Bright and early at 5:30 AM we will pick you up at your hotel to take you to the Poroy Train Station located ½ an hour from Cusco’s main square. This train will take us to the 104 km mark on the railway (approximately 3 hour by train) and drop us off near a control station where we will being the “Short” Inca Trail. Before beginning the moderately difficult hike, we will visit the archaeological complex of Chachabamba, which is located near the train drop-off. These ruins were discovered in 1940, and probably served as a guard-house to this alternative entrance to Machu Picchu located along the Old Inca road near the banks of the Urubamba River. After a quick tour of these ruins, we will start on the trail to Machu Picchu. This trek is a moderately difficult climb with an elevation gain of approximately 600 meters (approximately 2000 feet). Along the way, we will get great views of the Urubamba Valley and the archaeological site of Choquesuysuy, pass by a beautiful waterfall, hike along an Incan-made stone trail with steep drop-offs, and shift from highland jungle to open grasslands and then back again. After about 4 hours of hiking, we will arrive at the famous Incan ruins of Wiñay Wayna made up of a religious sector, an urban sector, and many agricultural terraces (2700 meters above sea level or about 8,900 feet). From here, we will ascend another 15 minutes to the Trekker restaurant/hostel where we can stop for drinks and use the bathroom.
After a short break, we will continue on the last section of the Inca Trail towards the famous Intipunku (“Sun Gate” in Quechua). Winding along the mountainside and dipping into magnificent cloud forests, this final part of the trail takes about two hours and culminates in a set of almost vertical steps leading to the Sun Gate. Suddenly, the unforgettable sight of Machu Picchu is laid out before your eyes. We will take the trail leading down to the ruins all the while taking in the beautiful sights and scenery. We will arrive at the ruins by approximately 4:00 PM and will have a short time to take pictures – however, we will have to wait to the following day for a more extensive visit.
We will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes where we will be spending the night in a hotel and getting a good night of sleep.
This is the day you've been waiting for. We will wake up before first light to be among the first to arrive at the famous ruins. Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas," is located at approximately 2500 meters (or 8,000 feet, which is significantly lower than the city of Cusco). At 5:45 AM, we will take the bus up to the ruins and arrive around 6:20 AM. Machu Picchu is situated between two peaks, Mt. Machu Picchu ("Old Peak" in Quechua) and Wayna Picchu ("Young Peak" in Quechua). We will enjoy a 2-hour guided tour of the ruins in which we will learn about Incan architecture and uses of different structures, as well as visit the Main Square, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sacred Sundial and the ancient burial grounds. After the guided tour, you will have free time to continue to visit the world-famous ruins. Some possible activities besides visiting the main ruins include: