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We leave Cusco early in the morning and drive 1 hour and 45 minutes to Soqma (3,205 m / 10,512 ft). This is the starting point of our trek and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the hike. Additionally, our chef will be waiting for us here with a delicious and energizing breakfast.
We begin the hike with a 1 ¾ hour walk to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect opportunity to stop for photos and a snack. The waterfall that you will see at this location is breathtaking! We will then hike a further 35 minutes until we visit the Inca site of the same name, where we will have a brief tour. This will be our lunch site.
After a refueling lunch, we will ascend 45 minutes until our camp at Rayan (3,700 meters/9,350 ft)
We depart camp at about 6:30 AM for a 4 hour uphill trek with incredible views of the “nevadas”/snow-capped peaks, llamas, valleys, and if we are lucky, a passing condor – the largest bird in the Andes with a wing-span of up to 10 feet across. Here we reach the Kuychicassa pass (4,450 m /14,596 ft) where we take a break and soak in the magnificent views of the Chancachuco Valley on one side of the pass and the Sacred Valley of the Incas on the other side.
Then we start our descent and hike for another hour until we reach the location where we will take our lunch break.
After lunch we ascend for 30 min by way of a narrow trail following a stream with beautiful views of Mt. Veronica (5,822 m/ 19,100 ft).
This is followed by a 4 hour walk downhill to reach the small community of Ancashcocha (3,700 m/12,136 ft), our campsite for the evening, in a small, gorgeous wooded valley with a stream running through it.
Views of a nearby glacier and well preserved Inca remains are the highlight of this day. After a hearty breakfast we are ready for this challenging day. Ascending towards the Huayanay Pass (4,650 m/ 15,298 ft) for 4 hours, the highest point of our trek, which is a steep zigzag trail uphill, we find an original cobblestone paved Inca trail. On the way, we see the beautiful waterfall that feeds into the Ancashcocha lake.
After this stunning view, we descend for 45 minutes until the Inca site of Incarajay. We will have lunch here.
At this point we will embark on a long descent into greener vegetation. During this stretch of the trek we will have views of the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu appear in the distance, and fascinating views of the communities of the Qésqua valley. We will pass by the quaint Muyu Muyu community (3,850 m/12,628 ft).
From Muyu Muyu it is a further 2 hour descent to our campsite next to the beautiful Inca remains of Paucarcancha (3,133 m/10,276 ft). This camp is a unique Inca settlement recently restored that served as a “Tambo.” A Tambo was an Incan structure that was built for administrative and military purposes.
Today we change pace as we join the classic Inca Trail. This is where we will say goodbye to our horsemen and the horses, and meet our porters.
From Paucarcancha we will hike 25 minutes downhill to the last village on the Classic Inca Trail, Huayllabamba (2,866 m / 9,400 ft). This will be followed by a 4 hour uphill hike to Llulluchapampa (3,700 m/12,136 ft). On the way we will hike through many ecosystems, including the cloud forest. Llulluchapampa is our camp for the night. It is located very close to Dead Woman´s Pass.
Your porters will wake you up early with a hot cup of coca tea to get you ready for the day. Today is the longest day of the Inca trail portion of the hike and we will start early. We’ll hike for roughly 2 hours to the highest pass of the Inca trail, Dead Woman’s Pass (4,215 meters/13,829 feet). On reaching the pass we’ll stop for a short break to enjoy the views before setting off again to descend to the next valley (Pacaymayu Valley – Hidden River).
It’s another hour and a half down the side of the valley to our lunch spot and a chance to refill our water bottles. After lunch we begin ascending again to the second pass of the trek. It’s 2 hours to the pass and along the way we’ll stop at a small Inca site (Runcu Raccay) and see two huge waterfalls cascading down the opposite side of the valley. After the second pass, it’s another hour downhill hike to reach the magnificent Inca site, Sayacmarca (an otherwise inaccessible village).
We’ll stop here for a rest and have a tour of the site and then watch the sunset over the Vilcabamba mountain range. It’s then just another 20 minutes until we stop for the night at our campsite Chaquicocha (Dry Lake, 3,600 m/ 11,808 ft). After dinner we can do some stargazing and your guide will point out the fascinating Inca constellations. In the magnificent Southern Hemisphere sky, away from all the artificial lighting, this sky is something to behold!
After another fantastic breakfast we will hike for two hours until we reach Phuyupatamarca (3,680 m/ 12,073 ft). From this location we will have astonishing views of Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu Mountain, and Huayna Picchu mountain. We will also have a guided tour of the Phuyupatamarca Inca site.
Now it is time to head into the rain forest! We will walk downhill for 2 ½ hours until we reach our camp. During this stretch of the trail we will visit Inti Pata. Many people feel that the most beautiful pictures of the entire Inca trail can be taken from this location! After Inti Pata it is a further 30 minutes to our campsite at Wiñay Wayna (2,680 m /8,792 ft). When we arrive at the camp we will have lunch. After relaxing for a short time we will visit the archeological site that bears the same name as the camp.
Wiñay Wayna is the largest and most beautiful archeological site on the Inca trail and means forever young in Quechua. We are one of the few companies that provide a guided tour of Wiñay Wayna.
We will rise very early to complete the final stretch of the Inca Trail, which brings us to Inti Punku or the Sun Gate, the principal entrance of the crystal city of Machu Picchu. The trail here is fairly easy going and after about an hour we will arrive to Inti Punku (2,400 m/ 7,875 ft), an awesome location to observe the citadel of Machu Picchu and the sunrise in the Andes.
From Inti Punku it is a further 40 minute downhill hike to the citadel of Machu Picchu. We will go to the classic “photo” spot and take pictures once we arrive. Then there will be a short break prior to starting our tour of Machu Picchu. The tour will last two hours. If you elect to climb Huayna Picchu mountain, your hike will begin after the tour, at 10 AM.
When you are finished exploring the extraordinary city of Machu Picchu you will travel to Aguas Calientes by bus. You will then take the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo where our private van will be waiting to transport you back to your hotel in Cusco. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket.
We will provide transportation to the airport or bus station when you end your trip to Cusco!
An unforgettable experience in Ancascocha.