And the Rock Forest
Leaving from either Cusco or the Sacred Valley, we start today's adventure with a 3 hour journey driving south to the Vilcanota Mountain range and our alternative trek to the Rainbow Mountains. This is a great pre-trek warm up but we recommend that you have acclimatised for at least two days prior to hiking. It is also important to note that the weather in this mountain range can be changeable and is usually very cold due to the altitude, please refer to our packing list for appropriate clothing.
Our drive will accommodate ‘leg stretch stops’ and photo opportunities as we travel through some beautiful scenery and picturesque colonial towns. A deliciously healthy boxed breakfast is provided for the journey.
We will begin our ascent at 4787masl, walking for around 2 hours adjusting to the altitude as we climb. Once at the top of the valley we are rewarded with stunning views of Apu Ausangate, Cusco’s highest snow-capped mountain (6375m/20915ft), revered by the local population as the Guardian of Cusco, a powerful Mountain Deity.
There’s no rush as we savour the views, photographing this amazing landscape and marvelling at the peaceful vastness and spectacular range of geological colours. Off the beaten track, our experience will not be shared with many other people. A scrumptious boxed lunch and a hot drink is provided while we explore.
We then ascend to the Rock Forest, eerie and isolated rocky outcrops well worth the extra climb for another great perspective of this breath-taking, unforgettable landscape.
In the afternoon we begin our descent back down to our private transport returning to our accommodation in Cusco with a fabulous sense of achievement and having witnessed some of nature’s best art forms.
Start point - 4787masl
Highest point - 4945masl
Distance – 3.6km
DAY 1 - CUSCO TO HUAYLLABAMBAEarly in the morning, we take the way leading from Cusco to Km82 (2750 mt/9130 ft), this is our check point at the beginning of the trek. The trail follows the river valley for a while; this is a good training day before the second more challenging day. Along the way we will pass Wilkaracay with its impressive view of Patallacta which are both important Inca remains. It is just the beginning of a holy trail full of sanctuaries. Today, after about 7 hours walking we will reach our first camping place at Huayllabamba (3000 mt/9842ft). On reaching our camp for the evening we will be met by our trek team, the porters who will have already set up camp and our cook who will be preparing our evening meal. Day Distance: 12 km / 7.3 ml Approximate Walking time: 6-7 hrs Meals: L, D + Snacks
DAY 2 - HUAYLLABAMBA TO PACAYMAYOEver optimistic, the sun will be shining on our second day as we follow the Inca trail to Warmiwañusta (Dead Woman’s Pass). This is considered to be the most challenging trek day as we cross this highest point of the trail at 4200m (13779ft), prepare for a steep uphill until we summit. The sense of achievement is a reward in itself, then a beautiful stone trail will show us the way as we descend to our tents in the campsite at Pacaymayo (3580 mt/11740 ft). On reaching our camp for the evening we will be met by our trek team who will have already set up camp and our cook who will be preparing our mouthwatering evening meal. Day Distance: 11km / 7 ml Approximate Walking time: 8 to 9 hrs. Meals: B, L, D + Snacks
DAY 3 - PACAYMAYO TO PHUYUPATAMARCAWaking up just in time to be served a hot drink, our tents pitched within the surroundings of the cloud forest. After a good and healthy breakfast we continue along this ancient trail passing small marshes, continuing over the second mountain pass of the trek. It is the second highest point of the hike (3,900mt/12,950ft). As we descend we will see the flora and fauna become more abundant with hummingbirds accompanying us along our route. We have lunch at Chaquicocha (3500 mt/11,620 ft) a fine place for a break in the middle of the cloud forest. The last two hours of the day, are some of the most memorable and breathtaking views of the Inca Trail. We reach our last campsite when the sun sets at Phuyupatamarca, a befitting name meaning 'town in the clouds'. Day Distance: 12 km / 7.3 ml Approximate Walking time: 8 to 9 hrs Meals: B, L, D + Snacks
DAY 4 - PHUYUPATAMARCA TO MACHU PICCHUWe begin the final leg of our trek to the lost city of Machupicchu. We descend for 3hrs, about 900m below from Phuyupatamarca. On the way down there are a couple of Incan Archaeological sites: Intipata first, and then Wiñaywayna which is just 2 hrs before the Sungate entrance (“Inti Punku”). Having taken time to enjoy the first glimpse of Machu Picchu; we walk down in to the astonishing complex for a full tour to learn from our guide all about this fascinatingly unique Citadel. Later we take the bus down to be on time for the train back to Ollantaytambo, from here, our private transport will bring us back to Cusco. Day Distance: 7.3 km / 4.5 ml Approximate Walking time: 5 hrs Meals: B, L + Snacks
Machu Picchu EXTENSION
At Quechua Treks we aim to provide bespoke itineraries suited to each adventurer down to the last detail, we want to create your dream experience. Together, we can customize our itineraries with additional activities ranging from a variety of ‘adrenaline pumping’, ‘culture vulture’ or ‘relax and unwind’ options to best fit your needs throughout your tour. Check out our ideas for inspiration and let us know what captures your imagination!
The Beauty of the South
Gastronomic experiences in Lima, a day hiking in the Andes, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Titicaca Lake.
A combination of rafting, biking, fly fishing, trekking, camping and hiking the one day Inca Trail in the most beautiful wilderness.
The Best of the Valley
Exploring the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, in a privately guided tour and you will avoid all of the big crowds.
The Amazon and the Inca Trail
Deep exploration of Amazonian Nature & wildlife. Get to know one of the least impacted habitats in the world and the classic Inca Trail all the way to Machu Picchu.