Inca Trail & Machu Picchu
Inca Trail & Machu Picchu
Fitness level: Good
Route: Lima – Cusco – Machu Picchu – Lima
Travel period: All year round (May to September preferred)
Duration: 9/10 days
Pat Falvey Irish and Worldwide Adventures limited is bonded and fully licenced by the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation, TA0791.
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 Depart Dublin
Day 2 Arrive in Lima
Rest for the night at a hotel.
Day 3 Lima to Cusco
Internal flight to Cusco. Your transfers to and from the hotels are included. You can explore a bit of Cusco in the evening.
Day 4 Cusco to Chiquisca
We leave Cusco around 6:00 a.m. for a four-and-a-half-hour trip by private transfer. until we start hiking for a few hours before lunch and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains, the Salkantay Peak and the Apurimac River canyon. After lunch, we hike for about two more hours to our campsite.
Day 5 Chiquisca to Marampata
After breakfast, we will move towards Choquequirao. We arrive at Playa Rosalinda at the bottom of the valley (1475m) and cross the small bridge over the mighty Apurimac. We then face a steep climb on the other side of the canyon. The trail climbs upwards, again with sections of switchbacks, through lush vegetation and cloud forest to Marampata (2930m), where we stop for lunch after the long hike. The views of snow-capped peaks and the other side of the canyon are a needed distraction from the uphill hike.
Day 6 Marampata to Choquequiraro
After breakfast, enjoy a full guided tour of the Choquequirao complex with lunch included. Visit the upper parts (Hanan), the lower parts (Urin), and some areas that are still covered with wild foliage and await restoration to their condition during Inca times. There are signs of Inca terraces and more ruins everywhere. Among the ruins that have been unearthed are a huge, curved bench of fine terraces, a chain of ritual baths, and a central plaza surrounded by ceremonial and high-status residential architecture.
Day 7 Choquequiraro – Pincha Unuyoq
We will hike to Pincha Unuyoq, a small archaeological complex and the site of our campsite
Day 8 Pincha Unuyoq – Maizal
Today we descend into the deep valley of the Rio Blanco. We descend for almost 600m to the Blanco River, crossing the river over a rudimentary bridge at the rocky bottom of the canyon. After a brief rest here, we will begin the 1200m climb through cloud forest and bamboo to the small camp at Maizal.
DAY 9 Maizal – Yanama
An excellent day of hiking as we climb to cross the Abra San Juan (4170m) and have spectacular views of the peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, including Sacsarayoc, Pumasillo, and Choquetecarpo.Along the way you will see the mountain of Qorihuyrachina which is in a primary forest that contains a remarkable number of orchids and bromeliads as well as the interesting ancient silver mines of Mina Victoria, believed to have worked for over 500 years. Descending north into the Yanama River valley, we follow a high trail that traverses steep slopes and offers another excellent opportunity to spot condors. We camp in the charming Andean village of Yanama. Enjoy tea time and later dinner.
Day 10 Yanama – Totora
After breakfast we will start our hike to reach the Totora pass which is located over 4650m which is the highest point of the hike, and from there we will appreciate the imposing peak of Salkantay.
Day 11 Totora – Santa Teresa
Today offers an incredible variety of changing landscapes as we descend almost 2000m from the high altitude trails to the semi-tropical environment of the valleys below. We follow the Santa Teresa River for approximately 5 – 6 hours passing numerous waterfalls along the way. The variety of birds, butterflies, and different vegetation make the hike to Lucmabamba through the cloud forest very special and continuously interesting. We make camp on the outskirts of the village (2100m).
Day 12 Santa Teresa – Aguas Calientes
During the morning, begin the hike to Llactapata in an average ascent of 3 hours, an incredible archaeological site known for its spectacular view. You can see the entire valley, including Machu Picchu if the weather is in your favor. Have lunch at the restaurant with the most amazing viewpoint and continue your hike to the Hydroelectric station for about 2 hours. From here, you will take the train to Aguas Calientes. Enjoy some free time to get to know the town and shop for souvenirs from the local markets.
Day 13 Aguas Calientes
On the last day, start the day early to take the bus to Machu Picchu, where you will have a full guided tour of the Inca citadel. You will then have free time to stroll around, take pictures or simply enjoy the magic of this fascinating site. You can also visit the Temple of Pachamama (Mother Earth) or the Inca Bridge, included in the ticket.
Day 14 Aguas Calientes – Cusco
Morning at leisure to explore on your own. In the afternoon return to Aguas Calientes to take the train to Cusco and then transfer to your hotel.
Day 15 Cusco
Free day to explore Cusco or we could organize a day hike to Vinicunca (Rainbow mountain).
Day 16 Cusco – Lima
Internal flight to Lima and transfer to hotel.
Day 17 Depart Lima
Day 18 Arrive in Dublin
July 7th -24th July
Deposit: €500 due at time of booking
- All transfers
- Hostel accommodation B&B
- Park fees
- Camping, meals and water on mountain
- All accommodation is based on twin/treble sharing of rooms and tents (if you require single accommodation, please let us know and we will advise of additional cost)
- Guides, porters and communal gear
- Water purified daily for trekkers
- International flights
- Internal flights
- Meals en route before and after the final destination
- Bar bills and laundry
- Travel Insurance
- Personal gear
- Our trips are designed to avoid any extra cost to the client. If you choose to leave the trip early, There will be additional expenses
- Independent flights: Pick up and drop off costs to the airport not included
- Insurance liability and hospital costs
If you wish to arrange and pay for your flight to Peru we will meet you at the airport in Lima. A full refund applies only if cancellation is received and acknowledged 20 weeks or more before 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 visit us at The Mountain Lodge to say hello and meet with our team. This day is an ideal opportunity to check out your fitness levels when you are assessed by our experienced team members. 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
Check out our Special Travel Insurance for World Travel, Trekking, and Walking – Highly Recommended
We can recommend our preferred partnered Accident & General for this new travel insurance policy which covers trekking up to 6000 meters but does not cover technical climbing. Please check out the policy details and cover.