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Day 1: Cusco - Chachabamba - Winaywayna - Machu Picchu - 12 KM /7.5MI
5-5:30AM. Our team will pickup from hotels or airbnbs near the city center, (or from hotels in the Sacred Valley), to transfer 2 hours by van to the Ollantaytambo train station, where we board the train. Your private tour guide will accompany you on the train as it winds about 1 hour through the mountains and cloud forests with breathtaking scenery. The train stops at Km 104, and the adventure begins. You and your guide will jump off the train and cross the Urubamba river on a footbridge. Then you check in with park rangers at the control point and staging area. Your hike begins with a quick stop at the archaeological site of Chachabamba, with an elevation of 2150m. From here you ascend the canyon diagonally for about 2 hours until you reach a beautiful secluded waterfall. From there you hike a few more minutes, until you arrive at the fascinating archaeological site of Wiñaywayna (meaning "Forever Young.") 2650 m (8,694.23 ft). After you explore the ancient ruins. you continue to hike a little up and a little down through the semitropical cloud forest area, until you cross over the mountain through Intipunku (The Sun Gate) to get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. After a short 40 minute hike down, hikers enjoy the afternoon view from the guard shack and the upper terraces before exiting the park to descend 30 minutes by bus to Aguas Calientes for a comfortable night in your hotel.
Day 2: Machu Picchu Guided Tour - Return to Cusco
6-8AM. After breakfast included in your hotel stay, Adios tour guide will meet you in your hotel lobby and walk with you to the bus stop to begin 30 minute ride by shuttle bus up to Machu Picchu main entry. You enter with your guide to enjoy the magic of the morning light and begin a private, guided tour on a lower circuit. Following your 1-2 hour guided tour you return to Aguas Calientes by bus, then back to Cusco 2 hours by train & another 2 hours by private vehicle. Note that the guided tour in the ancient city is on a lower circuit. The only time you have access to the upper terraces and the classic view of Machu Picchu is when you hike in on Day 1. With advance notice, we can buy tickets for a guided tour of the upper circuits 1 or 2. The best value is to buy Inca Bridge tickets which come with upper circuit 1 or 2. These tickets are the same cost as the Machu Picchu Llaqta (general entry) tickets. The Llaqta tickets include a choice of any circuit upper or lower. And your hiking permit comes with 1 entry ticket to a lower circuit at any time you choose.
Travel Tip: by adding 1 day Sacred Valley tour before start of hike you can spend the night in Ollantaytambo where the train station is located.
This is the best way to explore the Sacred Valley and give you an advantage for boarding the train in Ollantaytambo the next morning. Our guide, driver and private vehicle will pick you up at your Cusco hotel to take you to Chinchero, the weavers' village, then continue to the Maras terraced salt ponds, followed by the mysterious and amazing circular geologic sinkholes at Moray. Arrive in Ollantaytambo for guided tour of the ruins, then checkin to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I get altitude sickness in Cusco?
It's common for most people who are coming from sea level to experience at least mild symptoms of altitude sickness when they arrive in Cusco, which is 11,000 ft/3430 m above sea level. Age is not a factor for the severity of symptoms one can experience. But fitness can be. Symptoms vary from person to person, but can include:
-headache (the most common complaint)
-loss of appetite
The best natural remedy is to drink plenty of water before you arrive at altitude and continue to drink water even at night. Coca leaf tea is available in every hotel coffee bar and restaurant. There is no way to predict if it will alleviate your symptoms. The most reliable treatment for headache is to bring your own medication. Ask your physician about prescription treatments before you travel.
Is it safe to drink the water in Peru?
Tap water in Lima, Cusco and other larger cities is consumed by local people every day. But is it safe for you? There's only one way to find out and we suggest that you not drink the tap water or use it to brush your teeth. Bottled water is cheap and available everywhere including small towns and villages.
We support the reduction of the use of disposable plastic water bottles and encourage you to bring a purification device to make your own safe drinking water. The device should be rated to purify water from microbes and viruses, not just for taste. We found a small, inexpensive passive portable water filter that removes not only bacteria, but heavy metals and inorganic materials like chlorine, nitrite and fluoride. Here is a link to read more, and a discount code if you choose to buy it. Drivers may carry purified drinking water to refill your personal water bottle on day tours and activities.
What is the best way to travel between Lima and Cusco?
We recommend flying between the cities because other means require more time or are not practical for short vacations. There is no train service between Lima and Cusco. And while there is bus service, the drive is almost 24 hours long over paved, but winding mountain roads. There is no speedy highway. We recommend that you book Latam Airlines for the most reliable airline service. And we suggest you allow at least 4-5 hours layover in Lima airport if you intend to fly from Cusco to Lima for an international connecting flight on the same day.
Where should I stay if my international flight arrives in Lima in the evening?
There is only one hotel at the Lima airport. The Wyndham Hotel is connected to the arrivals terminal by a skybridge on the 2nd floor or by crossing a 3 lane road on the ground level. It takes literally 2 minutes to walk from the terminal to the lobby of the hotel.
This hotel is best for groups who arrive in Lima in the evening and plan to depart again by air the next day. For groups planning to stay in Lima, it's best to ask your hotel in the Lima city center to arrange a ground transfer, since there are no shuttle buses. The travel time is about 45 minutes each way when the traffic is moderate. Traffic can be routinely congested during the daytime, from 7AM to 8PM. The cost ranges from $35 USD each way and up. If your group is larger than 3 persons, you may need a transfer in a mini-van or two taxis.
Do I need vaccinations to visit Machu Picchu?
No. Covid vaccinations are not required to enter Peru. And other travel vaccinations are not required. The altitude of Machu Picchu is 8000 ft/2440 m and higher. Disease-carrying vectors do not thrive at higher elevations. US citizens are not required to get Yellow Fever vaccinations or prophylactic Malaria treatments. Although there have been no recent cases of Yellow Fever in Peru, some countries, including the US, recommend that visitors get Yellow Fever vaccinations prior to visiting the Amazon Rainforest, including Tambopata Reserve or Manu National Reserve. Even though these vaccinations are not required to re-enter the US, they may be required if you are transiting or traveling to another country before you return home. We recommend that travelers check the regulations for re-entry for any countries they will pass through after leaving Peru, Bolivia or Ecuador. Health regulations are subject to change from time to time. It is the responsibility of travelers to consult their own government health departments for up to date and relevant information.
This Adventure Includes
- Pre-hike briefing the day before you start. Usually in your hotel or nearby hotel if others are hiking
- Transportation from: Hotel to Km.104 (van and train)
- Full-time, Professional English-speaking guide
- Train tickets to Km 104; and return from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Pickup and transfers from your hotel in Cusco to train station in Ollantaytambo (about 2 hours by car each way)
- Simple box lunch (during the hike. Please leave room in your backpack to carry your lunch)
- Permits for the Inca Trail
- Access to the upper terrace for the classic view of Machu Picchu (does not include tour of upper circuit unless you buy extra ticket separately)
- 1 way + 1 round trip shuttle bus ticket: Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes
- 1 Night in 3* hotel accommodation including breakfast in Aguas Calientes.
- Entry to Machu Picchu National Park lower circuit & private guided tour
- ***optional 3rd day Sacred Valley tour by van includes guide, driver, vehicle & hotel
- International airfare to and from Lima.
- Domestic airfare from Lima to Cusco
- Tickets to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain if available (add $85 USD pp)
- Trekking poles can be borrowed with advance notice
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu upper circuit (if available we can buy extra tickets)
- Travel insurance
- Hotel in Cusco (available on request or ask us for recommendations)
- Passport is required to obtain permits for this hike - we can use expired passport to get permit, but you must travel with both the old and new passports
- Once booked, permits cannot be transferred, changed or cancelled.
- Permit comes with 1 entry to Machu Picchu on lower circuit. We can buy tickets for guided tour of upper circuit with advance notice. (if available. Add $75 USD pp)
- Trip extensions available to Amazon jungle, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, Ecuador & Galapagos Islands
- We offer preferred rates for Cusco hotel - Encantada
- (Optional ) Huayna Picchu Hike on Day 2: (must be booked in advance) add $85 adult if places are available
- We guarantee all reservations. (except in circumstances beyond our control)
- Minimum 2 people per group
- it is possible for group members to stay on the train and continue to Aguas Calientes and skip the hike
- We can organize trips that include 4-Day Inca Trail and easy 2-day Inca Trail if you have group members with differing needs (see our NEW 3-in-1 itinerary)
- Add 1 day Sacred Valley Private Tour with entry tickets and hotel the day before you hike. Add $199 USD pp dbl occupancy (min 2 pax)