Classic Inca Trail

Cusco Peru: (IT-PERT04)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/peru_classic_inca_trail.aspx

Introduction
Cusco Peru
A country deeply rooted in history and culture, Peru has plenty to offer the adventurous spirit! This multi-day horseback trip follows ancient Inca and colonial pathways through Peru's Sacred Valley and finishes you with a guided tour of the famous Machu Picchu. We stay each night in a different comfortable Inn or hotel. The focus is learning as much as possible about Andean culture, traditions, and history of the Incas and their ancestors while enjoying an unusual, memorable mountain excursion on quality horses and tack.

In the vast empire that once stretched from Quito, Ecuador to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina, the Incas built a highly advanced network of trails spanning almost 40,000 kilometers, with Cusco at its heart. The Inca Trail, the most famous of these pathways, is a special pilgrimage passing through spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful cloud forests, and colonies of orchids and hummingbirds to arrive at the ancient mysterious city of Machu Picchu.

Passing through the Sacred Valley, this trip combines an astounding mixture of Inca ruins, mountain scenery, lush forests, and subtropical jungle. Over 250 species of orchids exist in the area along with birds like hummingbirds, waterfowl and the grandiose Andean Condor.  The pleasing climate and fertile plains of this area create a rare and fruitful combination for the high Andes. Historically, the valley served as a buffer zone and often protected Cusco from attacks by the Antis, or jungle tribes, but today, the valley is a lush agricultural region that supplies Cusco with much of its maize, fruit, and vegetables.

Accomodation

Accommodations

This is a progressive ride where nights are spent in different locations.

Description
There is access to laundry services at any point of this trip for an extra fee. Wi-Fi is available at all accommodations.

8-day trip Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Andenes al Cielo in Cusco
Night 2: Lodge near Huchuy Cusco
Nights 3 & 4: Hotel Hatun Valley in Urubamba
Night 5: Hotel Pakaritampu in Ollantaytambo
Night 6 & 7: Andenes al Cielo in Cusco



Andenes al Cielo in Cusco
This hotel is housed in a charming colonial mansion, rehabilitated to provide comfortable accommodations. All rooms are fitted with TV, phone, heating, a private bathroom and a direct access to the lovely internal courtyard. WiFi is available in all areas and is free of charge.



Hotel Hatun Valley in Urubamba
Surrounded by nature, this accommodation offers 25 rooms, each equipped with a phone, a safe, heating, and a private bathroom. The rooms are simply decorated with paintings and local textiles and they all have access to the beautiful garden. WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.



Hotel Pakaritampu in Ollantaytambo
Hotel Pakaritampu features simple rooms, all fitted with a TV, heating, safe box, Wi-Fi access and a private bathroom with hairdryer. This hotel offers amazing views of the Ollantaytambo ruins from its lovely garden.

Room Occupancy
We only charge a single supplement when someone is unwilling to share a room.


Meals
Most meals are included in this trip. Meals not included are Lunch and Dinner on Day 1, 6 & 7.
Suppers and breakfasts are taken at restaurants and lunches are eaten on the trail.
Meals are typical modern, home-style Peruvian dishes, usually consisting of chicken or fish with rice and potatoes.

Bottled drinks and alcohol are not included, but guests are welcome to bring their own bottle if they wish.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most dietary restrictions with advanced notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Level
Although you do not need to be an expert rider, we recommend some previous riding experience and confidence around horses. We give instruction and attention to the less experienced as we travel. Our skilled Quechua speaking wranglers give careful attention to each rider as needed and care for our mounts while we lunch or hike through ruins.

Pace
We ride for 3 days and between 4-6 hours per day. There are some opportunities to canter where the terrain allows.

Horses
We raise and train horses at our ranch above Cusco. These well cared for horses (a Peruvian Paso/Spanish Barb mix) are no-nonsense, experienced, sure-footed, mountain trail horses affording a secure, comfortable ride on steep pathways. 

Equipment
We provide new, comfortable South American style saddles and large capacity saddle bags for day items.
A support vehicle for transportation of personal overnight items and for those not riding accompanies the daily activities.

Families and Kids
Our route, logistical flexibility and nature of the trip offer an excellent program for kids to enjoy. Modified itineraries that permit riding and/or a day or two traveling along with our support vehicle can easily be arranged.
Participants may ride all, hike portions of the route or choose to travel in our vehicle, joining the riders at Lunch and for the visit of major Inca sites.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 0: Pre Trip
This will be a travel day from home and you may choose to arrive on an overnight flight to Lima, especially if traveling from North America, and connect directly to Cusco early the following morning. Arrangements can be made to assist you onto your connecting Cusco flight OR we can help with overnight accommodations in Lima.
Meals included: None

Day 1: Cusco Visit
We meet your arrival at the Cusco airport. The afternoon is scheduled for a walking introduction to the archaeological and colonial highlights of the old capital of the Inca universe. We also visit the impressive ruins of Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cusco. Our leader describes the colorful rituals and ceremonies that would have taken place at the massive walled limestone constructions and sculptured terraces surrounding the immense central plaza. We finish with a summary of the battle here in 1536, which ended the life of Juan Pizzaro.
Dinner is on your own in one of the many cafes and restaurants recommended by your guide in Cusco. We stay at one of several carefully chosen, comfortable Cusco hotels.
Meals included: B
Overnight at Hotel Andenes al Cielo in Cusco


Day 2: Ride to Huchuy Cusco
We drive to the rim of the Cusco basin to meet the waiting horses. The objective for today is to visit and overnight at Huchuy Cusco. The journey begins in rolling hills, noticeably etched by ancient fields and agricultural terraces. We then ride up and over a seldom used pass route on good trail. Huchuy Cusco has been identified by archeologists as a royal estate and retirement refuge of Viracocha Inca before, or during the early reign of the Inca Pachacuti. It is mentioned as an early transitional Killke site as well. Your tour leader explains this in detail over the evening martini. We arrive in early afternoon on a stone-lined, well constructed trail with spectacular views.
We lodge for the night in a nearby small, traditional Andean village. Our Quechua speaking hosts share clean, simple rooms and a tradition local meal with us while horses are corralled and fed close by.
Meals included: B, L, D
Overnight at Lodge near Huchuy Cusco

NON-RIDERS: Those traveling separately arrive at the village by a smaller vehicle able to climb up the narrow one lane access road. The guide will have led them on a narrated walking tour of other important accessible sites during the day before we regroup for the night.

Day 3: Huchuy Cusco to Chinchero
After touring the ruins, we climb back over the pass and down to several blue lakes hosting a noisy assortment of Andean shore birds. We take a long lunch along the shore, then ride on to Chinchero, an early, colonial period town with a classic church and well-made Inca walls that once were part of the Emperor, Topa Inca’s Royal Estate. We leave the horses here. Our support van transports us on to the night’s lodging ‘off the beaten path’ in the Sacred Valley. (no tour buses or huge noisy groups). At Hatun Valley, a comfortable, small boutique lodge, we can relax before dinner.
Riding: 4-6 hours
Meals included: B, L, D
Overnight at Hotel Hatun in Urubamba


NON-RIDERS: Today features walking tours of other key sites. We join the riders in time for happy hour and discussion of the day’s adventures.

Day 4: Chinchero to Salineras
A leisurely breakfast and strong local coffee fuel us for the day's adventure. We travel a short distance in our support vehicle back to the horses in Chinchero. Cinches pulled up tight, we move smartly out at a trot along gentle, level trails through small farms and country villages on a high plateau of rolling hills and immense grasslands. A spectacular panorama of the great ice peaks of the Vilcanota range crowns the near horizon.
Sometime around mid-day we arrive at an isolated cathedral seeming lost and forgotten by time and modern civilization. We are pleasantly surprised to discover our support vehicle and crew awaiting us with the table set for lunch.
The destination for the afternoon ride is the Salineras. This is a huge area of terraces which form hundreds of pools all fed by a single saline stream. The salt water is allowed to evaporate leaving the salt to be mined and carried out by burros. The Salineras are worked now much as they were in pre-Hispanic times.
Those in for the full-day ride will have the opportunity for some faster riding across the high plateau before descending into the valley of the Salineras on a spectacular trail above the glittering white pools.
Riding: 6-7 hours
Meals included: B, L, D

Overnight at Hotel Hatun in Urubamba

NON-RIDERS: The support vehicle will take you to the site for an extended hike and visit before driving you to the inn. 

Day 5: Salineras to Ollantaytambo
Saddled up, ponies energized, rearing to go, we ride out in early morning light, horseshoes clattering along the ancient stone paved trail. The powerful equatorial sun reflects brilliantly off of high ancient ice fields. Riding past the picturesque village of Pichingoto, we’ll ascend almost 1000 meters above the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our trail takes us to the little known magical Inca site of Moray. Located in a complex geological region, we pass ancient salt mines, sink holes and other natural phenomena to arrive at a complicated, unusual archaeological complex of circular walls, structures and terraces that remain a mystery to modern science. After a lunch outside overlooking the Sacred Valley, we ride to the colonial town of Maras. We sadly say goodbye to our equine companions and the wrangler crew then hop a short ride in our support vehicle to your deluxe accommodations. Rooms are furnished in the best of neo-colonial style around stone-lined gardens full of blooms. We dine together over an assortment of tasty Andean dishes.
Riding: 6-7 hours
Meals included: B, L, D

Overnight at Hotel Pakaritampu in Ollantaytambo

NON-RIDERS: Enjoy an extended morning at Hatun Valley then a hike around the big site at Moray before joining the riders for lunch in the garden at a abandoned colonial period hacienda.

Day 6: Machu Picchu Visit
Our journey climaxes with the narrow gauge train ride to the New World's most spectacular archaeological monument, Machu Picchu. We breakfast at the hotel then board the morning train heading down valley. An interesting hour of click-clack and sway with all of the accompanying sounds and smells of rural Peru takes us to the bustling backpacker town of Aguascalientes, the portal for Machu Picchu. Soon, we gather at the gateway to the famous "Lost City of the Incas."
Our Inca specialist/archaeologist leaders walk us through the complex architectural monuments and temples, pointing out key ceremonial features that represent mountain and sun worship incorporated into the design by Machu Picchu's builders under royal mandate of the Inca Emperor Pachacuti. Lunch is on your own today.
Boarding the afternoon train, we return to the bright lights of Cusco arriving early evening. All are free to explored the nightlife, an eatery of choice, or just relax.
Meals included: B
Overnight at Hotel Andenes al Cielo in Cusco

Day 7: Cusco
This is the day to relax, shop and wander around Cusco on your own or with friends. The city abounds with small shops and street side vendors selling their wares. Colorful weavings and hand made alpaca sweaters are popular gifts for friends at home. Try out a local restaurant for lunch, take a hike, or just sit in the plaza. Dinner on your own at your favorite place.
Meals included: B
Overnight at Hotel Andenes al Cielo in Cusco

Day 8: Departure
Breakfast at the hotel, then we help you onto the morning flight to Lima. 
Meals included: B

We make every effort to follow this itinerary. However, Peru is subject to strikes, weather, landslides and many events beyond our control, which may cause changes and delays. We may also change the route from time to time for other good reasons. Please come prepared to cheerfully accept the unexpected with the insurance that you are in the hands of the most experienced and best adventure program operator in Peru.


Rates and Dates for Classic Inca Trail

Rates include:

Accommodations, Most meals, 3 riding days, Machu Picchu visit by train with narrated walking tour, Entrance fees, Guide and support staff & Transfers

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20208 day expedition, AP except Cusco$2500
    • Small group supplement (4 pax only)$300

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2020 Transfer from/to Cusco airport included

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 04/01 - 10/31 8d / 7n 8 day expedition, AP except ... 6 /12 Reserve

Dates Note:
Available any date between April and December (price may vary depending on number of nights and participants)
Custom dates request possible for groups of 2 to 12 pax.
Shorter trips also possible - please inquire

Rates do not include:

Lunches and dinners on Days 1, 6, & 7, Airport taxes, Bottled drinks and alcohol, Gratuities, Optional activities & Costs resulting from illness or injury and emergency evacuation

Other Info
Meeting: Cusco
Airport: Cusco
Transfer: from Cusco hotel

Climate:
                                                Cusco area
 

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

68

68

69

70

70

69

69

70

71

72

72

70

Average Low Temperature (°F)

47

47

46

44

39

35

35

37

41

44

46

46

Average High Temperature (°C)

20

20

21

21

21

21

21

21

22

22

22

21

Average Low Temperature (°C)

8

8

8

6

4

2

1

3

5

7

8

8

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

16

13

13

7

1

1

0

1

3

7

9

13

Source: NOAA


Seasons
:
Cusco is a year-round destination. This is a land of great contrasts. In the high altitude, it can get very chilly, even into the 30’s at night and then zoom into the 70's during the day. When we descend
into the cloud forest, the temperature rises into the 80's. Although the dry season normally persists April through November, it can rain or snow at high altitudes at
any time of the year, so please, come prepared.

Annual average temperatures hover around 11°C (52°F), dipping below 0°C (32°F) in July and hitting 20°C (68°F) in summer. Cusco’s peak tourist season coincides with the northern hemisphere’s summer (July and August) when hordes of tourists descend. If you want to avoid the crowds but still get the best of the weather, aim for the shoulder months: April, May, October and November.
If you want to complete the Inca Trail, remember it closes every February for annual maintenance.

The rainy months represent around 80% of the annual rainfall average, which ranges from 1,600 to 2,300 mm. The average humidity is 77% during dry months and 91% during rainy months. Frequent downpours are commonly followed by a blue and clear sky and bright sun. However, as its location is on the brow of the Amazon forest, rains can come in any month of the year, even during the dry season.
During the springtime, September brings a special gift of gorgeous, subtropical landscape.

Special Notes – High altitude
This trip covers riding at high altitude, with the starting point being Cusco, at an elevation of 3,399 m (11,151 ft) and going up to about 3,700m (12,139 ft).
The body dehydrates quickly in high altitudes. It is recommended you drink lots of water before and during your trip to Cusco. Also, avoid heavy meals since your stomach takes longer to digest food at high altitudes. A diet of low proteins and high carbs is advisable.

What To Bring:
Essentials
  • Passport
  • Credit cards and cash for tips, city meals, etc.
  • Travel Insurance to include emergency medical, trip cancellation etc.
  • Small day pack or fanny pack

Leisure clothing for travel and dining out
  • Long underwear: helps prevent saddle sores
  • Lightweight waterproof hiking/riding boots-well broken in
  • Waterproof gaiters or half chaps for riding/hiking
  • Leisure shoes for hotels and town
  • Warm outer coat or shell jacket and polar fleece pullovers for layering
  • Rain gear: Good quality two piece suit (we have had poor luck with Gortex (and it will rain))
  • Hat with a Brim: essential for sun and rain protection
  • Warm cap and gloves (it can snow)
  • Assortment of light expedition clothes: pants, shirts, socks, underwear, trail shorts

Personal Items
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Sun block
  • Lip balm
  • Insect repellant
  • Personal medications: Ask your Doc about Diomox for altitude comfort
  • Water purification iodine or filter for hotels etc. (we supply trail water)
  • Sun glasses: We recommend quality glacier glasses since UV is very intense
  • Flashlight and batteries (we prefer headlamps)
  • Pocket knife
  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Lightweight waterproof hiking/riding boots-well broken in
  • Waterproof gaiters or half chaps for riding/hiking
  • Warm outer coat or shell jacket and polar fleece pullovers for layering