Trekking to Machu Picchu
Hiking the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will remember and treasure for years to come. This unique map makes the perfect souvenir that you can proudly display anywhere. Made to look hundreds of years old and well used by some famous explorer, it will quickly become a conversation piece for friends and family and one of your most cherished works of art.
Features of the Map
The map highlights not only the route taken during your trek but the important ruins, camp sites, and passes encountered along this ancient path to Machu Picchu. An altitude and elevation chart shows the various peaks and passes that you conquered during the rigorous hike. You can also customize your map by adding your trekking dates, name or whatever you would like.
Purchasing this map is also a great way to give back, as 10% of all profits go to social programs for the porters of Alpaca Expeditions and their families. The porters of the “Green Machine” are likely the reason your trek was so enjoyable so this is just another way to say “thanks”. So what are you waiting for?
Inca Trail: Day 1
8 Miles (12.87 km)
The Classic Inca Trail trek begins at 82 km along the Urubamba River at an altitude of 8,923 feet above sea level.
After crossing then hiking along the Urubamba River during the morning, the trail turns into the mountains as you come across the first significant stop on the trail; The hilltop ruins of Willkaraqay which overlooks the ruins of Patallaqta below in the valley. The Incan site of Patallaqta was used for religious and ceremonial functions, crop production, and housing for soldiers from Willkaraqay, an ancient pre-Inca site. Patallaqta is also believed to be the original Incan name of Machu Picchu.
Continuing your trek through small villages, the trail turns west and steeper as you arrive at the camp site for the first night of camping.
Inca Trail: Day 2
10 Miles (16.08 km)
The second day begins by ascending the trail through a cloud forest toward Warmi Wañusqa, more commonly known as “Dead Woman’s Pass” so named because of nearby rock formation. This highest point on the Classic Inca Trail is 13,779 feet above sea level. Until now you have been trekking on a restored Inca Trail but for this point on you will be hiking the original ancient stone roadway used by Incan emperors.
After crossing “Dead Woman’s Pass”, the trail drops steeply down, before it begins another steeply ascent the other side of the valley. Along this climb is where you will encounter the ruins of Runkuraqay (an Inca tambo or “post house”). The trail continues to ascend, passing a small lake, until the second pass is reached, at an altitude of 13,123 feet.
Depending from the second pass, you come across the impressive Incan ruins of Sayaqmarka (“inaccessible town); perched along a mountain ridge and only accessible via a steep and narrow path which must be carefully navigated. After exploring this site you will continue along the trail, passing another tambo, before you reach your camp site for a well deserved night of rest.
Inca Trail: Day 3
6 Miles (9.66 km)
The day begins with an easy hike to the third and final pass on the Classic Inca Trail, which is 12,073 feet above sea level. After which you begin your descent and soon arrive at the impressive Incan ruins of Phuyupatamarka (“The City Above the Clouds”). Built along the natural contours of the terrain, the site includes five fountains and an altar, likely used for llama sacrifice.
As the trail descends down a series of irregular steps and staircases (some of which were carved into solid granite) you will notice the vegetation becoming more dense and lush. Eventually you will arrive at the recently uncovered Inca agricultural terraces of Intipata, where potatoes, maize, fruit, and sweet potato were grown for population of nearby Machu Picchu. After exploring and admiring the view, you will make the short hike to the third and final camp site.
After a quick rest you will proceed to what will likely be the highlight of the day, the Incan ruins of Wiñay Wayna (“Forever Young”). Built on a steep jungle hill near a picturesque waterfall, the site consists of an upper and lower architectural structures set among multiple concave agricultural terraces. Running between the two groups of buildings there are as many as 19 springs, ritual baths, and fountains. It is amazing to think that this ancient plumbing still functions as well today as it did hundreds of years ago.
Inca Trail: Day 4
3 Miles (4.83 km)
Waking up very early, you will begin your hike in near darkness. As day breaks, steep stairs will lead you to the Intipunku, also known as the “Sun Gate”. It is from here that you will get your first glimpse of the grandeur of the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, which lie below.
All that remains is a short downhill walk along the final section of the Classic Inca Trail, ending at your ultimate goal; Machu Picchu – “The Lost City of the Incas”.
Spend an unforgettable day wandering around one of the world famous and best preserved ancient ruins. Be sure to explore the Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Three Windows, Temple of the Condor and the Intihuatana rock. The dramatic views of Machu Picchu (“Old Peak”) are dominated by the sharp green mountain of Huayna Picchu (“Young Peak”). For a different perspective of the Machu Picchu site that few ever get to experience, hike the steep and treacherous path to the summit of this mountain and explore its less visited ruins near the top.
As the day concludes you will take a short bus trip down several switchbacks eventually ending up in the the city of Aguas Calientes, the first sign of civilization you have seen in many days. From here you will catch a train back to Ollantaytambo in The Sacred Valley.