Trek along the stunning mountain valleys, through cloud forests and between Andean peaks. Follow an ancient route laid down by the fascinating Inca culture and pass the ruins of this new world empire while camping beneath a star filled sky. A new 2-day trek of the Vinicunca Mountain allows you to sleep under the stars and explore the scenery and culture of "Rainbow Mountain". The classic 5 day Inca Trek brings you from the Sacred Inca Valley to iconic Macchu Picchu. Or, choose the 6 day Salkanty/Chilco trek for an exciting less troden pathway to the Machu Picchu citadel.
It is essential that reservations are made well in advance of travel. Trail permits are limited and required for all travellers.
2019 - 2020 Departures Dates and Cost
Departures each week between April to November from Cuzco
Limited permits available in October and November 2018
NEW: VINICUNCA TREK 2 DAYS: $455 USD
CLASSIC TREK 4 DAYS (group): $ 1,195 USD
CLASSIC TREK 5 DAYS (group): $ 1,350 USD
SALKANTAY 5 DAY TREK (private): $ 1,320 USD
SALKANTAY 6 DAY TREK (private): $ 1,540 USD
* (includes train return to Cuzco and porterage)
A lodge to lodge program is also available as is a one day Machu Picchu trek! Ask us for details
Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain 2 days
We offer a 2-day program to Vinicunca, the amazing Rainbow Mountain. On the first day, we travel from Cusco enjoying stops in places such as the village of Pitumarca and the archaeological site of Machupitumarca. That night we sleep under the stars. An early morning start as we enjoy the day exploring the impressive scenery and learn about local culture.
Day 1: Cusco / Pitumarka / Chillca (L,D)
08:00 we will collect you from your hotel in Cusco by a private vehicle with driver, guide and cook. We will drive south on the main road to Sicuani/Puno, turning off at the attractive small town of Checacupe with its beautiful bridges and continuing to Pitumarca (105 kilometers / 65 miles). After a welcome glass of barley chicha in the main square of this indigenous town, we will visit the ruins of Machupitumarca. This impressive pre-Inca archaeological site is well looked after and has undergone considerable restoration but so far it remains off the tourist track and is a place of tranquility, interest and beauty. Like many of the sites it is positioned above the ‘modern’ town and is surrounded by stunning mountains and agricultural fields. After the visit, our lunch will be served ‘al fresco’ in a pleasant spot with beautiful views.
We will continue from Machupitumarca along a smooth, unpaved road (22 kilometers / 13.6 miles) with dramatic rock formations towering above, dropping into deep canyons. At the end of the road, at 4,300 meters /14,107 feet, the tents will be set up for the night as the sun sets behind the snow-capped Ausangate Mountain, with just herds of alpacas and llamas to keep you company. After a delicious, hot dinner it will be time to drop into our tents, wrapped up in extra-thick sleeping bags for a night under the stars.
Traveling time: Cusco – Pitumarca: 105 kilometers / 65 miles; 2 hours. Pitumarca – Ramal Pitumarca (Chillca) 80 kilometers / 49 miles
Altitudes: Cusco: 3400 meters / 11,159 feet; Pitumarka: 3570 meters / 11.713 feet; Machupitumarca: 3465 meters / 11,368 feet
Day 2: Chillca / Vinicunca / Cusco (B,L)
05:30 wake-up call to find the ground and even the inside of the tent frozen! This will be a good incentive to get dressed quickly and tuck into a hearty, cooked breakfast. The sun comes up at around 6am and it will be time to start the 11 kilometers / 6.8 miles uphill walk to the Rainbow Mountain. The slope will be gradual on firm ground through pastures, passing small settlements and herds of alpacas. Accompanied by our guide who greets the locals in Quechua and tells us stories about the area, it will be a spectacular walk with views of Ausangate and the other snow peaks. It is highly recommended to hire a horse (payable locally) if you need to rest. The walking will be not hard but many people will find the altitude challenging as they reach over 5,000 meters /16,404 feet.
Nothing can prepare us for the spectacular sight of Vinicunca with its beautiful colours spreading across the horizon. At 5,100 meters /16,732 feet. We will have a 360 degrees view of the Ausangate snow-caps on one side and the multi-coloured Vinicunca on the other side – it is pure magic! The descent down the other side will be easy and as the oxygen returns, we will have a chance to breathe deeply and reflect on our amazing experiences over the last couple of days. Another wholesome, hot lunch will await at the bottom after which we will climb wearily into the vehicle for the return to Cusco, arriving at around 7pm.
It is highly recommended to do this excursion in 2 days with a night’s camping. This gives you the chance to visit Pitumarca and Machupitumarca, experience camping in the wilderness and enjoying the walk to and from Vinicunca at a leisurely pace. It is not a difficult walk, however the altitude can be problematic for some as you are climbing gently from 4,300 meters /14,107 feet to 5,100 meters /16,732 feet. It is imperative that you have a few days in Cusco first to acclimatize.
Trekking distance: 15 kilometers / 9 miles (6-7 hours)
Altitudes: Vinicunca: 5100 meters /16732 feet, Checacupe: 3.446 meters / 11,306 feet
5 Day/4 Night Classic Trek
Day 1: Cusco/Wayllabamba ((B,L,D)
Between 4:00 and 4:30 am, we will pick you up at your hotel in our own private bus. We will then drive to Piskacuchu (2700 masl), a community located on the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco/Machupicchu railroad. Starting at this point, we will cross the bridge and walk along the left shore of the Urubamba River as it flows north-west along the Sacred Valley. Following the trail along a flat terrain, we will arrive in Miskay (2800 masl), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the Inca city of Patallacta (2750 masl). We will continue trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca River, gradually climbing for about five hours until we reach our first campsite in the Wayllabamba village (3000 masl). All along the way we will see spectacular views of the Vilcanota ridge on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive Veronica peak reigns at 5832 meters above sea level. Not to mention the diversity of wild flora and fauna that can be found all along the valley.
Day 2: Wayllabamba/Pacaymayo (B,L,D)
We will wake up at around 6:00 am, and after breakfast we will leave Wayllabamba behind to begin the most difficult part of the trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km. 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 Warmihua?usca (Dead Woman's Pass), we will see domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at that altitude. We will 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). We advise that on this day specially, your day pack is well stocked with candies, chocolates and coca leaves that will keep your sugar level high, and help with altitude sickness. Immediately after the pass, we will descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600 masl), where we will camp after approximately 6h of hiking.
Day 3: Pacaymayo/ Winaywayna (B,L,D)
This day is the longest but also the most impressive and the most interesting, due the number of archaeological sites that we will visit and learn about from our guide. From Pacaymayo we will climb to the second pass, the Abra de Runkurakay (3970 masl). Half way up, we will visit the archaeological complex with the same name. This site, located at 3800 masl, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower. After going over the pass, we will descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud-forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624 masl). 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, we will arrive at the third pass, the Abra de Phuyupatamarca (3700 masl). Along this climb we can appreciate the magnitude of the Incas 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 multileveled Andean geography. We 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 Machupicchu, 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 and the long descending stone steps along which we will continue on to Winaywayna (2700 masl). At this campsite we will find a lodge with a restaurant, bar and bathrooms with hot showers. The campsite has the same name as the complex located only five minutes away from the lodge. Winaywayna is an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector.
Day 4: Winaywayna/Machu Picchu (B,L)
On this fourth and last day we will get up at 4.00 am to leave Winaywayna an hour later and 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, we will see the sunrise over the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. From Intipunku we will descend into Machupicchu, and 40 minutes later we will enter the citadel from the highest point through the House of the Guardians. We will then descend to the control point where we will register ourselves and leave our backpacks. We will immediately begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. You will then have free time to walk around, climb the Huayna Picchu Mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machu Picchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it, or visit the Temple of the Moon and the fabulous Inca Bridge. In the afternoon, we will meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in the thermal baths. Overnight Machu Picchu Santuario Inn Aguas Calientes.
Day 5 Machu Picchu - Cuzco (B)
Day at leisure. You may wish to return to the ruins (second entrance fee not included $ 60 USD per person plus shuttle bus service). Other options are exploring the town, taking advantage of the thermal bath or nature hiking. In the afternoon we will take the train to the city of Cusco, where we will arrive after nightfall.
6 Day/5 Night Salkantay Trek
Day 1 Cusco / Mollepata (B,L,D)
We will depart early in the morning. We journey west through the Anta Valley and over the Vilcaconga pass. Descending into the warm and dry valley we visit the Inca temple of Tarawasi, a fine example of Inca ceremonial stonework. A little further along the road we climb to the village of Mollepata, where our mule drivers will be waiting to load our things on to horses or mules. We will then walk a short distance towards a nearby valley where we will camp at 3250m (10,660ft), from where we will get fine views of the valley below us. Overnight tented camp.
Day 2 Rio Blanco (B,L,D)
We climb a summit above the Rio Blanco, which is fed by Salkantay's principal glacier. It is common to see condors along this section of the trail. From our campsite at 3800m (12,500ft) we will have our first sight of the south face of the Salkantay massif (6247m / 20.600ft). Overnight tented camp.
Day 3 Salkantay Base Camp (B,L,D)
We continue our steep ascent up the enormous glacier, arriving at our most spectacular campsite at 4600 metres (15,100ft) directly below the south face of Salkantay. It was from here that a Japanese team successfully climbed the knife-edge ridge that begins at our camp and ends at the summit. Overnight tented camp.
Day 4 Ancasqocha (B,L,D)
Today we will go to the lagoon of the eagles called Ascascocha, by crossing the last pass at 4600m (15088 ft), our path continues along the way that goes down to Chilca valley where we will camp.
Day 5 Machu Picchu (B,L)
Today we will leave the camp early and will walk a few hours to arrive to Chillca, where we will take the train to Machu Picchu, the train will arrive our destiny in about one hour and half.
Machu Picchu: In the company of our guide we will visit the temples, houses, agricultural terraces and palaces and also have some time to explore the ruins individually. Overnight at the Machu Picchu Santuario Inn Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu.
Day 6 Machu Picchu - Cuzco (B)
Day at leisure. You may wish to return to the ruins (second entrance fee not included $ 40 USD per person plus shuttle bus service). Other options are exploring the town, taking advantage of the thrmal bath or nature hiking. In the afternoon we will take the train to the city of Cusco, where we will arrive after nightfall.
The tour includes return transfers in Cusco, all meals during the trek , two person tents + a kitchen/dining room tent, all porters and cook, emergency first aid kits, all entrance fees to Machu Picchu, and train to Cuzco.
Not included : Air transportation to Cuzco, airport taxes, hotel while in Cuzco. We suggest that all participants arrive at least one - two days in advance in order to accommodate themselves to the altitude.
We suggest you bring personal sleeping bag (or available from us for daily rental fee of US$5 daily), plastic rain poncho, sun screen or sun protector lotion, sun glasses, good trekking boots, long pants and shorts, a light jacket, good sport socks, flashlight with extra batteries, any personal medications required, and plenty of film.
Services included in trekking services:
Private bus outbound and return
English speaking tour guide
Trekking services, including: camp cook, porters and camp assistant(s)
Single supplement includes: single tent on trek
All group camping equipment, double tents and Thermarest, kitchen and/or dining tent, and toilet tent
Food: hot breakfast, lunch, and dinner as described in the above itinerary (B.L.D.)
All our trash produced during the trek, returns to Cusco
Services not included:
Tips to guide
Travel insurance - ask us for a quote
Personal expenses: clothing and sleeping bag, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
Meals not included in the program
AIRFARE: Airfare from your home city to join up with the Inca Trek is available and can be booked on an individual basis using promotional fares at time of booking.
from Toronto - $ 825 CAD plus departure tax
from Calgary, Vancouver $ 1150 CAD plus departure tax
from Miami - $ 650 USD plus departure tax
from New York - $ 725 USD plus departure tax
Peru domestic air: Lima - Cuzco - Lima $ 260 USD