Path to the SunGate8 Days/7 Nights
Price: $1,255USD Per person
Welcome to Cusco
You will be welcomed at the Cusco airport by our friendly representative and transferred to your hotel. Remember, landing at 3,300 meters can be hard on the body. Do not feel concerned if you have shortness of breath or a small headache. This is common and should go away quickly. You can reduce the symptoms by staying hydrated with water and tea. You will have a free day to acclimatize and visit the impressive main square of Cusco.
( Provide us your flight details to pick you up and transfer to your hotel )
Accommodations: Rumi Punku ( 3-star hotel )
Meals: Not Included
Entrance Tickets: N/A
Sacred Valley of the Incas
At 8 a.m. we will pick you up to begin your full day tour of the Sacred Valley. On our way to Pisaq, we will stop at some beautiful lookout points for photos. Eventually, we will arrive at the traditional market in Pisaq, which offers great souvenir shopping. We will also visit the Pisaq ruins and begin your history of the Incan empire. Following, you will make the one hour trip to Urubamba, where you can get lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, we will drive an hour to Ollantaytambo fortress, where you will explore the Sun Temple. You will then drive back to Cusco and head directly to the Alpaca Expeditions office for your trek briefing. You will have the opportunity to ask your tour guide any last minute questions. You will receive a duffel bag to pack for your journey.
Accommodations: Rumi Punku ( 3-star hotel )
Entrance Tickets: Included
Inca Trail Day 1
Alpaca Expeditions will pick you up from where ever you are staying in Cusco at 4:30 AM, We will then drive to Km 82, arriving at about 7:00 AM. After a delicious breakfast prepared by your cook, we’ll go through the first Inca Trail checkpoint to begin our trek (please make sure you have your original passport with you to enter the Inca Trail). The first 2 hours of the trek are relatively easy as we make our way to our first Inca site, Patallacta which is an ancient Inca checkpoint for the approach to Machu Picchu. From Patallacta it’s another 2-hour hike to our lunch stop. After lunch, we will hike for another 2½ hours until we reach the first night’s campsite at Ayapata (3300 meters). On this last stretch, we pass through 2 small communities. If you want to buy any energy drinks or snacks you can do so here, you can also buy any essential items such as batteries that you may have forgotten. We’ll arrive to our campsite by 5:00 PM and after settling in for a bit you can relax and have a hot drink and snack with your team of porters, chef, and guide. By 7:30 PM your dinner will be ready, and afterward, you can get some well-deserved rest.
Walking Distance: 14 km (6-7 hours)
Campsite Altitude: 3,300 meters high above sea level
Considered: Moderate day (getting used to the Inca Trail)
Weather: Warm and windy
Inca Trail, Day 2
Your porters will wake you up early with a hot cup of coca tea to get you ready for the day. Today is our longest day and we will start early. We’ll hike for roughly 4 hours to the highest pass of the trek, Dead Woman’s Pass (4215 meters/13829 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 quick 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 second campsite Chaquicocha (Dry Lake, 3600 meters). After dinner, if you’re not too exhausted, we can do some star gazing and we’ll point out the fascinating Inca constellations. In the magnificent Southern Hemisphere sky, away from all the artificial lighting, this sky is something to behold!
Walking Distance: 16 km (7-8 hours)
Campsite Altitude: 3,600 meters high above sea level (chilled weather)
Considered: Top day (we will survive two passes)
Area: Andes and the cloud forest
Weather: Cold and rainy
Inca Trail, Day 3
Completing Day 2 and beginning Day 3 certainly deserves a pat on the back! We begin early again, waking up at 6:30am to begin what is commonly felt to be the most beautiful day of the whole Inca Trail. We hike for 2 hours along what we like to call “Inca flat” (gradual inclines) and begin to enter the jungle, known as the Cloud Forest. As we walk we will have the opportunity to see the majesty of Salkantay, the second highest snow-capped mountain in the Sacred Valley, and a fantastic panoramic view of the Vilcabamba mountain range. Towards the end of the Inca flats we begin to make our way up to the last peak at Phuyupatamarka (3600 meters) from where we’ll have great views overlooking the Urubamba River. Down the valley we get our first views of Machu Picchu Mountain but the site itself is still hidden from view. From Phuyupatamarka it´s a 3 hour walk down a flight of steps to our last campsite, close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). Wiñay Wayna is the most spectacular Inca site on the trail after Machu Picchu and the most popular campsite because of its proximity to Machu Picchu.
During the descent we visit 2 Inca ruins, Phuyupatamarka (Town in the Clouds) and Intipata (Terraces of the Sun). We arrive at our campsite around 1:00PM to have lunch and then relax for the entire afternoon so that you’re relaxed and ready for your final day at Machu Picchu. At around 4:30PM your guide will give you a short orientation and you will visit the Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna, spending about an hour and a half there. We will explain the significance of the site and combine all the information given during the trek so you’re fully prepared for your visit to Machu Picchu the following day.
We like to spoil our guests as we enjoy our last feast with the porters and chefs. It’s an Inca Trail tradition to organize a ceremony in the evening to introduce the team to the tourists once again and to thank them for the great job done (if you wish to provide tips for them then you can do so at this time). It is advisable to go to bed at a reasonable time in order to get up in the early hours of the morning to arrive to Machu Picchu at the crack of dawn in the hopes that the weather will give us a beautiful sunrise over the ruins at Machu Picchu.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Walking Distance: 10 km (5 hours)
Campsite Altitude: 2,600 meters high above sea level (chilly weather)
Considered: Easy day (downhill only)
Area: High cloud forest
Weather: Warm and very humid
Inca Trail, Day 4: Machu Picchu Day
Wake up time is at 3:30AM. We’ll eat breakfast at 4:00AM and wait at the checkpoint to be one of the first to start trekking when they open the gates at 5:30AM. We’ll wave goodbye to our team of porters and chef and then it’s “Forward On” to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). From here we have spectacular views of the mountains and Machu Picchu in all its glory. We reach the Sun Gate by 6:30am and then it’s just an hour trek downstairs to reach the Lost City of the Incas. As we approach Machu Picchu the views of the city just get better and better! At about 7:40AM we’ll reach the final checkpoint and enter Machu Picchu to begin our 2 hour private guided tour. After the tour you’ll be given your bus tickets to make your way down to Aguas Calientes and you’ll have plenty of free time to explore on your own or climb one of the neighboring mountain – Huaynapicchu (must be arranged ahead of time). Your guide will offer to meet you down in the village of Aguas Calientes to enjoy your last lunch in a local restaurant. This is optional and not included. At lunch, he will hand out train tickets, so if you choose to skip, please arrange to get these before leaving him at Machu Picchu.
Unless you arranged for an upgraded train, we will book the Expedition class train departing Aguas Calientes at 4:20. Please make sure you are on the platform at least 30 minutes ahead of time. This train will be 2 hours to Ollantaytambo where an Alpaca driver will meet you and drive you back to the city in our bus, then we will drop you off at your hotel.
Considered: The most exciting and magical day (early wake-up 3.30AM)
Area: High Cloud and Subtropical Forest
Weather: Hot and very humid (bring lots of water)
Accommodations: Rumi Punku*
Meals: Breakfast Only
Walking Distance: 5 km
Altitude at Machu Picchu: 2400 m
Considered: The most exciting and magical day
Area: High cloud and tropical forest
Weather: Hot and very humid
Free Day & rest
You will have a free day to celebrate your achievement of hiking the Inca Trail, however, if you want to do any activity for additional price let us know, option is Rain bow mountain hike for $230 per person
Accommodations: Rumi Punku ( 3-star hotel )
Journey to Lima
You will have one last chance for souvenir shopping in Cusco. There will be optional time to visit the Weaving Center Museum on El Sol Avenue. We will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Lima.
( Let us know your flight details to schedule the transfer to the airport )
Meals: Breakfast Only at hotel
With 3 Star Hotels: $1,255 per person
With Upgraded Hotels (Mix or 4 and 5 Star): $1675 per person
* prices are based on a shared room
Book Without Hotels: $-225 per person
Single Room (with 3 stars): + $225 per person
Single Room (with 4 stars): + $625 per person
$35 discount for all children under 16-years-old, or those with a valid student university card.
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid UNIVERSITY STUDENT CARD at the time of the trek or who is 17-years-old or younger. For those using an university student card to receive the discount, we need to see a copy of the card at booking. For those booking children 17-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
- The hotels listed in itineraries are always our first options when booking, but a similar hotel will be booked if they are unavailable. Your Alpaca Expeditions Representative will give you the name of the confirmed hotel after booking.
- An additional day can be added before and/or after your tour. Ask your Alpaca specialist for prices and options.
- All transportation, including transfers to and from airports
- All entrance fees, including your permit for the Inca Trail, entrance to Machu Picchu and entrance for the Sacred Valley tour sites
- For the Inca Trail we provide a tour guide, food, and equipment
- Four nights in a hotel in Cusco (based on availability)
- Rain ponchos (made in Cusco by Alpaca Expeditions)
- Day pack rain covers (made in Cusco by Alpaca Expeditions)
- Flights and taxes
- Meals that are not mentioned on your itinerary
- Some hiking equipment that you might need to rent (sleeping bags, inflatable sleeping pads and trekking poles)
It is important that you attend your briefing at the Alpaca Expeditions office. Your tour guide will provide you with tips and a duffel bag for your Inca Trail trek.
Enjoy the Best Chefs in the Mountains
We include all meals and snacks for every trek until the last lunch (after your tour of Machu Picchu). For your last lunch in Aguas Calientes, or for all train tours, you will have the option to dine at one of the many restaurants in Aguas Calientes village.
We understand you may be curious about the quality of the food provided by Alpaca Expeditions during the treks. While each meal is prepared by a chef in a small tent on a small stove, our reviews prove our meals to be excellent! Each chef is professionally trained to prepare the best breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, and they are all served with a smile! After completing each day’s trek, you will enjoy a social happy hour before enjoying a delicious buffet dinner, that will undoubtedly exceed all your expectations about food on Inca Trail.
All food is prepared from fresh ingredients, that are purchased in the Cusco local market. Everything is transported by the porters, and then prepared by the chef. We do not use any canned or rehydrated food. It is all fresh, healthy and delicious!
Do you have special dietary needs? No problem! We cater to vegetarians, vegans and any food allergies.
How about the water? We take tap water from each campsite and boil it for 15 minutes, so it is safe for you to drink. There is plenty of water provided during each trek, but you will only need to carry enough water to get you to the first lunch stop. You can refill your bottles at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You will be well fed during any of our Adventure Treks. Food will be provided five times a day, beginning with a big breakfast, a snack, a tremendous lunch, an afternoon tea (happy hour), and finally dinner.
You will be treated like royalty when you’re on the Trail! Please, just in case, bring some coca leaves.
Below are some of our sample menus:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, pancakes, omelettes, porridge, cereal, fruit salad, toast, orange juice, milk, tea, coffee, hot chocolate
Snack: Fruit, cookies, cereal, chocolate, candies
Lunch: Corn or mushroom soup, chicken and rice, sausage, fried fish, ceviche, steak, beans, fried rice, french fries, boiled potatoes, vegetables, salad
Happy Hour: Popcorn, fried wontons, tea, coffee
Dinner: Stuffed chicken, vegetable tortillas, pizza, spaghetti, pork cutlet, sauteed vegetables, salad
One more reason to book with Alpaca Expeditions!!
One of the best parts of hiking through the Andes is the remoteness. Being on top of the mountain with just your fellow trekkers and team can help connect you to the world in a way you have never experienced before. It's amazing to be disconnected from work and any problems you left at home.
But it can also be scary. And scary for us. We have been lucky to have no real issues on any of our treks other than your general altitude sickness, and we hope that this is the only issue we have. But in case there was a true emergency, we know that our radios have limited bandwidth. The only way to connect to the world while hiking in the mountains is with satellite phones - so we just bought 50 of them.
This means that every guide going out on one of our treks will be equipped with a fully charged satellite phone. And while these are really for emergencies, we are allowing our clients to use them at any time - even if its to just tell your family you made it to the top of Dead Womans Pass.
Because of the cost of the phones and the ridiculous cost of the minutes, we ask that you only cover what we are charged, which is $2.50 per minute. This can be paid in cash in our office or through PayPal when you are done with the hike.
We are not encouraging you to stay in touch with the office or check on your worries. Being disconnected is amazing. But if it causes you anxiety, fret no more. You will now have the option to always be connected to home.
Your safety comes first
Safety training for guides
To be a guide with Alpaca Expeditions, you must have graduated from University with a degree in Tourism.
Course study includes history, archeology, language, sociology and other courses relevant to being able to showcase our history. But the most important subject for all guides is Safety.
Knowing how to rescue and evacuate people in case of emergency is our highest priority, as well as how to treat major and minor problems.
While every guide always remembers what they learned in their course study, we feel it's important to refresh these lessons every year. Every February we hire a medical doctor to re-train all guides. We review the treatment of different illnesses and injuries and best ways to help clients get to a professional.
AE has a partnership with Clinic 02 and Medical Cusco. This partnership allows us to have direct access to medical professionals at all times and all guides carry satellite phones to make sure we have direct access to a professional in any situation at all times.
Among the topics we cover in training is how to handle the following issues:
- How to recognize and what to do in case you get altitude sickness
- Mountain accurate sickness
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR
- Pulmonary edema and brain edema
- Heart attack
- Animal Bites could be mosquitoes, spider, snakes or whatever bites you can get along the way
- Broken bone or toe, How to evacuate in case this would be the situation
- Cuts and wounds
- Diarrhea, sometimes people’s stomach react to the food and water of Peru.
- Fever in Adult and child, this may be the case when one gets infection
- Food poisoning
- Heart Palpitation
- Insect bites and stings
- Whatever pain you may get.
As we mention, we carry equipment to help us tend to all injuries and illnesses
AE is the only company that has satellite phones for all our treks. Most treks are found in remote areas and have a little phone signal to no signal. While they are trained in many things, having direct access to a doctor at all time greatly reduces the time for a rapid medical response. It also helps us get you off the mountain quicker and to get you to safety much faster.
Why only AE has satellite phones?
Because your safety is our priority, and our company has made a huge invest as we think this is one of the most important tools to have and operate tours in the high Andes because we are taking live’s and we operate with responsibility on our treks.
Our radios are tuned into the Tourism CULTURE Rangers and SERNANP Rangers.
WE have signed a contract and agreement with the Rangers of the inka trail.Who help us in the case of emergencies. Radios are used for emergencies to contact the Rangers and let them know about any SERIOUS situations. So they can react as soon as possible or provide us stretchers to evacuate you with our porters.
Each of our tours guides will have Radios as well as other tools as they need to coordinate any last minute details or less planned situations that may happen as the porters are always ahead to prepare the food.
Each AE guides have oximeter and monitor your condition as you get higher and higher in elevation to let you know the oxygen percentage you have , everyone’s body has a different reaction the altitude, and of course our guides will keep you informed and let you know if you need to take a bit of Oxygen as our guides will have oxygen tank with them.
We will make sure your heart beat and blood pleasure are working ok in the mountains; our guides are trained to use this tool, and in that way, you will enjoy more of your adventure safely.
First air kit
Besides the tools mentioned above our guides will carry the oxygen tank and a first aid kit full of medicine and other tools needed to be used in the Trek, so just ask them, and they will be happy to provide , however we still suggest you bring your kit if you are taking your own medicine or any particular medication you may be taking that was prescribed by your doctor.
Emergency Horse for alternative treks
Each of our alternative treks such as Salcantay trek or Lares Trek will always have one emergency horse to use in case you are out of breath or tired; we also provide helmets when you are riding, please ask your guide.
Drinking water for our tourist and porters
It is always important to know what type of water one drinks on the treks; it’s glacier water which is collected from the river or stream it's filtered and boiled and cooled down that is provided as drinking water for everyone. Purification pills are not needed to take for these hikes.
What Happens if I GET sick on the treks
It depends on a lot of what illness you get. First, our guides will diagnose your condition and decide the best course of action to take. Sometimes they may suggest you take some medication and continue the hike, or sometimes you might be returned by the guide or porters and taken by train to Machu Picchu, that is why AE has satellite phones to contact the office again and arrange the logistics immediately for you.
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.
Because there are so many logistics to plan and pay for before your trek occurs, payment for your trek is due even if you are unable to complete the hike. Please read our Booking Conditions carefully so you know what is due. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged. This way, if something happens, and this is rare, you will not be out of pocket a tremendous amount of money. Alpaca will provide a letter and your invoice to submit to your insurance in this case to help expedite your processing.
Alpaca Expeditions uses biodegradable soap and transports all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up 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 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 the 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 for our 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 mattress.
Each Alpaca Expeditions porter is given a proper uniform, salary and insurance. They are the backbone of our company.
Alpaca is dedicated to making sure we have the best equipment available. Casual Adventure Camping Store is a family owned business in the United States, that is dedicated to the outdoor travelers' needs. They help us provide all of our equipment.
Enjoy a good night’s sleep in our spacious Eureka tent. All our tents are built to be four man tents, but you will only have to share with one other trekker. This leaves a lot of room to spread out comfortably and store your duffels. They are an A-frame design, with entrances on both sides of the tent. They also include a vestibule in front, giving you some extra outdoor space to leave your boots and walking sticks. We are proud to be the only company to use these tents.
Hygienic Private Toilet Tents
There is no need to add additional hiking in the middle of the night when you have to use the bathroom. We set up spotless, environmentally friendly toilet tents, right at your camping and lunch sites. This way, you don’t have to bother with the park toilets, that are not in great condition. In addition, this method lessens our footprint on the environment, while adding the convenience and luxury of a private bathroom to your trekking adventure.
A foam mat is included to separate and insulate you from the ground. For added comfort, you may want to consider upgrading, by renting an inflatable sleeping pad, which adds three inches of comfort on top of the provided foam mat. We use Thermarest and Eureka inflatable air mattresses.
Our Sleeping Bag
We use mummy style sleeping bags that are usable in -15° C / 5° F. Please note that if you are over 1.95 meters / 6'4" tall, you won't be able to find a sleeping bag rental in Cusco. In this case, it is recommended to bring your own. We provide liners to everyone, that are machine washed between every use. These do need to be included in your duffel weight.
Our Walking Sticks
All of our walking sticks are by Black Diamond and fold up for when you are not using them. They are sturdy and adjust to your height. Even for those of you who are great trekkers, having a set of sticks is helpful on all treks, especially if the weather turns bad, or when you reach some of the steeper portions of the hike.
FAQs on the CLASSIC 4D/3N INCA TRAIL TREK
PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP
We try to make booking as easy as possible at Alpaca Expeditions. We need a completed booking form that includes all the details for the entire party (on one form, please) and then a $200 deposit per person. The deposits can be paid separately as long as we have one form that we can use to track payments. Once we have all deposits and details, we will then book your permits. When permits are in our hands, we will send you your invoice and confirmation that everything is 100% set. All start dates, once confirmed, are guaranteed.
Only licensed Inca Trail tour operators, like Alpaca Expeditions, can secure permits from the government. Once we have secured your permit, the name and start date can not be changed under any circumstance. The only information that the government allows us to change is passport numbers.
UPDATING PASSPORT NUMBERS
The government will only allow us to change passport numbers if we have a copy of the new passport and old passport. If you no longer have your old passport, any government issue ID will be accepted, as long as the name is the same.
HOW TO GET TO CUSCO
Most people will get to Cusco by air. Please remember that Cusco airport is for domestic travel only, so if you come directly from overseas through Lima, you must get your bags in Lima and re-check them for flight to Cusco. There are four airline carriers that fly roundtrip between Lima and Cusco: LATAM Airlines, AVIANCA Airlines, Star Peru and Peruvian Airlines. All of them offer similar schedules and in-flight service, but we usually recommend either LATAM airlines or AVIANCA as they tend to be the most helpful when unexpected flight cancellations or delays occur.
WHERE TO STAY IN CUSCO
While you can truly stay at any hotel in Cusco, the city is becoming more and more difficult to navigate by car. Many roads, especially by the main square, are open to pedestrian traffic only. We will notify you if it is not possible to pick you up by car and arrange another meeting point for pick up/drop off. For a list of recommended hotels, please ask your Alpaca Expeditions sales rep.
CAN I STAY IN THE SACRED VALLEY
Ollantaytambo is the best place to stay other than Cusco. By staying in Ollantaytambo, you actually get a little more sleep because we will be picking you up about 1.5 hours after the Cusco pick up time. This being said, the pre-trip briefing can only be done in Cusco, so please arrange with your Alpaca Expeditions sales rep a time that works for you and our office team.
CAN I SPEND AN EXTRA NIGHT IN AGUAS CALIENTES
Of course. If you are ok with taking the same train out of Aguas Calientes that is part of your original itinerary, which is typically at 4:22 that evening, than there is no additional charge to move the train back a day. If you need us to secure your hotel or another visit to Machu Picchu, this will be an additional cost. If you do choose to spend one more night in Aguas Calientes, make sure you tell the Alpaca Expeditions office at least one month in advance so your train ticket is purchased for the right day.
WHAT TYPE OF ELECTRICAL OUTLETS ARE USED IN PERU
Most hotels and even homes in Peru now have the standard US outlet and also the South American outlet.
DURING YOUR TRIP
HOW CHALLENGING IS THE TREK
While you don't need any specific training to do the 4 Day Inca Trail, being fit will help you complete the 4 days comfortably. The best preparation for the trek are treadmill exercises with steep inclines and stairs. Day 2 will be your toughest day as you will climb up 2 peeks that day.
DO YOU NEED HIKING BOOTS
We always recommend light hiking boots if possible. Ones with ankle support are extra helpful, especially for the inexperienced hiker. Because you will be climbing down so many steps created by the Incas, now uneven and at varied heights, the extra support helps from twisting your ankles.
SHOULD I USE WALKING STICKS
Walking sticks are always helpful to trekkers, but particularly on this trek. There are SO many stairs that you will be walking down - all made by the Incas 400 years ago. They vary in height and are not all straight. Using the walking sticks can really help take the pressure off your knees while doing this portion of the trail. Plus they will help you get up the mountain as well. All our walking sticks are expandable black diamond poles that can be folded up and tied to your bag for when you are not using them. For those who are bringing your own, make sure you have rubber tips or the rangers will not allow you to use them. Rubber tips can be purchased in Cusco if you forget before you leave.
WHERE DO I STORE MY LUGGAGE
All luggage not needed for the trek should stay in Cusco. All hotels are very accommodating and quite used to storing luggage on site, or you can safely store with the Alpaca Expeditions team.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AS FAR AS WEATHER
Please understand that this is an impossible question for us to answer. Historically April through September is the dry season, November through February is the rainy season and March and October and bridge months - a mixture of both. But the clouds have not followed these rules in the last few years. Prepare for sun and rain no matter when you come. As far as temperature, that is consistent throughout the year. Mornings and evenings are cold, so bring a fleece at least to begin the hike and a down jacket for the evenings. Once the sun is fully up you should be comfortable hiking and touring Machu Picchu in short sleeves. Long pants (yoga or hiking) are encouraged to help from the mosquitos which can be a nuisance in Aguas Calientes.
- Good day back pack
- Copy of your passport
- Good hiking gear like hiking boots, warm jackets, gloves, hat warm fleece and socks
- Sleeping bag
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Hat and gloves
- Warm clothes: Layers for variable temperatures, especially at night
- Comfortable trousers
- Sun hat
- Sun protection cream
- Insect Repellent
- Re-usable plastic or metal water container or camel bags
- Water (only for first 4 hours of trek, then we will provide you with drinking -previously boiled- water)
- Personal medication
- Camera and film
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Walking stick
- Bathing suit for the hot springs
- Extra money for souvenirs, drinks & tips