Walking the “Qhapaq Ñan”
Enjoy this colourful trek through the Inca Trail tour to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail or “Qhapaq Ñan” are many trails connecting all the ancient Peru, including the south of Ecuador, west of Bolivia and the north of Chile.
Machu Picchu, located in the Urubamba Valley fits perfectly in the spectacular frame given by the lush vegetation of the nearby jungle and the rough landscape. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is just a small part of the Incas road system that was part of the four regions of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire.
What makes this Inca Trail tour to Machu Picchu so special is the combination of Inca remains, amazing landscapes, exotic vegetation and the extraordinary ecological variety.
Machu Picchu comes from a Quechua word that means old mountain, however, according to several scholars, its name could have originally been Llactapata. Machu Picchu was built not long before the 15th century, 80 km northwest of Cusco city and it is a citadel where a small Inca population lived.
According to documents dated from 16th century, Machu Picchu was a resting place for the Inca Pachacútec between 1438 and 1470. However, according to studies, the ruins were allegedly used before his rule so it can be said that it was a religious sanctuary because of its strong ceremonial nature.
Machu Picchu was declared as Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and it entered the World Heritage list in 1983. It was also chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
You will be picked up from your hotel at 4 a.m. Following, we will go to the train station and leave on the 6:10 a.m. train, from Ollantaytambo. This is one of the most magnificent train rides in the world, with its phenomenal views of the rough-and-tumble Urubamba River, the soaring snow-capped mountain peaks and cornfield farms. As we descend, you will see the micro-climate changes, from the mountains and cornfields to green jungle valleys with ferns, bromeliads and orchids, as the temperature starts to get warmer. This train ride is one hour and 45 minutes to Km 104, where we’ll disembark to meet your trekking chef and porters. You will also enjoy breakfast before starting your trek. Be sure you bring your original passport, since this is the very first checkpoint along the Inca Trail. After breakfast, you will have some time to prepare, before beginning the hike. Soon after, we will get to explore the first Inca site, Chachabamaba. Chachabamaba was the first ancient Incan checkpoint for entering to the Inca trail. Your tour guide will give you some background history on this ruin, followed by the three hour climb up to the most famous Inca site along the trail, Wiñay Wayna. You will see amazing views of the Machu Picchu Valley and the Urubamba River along the trail, as well as the flora and fauna native to the area. There are also waterfalls, and spectacular views of the Machu Picchu Mountain. The trail itself has some flat areas, as well as some short uphill and downhill hikes. It also has steps, arranged in sections, that can be narrow in some areas, but not dangerous. Once you arrive at the Wiñay Wayna Inca site, you will have time for a tour by your tour guide. He will also provide time for exploring the Inca site, temples, waterfalls, gardens, storehouses, watchtowers and farming terraces. It is only a short walk to the lunch spot, where your trekking chef and porters will be ready with cold drinks and delicious, fresh food, prepared by our cook, and served buffet-style. After lunch, there will be time for a short nap. Following, it will be a one hour, gradual up and downhill hike to get to the Sun Gate, where you will have spectacular views of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu and the surrounding valleys. The Sun Gate was used by Incas to observe the sunrise from Machu Picchu during the summer solstice. From here, it is another hour hike to the Machu Picchu ruins. Once in Machu Picchu, you can explore the watchtower area where you can get charming pictures of Machu Picchu (without crowds). We’ll then take the 20 minute bus ride to the campsite of Puente Ruinas. When you arrive at the campsite, your tents will be all set up. You will meet your porters, and enjoy a social happy hour with hot drinks and dinner. Later in the evening, we’ll have a small ceremony with your chef and porters in order to say good bye to them. They will still be there the next morning to cook breakfast. This is the proper goodbye.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
There will be an early wake up call with hot drinks. You will have time to prepare your duffel bags and day packs, and enjoy breakfast. We’ll walk 30 minutes to the bus station to be one of the first in line to go up to Machu Picchu (sometimes there is a 20-30 min wait in the line to board the bus). The first buses will depart at 5:30 a.m. and arrive at 6:00 a.m., into Machu Picchu. You must have your original passport at the checkpoint. Your tour guide will take you to the perfect spot to enjoy the sunrise over the mountains (weather permitting). We’ll then have a two hour, private, guided tour of the Machu Picchu ruins, with all of its fascinating history. You’ll also have free time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. If you have booked a permit to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, this is a good time to climb (in the second slot which starts at 10:00 a.m.). However, there are a lot of other things to see around Machu Picchu: the Inca Bridge is one of the best options – you can climb up to Sun Gate for free, or walk around the temple and residential areas of Machu Picchu to mingle with the llamas. You will need to catch your bus back down to the town of Aguas Calientes for lunch and to catch the afternoon train to Ollantaytambo. From there, you will go by private van back to Cusco, where we will drop you off at your hotel.
|Price per person: USD||590||590||590||590|
INCA TRAIL REGULATIONS
The Inca Trail route is inside the Machu Picchu National Sanctuary, an area protected by the National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA), that only allows the entrance of 500 visitors a day. Therefore, you should book your tour 60 days before your trip.
It is also important to know the park’s regulations that must be complied during your visit:
It is forbidden to: throw garbage, withdraw, kick or spoil the ruins’ or the trails’ stones, harm nature, disturb the animals, set fire or camp inside the ruins. You can only camp on the authorized places.
All rates are expressed in US dollars, per person, based on double occupancy and are subject to change without notice.
All our itineraries have been very carefully prepared taking your trip’s best operation into account. However, changing the order of some tours or routes might be necessary in some cases. Although these changes occur in few instances, the itinerary details should be taken as a basic guide.
If Colourful Peru oversees buying and issuing local-flight tickets, their prices may vary until the date of the flight’s booking and payment. Furthermore, the airline might change the flight number as well as its departure hour.
Once the flight reservation and payment are made, the latter will not be reimbursable. Changes regarding name, flight, route, trip’s date or cancellations are not allowed.
Hotel reservations that are not part of an organized trip
Cancellations and Reimbursements
Cancellations and Reimbursements
(*) Note: some suppliers consider stricter cancellation conditions, consequently, they reserve the right to charge additional fees for other penalties in such cases.
Regarding the Inca Trail: the reserve is subject to its payment and there will not be reimbursements in case of cancellations, moreover, neither name nor date changes are allowed.
During peak season, the company reserves the right to change the cancellation regulations in case the suppliers apply other penalties or make the aforementioned changes.
Live Corporation carries out your trip’s arrangements, books transfer services, hotel rooms or other travel services required on your behalf, consequently, the company takes no responsibility for the loss of items, flight or tours delays due to events of force majeure, accidents or other events.
Live Corporation disclaims any liability for medical conditions, pregnancy, mental or physical limitations that might put at risk the health or integrity of the passenger or third parties during the operation of the booked tours or that might jeopardize the trip’s progress. Therefore, the company will not be obliged to any refunds or to address claims regarding the aforementioned reasons, even when there are not noticeable problems in normal circumstances.
Given this, it is important for the passengers to inform the company whether there is any of the aforementioned impediments, so we can offer and suggest suitable services according to the existing limitations.
The climate in Peru can be divided by zones: the western Andes that has a dry and cold climate in winter and its very rainy during the summer. The rainforest that has a hot, wet and rainy climate and the desert coast with a warm climate without regular rainfall.
Cusco has a mild climate with temperatures that go from 14 ºC to 16ºC with warm days and cold nights. The rainy season is from December to March.
Machu Picchu has a semi-tropical climate with warm days and cold nights. The rainy season is from November to April.
Peru Time Zone according to Greenwich Mean Time is -5 (GMT -5), same as Bogotá and Mexico throughout the year and same as New York during summer. When it is midday in Peru the hour in the most important cities is:
|Hong Kong||01:00 + 1day|
|Singapur||01:00 + 1day|
In Cusco: 3,360 meters above sea level
In Machu Picchu: 2,400 meters above sea level
In the Sacred Valley: 2,850 meters above sea level
The Peruvian Andes are at high altitudes, so it is necessary to take precautions to avoid altitude sickness or “soroche”. It is important to rest a few hours, to walk slowly and to eat light before beginning any tour. We also recommend drinking coca tea that helps with acclimatization. Even though water is potable in most cities, it is advisable to drink bottled water to avoid any problems.
To know if you need a visa to enter Peru, please go to the closest consulate since the requirement may vary at any moment. For more information, please go to:
Visa types to enter Peru
Peru’s official language is Spanish, which is spoken by 80% of the population. However, there is a large portion of the population that speaks Quechua and Aymara (especially in the Peruvian Andes). Moreover, we can find 55 dialects in the Amazonian rainforest.
Electricity in Peru is 220 Volts and 60 Hertz. In some hotels, you may find dual voltage outlets, however, we suggest checking your appliances’ voltage and take precautions by having a power adapter or converter.
During the last years, the Peruvian gastronomy has become famous because of its variety and exquisiteness. Among the most known dishes you can find the ceviche, a dish made of fish and seafood marinated in lemon juice.
There is a new gastronomy trend in Cusco called “novoandina”. The novoandina cuisine is based on the creation of new dishes using local ingredients such as quinoa, quiwicha, potato, alpaca and trout. This way, we have dishes such as alpaca tenderloin with “quinotto” (risotto made of quinoa instead of rice) or grilled trout with sautéed vegetables and native potatoes.
Colourful Peru reserves the right to make any changes without prior notice due to weather conditions, river levels, transport departures or arrivals, etc., to assure a better development of your trip’s operation.
Walking the “Qhapaq Ñan”
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