The trail starts at an altitude of about 2,800 masl from Km 82 / Piscacucho and traverses the Andes, crossing exciting sites like Dead Woman's Pass which, at 4,200 meters high, is the peak point of the trek.
Other impressive Inca sites are waiting for you such as Wiñayhuayna or "Forever Young" before descending towards the always fascinating Machu Picchu (2,450 m).It takes four days to reach the legendary Inca city and, with the exception of the Dead Woman's Pass, getting to Machu Picchu is not too demanding.
Machu Picchu was built around 1450– 1460 Its construction appears to date to the period of the two great Inca Pachacuteq Inca Yupanqui (1438–1471) and Tupaq Inca Yupanqui (1472–1493). There is a consensus among archaeologists that Pachacutec ordered the construction of the royal estate for himself, most likely after his successful military campaign.
Though Machu Picchu is considered to be a "royal estate", surprisingly, the estate would not have been passed down in the line of succession. It was only used for approximately 80 years before being abandoned seemingly due to destruction of the Spanish Conquests in other parts of the Inca Empire.
Today begins your adventure of a lifetime, the Classic Inca Trail and the Gem of Maras Salt Mines. We will pick you up from your hotel in our private van very early in the morning at 5:30am.
Transfer to Maras and a Wonderfull trek to the Sacred Valley along the Salt mines of Maras, a precious gem: The Maras Salt mines.A myriad of salt crusted terraces precariously nestles against the steep mountain sides, while a steady stream of mineral rich water trickles down with a silent gargling that somehow defies time.
The ponds you ought to know have been in use since the times of the Incas and before an hour trek to the Sacred Valley of the Inkas, where our van going to wait to transfer us to Piskacucho, which is called kilometer 82, where the Classic Inca Trail begins.
On the way, we stop for breakfast in Ollantaytambo at 6:30-7am to load up on energy to start the trail. (Breakfast is not included).Upon arrival at kilometer 82 at 11:30am, we will have some time to organize ourselves. At the Inca Trail first control point be ready to show your entrance tickets, passports and (if paying a student rate) you should show your student card.
At the starting point of the trail (2720m/8923ft) we cross the Vilcanota River and follow its route to the right. The first day is relatively easy, warm-up along the Inca flat terrain.
There are great views of the Incan Fortress (‘Huillca Raccay’), the vast and incredible Inca site of Llactapata, (officially called ‘Patallacta’), and the beautiful snow-capped peak of ‘W’akay Willca’ (5860m/19225ft) known in books as Veronica. Our first campsite Wayllabamba (3000m/9842ft) in the temperate green valley of the same name , temperatures at night are around 5ºC depending on the month.
During the day, we will enjoy spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains Veronica, (5,860m/19,337ft), the lush green valley around us and a myriad of flora and fauna.
After waking up at 5 to 5:30am and enjoying a hot breakfast, we start a steep ascent towards the highest pass, Abra de Warrmihuañusca or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ at 4200m/13779ft.
On this day, you will feel a real sense of achievement upon reaching the top! After a well-deserved rest, we begin the descent where we stop for lunch, which is located at Pacaymayu (3550m/11646ft).
On our way up to the pass, we will be able to see an flock of hummingbirds and a combination of other species of bird life,there will be plenty of time to appreciate the incredible variety of native plants and the ´Polylepis´ or Q’ueuña trees which grow in the astonishing cloud forest located at 3650m/11972ft! After lunch, begins the second two-hour steep climb to Runkuraqay pass (almost 4000m/13,123ft).
We arrive at our campsite by 5 pm. Temperatures at this campsite are around 4ºC during the night.
This is the most impressive day so far; keep this in mind as you ascend on day three! We wake up for breakfast at 6am and start the day with a gentle climb to visit the archaeological site of ‘Phuyupatamarca’ (meaning ‘Town in the Clouds’). Here we reach the third highest point on the Inca trail (3680m/).
The views of the mountains, canyons and surrounding areas are spectacular!. The Inca site of ‘Phuyupatamarca’, is located a few minutes’ walk from the third pass.After visiting this site, we continue walking down 3000 stairs through the cloud forest to the impressive agricultural Inca´s site of Intipata.
After taking some time to visit this site, we continue until we arrive at our third campsite Wiñay Wayna. (2680m/8792ft). Today, we will only walk about 4 to 5 hours. We arrive at camping area by lunch time!!, Temperatures during the night are about 12º C.
A short walk from our campsite is the famous Inca's site of ‘Wiñay Wayna’ (‘Forever Young’). Even if you are feeling tired after your day’s trek, it´s a moment that you can not miss, the most impressive site on the Inca trail.
At around 4:00am it´s time to wake up, have breakfast and start day 4 on the Inca trail to get to Machu Picchu on time. This is the final part of your journey, arriving by 6:00am to reach Inti Punku or The Sun Gate.
At that point, the stunning Machu Picchu Citadel is in front of us with breathtaking scenery . The reality of what the Inca people must have encountered on their exhausting journey to this extensive temple of Machu Picchu.
At this point, we walk downhill towards the Machu Picchu Citadel (2400m/7872 ft) After walking 40 minutes, we enter the citadel from the top of the archaeological center through the “House of the Guardians”.
From there we are going ahead to the control point where we are going to check in and leave our belongings, Your professional guide will direct you throughout the astounding Archeological place and its main streets. You can wander around the town,squares as well as climb the intricately carved stairways made from stone.
Machu Picchu is considered as the world’s spiritual center by esoteric wisdom. Once the guided tor is over, you will have free time to explore the site on your own.
Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountains hike depends on availability; please let us know if you want to add one of these extra hikes at the time of your booking.
Huayna Picchu is one of the mountains that stands next to Machu Picchu and has amazing views from above. This hike is done after your tour with us and takes 45 minutes to the top and 45 minutes back down. Allow for time to take lots of photos, because the views are incredible.
The Huayna Picchu Mountain is the one that you see behind Machu Picchu on any postcard; its Incan paths hidden alongside the mountain, it may frighten those of you who have a fear of heights. For those of you who struggle with heights you may need to know that you will be steps away from hundred foot plummets into an abyss, and in some places the path can be very steep and narrow. There are times when you need to use security cables to support yourself; it is a challenge for anyone. If you suffer from vertigo or you have a hard time controlling your fear of heights we would recommend taking a different route.
You will have to place reservations 6 months before if you would like one of the 400 available tickets to go up to the Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Machu Picchu Mountain is an unforgettable and lesser-known hike above the Machu Picchu ruins with stunning panoramic view of the valley. Reaching ruins is only one part of the Machu Picchu experience.
The other one is climbing the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain at 3,050 meters above sea level for dramatic views of the archaeological center and lush mountains separated by deep valleys and Urubamba River.
A spectacular view of Machu Picchu is, the archaeological site , the lost Inca's city, tells Us a little things about the area, if you don’t see them with a perspective with the surrounding mountains. It’s when you can appreciate the enormous effort of Inca's building a city of 2,430 meters above sea level without using any metal tools or wheel. Why the city was built initially still remains a mystery.
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Note: It is not usual that the campsites, lodges or hotels change after the confirmation, however it can vary per government regulations and authorization, also for bad weather conditions and maybe because physical condition of our visitors: any changes in this matter ITEP travel will be informing you previously and as soon as possible.