Most flights arrive in the early hours of the morning. Someone will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel. Often the altitude affects you so the plan is to have a mellow day. You’ll have time to get into the city and check out some of the old ruins. Around 5:00pm we will head up to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman to check out the sunset.
You will dine on your at one of the fine restaurants in town, as the hiking staff is putting odds and ends together.
Day2: Cusco, Pisaq, Tambomachay, Cusco
We’ll catch a cab in the morning out to the Sacred Valley to check out some of the most impressive ruins around. We start will a wild descent through the ruins of Pisaq. We’ll end up in the valley bottom for a lunch feast on empanadas.
We’ll take the local transport to Tambomachay. In my mind these are the most impressive ruins that we will pass in terms of architecture. A cab or bus will take us home late in the day. If dancing is your thing, this is the night to start.
Day3: Cusco, ruins, Cusco, Huancacalle
We’ll sleep in after the festivities and head into the hills for lunch. A porting of the afternoon we will spend exploring the caves and tunnels of Zona X, before we walk back through all the ruins ending in Cusco in the early evening.
After dinner our van will pick us up and we will drive through most of the night to the town of Huancacalle. This is the start of the trek. We drive through the night because there is a very high pass along the route that is best done while asleep.
Day4: Huancacalle Vitcos Camp 1
After a two hour loop hike through the ruins of Vitcos (site of the assassination of the last inca ruler) the horses will be packed and we’ll be on our way. Three or four hours up the valley will leave us in the middle of nowhere.
Day5: Camp1, pass, Camp 2
From the middle of nowhere we climb for three or four hours through a seldom travelled pass. In fact it will be only the second time in the last 20 years that horses have passed through. A couple of hour descent on the other side will leave us at camp.
Day 6: Camp2,climb, Camp 3
Here is a big decision. Do you want to rest and sleep the day away…maybe do some short walks out to some of the beautiful lakes, or do you want to get up with some us to try to climb an unclimbed peak? The climb will be a 4 am start and a 12 hour day but the reality is that there are not many virgin peaks left out there.
Day 7: Camp2, Inca trail, Camp 3
It will take about two hours to descend the valley to the hut called Raccachacca. From here we join the ancient Inca highway. We will follow this route for the rest of the day. If it is clear we will have a view of Machu Picchu several kilometres away and far below in the jungle.
Day 8: Camp3, Sacsara, Camp 4
WE will leave the beaten path and pick our way through the cloud forest as we descend towards the Sacsara valley. It is not uncommon to see South American brown bears in these woods. An hour climb will leave us at our camp. Incredible views of the Pumasillo group.
Day 9: Camp4, Tiyuyoc, Camp 5
This will be one of our longer days as we climb to the Tiyuyoc pass at 4800m, shortly after pass we will camp under the hanging glaciers at the far end of nowhere.
Day 10: Camp5, climb, Totora Camp
Our group will split up here for the day. Those who want will come on a long climb through some of the craziest places you ever dreamed of. The rest will be left with the wranglers for the walk down to their village. This is a great opportunity to see what it is like to live in the Peruvian Andes. In the evening we will have a pachamanka, a specialty of the area.
Day 11: TotoraCamp, Hot springs, Camp
After a late start and a few hours walk we will stop for the evening at a little bar situated right above some crazy hotsprings. We can spend the day in the pool watching the parrots flying circles around us.
Day 12: Hot Springs Camp, Playa, Santa Teresa
We will start quite early in the morning and walk two hours to a local passion fruit and honey farm where we can gorge ourselves until we can bearly walk. Another hour and a half to the “bus station”
After several beverages we will hop in the back of one of the fruit trucks and bounce down to the village of Santa Teresa. We will spend the night in a hostel.
Day 13: Santa Teresa, Aguas Calientes
We will start walking at daybreak to beat the heat. The cable traverses make the four hour walk up the Vilcanota River quite exciting. In the afternoon an hour long train ride will leave us in the touristy town of Aguas Calientes. We can spend a few more hours at hotsprings or just have a nice meal at a restaurant and a hot shower.
Day 14: Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Cuzco
Take the 6:30 bus up to check out the ruins of Machu Picchu as the sun rises. Do a tour with a knowledgeable guide and possibly hike up to Huayna Picchu. We will back in Aguas Calientes at 1400h to have a lunch before the long train ride back to Cuzco.
Farewells and airport-bound taxi rides