- Explore Cusco, the well-preserved former capital Incan Empire
- Trek the Inca Trail accompanied by guides and porters
- See Machu Picchu, one of the world's most famous ruins
- Experience the daily life of locals in a rural mountain village
- Climb through mountain passes and bask in the hot springs of Ausangate
This itinerary covers the Inca Trail in 4 days, Ausangate in 5 days, and leaves 3 days at the beginning and in between (not including arrival and departure) to explore Cusco.
The Inca Trail, one of the most famous treks in the world today, culminates at Machu Picchu next to the sacred Vilcanota river. The journey features stone-paved roads, stairs, tunnels, and bridges across rivers and valleys. Throughout both cold Andean highlands and tropical cloud forests, more than 250 species of orchids and many species of endangered animals can be found.
Ausangate, towering 20,991 feet high, is considered one of the most beautiful and holy snow-capped mountains of the Andes. The surrounding area offers impressive scenery of mountains, glaciers, lagoons, and streams. By giving proper time to acclimatize and adjust to new conditions through a day of rest and a four-hour drive from Cusco to Tinqui, this tour ensures a well-paced, safe experience of a lifetime.
|Day 1||Arrival in Lima||Lima|
|Day 2||Lima — Cusco||Cusco|
|Day 3||Cusco City Tour||Cusco|
|Day 4||Inca Trail (Day 1/4)||Wayllabamba Valley Campsite|
|Day 5||Inca Trail (Day 2/4)||Pacaymayu Campsite (13,100 ft)|
|Day 6||Inca Trail (Day 3/4)||Aguas Calientes|
|Day 7||Inca Trail + Machu Picchu (Day 4/4)||Aguas Calientes|
|Day 8||Free Day Cusco||Cusco|
|Day 9||Ausangate Trek (Day 1/5)||Upis Campsite (4,400m/14,436ft)|
|Day 10||Ausangate Trek (Day 2/5)||Ausangate Lake Campsite (4,650m/15,256ft)|
|Day 11||Ausangate Trek (Day 3/5)||Jampa Campsite (4,700m/15,420ft)|
|Day 12||Ausangate Trek (Day 4/5)||Pacchanta Campsite (4,350m/14,270ft)|
|Day 13||Ausangate Trek (Day 5/5)||Cusco|
|Day 14||Cusco – Lima (Departure)|
Day 1: Arrival in Lima
Upon arriving at the national airport, you'll be greeted at the airport for your introduction to Lima, the capital of Peru. You will be driven to your hotel and will have the rest of the day to relax or get acquainted with the city at your own pace. We will have plenty of suggestions for you to make the most out of your time in Lima.
Day 2: Lima to Cusco, Day to Acclimate
Today, you'll be transferred to the Lima airport for your domestic flight to Cusco. After arriving, transfer to your hotel and take some time to relax and acclimate to the high altitude before your treks.
Day 3: Cusco City Tour
Today we will explore the amazing city of Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire and one of the most historic cities in the Americas. In the morning, you will begin your tour by strolling through the main square, where you can admire the exquisite vestibules and 17th and 18th-century paintings of the cathedral. Just a few blocks away, we will then explore one of Cusco’s most impressive buildings, Qoricancha (The Temple of the Sun), whose interior walls were said to have been covered in gold. We will continue our tour by visiting the Fortress of Sacsayhuamán, one of the most important Incan military and ceremonial centers, before finishing after visiting 3 more important archeological sites:
Just a few blocks away, we will then explore one of Cusco’s most impressive buildings, Qoricancha (The Temple of the Sun), whose interior walls were said to have been covered in gold. We will continue our tour by visiting the Fortress of Sacsayhuamán, one of the most important Incan military and ceremonial centers, before finishing after visiting 3 more important archeological sites: Qenko, Tambomachay, and Puca Pucara.
Day 4: Inca Trail - The Journey Begins at Kilometer 82
Wake up early and get picked up from your hotel to start one of the most scenic hikes in the world. After an approximate two-hour journey, we arrive at Km. 82, where we meet up with our porters and start hiking along the majestic Vilcanota River. Get spectacular views of “La Veronica", a majestic snow-capped mountain rising more than 19,000 feet above sea level.
All camping gear is carried by our porters, leaving us free to walk with only a light backpack carrying essentials for the day’s hike. Tonight, we will camp on a village terrace within the Wayllabamba Valley.
Day 5: Inca Trail - Gaining Altitude
Today, we will start a moderate climb up the mountain through a stunning forest. Due to drastic altitude gains, this will probably be one of the most demanding days of the trek. After reaching Llulluchapampa (13,750 feet), we will be able to enjoy the splendid views of the Huayanay peaks and see the varied, rugged landscapes of the Vilcabamba Range. Finally, we will descend to camp for the night in Pacaymayu (13,100 ft).
Day 6: Inca Trail - Trekking along the Inca Highway
Our journey today starts with a descent through the second pass (13,100 ft), following a grand Inca highway to the imposing ruins of Sayaqmarka. This part of the Inca trail features white granite roads, traversing through a mountainside of dense forests. We will also observe the magnificent ruins of Phuyupatamarca (12,460 ft).
Day 7: Inca Trail + Machu Picchu, Citadel Excursion
Starting out early, we will continue along our final trek through the jungle highlands. Along the way, we can observe orchids, hummingbirds, and other spectacular, endemic wildlife. After this portion of the trail, we will finally arrive at our main destination: Machu Picchu.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the most important site of the vast Incan Empire and is often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”. One of the most famous and spectacular archaeological complexes in the world, a visit to Peru would not be complete without it.
Accompanied by your expert guide, we will fully explore the impressive citadel of Machu Picchu. The tour begins with an archaeological and historical tour on Intihuatana (the Sun Dial), before moving to the Sacred Plaza and the Temple of the Sun. After an incredible excursion, you will head to the train station where you will board the train towards Ollantaytambo and return by bus to Cusco.
Day 8: Cusco Free Day
Today, you will have a free day to explore the imperial city at your own pace. You will be able to explore its endless attractions, enjoy Cusco’s world renowned restaurants, or just relax.
Day 9: Ausangate Trek - Cusco to Upis
We will leave Cusco early in the morning by bus. On our way to Tinqui (12,795ft), we will pass villages, farms, and astonishing landscapes. After a light picnic in Tinqui, we will start on foot towards the community of Upis (4,400m/14,436ft). Along the way, we will meet local families who will show us their textile work, which honors Andean tradition and nature. We will spend the night at the Upis campsite, where you can get the chance to enjoy the nearby hot springs.
Day 10: Ausangate Trek - Upis to Ausangate
After breakfast, we will ascend towards the first pass at Arapa (4,800m/15,748ft). Afterward, we will descend towards Yanacocha for a picnic lunch. Our route then continues upwards to the extreme Ausangate pass (4,850m/15,912ft) and ends at the shore of the Ausangate Lake (4,650m/15,256ft). Here, we will enjoy the spectacular view and set up camp.
Day 11: Ausangate Trek - Ausangate to Jampa
Photo credit: Trailtopeak.com
Today will be the most arduous day of the Ausangate trek, but also the most visually stunning one. We start the day by ascending towards the highest pass of this trek, the Palomani Pass (5,200m/17,060ft). From there, we will get an absolutely exceptional view of the rugged mountains and snowy glaciers around Ausangate. Finally, we will descend to the valley of Finaya Pampa to arrive at Jampa (4,700m/15,420ft), tonight's camping site.
Day 12: Ausangate Trek - Jampa to Pacchanta
On this day, we will cross the scenic Campa pass (5,100m/16,732ft) onto final camping destination at Pacchanta (4,350m/14,270ft). En route, we will encounter several beautiful, azure lagoons among the mountain terrain. Once we reach Pacchanta, we will have a traditional dinner before soaking in the refreshing hot springs.
Day 13: Ausangate Trek - Pacchapampa to Cusco
After breakfast, finishing the route returns us to the village Tinqui (3,900m/12,795ft), from where we will take a bus back to Cusco. Before we return, we will visit either Tipon or Saylla and enjoy an all-inclusive regional specialty for dinner: cuy (guinea pig) or chicharrón (grilled pork).
Day 14: Cusco - Lima - Out
Your journey has come to an end, and it's time to return home with your memories that will last a lifetime. At an arranged time, you will be transferred to the Cusco Airport to catch your domestic flight from Cusco to Lima before your international flight home.