DAY 1: CUSCO – PISCACUCHO – HUAYLLABAMBA
Machu Picchu Peru Hike & Travel agency, will come pick you up from your place of stay at 6:00 am to then head to the km 82, which is located at 2,800 meters above sea level, point of meeting for every tourist, guide and carrier that does the Inca Trail, from which we will start our hike to Machu Picchu. The hike starts with a gentle climb. The first 3 hours of our hike we will be in a relatively plane road, watching the magnificent view and the snowy summit of Wakay Willka, also known as “La Veronica”, where we will enjoy and extraordinary andean landscape and an Inca building known as Patallacta (2750 meters above sea level). In this place we will be able to observe some farming terraces that were used to feed travellers from different places that would take this trail to get to Machu Picchu. Then we will continue by hiking along a vegetation site where it’s possible that you will see the most popular bird known as the giant hummingbird. After 2 hours of hiking we will finally get to our first camping site at Huayllabamba (3000 meters above sea level). Huayllabamba is a small village that is surrounded by corn fields, potato crops and other products.
DAY 2: WAYLLABAMBA – LLUYUCHAPAMPA – WARMI HUAÑUSKA – PACAYMAYU
On this day our chef will make us a muña or coca hot drink because this day will include a bit of a challenge, which will be getting to the highest peak of the opening of Warmi Huañusca. But before starting our hike we will enjoy a delicious and tender breakfast. In this part of the hike you will begin to appreciate the wide road with cobblestones and the outer edge and at the risky areas you’ll see the retaining walls that control the slope of the road, the hike starts to get more difficult until we get to the industry of Ayapata, a conditioned area for the campers; the hike up by Salkantay’s creek becomes more difficult, the road gets steeper and you’re legs may start to hurt because of the effort in-between a steady drizzle and fog that hangs over the landscape, one last piece of effort will help us reach the 4332 meters above sea level, where we will see the opening of Warmiwañuska , a gap that opens between all the mountain chains surrounding Machu Picchu, from where you’ll be able to se the natural scenery that makes a traveler feel like he is face to face with Apus Tutelares, the Taita Into, the Mama Killa, the Olympus of the Andean gods that are within a walking distance of Hanaq Pacha. The natural landscape has changed dramatically, from the lush vegetation of the valleys to the Ice Mountains where the wild straw abounds in between the silence that is caught sneaking up by the discrete winds that are quietly combing the mountain.
A network of paths expedited for all travellers allows us to take a lunch break and replenish our energies. The way down to Pacaymayu Alto is fully integrated and dates from the times of the Incas, it is wide and it slips amid shallow and noisy creek streams that mountains give birth to. Along the way we will find gleaming roads and camp sites suitable for our travellers where we will have dinner and camp out for the night.
DAY 3: PACAYMAYU, SAYACMARCA, PHUYUPATAMARCA, WIÑAYWAYNA
This day will be the longest in the Inca trail but with a beautiful landscape full of vegetation. This day we will get up at 06:00 am to enjoy a delicious breakfast with our fellow trekking partners. Throughout this journey we will go through the most original Inca Trail. On the third we will start by hiking up to the archeological site of Runkurakay, this section begins with flat road but soon starts to become a steep stone staircase that rises sinuously into the open Runkurakay in the short break half way up we will turn our eyes to see the checkpoint Paqaymayu high which highlights the camping areas and clear waters coming down from the snowy Soqtacochayoc. The path going up has original stone walkway that dates back to Inca times and it is incredible despite the passage of centuries, the pressure of visitors and inclement weather. It is incredible that this pre-Hispanic construction remains under the same conditions. After climbing all the way up we will reach the archaeological site of Runkurakay located in the middle of a mountain with a semicircular shape formed by two enclosures that complement each other and a central space similarly windows of medium size, a religious enclosure whose windows are oriented to the mountain of Warmiwañuska and the semicircular shape that is has is considered to be devoted to the Killa mama. While we continue going up we will reach a small lagoon which is a few meters from the pit, a source where deer, foxes and other animals from the area drink water. The breathtaking scenery that surrounds it will generate spectacular images that embellish further context, our hike up ends in the open Runkurakay where we will find resting points since overcoming the steep slope deserves a good rest. After appreciating the landscape we will start going down to Sayaqmarka by the same paved road that the Incas passed through in their pilgrimage to their purification to Machu Picchu. The road has emotional moments, like when a small tunnel was carved into a huge rock and sawed the path and traced it through. Along the way it will be common to see large spaces that work as lookouts, in this case the viewpoint allows us to appreciate the way down and another small lagoon full of dark waters, while at a distance we can appreciate the archaeological site of Sayaqmarka , where the traveler will find a grandstand that is almost vertical position with approximately 97 stone steps; you will be amazed by the architecture size of the lithic and its adaptation to the topography of the area. In Sayaqmarka visitors will be able to see water sources of domestic ceremonial enclosures for housing, narrow streets bordered by sturdy stone walls that remain intact over time, covers of double jamb and a sacred huaca which recognizes the carved profile of a human figure with outstretched arms on a black background. Like all archaeological monuments that are located along the Inca Trail, this was also intended for Andean religious rituals. The stone buildings of the Inca trail and the road itself trigger a series of questions about its construction. How long it took the Incas to build all this monuments? , What tools did the use?, How many people worked on this wonderful work?, How did they feed themselves?, Where did they sleep?, What method of work did they use?, What rituals and ceremonies were performed?,Why are there so many holy site ?, Was their faith so deep to justify such colossal works? The questions are endless to try to understand the extraordinary human effort made by the Incas to build this road network through the intricate geography of the Peruvian Andes. We will then continue to the control of Chaquicocha and just as we start to walk we will visualize the archaeological site of Conchamarca located at the bottom of Sayaqmarka on the banks of a stream coming down from the heights, it is comprised of 3 campuses located above a platform with five platforms and it was intended for religious activities in pre -Hispanic times, the path down is made by wooden bridges crossing the abundant streams. The landscape is changing gradually as we meet with the lush vegetation of the gorges in our journey to reach the campsite in Chaquicocha where we will rest and have lunch. Resuming our journey our steps will lead us to the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarka that is far behind the hills with a dense blanket of fog, the Inca trail in this section is impressive as the ancient Inca engineers fixed the stroke to the existing geography, we will cross this stretch where there is a curve built on a rocky outcrop that the genius of the builders could not prevent, advancing amid ravines and curves we will get to a formidable passage that works as a tunnel dug in the bedrock made up of both the roof and the floor, and despite the indoor humidity it still remains in use. A few meters below there are five sources of water carved in stone conducting the vital liquid from one source to another source sequentially flowing all year and it consists of five circular towers that go up and are connected by a rocky climb that fits in all constructions of religious use and residence of Andean priests. Then immediately we will continue with the Inca trail and the road won’t stop surprising us since in some sections we will see amazing works like this sequence of 35 steps carved in live rock followed by exquisite cobblestones that characterizes the entire roadway. The walk will lead us to a smaller tunnel than the previous one, but it will still keep surprising visitors, some few more meters down along a viewpoint on the way we will appreciate from a distance in the bottom of the archaeological site of Inti Pata a system of platforms for agricultural use, the exquisiteness of the validity of the Inca engineering allowed these terraces to be adapted to the morphology of the terrain work perfectly with its waterways for more than 500 years ago; After our visit the the archeological site of Puyupatamarca that was another important monument we will have our lunch and a quick rest. Subsequently after our brief rest we will continue our hike until we get to the camping site of Wiñay Huayna (forever young) where we will have a guided tour of the impressive archeological archaeological complex, ceremonial assembly having terraces on the upper and lower enclosures, Inca ceremonial buildings divided into two parts. Surrounded by a wall of seven large windows arranged symmetrically with Inca expression of duality. After the visit we will return to our camp where we will camp out for the last time and share the Last Supper saying goodbye to our porters and cooks.
DAY 4: WIÑAYWUAYNA – INTI PUNKU – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
On this day we will wake up really early around 4:00 am to enjoy our breakfast and to continue our final Inca Trail hike , we will head north in a straight line to the Into Punku, the road is surrounded by lush vegetation that provides the necessary shade to cover solar radiation that will increase with the passing hours, on the way there we will find attractive sections showing roads with stones, wooden doors, and some viewpoints that will make us appreciate the back of the valleys with the Vilcanota River a few meters before reaching the Intipunku, where we will find stone buildings that are half built and probably abandoned by the Incas after the invasion of the Spaniards. A quirk along the way is seen as we reach Intipunku, where a small but steep slope forces us to spend the last of our energy. The traveler will be glimpsed with the breathtaking view of the wonderful llaqta Inca of Machu Picchu and part of the Hiram Bingham road that communicates with the district capital of Machu Picchu. Intipunku is a small set of stones of stony forms that evidently served as a control center and the management of people and goods that move through this route. Here we can enjoy Machu Picchu from another angle with the wide panorama that you can see through the mountains, valleys and streams that are displayed at this point. Subsequently once we get to Machu Pichu, a wonder of the world, a summit of the andean civilization, a pride of peruvians and sign of cultural identity of all cusqueños, our experienced guide will take us through this religious site of excellence and will teach us how high a degree of development the andean civilization of the hand of the Incas reached. Machu Picchu, a wonder of the world, is 2437 meters above sea level, and will help us understand its superior knowledge achieved in astronomy and astrology, putting on our knowledge the hydrological cycles of the rainy and the dry seasons through the solstices for the development agricultural activity. You will have free time to take pictures and explore on your own. Once the tour is over we will board a bus that will take us to the town of Aguas Calientes so we can enjoy a good meal, having in mind the time that our train will depart.