EXCURSIONS

Inca Trail 4d/3n

DAY 1: CUSCO - WAYLLABAMBA

Very early, between 6:30 y 7:00 AM, the traveller is picked up from his lodgings and taken by Private Bus to Piscacucho,in the village of Chilca. The road goes through the Inca Sacred Valley, and the towns of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. If you so wish you can have breakfast in Urubamba.

The walk starts and one should take it easy in the beginning. After a few minutes we reach and cross the hanging bridge of Cusichaca, on the Urubamba River, built with steel cables. We turn left after the bridge and after crossing a forest of eucalyptus we reach the Llactapata archaeological site. Llactapata, "village in the highland", is an archaeological site at the foot of a mountain situated on the left bank of the Cusichaca River, a tributary of the Urubamba River. It has many cultivation terraces that probably served to feed people from other places and also keep full the "Ambos" (storehouses) of the Inca Road. Its urban sector holds more than one hundred dwellings. It also has an Inca altar called "Pulpituyoq".

We will camp out at Huayllabamba; Huayllabamba, "Green field", is a small indigenous village located in the foothills of a small mountain and surrounded by fields of corn, potatoes and other foodstuffs. Many groups camp out the first night in this place, because there are public toilet facilities and plenty of water. Close by, in an area called Patawasi, there are Inca terraces and some ancient Inca buildings.

The first day can be cloudy, almost rainy, but easy to walk because of the level and beautiful trail. The normal fatigue felt after a day on the trail slowly dissipates as the traveller rests and smells the perfume of an orchid, while darkness slowly creeps up the majestic peak of the Salkantay in the distance. Time on the trail: Three and a half hours to the first camping site at Huayllabamba.

DAY 2. WAYLLABAMBA-LLULLUPAMPA-PACAYMAYU

This is the most difficult part of the trek. You climb abruptly upwards until you reach the Warmihuañusca Pass (It means "Where the woman dies" in a literal translation from the Quechua.) at an altitude of 4200 metres. It is a hard and tedious ascension on a pronounced vertical slope until you reach the pass. Along the climb you will appreciate the changing ecology, as you leave the reasonably mild valley behind and reach the treeless pastures in the cold high parts.

The high mountain grass "ichu", can be found at the highest parts of these pastures. Before reaching the pass there is a camping site called "Llullupampa", which is to be found on a small flat plain surrounded by two crystal clear streams. It also has a public toilet. It is a good place for the traveller to stop over for a rest before climbing up the last part to the Warmihuañusca pass. This part of the trail was known as the smugglers route during the XVIII y XIX centuries and is the only point along the way where you could really become altitude sick. Normally there are strong winds and low temperatures up here.

Once across the pass, we will need an additional rest to recover before we start down towards the Pacasmayo River valley, where we will reach the campsite with public toilet facilities and a small waterfall. If during the first day the trail was barely perceptible, since it has almost disappeared due to the effect of the many earthquakes in the area, the part we cross on the second day is well defined, almost like a stone-inlaid street. There are also very steep staircases, one of which steps are almost vertical putting a heavy strain on everybody's unprepared knees.

Time on the trail: Six to seven hours until the second campsite in Pacaymayu.

DAY 3. PACAYMAYU- WIÑAYHUAYNA

It is considered the longest part of the trail. Although the differences in height are not big, it is a long hike. A second pass must be overcome where one can find the impressive archaeological remnants of Runkuracay, situated at 3800 m.a.s.l. ( Approximately 12467 ft.) Runkurakay takes it name from its half circle shape with a single entrance way with seven door-holes leading off into seven different rooms. The semicircular shape allows for shelter from the strong winds in the area. Then we descend towards the Yanacocha lake (the Black Lake) arriving in Sayaqmarca, "the Dominant village", an interesting Inca ruin on the top of steep mountain, with a panoramic view over the Acobamba valley and the snow clad Pumasillo peak. It is in the shape of a maze of very narrow streets, some which lead off to other places, others that are dead ends. The only way to access these buildings is through a steep but solid staircase of stone on the cliff side. The chasm on one side is filled with exotic plants such as orchids and lichens. It is like being inside a real living picture postcard. A memory to cherish forever. During the walk you will pass by Conchamarka, a recently discovered small archaeological site and the Chakicocha camp, a spacious open area with public toilet facilities and water. After this, we continue uphill and we will come to the first tunnel along the trail. It is about 20 metres (approximately 60 ft) long, downwards sloping with steps hewn out of the living rock. After, we continue uphill until we reach the third and last pass along the trail with the citadel of Phuyupatamarca, "Village above the clouds", which is undoubtedly one of the most original citadels along the Inca Trail. It is surrounded by the Cloud Forest. It is located on the edge of a gulch that overlooks the Urubamba. Here you will find many cultivation terraces and ceremonial fountains with fresh water. In the upper part there is a small square, where on sunny days one can appreciate the beauty ofthe Urubamba and the nearby snow-clad peaks. In the lower part there are circular constructions that look like they were following the gradient of the terrain. Close to the Phuyupatamarca pass the road starts winding downwards on circling snail shell like massive stone gradients until it reaches a second tunnel. After that the road goes along relatively plane cornices that follow the Urubamba River, until we reach Wiñayhuayna.

Wiñayhuayna, "for ever young", is found at an altitude of de 2644 m.a.s.l. (Approximately 8675 ft) and the name is derived from the typical orchids that can be found all year round with their red, yellow and violet flowers. This is possibly the most attractive of all the citadels along the Inca Trail, and the last urban centre before reaching Machu Picchu. It was built on the steep mountain slopes on the left bank of the Urubamba. It is divided into four principal parts: the living quarters, in the lower part with more than 20 buildings, the area holding the Ritual fountains, the area with cultivation terraces and the Tower area. This last holds the best architecture of the whole complex, thus being assumed to have served religious purposes or belonged to the Inca Royalty. We camps out in Wiñayhuayna.

Time on the Trail: Seven hours until reaching the last camp at Wiñayhuayna.

DAY 4. WIÑAYHUAYNA - MACHUPICCHU - CUSCO

It is important to set aside sufficient time to visit the archaeological sites and their surroundings. It would a pity if the travellers, worrying about reaching Machu Picchu in a hurry, do not stop over long enough to get to know the awesome archaeological sites along the way. The landscape has now changed from the typical Andean to the typical Amazonian.

The Incas always built their fortresses from which they could see without being seen, from where they could attack but not be attacked. The mysterious citadel of Machu Picchu, hidden away on a mountaintop on the edge of the tropical cloud forest region was thus a very difficult place to find. this last part, the traveller can see how the Urubamba river, finding its way down from the high Andes to the deep Rainforest, meanders its way past hundreds of metres tall freestanding cliffs all covered by luxuriant vegetation.

The trail continues along the side of a massif hanging over a wide chasm with green slopes that come down to the noisy and foaming rapids of the Urubamba River, thousands of metres further down. Each turn of the road reveals a different species of plant life or wildlife and beyond them, a new perspective of the impressive surrounding landscape. After three hours walk, the traveller suddenly finds himself at Intipunku, or the sun gate. A small complex of small buildings that apparently seem to have been used as a control and outlook post. It is an excellent photo opportunity for panorama shots of all of Machu Picchu.

If the traveller has started out very early, he (or she) will arrive just at dawn. This is maybe the best place and moment to contemplate the majestic grandeur of Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. You will return to the city of Cusco in a Bus and then by train. The van will take you downhill from Machu Picchu to the town of Aguas Calientes, and once there you take the train that will take you back to Cusco and your comfortable hotel in only six hours. Time on the Trail: Three hours until Machu Picchu, which we reach approximately at seven in the morning.

Arribando a Machupicchu, visita guiada y tiempo libre, luego descendemos a la población de Aguas Calientes, donde se puede visitar los baños termales, finalmente abordamos el tren para retornar a la Ciudad del Cusco.

Our service includes:

• Pickup from the hotel
• Private bus to km 82
• Bilingual and Professional tour guide
• Entrance ticket to Inca trail and Machupicchu
• Meals: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunch, 3 dinners
• Snacks: every day
• Cook
• Porters to carry the camping equipment
• Dinning tend, chairs, table.
• Tents (two people per tent)
• Mattress
• First aid box
• Oxygen balloon
• Backpacker train ticket to Cusco or to Ollantaytambo + Bus to Cusco
• Transfer to the Hotel after the trip.

Not included:

Last lunch in aguas calientes town
Bus from Machupicchu to Aguas calientes
Sleeping bags
Personal Porter

Student Price with Isic Student Card :U$D 440
Not Student Price: U$D470


*Wayna Picchu: Entrance ticket to Wayna Picchu is not included, the INC charges 90 usd for the entrance ticket to Wayna Picchu since the 15th of July 2011. It is necessary booking it in advance through this site www.machupicchu.gob.pe

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