RCGS: Peru’s Inca Trail with Aaron Kylie
Departing on April 3, 2020.
Reviews 0 Reviews0/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
A paradise for outdoor adventurers, follow in the footsteps of the Peruvian Incas with Canadian Geographic Editor-in-Chief, Aaron Kylie, as you make your way along Peru’s Inca Trail. From the creation of the Canadian Geographic Atlas of Canada to his work at the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Aaron will be on hand to share tips and tricks to perfect your photography and swap travel stories and trivia from his travels around the world.Set amongst breathtaking snow-capped peaks, vast fields of cactus gardens and mystical cloud forests, follow the ancient Inca Trail as it winds its way across mountain passes and through cloud forests, passing several crumbling fortresses which have remain unchanged for centuries. Specifically designed to maximise the time spent at Machu Picchu, enjoy an early morning tour of the ruins before day trippers and other trekkers arrive. Experience the heartland of Incan culture and tradition during a morning in the Sacred Valley. Explore the museums and churches of the ancient Inca capital, Cuzco. Relax in the hot springs at Aguas Calientes. From start to finish, you’ll be treated to an intoxicating mix of ancient history, culture, and incredible landscapes.
* All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners
* All transport and listed activities
* Sleeping bag hire for trek duration
* Inflatable sleeping mat for trek duration
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
* Arrival and departure transfers
* Full porterage throughout trek
* Exodus kitbag
Start Cuzco (3400m/11,155ft); free time to explore the Inca capital.
Set amidst hills in the altiplano, the Imperial City of the Incas, Cuzco 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 flights usually arrive in the mid-afternoon, giving time to wander the cobbled streets, visit the museums, churches and pre-Columbian buildings, such as Qorikancha – the Sun Temple, or to sit in a café and enjoy a coca-tea.There will be a briefing in the evening.*Hotel San Agustin Plaza / Eco Inn (or similar)** *
Visit the Sacred Valley; continue to Ollantaytambo (2800m/9186ft).
Today we visit the magnificent Sacred Valley of the Incas and the incredible ruins at Pisac before continuing on to Ollantaytambo, where we spend the night.The Sacred Valley, which runs along the Urubamba River near Cuzco, is the true heartland of Incan culture and tradition, which is still strong today. The high-Andean scenery is dotted with old towns and villages dating back to pre-Columbian times. The ruins of the Citadel at Pisac guarded a road from the lowlands and gives way to a picturesque landscape of terraces carved into the solid rock itself. The Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo give you a sense of the scale of what is to come as huge stone terraces scale the valley sides. This was the royal estate of Inca Emperor Pachacuti as well as being of religious and defensive significance.*Hotel Pakaripampu (or similar)***
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/27,962mi 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/7mi; 6‐7hrs walking**Full-service Camping – Huayllabamba Camp*
The Classic Inca Trail: Cross Dead Woman's Pass (4215m/*13,829ft*), then
descend to Pacaymayu.
This is the longest and most strenuous day. A long climb (largely up stone staircases) takes us first through an area of cloud forest to the meadows of Llulluchapampa, then over the Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s) pass, at 4215m/13,829ft the highest point on the trek. After quite a long, steep descent we camp in the scenic valley of the Pacamayo River (3600m/11,811ft).*Walk Profile: approx. 10km/6.2mi; 6‐7hrs walking**Full-service Camping – Pacamayo Camp*
The Classic Inca Trail: Over Runquracay Pass (3800m/12,467ft) 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 (3800m/12,467ft). From now on the Inca Trail becomes a clearly defined path made of flat boulders. We pass the ruins of Sayajmarca and suddenly enter rainforest; at one point the trail passes through an Inca tunnel. We camp at a spectacular campsite on the ridge above the Inca site of Phuyupatamarca (3680m/12,074ft) to benefit from the views of sunset and sunrise.*Walk Profile: approx. 12km/7.5mi; 5-6hrs walking**Full-service Camping – Phuyupatamarca Camp*
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 2km/1.24mi 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/6mi; 6-7hrs walking**Hotel Casa Andina, Aguas Calientes (or similar)*
Early morning guided tour of Machu Picchu; free time to explore further, then
return to Cuzco by train and by 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 San Agustin Plaza / Eco Inn (or similar)***
Free day Cuzco; optional activities available.
Today has been left free to relax after the trek or explore Cuzco further. There are a number of optional excursions available which your tour leader can arrange for you. If you still have the energy you could choose to mountain bike in the Sacred Valley, taking in a 30-35km/19-22mi ride through Moray, Maras and then down to Sacred Valley through ancient communities, farming fields and amazing Andean landscape.. Alternatively, you could try your hand at paddle boarding on Lake Piuray near the town of Chinchero. Or, if feeling more subdued, take it easy and watch the world go by in Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas.*Hotel San Agustin Plaza / Eco Inn (or similar)*
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 this morning for your overnight flight to London.