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Exodus: The Inca Trail – 9 days from $2,379

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Exodus: The Inca Trail – 9 days from $2,379

From: AUD $2,379.00

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Product Description

Follow in the footsteps of the Peruvian Incas as you trek the classic Inca Trail

Offering an unrivalled combination of history and dramatic scenery, the ancient Inca Trail winds its way from the powerful Urubamba River, across mountain passes and through cloud forests, passing several crumbling fortresses before reaching the lost city of Machu Picchu. This itinerary is specifically designed to maximise the time spent at Machu Picchu with an early morning tour of the ruins, quieter at that hour before day trippers and other trekkers arrive.

Inca Trail Permits: An Inca Trail permit is required to walk the Inca Trail. These are strictly limited and are highly sought after, therefore we strongly recommend booking at least 6-8 months in advance to avoid disappointment. On dates where Inca Trail permits have sold out we can offer the spectacular remote Moonstone Trek in its place – please enquire for details.

Highlights

  • Trek the classic Inca Trail to the Sun Gate for the iconic view of Machu Picchu
  • Climb Inca steps to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass (4215m)
  • Have a guided tour of Machu Picchu before the crowds arrive
  • Discover Cuzco with its distinct Inca-Colonial fusion architecture
  • Alternative remote Moonstone Trek available when Inca Trail permits have sold out

Key information

  • 5 nights hotels in en suite rooms, 3 nights full-service camping with dining and toilet tents
  • 4 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min. age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 4215m, average 3050m
  • 7kg personal weight limit on Inca Trail
  • Travel by private bus and by train
  • Countries visited: Peru

What’s included

  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners
  • 5 nights en suite hotels and 3 nights full-service camping
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Full porterage throughout trek
  • Exodus kitbag
  • Inflatable sleeping mat while camping

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Sleeping bag (hire locally from US$20)
Start Date End Date
May Feb

Exodus: The Inca Trail - 9 days from $2,379 1

  • DAY 1

    Start Cuzco (3400m); free time to explore the Inca capital.

    Set amidst hills in the altiplano, the Imperial City of the Incas, Cuzco (3,400) was the geographic, cultural and political centre of a vast empire which, at its peak, stretched from present-day Quito in Ecuador to Santiago in Chile. After the Spanish conquistadores invaded the city they started building on top of the Incan structures, resulting in unique architecture, a fusion of the Incan and Spanish colonial styles.

    The group flight usually arrives around midday, giving time for a short orientation tour around the city or free time to wander the cobbled streets admiring the old houses, visiting its interesting museums, churches and pre-Columbian buildings, or to sit in a café and sample a coca-tea.

    It is recommended to take it easy upon arrival into Cuzco and to drink plenty of water to allow your body time to acclimatise to the altitude (3,400m).

    There will be a welcome briefing in the hotel lobby this afternoon/evening.

    Hotel Warari / Koyllur (or similar)

  • DAY 2

    Free day; optional Sacred Valley excursion.

    Today has been left free for exploring Cuzco, one of South America’s most beautiful cities. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people-watching, and Qorikancha – the Sun Temple, located in the Santo Domingo Church and monastery, are worth a visit. The Mercado San Pedro is the place to try some local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves.

    Outside the town are more Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. Cuzco is also the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and should you wish to visit the sites, your leader can help organise an excursion, including Pisac Market (optional).

    If you fancy something more active then there are an array of other optional activities available from Cuzco, although you may wish to leave these until your return to the city after the Inca Trail trek, by which time you will be fully acclimatised. These include paddle-boarding on a lake, mountain biking, or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley.

    In the evening you will need to pack and weigh your duffel bag ready for the Inca Trail tomorrow – remember to keep your passport somewhere accessible for the Inca Trail checkpoint.

    Hotel Warari / Koyllur / Emperador (or similar)

    Meals included: breakfast
  • DAY 3

    The Classic Inca Trail: Start Inca Trail trek from km82; walk along Urubamba River, climb to Huayllabamba.

    The Classic Inca Trail is a tangential branch part of a 45,000km road network linking the whole empire to Cuzco. It was built in the 15th Century to reach Machu Picchu but was abandoned soon after the Spanish conquest. American adventurer Hiram Bingham travelled along the trail when he came across Machu Picchu in 1911. The trail opened to the public in 1970.

    We leave Cuzco early and drive for roughly two hours to Ollantaytambo, our last chance to buy any items needed for the trek. From here we veer off the road and follow a track beside the river (45 minutes) to the start of the Inca Trail at Piscacucho, commonly known as Km82. After greeting our trekking crew, we show our passports at the checkpoint and begin the Inca Trail trek. The trail runs alongside the Vilcanota River beneath the impressive snow-capped Nevado Veronica, passing through cactus gardens and fields of corn until we reach the enormous Inca ruins of Llactapata, where we continue up a side valley to camp near the hamlet of Huayllabamba.

    Walk Profile: approx. 11km / 6‐7hrs walking

    Full-service Camping – Huayllabamba Camp

    Moonstone Trek: Trek past ruins and hamlets to the village of Chillipawa.

    An early start as it’s a very busy first day! We take a private minibus to the trailhead, stopping first to explore the nearby ruins from which the trek takes its name. This is a large site with several distinct Inca remnants, clearly of religious importance. As with the rest of the trek, we are most likely to have the site completely to ourselves. The Moonstone itself is a large carving on an enormous boulder, and its significance is not yet understood.

    The trailhead is in a quiet, dusty valley and we soon climb high enough from the floor to enjoy some great views. At around lunchtime we stop to explore the imposing pre‐Inca fortress of Wata that straddles the trail. The ruin has not yet been accurately dated and pottery can often still be found lying on the ground. The path then traverses along a green side valley as we make our way above a few tiny villages before entering the village of Chillipawa, where we camp.

    Walk Profile: approx. 10.5km / 6‐7hrs walking

    Full‐service Camping

    Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner
  • DAY 4

    The Classic Inca Trail: Cross Dead Woman’s Pass (4215m), then descend to Pacaymayu.

    This is the longest and most strenuous day of the trek. A long climb takes us first through an area of cloud forest to the meadows of Llulluchapampa, then over the Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s) Pass – at 4215m the highest point on the trek. After quite a long, steep descent we camp in the scenic valley of the Pacamayo River (3600m).

    Walk Profile: approx. 10km / 6‐7hrs walking

    Full-service Camping – Pacamayo Camp

    Moonstone Trek: Up the Accoccosa Pass and onto the high pampas.

    A long, steady climb with plenty of rest stops to aid acclimatisation takes us above the villages and into the high pampas ‐ rugged meadows of long grass. We normally stop for lunch shortly before the crest of the Accoccosa Pass (and the very rare Andean Flicker is sometimes seen (although often heard!). The last leg of the pass is on loose red scree, but the view from the top makes it all worthwhile: a broad, hidden valley surrounded by snowy peaks ‐ the Huayanay Range on the left, the Urubamba Range straight ahead and beautiful, triangular Mt Veronica (5,800m) to the right. We have time to explore this plateau and experience walking in the high altiplano before returning to our camp for a well‐deserved hot dinner. The camp’s isolation, well away from any settlements, results in spectacular night skies when clear.

    Walk Profile: approx. 8.8km / 4‐5hrs walking

    Full‐service Camping

    Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner
  • DAY 5

    The Classic Inca Trail: Over Runquracay Pass (3800m) to ruins of Sayajmarca and Phuyupatamarca.

    We start the day with an easier climb which takes us past the ruins of Runquracay and over the Runquracay Pass (3930m). From now on the Inca Trail becomes a clearly defined path made of flat boulders. As we leave behind the ruins of Sayajmarca, we suddenly enter rainforest; at one point the trail passes through an Inca tunnel. We spend the night at a spectacular campsite on the ridge above the Inca site of Phuyupatamarca (3680m) to benefit from the views of sunset and sunrise.

    Walk Profile: approx. 12km / 5-6hrs walking

    Full-service Camping – Phuyupatamarca Camp

    Moonstone Trek: Continue along a narrow canyon and Incan aqueduct before crossing over to the Inca quarry of Canchiqata.

    We start after breakfast by following the stream from down this hidden valley into a narrow canyon. Rare polylepis trees grow here and we pass through a small grove as we leave the canyon. Our path then turns North and traverses very high above a deep and steep valley separating us from the Huayanay Mountains. This is probably the most spectacular section of the trek and we roughly follow a (now defunct) Inca aqueduct spectacularly carved out of the cliffs to take water from the hidden valley of our campsite to the Sacred Valley several miles away. At the end of the traverse we have a short but steep climb up to our lunch spot, a flat, ridge‐top meadow facing straight across the Sacred Valley to the snowy Urubamba Range.

    After lunch we walk down to Huayrapunku. Meaning “Gate of the Wind”, this is a ridge‐top Inca shrine oriented to Mt Veronica, of which it has a simply incredible view. Finally a short walk brings us to our final campsite in amongst the granite stones of the Canchiqata Quarry. It was here that huge blocks were cut from the rose‐coloured granite before being dragged down the mountainside and across the river to the Sun Temple at Ollantaytambo.

    Walk Profile: approx. 11.8km / 5‐6hrs walking

    Full‐service Camping

    Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner
  • DAY 6

    The Classic Inca Trail: Walk down Inca steps to Wiñay Wayna and Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate.

    From the ridge, we embark on the infamous Inca steps: a two kilometre stone staircase taking us rapidly downhill amid a panorama of overwhelming immensity, with the peaks of the Vilcabamba range above, and the river thousands of metres below. After visiting the attractive ruins of Wiñay Wayna, we have an undulating walk through cloud forest high above the river to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. From here we get our first full sight of Machu Picchu itself, with Huayna Picchu rising behind.

    Traditionally busy with groups of trekkers clamouring for photos, we plan our arrival at Inti Punku later in the day so we can enjoy unobstructed views of the magnificent ruins. Passing around the edge of the ruins, we exit the site and descend to Aguas Calientes for a well-earned rest, a shower and a comfortable bed for the night. Our trekking permits allow us one entry into the site, which we use for our tour tomorrow.

    There is usually time for an optional visit to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes, however in recent years they have become over-crowded and the water quality can suffer as a result. We will be reunited with those who have been on the Moonstone Trek at the hotel this afternoon.

    Walk Profile: approx. 9km / 6-7hrs walking

    Hotel Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)

    Moonstone Trek: Descend to Ollantaytambo where the trek ends; catch the train to Aguas Calientes and re-join the rest of the group.

    Photographers are advised to wake up before dawn this morning, to watch the sun rise over the Sacred Valley from our campsite high above it. The sun’s first rays catching the glaciers of Mt Veronica certainly makes the effort more than worthwhile. This is our last day on the trek and we descend from the pampas down into the lush valley floor along the enormous stone ramps on which the Incas dragged the stones. We cross the river and explore the huge Sun Temple complex to see where the stones ended and what use they were put to. Our trek ends as we board the train to Aguas Calientes, where we join the rest of the group at the hotel.

    Walk Profile: approx. 8km / 2‐3hrs walking

    Hotel Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)

    Meals included: breakfast  lunch
  • DAY 7

    Guided tour of Machu Picchu; free time to explore further; return to Cuzco by train and road.

    In order to beat the day-trippers arriving from Cuzco and reach the ruins as early as possible, a very early start is required to queue for Machu Picchu; only government-registered buses can make the 30-minute drive up the winding road to the site entrance, and during high season (May-October) queues can be hours long.

    Machu Picchu is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world and what makes it all the more dramatic is its mountain backdrop of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records of it, and so Machu Picchu remained a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham.

    New regulations for visiting Machu Picchu are now fully enforced; of the three possible visiting slots, we will purchase the morning slot from 06:00 until 12:00 (unless unavailable), you will be limited to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu; we select the most comprehensive route.

    We catch an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo (1hr 30 mins) and continue by private bus to Cuzco (2hrs 30 mins).

    Hotel Warari / Koyllur (or similar)

    Meals included: breakfast
  • DAY 8

    Free day in Cuzco; optional activities available.

    Today has been left free to relax after the trek or explore Cuzco further. Again, your leader can help to arrange optional excursions and activities for you.

    Hotel Warari / Koyllur (or similar)

    Meals included: breakfast
  • DAY 9

    End Cuzco.

    For land only travellers, the trip ends in Cuzco after breakfast today. Those who are travelling on the group flights will be taken to Cuzco airport to catch the overnight flight back to London.

    Meals included: breakfast

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Group Size: 16

Start: May

End: Feb

Duration: 9 Days

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