Spend a week trekking to the last capital of the Inca resistance at Vilcabamba, renamed Espiritu Pampa by the Spanish. This 7-day adventure takes in ruins along historic trails, over high Andean passes, through cloud forest and remote indigenous towns.

Highlights

  • Journey through spectacular Andean and cloud forest scenery
  • Visit the archaeological site of Rosaspata, where the leader Manco Inca II was killed
  • Enjoy the views from the Collpajasa pass, the highest point on the trek at 3860 m
  • Walk the “Thousand Steps”, an Inca trail to Vilcabamba, and explore the ruins of this archaeological complex

Overview

Peru is full of fascinating historic trails that are less widely known and less crowded than the classic Inca Trail. This week-long itinerary follows the path used by the Inca before their final defeat by the Spanish in Vilcabamba in 1572, some 40 years after the first invasion.

Historic highlights include the sites Rosaspata, Vitcos, and Ñusta Hispana. You'll travel through wonderful Andean scenery, over mountain passes and through cloud forest to arrive deeper in the jungle where the Incas retreated from the advancing Spanish. The tour culminates in a full day exploring the ruins at Vilcabamba, the last Inca capital.

Brief Itinerary

Day  Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Rosaspata, Vitcos, Ñusta Hispana Huancacalle
Day 2 Collpajasa pass,  Pampacona River Ututo
Day 3 Huayna Pukara, semi-tropical forest Vista Alegre
Day 4 Inca route to Concebidayoq Concebidayoq
Day 5 Explore Vilcabamba Vilcabamba
Day 6 Hike to Azulmayo Kiteni
Day 7 Siete Tinajas, Return to Cusco Cusco

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Depart Cusco, trek to Rosaspata archaeology site and the White Rock

The scenery of the Southern Andes makes trekking here a spectacular experience.

You'll leave Cusco very early to journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, up to the high mountain pass of Abra Malaga (4300 m). From here, begin a steep descent into the cloud forest of the Andes. You'll cross fields of fruit, cocoa, tea and coffee.

After a short rest in the small town of Santa Maria, you'll continue to the warm climate of Quillabamba. You'll have lunch in Huancacalle (2995 m), and rest before the trek in the afternoon.

The trek takes a trail leading to the archaeological site of Rosaspata, where the leader Manco Inca II was killed. Next, you'll visit the site of Vitcos with its ceremonial rocks, on the way to Ñusta Hispana. Highlights include water channels, ruins, and the White Rock or Yurac Rumi: a carved stone with a representation of the Chakana or Inca Cross.

You return to Huancacalle by following an original Inca trail for dinner and to spend the night.

Maximum Altitude: 3041 m (9977 ft)
Minimum Altitude: 2995 m (9826 ft)
Distance Travelled: 4 miles (6.5 km)
Approximate Walking Time: 3 hours

Day 2: Trek to Collpajasa Pass (3860 m) and along the banks of the Pampacona River

The Vilcabamba Range: the Inca fled here from the Spanish before their final defeat.

You'll leave Huancacalle and head to New Vilcabamba, founded by the Spanish. Following the path uphill, you'll cross the ecological levels Quechua and Suni to reach the Collpajasa Pass, the highest point on the trek.

Your descent takes you along ancient crossroads and follows a beautiful path along the banks of the Pampacona River to reach the cloud forest. You'll arrive at the site of Ututo to spend the night after a long day's walk.

Maximum Altitude: 3860 m (12,664 ft)
Minimum Altitude: 2960 m (9711 ft)
Distance Travelled: 13.5 miles (21.5 km)
Approximate Walking Time: 10 hours

Day 3: Trek to Huayna Pukara, the last stand of the Inca

A sweeping landscape of colorful mountains. 

Leaving camp, you'll descend to the Huayna Pukara sector, a spectacular location and the last place of resistance by the Inca army. The trek takes you through a semi-tropical forest, leading to the school of Vista Alegre, where you’ll have dinner and spend the night.

Maximum Altitude: 2960 m (9711 ft)
Minimum Altitude: 2017 m (6617 ft)
Distance Travelled: 8.8 miles (14.25 km)
Approximate Walking Time: 7 hours

Day 4: Pass through rainforest to Concebidayoq

An open door along the trekking route. 

You'll continue your journey along the legendary route where the last Incas fled the Spanish invasion, passing through a magnificent rainforest. Arriving at camp in Concebidayoq, you’ll have dinner and camp for the night.

Maximum Altitude: 2017 m (6617 ft)
Minimum Altitude: 1498 m (4915 ft)
Distance Travelled: 10.2 miles (16.4 km) 
Approximate Walking Time: 7 hours

Day 5: Tour the archaeology complex of Vilcabamba

Archaeological complex of Vilcabamba.

Today you'll take a short walk to the campsite of Vilcabamba (Espiritu Pampa), then follow the trail, walking the “Thousand Steps”, an Inca trail that leads to Vilcabamba, the last capital of the Tawantinsuyo.

After setting up camp, you'll tour the archaeological complex in detail for the rest of the day. Then return to camp for dinner and a good rest.

Maximum Altitude: 1498 m (4914 ft)
Minimum Altitude: 1449 m (4753 ft)
Distance Travelled: 2.7 miles (4.4 km)
Approximate Walking Time: 2 hours

Day 6: Hike the last leg of the journey from Vilcabamba to Azulmayo

The small town of Kiteni is the end of the line for this trip. 

Leaving your campsite at Vilcabamba, you hike towards Azulmayo, from where private transport takes you to the town of Kiteni for lunch, dinner and camp for the night.

Maximum Altitude: 1449 m (4753 ft)
Minimum Altitude: 593 m (1945 ft)
Distance Travelled: 5 miles (8 km)
Approximate Walking Time: 3 hours

From Azulmayo to Kiteni (Private Transport)
Distance: 13 miles (21 km)
Duration: 4 – 5 hours

Day 7: Enjoy Siete Tinajas waterfalls and return to Cusco

Back in time for an evening in Cusco.

You'll spend the final day enjoying a visit to Siete Tinajas, a series of waterfalls with small pools. You'll then take private transport back to the city of Cusco to check in to your hotel for the night. Enjoy a celebratory drink in this historic town to mark the end of your challenging Peruvian adventure. 

Map

Map of Trek to Peru's Vilcabamba: The Last Stand of the Inca - 7 Days
Map of Trek to Peru's Vilcabamba: The Last Stand of the Inca - 7 Days