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inca trail alternative

Inca Trail Trek Options

Sam Travel Peru offers the grandest of ancient inca trails, providing your own touch of paradise here on earth. You will enter a particularly beautiful 43km/26.7mls section of mountain trail connecting you to the never neverland of Inca archaeological sites of Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca. The trail route lies within the 32,592 acres of Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, which was created by the government in 1981 to protect the natural beauty and the archaeological sites of this extraordinary area.

This spectacular trail twists and turns, ascends through high mountain ranges, descends down steep escarpments and passes through a shrewdly placed misty cloud forest. The wildest landscapes and distillation of the oldest traditions and finest building on the planet, a number of diverse ecological zones are filled with an enormous variety of plants and bird life. The ancient and remote footpath passes you through archaeological sites which lead you to the ethnic and cultural exchanges of the Citadel of Machu Picchu itself.

Almost all of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is strictly controlled by authorized trekking companies such as SAM Travel Peru, who have authority to sell this trek. Please check out tripadvisor for our ratings. All of our guides on the Inca Trail are licensed and only a limited number of trekking permits are issued and must be purchased several months in advance.

INCA TRAIL 4 DAYS

CLASSIC INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU 4 DAYS & 3 NIGHT

If you have ever wondered where the pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow, then you have found it.  Open your arms to our Classic 4 day Inca Trail known as one of the world’s ten best hikes.  The Inca Trail is unparalleled for its ecological diversity and rich in wealth of its archaeological treasures.  The wonder of ancient humanity and ecological zones (from glacial peaks to tropical forests) lay forgotten in the mists of the Andes, nurturing over 450 species of birds and 200 species of orchids, as well as the legendary city of Machu Picchu.

Join with nature at it’s purest form using our private and closely located campsite to Machu Picchu. This location stirs a potion of strengthened connections and has a reputation of being the site of matrimony with us.  We offer the option of an extra day allowing more time to embrace this life changing opportunity

ITINERARY

Day 1: CUSCO – KM 82 – WAYLLABAMBA – AYAPATA

Get ready to put another check off of your travellers bucket list.  You’ll be picked up at 4:30am from your hotel, travel by bus to the beginnning of our trail at Piskacucho- kilometer 82. At 6:30 til 7am you can buy your breakfast in Ollantaytambo and load up on energy.

Our arrival at 8:30am to kilometer 82, will give us some time to organise ourselves – restrooms, sunscreen, insect repellent etc.  Our first trail control point, you will need your entrance tickets, passports and student cards.

Lets move out as (2,720m/8,923ft), we cross the Vilcanota River and via right on route. The first day is a good warmup session for the days ahead. The Incan flat terrain offers unfamiliar views of the historical  Incan Fortress (Huillca Raccay), the vast and incredible Incan site of Llactapata inticing your lust for adventure (officially called Patallacta), the Urubamba mountain range that creates the diversity between  the jungle, the Andes and the beautiful snow-capped peak of W’akay Willca (5,860m/19,225ft) her arms rising towards the infinite sky in vastness  known as Veronica.

In 1.5 hours, we will reach our campsite Ayapata in the temperate green valley and small village of Wayllabamba (3,000m/9,842ft). Temperatures vary through the night around 5ºC .

  • Meals: Lunch, Snacks, Afternoon Tea Time & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 12kms (6 hours more or less of hiking)
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Day 2: AYAPATA – PASS – PAQAYMAYU – CHAQUICOCCHA

Early wake up and breakfast at 5-5.30am, we start a steep ascent unfamiliar and uncertain along the heavily trodden historic path reaching the highest pass Abra de Warrmihuañusca or Dead Woman’s Pass  (4,200m/13,779ft). Today, you will high five those around you with a real sense of achievement as we reach the top! Up at the top of the pass, there we will be hummingbirds and many other species of birdlife. Plenty of time will be taken to appreciate an incredible variety of native plants, Polylepis or Q’ueuña trees, which grow in astonishing cloud forest locations at (3,650m/11,972ft)!! After a well deserved rest, feeling rejuvenated we descend to Pacaymayu (3,550m/11,646ft) for lunch.

After lunch, begins a steep two hour climb and arrival time to camp Runkuraqay pass around 5pm, (almost 4,000 m/13,123ft) Having cooler night temperatures of around 4ºC.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Water, Lunch, Snacks, Afternoon Tea Time & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 16 kms ( 7 – 8 hours more or less of hiking)
  • Difficulty: Moderate/challenge

Day 3: CHAQ’ICOCHA – PUYUPATAMARCA  – WIÑANWAYNA

Wake up 6am for breakfast starting the day with a gentle climb to visit the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca (meaning Town in the Clouds)  reaching the third highest point on the trail (3,680m/12,073ft). Catch your breath as your eyes fixate onto the mountains and canyons becoming groomed in the pure brillance of the suns reflections.

The mind boggles in the wonder of ancient humanity and the secrets kept in these lands walking toward the third pass and visit The Incan site of Phuyupatamarca then continue  3,000 worn steps towards our third campsite Wiñay Wayna (2,680m/8,792ft) through the pitted cloud forest and the impressive agricultural Incan site of Intipata. Only 5 hours of walking today arriving at camp by lunchtime! Temps around 12º C through the night.

A short distance from camp is the Incan site of the same name Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). Don’t miss visiting the most impressive site on the trail.

Note: On this day all our groups are visiting one of the most impressive Inca Cities of the Inca Trail is called Wiñay wayna!!

  • Meals: Breakfast, Water, Lunch, Snacks, Afternoon Tea Time & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities & hot shower
  • Distance: 10kms (5 hours more or less of hiking)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 4: WIÑAY WAYNA – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO

At around 4:00am you get up, have breakfast and move on the Inca trail to get to Machu Picchu. This is the last part of the journey arriving by 6:00am to reach Inti Punku or The Sun Gate. Instantly out of the blue every part of Machu Picchu is in front of your eyes stuttering its immense beauty – an incredible sight for all to see. The sight is beyond belief picturing the journey of those Incas and what they must have experienced during their taxing expedition to this expansive temple. At this point, we move downhill towards Machu Picchu (2,400m/7,872ft), after a period of 40 minutes, we enter the citadel from the top point through the House of the Guardians. Then, we proceed to the control point, where we register and leave our belongings. Your guide will expertly direct you throughout the astounding ruins and its main streets. You can then wander around the town squares as well as climb the intricately carved stairways made of stone. Machu Picchu is considered as the world’s spiritual centers by esoteric wisdom. Once the guided tour is over, you will have some free time to explore the site on your own, to relax, or to meditate.

You will then have time to indulge in a few of the following activities on your own (not included in the price)

  • Climb up Huayna Picchu and appreciate the beauty and magnificence of Machu Picchu from there.
  • Other optional activities in Aguas Calientes include a visit to the new local museum or go to the hot springs.

Back to Cusco: You will descend to Aguas Calientes by bus (included) and later on, board the train by 4:22pm for the return trip to Cusco;  stopping at the Ollantaytambo Station then getting picked up and driven to your hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Distance: 6 kms
  • Difficulty: Easy

SHORT INCA TRAIL

SHORT INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU 2 DAYS & 1 NIGHT

The appeal of the SHORT INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU is the stunning reforging cultural show of Inca ruins, exotic side by side mountains, primitive lush vegetation and extraordinary ecological varieties. The trail goes through the National Park and enters through the Sun Gate with unforgettable views of Machu Picchu, through cloud pitted forest and finally into subtropical vegetation. Ending at the magnificent wonder of the world: Machu Picchu.

ITINERARY

DAY 1: CUSCO – KM 104  – WIÑAY HUAYNA – SUN GATE – MACHU PICCHU

With a compacted 2 days of excitement ahead, we pick you up from your hotel by 4:30am and drive you to the train station.  A two hour free flowing train ride of KM 104 (2,100m/6,927ft)  will take us to begin our trek cruising past the first checkpoint with ease. Afterwards, we initiate a moderate climb for three hours to the chiselled remnants and remote archaeological site of Wiñay huana. (2,650m/8,747ft) Looking out with an open mind  and open heart embracing the  spectacular plunging views of the Urubamba Canyon and ethnic wonder of  ancient Inca sites making our connection with the traditional four day Inca Trail. After being at one with this beautiful sight, we continue onward  towards the Sun Gate. (2,730mts/9,007ft) Following the ancient remote footpath, we grasp onto our first spectacular view of Machu picchu in all its brilliance and majestic monumentality. As we move closer to the  citadel of Machu Picchu, you will feel the reasonation of her energetic vibration. Then, we will take our bus Aguas Calientes, where we will spend the night in our hotel.

  • Meals: Box Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel with private bathroom, hot shower, wifi, and buffet breakfast included
  • Difficulty: Moderate

DAY 2: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO

Today, you will complete the new foundation to oneself by taking the first bus to Machu Picchu archeological site making sure we tour every nook and cranny of this New 7 Wonder of the World and UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Your guide will expertly direct you through the energetic ruins and its diverse main streets. Then on your own, wander around the town squares of the world’s spiritual center by esoteric wisdom as well as climb the intricately carved stairways made of stone.
If you wish to indulge in a few of the following activities on your own (not included in the price)

  • Climb up Huayna Picchu and appreciate the beauty and magnificence of Machu Picchu
  • You will be given some time to walk to the Sun Gate or Inti Punku.
  • Other optional activities in Aguas Calientes include a visit to the new local museum or to the hot springs.

You will descend to Aguas Calientes and later on, board the train at 4:22pm for the return trip to Cusco stopping at the Ollantaytambo Station and be driven back to your hotel.

  • Meal: Breakfast
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation: Hotel with private bathroom, hot shower, wifi, and buffet breakfast included
  • Difficulty: Moderate

 

SALKANTAY & INCA TRAIL 7 DAYS

SALKANTAY & INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU 6 OR 7 DAYS

This trek is spectacular for those travellers who wish to get off the beaten track but still join the original Inca Trail. It is a wonderful trek taking you right from the watershed of the Apurimac river to the Urubamba river and around the stunning Mount Salkantay, which is the second largest mountain in Cusco region (6,277m /20,577ft). This spectacular trail twists and turns, ascends through high mountain ranges descends down steep escarpments passing intimately through shrewdly placed misty cloud forest. The wildest landscapes and distillation of the oldest traditions and finest building on the planet, a number of diverse ecological zones filled with an enormous
variety of plants and bird life. The ancient and remote footpath passes you through archaeological sites which lead you to the ethnic and cultural exchanges of Machu Picchu itself.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa – Lake – Salkantaypampa

At 5am, we pick you up at your hotel and we drive with our private van to Soraypampa for 3.5 hours. Along the way,  you can enjoy some spectacular views of villages such as: Iscuchaca and Limatambo, stunning valleys and snow-capped mountains such as Salkantay. At the trail head (Soraypampa), we have our breakfast enjoying the amazing views of Humantay (5,900m/19,356ft) and Salkantay (6,217m/20,396ft) Mountain glaciers. Then, we do a short hike up to see the turquoise Humantay Lake, which will take 2.5 hours round-trip. Afterwards, we continue with a gentle climb for 1.5 hours to Salkantaypampa, where we have our delicious lunch in front of the beautiful glacier. After lunch, we continue for one more hour uphill by switchback to our first campsite at Soroccocha, located at the foot of Salkantay Mountain. Then, enjoy your tea time with coffee and hot a chocolate. The views on this day will be truly breathtaking.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Tea Time & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 13kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 2: Salkantaypampa – Pampajaponesa

Today, we continue walking off the beaten track for about 3 hours uphill. We stop to take lunch along the way and continue our trek for 3 more hours to reach our campsite, which is approximately 1km away from the snow-capped mountain Salkantay. On the way, we will enjoy the magnificent views of all the surrounding snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes and amazing valleys. We have high tea and hot toddy at the camp.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, High Tea & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 14kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 3: Pampajaponesa – Sisaypampa

Our day begins with a slow uphill climb of approximately 4 hours to reach the Incachiriaska Pass (4,880m/16,010ft) which translates to the place where the Inca cools down. Around this area in the rocky crags, lives the andean Condor, the world’s largest bird. From here, the trail levels off downhill and we reach our campsite for the night at Sisaypampa.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, High Tea & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 10kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 4: Sisaypampa – Wayllabamba- Llulluchapampa

After a delicious breakfast we start hiking to the end of the valley, which then enters a wider valley named Pampacahua. There, we find an Inca canalthat is still in full use by the local farming settlements. At the end of the Pampa, we find our first Inca archaeological site named Paucarcancha that we pass on and we arrive at Wayllabamba for lunch. Then, we walk for 3 more hours through the Llullucha Valley to reach our campsite atLlulluchapampa, where we enjoy our high tea in front of all the great views.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, High Tea & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 11kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 5: Lluluchapampa – Pacaymayu – Phuyupatamarca

Early in the morning we take our breakfast and afterwards we start our climb for about 2 hours following an original Inca stone path and trek up to the Warmiwañusqa Pass (4,217m/14,047ft), where we have a magnificent view of our ascent and the trail ahead of us. We descend on areconstructed Inca Trail down to the Pacaymayu River, where we have lunch. Afterwards, we walk uphill for 2 more hours towards Runcurakay Pass (3,977m/13,127ft) from here we enjoy the breathtaking views of all the surrounding mountains.  Then, we descend  for 3 more hours to Phuyupatamarca (3,650m/12,047ft), where we spend the night.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, High Tea & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 16kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Challenge

Day 6: Phuyupatamarca – Wiñay wayna – Aguas Calientes

Today is the most beautiful day of our trek. We have our breakfast early in the morning enjoying the sun rise, the Urubamba Canyon, the Machu Picchu Mountain and the stunning Inca sites.  After that, we descend for 2 hours through the cloud forest to Wiñay wayna for lunch. Then, we walk for 1 hour to the Sun Gate, from here you can enjoy your first breathtaking view of Machu Picchu and all the surrounding mountains. Afterwards, we descend to the citadel and take our shuttle to Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night in a hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, High Tea & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Distance: 12kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 7: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

We leave our hotel after a very early breakfast to take the bus for the journey up to Machu Picchu ruins. Once inside the citadel, we are provided a 3 hour guided tour with plenty of free time for further exploring, taking photos and the option to climb Huayna Picchu or go up to the Sun Gate. Then back to Aguas Calientes at 4:22pm, we take our return train to Ollantaytambo with a bus connection to Cusco, arriving at your hotel in the evening.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Difficulty: Easy

Welfare Porter

Ethical trekking: Support porter welfare in Peru

Most importantly travellers need to make themselves aware by researching their chosen tour provider to ensure their porters are treated with the utmost respect by abiding by the regulations that have been put into place and all for good reason. For Sam Travel Peru, our first priority is to enforce the protective welfare of our porters. We as a professional team are very strict on abiding by these guidelines. Local porters are contracted for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu as pack animals are not permitted due to environmental damage on the trails.
Please be aware that cheaper prices often fall short of satisfying legal standards to protect porter welfare at the expense of unfair low wages and permanent injuries.

Porter welfare at Sam Travel Peru

The Peruvian government introduced the Porter Law back in 2003 that created a set of work standards. Incorporated as legal requirements, porters should carry no more than a load weighing no more than 44 pounds and receive a minimum wage of S/. 45 ($16 USD) per day.

Each porters pack is weighed in at the beginning of the Inca Trail and the second check point to help to enforce Porter Law standards. If the pack exceeds the required weight the tour operator receives a fine or loss of their license for the Inca Trail. There are ways some companies can maneuver these laws. As an example companies can limit the personal weight of each porter increasing group camping equipment: the outcome, being porters not having adequate clothing and personal gear to keep them warm.

We as a responsible tour operator and on a personal level care deeply for our porters employed from the local villagers. We also embrace the welfare of these families and work very closely giving back to the community directly. Please see our Social Works link. We also employ more porters than most of our competitors to balance out the weight carried.

Sam Travel Peru pays 30 percent higher than the minimum standard wage as well as tips from outside sources received after their completed trek.
Donations of clothing,and school supplies are always a necessity and are greatly received.

Your porter is a precious gift so please be grateful for his efforts because we certainly are.