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Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu – 5D/4N

Vilcabamba trek to Machu PicchuThe Vilcabamba trek to Machu Picchu is a trek like none other, taking you to the last Inca city, Vilcabamba. As you hike off the beaten path, through a unique route to Machu Picchu passing the beautiful forest to the remote villages of Huancacalle and Racachaca.

You will hike along the ruins of Vitcos (the last remains of Vilcabamba) and along what is thought to be the same route   travelled by Manco Inca as he fled the Spaniards in 1537.

Vilcabamba was later conquered after two invasions in 1539 and 1572. For anyone attempting to avoid the tidal wave of crowds surging along the Classic Inca Trail and popular alternative treks  to Machu Picchu, while at the same time learning extensive history of Peru, this remote trek is perfect for you.

Action Peru Treks is highly recommended by TripAdvisor and Trustpilot. Join hundreds of happy trekkers who have experienced the adventure of a lifetime!


Pre-trek briefing (required): We provide a full pre-trek briefing at our office in Cusco. This gives you the chance to ask questions about the trek itinerary. Briefings are scheduled for the day before your trek starts.

Please take this into consideration when booking your travel plans to Cusco, to ensure you arrive in time for the briefing.

Day 1:  Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Santa Maria – Huancacalle – Pillaupata

We will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco at 4:30 a.m. and begin venturing to the remote trailhead at Huancacalle which will take about 7 hours. Along the way we pass through several small villages before arriving to Huancacalle (3,123 m/10,233 ft) by noon.

Here we’ll meet our horsemen, load up the horses, and they will take our bags to camp.

About an hour later we will enjoy a lovely lunch prepared by our trekking chef. After, we hike an hour to the last capital of the Incas, Vitcos. Here we will take a informative tour and learn how and why the Incas fled from Cusco to this site specifically and other fascinating histories Vitcos holds.

We then continue another hour to the religious site of Ñusta Hispana (The White Rock) with beautiful Inca carvings. The surrounding areas here have many ruins to explore. We will have an extensive tour of the area learning of the rich history and significance all these sites hold.

Then we continue on to our campsite at Pillaupata (3,630m/ 11,909 ft) which is along a portion of the original Inca trail. We set up camp and share a nourishing warm meal and relax to prepare for the next day’s adventures!

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner + snacks
  • Accommodations: Camping
  • Maximum altitude: 3,630 m/11,909 ft
  • Distance to walk: 6 Km/3.7 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 3-4  hours
  • Lebel of Difficulty: Easy

Day 2: Pillaupata – Hasuntina Pass – Racachaca Village

Your day will begin with warm cup of tea in your tent and magnificent views just as soon as you zip open your door! We will share breakfast and pack up to head out on a part of the original Inca trail. We begin with a moderate 5 hour climb through the breaktaking Andes traveling through lush vegetation and wildlife until we reach the Hasuntina pass (4,500 m/14,763 ft).

Here we rest soak in the view spectacular views of snow-capped peaks and crystal clear rushing rivers and have a lunch.

Then we descend for three hours following the beautifully preserved Inca trail to our next camp at the quaint village of Racahaca (3,570m / 11,712 ft.). Here we will eat a lovely dinner prepared by our trekking chef and admire our stunning surroundings.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner + snacks
  • Accommodations: Camping
  • Maximum altitude: 4,500 m/14,763 ft
  • Distance to walk: 12 Km/7,4 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 7 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Challenging

Day 3: Racachaca Village – Mojon Pass – Mutuypata

Once again we wake you with a warm cup of tea and nourishing breakfast to prepare for the day. Today we accomplish hiking over three passes (4,500 m/14,763 ft.).  From Mojon Pass, we will have the first views of the magical Machu Picchu and the Urubamba mountain range. Of course, we will stop and take advantage of these perfect photo opportunities.  

This climb will take us extremely close to the snow peaked mountains of Pumasillo (6,012 m/19,724 ft.) and Sacsarayoc (6,026 m /19,770 ft.), the entire day you will be in awe of the breathtaking 360 views.

Today is by far is the most physically demanding day, however the majestic mountains and scenery will carry you all the way to our home for the night at Mutuypata (3,200 m/10,498 ft.) At our camp we feast amidst the mountains and relax and rejuvenate for the next day.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner + snacks
  • Accommodations: Camping
  • Maximum altitude: 4,500 m/14,763 ft.
  • Distance to walk: 14 km/8.7 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 9-10 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Challenging

Day 4: Mutuypata – Yanatile – Santa Teresa – Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes

Today we welcome the day with fresh mountain air, stunning views, and of course, a delicious breakfast. We begin with a short hour downhill hike to the beautiful Yanatile village passing through coffee and fruit plantations.

From here, we take a car for approximately 3 hours to the train station in Hidroelectrica. We take the train through the beautiful high jungle all the way to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town).

Once to Aguas Calientes we will check in at the lovely and comfortable hotel you will be staying at. You will have time to explore, whether it is  browsing the artisan markets, taking a dip in the hot springs, or enjoying the powerful river that flows through the town.

Once you rest and relax, we will have dinner at the finest restaurant in town.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner + snacks
  • Accommodations: Hotel
  • Maximum altitude: 3,200 m/10,498 ft.
  • Distance to walk: 10 km/6.2 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 5-6  hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy

DAY 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Today is the day we explore the sacred city of Machu Picchu! First, you will eat breakfast at the hotel and then head to the bus station. We take an early bus through the winding scenic mountains just in time to see the picture perfect Machu Picchu sunrise.

Once we arrive, we will begin a 2-hour guided tour with our well informed local tour guide. This fascinating tour will bring Machu Picchu alive. You will visit the numerous significant sites of the citadel, all while learning of Inca culture and history.

After the tour you will have some time to be at this magical wonder of the world on your own or if you have elected, at 10 a.m. you will begin to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain.

(Huayna Picchu is not included in the price of your trek.) Huayna Picchu gives you an alternate perspective of Machu Picchu as you sit high up on the mountain peering down at the the sacred city. It is an extensive hike, approximately a  45 minutes climb up Inca built stairs. However, once there you will be stunned and have an opportunity to snap some spectacular photos.

We will then drive back down to Aguas Calientes by bus and will board the Expedition train to either Ollantaytambo or to Poroy train station . An Action Peru Treks team member will be awaiting your arrival and take you back to your hotel in Cusco by private van, arriving between 7:30 and 9 p.m. (depending on your train ticket).

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Maximum altitude: 2,440 m/8,052 ft


  • Bilingual English speaking tour guide
  • Pre-Departure Briefing at your hotel 1 or 2 days before your trek.
  • Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Huancacalle on day 1
  • Four-person tent for each two persons
  • Mattress and pillow
  • Kitchen tent
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Toilet tent with portable toilet
  • Expert chef and assistant chef
  • Wranglers and horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc.)
  • Horse to carry 8 kg of your personal belongings
  • Duffle bag to pack your personal belongings
  • Emergency horse in case we need it
  • Five breakfasts, four lunches, and four dinners
  • Hot water for washing twice daily
  • Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles.
  • Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit
  • Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to either Ollantaytambo or to Poroy
  • Private van transport from Poroy to Cusco
  • Ticket for Vitcos and the White Rock.
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu
  • Round trip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Lodging in Aguas Calientes on night 4 of the trek (double occupancy)
  • Dinner in Aguas Calientes on night 4
  • Train ticket from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes

NOT included

  • Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Hiking poles (can be rented from us)
  • Huayna Picchu Permit (this permit can be purchased for an extra USD $75 per person)
  • Day 5 lunch in Aguas Calientes
  • Tips for the crew (muleteers, chef and guide)
  • Travel Insurance

What to bring

  • Original passport (if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking, bring both)
  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, tops, a few T-shirts, socks, sun hat, thermal underwear, light long pants, gloves, poncho, rain jacket)
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sun block, factor 35+ recommended
  • Head lamp
  • Sunglasses and sun hat
  • Camera with spare batteries – batteries run down faster at high altitudes
  • Binoculars
  • Book to read (you will have some time at every camp to read your favorite book)
  • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)
  • Insect repellent


Group: USD $770
Private: USD $830

Group versus Private Treks: What’s the difference?

  • Depending on the number of people in your booking, additional people may join the trek to make a full group.
  • If you choose “private”, no additional people will be joining your group, no matter the size.
  • Minimum booking size is two people; one person may book a group trek if Action Peru Treks is able to join that person with additional groups.


  • Hiking Poles – USD $20 (pair)
  • Sleeping Bag – USD $25
  • Private Tent – USD $30


  • Return Vistadome Train – USD $60 per person
  • Return Hiram Bingham Train– USD $400 per person
  • Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $245 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Tierra Viva Machu Picchu (3+ star hotel) – USD $50 Per person per night (double occupancy)
Group: $770
Private: $830
5 Days / 4 Nights


  • Hiking Poles – US $20 (pair)
  • Sleeping Bag – US $25 per person
  • Return Vistadome Train – USD $60 per person
  • Return Hiram Bingham Train– USD $400 per person
  • Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $245 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Tierra Viva Machu Picchu (3+ star hotel) – USD $50 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Private Tent – USD $30





  • Day 1: Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Santa Maria – Huancacalle – Pillaupata
  • Day 2: Pillaupata – Hasuntina pass – Racachaca Village
  • Day 3: Racachaca Village – Mojon pass – Mutuypata
  • Day 4: Mutuypata – Yanatile – Santa Teresa – Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes
  • DAY 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco


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