Machu Picchu Trek
Cuzco & the Sacred Valley, Peru
Cuzco & the Sacred Valley, Peru
Trekking to Machu Picchu, either on the Inca Trail or via one of the alternative trails, is an unforgettable experience. The most popular trek to Machu Picchu is the Classic Inca Trail, along the Inca roads that originally started in the Sacred Valley. The trail is limited to 500 trekkers a day (300 of which are earmarked for porters and guides). Early booking is recommended, especially during the busiest trekking period in the dry season (May-September).
The Inca emperor Pachacuti built a mighty royal highway to link his capital Cusco to his secluded sacred centre at Machu Picchu, taking an awe-inspiring route over high mountain passes. He followed the way of the Apus, the snow peaks sacred to the Incas which dominate the scenery, vanishing and re-appearing around curves and over ridges as we follow this most astounding of treks. Along the way Pachacuti built small, exquisite settlements, now our staging camps.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 08-DAY MACHU PICCHU TREK…
And, experience the most famous trek in all of South America.
The Inca emperor Pachacuti built a mighty royal highway to link his capital Cusco to his secluded sacred centre at Machu Picchu, taking an awe-inspiring route over high mountain passes. He followed the way of the Apus, the snow peaks sacred to the Incas which dominate the scenery, vanishing and re-appearing around curves and over ridges as we follow this most astounding of treks. At points along the way Pachacuti built small, exquisite settlements clustered upon jagged outcrops, always with sweeping views of the stunning landscape.
Amazingly, all of this survived the Spanish conquest and the hundreds of years of abandonment and neglect that followed. Today the area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a Peruvian government protected reserve of immense archaeological and environmental importance. For this spectacular route is both a journey through Inca history and a dazzling sample of Peru’s incredible biodiversity.
Take this challenging trek across high, treeless passes up to 4,200m (13,776ft), and down through multi-layered zones of cloud-forest, culminating at the threshold of the Sun Gate where we face the final unforgettable view down to Machu Picchu and the Urubamba River.
The principal international airlines are Lan and Avianca. There are no direct flights from London but there are direct flights to Lima from Madrid, Paris and Amsterdam. Airlines with regular services to Peru include Air Canada, American Airlines, Iberia and KLM. From Heathrow you can expect the journey to take anywhere between 16 and 22 hours, depending on the routing and stopovers.
Prices of flights to Peru from London are fairly consistent around the year, with a slight rise in the summer and over the major holidays. It’s best to avoid buying international air tickets in Peru, where prices are inflated by a high tax. If you’re uncertain of your return date, it will probably still work out cheaper to pay the extra for an open-ended return than to buy a single back from Peru.
Machu Picchu Trek
Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu
(8 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 01 – Arrive
Lima, Peru Arrive at Lima Jorge Chavez International airport (LIM). Meet and greet on arrival and escort on a private transfer to your hotel.
Overnight: Miraflores Park Hotel.
Day 02 – Transfer & Private Touring
Sacred Valley Transfer to the Lima airport for your flight to Cusco. You are met outside baggage claim by your local guide for transfer to the ‘The Sacred Valley of the Incas.’ Enjoy an afternoon visit to the Indian market in Pisac before continuing to your hotel for the night.
Overnight: Sol y Luna Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 03 – Private Touring
Sacred Valley Full day tour in the Sacred Valley. This morning, visit Chincheros, a town of Inca origins, and its colourful, well-attended fair, that draws country folk once a week from all corners and heights of the valley to exchange their products. Continue on to the massive fortress of Ollantaytambo, a formidable stone structure that climbs massive terraces reaching the top of a high peak, was the valley’s main defence against the Antis and was the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. Return to your hotel this afternoon.
Overnight: Sol y Luna Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 04 – Machu Picchu Trek
Llaqtapata Starts Mondays. A spectacular drive through the Sacred Valley brings you to Chillca, the start point for the trek. Today's trail is through a dry cactus zone beneath soaring views of snow covered Mt. Vernica, and the turbulent Urubamba River below. From our trail, we will be able to see giant sculpted terraces of Inca Llaqtapata and explore the outlying areas of this massive ancient farming complex.
Overnight: Llaqtapata Camp (B,L,D)
Day 05 – Machu Picchu Trek
Llulluchapamba The trail winds slowly uphill through a small forest to reach the site of Patallacta. After a short visit you continue up the Cusichaca Valley passing houses of settlers to finally reach the Andean community of Huayllabamba. From here the trail ascends steeply to a large pampa below the first pass, where you will camp. This camp has a breathtaking view of Mt. Huayanay.
Overnight: Llulluchapampa Camp (B,L,D)
Day 06 – Machu Picchu Trek
Phuyupatamarca Early wake-up to continue through cloud forests along mountain streams and old Inca trails. Today we cross the Warmiwanusca Pass, or ‘Dead Woman's Pass’ the highest point of the trek (13,776 ft) The trail descends to the Pacaymayo River and then climbs slowly past Runkuraqay ruins. You finally reach camp at Phuyupatamarca, meaning ‘the town at the edge of the clouds’ in Quechua. To avoid high-altitude effect, we suggest you take this day very slowly.
Overnight: Phuyupatamarca Camp (B,L,D)
Day 07 – Machu Picchu Trek
Machu Picchu Very early wake-up in order to negotiate an Incan stone tunnel and follow a buttress along a ridge top to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (City Above the Clouds). The trail winds sharply down a series of Incan steps and flagstone paths through thickening cloud forest to the well-restored Inca ruins of Winay Wayna. After a two hour walk through cloud forest, you reach the Intipunku, or Gate of the Sun, the main entrance to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu, at an elevation of 8,000 ft/2,450 m (much lower than nearby Cuzco) has the most spectacular setting of any ruin in the world - even those who aren't normally excited by archaeology will be impressed. This ‘Lost City of the Incas’ is a place everyone must see at least once. In the afternoon, take the shuttle down to Machu Picchu village and short walk to your hotel.
Overnight: Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 08 – Depart
Cusco Machu Picchu is said to be a place of spirituality, and the greatest spiritual moment of the day happens at sunrise. This morning, there is an option to rise early, take the bus back to the top of the mountain and view the world’s most famous ruins at sunrise. This afternoon, board the Vista dome train to Cusco, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel for overnight.
Overnight: Novotel Hotel (B)
The true price is customised based on final choice of hotels, travel dates, and other custom preferences. All prices exclude international flights.
Price Includes: hotels, airport transfers and transportation within the country, unique experiences guided by local experts and 24X7 support during your trip.
Make this your holiday
Overview Peru has some of the most beautiful scenery in the whole of South America and a mind-bendingly fascinating history, with archaeological sites to match. Here the Andes attain the height of their glory, building the world's great centres of ancient civilization and their remains fascinate travellers and archaeologists alike.
The city of Cuzco is the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent and once the centre of the Inca Empire, flaunts its glorious legacy, not only in its architecture, ruins and museums but also in the people, who speak the Inca language, Quechua.
Where to go Begin your tour in the sprawling capital city of Peru. It is worth to spend a day or two in Lima, seeing its excellent museums, fine restaurants and vibrant nightlife.
Peru is known for its archaeological sites of which Machu Picchu is most famous. But along the coast, there are more fascinating archaeological sites, as well as glorious beaches and charming towns. South of Lima are the bizarre Nasca Lines, the drawings so monumentally huge that some can only be seen from the sky. And the National Reserve of paracas is inhabited by an enormous variety of birds, amongst which are Humboldt Penguins, Flamingoes and Pariguana.
North of Lima lie the great adobe city of Chan Chan and the Valley of the Pyramids. The surfing hangouts of Puerto Chicama and trendy Máncora beach are big draws along this stretch, but almost all of the coastal towns come replete with superb beaches, plentiful nightlife and great food.
For High Mountain trekking and climbing is the town of Huaraz, 420 km north of Lima. It is the gateway for visitors to the Callejón de Huaylas, the spectacular range with some of the highest peaks in Peru. The other key attraction here is the remains of the temple complex of Chavín de Huantar, one of the most important pre-Inca cultures, to the east of Huaraz.
For wildlife and nature enthusiasts, the Peruvian Amazon, known as "Amazonia", is considered to be the best preserved part of the Amazon Jungle. Jungle treks, lasting from a day to a week or more, are organised from Iquitos, the northern gateway to the Peruvian Amazon basin. The Manu Biosphere Reserve and the Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone, are in the South while the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve is in the North.
Finally for Machu Picchu, you will travel to Cuzco, the undisputed jewel in the crown of the Peruvian Andes. Once the ancient heart of the Inca Empire, it is surrounded by some of the most spectacular mountain landscapes and palatial ruins in Peru, and by magnificent hiking country. You will visit the Urubamba valley, also called the Sacred Valley before reaching Machu Picchu, the magical Lost City of the Incas.
When to go January – April: This is the rainy season. The eastern slope of the Andes, like the Amazon basin, experiences very heavy rainfall during the wet season, which extends from January through April. Travellers however visit the highlands all the rear round since it rarely rains for more than a few hours and there is still plenty of sunshine to enjoy.
During February, the Inca Trail is closed. However, Machu Picchu remains open but it is a bit more challenging for those wishing to trek. As February ends, the rains begin to ease and more visitors begin to arrive. This is a good period to combine Peru with a visit to the Galapagos Islands.
May – September: This is the best time to visit Peru, which is a dry season in the highlands. The western side of the Andes are very clear, warm, and dry for the greater part of the year. This being the high tourist season, most hotels get booked hence it is advisable to book early. More importantly, The Inca Trail that has limited spaces hence those wishing to travel from June onward should book at least six to nine months in advance.
October – December: The dry season comes to an end, but conditions are still pleasant. An abundance of birdlife and flora, particularly orchids, can be enjoyed in Peru’s cloud forests at this time. Water levels in the Amazon will be high from December to March, meaning fauna may not venture as close to the river banks, but it also makes it easier to explore smaller tributaries.
Visa British nationals don’t need a visa to travel if the purpose of the visit is tourism.
On arrival, you’re normally given permission to stay for up to 6 months.
If you enter Peru overland from Ecuador, make sure your passport is stamped with a Peruvian entry stamp at the local immigration office. Most people crossing the border with Ecuador enter Peru through Aguas Verdes (Tumbes region) - you may need to ask for directions to the immigration office.
If you enter Peru from Bolivia by bus or taxi, make sure your passport is stamped with a Peruvian entry stamp at the immigration office in Desaguadero or Copacabana (Puno region).
Immigration authorities may also not let you leave Peru without a valid exit stamp from the last country you visited. The British Embassy can’t intervene in immigration issues. Make sure you get your entry stamp when you arrive in Peru.
Passport validity: Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months on arrival in Peru.
Customs: British nationals have experienced problems when trying to enter the country with more than one laptop. You should familiarise yourself with Peruvian immigration or customs procedures before you enter the country.
If you are returning to the UK via Europe, be aware that the customs authorities in European airports frequently confiscate duty free alcohol and other liquids purchased at the duty free shops in Lima airport from passengers in transit.
For further details contact the Peruvian Consulate in London.
Visa information source: www.gov.uk