Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Follow in the footsteps of the Incas to their sacred citadel.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

Enjoy the amazing archaeological sites, landscapes and nature along the way.

Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

The Inca Trail, now a massive buttressed structure of granite paving stones,

continues along the steep upper fringes of the cloud forest

through a colorful riot of orchids, bromeliads, mosses and ferns…

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu, Peru

One of the most popular treks in the world is, without doubt, the Inca Trail. It combines ancient archaeological sites, snow-covered mountain scenery and cloud forests with a rich biodiversity that includes many different species of birds and beautiful orchids. The trek ends at “The Lost City of the Incas” – Machu Picchu. Here, travelers discover the highly sophisticated architecture of the Incas that amazed the American explorer, Hiram Bingham, when he discovered the citadel in 1911. Although the trek is rated as moderate; before starting, we strongly suggest spending at least two days at this elevation to totally adjust to the altitude.

The cities of the Incas were connected by well-made roads, of which the one from Cuzco to Machu Picchu, now called the Inca Trail, has become the most famous trekking route in South America. Our five-day program allows the traveler time to explore and enjoy the amazing archaeological sites, landscapes and nature along the way. While most other programs force trekkers to speed through the stunning high-altitude Inca Trail, We take the time to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. We camp the first three nights, enjoying great meals and sturdy tents. The hikes average six to seven hours each day, including some time to explore sites we pass through and to take in the unparalleled scenery. On the fourth afternoon, we arrive at Machu Picchu after the crowds have left, and have time to explore the tranquil ruins. After a well-deserved night in a comfortable hotel, we return to Machu Picchu to see the ruins in the perfect morning light. In the afternoon, we return to Cuzco by train. This program is specially designed to offer a more relaxed trek and a deeper understanding of Inca culture.

Your private trekking party will consist of yourselves, a select guide who is an expert in archaeology and ecology, a chef, a chief porter and two porters per trekker. The porters will carry the tents, sleeping bags and mattresses, cooking gear, food, drinks and other necessary camping equipment, all of which will be provided. They also will carry each trekker’s pack of personal items.

 

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

A backdrop of twisting gorge and forested peaks framing the magical city…

Sunset, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

Land Price (6 days/5 nights with 3 nights of camping)

US$ 3,805 per person

The land price includes escorted transfers, private trek (with professional guide, porters and equipment), entrance fees, deluxe accommodations in Orient-Express hotels, “a la carte”gourmet cuisine in hotels and full board (healthy, hearty meals cooked with fresh, local ingredients) while on the Inca Trail, all transportation and travel insurance for guests through the age of 59 years (over that age, there is a supplementary fee). All prices are per person based on two people sharing a guest room. Exceptions to the itinerary: Park authorities may occasionally designate different campsites than those indicated.

 

Mapluxury Inca TrailDetail Mapluxury Inca TrailSectional Mapluxury Inca TrailPre-Departure Informationluxury Inca TrailHotels

 

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

An Inca stairway partly cut from living granite leads us finally to Wiñay Wayna…

Wiñay Huayna, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

“My deepest appreciation goes to Omar, who really made the time on the Inca Trail special…”

“Omar Aragón was the best guide on the Inka Trail and for Machu Picchu. Despite inclement weather, he kept everyone’s spirits high. His energy is contagious, and his friendly and welcome manner was appreciated. Would highly recommend Omar as a guide for Cusco, the Inka Trail and Machu Picchu.”

–Ron Ellis

 

“We camped off the beaten path and felt we had a unique experience compared to other groups…”

“We had an wonderful time! Everything went totally smoothly without hitch or hangup. Our guide, Manuel Usca was absolutely incredible. A totally excellent person and master of the Inca Trail. We camped off the beaten path and felt we had a unique experience compared to other groups. I would recommend him highly to anyone wanting a once in a lifetime experience. Our porters and chef were also top notch – they earned our admiration and respect. Thank you for arranging an amazing trip!”

–Matthew Dugan, Chelsea Dugan & Brian Jeffery

 

“I’m infinitely glad that I engaged your services…”

“Yes! We had a fantastic time. The tour was incredible and the quality of service impeccable. I must admit that the hike was harder than I had imagined but all the more spectacular and satisfying… Teddy was the best guide we could have hoped for. His knowledge of the flora and fauna combined with his understanding of history and archeology was amazing. We managed to camp in 3 beautiful spots and rarely saw other tourists along the way, except at the highest pass. I think this had to do with Teddy’s understanding of timing and the fact that we were doing the 5-day tour instead of the 4-day one. Most recommended because the feeling of having the Inca Trail all to yourself is well worth it… Both the evenings in the Sanctuary Lodge and the Monasterio were wonderful, a most appreciated luxury after 3 nights in tents.”

–Valerie Seefried

 

I don’t know what to really say about this hike except that it is really amazing…

“With respect to the porters, guide, chef – everything was perfect. In fact, I actually preferred our chef’s cooking to any of the restaurants. A little simpler food, which I enjoy. He did a great job with Jessica’s dietary needs. In fact, lots of the food was entirely vegetarian, and I also enjoyed it. We had fun playing cards and drinking wine with the group. The wine was excellent. Having the portable toilet is a huge plus. I can say that without it I don’t think Jessica would have enjoyed herself. The tent and sleeping bags were good. We had followed the instructions you provided and were well prepared.”

–Edwin Upson & Jessica Sklute

 

Itinerary

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

See the ruins in the perfect morning light.

Temple of the Three Windows, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

Day 1: Cuzco or Sacred Valley of the Incas – Inca Trail (Chillca – Llaqtapata)

A spectacular drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas takes us to Chillca, our trailhead at Km. 77 of the Cuzco-Machu Picchu railroad. Forty-seven kilometers away, hidden in the mist, lies the fabled Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Crossing a footbridge, we take an undulating trek through a dry cactus zone beneath soaring views to the snows of Mt. Veronica, with the turbulent Urubamba River on our right. We reach our campsite at the imposing, sculpted Inca farming terraces of Llaqtapata, and explore further downstream to the outlying areas of this ancient and massive complex. Overnight in camp.

 

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

Discover the highly sophisticated architecture of the Incas…

Industrial district, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

Day 2: Inca Trail (Llaqtapata – Llulluchapampa)

The trail climbs gently into the mountains through the last inhabited village of Huayllabamba, and then more steeply past a rushing stream through enchanted, native polylepis woodland. Crossing the rim of a small plateau, we abruptly find ourselves in the puna, the treeless grasslands of the high Andes. We camp below mighty crags, looking eastward to the snowpeaks and valleys of the Huayanay massif. Overnight in camp.

 

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

An intricate labyrinth of houses, plazas and water channels…

Temple of the Intihuatana (solar calendar), Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

Day 3: Inca Trail (Llulluchapampa – Phuyupatamarca)

We climb to the first and highest pass, Warmiwañusca (4,200 meters/13,776 feet), with spectacular views of the trail ahead to the second pass. Descending to the forested Pacamayo Valley, we pick up an Inca stairway and ascend again, past the small Inca site of Runkuracay. We reach the second pass, where the landscape opens onto spectacular new views to the snowpeaks of the Pumasillo range, then descend to the ruins of Sayacmarca (Inaccessible Town), an intricate labyrinth of houses, plazas and water channels perched precariously on a rocky spur overlooking the Aobamba Valley. The Inca Trail, now a massive buttressed structure of granite paving stones, continues along the steep upper fringes of the cloud forest through a colorful riot of orchids, bromeliads, mosses and ferns. At the third pass, we camp by pinnacles topped with Inca viewing platforms overlooking the archaeological complex of Phuyupatamarca (Cloud-level Town). Overnight in camp.

 

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

Encounter an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry…

Intihuatana (solar calendar), Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

Day 4: Inca Trail (Phuyupatamarca – Wiñayhuayna – Machu Picchu)

We explore the wondrous maze of Inca stone towers, fountains and stairways spilling down the mountainside at Phuyupatamarca, then begin a long descent through ever-changing layers of cloud forest. An Inca stairway partly cut from living granite leads us finally to the site of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young), the largest and most exquisite of the Inca Trail sites. In the afternoon, we follow the last stretch of trail across a steep mountainside through a lush, humid cloud forest of giant ferns and broad-leaf vegetation. Suddenly, we cross the stone threshold of Intipunku (Sun Gate) and encounter an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry – a backdrop of twisting gorge and forested peaks framing the magical city of Machu Picchu.

We descend the royal flagstone walkway, past outlying shrines and buildings and through the heart of Machu Picchu before staying overnight in the Sanctuary Lodge. From its terrace and nearby lookouts, we’ll be able to watch the sunset, southern constellations and sunrise over the citadel, from high above the canyon of the Urubamaba River. A gourmet dinner by chef Cáceres at the hotel’s Tampu Restaurant. Overnight in the 5-star Orient-Express Sanctuary Lodge -- De Luxe Mountain View Room.

 

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

Ancient archaeological sites, snow-covered mountain scenery and cloud forests…

Temple of the Three Windows, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

“The temples and royal chambers, throughout the Empire, were lined with gold…”

 

The temples and royal chambers, throughout the Empire, were lined with gold, and, in preparing the stone, they left niches and empty spaces in which to put all sorts of human or animal figures: birds, or wild beasts, such as tigers, bears, lions, wolves, dogs and wildcats, deer, guanacos, vicuñas and even domestic ewes, all of which were made of gold and silver…

Imitation of nature was so consummate that they even reproduced the leaves and little plants that grow on walls; they also scattered here and there, gold or silver lizards, butterflies, mice and snakes, which were so well made and so cunningly placed, that one had the impression of seeing them run about in all directions…

In all the royal mansions there were gardens and orchards given over to the Inca’s moments of relaxation. Here were planted the finest trees and the most beautiful flowers and sweet-smelling herbs in the kingdom, while quantities of others were reproduced in gold and silver, at every stage of their growth, from the sprout that hardly shows above the earth, to the full-blown plant, in complete maturity. There were also fields of corn with silver stalks and gold ears, on which the leaves, grains, and even the corn silk were shown.

In addition to all this, there were all kinds of gold and silver animals in these gardens, such as rabbits, mice, lizards, snakes, butterflies, foxes, and wildcats… Then there were birds set in the trees, as though they were about to sing, and others bent over the flowers, breathing in their nectar. There were roe deer and deer, lions and tigers, all the animals in creation, in fact, each placed just where it should be.

–Garcilaso de la Vega, The Royal Commentaries of the Inca, 1609

 

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

A rich biodiversity that includes many different species of birds and beautiful orchids.

Natural rock forming the condor’s wings, Temple of the Condor, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

Day 5: Machu Picchu – Orient-Express Vistadome – Cuzco

We spend the day in both guided and individual exploration, visiting the best-known features of this astounding and mysterious Inca settlement. One memorable possibility is the steep trail to the top of Huayna Picchu (Young Peak), a strenuous, two-hour round-trip. Other trails lead to the Temple of the Moon (a moderate, four-hour round-trip), the Inca Drawbridge (an easy, one-hour round-trip) or Machu Picchu’s multitude of hidden nooks and crannies. A lunch by chef Cáceres at the hotel’s Tampu Restaurant.

After a full-on experience of this glorious monument to the Inca achievement, we return to Aguas Calientes and board the train to Cuzco. Evening arrival at the Poroy Station, on the outskirts of Cuzco, reception and transfer to your hotel. A dinner of classic international cuisine by chefs José Baca and Ana María Yupanqui at the Restaurante El Tupay. Overnight in the 5-star Orient-Express Monasterio -- De Luxe Room.

 

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

Watch the sunset, southern constellations and sunrise over the citadel…

Huayna Picchu, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

Day 6: Cuzco – Your next destination

Breakfast. Transfer to the airport or train station.

 

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

A full-on experience of this glorious monument to the Inca achievement…

Machu Picchu as seen from Putucusi, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru.
Photography: Beto Santillán. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

 

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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu photo tour Peru

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