The Vilcabamba Trek takes you right off the beaten path to the area of Cusco where the Incas made their last stand. Following the Spanish conquest the Inca withdrew far in to the jungle from where they continued to resist the occupation. Vilcabamba was the last Inca city and this trek takes you to some of the last domains of this once great empire. With beautiful scenery, Inca sites and a wide variety of flora and fauna the Vilcabamba Trek is a great option.
Day 1: Cuzco – Casapata
We leave very early in the morning, taking the road to the Sacred Valley of the Inkas. Passing the town of Ollantaytambo, we head towards the Abra Málaga (mountain pass) which we cross, and then descend through the Puna towards the high jungle.
At this ecological level the principal activity is agriculture, mainly products such as tea, coca, coffee, cacao and fruits; and we will see the crops.
Our first stop is at the archaeological site of Huamanmarca, where there is an important Usnu or ritual platform and a precinct with four double jamb doorways facing the four cardinal points.
We continue to the settlement of Santa María, where we can rest for a few minutes, to then continue on to Huancacalle, the village where we will leave our motorized transport. The journey is long; but the reward is the solitude we enjoy as tourism is not very developed in this area. Here we meet our arrieros (mule-handlers) and mules which will accompany us on our walk. We have lunch.
After a short break, we begin our walk to visit the Rosaspata – Vitcos sector of the Vilcabamba Archaeological Park, including a tour of the famous Ñusta Hispana. It is suspected that the tomb of the rebel leader Manco Inka II can be found in this area of the Vilcabamba cordillera. We will also see the famous white rock. By dusk we arrive at Casapata, which will be our campsite, where we enjoy our dinner and rest.
Day 2: Casapata – Hatumpampa
We leave early in the morning, climbing up through the ravine of the Pumachaka river to the Chupana sector where this river begins. Here we find segments of Inka Trail which we will follow. We can observe local flora, which is used to dye textiles produced in the area.
We walk through Quechua, Suni and Puna ecological levels. When we arrive at the Pillaujasa mountain pass, we can see the Jasutina pass nearby, in the middle of an Andean landscape worthy of a postcard.
We begin the trail which descends to the valley of the Racchchaka river and following the river upstream, we arrive at Hatunpampa, where we will camp and enjoy a beautiful view of the Tuytubamba snow-capped peak.
Day 3: Hatumpampa – Nogalpampa
We take the path which climbs to the Yanacocha mountain pass, finding a forest of native trees (Qeuña y Kiswar) at over 4500 masl. At the pass itself, we will enjoy a view of the Yanacocha lake, and then begin our walk to the Mojon pass, the last high pass on our trek. The landscape of the Puna reminds us of how far we are from civilisation.
We descend through the Mutuypata ravine, where we have lunch, and after a rest we continue to the valley of the Saqsarayoq river which we will cross to reach Nogalpampa, where we set up camp.
Day 4: Nogalpampa – Aguas Calientes
We resume our walk downhill through a spectacular native forest, towards the town of Yanatile. Here we take our transport to the train station at the Hidroelectrica (hydro-electric plant), where we will board the train which will take us to the town of Aguas Calientes. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cuzco
After breakfast we will board the bus which will take us to the biggest energetic center of the Incas, “Machu Picchu”. As part of our itinerary the same professional tour guide from the Vilcabamba trek; will teach you about all the history of this mysterious and mystical place. We will visit the Sun Temple, Royal palace, Main Temple, Three Windows Temple and Sun Dial. It will be an unforgettable experience. After the guided tour, you will have free time to explore on your own.
If you have booked Wayna picchu, you will need to coordinate with your guide for Machu Picchu visiting depending on your scheduled time to the mountain, for people not hiking any of the mountains there are some other optional activities on your own (not included in the price):
Visit the Sun Gate: You will have an opportunity to walk (approx. 2 hours up and down) up to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) to see Machu Picchu from a different angle. Hike to the Inca Bridge: The Inca Bridge offers a dose of adventure for your next Machu Picchu visit. However in this case, the adventure is a little less strenuous, but a lot more death defying, not for people with vertigo.
Train back to Cusco: In the afternoon you will return to the train station in Aguas Calientes for the trip back to Ollantaytambo. Upon your arrival to train station you will be transferred by car to your hotel in Cusco.
- Trek briefing with your guide
- Professional local guide (on hike)
- Second tour guide for groups of 9+.
- Private transport and professional driver (to the starting point of hike)
- All entrance tickets and permits for Vilcabamba hike
- All necessary tools for tree planting
- Cusco Journeys T-Shirt
- Pick-up from hotels
- 2 person per tent Igloo tents (new, spacious and comfortable)
- A roll pad mattress
- Dining and cooking tents with tables and chairs
- Excellent tour guide (2 guides for groups over 12)
- Full board meals: 3 Meals per day, snacks each afternoon
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank
- Chef and cooking equipment and kitchen tent
- Excellent meals (4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners)
- Food includes pancakes, omelets, soups, fresh fruit, avocado, pasta, chicken, fish, meat, and rice, all rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking (Vegetarian, vegan or special diet meals upon request)
- Horses or mules and Indigenous horsemen to carry camping equipment: client tents, dining and cooking tents, table, stools, cooking gear, stove, gas container, cutlery, plates, food and fresh vegetables.
- Hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes
- Boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning
- Expedition Train return from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and private transport to Cusco
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Hotel in Aguas Calientes (double or triple accommodation)
- Round Trip Bus Tickets
- Tea time before dinner (tea, coffee, coco, biscuits, popcorn)
- Oxygen Tank & First aid kit
- All local taxes
- Sleeping bag
- Water on Day 1, just half day
- Energy snacks which can very useful such as chocolate and granola bars and dried fruits
- Breakfast on Day 1, Lunch on Day 5
- Waynapicchu Mountain (Walk to the top without a guide. The trail is well marked.)
- Tips: Guide, Cook, Porters
WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING
- Original passport and Student card (ISIC) green card
- Insurance card is essential
- Hiking water proof boots (with ankle protectors )
- Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
- Sleeping bag
- Warm jack
- Hat and gloves
- Comfortable trousers
- Rain pants
- Sun hat, Bathing suit (for hot springs in santa teresa and Aguas Calientes)
- Sun protection cream ( factor 35 recommended ) sun is strong
- Insect Repellent 40 % deet ( for mosquitos )
- Water bottle
- Water purification tablets (Micropur recommended)
- Toilet paper
- Personal medication
- Camera and films
- Torch with spare batteries (flashlight)
- Extra contribution suggested money for tipping porters, cook and guide. and for any emergency (300 soles)
- Walking poles ( black diamont or leki brand)