Choosing a trek in the Andes can be difficult! You don´t want to miss out on anything. This trek provides an answer to that dilemma. It combines the history and sanctity of the Moon, incredible experiences with the Apus (Sacred Mountains) and finally a pilgrimage to the holy citadel of Machu Picchu.
The first portion of the trek features striking flora and fauna. You also get to see Huatta. Huatta is an extremely rare pre-Inca site. It is remarkably well preserved.
On the third day, you will transition into the Ancascocha Trek. This trek is midway between Cusco and the Inca Trail. The experience on the Ancascocha Trek is so astonishing that you really have to see it for yourself to completely absorb the extraordinary beauty.
Finally, on day 5, you will begin the Inca Trail. You will hike the entire Classic Inca Trail.
Why is this trek named the Sacred Journey of the Inca? This is because at the time of the Inca Empire there were messengers, called Chaskis, who transported stone and supplies from the villages in the areas of the Ancascocha and Moon Stone treks, and the most frequent destination was the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. So you are hiking an authentic route that was used over 500 years ago to build and maintain Machu Picchu in the service of their Sacred Emperor, Pachacutec.
This trek includes your permit to hike Huayna Picchu mountain, a very nice 3 star hotel in Aguas Calientes, dinner at the best restaurant in Aguas Calientes and personal porters/horses to carry 8.5 kg of your personal gear.
On this 8 day trek you will have a genuine experience of how the Inca Empire functioned. We hope you will join us for this truly matchless trek that is not offered by any other company!!
Starting altitude: 3,256 m / 10, 682 ft
Minimum altitude: 2,440 m/ 8,052 ft
Maximum altitude: 4,650 m / 15,229 ft
Distance traveled: 74 km / 46 miles
Overall trek difficulty: Challenging
DAY 1: Varpiso – Huatta – Chillipawa
We start the day with an early pick up from your hotel. We embark on a scenic 2 ¾ hour drive to the trail head, Varpiso (3,256 m / 10, 682 ft). Here we will meet our horses, chef and horsemen. We will pack all the gear on to the horses and start the trek.
We cross a bridge over the Huaracondo River and then are off to this incredible, rarely visited region! This segment is 3 ½ hours uphill and leads to Huatta (3,924 m / 12, 870 ft), a pre-Inca site. Huatta is a substantial pre-Inca fortress dominating the crest of a ridge. Archeologists currently excavating the site are revealing burial sites and occupation levels from the Formative Period (2,500 years ago), on through the enormous fortifications of the 4th century Regional Development period; a scattering of late-period Inca structures seems like an afterthought on the top of the highest hill. The site is classic: a defensible ridge with dominating three-way views along intersecting valleys.
After we tour Huatta, the remainder of the day´s trek is 3 ½ hours of up and down sections. At that point we will arrive at the hamlet of Chillipawa (3,750 m / 12,300 ft). We will enjoy lunch there. Chillipawa is also our camp for the night.
After lunch, we will have an opportunity to visit with the families in the village.
You will experience remarkable Peruvian hospitality in this village and get to see their fields of potatoes, plantains, etc. The work ethic of the people who live in these villages is incredible.
After that visit, we will return to camp for happy hour and dinner. An interesting note is that Chillipawa is the native village of many of our guides.
DAY 2: Chillipawa – Pucaccasa – Chancachuco
This morning you will woken up with delectable Coca tea or heavenly local coffee. After that and your robust breakfast, the trek for the day will begin.
The beginning of the trek is uphill for 3 ½ hours. We will then stop at a small glade for lunch (4,438 m / 14,557 ft).
Following lunch, we have 1 more hour to go uphill to the Pucaccasa pass (4,643 m/ 15,229 ft). This is a very unique vantage point. On one side, you see Cusco and Mt Ausangate (6.372 m /20,900 ft), which is the tallest peak in the Urubamba Mountain Range. On the other side you have a close up view of Mount Veronica (5,882 ft / 19,096 ft). Mt Veronica represents the end of the Urubamba Mountain range and its pyramidal shape makes it particularly impressive.
After we enjoy this astonishing vista, we start our trek downhill to the camp. During this 2 ½ hour stretch we will see abundant llamas, alpacas and potato farms. We will then arrive at our camp, Chancachuco (4,177 m / 13,700 ft), where we will enjoy a well earned bountiful dinner. We will have a gorgeous view of the Huaynay Glacier at the camp.
Day 3: Chancachuco Valley – Ancascocha Village – Ancascocha Lake
We begin the day with a 45 minute hike with up and down portions. This is followed by a 20 minute ascent by way of a narrow trail following a stream with beautiful views of Mt. Veronica (5,822 m/ 19,100 ft).
This is followed by a 2 ½ hour walk downhill to reach the small community of Ancascocha (3,700 m/12,136 ft), located in a small, gorgeous wooded valley with a stream running through it.
We will continue hiking for 1 hour uphill, while enjoying views of a nearby glacier and well preserved Inca remains. At this point we will reach the Ancascocha Lake (4,262 m /13,982 ft), our lunch site and camp for the night. After we have lunch, we will head into the village and see some of the local houses.
We will head back to camp in the late afternoon and have happy hour, followed by dinner.
Day 4: Ancascocha Lake – Huaynay Pass – Muyu Muyu Community – Paucarcancha
After a fueling breakfast, we will ascend towards the Huayanay Pass (4,650 m/ 15,255 ft) for 2 hours, the highest point of our trek, which is a steep zigzag trail uphill. Along this segment we find an original cobblestone paved Inca trail.
After taking time to enjoy the incredible view, we will embark on a 3 ½ hour descent into greener vegetation. During this stretch of the trek we will have views of the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu appear in the distance, and fascinating views of the communities of the Qésqua valley. We will also pass the small Inca site of Incarajay. We will have lunch in the Muyu Muyu community (3,850 m/12,628 ft).
After lunch we will embark on a 2 hour descent to our campsite Paucarcancha (3,200 m / 10,496 ft).
Day 5: Paucarcancha – Huayllabamba – Llulluchapampa
Today we change pace as we join the classic Inca Trail. This is where we will say goodbye to our horsemen and the horses, and meet our porters.
From Paucarcancha we will hike 25 minutes downhill to the last village on the Classic Inca Trail, Huayllabamba (2,866 m / 9,400 ft). This will be followed by a 4 hour uphill hike to Llulluchapampa (3,700 m/12,136 ft). On the way we will hike through many ecosystems, including the cloud forest. Llulluchapampa is our camp for the night. It is located very close to Dead Woman´s Pass.
Day 6: Llulluchapampa – Dead Woman´s Pass – Phuyupatamarca
Today is our longest day and crosses two high passes; luckily for us we chose to camp last night at a location where we’re nearly at the first pass, Dead woman’s pass (4,215 m/13,825 ft), the highest point of the Inca Trail and a 2 hour hike from Llulluchapampa. After Dead Woman´s Pass, we hike 2 hours downhill to Pacamayu, where we will have snacks and the opportunity to use the restroom. Then we will hike uphill for 2 hours until we reach the second pass, Runcuraccay (3,950 m/ 12,959 ft).
Before we reach our lunch spot for the day, Chaquicocha, we will visit two Inca sites, Runcuraccay and Sayacmarca (3,850 m/12,628 ft). There are fantastic views of high snow-capped peaks for most of this trek portion and the cloud forest all around us today is by far the most visually stunning of the Inca Trail.
Two hours from the Runcuraccay pass is Chaquicocha, where we will have lunch.
After a tremendous lunch, we will be on the homestretch to our camp. From Chaquicocha to our camp is 1 ½ to 2 hours. At our campsite, Phuyupatamarca (3,680 m/ 12,073ft), we will get our first views of Machu Picchu Mountain far in the distance (the site itself is hidden from view). The views of the sunset here are fantastic and the campsite is quiet with the majority of trekkers camping closer to Machu Picchu.
Day 7: Phuyupatamarca – Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu
Today is all about the Incas; we visit 3 major sites (Phuyupatamarca, Intipata and Wiñay Wayna) before we finally arrive to Machu Picchu itself late in the day. With only a short distance left to cover you’ll really have the opportunity to see these sites in detail and learn more about the Inca culture and Machu Picchu in preparation for your visit tomorrow. The area around these Inca sites is also rich in wildlife and with only a handful of people around on this stretch of trail at this time of day, it is the perfect opportunity to try and spot some of the more elusive species.
We begin the day with a tour of Phuypatamarca. Once we finish our tour we head into the rain forest! We will walk downhill for 2 ½ hours until we reach the impressive Wiñay Wayna (2,680 m /8,792 ft) Inca site. During this stretch of the trail we will visit Intipata. Many people feel that the most beautiful pictures of the entire Inca trail can be taken from this location! Wiñay Wayna is the largest and most exquisite archeological site on the Inca trail and means forever young in Quechua. This is our lunch spot.
After a thorough tour of the site we continue towards the Sun Gate (2,720 m/ 8,920 ft), which is called Inti Punku in Quechua. We will arrive there in the afternoon. This is where we will have our first view of Machu Picchu. At the Sun Gate, we will have the opportunity to see a fantastic sunset.
From the Sun Gate we will head down to the citadel of Machu Picchu to take the bus to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes you will check in to your room at the hotel. The natural hot springs in town are an unbeatable way to spend a late afternoon/early evening if time is available before dinner. Dinner will be at the finest restaurant.
Day 8: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take a very early bus (5:30am) along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise. Once there you will be given a 2 hour walking tour of the site.
You will begin your hike of Huayna Picchu Mountain at 10 AM. If you are not climbing the mountain, or after you hike the mountain, you will have free time to explore Machu Picchu before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.
When you arrive in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to the Sacred Valley. At the Sacred Valley Train station you will be picked up by our private van and driven to Cusco. We will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket, but is usually between 8 and 9 PM.
Services Not Included:
What to bring:
*In the instance that Huayna Picchu Mountain is sold out, you will receive a permit to hike Machu Picchu Mountain
WHAT’S IN A NAME: Action Peru Treks?
Action is a word we are all familiar with and probably use on a regular basis without too much thought! However, it is worth a look at the dictionary to understand what makes the word Action in our name special.
ACTION: Doing things that require physical movement and energy; something done so as to accomplish a purpose; involved in the activities of a group and organization.