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Inka Trail Machu  Picchu Cusco
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Inca Trail

The Incas were once one of the world’s largest empires. They developed an extensive network of roads known as ‘Capac Nan’, or  ‘Royal Road’, covering an incredible 30,000km and connecting all four regions of the empire from Quito in Ecuador, past Santiago in Chile and La Paz in Bolivia to Tucuman in Argentina. These tightly packed stone paths were wide enough for either two or three people, or a llama train, and some scaled heights of more than 5000m. Incas running along the paths as imperial messengers were able to cover more than 400km a day!

The renowned Inca Trail, linking the Inca city of Machu Picchu with the Sacred Valley is just one among a multitude of paths across the Andes. But it is one of the best preserved of these roads and it is also the world’s most famous trek.

The Inca Trail is set in the National Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, an area of more than 32,000 hectares established by the Peruvian government to protect the fantastic range of ecological zones from 6271m Andean glacial peaks down to Amazon cloud forest at less than 2000m at the foot of Machu Picchu.  The different eco-systems harbour an impressive variety of flora and fauna, including 370 species of birds (such as humming birds, cocks-of-the rock and Andean condors), 47 species of mammals (such as spectacled bears and pumas), 700 butterfly species and 300 different species of orchids.

The 43km-long Inca Trail crosses over three high Andean passes – including the 4198m ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ – and offers splendid views of snowy mountain peaks, distant rivers and ranges, cloud forests, and numerous cliff-hugging Inca ruins, tunnels, stairs and the paved stone paths which are a marvel in their own right.

Itinerary


Day 1: Cusco - Inca Trail (Huayllabamba)

We leave Cusco by bus at about 6.30 am and drive towards the town of Urubamba, from which we follow the Urubamba River as far as Chilca (82km). We start our trek from Chilca, accompanied by a professional guide and porters. After around seven hours - the majority of which is gently uphill - we reach the small settlement of Huayllabamba, where we spend the first night.

Day 2: Inca Trail (Pacumayo Valley)

Today we trek for around eight hours, climbing up to the highest point of the trail – the 4200m ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ - and then descending into the Pacumayo valley, with its beautiful views of snow-capped mountains. We spend the second night at about 3600 meters.

Day 3: Inca Trail (Winaywayna)

Today we walk for another eight or nine hours, to the ruins of Winaywayna. En route we pass several minor Inca sites, including Sayacmarka and Phuyupatamarka. We spend our last night at Winaywayna, the last campsite before reaching Machu Picchu, only two hours further on.

Day 4: Inca Trail – Machu Picchu - Cusco

We have an early start and walk for one hour until we reach Intipunku, also known as the Sun Gate. From here we get the first view of Machu Picchu. We then continue for another hour to the actual ruins of Machu Picchu, where we have a guided tour lasting around two hours.
At 4pm, we get on the Backpacker Express train to Cusco, which we reach at around 8pm.


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