Get ready for a mind-blowing experience as you embark on this once in a lifetime trek of the Incas. This is truly a unique chance to see one of the greatest sights the world has to offer.
With one very clear objective uniting us in Peru, it won't take long for our crew to get comfortable. Here in the ancient city of Cusco our morning will start with a guided walking tour, welcoming us into the city's ancient Inca buildings, intricate colonial architecture, artisan shops & boutiques, delicious cuisine & adrenaline activities. The rest of the day is then yours to sit back and eat ceviche or carry on exploring as you see fit. Check out the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral and people watch in the square, while keeping your eyes out for the fusion of ancient Incan buildings fused with Spanish architecture - a popular mix in these parts. Pick up some eats at a local market, sip coca tea or, if you're feeling experimental, frog juice. As the heart of the Andean Empire, this mountain city oozes chilled Peruvian vibes that are perfect for exploring on foot.
Heading out of Cusco and bound for the Sacred Valley on our private coach, this is where our journey into the ruins and mystique of this land truly begins. But first, llamas. An iconic symbol of Peru, we’ll be stopping off at a llama farm to show some love to these furry favourites up close, and we’re talking the whole humpback family – llamas, vicuna and alpacas. #llamaselfie achieved, we’ll then stop off to witness the ancient Incan art of weaving in practise by a group of talented local artisans
Our explorations of the Sacred Valley will begin with a guided tour of the Pisac and Ollantaytambo ruins. Our Local Guide will give you the d-l on both, visiting the circular terraced Pisac ruins first which date back to the 1400’s. Moving on to Ollantaytambo, base camp for where we start our trek tomorrow, we’ll appease dry mouths with some homemade Chica de Jora brew. This tiny town may be small in geographical terms, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in attitude, with artisan shops and cafes spilling out onto streets, and the roaring Urubamba river providing the perfect natural background noise. This will be our final chance to stock up on last minute essentials (socks, socks and more socks) for tomorrow trek so use your time wisely, and feel the anticipation brewing for what is about to be the adventure of a lifetime.
The moment you've no doubt been waiting for is almost here, as you prepare to take on what might just be the world's most famous hike to the pride of Peru. This morning we’ll rise early to drive to Piscacucho village, landing ourselves at kilometre 82 of the Cusco-Machu Picchu Railway. With our porters and Local Guides leading the way, we are in good hands as we take our first steps on the trail. We’ll take an easy paced hike through the Valley of Wayllabamba, allowing our bodies to get acclimatised to the altitude, reaching the first archaeological complex of Llactapata before we march on to our base for the night, which sits at an altitude of 3,000 metres above sea level. A good meal and a couple cups of coca tea will see us right, getting an early night to ensure we are fresh faced and raring to go come sun up.
Today will be something of a beast – roughly 7 hours hiking the 10.5 kilometre section of trail - but a totally epic beast that’s worth every second. Trekking through Yunca Chimpa, Llulluchapampa, and Warmiwañusca we’ll reach an altitude of 4,200 metres and observe dramatic changes in nature and ecology. There's nothing like passing through cloudforests, waterfalls and wildlife while climbing ancient ruins to leave you giving virtual high fives to the ancient Incas, wondering just the how the heck they did it back in the day. Descending into our campsite at Pacaymayo by the afternoon, which nests at 3,600 metres above sea level, we’ll devour dinner, relishing in the knowledge that this time it was well and truly deserved. Another early night beckons – tomorrow is another big push to the top.
The call of the Ruins of Runkurakay will rouse us out of bed this morning and see us departing from Pacaymayo. These ruins are an Inca resting place and will see us climb to Runkurakay Pass (3,860m aove sea level). Next up is the mysterious Inca outpost of Sayaqmarca, followed by Phuyupatamarca, quite aptly named the ”Town Above the Cloud". The Wiñay Wayna ruins (Forever Young) located at 2,650m will play host to us this evening after our 14-kilometres and 8 hours on foot. Tonight after our last night under the starts, we will sleep with smiles on our faces, knowing what tomorrow will bring...
Any body aches or all-consuming yawns will be quickly erased this morning by the knowledge that it's our last day on the trail, and our first glimpses of Machu Picchu are mere hours away. With just 3.5hours on foot and 6-kilometres to cover, the enchanting site that awaits us will make it all worthwhile. As we near the Sun Gate, cheered on by others who have similarly conquered the trail, Machu Picchu will reward you with one of the most incredible views you've ever seen - trust us on that. Descending into the site we’ll take in Wayana Picchu 'Little peak' – the iconic peak you’ll have seen in every picture ever – marvelling at the incredible handiwork of the ancient Incas. Satisfaction levels at an all-time high and with a big ol’ smile on your tired face, we’ll head back to the Sacred Valley and a squishy hotel bed you couldn’t be more deserving of.
Still living off yesterday’s dream we’ll farewell the Sacred Valley as we make our way back to Cusco.
Back in Cusco we’ll pay a visit to the Cusco Centre for Textile Traditions, a Contiki Cares & TreadRight Foundation supported centre that employs more than 500 artisans from across the region, each one working to preserve the 10,000 year old Andean tradition of weaving. Later on and after checking in to our hotel, why not ask your Trip Manager to point you in the direction of a masseuse – something you’re no doubt super deserving of! Tonight we’ll reconvene for dinner, re-living our shared experience of having conquered one of the biggest travel goals a human can have.
It’s time to say adios to your travel buddies as your trips ends after breakfast. Haven’t seen enough? Why not jump on our Bolivian Magic trip?
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Trip Name: Ultimate Inca Trail
Duration: 8 Days
From Price: £1,225
Supplier Tour ID: 174/210251
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