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Special Inca Trail (5D/4N)

Overview

The Special Inca Trail is by far the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be in the top 5 treks in the world. In just 26 miles (45km) it manages to combine beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, and subtropical jungle and, of course, a stunning mix of Inca paving stones ruins and tunnels. The best? You will explore one of the sacred mountains that will give you the opportunity to take some amazing photos of Machu Picchu. Explore Huayna Picchu and discover the temple of the moon or visit Machu Picchu Mountain!!

 

Duration 5 days and 4 night
Season From January to December except February for maintenance
Departure Daily
Return Back Packer Train
Importarnt

Please it is important to book this trek in advance, not only for Inca Trail, Also Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain has a limited entrance tickets. We recommend you to book 5 or 4 months in advance. Notice that Huayna Picchu is so popular too and its common to not find tickets 3 or 2 months before the trek. If you are planning your trip for the months of June, July or August please book 6 months in advance, these months are very busy and we do not want you to stay with the desire to perform these incredible adventures.

More information: Common knowledge Questions - Inca  Trail

Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco - Piskacucho Km 82 - Patallaqta - Wayllabamba

Let’s start the adventure!!!!
Early, we will pick up from your hotel (around 5:30 am to 6:00 am) Please make sure that you are carrying your original passport & ISIC card if you book like a student, it is important to entry to Machu Picchu and the mountain that you choose.


You will enjoy a spectacular morning that starts driving through the Sacred Valley of the Incas taking us at our trailhead at Km. 82 (Piscacucho). Along the way, we will stop in the life inca city of  Ollantaytambo to stretch our legs, use the bathroom, and enjoy breakfast, before continuing to Piscacucho (2,680 m / 8,790 ft.). There we will meet our camp crew and our team of porters who will carry our belongings during the four days of the trek. Once in Piscacuchom, please you must have passports in hand;so we  will pass the first official Inca Trail checkpoint, cross a suspension bridge across the Urubamba River, and begin our trek with a gentle climb.


We have three hours on relatively level terrain as we follow the course of the river, rewarded with superb views of snow - Cape Mountain Veronica (5,750 m). The easy walk passes through a forest of giant cactus and native bushes.Miskay will be the lunch point,where you will have some time to rest and connect with nature, then we will continue hiking toward the large Inca settlement of Llactapata and appreciate the impressive farming terraces of this complex. The Inca Trail follows the left bank of the Cusichaca side river up to the village of Huayllabamba at 9840 feet above sea level (3000 m.a.s.l) where you will enjoy dinner and camp for the night.

Day 2: Huayllabamba - Warmi Wañuska (Dead Woman's Pass) - Paqaymayu

Today is our challenging day; we can do it, my friends!!!
To start this challenge day,we will wake up 6:00 am, with a hot coca tea brought to your tents and to prevent the altitude sickness, to prepare for today's trek which is considered by many people, the hardest day of the Inca trail. You need to complete a steep ascent reaching an altitude of 13779 feet above sea level (4200 m.a.s.l) at Warmi Wañuska pass.


After our nutritive breakfast, we will depart the campsite around 07:00 hrs. The uphill hike through Llulluchapampa will give you the opportunity to appreciate several species of local birds  (with luck you may see hummingbirds, Falcons or some black-chested eagles).
From here the trail traverses a beautiful cloud forest full of Polylepis or Queñua's trees before entering the Puna, a zone characterized by treeless grasslands only found at this altitude across the Andes. Walk at your own pace, to catch your breath or to stretch a muscle. The last hard climb takes us the right to the highest pass of the Inca trail at Warmi Wañuska.


Once at the top of Warmi Wañuska, your reward will be the spectacular views of the Andes,so have the camera ready!!! you will be surrounded by snow-covered peaks. You will also feel a great sense of accomplishment after conquering Dead Woman's pass, continue traversing the slopes on the left side of the valley all the way to our campsite in Paqaymayu at 11811 feet above sea level (3600 m.a.s.l.)
(About 6 - 7 hr. trekking).

Day 3: Paqaymayu - Runkuraqay - Sayacmarca - Phuyupatamarca - Wiñayhuayna

After a heartwarming breakfast...
Today’s is the most beautiful day because we will explore the ruins of Runkuraqay; Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Winayhuayna and we enjoy dramatic views of the Aobamba Valley.

 

We will start with a steady ascent to the second highest pass at Runkuracay reaching 12400 feet above sea level (3780 m.a.s.l) and passing through a circular Inca control point that occupies a commanding position overlooking the spectacular Vilcabamba mountain range below. Take note that not many arqueological remains have this form so thats whats makes it unique during the Inca Trail. Then you will enjoy a downhill but be careful with your knees as the descent from the pass to the ruins of Sayacmarca is very steep and you may feel the strain at the end of the day.


The name Sayacmarca means "inaccessible town" and describes the position of the site, awesome perched on the rocks. The one of a kind Inca trail, now a great structure of granite stones, continues through ever-changing layers of cloud forest full of rare orchids, hanging mosses, bromeliads, and tree ferns. Past the Inca tunnel, a gentle climb will take you to the third pass at 12139 feet above sea level (3700 masl), offering incredible views of several snow-capped peaks including Salkantay (20574 ft./6271m) and Veronica (18865 ft./5750m). Close to the pass you will find the impressive ruins of Phuyupatamarca (Cloud-level Town).Also you can take amazing photos here too, really it looks like you have been above the clouds!! A brief explanation of the mysteries of  this Inca architecture, before continuing along splendid Inca road to the most important agricultural site of Intipata and up to the third and our last campsite at Wiñayhuayna (forever young) located at 8856 feet above sea level (2700 masl). Wiñayhuayna, named after a variety of pink orchid that grows here, is the last official campsite before Machu Picchu. 

Day 4: Wiñaywayna - Intipunku - Machu Picchu

Today is our big day !!!

We will get up very early around 4:00 am to get one of the best experience for many travelers, entry to Machu Picchu through Inti Punku (the Sun Gate),why it is so spectacular?? From this point you will be that lucky who will enjoy a uniqueview of Machu Picchu whit the first rays of the sun. It will takes us about 1-2 hours, with significant upward stretches in the last half. You will be walking in darkness, so a headlight is strongly recommended. The trail is marked and takes about 1½ hours.
The trail contours a mountainside and drops into cloud forest before coming to an almost vertical flight of 50 steps leading up to the final pass at Intipunku (Sun Gate). Suddenly the whole of Machu Picchu.


A final short hike will bring us to the entrance and into the heart of the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, where we will spend the rest of the morning with 2 hours guided tour and some more exploring on your own. The shuttle bus ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes is included, departs every 15 minutes and will be available for you descend to Aguas Calientes town.

Day 5: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain - Aguas Calientes - Cusco

Good Morning Machu Picchu!!!
After to relax in Aguas Calientes, we are going to have an amazing breakfast at our hotel around 4:30am; after to enjoyed our breakfast, we are going to the bus station to take the first bus up to Machu Picchu that is going to arrive about 15 minutes before that Machu Picchu would be open. In Machu Picchu, we are going to be one of the first groups to see the sunshine and to take pictures when nobody is there so prepare your camera!!. The views from this part of Machu Picchu are complete different that you seen before from the Sun Gate, After to enjoy there we are going to climb to Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain (the mountain that you choose), Huayna Picchu mountain trekking takes about 3 hours and a half up and down, from there you will have an impressive view of Machu Picchu and the Machu Picchu Valley and also have the opportunity to explore the temple of the moon. On the other hand, we have Machu Picchu Mountain that is more for those natural lovers who will enjoy this little trek fullest. After you enjoyed there, we are going to take a bus down to Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Ollantaytambo and transfer to your hotel in Cusco.

What is not included?

  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Sleeping bags
  • Tips for the guide, cook, and Porter

Recommendations

 

  • Original Passport 
  • A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho.
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
  • Warm clothes, including a jacket. Also is recommended thermal clothing, especially for sleeping.
  • Sleeping bag
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Camera, films, and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain, and cold
  • Sunblock cream, mosquitoes repellent.
  • Toilet paper
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
  • Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
  • Small towel.
  • Swimming suit (if you intend to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
  • Cash in soles or US$

Prices per Person 100% inc. Tour + Hotel

Accomodation (Category) Price per Traveler USD$
Aguas Calientes Single Double
Presidente / Wiracocha / Hatun Samay (**) 835 805
Inti punku /La cabaña / Santuario (***) 865 820
El Mapi / Tierra Viva / Casa de Sol (****) 885 830
Inkaterra / Sumaq (*****) 1123 994
If the option chosen is sold out, we will book another one of the same category, price, and service previous customer's approval.

 

Optional services

  • USD 35 Train Vistadome one way
  • USD 20 Sleeping bag rental(-18°C) for the whole trek
  • USD 20 single tent accommodation
  • USD 130 Personal porter (15 kl or 33 lb)
  • USD 30 Walking Poles (Pair)

Note

Camp site allocations are subject to change depending on availability provided by the National Institute of Culture (government OFFICE IN CHARGE OF THE INCA TRAIL). The Government department assigns us to campsites People who want to visit Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, must let us know as soon as they can because according to new rules, there is a limit of people (400) per day that can climb them.

Special Inca Trail Map:

Special-Inca-Trail-Map

 

As you can see in this Map, the 5 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu will give us the best experience of hiking in the Andean Mountains. At first we will go by the road to Ollantaytambo train Station to the arrive at Piscacucho the famous km 82, and where our adventure starts. Along the path we will have the oppotunity to appreciate the unique interesting Inca archeological remains as Llactapata, Wayllabamba, Runcuracay, etc. To finally arrive at Machu Picchu Inca citadel, there , and once you have visited the entire city, you will have the opportunity to choose between Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu Mountain.Ready for the adventure? Let's go Inca Trail!!!

 

What is included?

  • Courtesy transfer from the airport to your hotel in Cusco (Please provide us your flight information)
  • Pre-departure Inca Trail briefing, presented by your tour guides at our downtown Cusco office.
  • Entrance ticket to Inca Trail & Machu Picchu.
  • Visit & entrance ticket to the different Inca archaeological sites during the Inca Trail.
  • Bus ticket Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes.
  • Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and transfer to your hotel.
  • Professional multilingual Inca Trail leaders.
  • Assistant Guide (for groups of 9 or more people).
  • Professional cook and cooking equipment.
  • Well treated local porters.
  • Porters service (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment)
  • 5 Nutritious Breakfasts, 4 High-energy Lunches, 4 Delicious Dinners.
  • 4 Tea times.
  • Vegetarian food is available upon request with no extra charge.
  • Nutritious Snacks.
  • Hot tea kindly brought to your tent first thing in the morning.
  • One liter boiled water every day after breakfast to refill your bottles, from the second day.
  • Clean and spacious 4P-capacity Tents (Marmot Limenstone) – only two people per tent.
  • Comfortable Personal foamy pad (double foam), given to you at the beginning of the trek.
  • 24 hours Emergency oxygen assistance
  • First aid equipment.
  • Biodegradable personal hand soaps.
  • Biodegradable detergents to dishwashing used by our kitchen staff
  • Accommodation, food, transport, permits for our porters and cooks.
  • One extra night in Aguas Calientes.
  • Bus ticket up and down on the 5th day.
  • Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain.
  • Inca Trail survivor certificate.

Huayna Picchu Mountain

  • Altitude: 2,693 m.a.s.l.
  • Walk distance: 2 km, steep and narrow roads.
  • Location: North of the Inca City of Machu Picchu.
  • Road Description: The trails are quite steep, you will need ropes to overcome some parts of the road. You will cross steps built in rock and wooden stairs; the road is visually terrifying.
  • Access: From the Inca City of Machu Picchu, by the Sector of the Huayranas (Sacred Rock). Here you will find the entrance control booth to the mountain.
    Schedule:
  • First Group: 07:00 hrs. - 08:00 hrs.
  • Second Group: 10:00 hrs. - 11:00 hrs.
  • Number of visitors: 400 per day, divided into two groups of 200.
  • Walk Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes (up and down).
  • Degree of Difficulty: Moderately high. It is a steep mountain, with precipices and many steps (not recommended if you suffer from vertigo or altitude fear).
  • Archaeological Attractions: the amazing Temple of the Moon, built inside a natural cave.
  • Flora and fauna:: Landscape of jungle brow, abundant vegetation, which serves as habitat for birds, butterflies and insects.
  • Advantages: Some of the best panoramic views of the Inca City and the amazing mountain environment where it is located.
  • Disadvantages: Precipices covered with vegetation, steep ascent, narrow roads.

Machu Picchu Mountain

  • Altitude: 3,082 m.a.s.l.
  • Distance of the Hike: 2 km., Will ascend approximately 300 m. vertical
  • Location: Opposite Huayna Picchu and to the left of the Traditional Way.
  • Description of the Way: Abundant vegetation, highlight the wild orchids. The wide paths will allow you to cross them in a quiet way.
  • Access: From the Machu Picchu Complex, go up to the lookout (Guardian House) continue to the detour indicated by a sign.
  • Schedule:
    First Group: 07:00 hrs. - 08:00 hrs.
    Second Group: 9:00 hrs. - 10:00 hrs.
  • Number of visitors: 800 spaces per day, divided into 2 groups of 400.
  • Walk Time: 3 and a half hours (round trip).
  • Degree of Difficulty: Moderate / high.
  • Archaeological Attractions: None.
  • Flora and fauna: You will find a variety of orchids, butterflies and birds.
  • Advantages: Less steep trails, panoramic views of the Inca City and the Huayna Picchu Mountain.
  • Disadvantages: It has no archaeological remains.

When to go?

To know when to visit the world wonder must take into account two aspects: the rainy season and the availability of the attractions you want to visit.

  • The rainy season in the area is from November to March, reaching a maximum of 98 mm in February. This involves the use of rain ponchos and possible haze during your visit. In general, it is not considered the best time to travel.
  • Regarding availability, the citadel is open 365 days a year, as are the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains. The routes of the Inca Trail, either the Classic Inca Trail of 4 days or the Short IncaTrail of 2 days, or the Special Inca Trail (5D/4N) close every year throughout the month of February for maintenance work.
  • The best time to visit Machu Picchu through every alternative trek is June, July and August, remember the dry season goes from April - October.

Can I go during the rainy season?

While the rainy season is not the best season, it offers some advantages too. For example, you will be able to see the Peruvian wonder surrounded by a mystical mist or, with a bit of luck, crowned by a beautiful rainbow after a drizzle. What sounds good!!

However, if you decide to take the Inca Trail, the recommendation of us is to avoid taking it during the rainy season (from November to March). Do not forget that during February, the routes of the Inca Trail will be completely closed for maintenance.

The Temple of the Moon Huayna Picchu

If you decide to hike Huayna Picchu Mountain: This archaeological site has one of the most beautiful Inca constructions inside a cave, in which they perfectly joined together finely polished stones, not leaving a millimeter between their joints. This structure has beautiful vaulted caves and empty trapezoidal ones that were typical of the Inca constructions, in front of the cave, there is a stone sculpted in the shape of an altar that makes us suppose that this was a place for sacrifices.

Special Inca Trail Tips:

Inca Trail Trek Tips

Why Special Inca Trail?

This trek is the most famous of all, receives visitors from around the world every day. Includes 3 nights of camping in the mountainous heights, almost 50 kilometers of walking in total (which means a daily average of 12.5 km), reaching heights of up to 4,200 meters. You will also have guided tours to impressive Inca archaeological sites. The displacement happens crossing impressive Andean and jungle landscapes, until arriving at Machu Picchu for the respective tour. Recommended for those who want a total immersion in nature and away from urban life. And the best?? Special Inca Trail gives you the opportunity to climb one of the most amazing mountains that surround Machu picchu and have unique memories and photos of the wonder of the Incas.

Inca Trail Programs

We organize tours for small groups, including families, friends, students and volunteers. Our tour leaders speak English, Spanish & Quechua (Andean Language) and will dedicate themselves to giving you the best independent tours in Cusco as well as Machu Picchu.

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Phone: +51 84 255 305
Cellphone: +51 955 925 507
USA: +1 213 342 8370
E-mail: info@letsgoincatrail.com
Address: Recoleta Street C1, Zaguan del Cielo, Cusco, Peru






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