4. From Cusco: 4-Day Inca Trail Guided Trek to Machu Picchu
Walk the world-famous Inca Trail on this guided trek over 4 days and 3 nights. Follow an ancient footpath through the Sun Gate and into Machu Picchu, passing magical cloud forests on the way. Enjoy scenic camping, tasty meals and the expertise of local guides and porters. Day 1 Start with pickup from your hotel in Cusco, Urubamba, or Ollantaytambo on the first morning. Enjoy a hearty breakfast and meet your team of guides and porters before an 82km drive to the trail’s starting point. Hike in 2 hour intervals, with regular stops to eat and take a break. The first night’s campsite will be at Ayapata with an elevation of 3300 meters. Relax here with a hot drink, dinner and a well-deserved rest. Day 2 Wake up early for the trek’s longest day which will include the trail’s highest point, Dead Woman’s Pass, at 4215 meters. Stop here to enjoy the spectacular views before you descend into the Pacaymayu Valley in time for lunch. Next, climb to the Inca site of Runcu Raccay where you can admire two huge waterfalls across the valley before another descent to the remote site of Sayacmarca. After a quick tour, take a short walk to the second campsite, where you can watch the sun set over the Vilcabamba mountains before dinner. Day 3 Start early again for the trail’s most beautiful day. Walk along gradual inclines as you approach the Cloud Forest and Salkantay, the second highest peak in the Sacred Valley. Then, begin the climb to the final peak, Phuyupatamarka, where you’ll get your first views over Machu Picchu. From here, it’s a 3-hour walk down a flight of steps to Wiñay Wayna, where you’ll camp in close proximity to Machu Picchu. Share a relaxed final evening with your guides and porters, and get an early night before your final day of exploring. Day 4 Get up at the crack of dawn to catch a stunning sunrise over the ruins of Machu Picchu. Trek down to the Sun Gate and make your way into the Lost City of the Incas, where your private tour of the ruins will begin. After the tour, head down to Augas Calientes by bus. Take a few hours here to explore the city, or optionally to climb Huayna Picchu, before catching the train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. From here, a driver will transfer you back to your hotel by bus.