A variation on the Classic Inca Trail, this trek takes a more leisurely pace and avoids the traditional campsites in favour of more secluded options. Arrive at Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate in the afternoon and return the following morning for that unforgettable vision of the mist clearing from the ruins as dawn breaks.
Arrive in Cuzco Airport and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax and acclimatise to the altitude. Your guide will meet you at your hotel this evening for a pre-trek briefing.
Depart through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the trailhead; trek to your camp near the terraces of Llaqtapata. (3-4hrs, 6km)
Continue up the Cusichaca Valley walking into the Andean community of Huayllabamba. The trail ascends steeply to a large Pampa below the first pass. (8hrs, 12km).
A steady walk up to the Warmiwañusca pass at 4,200m affords a magnificent view of our ascent. You will descend to Pacaymayo then trek up to the ruins of Runkuracay. From here, walk down to the site at Sayacmarca, passing a dry lake – a beautiful location overlooking the Aobamba Valley. Continuing along the trail, arrive at Phuyupatamarca (the village on the edge of the clouds). (8hrs, 15km.)
Explore the wondrous maze of Inca stone towers, fountains and stairways spilling down the mountainside at Phuyupatamarca then begin a long descent through ever-changing layers of cloud forest. An Inca stairway partly cut from living granite leads us finally to the site of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young), the largest and most exquisite of the Inca Trail sites.
In the afternoon we follow the last stretch of trail across a steep mountainside through a lush, humid cloud-forest of giant ferns and broad-leaf vegetation. Suddenly we cross the stone threshold of Intipunku (Sun Gate) and encounter an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry –a backdrop of twisting gorge and forested peaks framing the magical city of Machu Picchu. (5 – 6 hours, 11km)
Early this morning, board the mini bus for a second trip to the ruins with your entry and a tour included. As dawn breaks, watch the mist rise over the top of the mountain citadel, a truly unforgettable experience. Explore the ruins at your own pace before returning to Cuzco by train this afternoon.
Transfer from your hotel to the airport for your onward flight.