We cannot determine how you will do at altitude, but being in the best shape possible and having a lower body fat percentage will help greatly.
The trek to Machu Picchu is a strenuous adventure and should not be undertaken if you have any health conditions which may put you at risk. You are strongly advised to consult your physician for a thorough medical check-up and clearance before attempting the mountain. If you are over 50 years old, talk to your doctor about doing a “stress EKG”. Should you require any medication whatsoever, you must provide your own and be able to administer it yourself. Medical supplies in third world countries are not reliable or guaranteed though we will have a fully stocked medical kit on the trip. Talk to your doctor about the following vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), Malaria pills, prescriptions you are currently taking, or should take in case you get sick.
FROM OUR TRAVELERS
“Thanks for being the best guide ever. Your encouragement, concern, and professionalism has made this trip a truly wonderful experience. I wish you all he very best in all that you do and hope to see you soon. “
“I hope this weekend goes as well as last week. You, Joe and Billy were excellent hosts and instructors. I had a wonderful time. Thanks again for all your patient coaching and kind words. “
“Thank you for offering such an amazing life experience. From the beginning with Joe and Mike’s emails, to the store’s support on outfitting, to the actual trip, it was an overall very positive experience. I highly recommend this trip to those with a passion for wanting the challenge of this mountain.”