Inca Trail Expedition 5D/4N
Price: $785USD per person
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- Hike on the historic Inca Trail at a slow pace
- See Machu Picchu two times
- Perfect for families, or those worried about trekking too fast
- Hotel in Aguas Calientes included, for a good rest before you visit the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu
Day 1: Cusco – Ollantaytambo – KM 82 – Hatunchaca
We will depart from Cusco at 5 a.m. in a private transport and head toward KM 82, the starting point of the Inca Trail. After this beautiful drive, your chef will prepare breakfast before you head out for the hike. We start our hike walking along the left shore of the Urubamba River, following the trail along a flat terrain, to the community of Miskay (2800 m /9184 ft). The first two hours of the trek are relatively easy as we make our way to our first Inca site, Patallacta. This is an Inca checkpoint for the approach to Machu Picchu. After we arrive to Patallacta, we will make our way down into the canyon to enjoy lunch and the views of Patallacta. From Patallacta, we will continue on the trail at an easy pace, while enjoying the scenery and hearing stories from your tour guide. It's about a two hour walk to reach our camping site at the village of Hatunchaka (3,300 meters).
Total Distance: 12 km (7,800 miles)
Estimated Walking Time: 4 hours
Maximum Altitude Point: 2,600 m (8,692 ft)
Campsite Altitude: 3,000 m (9,842 ft)
Day 2: Hatunchaca – Dead Woman’s Pass – Pacaymayo
We wake up early to begin our ascent to Dead Woman´s Pass. The views of the snow-capped mountains and the cloud forest are fantastic. This first stretch is the most difficult part of the trek. It consists of a steep ascent that stretches for nine kilometers, which will bring us to the first mountain pass in the Inca Trail, Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s pass). We will stop at Llulluchapampa to relax and to buy any last essentials. We may be able to see deer and falcons in this area. From Llulluchapampa, the landscape changes from cloud forest to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). We will have the chance to spot domesticated llamas and alpacas, who graze on ichu (one of the few plants that grow at that altitude). Following, it's a two hour walk up to the pass, where we can enjoy the beautiful panorama and a refreshing cup of coca tea. After we've made it to the pass, it's downhill for the rest of the day. After about two hours, we'll stop for lunch and have a free afternoon in the Pacaymayo valley.
Total Distance: 10 km (7,376 miles)
Estimated Walking Time: 6 hours
Maximum Altitude Point: 4,215 m (13,821 ft)
Campsite Altitude: 3,600 m (11,811 ft)
Day 3: Pacaymayo – Runcu Raccay Pass- Sayacmaraca Ruins – Phuyupatamarca
After breakfast, we will continue our hike up the opposite side of the valley, as we make our way towards the second pass on the trek. Along the way, we will see fantastic views of waterfalls and flora and fauna. Half way up, we will stop and visit the Inca site of Runcu Raccay (an Inca watchtower), and to catch our breath before we continue our climb to the pass (4,000 meters). From the pass, we will once again begin our descent back into the cloud forest. After about an hour, we arrive at Sayacmarca, one of the most beautiful ruins on the Inca Trail, where we'll have a one hour, guided tour. From Sayacmarca, we will continue to our lunch spot at Chaquicocha (dry lake), where you will see some of the fantastic flora and fauna the Inca Trail has to offer. From Chaquicocha onwards, we will walk along Inca flat (gradual inclines), as we make our way towards our final campsite, Phuyupatamarca (3,680 meters). This area of the Inca Trail had stunning views of the Vilcabamba mountain range, as well as abundant flora and fauna. After another two hour walk, we'll arrive to our campsite, where we'll get our first view of Machu Picchu mountain and the Urubamba river. We'll settle in to our campsite, and have the chance to explore the Inca site. As the sun goes down, we can enjoy the beautiful sunset over the snow-capped peaks.
Total Distance: 13 km (8,136 miles)
Estimated Walking Time: 9 hours
Maximum Altitude Point: 4,000 (13,123 ft)
Campsite Altitude: 3,680 m (12,033 ft)
Day 4: Phuyupatamarca – Wiñay Wayna – Sun Gate – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes
Today, we will have the chance to enjoy one of the most spectacular sunrises on the Inca Trail, weather permitting. After breakfast you´ll have a guided tour of Phuyupatamarca, and then we will start our way down the long descending stone steps. This will lead us to Wiñay Wayna (2,650 m/8, 692 ft), which is where we will camp for the night. As we near the bottom of the staircase, we'll take a side path of the main route to visit the site of Intipata (Terraces of the Sun). This site has beautiful views of the Sacred Valley. It was an important agricultural site for Machu Picchu. We'll spend some time at Intipata, and then continue on to Wiñay Wayna. Wiñay Wayna is the biggest archaeological site on the Inca Trail, besides Machu Picchu. It consists of an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center, with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector, offering spectacular views over the already narrower Urubamba River valley. After our visit, we will have our last lunch with the porters. Following, it is a tradition on the Inca Trail to have a thanking ceremony for all the hard work the porters and cooks have provided. If you wish, you may leave a tip for them, at this time. After we've said goodbye to our team, we will carry on to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), where we'll get our first views of Machu Picchu. It takes about an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones in the highland jungle to reach the Sun Gate. Following, it is about another hour down to the site itself. Upon arrival, we'll have a chance to enjoy the sunset and to see Machu Picchu without crowds, before taking the bus to your hotel in Aguas Calientes.
*Private groups can arrange to camp this evening, instead of staying at a hotel
Hotel: Inti Punku (or similar)way
Total Distance: 11 km (614 miles)
Estimated Walking Time: 5 hours
Maximum Altitude Point: 3,680 m (12,033 ft)
Day 5: The Most Important Day (The Lost City of The Incas) – Cusco
We will wake up early and board one of the first buses to Machu Picchu, to enjoy the sunrise at the citadel (if the weather allows). These buses are first come, first serve, starting at 5:30 a.m. You'll have a two hour tour of the Inca citadel, and then some free time to explore. If you have purchased permits for Huayna Picchu, your guide will show you where this climb begins. It will take you 45 minutes to the top and another 45 back down. This needs to be booked in advance, and costs $75 per person. When you are done with the citadel, you will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes, and meet for our last lunch in town. Lunch with your group is optional and is not included in the trek cost. Following, you will take the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo, where our private bus will be waiting to take you back to Cusco and drop you off at your hotel.
Professional Guides: All of our guides studied English and tourism at Cusco National University. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional, and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Permits: As soon as we receive your details and a deposit, we will purchase your permits (pending availability, check our Inca Trail Availability link). These permits are for a specific date and in your name. They can’t be changed, once confirmed. Only your passport number is allowed to be updated. The permit includes an entrance to Machu Picchu.
Briefing: The night before your trek, you will come to our office for your briefing. You will receive your duffel bag that will stay with your porters, while you hike. This bag should not exceed 7 kg/14 lbs and does need to include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
Porters: We include a personal porter, who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag. There is no additional fee for this. You will not have access to your duffel bag until your evening campsite.
Hotel: The trek will include three nights of camping along the Inca Trail, and one night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu. We include a two star hotel, typically at Inti Punku Inn (or similar), if available. Your booked hotel will be listed on your confirmed invoice. Upgrades are always possible.
Transportation: All your transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4 a.m. (unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo) and brought to KM 82, to begin your trek. The train back from Aguas Calientes is included. This is Expedition class but can be upgraded to the Vistadome train for $75 per person. Once you arrive at the train station, you will be brought back to your hotel in Cusco. Your round-trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is also included.
Equipment: Alpaca Expeditions has the best equipment. We use Eureka Timberline 4 tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
Food: The Alpaca Expeditions chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have raved about. We honor all food restrictions. Be sure to remind your tour guide of any food restrictions at the beginning of your trek. Food is typically served family-style.
You will enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the trek, along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. You will also be provided a snack each morning for you to enjoy along the hike. Your last meal with your chef will be after breakfast on day four. Lunch the last day is not included.
Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, Alpaca Expeditions will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal.
First Aid: Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training sessions every February, which every single Alpaca tour guide must attend. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. We will get you off the trail as quickly and comfortably as possible, if needed, and ensure you get directly to a clinic for treatment.
Extras: We believe it's the attention to small details that separates us from other tour companies. Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mat for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking and a rain poncho. We will work hard to create your best vacation.
Rentals: Every trekker needs a sleeping bag, when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional, but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:
Sleeping Bag: $25
Inflatable Air Mattress: $20
Walking Sticks (Pair): $20
Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep, if you are scared of heights. This is done after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $75. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Please understand that weather is out of our control.
We can leave any day of the week, as long as permits are available. Please remember, permits are only needed for your start date.
2016 Price Group Price (March 2016 through January 2017):
$785 per person
Private Tours are based on Group Size:
Two trekkers: $995
Three trekkers: $955
Four trekkers: $925
Five trekkers: $885
Six trekkers: $845
Seven trekkers: $815
Eight, or more Trekkers: $785
$35 off per person
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid Green ISIC card at the time of the trek or who is 16-years-old or younger. For those using an ISIC card to receive the discount, we need to see a copy of the card at booking. For those booking children 16-years-old or younger, we need a copy of their passport at booking time. Please send all to email@example.com.
More Information about ISIC STUDENT CARD
Inti Punku (or similar)
This is a three star hotel and is based on sharing a room, either double, matrimonial or triple. There is a single room surcharge of $30. Rooms all include private bathrooms, with hot showers and wifi. We can also upgrade your hotel, if you prefer. Please remember, that the service you receive in Aguas Calientes may not be comparable to that of Cusco. Below is a list of possible upgrade options, but prices can be negotiated at most hotels in Aguas Calientes.
La Cabana: +$40 shared (+$110 for a single)
Casa Andina: $40 shared ($110 for a single)
El Mapi: +$70 shared (+$170 for a single)
As you see in our Additional Options, there are several optional upgrades you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices.
Huayna Picchu: $75 per person
Vistadome Train (one way): $75 per person
While it may seem early to be thinking of a trip for next year, it is actually quite a good idea. To enter the Inca Trail, you need a permit from the Peruvian government, which we secure for you - but these permits are extremely limited and sell very quickly. Only 500 permits per day are issued, and that also includes permits for all of the support staff for trekkers – guides, cooks and porters (horses are not permitted on most of the Inca Trail). Permits for the next season are not on sale quite yet, they will be released in January, but once they are many dates will be sold out within the first few hours, so getting your reservation in very early is a great idea.
How to Get Started
So please, start thinking of when you would like to trek with us. Get your reservation in early. Give us a few options of your start date and list them in your order of preference.
Fill in our Booking Form with all of your details – we must have your accurate passport information as well to secure your permit (if you are in the process of renewing your passport, send us your old passport information and we can later update it with your new passport number). On the Booking Form we will need your first, second and third choices for dates to start your Inca Trail hike. With your deposit of $200 per person, we will put your reservation in a queue for your requested dates and on the day that the permits are released we will be in the Permit Office.
When will you know your start date?
We will keep you up to date with where we are in the process at all times and will confirm your start date when permits are in our hands. And we will do everything we can to secure your #1 choice.
Permits are released in January and when we know the official date, we will list on our website and social media sites. You will always know where we are in the process and will move as quick as possible.
When should you book?
Now. There is no reason to wait and we are busy taking reservations already. If you need to choose your preferred start date, we can adjust this until Christmas time. After New Years we may close off reservations to make sure we are organized and ready for the release of permits.
We are so excited to take you on this journey and will do everything we can to make it your best vacation yet.
Getting to Cusco
The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air and there are several options in airlines. LAN tends to be the most expensive, but has the most options and flights. Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.
Any extra luggage you have with you can be left safely in Cusco at either your hotel or with us at the Alpaca Expeditions deposit while you trek. We will grab from you the morning of your trek and return once you are back in Cusco. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.
As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the coca plant contain alkaloids which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Remember the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness when they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slowly, it will give your body time to adjust to the mountain.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water. And enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you unfortunately get sick, let your guide know right away – all Alpaca Expeditions guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Of course weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also prepare for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm, winter-weight jacket.
Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February – every single Alpaca guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better.
In case something unexpected happens and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way off the course and to a clinic. You will never be left alone; you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and re-connect with your group, traveling by train comfortably.
To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. In fact, we work with a great agency in the United States that has helped to make it easy and affordable. This is a great way to protect yourself while visiting Peru.
If interested in booking through our trusted partner, Ahart, Frinzi & Smith, CLICK HERE.
Alpaca Expeditions uses biodegradable soap and transports all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pickup any waste from other groups as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.
Alpaca Expeditions is really proud of the work we do for our community. This is a main focus for our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with needs their families were missing. We have supported local schools with by giving them computers and books. We currently sponsor a teacher at the village most of our porters come from to ensure their children are offered the best education.
We buy all our food from local farmers and markets and serve the freshest ingredients. We provide English classes for all our team: guides, porters, chefs and drivers. And we are building a house for our porters to give them a safe and comfortable place to stay before and after our treks so they no longer need to sleep on the floor of a friend.
And twice every year we bring our porters and their families to Machu Picchu. This is our favorite trip to do as they guys who work tirelessly have never visited the Lost Citadel of the Incas. Showing them this place is our biggest honor.
We are always looking to do more and for partners. Please let us know of your ideas and we will work to help.
Personal Porter Included
All of our treks include porters, who are responsible for carrying and setting up all equipment. They will also carry your personal duffel, which you will receive at your briefing the night before your trek. This duffel can not exceed 7 kg/14 lbs, and must include your sleeping bag and air mat.
Each Alpaca Expeditions porter is given a proper uniform, salary and insurance. They are the backbone of our company.
- Valid, GREEN ISIC card (if you booked as a student)
- Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)
- Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
- Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbaks are encouraged - but enough for at least 2-3 liters.
- Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
FOR YOUR DUFFEL:
Porters will carry up to 7 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you bring/rent one). From us these two items weigh 3.5 kg.
- 2-3 wicking t-shirts
- 2-3 hiking pants
- 1 nice outfit for Machu Picchu day
- 5 sets of undergarments.
- 4 sets of hiking socks
- 1 Fleece
- 1 Warm, down jacket: gets very cold at night
- 1 Rain jacket and pants
- 1 sun hat
- 1 wool hat
- Headlamp: essential
- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
- Comfortable shoes for camp
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Quickdry towel. We provide small ones, you might enjoy something a little larger.
- Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to clean - might make you feel fresh if you had a little soap.
- Battery Charger: There is no place to plug in while trekking!
- Large plastic bags: to help organize and keep clean from dirty.
- Sleeping bag: Recommend down bags for -10C at least
- Face moisturizer
- Bug spray
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Personal medication
- First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc.
INSIDE YOUR DAYPACKS:
Daypacks can be any size for hiking, but we always recommend the smaller, the better. Inside Machu Picchu, no bag larger than 25L will be allowed in. If larger, you will need to store outside citadel gates.
- Water: we supply clean water at each meal. You are responsible for your first morning of water only as we won't have time to filter water until your first lunch.
- Rain gear
- Music (IPhone)
- Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips
Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. While this hike is done on your own, your guide will direct you to where this hike begins. This is an additional entrance ticket that we can secure for you with an advance notice.
The ticket is $75 per person.
Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu mountain is the other mountain that stands above the Machu Picchu ruins. It offers even more stunning views than Huayna Picchu, but takes an hour and a half to reach the top. This is an additional entrance ticket that we can secure for you.
This ticket is $75 per person.
All our tours include the Expeditions (Tourist) Train. This train is normally booked at 4:22 p.m., leaving Aguas Calientes. The Vistadome train is an upgraded train, that offers slightly larger seats, windows and even some entertainment. Normally, the Vistadome train is booked for 3:20 p.m. and travels to Poroy, a train station closer to Cusco. While this is an upgraded fee, we will still include your transportation back to your hotel.
This train is $75 per person.
The Journey is the Destination
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