Inca Trail & Machu Picchu
Fitness level: Good
Route: Lima – Cusco – Machu Picchu – Lima
Travel period: All year round (May to September preferred)
Duration: 8/9 days
Sandwiched between the driest desert and the largest rainforest in the world, the Andes Mountains in Peru contain some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. Within these mountains, ancient civilisations – of which the Incas are the most famous – built cities, temples and roadways (of which there are known to be more then 25,000km) using precision construction techniques that continue to baffle scientists today.
The ancient culture of Peru can be best seen in Machu Picchu, known as the ‘Lost City of the Incas’, which is situated on a 2,450m high mountain, 80km from Cusco city. Trekking the Inca Trail is a really exciting way of getting to Machu Picchu involving up to five days of hiking in the high Andean Mountains and the beginning of the Amazonian Jungle. You will cross ancient Incan towns and walk over the original cobbled path. Our trip beings in the city of Cusco, the capital of the Incas and the oldest continuously inhabited metropolis in South America. It is believed that the city was founded by 1,000 BC and it contains many fascinating remains of ancient civilisations. It is considered the archaeological capital of South America and is listed by UNESCO World Heritage List as a city of Outstanding Universal Value. Located by the beginning of the Amazonian Jungle, the city was effectively protected from attack by its difficult topography. It is supposed to have been home to the Inca king, his family and close friends and was rediscovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham who took all its artefacts to Yale University. The temples, however, remain, including that of the Sun, the Three Windows Temple, the Main Temple, the Temple of Condors and an imposing Intiwatana (sun fastener).
At an altitude of 3,300m, Cusco gives a good opportunity for general acclimatisation before heading out on the trail where we will be ascending to two high passes, taking us gradually up to 4,000m approximately. We have two route options available – the Traditional Route, which has to be booked well in advance due to the fact that it follows the more restricted original Inca Trail, and the Alternative Route which is more readily available and offers a very good alternative with more scenery and vantage points. Both treks enable you to explore the impressive relics of the ancient Incan civilisations while enjoying some magnificent walking through the diverse scenery in the mountains and valleys of the eastern Cordillera, from desert-like land where there is little natural growth to a semi-tropical environment in the rainforest at the end of which is the incomparable Machu Picchu.
The pace is key to preventing AMS. Your group will be monitored by guides at all times for symptoms of the effects of altitude. Our professional guides in Peru have over 20 years’ experience leading treks in the Cusco area and the surrounding region. They are fluent in English and provide many insights into the local history and cultures while sharing their in-depth knowledge of the area and its people. If you are looking for an exceptional trekking experience in an ancient land, our Inca Trail & Machu Picchu trek won’t disappoint!
We can also arrange other options for longer or shorter trips including tour or activity add-ons to the itineraries in Cusco, Puno, Arequipa, Peru, the Andes and Amazon rainforest. Additionally, there are some other famous hiking areas such as the Salkantay and Ausangate Mountains and the Cordillera of Urubamba in the region, all of which are worth visiting.
Day 1: Arrive Lima. Pick-up and transfer to hotel.
Day 2: Lima – Cusco. Flight and transfer to a hostel.
Day 3: Cusco – Chilca – Wayllabamba. Trekking and camp.
Day 4: Wayllabamba – Warmiwanusca – Pacaymayo. Trekking and camp.
Day 5: Pacaymayo – Puya Patamarka – Winay Huayna. Trekking and camp.
Day 6: Winay Huayna – Machupicchu. Trekking and hostel.
Day 7: Aguas Calientes – Cusco. Free day, transfer and hostel.
Day 8: Cusco – Lima. Transfer and flight.
Day 1: Arrive Lima. Pick-up and transfer to hotel.
Day 2: Lima – Cusco. Flight and transfer to a hostel.
Day 3: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa. Transfer, trekking and camp.
Day 4: Soraypamapa – Kelkamachay – Colcapampa. Trekking and camp.
Day 5: Colcapampa – Hydroelectric. Trekking and camp.
Day 6: Hydroelectric llactapata – Aguas Calientes. Trekking and hostel.
Day 7: Aguas Calientes – Machupicchu – Cusco. Trekking, transfer and hostel.
Day 8: Cusco – Lima. Transfer and flight.
Following is a sample daily Itinerary for the Alternative Route. On booking, you will be issued a more detailed version. We can also customise the itinerary to your needs if required.
Day 1: Arrive in Lima
Pick-up at the airport and transfer to the hotel in Lima.
Day 2: Lima – Cusco
Return to Lima airport for your flight to Cusco where you will be met and transferred to your hostel. Meet with your guide for your Inca Trail. The afternoon is free to allow you time to acclimatise to the altitude. Afternoon walking tour of Cusco to familiarise yourself with this wonderful town, where the original, ancient Inca walls and cobblestone streets blend with the colonial Spanish architecture of the 16th Century European invaders. Visit the Temple of the Sun or Qoricancha (the ‘Enclosure of Gold’). Its perfect architecture and stonework demonstrate that this was the most important temple in the entire Inca Realm, the sacred hub of the ancient, mystical Incan Empire. The cathedral is well worth a visit with its fabulous paintings and works in gold leaf, carved wood and silverware, as is the artisan area of San Blas.
Day 3: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa
You will be picked up very early of the hotel at 5:30am to go by highway to Mollepata (2,950m). On the road we will stop in the archaeological complex of Tarawasi, an Inca Temple, continue until Mollepata from where we will appreciate the Snowy Humantay, continuing until Soray Pampas to the beginning of the walk for the pastizales (pasture lands). The whole walk is an ascent until Salkantaypampa where we have lunch. After eating we ascend to the first step to the Lagoon Soroy Cocha (camp). From this point we will be able to see the Salkantay closely and to appreciate the typical Andean flora and fauna.
Day 4: Soraypamapa – Kelkamachay – Colcapampa
After breakfast we will hike for one hour to Huayrapamapa Abra (4,420m). We then descend to have a community huayraqmachay (lunch), sharing a meal with the locals. Afterwards we hike to the camp of Colcamachay. During this walk we will be able to observe people working in the fields as well as spotting llamas, lagoons and typical Andean flora.
Day 5: Colcapampa – Hydroelectric Ilactapata
Today we will descend and the climate changes because as we enter the brow of the forest. Here we will be experience dense vegetation, large waterfalls and see a variety of orchids. After lunch we will make our way to the beach .
Day 6: Hydroelectric Ilactapata – Aguas Calientes
Very early in the morning we will set out towards Patallacta where we will be able to get our first sighting of Machu Picchu. We descend to the hydroelectric from where we travel to Agua Calientes.
Day 7: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
In the early morning we travel by bus to Machu Picchu. During the bus journey the guide will share the history of the world-famous site. On arrival you can explore the ancient city on foot. Return by bus to Aguas Calientes. Board the train to Cusco. Pick-up and transfer to the hotel.
Days 8-9: Cusco – Lima – Ireland
Transfer to airport and fly to Lima. International flight to Ireland arriving Day 09/10 depending on flight times (to be confirmed on booking).
All year round (May to September preferred. Contact us for exact dates of departure.)
Full price: Group from Ireland – Alternative Route – From €3,350
Land-only: from Lima – Traditional Route – €2,100 (contact us for details of inclusions and exclusions)
Land-only: from Lima – Alternative Route – €2,000 (contact us for details of inclusions and exclusions)
Deposit: €500 due at time of booking
- Flights Ireland – Lima return
- Flights Lima – Cusco return
- All transfers
- Hostel accommodation B&B
- Park fees
- Camping, meals and water on mountain
- Guides, porters and communal gear
- Water purified daily for trekkers
- Meals en route before and after final destination
- Bar bills and laundry
- Travel insurance
- Personal gear
- Insurance liability and hospital costs
If you wish to arrange and pay for your own flight to Peru we will meet you at the airport in Lima. Full refund applies only if cancellation is received and acknowledged 20 weeks or more prior to departure. For bookings where flights have to be paid for in advance, the flight cost is non-refundable once paid.
PREPARATION & TRAINING
This trek is a great experience and exciting challenge for both those with hillwalking experience and for beginners. The trek does not require any technical skills and is a comfortable hike for anyone who is comfortable walking for up to five hours a day consecutively. A good level of fitness and some experience on a mountain is recommended prior to departure as you will enjoy your trip a lot more if you have prepared well. If you are a total beginner to walking/hillwalking, then a three to six-month training programme is advisable.
We recommend that you attend our free Meet Weekend in County Kerry to say hello to the group and meet with our instructors. This day is an ideal opportunity to check out your fitness levels when you are assessed by our experienced guides on this preparatory hill walk. The day also provides a good opportunity to get any questions answered or concerns dealt with that you may have in relation to the trip. We talk about dealing with altitude and different weather conditions as well as giving tips on gear and general training.
We consider ourselves among the world’s leading experts in high-altitude trekking and pride ourselves on putting together trips that provide the best possible opportunity to succeed. Acclimatisation is key to success and it’s important that you don’t underestimate the time you allow yourself to adjust to your new environment. Pace is key to preventing AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and our guides monitor the group at all times for signs and symptoms.
On the Saturday of our Meet Weekend we climb one of Ireland’s highest peaks during the day while, very early on Sunday morning, we undertake a night hike. The hike simulates the requirements on the summit day/night of the actual trek, taking you out of your comfort zone and helping you learn how to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead.
For beginners, we offer fitness testing weekends and a variety of hillwalking training options (see our Courses &Training section) and recommend a six-month training programme to ensure that you can trek comfortably up to and beyond 4,000m. Our suggested programme is as follows:
- Months 1-2: These should include fortnightly hillwalking treks lasting three hours and including carrying a small/medium pack weighing 5kg approx.
- Months 3-4: Increase your fortnightly treks to last six hours plus and increase your pack weight to 7kg approx.
- Month 5: Do two walks on consecutive days twice during the month. Do a five-hour walk the first day and a six-hour trek the second day. Be careful to avoid injury.
- Month 6: Continue with some hillwalking but reduce to lower peaks and durations of a maximum of four hours.
There are currently no statutory requirements for entering Peru unless you are travelling from an area designated as infected. We recommend, however, that you are protected against TB, typhoid, polio, tetanus and hepatitis A, encephalitis, meningitis, hepatitis B and rabies as they can all be contracted in Peru. Before departure please ask your doctor who should be able to offer you the most sensible and up-to-date advice. Since we are visiting the high and coastal regions of Peru, malarial prophylactics are not required.
You will need a valid full passport. Please ensure it has six months before expiry prior your departure date. Before applying for your visa, please check dates on your passport. Bring four passport photos for visas. Visa is acquired upon entry to the country.
The local currency in Peru is the Sol. Euro, Sterling and US dollar travellers’ cheques are easily exchanged in Peru. Many prices are expressed in US dollars and some cash dollars are useful for purchases in the main cities. Cash can also be obtained from ATM machines in Lima and Cusco.
- Lightweight long thermal underwear – tops and bottoms
- Short and long-sleeved t-shirts
- Expedition-weight long underwear – tops and bottoms
- Fleece jacket – mid-weight to heavy-weight; wind stopper an advantage
- Fleece trousers
- Parka jacket – down or synthetic parka with hood
- Jacket – waterproof and breathable
- Over-trousers, waterproof and breathable
- Sun hat with good visor and white bandana or buff for protecting your neck
- Balaclava/facemask – 1, lightweight
- Wool or pile ski hat
- Head torch (inc. spare bulbs & spare batteries); suggested: Petzl LED
- Sunglasses – UV & IR protection
- Liner gloves
- Synthetic gloves – lightweight, pile or polypropylene
- Waterproof mittens – 1 pair (optional)
- Light hiking boots or trekking shoes
- Sandals or runners for tea house
- Socks – lightweight (2-3 pairs), sock liners, warm trekking socks (2-3 pairs)
- Foot powder
- Sleeping bag – -15 ºC comfort rating
- Water bottles – 1 or 2 x 1-litre wide-mouth water bottle, Nalgene
- Pee bottle – 1 x litre-wide mouth water bottle (optional)
- Pee funnel – for women (optional)
- Sunscreen – SPF 30-40
- Lipscreen – SPF 20-40, at least 2 sticks
- Personal First Aid kit
- Large duffel bag 100 litre
- Smaller duffel with lock to store excess gear in hotel
- Plastic bags to line stuff sacks to keep gear dry or a dry bag
- Travel clothes
- Travel towel
- Toiletry bag
- Camera gear
- Travel insurance certificate
- Passport, visa and copies of all travel and insurance documents
- Money in Euro or US Dollars
- Ear plugs and nail clippers
- Spare boot laces, bulbs, batteries, memory cards, etc
- Cold water detergent and some toiletries
- Small sewing kit
- Penknife and small scissors
- Diary or notebook and book for down time
- Insect repellent
- Toilet paper – it is good practice to bring your own, but it is provided to anyone if needed
- Baby wipes/hand wipes
- Hand gel
- Water purification tablets
- Personal medication
WHY TRAVEL WITH US?
Our passion for your adventure treks and expedition is one of the defining characteristics of Pat Falvey Irish & Worldwide Adventures. We love what we do, the places we travel to and the people we work with in each destination. After 25 years of worldwide travel, we remain curious about learning more and retain our delight in sharing what we know with you. We are a hands-on company whose staff are available to answer your queries both inside and outside usual office hours.
Our staff and partners in Nepal, Russia, Africa, Argentina, Peru and Antarctica are as close to us as family members and share our enthusiasm for your trips. We see their work as a vital part of each adventure and have always ensured that local staff, most of whom have worked with Pat for many years, are fairly and honourably treated. The experience and expertise of everyone who works with us is guaranteed and makes for adventures that are high on safety, support and good fun.
Our company is one of the world’s leading experts in high-altitude trekking in remote regions and we pride ourselves in putting together trips that give you the best possibility of success on your adventure. To ensure this, we have a comprehensive acclimatisation formula, designed to maximise each person’s chances of completing their trek without falling prey to the effects of high altitude or acute mountain sickness (AMS). Our guides closely monitor the group at all times for symptoms of the effects of high altitude and are always ready to take the necessary precautions when necessary.
We are not only willing to go the extra mile to make your trip our priority, we are happy to do so.