|Aktivitets nivå :||Aktivitetsferie - Fotturer - Kultur & Tema reiser (standard) - Reise for single|
Set amidst hills in the altiplano, the Imperial City of the Incas, Cuzco (3,400) was the geographic, cultural and political centre of a vast empire which, at its peak, stretched from present day Quito in Ecuador to Santiago in Chile. After the Spanish conquistadores invaded the city they started building on top of the Incan structures, resulting in unique architecture, a fusion of the Incan and Spanish colonial styles. The group flights usually arrive in the mid-afternoon, giving time to wander the cobbled streets admiring the old houses, visiting its museums, churches and pre-Columbian buildings.
Today has been left free for us to explore Cuzco in more detail. You may wish to take an optional excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the incredible ruins at Pisac, or a paddleboarding trip can be arranged on a lake in the plateau between Cuzco and the Sacred Valley.
We leave Cuzco early this morning and drive to the start of the Inca Trail at Piscacucho, commonly known as Km82. The trail runs alongside the Vilcanota River beneath the impressive snowcapped Nevado Veronica, passing through cactus gardens and fields of corn until we reach the enormous Inca ruins of Llactapata, where we continue up a side valley to camp near the hamlet of Huayllabamba. On all departures, the classic Inca Trail can be substituted with the remote and beautiful Moonstone Trek - see Trip Notes for more details.
This is the longest and most strenuous day of the trek. A long climb takes us first through an area of cloud forest to the meadows of Llulluchapampa, then over the Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman's) Pass, at 4215m the highest point on the trek. After quite a long, steep descent we camp in the scenic valley of the Pacamayo River (3600m).
We start the day with an easier climb which takes us past the ruins of Runquracay and over the Runquracay Pass (3930m). From now on the Inca Trail becomes a clearly defined path made of flat boulders. We pass the ruins of Sayajmarca and suddenly enter rainforest; at one point the Trail passes through an Inca tunnel. We camp on the ridge above the Inca site of Phuyupatamarca (3680m) to benefit from the views of sunset and sunrise.
From the ridge we embark on the infamous Inca steps: a two kilometre stone staircase taking us rapidly downhill amid a panorama of overwhelming immensity, with the peaks of the Vilcabamba range above, and the river thousands of metres below. After visiting the attractive ruins of Wiñay Wayna, we have an undulating walk through cloud forest high above the river to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. From here we get our first full sight of Machu Picchu itself, with Huayna Picchu rising behind. Traditionally busy with groups of trekkers clamouring for dawn photos, we plan our arrival at Inti Punku later in the day so we can enjoy unobstructed views of the magnificent ruins. Passing around the edge of the ruins, we exit the site and take the bus down the windy road to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes for a well-earned rest and a shower. Our trekking permits allow us one entry into the site, which we use for our tour tomorrow, but anyone wishing to visit the citadel on both days can purchase an additional entry ticket today for approx. US$40 - your tour leader will assist with this.
We return to Machu Picchu early for a tour of the ruins at their quietest and most evocative (before the day trippers arrive from Cuzco). After free time to explore individually, we then board the train in the afternoon or evening, which winds its way through the beautiful Urubamba River Valley back to Ollantaytambo (approx. one and a half hours). We continue the remainder of the way to Cuzco by road (approx. two hours).
Today has been left free to relax after the trek or explore Cuzco further. There are a number of optional excursions available which your tour leader can arrange for you, such as mountain biking in the Sacred Valley or paddle-boarding on a lake in the plateau between Cuzco and the Sacred Valley.
For land only travellers, the trip ends in Cuzco after breakfast today. Those who are travelling on the group flights will be taken to Cuzco airport this morning to catch the overnight flight back to London.
5 nights hotels in en suite rooms, 3 nights full-service camping with dining and toilet tents
4 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
7kg personal weight limit on Inca Trail
Altitude maximum 4200m, average 3050m
All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners included are included in the price of the tour. Breakfast: hotel breakfasts are normally continental buffet-style; on trek they are more substantial and include a cooked dish such as porridge, omelette or pancakes. Lunch and dinner: on trek good quality three course cooked lunches and dinners are provided, and usually consist of soup or a starter, a main course with meat/fish and some form of carbohydrates, followed by a dessert. Drinks and water: drinking water (boiled and filtered) is provided in the mornings and at lunch during the trek so that you can refill your bottles. Bed tea/coffee is brought to your tent each morning and juice or hot drinks are provided with all meals during the trek.
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