Peru - Inca Trail & MachuPicchu

Trip:
Peru - Inca Trail & MachuPicchu
Altitude:
4,000m/13,123ft approx.
Route:
Lima-Cusco-MachuPicchu-Lima
Date:
All Year Land Only (May-Sept preferred) Group: Aug 15-23rd 2012
Duration:
8 Days from Lima - 4/5 Days Trekking - Group: 9/10 days from Ireland
Grade:
Trekking – Moderate
Price:
From €1750 Land only - from €3250 Group as above dates

Sandwiched between the driest desert and the largest rainforest in the world, the Andes of Peru contain some of the worlds most Spectacular Mountain scenery. Within these mountains ancient civilisations, of which the Incas are the most famous, built cities, temples and roadways (of which there are known to be more then 25,000km) using precision construction techniques that continue to baffle scientists today. The most famous short hike in Peru is the Inka Trail in order to get Machupicchu; the whole trek takes from 3 to 5 days depending on where it is started. The attraction of the Inka Trail is in the environmental scenery you can get; there are places over 4000 meters where there is not so much oxygen and the flora is scarce, but after half an hour of walking you will be able to get a semitropical environment in the rain forest. But the end of those hiking days, as a prize for your efforts you will get the marvelous Machupicchu. There are also some other famous hiking areas such as the Salkantay and Ausangate Mountains and the Cordillera of Urubamba in the Cusco region. Both our tours to The Inka trail enable you to explore the impressive relics of these civilisations, while enjoying some magnificent walking through the diverse scenery in the mountains and valleys of the Eastern Cordillera. We have 2 trip option's available 1: Traditional, 2: Alternative. The traditional option has to be booked well in advance due to it following the more restricted original Inka trail, while the alternative is more readily available and it offers a very close alternative with more scenery advantage points which was awarded one of the best Treks in the world, by National Geographic Travel magazine. We can also arrange other option's for longer or shorter trips including tour or activity add-ons to the itineraries posted here in Cusco, Puno, Arequipa, Peru, the Andes and Amazon. Please read through the option's following or contact us to discuss a custom itinerary.

Overview

The Republic of Peru is the third largest nation in South America and has a population of over 24 million people.  It stretches from the Pacific Ocean on the West Coast up into the Andean mountains to the East, where it shares a border with Brazil.

History: Human habitation in Peru dates back to at least 8000 BC.  Several advanced cultures had developed in different parts of Peru by the middle of the 13th Century. About 1480 AD, the Incas set out on a 50 – year period of conquest, ultimately controlling what is present-day Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and northern Argentina. The Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro landed in Peru in 1527.  He returned in 1632 with a small army, conquered the Inca Empire and in 1533, killed the Inca King, Atahuallpa. Peru remained under Spanish jurisdiction for almost 300 years.

Culture: The ancient culture of Peru can be seen, not only in its Spanish-Inca cities, but also in the remains of Machu Picchu, the “lost city of the Incas” which is situated on an 8000’ (2450m) high mountain 50 miles (80Km) from Cuzco. Peruvian Folk Culture is rich in elements of pre-Hispanic and Mestizo traditions.  The ancient Peruvians were great builders, adapting their architecture cleverly to the landscape.  The oldest colonial work is the Cathedral of Lima, and the most important is the Convent and Church of San Francisco, which is also located in the city of Lima. In the city of Cuzco, the art of painting reached it’s zenith in the 17th and 18th Centuries, with the formation of the famous “Cuzco School”

Cusco is one of the most famous cities in South America, because of being the oldest continuously inhabited metropolis in this Continent. The city itself was probably founded by 1000 BC, but in 1534 the Spanish Conquerors re-founded it according to the European way. Wherever you stop in Cusco you will find remains of ancient civilizations. As this was the Capital of the Inkas, Cusco is the place where most of their superb works were done. This city is considered as the Archaeological Capital of South America and was declared by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Mankind. The Cathedral, a colonial massive built in almost a century using stones of the Inkan Palaces and Temples surrounding the ancient Main Plaza, and the hard work of the descendants of the Inkas. It is one of the richest and the most magnificent work of Colonial Architecture and Art in South America. It contains canvases of famous Quechua Painters such as Antonio Sinchi Roca Inka, Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallo, Marcos Zapata, etc. Diego Quispe Tito was the founder of the cusquenian school of painting (developed by local artists); and he painted the well known canvas of the Last Supper in which central portion is a plate containing the most representative Andean dish: a roasted guinea pig.

Machupicchu is the highlight of any trip in South America. Located by the beginning of the Amazonian Jungle, it was one of the power nucleuses dependent from Cusco. That Inkan City was very effectively protected by its difficult topography and the elements built for that purpose. It was supposed to house the Inka King, his family and close friends. Its population was about 1000 people and 80% were women, so perhaps it had one of the most important houses for the Virgins of the Sun (something like a nunnery). It was rediscovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham who took all its artifacts to Yale University. Over here you will be able to admire many temples including that of the Sun, the Three Windows Temple, the Main Temple, the Temple of Condors, an imposing Intiwatana (sun fastener), etc. Staying overnight in any of the many hotels in Machupicchu is a great idea, that will give the opportunity to explore the environment and perhaps take walks to Wiñaywayna, the Draw Bridge or maybe climb to the very top of the Waynapicchu Mountain.

The Inka Trail is one of the shortest and most accessible treks you can take while in Cusco. It is a really exciting experience for getting to Machupicchu after a few days of hiking in the High Andean Mountains and the beginning of the Amazonian Jungle. You will be crossing ancient Inkan Towns and walk over the original cobbled path. This is also a great opportunity for appreciating the natural environment of the different ecological levels of the Inka Trail.

Route

We have 2 standard trail options available but can arrange options and add-ons if required.

Traditional Route

  • Day 1: Arrive LIMA - Pickup & transfer to Hotel
  • Day 2: LIMA - CUSCO - Flight & transfer to Hostel
    Day 3: CUSCO - CHILCA - WAYLLABAMBA - Trekking & Camp
  • Day 4: WAYLLABAMBA - WARMIWANUSCA - PACAYMAYO - Trekking & Camp
  • Day 5: PACAYMAYO - PUYA PATAMARKA - WINAY HUAYNA - Trekking & Camp
    Day 6: WINAY HUAYNA - MACHUPICCHU - Trekking & Hostel
  • Day 7: AGUAS CALIENTES - CUSCO - Free day then transfer & Hostel
  • Day 8: CUSCO - LIMA -  Transfer & Flight

    Alternative Route

    • Day 1: Arrive LIMA - Pickup & transfer to Hotel
    • Day 2: LIMA - CUSCO - Flight & transfer to Hostel
      Day 3: CUSCO - MOLLEPATA - SORAYPAMPA - Transfer, Trekking & Camp
    • Day 4: SORAYPAMAPA - KELKAMACHAY - COLCAPAMPA - Trekking & Camp
    • Day 5: COLCAPAMPA - HYDROELECTRIC - Trekking & Camp
      Day 6: HYDROELECTRIC LLACTAPATA – AGUAS CALIENTES - Trekking & Hostel
    • Day 7: AGUAS CALIENTES - MACHUPICCHU - CUSCO - Trekking, Transfer & Hostel
    • Day 8: CUSCO - LIMA - Transfer & Flight

    Grade

    Grade is: Trekking - Moderate

    This trip is considered a moderate trek and suitable for all who get out walking regularly, especially hill-walking or trekking. A good level of fitness is required, although the trek days are not long days and overall the trip is short. If you are a total beginner to walking/hillwalking then a 3-6 month training program is recommended and would require notifying us prior to booking this trip. A person looking at this trip will already be able to walk/trek comfortably for 4-6 consecutive hours for a couple of days. Previous trekking experience at altitude is a benefit.

    Acclimatisation: The City of Cusco is at an altitude of 3,300m, giving people a good general acclimatisation before heading to the trail. We will be ascending 2 high passes during the trek taking you gradually up to 4,000m approx. The pace is key to preventing AMS. The group will be monitored by the guides at all times for symptoms of the effects of altitude. Only if these symptoms persist that a person should get advice or will be advised to decend.

    Prices

    Group from Ireland - Alternative - From €3250 (Cork or Dublin Departures) Bookings before 30th May.

    Land only from Lima - Traditional - €1800e

    Land only from Lima - Alternative - €1750e

     

    Group from Ireland Inclusions

    • Fully escorted from Ireland
    • Flights Ireland - Lima return
    • Flights Lima - Cusco return
    • All transfers
    • Hostel Accommadation B&B
    • Park fee’s
    • Camping, meals & water on mountain
    • Guides, Porters & Communal gear


    Group from Ireland Exclusions

    • Meals en route before and after final destination
    • Bar Bills & laundry
    • Travel Insurance


    Land Only Inclusions

    • Flights Lima - Cusco return
    • All transfers
    • Hostel Accommadation B&B
    • Park fee’s
    • Camping, meals & water on mountain
    • Guides, Porters & Communal gear


    Land Only Exclusions

    • Flights from/to Ireland
    • Meals en route before and after final destination
    • Bar Bills & laundry
    • Travel Insurance

    Cancellation:
    Full refund applies if cancellation is received and acknowledged more than 20 weeks prior to event.
    Desposits will not be refunded for cancellations received within 20 weeks.

    For bookings made where flights have to be paid for in advance, the flight cost is non- refundable once paid

    Guides

    Our Professional guides in Peru have over 20 years experience in Cusco and the surrounding area's. They are fluent in english and will provide many insights to the local history and cultures while providing in depth knowledge of the area and its people. Further information will also be available from your tour leader during the trip. Some Peruvian staff may be used during the trip, all of which adhere to local Health & Safety guidelines. For our group option you will be escorted by an experienced Irish Guide from Ireland.

    Food & Water

    Nutritionally Balanced (Vegetarian Food Available)

    Water purified daily for trekkers

     

    Itinerary

    Here is a sample daily Itinerary, on booking you will be issued a more detailed version. We can also customise the itinerary to your needs if required.

    Day 1: Arrive LIMA Pick up at the airport and transfer to the hotel in Lima.


    Day 2: LIMA - CUSCO Early rising. Return to Lima airport for your flight to Cuzco, where you will be met and transferred to your hostel. Meet with your guide for your Inca Trail. This afternoon has been deliberately kept free of any organized activity, to allow you time to acclimatize to the altitude. In the P.M.: An easy walking tour of Cuzco, to familiarize you with this wonderful town, where the original, ancient Inca walls and cobblestone streets blend with the colonial Spanish architecture of the 16th Century European invaders. Visit the Temple of the SUN or QORICANCHA (the ‘Enclosure of Gold’).  Its perfect architecture and stonework demonstrate that this was the most important Temple in the entire Inca Realm, the sacred hub of the ancient, mystical Incan Empire.  The Cathedral is well worth a visit, with its fabulous paintings and works in gold leaf, carved wood and silverware, as is the artisan area of San Blas.


    DAY 3: CUSCO-MOLLEPATA-SORAYPAMPA We will pick up them very early of the hotel at 5:30 in the morning to go by highway until Mollepata 2,950m in the road we will stop in the archaeological complex of Tarawasi an Inca Temple, to continue until Mollepata from where we will appreciate the Snowy Humantay (5,917m, continuing until Soray Pampas to give beginning to the walk for the pastizales appreciating the Snowy of Salkantay 6,270m, the whole walk is in ascent until Salkantaypampa (Lunch) then we will retake the walk to ascend the first step to the lagoon Soroy Cocha (camp). From this point we will be able to appreciate the Salkantay very close and to appreciate a flora and Andean typical fauna.


    DAY 4: SORAYPAMAPA - KELKAMACHAY - COLCAPAMPA After the breakfast we will begin the walk in ascent for one hour until the huayrapamapa Abra 4,420m, then to descend until the community Huayraqmachay (lunch) where we will be able to share some viventials with the residents and to continue until the camp of Colcamachay. This day the walk is to the contour of the snowy one of Salkataypampa where we will be able to appreciate some agricultural tasks, tropillas of llamas, lagoons and an Andean typical flora you can use the bathrooms of waters hot medicinal water heater of Colcapampa.


    DAY 5: COLCAPAMPA - HYDROELECTRIC Contrary to the other days this day we will descend and the climate varies because we are entering to the forest brow, where we will be able to appreciate a vegetation very dense, big cascades of water of approximately 80 meters and a variety of Orchids and to share some vivences with the residents of the place then to enter to the beach (Camp).


    DAY 6: HYDROELECTRIC LLACTAPATA – AGUAS CALIENTES Very early in the morning we will begin the walk with direction to Patallacta, of where we will be able to appreciate a part of the impressive citadel of Machupicchu to descend until the hydroelectric of Machupicchu where we will approach the trains with direction to Aguas Calientes.


    DAY 7: AGUAS CALIENTES - MACHUPICCHU - CUSCO Very early we will approach the buses with address to the citadel of Machupicchu. The guide will explain to you for 2 hours with all respect to the citadel, then you can stay the remaining time in the citadel to explore by yourself. At a suitable hour you will approach the buses with direction to Aguas Calientes and then you will aboard the train to the Cusco where will meet your representative of our company for your transfer to the hotel.


    DAY 8/9: CUSCO - LIMA - IRELAND Transfer to Airport , Fly to Lima, International flight to Ireland arriving Day 09/10 pending flight times (to be confirmed on booking)

    Preparation

    Preparation, Passports / Visa's

    Preparation - A person looking at this trip will already be able to walk/trek comfortably for 4-5 consecutive hours. If you are a total beginner to walking/hillwalking then a 3-6 month training program is recommended and would require notifying us prior to booking this trip. Please discuss this progression with us if you are a total beginner prior to booking this trip. For more info on our Fitness Assessment and day walks, go to our Ireland section. Our group trips have a free meet day in Kerry to discuss the trip and go for a hillwalk with an experienced guide, please contact us for more details.

    Passport - You will need a valid full passport, please ensure it has at least have six months before expiring before we leave.

    Vaccinations and medical precautions: There are currently no statutory requirements for entering Peru unless you are traveling from an area designated as infected e.g. for cholera or yellow fever.  We recommend however, that you are protected against TB, typhoid, polio, tetanus and hepatitis A.  Encephalitis, meningitis, hepatitis B and rabies can all be contracted in Peru. You may like to be inoculated against these four; however, they are expensive injections, generally unavailable under the National Health Service.  Please ask your doctor about all these inoculations, and he should be able to offer you the most sensible and up-to-date advice. Since we are visiting the high and coastal regions of Peru, malarial prophylactics are not required. A dental check-up before you go is also most important, as facilities on trek are non-existent.

    Customs: You are allowed to import duty free into Peru a 'reasonable quantity' of alcohol, tobacco and perfume.

    Currency: The local currency in Peru is the Sol. In recent years the currency has been stable compared the turmoil that preceded 1990. Euro, Sterling and US dollar traveler’s cheques are easily exchanged in Peru. Many prices are expressed in US$, and some cash dollars are useful for purchases in the main cities. Cash can also be obtained from ATM machines in Lima and Cusco.

    Electricity: 240 volts AC

    Gear

    For general wear in travel: cotton pants, t-shirts and if you have light thermals or casual clothes these will be ideal. Average temperatures in Cusco (3300m) during May to Sept range from -5C to +18C approx. although during trek temps may drop to -8C or -10C. During Oct to April temps are +5C to +25C and it can be very wet

    • One pair of trekking boots for trek. These boots can be used for good wear also.  If you like comfort we recommend boots with extra insulation in sole around 150euro with vibram or similar sole.
    • Four pair of warm trekking stockings. (Thorlo or similar)
    • Adjustable walking poles: these take a lot of pressure off the body and makes walking less tiring. Some use two spring loaded ones as it takes 36 ton of pressure off you knees per day as well as allowing you to have a crutch to lean on when you are tired.
    • Thermal under-wear base layer and mid weight layer: 2 Tops and 2 bottoms. Dryflo etc.
    • 1 fleece or pile jacket. Windproof is good.
    • Wind and water proofs (Gortex or similar): Top jacket and bottoms.
    • Sleeping bag comfort range -5/-15C degrees make sure it packs small. (during warmer months 0/-10C)
    • Also for sleeping it is important to bring an insulating sleeping mat. I usually bring a Thermarest full-length non-slip. There is insulating mattresses provide on trek but for extra comfort bring a Thermarest.
    • 1 Water bottles with wide neck and one with narrow neck (Nalgene or similar) or one Platypus container, the platypus is ideal for trekking as you can stay hydrated by drinking from a tube as you walk. 2 ltr in total.
    • Gloves: 1 pair, no harm in bringing a spare set.
    • Headtorch, Petzl or similar with spare batteries and bulbs. I cannot stress the importance of this to have in good working order.
    • Peak hat for the lower regions to protect your head from the sun. (bandana or neck gaiter also)
    • Ruck sack 30 liters daypack for mountain to carry your camera food and day gear.
    • For traveling, 60-100 liters rucksack or strong gear bag - this will also do to give to porters on trek to carry your general gear.
    • Optional for night up high for cold, a light down top or extra fleece.
    • Personal first aid and medicine kit. (All our guides will have these for emergencies only)
    • UV sunglasses – Cat. 2 or 3 recommended.
    • 2 x Earplugs pairs – If you have an inside pocket in sleeping bag, leave one there fulltime.


      Miscellaneous items:

      • Sun-block (very important and use it!!)
      • Backpacking towel and general toiletries.
      • Extra Clothes for traveling and/or socialising.
      • Camera with wide lense, extra memory and battery. Battery depletes faster in the cold.
      • Binoculars
      • Insect Repellant
      • Light Poncho if its during warmer months Oct-Mar