Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu which is by far the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be amongst the top 5 treks in the world. Hit the streets of lively Cusco and soak up its culture and charm. Explore deep into the Amazon and its beauty.
Note. For those who cannot get spaces on the Inca Trail there options such as: Lares trek/Salcantay trek or another short hikes
Day 1: Arrive Cusco & Cusco City Tour (Overnight Hotel Cusco).
Day 2: Sacred Valley of the Incas (Pisaq, Ollantaytambo & Chincheros(Overnight Hotel Cusco).
Day 3: Start the classic Inca Trail Cusco - Km 82 - Huayllabamba (Camping).
Day 4: Huayllabamba - Pacaymayo(Camping).
Day 5: Pacaymayo - Wiñayhuayna(Camping).
Day 6: Arrive at Machu Picchu (Overnight Hotel Cusco).
Day 7: Transfer to Cusco Airport (Overnight Puerto Maldonado Lodge)
Day 8: Jungle Exploration (Overnight Puerto Maldonado Lodge)
Day 9: Jungle Exploration (Overnight Puerto Maldonado Lodge)
Day 10: Transfer to Puerto Maldonado Airport to Cusco (End of the Service)
Note: Walking and journey times are approximate
DAY 1: Cusco City
Upon arrival to Cusco Airport, our staff will be waiting for you to drive you to the Hotel where you will receive an aromatic coca tea then you have the free morning to rest for a while. Later in the afternoon we’ll take you on a guided visit to see Cusco’s highlights, including nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Q’enko, followed by a visit to the Main Square and famous ‘Koricancha’ or Temple of the Sun and of course the local market. (B)
DAY 2: Sacred Valley
One of the most spectacular days of the tour takes us through the Sacred Valley of the Incas; once an important source of food for the Inca, the Sacred Valley is a lush agricultural region that continues to supply the city of Cusco with much of its produce. As it is 600m lower than Cusco, temperatures are on average 5 degrees Cº higher in the Sacred Valley.
Our travels will bring us through the major archaeological sites of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. At Pisac, an optional two hour or 5km hike will allow us to fully appreciate the Incan city nestled high in the Andean range. Later, the colorful artesian market at Pisac will no doubt be a highlight for those in search of unique souvenirs.
The day trip finishes in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, location of another large Inca site. This major ruin is known as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering. But more than that, Ollantaytambo is a living breathing Inca City. Here we catch our breath and prepare for our train voyage to Machu Picchu. (B)
DAY 3: Cusco - Wayllabamba
After breakfast we transfer you from your hotel in Cusco or the Sacred Valley to Piscaycucho (first check point and the start of the trail). Here you start hiking through the Urubamba river valley, After two hours, you will reach the first archaeological site called Patallacta, where we will appreciate the impressive landscapes and see the importance of this valley in the context of Incan history, later we will stop at Tarachayoq for lunch and then continue up the Cusichaca Valley passing houses of settlers to finally reach the Andean community of Huayllabamba, our first campsite. (L, D)
DAY 4: Wayllabamba - Pacaymayu
After breakfast, today we will start hiking early in the morning, here the trail ascends steeply to a large Pampa below the first pass, Llulluchapampa (the last chance to buy snacks or energy drinks) Here we have a breathtaking view of valley down and the Mt. Huayanay, along the trail up this narrow hanging valley we begin to see a cloud forest with abundant vegetation of various types of trees including the Queuña tree (polilepis), a rare forest to be found in the Andes. From here we continue a steady ascent on an Inca Trail up to the Warmiwañusqa pass (Dead Woman’s Pass) at 4,200m (13,692ft) which affords a magnificent view of our ascent and the trail ahead of us. Here we will take a well-deserved break and observe the beauty of the deep valleys. After the break we descend on a restored Inca Trail down to the Pacaymayo River, our 2nd campsite. (B, L, D)
DAY 5: Pacaymayu – Wiñaywayna
Today we ascend again to the second pass, about halfway up lies an Inca ruins of Runkuraqay (small, round, roofless stone building and thought to have been an astrological site and a sort of checkpoint for couriers following the trail to Machupicchu), after a short tour, we will continue to ascend to the second pass at 4,050m (13,200ft). From here we walk down on the original Inca Trail, passing a small lake and the first signs of the cloud forest then we reach the second larger Inca site called Sayacmarca “Town in a Steep Place” at 3,850m (12,551ft) This Incan ruin was built on a rock overlooking the trail and is accessible only via a single narrow stone staircase. A beautiful location overlooking the Aobamba Valley, it affords a respite for a leisurely walk through its imposing structures. After touring we continue along the ridge through amazing landscapes, viewing Mt. Salkantay from the western side and Mt. Pumasillo, a silhouette to the north on the horizon. We will stop at this valley to enjoy lunch. After lunch we continue walking through a rolling flag stoned trail and a tunnel; then we arrive to next Incan site called Phuyupatamarca “the village on the edge of the clouds” We will learn about the ritual functions that the Incas used this site for. Here we will see water fountains that Incas bathed in before they reached Machupicchu. From here the flag stoned trail winds sharply down into the cloud forest to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna “Forever Young” located below the ridge on the same water course as the previous site; it has also well restored Inca Ruins. Our campsite is here. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: Wiñaywayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco
On the last day of the trek, we will wake up early and follow a relatively flat path. After about an hour walk through a cloud forest covered Inca Trail we arrive to Intipunku “the sun gate” we have a well-deserved break watching the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu at our feet, our final destination. From here we continue hiking for one more hour to finally arrive to Machu Picchu in the same way the Incas used to come. Once you get there you will have a guided tour after that you are free to explore city on your own, take pictures, or take any of the extra hikes
Later in the mid-afternoon you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes town to take the train back to Ollantaytambo then transfer to your hotel. (B)
Day 7: Cusco / Sandoval Lake Lodge
Upon arrival from Lima or Cusco, our representative will welcome you at the airport and transfer ten minutes to our Puerto Maldonado headquarters office. While enjoying your first taste of the forest in our gardens we will ask you to pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest at our safe deposit. This helps us keep the boats and cargo light.We’ll then transfer to Madre de Dios River port. We’ll board our motorized canoe for a 45-minute journey down the Madre de Dios River arriving at the riverside trailhead to Sandoval Lake Lodge. From here the trail takes you on a 2-mile (3,2-kilometers) walk through secondary forest, until we reach a small canal where we board canoes and are paddled about 200 meters through a flooded Mauritia Palm forest. As the canal opens onto the shimmering surface of the lake, we transfer to a catamaran and are leisurely paddled across half the lake to the lodge.
After lunch and a short siesta to avoid the early afternoon heat, we will learn about the history of the lodge and the philosophy of its founders. In the afternoon, we’ll again board the catamaran and set off to explore the entire west end of the lake. Here, again in the flooded palm forest we drift to the sounds of hundreds of Red-Bellied Macaws as they return to the palm forest for the night. This macaw species is found locally in parts of the Amazon, always living in flooded palm forests like what we find at Sandoval Lake. At 500-800 birds, this flock of Macaws at Sandoval Lake is currently the largest reported in the world for this highly specialized macaw.
As night falls we’ll board canoes in search of the large and extremely rare Black Caimans. If it is a clear starlit night, we will also be able to float in the middle of the lake to marvel at the intensity of the sky and listen in on the sounds of the forest. We return to the lodge for a short video or slide presentation and dinner. At any point, you may perhaps step out from the bar to marvel at the wide variety of nocturnal moths, beetles and praying mantis attracted to our black light in the lodge clearing. For those with excess of energy, our guide will take us on a short night-walk into the forest surrounding the lodge. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Sandoval Lake Lodge
A pre-dawn wake-up call will enable us to be on the lake for sunrise and a hopeful encounter with the family of Giant Otters who frequent the lake and are most active at this time of day. Sandoval Lake offers abundant wildlife including over 40 species of birds resident to its lake borders, most of the fish-eating water birds around the lake actively fish in the early morning as well, and this outing should provide excellent views of the prehistoric looking Hoatzins, which are easy to observe and photograph at close distance from the canoe or catamaran.
After returning for a late breakfast we’ll set off into the cool under story of the tall virgin forest near the lake to see some towering wild Brazil Nut trees and a demonstration of how our hosts collect, open and commercialize this important natural product.
After lunch and an hour or so to relax we once again board the catamaran to explore the eastern part of the lake, where we might see one or more of the five species of monkeys who live in the forest near the lake, such as the Brown Capuchin Monkey and Squirrel Monkey. Before dinner we will again enjoy an informative natural history video or slide presentation. We will leave after dinner to try and spot some Black Caimans on the lake, or to go on a short night walk through the primary forest. (B, L, D)
Day 9: Sandoval Lake Lodge - Departure Day
Today is departure day. After breakfast we’ll make the short paddle around the west end of the lake to try and glimpse the Giant Otters before crossing the Lake to our footpath, short hike and motor canoe back to our Puerto Maldonado Headquarters. We’ll make a quick stop by the office to pick up your personal belongings and large luggage before continuing on to the Puerto Maldonado airport. Our services end today after a direct flight back to Lima for your ongoing international connection. We can arrange a later flight date out of Cusco or additional post tour accommodation in Lima or Cusco upon client request. (B)
Please note that the program may vary slightly so as to maximize your wildlife sightings, depending on the reports of our researchers and experienced naturalist guides based at the lodge.
End of our services
Add on this Trip: the Nazca Lines, Titicaca Lake, Colca Canyon, and other extension tours or treks. Let us know.
What’s Not Included