12 Days Machu Picchu – Inca Trail Guided Trek

Trip Description

The views looking down from the Sun Gate towards Machu Picchu will be etched in your memory forever. Machu Picchu is undoubtedly the best known and most spectacular archaeological site on the continent. The site discovered in 1911 was very different to the one you see today. All the buildings were thickly overgrown with vegetation. On clearing the thick forest from the ruins, over 50 burial sites were discovered containing over 100 skeletal remains, about 80% female. An early theory was that it was a city of chosen women who catered to the Incas’ needs but this has lost support, and it is now thought that Machu Picchu was already an uninhabited, forgotten place at the time of conquest. The ruins: staircases, terraces, temples, palaces, towers, fountains, the famous sundial and the Museo de Sitio below the ruins require at least a day or two to explore properly. The mountain overlooking the site, Huayna Picchu (on which there are also some ruins), has steps to the top for a superlative view of the whole area.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Lima – Transfer from Airport to Hotel
Free day.
Accommodation: Leon de Oro Inn or equivalent

Day 2: Transfer to Airport. Flight to Cusco. Transfer from Airport to Hotel
Free day. Visit Centro Historico, San Blas, Nazarenas.
Accommodation: Marqueses Hotel

Day 3: Acclimatization day – City tour, Visit Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay
Evening: team briefing for Inca Trail Trek
Accommodation: Marqueses Hotel

Day 4: Inca Trail trek begins (breakfast, lunch, dinner provided)
Very early this morning you’ll be collected from the hotel and transferred by bus to the trailhead at Piskacuchu “Km 82”. You’ll enjoy breakfast and many beautiful views along the way. Please have your passport handy to present at the Inca Trail Check Point. Your trek begins by crossing the bridge over the Urubamba River and walking along its left shore as it flows northwest along the Sacred Valley. Following the trail along a flat terrain, you arrive in Miskay (2,800m), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the impressive Inca city of Llactapata (2,650m). You continue trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca River, gradually climbing for about five hours until you reach the community of Wayllabamba (3,000m) and your first campsite. All along the way you enjoy spectacular views of the Vilcanota ridge on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive Veronica peak reigns at 5,832m above sea level, not to mention the diversity of wild flora and fauna that can be found along the valley.
– Maximum Altitude: 3,000m
– Campsite Altitude: 3,000m
– Distance Travelled: 12km approximately
– Estimated Walking Time: 5 – 6 hours
– Accommodation: Camping

Day 5: Wayllabamba / Pacaymayo (breakfast, lunch, dinner provided)
This morning you are woken at around 6am for breakfast, after which you begin the most difficult part of the trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9km. Along this climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). On the way to the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman´s Pass at 4,200m), you may see domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at high altitude. You also cross an area of the so-called “cloud forest”, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows and the Andean bear, which is also called the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctus Ornatus). It’s recommended that on this day especially, your daypack is well stocked with snacks such as lollies, chocolates and coca leaves to keep your sugar levels high and to assist with altitude sickness. Immediately after the pass, you descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3,600m), where you camp for tonight after approximately 7 hours of hiking.
– Maximum Altitude: 4,200m
– Campsite Altitude: 3,500m
– Distance Travelled: 11km approximately
– Estimated Walking Time: 6 – 7 hours
– Accommodation: Camping

Day 6: Pacaymayo / Winaywayna (breakfast, lunch, dinner provided)
This day is the longest but also the most impressive and interesting due the number of archaeological sites and the lush cloud forest area that you cross, so rich in Andean flora and fauna. From Pacaymayo you climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3,970m). Halfway up, you stop to visit the archaeological complex with the same name. This site, located at 3,800m, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower. After going over the pass, you descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3,624m). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals. Continuing up an easy climb, you arrive at the third pass, the Abra Phuyupatamarca (3,700m). Along this climb you can appreciate the magnitude of the Inca’s ancient craft, by walking along paths semi-detached from the mountain, and seeing rocks that fill up ravines in perfect order, saving the trail from the multi-levelled Andean geography. You go through an Inca tunnel to later arrive at the aforementioned pass and down to the complex of the same name. This is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. Curiously, Phuyupatamarca means “town over the clouds”. From above, one can observe a sophisticated sacred complex made up of water fountains with solid foundations and also impressive views of the Urubamba River valley. You continue your trek down the long descending stone steps that lead you to Wiñaywayna (2,650m), an impressive Inca complex made up of an agricultural centre with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector, close to which your camp is located. This campsite hosts a trekker lodge, a bar and bathrooms with hot shower facilities. After visiting the impressive archaeological site, you enjoy a farewell dinner at the camp.
– Maximum Altitude: 3,900m
– Campsite Altitude: 2,650m
– Distance Travelled: 16km approximately
– Estimated Walking Time: 8 hours
– Accommodation: Camping

Day 7: Winaywayna / Machu Picchu (breakfast, lunch, dinner provided)
On this fourth and last day of your trek, you rise at 4am to leave Wiñaywayna an hour later for the climb to Intipunku or ‘The Sun Gate’. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot you may see the sunrise over the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. From Intipunku you descend into Machu Picchu and forty minutes later you enter the Citadel from the highest point through the ¨House of the Guardians¨. You then descend to the control point where you register and leave your backpacks to begin a complete guided tour of the Inca Citadel that will take approximately two hours. Your lunch is provided at the restaurant outside the gates to Machu Picchu. After lunch you have free time to experience the spectacular views that Machu Picchu offers of the valleys and mountains that surround it or you may choose to visit the Temple of the Moon or the fabulous Inca Bridge. You have accommodation this evening in the township of Aguas Calientes and where you enjoy a lovely dinner.
– Maximum Altitude: 2,700m
– Machu Picchu Altitude: 2,400m
– Distance Travelled: 4km approximately
– Estimated Walking Time: 2 hours
– Accommodation: El Mapi Hotel or equivalent

Day 8: Machu Picchu / Ollanta / Cuzco
You have the morning available to further explore Machu Picchu and to climb Huayna Picchu. Early morning is best, to try to avoid the large crowds. Included in the services purchased on your behalf are permits to climb Huayna Picchu. Your climb is scheduled to commence at 7am. Please ensure you are at the designated assembly point in advance. If you arrive late, you may be excluded from the climb. Please also ensure that you wear appropriate footwear and take a small backpack for your camera, water, etc. This afternoon please make your own way to the train station for the 3:20pm Vistadome Train to Poroy. You are met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.
Accommodation: Marqueses Hotel

Day 9: Visit Chincheros for women weaver presentation, Maras, Moray & Salt mines
Accommodation: Marqueses Hotel

Day 10: Free day in Cusco
Accommodation: Marqueses Hotel

Day 11: Transfer from Hotel to Airport for flight to Lima
Free day. City Tour of Lima.
Accommodation: Leon de Oro Inn or equivalent

Day 12: Transfer to Airport. Depart Lima or continue with own itinerary


Other Details

Trip date: June every year
Trip duration: 12 days
– 3 Star Hotel: Eight nights – twin share
– Camping: Three nights – twin share
– Breakfast included in hotels; two dinners provided at Machu Picchu
– Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner while camping
Other Inclusions:
– Entries to attractions in Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
– All transfers: Airport, Hotels, Tours
– Personal porters with load of 8kg per trekker
– 13 weeks The Altitude Gym membership

– International flights for Sydney to Lima
– Domestic flights for Lima to Cusco & Cusco to Lima estimated to be USD224.00pp (we can arrange this)
– Personal expenses
– Meals other than those included
– Travel insurance (each traveller must produce a current certificate of insurance)
– Tips (not compulsory but customary)
– Visa costs
– Airport or other taxes if applicable

Costs: AUD3,790.00pp (minimum 6 trekkers for trip to run)


Trekkers can contact us at any time for any concerns that they may have about the trip.