“I feel like the journey to get there made me appreciate the experience all the more,” says Lisa of her and Brittany’s hike up the Inca Trail to the famous Machu Picchu ruins this past March. During their time in Peru they found themselves exploring the Sacred Valley, sharing stories with the Amaru community, and treading lightly on the same path the Incans forged centuries ago. After returning home Brittany expressed that their “trip was perfect. It couldn’t have been any better!” and she exclaimed she will “definitely be going back in the future.” We are thrilled their South American adventure was everything they hoped it to be.
Take a look at their full custom Inca Trail & Machu Picchu trip itinerary below and get inspired to plan your own, personalized trip to Peru. For more words from Brittany and Lisa read what they had to say about their custom Inca Trail trip on our Facebook page.
Custom Inca Trail & Machu Picchu Trip: Camping & hiking in Peru
Day 1 Lima
You will fly from the USA to Lima arriving most likely in the evening. Upon your evening arrival to Lima you will be met at the airport and assisted in crossing the street and checking in to the hotel adjacent the terminal.
- No meals – Costa del Sol Ramada airport hotel or similar
Day 2 Sacred Valley
After a short morning flight to the former Incan capital of Cusco you’ll be met at the airport and taken by private van through the Sacred Valley of the Andes where you’ll have lunch and continue on to your accommodations in the Sacred Valley. You will have the afternoon at your leisure and may choose to explore the area on your own or to rest and relax as you acclimatize to the altitude.
- B, L – Sonesta Posadas Del Inca or similar
Day 3 Sacred Valley Villages and the Weavers of Amaru
After breakfast you’ll head by van along the Sacred Valley past the communities of Calca, Coya, Lamay and Pisac. From here the van goes completely off the map winding up a small dirt road, which takes you through remote Andean villages and arrives to the community of the Amaru people. This isolated community holds strongly to their ancient customs and practices a largely subsistence lifestyle on the slopes of the Andes. The Amaru will proudly open their village to you where you will learn of their lifestyle and traditions. Among other things, take part in gathering plants used as natural dyes, learn of their medicinal and culinary properties, and see how Peru’s world-renowned textiles are woven and brought to life.
Stay for lunch with the Amaru or enjoy a picnic amongst the Pisac ruins that sprawl down the mountainside towards town. Afterwards, hike along the high-mountain terraces and through the ruins before descending to Pisac – one of Peru’s largest and most vibrant markets – where you can bargain with Andean campesinos for handcrafted wares. Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening.
- B, L – Sonesta Posadas Del Inca or similar
Day 4 Inca Trail – Sacred Valley – Llaqtapata
Geared up and ready to go, today you begin the Inca Trail departing in the morning to Piscaycucho. After meeting the porters, hike through a little-visited section of the trail gently winding up the valley until arriving to the Incan ruins at Q’oriwayrachina – first discovered in 2001. Enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by stones from more than 200 structures. Crossing the Urubamba River at Q’ente arrive to an isolated campsite amidst Inca terracing and nearby the archaeological sites of Wayna Q’ente and Llaqtapata which you can visit at your leisure in the evening.
Hike details: 6.8 miles, approximately 5-6 hours
- B, L, D – camping
Day 5 Llaqtapata to Llulluchapampa
Continuing up the Cusicacha Valley you reach the small indigenous community of Huallabamba. After glimpsing into the life and traditions of the high Andes, make your ascent to a large Pampa below the first pass to where your camp awaits pirched for breathtaking sunset and sunrise views of Mount Huaynay. Ascending this narrow hanging valley with views to the cloudforest, you’ll see the very rare Andean Quenua tree.
Hike details: 5.6 miles, 6 hours
- B, L, D – camping
Day 6 Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca
Begin the most challenging day of hiking with a steady ascent until rewarded with big Andean views from the 13,692-ft Warmiwanusqa Pass. From here head down towards the Pacamayo River and up the other side of the valley to the Runkuraqay atop the second pass. Visit the Sayacmarca ruins after just entering the cloudforest. A beautiful location overlooking the Aobamba Valley, it affords a respite for a liesurely walk through the imposing structures often enshrouded by clouds. Continuing along the ridge you’ll see the majestic Mount Salkantay and the silhouette of Mount Pumasillo to the north on the horizon. Arriving to a small village on the edge of the clouds, continue just beyond to your isolated camp.
Hike details: 8.7 miles, 7-8 hours
- B, L, D – camping
Day 7 Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu
Begin todays trek by passing the Phuyupatamarca ruins and winding sharply down into increasingly dense cloudforest to the well-restored ruins of Winay Wayna. Continue on until you cross through Intipunku – the Sun Gate – as the Incas did long ago for your first bird’s-eye view to the Lost City of Machu Picchu. Arriving to the Sun Gate in the evening helps avoid crowds and allows you to first see Machu Picchu when it is less visited. From here you will descend to Machu Picchu Pueblo to toast your feat of retracing the ancient Incan pathway to Machu Picchu and your upcoming full-day exploration of the site.
Hike details: 8.1 miles, 8 hours
- B, L, D – Terrazas Del Inca or similar
Day 8 Machu Picchu
Early risers can watch the sunrise from the Machu Picchu citadel or make the early morning climb of Huayna Picchu Mountain. This incredibly vast archeological site – lost to the world until well into the twentieth century – is perched amongst Andean peaks and lush cloud forest making it one of the most breathtaking sights in the world. You’ll have the opportunity to get a complete guided tour of the site as you begin to unlock the mystery of the Inca, and will also have plenty of time to explore the ruins on your own. Lunch at the adjacent Sanctuary Lodge means you’re able to enjoy the whole day without leaving awe- inspiring Machu Picchu. After descending from the ruins, take the afternoon train to the Sacred Valley continuing by private van to Cusco for the evening.
- B, L – Quinua Villa Boutique or similar
Day 9 Cusco
Enjoy the day at your leisure independently exploring one of South America’s most dynamic cities. Visit Incan architectural jewels such as Korikancha – the temple of the sun, shop at Andean markets, enjoy incredible Peruvian cuisine, and see the colonial cathedrals around the Plaza Central. Or choose from optional excursions such as guided culinary explorations and cooking lessons, or an exciting whitewater rafting adventure on the exciting but safe stretches of the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley.*
- B– Quinua Villa Boutique or similar
Day 10 Fly Lima and Return Home
Enjoy the morning at leisure to continue exploring the cobblestoned streets of Cusco. In the early afternoon you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport in accordance with your onward flight to Lima. After arriving in the Lima airport you will be responsible for checking in and catching your international flight. This is often a long & unavoidable layover, so save a few pages in your book or enjoy dinner across the street at Ramada’s restaurant and then fly out.
Day 11 Arrive Home
If you’re interested in creating your very own custom Inca Trail & Machu Picchu trip or want to learn about other hikes in South America don’t hesitate to give us a call at 612-315-2894 or shoot us an e-mail at [email protected].
Hasta Pronto, Knowmad Adventurers
Knowmad Adventures works closely with independent-minded travelers creating innovative trips to South America. Our specialists in Patagonia, Chile, Machu Picchu, Peru, Argentina, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Antarctica are eager to collaborate and create a trip as unique and authentic as you are, and our experienced South American operations team guarantees you get an insider’s perspective, superior values, and a flawlessly operated trip.