The surroundings of Cusco offer incredible hiking possibilities besides the famous Inca trail. Below you will find information about three impressive trekkings which you can do from Cusco. If you are interested in doing one of these trekkings, you can contact us for more information or to book the trail right away.
Inca trail to Machu Picchu
The incredible treasure of Machu Picchu at the end makes the Inca trail the world's most famous trek. But you will already see plenty of other wonders along the way! The Inca Trail is set in the ‘Santuario Histórico de Machu Picchu’ (National Sanctuary of Machu Picchu). The Peruvian state set apart an area of more than 32,000 hectares to protect its ecological niches from 6271m at the high Andean glacial peak of Nevado Salcantay down to the Amazon cloud forest in Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu at less than 2000m. Acting as a bio-corridor between the Andes in the Cusco area, the Sacred Valley and the lowland Amazon forest, the sanctuary possesses over 370 species of birds, 47 mammal species and over 700 butterfly species.
You can walk the Inca Trail throughout the year. The trail is only closed every February for cleaning. You can visit Machu Picchu in February, but you cannot walk the trail. The sanctuary authorities have imposed a limit of five hundred people a day on the Inca Trail, including guides and porters. Trekkers must go with a licensed guide or tour and the agency will take care of the required registration for the trail. Because of the limited access it is essential to book many months in advance, especially in the high season, which is from May to September.
The Inca trail is one of the most popular and most famous trails in the world. Walking the Inca Trail is walking a part of the ancient road system of the Incas. This road system was really extensive and highly advanced for its time. The road system covered a part of South America that is now known as the countries of Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentine, with Cusco as the center and the capital of the Inca Empire. The extensive network of roads was used by the Incas as the main way of transport and communications. The Inca trail to the ruins of Machu Picchu is without doubt the most special part of the trail and one of the reserved parts of the Inca road system. The classic Inca trail takes you in four days to Machu Picchu.
Inca trail day 1: Cusco - Ollantaytambo - Huayllabamba
You leave by bus from the city of Cusco early in the morning on the way to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After almost two hours you reach the Inca village of Ollantaytambo, where the team of porters will join the group before we continue to the trail head at the spot known as Piscacucho or Kilometer 82. After passing the control points for access to the park we will start walking the first part of the trail. Along this section of the trail you will encounter a number of archaeological sites. At midday the group halts for a rest and lunch. Finally, after a short day's walking, we reach the village of Huayllabamba, where we will make our first camp. From here you can see the snow covered peaks of the Cordillera of Urubamba.
Inca trail day 2: Huayllabamba - Warmiwañusca - Pacaymayo
This is the most demanding day of trekking. We will climb through the first pass of the trail, Dead Woman's Pass at 13,779 feet or 4.200 meter above sea level. From here you will have an unbelievable view. From here you will descent to the second campsite in the Pacaymayo valley at 11,483 feet or 3500 meter.
Inca trail day 3: Pacaymayo - Phuyupatamarca - Wiñay Wayna
On the third day you walk along an authentic Inca highway. After breakfast the trekking continues towards the second pass on the trail, Runkuraqay (13,123 feet or 4.000 meter). Along the way you visit the Inca ruins and we continue over the 12,467 feet (3800 meter) pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, which means "Town in the clouds". This ruin is one of the most beautiful examples of Inca architecture along the Inca Trail. After lunch the group continues descending to the last campsite at 9,022 feet or 2744 meter. This campsite is located next to the impressive archaeological site of Wiñay Wayna or "Forever Young". This site earns its name, because of the great variety of pink orchids growing near the site.
Inca trail day 4: Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu - Cusco
Very early, before sunrise, breakfast will be served. After that it is time to say goodbye to our team of porters and cooks and we will continue the hike to the Sun Gate. From here you will get the first spectacular view of the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu. The guide will take you on a tour in Machu Picchu. After the tour you can stay longer in Machu Picchu and discover this amazing city yourself. In the afternoon or at night, we will take the train back to Cusco.
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Coffee tour to Machu Picchu
A unique trip to Machu Picchu is our coffee and cacao tour. The trip takes three days and leads you through beautiful nature and coffee plantations to Machu Picchu. On the first morning you will leave Cusco and take a bus to Huayopata where the coffee farm is located. After the lunch you will visit the farm where you will see the tea plantation, the coffee plantation and coffee process and the exotic fruits that grow on the farm. After dinner, you will learn how to peel, roast, grind and prepare coffee. You spend the night at the farm in your room with private bathroom. The next morning after breakfast you will do activities on the farm, discovering the cacao tree and its fruit, learning about harvest, fermentation and drying of cacao beans, roasting and grinding cacao beans from the farm and preparing a hot chocolate with your freshly ground cacao. After that you will go back to a small village where you will have lunch and from there you will continue your trip to Machu Picchu, partly by taxi bus and partly walking. You will sleep in Aguas Calientes and the next morning you will wake up early to visit wonderful Machu Picchu. The first hours of the visit will be with a guide and after that you have all the time to explore Machu Picchu yourself. In the afternoon / evening, you return to Cusco by train and bus. You can adjust this tour to your wishes and the price depends on the amount of people.
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Inca jungle trek
A relative new trekking to Machu Picchu is the Inca Jungle trek. This is a trekking that includes walking, biking and sometimes also rafting. The route is from Cusco to a place in the Sacred Valley from where you will descend by bike to Santa Maria. On the second day you will walk from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa and on the next day you walk to the village of Machu Picchu. The 4th day you will visit Machu Picchu and take the train back to Cusco. This trekking is the easiest trekking to Machu Picchu.
The cheapest way to go to Machu Picchu is doing the same route as the Inca Jungle trail, but by bus and taxi. This route, so also the Inca Jungle trail is not safe during rainy season: in January, February and March.
The Salkantay trek is an alternative for the Inca trail, as both trails end at Machu Picchu. The trek reaches a height of 4650 meters on its first two days and passes three snowy mountain tops. The third and fourth day you walk through densely overgrown jungle in tropical circumstances. You pass beautiful waterfalls, fruit and coffee plantations. The fifth day is for visiting Machu Picchu. The Salkantay trek masters the Inca trail in its nature beauty, diversity and rest and is physically more demanding.
Choquequirao is Quechua for "Golden Cradle," although this is probably not its original Inca name. The mysterious and dazzling Inca city of Choquequirao is located in the beautiful landscape of Vilcabamba over the Apurimac River Canyon in Peru. It is another "lost city of the Incas" in South America. It is located on a ridge spur almost 1750m above the raging glacier-fed Apurimac River and surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks. According to historians, Choquequirao was the dwelling of the last rebel Incas of Vilcabamba, and like Machu Picchu, the Spanish probably never discovered it. This route offers a formidable trek across diverse ecosystems. You will enjoy beautiful views of the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range. Choquequirao is 47 km away from the little town Cachora, where the trail starts. The trail takes 4 to 5 days and is a real challenge!
The Ausangate trek is a long hike around the biggest mountain in southern Peru: the broad and majestic Ausangate (6384m). The trek offers glimpses of high altitude wildlife and pastoral people living with their animals, quietly apart from the turmoil of the modern world. You pass ice walls, a glacier, the cascades of a frozen river and numerous springs of hot and medicinal underground water. Besides that you have breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside of Peru, looking down into fertile valleys and across the Vilcanota mountains. You may observe rare Andean wildlife in the high wilderness, such as vicuña, vizcacha, condors, flamingos, Andean geese, and ibises.
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