Departs Canada 21May and returns 3Jun
(B)-Breakfast — (L)-Lunch — (D)-Dinner
- Day 1 (21May)
- Day 2 (22May) arrive Lima and flight to Cuzco
- Day 3 (23May) (B,D)
- Day 4 (24May) (B)
- Day 5 (25May) Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo (B)
- Day 6-9 (26-29May) Inca Trail (3B, 3L, 3D)
- Day 10 (30May) (B)
- Day 11 (31May) (B, D)
- Day 12 (01Jun) (B) Group Dinner
- Day 13 (02Jun) (B) Fly to Lima
- Day 14 (03Jun) early morning flight home 2:15am
In Cuzco meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. The day is free to relax and explore
the fascinating city of Cuzco, and to acclimatize to the altitude. Cuzco is the continent’s
oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network.
The city attracts travellers who come not just to visit a unique destination but also to
experience an age-old culture very different from their 20th century way of life; one
could easily spend a week just in and around the area. Inca-built stone walls line most of
the central streets and you don’t have to go far to see other major Inca ruins. It is a city
steeped in history, tradition and legend.
Every year Cuzco attracts thousands of travellers who come to delve into its noble but
tragic past. It is the perfect base for optional explorations around the city and area as well
as a range of outdoor activities. Relax and explore this fascinating city, and take time to
acclimatize to the high altitude.
Cuzco’s numerous colonial churches are one of the city’s most common sights. The
Cathedral houses a small art museum, the Regional History Museum and the Religious
Art Museum. Our best advice for exploring Cuzco is to wear a comfortable pair of shoes,
arm yourself with a city map and set off to explore!
Today is a free day to relax and acclimatize until meeting for a welcome dinner in the
Today is a free day for additional acclimatization, explore or book an optional excursion.
Travel with our local guide through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. An important source
of food for the Inca, the Sacred Valley is a lush agricultural region that continues to
supply the city of Cuzco with much of its produce. Visit the impressive Pisac ruins and
the colourful artisan market (market days only). The day trip finishes in the picturesque
village of Ollantaytambo, site of another large Inca ruin. Here we catch our breath and
prepare for the hike ahead. Ollantaytambo is your first taste of what lies ahead on the
Inca Trail. The town and fortress of Ollantaytambo are strategically situated overlooking
the beautiful Urubamba River Valley. This major ruin site is known as the best surviving
example of Inca urban planning and engineering. It is admired for its huge steep terraces
guarding the Inca Fortress and for being one of the few places where the Spanish lost a
major battle during the conquest. We spend the night in this small town before heading
out for the start of the hike the next morning.
The 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is physically challenging but worthwhile, and the
excursion is within the ability of most reasonably fit. It is a 44-km (27 mile) hike, with 3
high passes to be crossed, one of which reaches an elevation of 4200m (13776 ft). The
trail is often steep, and it may rain even during the dry season. The temperatures at night
may fall below zero, so it is important to come prepared.
Depart Ollantaytambo for 82 km drive where we begin our walk in the footsteps of the
Incas. Our local crew of porters, cook and guide look after us well for the duration of the
hike. Porters carry the majority of the gear for the hike, so those passengers doing the
hike only carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera, etc. As you walk
the trail that linked this ancient empire, admire breathtaking views at every step as we
move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. Depending on the season, you may
see a great variety of flora, including miniature and large orchids, and fiery rhododendron
bushes.You pass several smaller ruin sites, the first of which is Llactapata.
The second day climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass. At
4198 m (13769 ft) above sea level, this pass is the highest point of the trek. The second
pass of the hike is at 3998 m (13113 ft) where on clear days, we enjoy superb views of
the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba.The trail goes through some beautiful cloud
forest on the gentle climb to the third pass, where you will walk through a causeway and
a tunnel, both original Inca constructions. The highest point of the third pass is at 3700m
On clear days you are rewarded for all this work with beautiful views of the Urubamba
Valley below. Soon you reach the serene ruins of Phuyupatamarca, or the ‘Town above
the Clouds’, at about 3650 m (11972 ft) above sea level. We will camp either here or an
hour and a half further along close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) ruins, a grandiose
terraced hillside site, with panoramic views of the valley below and just a short hike from
Machu Picchu. On the final day of the hike we climb the steps to the Sun Gate
overlooking the peaks that surround Machu Picchu. When the morning is clear, there is
no way to describe the feeling of the first views of Machu Picchu, as the mist rises off the
mountains early in the morning and the famous site appears in front of you.
Machu Picchu is both the best and the least known of the Inca ruins. It is not mentioned
in any of the chronicles of the Spanish conquistadors and archaeologists today can do no
more than speculate on its function. The local Quechua farmers in the area knew of
Machu Picchu for centuries, but it was not until an 11-year-old boy led the American
historian Hiram Bingham (who was in search of Vilcabamba) to the site on July 24, 1911,
that the rest of the world became aware of its existence. At that time the site was covered
in thick vegetation, and Bingham and his team returned in 1912 and 1915 to clear the
growth. Over the years, much work has been done on excavating and studying the
site.Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.
Distances of the Inca trail:
|Approximate distance||Estimated hiking time|
|Day 1||82 Km to Wayllambama||11 km||5-6 hrs|
|Day 2||Wayllabamba to Paqaymayo||12 km||6-7 hrs|
|Day 3||Paqaymayo to Wiñaywayna||16 km||8 hrs|
|Day 4||Wiñaywayna to Intipunku (Sun Gate)||4 km||1.5 hrs|
|Intipunku to Machu Picchu||1.5 km||45 mins|
Today is a free day to relax, explore or arrange an optional excursion
Another day to enjoy the city.