Day 1 - Huayllabamba: We pick you up at your Cuzco hotel and transfer by van to our trailhead at Piscacucho, on the Vilcanota River (km. 82 on the train route to Machu Picchu), a 3-hour drive from Cuzco. After clearing the trailhead control point, we hike along the left bank of the powerful Vilcanota River, beneath the impressive snowcapped Nevado Veronica. The valley is dry, with Opuntia and Cholla cactus common; where irrigation is possible, we walk adjacent to fields of corn. In the rapids below the trail, you can spot Torrent ducks swimming in the eddies. We explore the enormous Inca ruins of Llactapata, then turn south and begin to gain altitude following the narrow side valley of the Cusichaca River. We camp near the hamlet of Huayllabamba (2,954 m/9,690 ft). Distance 11.4 km/7.2 miles, elevation gain 300 m/984 feet. (L,D)
Day 2 - Pacaymayo: We climb steeply through fields and forest, then emerge above the treeline and reach Warmiwañusqa Pass (4,234 m/13,887’). Enjoy magnificent views to the Huaynay Range snowpeaks and distant Inca ruins. Descend to our camp at Pacaymayo in the valley bottom (3,613 m/11,850 ft. Distance 8 km/5 miles, elevation gain 1,280 m./4,200 feet (B,L,D)
Day 3 - Phuyopatamarka: We cross a second pass (3,975 m/13,038’), and follow a fine Inca highway down to the exquisite ridge-top ruins of Sayaqmarka. Further on, we pass through a tunnel amid luxuriant cloud forest vegetation. Camp at the superb Phuyopatamarka ruins (3,679m/12,067 ft) overlooking the Vilcanota River far below. Phuyopatamarka is Quechua for "City above the Clouds". The views toward the sacred peak of Salcantay are sublime. Distance 7 km/4.5 miles, elevation gain 362 m/1,190 feet (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Machu Picchu: We descend steeply, following the Royal Highway through orchid-rich cloud forest to Winya Wayna ruins. The final part of the trail on the back of Machu Picchu Mountain is a stunningly beautiful traverse leading to the Gate of the Sun overlooking Machu Picchu. We reach this highlight in the golden sunshine of late afternoon. Descending into the city, we board a shuttle bus to descend a switchbacking road to Puente Ruinas and our camp by the river beneath the ruins (2,000 m/6,560 ft). See below for optional hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes. Distance 8.9 km/5.6 miles, elevation drop 1,150 m/3,772 feet (to Machu Picchu. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - Machu Picchu/Cuzco: We return to the site by shuttle bus. Those wishing to view sunrise over Machu Picchu can take the pre-dawn shuttle bus, which delivers you to the main gate at 6.00AM when the gates are opened. An early start gives you more options to hike some of the peripheral trails, such as Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. We include an in-depth guided tour of the ridge-top city. We descend to the nearby village of Aguas Calientes for return in late afternoon by train, arriving into Cuzco around 9.30PM. Transfer to your hotel. (B)
Included: indicated meals, transport by train and bus, porterage of up to 10 kg personal gear, communal camp gear including tables and camp chairs, dining tent, spacious sleeping tents, Thermarest sleeping pad, water filter and other amenities.
$136 Machu Picchu Sanctuary Trail Fee to be prepaid with trek cost (fee subject to change.)
Excluded: personal trekking gear and sleeping bag; tips to guide and trek staff; city services; air Lima/Cuzco/Lima (currently between $300-375 and subject to change).
Rental sleeping bag: $48. We provide mummy-style, winter-weight synthetic-fill sleeping bags, with sheet liners. We launder the liners between each trek. Rental sleeping bags should be requested well in advance of your departure, and preferably at the time you confirm your trek with us. If you are taller than 6 feet, please request an extra-long bag.
Single supplement: If you are traveling alone and are willing to share a tent, we will pair you with another trekker of the same gender and you pay no supplementary charge. If you prefer a tent on single occupancy basis, the surcharge is US$98.