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 : Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Santa Maria village. (By bus only, no trekking on Day 1)
We will leave Cusco at 9:.00am and head towards Ollantaytambo where we will stop to have lunch and buy the last things that we might need for the trek. After lunch we will drive 2 hours to PANTIACOLA PASS which is at 4.300m. It is usually cloudy at this pass. From the pass we will drive down hill to SANTA MARIA at 1900 msnm. On the way we will have spectacular views and we will see some Inca ruins as this was once an Inca trail between Ollantaytambo and Vilcabamba. After a 45 minute drive from the pass, we will stop at a nice viewpoint and wait for the sunset. We will see an amazing landscape of the virgin cloud forest, the river in perfect form, and you can hear the sound of the waterfalls. After sunset, little by little we will descend into the tropical valley and see some crops including tea, bananas and coca leaves. Around 6.30pm we will arrive in the village of Wankacalle at 2900 meters above sea level where your porters will set up the tents. Dinner will be ready around 8:00pm
Day 2 : Santa Maria Village – Huancacalle – Vilcabamba – Camp site
After an early breakfast at 7.00 am, we will take our private van and drive 3 more hours to get to Huancacalle. Along the way we will make some short stops to visit farmland so you can see plantations where Peruvians grow coffee, cocoa, achiote, bananas, oranges, mandarines, mangoes, pineapples, papaya and the green gold of the incas – coca. You will be able to pick up some goods to take with you. Some of the wildlife we will see include birds like quetzals, humming birds and the peruvian national bird. We will pass through several small villages before arriving to huancacalle (2900 msnm) by 12.00 am. Here we meet our arrieros (horse men) and will give them the duffle bags with your stuff to be taken to the camp, so you will just need to take your day pack. At 1.30 pm we will have our first lunch with the porters. After lunch we will walk 1 hour to get to the LAST CAPITAL OF THE INCAS – it’s just amazing! Here you will really see how the Incas fled from Cusco and why they chose this place. Afterwar you will walk another 30 minutes to get to the Religious part of this Inca site named ÑUSTACHISPANAN by the Spaniards. In reality this part of the site was the Sun Temple, Moon Temple and Water Temple. There is an amazing carved rock that mystifies archeologists. They have yet to understand the significance of the rock. We will spend the night very close to the LAST CAPITAL OF THE INCAS. This is where the final 4 Incas Manco inca, Sairy tupaq, Tito Cusi upanqui and Tupaq Amaru I ruled the Inca empire until 1572. The American professor Hiram Bingham was looking for the Last Capital of the Incas when he found Machupicchu , he mistakenly believed Machu Picchu was the last capital. From the white rock we will walk 25 more minutes and then arrive at our campsite (3100 msnm) by 5.30 pm. Your tents will already be set up and we’ll have Happy hour plus dinner. Then you will sleep like a baby alpaca.
Day 3- Llaulliyoc – Asutiyoc– Raccachaca (Moderate day)
Hot coca tea will be brought to your tent to wake you up and then you have an early breakfast at 6.30am. On our second day we start the real hike heading gradually up an ancient Inca trail which hasn’t been restored by the national park. You will see some Andean grass growing on the trail and you will really feel like the Incas did, walking on this trail. This is the big difference between the classic Inca trail and the Vilcabamba route. Here, no other groups are walking with us so we can enjoy the nature: the beautiful flowers, orchids, the birds singing and the sound of the river. Along the way we will start to see some glaciers such as POMATA at 5.500 msnm. We will arrive to our lunch spot at approx 12.00am at an altitude of 4.000msnm. Then we will hike up to the first pass at 4.200 msnm. This is a perfect photo opportunity. We will walk downhill for 2 hours from the pass where we might see some falcons and Andean geese. We will pass a couple of lakes before arriving to place call Wasichayoc at 3.400 msnm. This is where we will meet the Pacchanta river where we will stop to take more spectacular photos. We will see some farmlands with crops including the Andean potato and cereals. We might come across some llamas and sheep. Once we meet the river we will follow it to our campsite, which we will get to by 5.30 pm. We will be camping at a village called RACCACHACA AT 3.600msnm. Here there are about 10 families who still live following Inca customs and traditions and all of them are quechua language speakers.
Day 4- Raccachaca – Pumaccasa- Mojon – Mutuypata
We will have an early breakfast and before hiking we will visit SIMONA’S traditional house to see how these people live up to 3.600 meters high above sea level. We’ll give some grass to the guinea pigs and some gifts to the kids. Here we will have an oportunity to gain some information about the tradition and customs of the local people. From the village, it will be a steady uphill walk which will lead us over 3 passes. The first pass is called PUMACCASA at 4.500 msnma. We will have some time at this pass and will see many of the sacred birds of the Incas, including the messengers of the Incas, the CONDORS. We will keep going on the Andean flat and will see two lakes, at the second pass (4.440 msnm). We will be on the border between Vilcabamba and Santa Teresa. From here we will walk another hour on the inca flat and see spectacular views. We will encounter more lakes, birds, Andean geese, falcons, condors and also the Andean gull. We will eventually reach the last pass at 4.450 msnm. if the weather is clear and there are no clouds, we will be able to see Machu Picchu Mountain at the bottom of the mountains. On our right side will be the PUMASILLO (pumas cloud) Mountainat 5.800 msnm. For the whole day we will have been crossing the Vilcabamba MountainRange and we will continue to do so for the duration of the day. We will walk 30 minutes downhill until we reach our lunch spot called Mojon, which is set beside a lake at 4.400msnm. After lunch we will walk five and a half hours, which is mostly downhill. On the way, we will see more Andean geese, Andean rodents, or chinchillas, and we may come across black bears/spectacled bears. By 5.30 pm we will arrive at the campsite called MUTUYPATA at 2.900 msnm in the high jungle.
Day 5 – Mutuypata – Hot Springs- Aguas Calientes (Easy day)
We will wake up at 6.30 am and we’ll have breakfast before starting our walk. The whole day will be spent walking gradually downhill. We will be walking in the high jungle and the tropical forest, which will be exciting for those who are interested in flora and fauna. There will be no other people walking along the way to disturb the wildlife. On this day we will see unbelievable flowers, orchids, including the forever young orchid, begonias, bromelias, strawberries and the oldest trees in the cloud forest. We will also see fauna like parrots, quetzals, tanagers and many others which your guide will point out to you. We will pass by some plantations growing bananas, coffee, passion fruits and avocados. We will even pick some fruits for lunch. Finally, as we hear the sound of the CCASCCARA RIVER, we will reach the end of the trek at PUNTA CARRETERA at 2.000 msnm. We’ll say goodbye to our horsemen with a small ceremony and change to a van to drive for one hour to get the most beautiful hot springs. These are the best and hottest hot springs in the Cusco region, called COCALMAYO(1300 msnm). While you are enjoying the hot springs, our porters will prepare the last lunch we’ll have with them. We will have two hours at the hot springs, which will be plenty of time to relax your muscles after an exhilarating hike. At 2.30 pm, we will have lunch and say good bye to our porters. We will then take a van to the HYDROELECTRIC station so we can catch our train. The last train is t 4.30 pm and takes about 45 minutes to get to AGUAS CALIENTES . We will then take you to a hotel where you can take a hot shower. After your shower we will have dinner in a restaurant and go bed early to get some rest for Macchu Picchu .
Day 6 – Machu Picchu (The most important day for you!)
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.
- Licensed guide fluent in English, Spanish, and Quechua, plus an assistant guide for large groups.
- Support staff including professional cooks and wranglers for the mules and horses.
- Horses and mules to carry group gear as well as large duffels bags, provided at the briefing, for personal items. (No weight limit)
- All meals on trek, which incorporate traditional Peruvian dishes as well as modern fusion cuisine and special dietary needs.
- Drinking water and snacks.
- Dining tent with table, stools, and all dining implements, toilet tent, and kitchen tent
- Sleeping tents, foam pads, and Thermarest. Three-person tents are provided for single occupancy and four-person tents for double occupancy to allow plenty of room for personal gear.
- One riding horse for emergencies. Additional riding horses can be provided for an additional charge.
- First aid kit, including oxygen.
- Pre-trek briefing.
- All group entrance fees, including Machupicchu.
- Optional climb to Huaynapicchu or Machupicchu Mountain!
- Hotel in Aguas Caliente.s (3 star hotel)
- Train. (Expedition Train Service)
- All transfers, including private van from your hotel in Cusco to Huancacalle, to Santa Teresa and Aguas
- Calientes, bus to and from Machu Picchu, and private transfer back to your hotel in Cusco
- Dinner on the 5th day at Aguas Calientes. Lunch and dinner on the 6th day.
- Personal hiking gear including backpacks, trekking poles, and sleeping bags. Poles and sleeping bags may be hired.
- Tips for guides, cooks, and wranglers.
- Entrance to hot springs or other entertainments in Aguas Calientes.
- Personal riding horse. Additional horses may be hired according to the needs of the individual and group
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)