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They could have followed the valley but they chose the high route to Machu Picchu, with its gorgeous and climactic mountain views. True Andean highlanders, the Incas knew and loved the countless natural zones that lay within the folds of their vast domain. Their trail to Machu Picchu traverses a startling variety of microclimates, beginning with an arid cactus zone on the Urubamba valley floor, rising through native Polylepis forest to bleak high-altitude grassland, and ending in mossy cloud forest draped with orchids and bromeliads.
We take this challenging trek across high, treeless passes up to 4,200 m (13,776 ft), and down through multi‐layered zones of cloud‐forest, culminating at the threshold of the Sun Gate where we face the final unforgettable view down to Machu Picchu and the Urubamba River.
The Machu Picchu area and surroundings are forested, tropical and rainy. It is found in the middle of steeply sloped mountains and flanked by a profound canyon that Urubamba river forms.
Machu Picchu harbors within its boundaries a diverse fauna and fauna that includes:
The Andean weather can be unpredictable, despite the sharp divide between dry and wet seasons. The dry season runs from May to October or November (the best time for this amazing trek); the rainy season goes from December through April. Nevertheless, in the forested fringes of the Amazon basin where Machu Picchu lies, showers are not uncommon at any time of year. Therefore rain pants and jacket are essential gear that should always be in your daypack.
Daytime temperatures can vary greatly, from about 10ºC/50ºF to 28ºC/82ºF with night time temperatures from 10ºC/50ºF down to around 0ºC/32ºF, though seldom much lower.
This trip allows a taste of the Inca Trail without days of hiking and camping. We begin the hike from the train stop at Kilometer 104 and follow the trail for six hours to the spectacular view of Machu Picchu from Inti Punku, the Gate of the Sun. From here we descend into the world famous “Lost City.” After a restful night in a hotel, we return to Machu Picchu at dawn to see the ruins in perfect morning light. In the afternoon, we return to Cusco by train.
This is the classic four-day trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This magnificent hike is for travelers who are in condition to hike up to ten hours, with breaks, in a single day. The pace may be daunting for some, but the beauty and history of the area surround the hiker every step of the way. On the last morning we arrive at Machu Picchu with plenty of time to explore the ruins before returning to Cusco by train.
Our five-day program allows the traveler time to explore and enjoy the amazing archaeological sites, landscapes and nature along the way. While most other programs force trekkers to speed through the stunning high-altitude Inca Trail, we take the time to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. We camp the first three nights, enjoying great meals and sturdy tents. The hikes average six to seven hours each day, including time to explore the Inca sites we pass through and to take in the unparalleled scenery. On the fourth afternoon day we cross the stone threshold of Intipunku (Sun Gate). After a well-deserved night at a comfortable hotel, we return to Machu Picchu to see the ruins in perfect morning light. In the afternoon we return to Cusco by train. This program is specially designed to offer a more relaxed trek and a deeper understanding of Inca culture.
This is a De Luxe private tour similar to our Inca Trail Discovery with enough time to explore and enjoy the amazing Inca archaeological sites, landscapes and nature. We camp the first three nights, enjoying great meals, wine, sturdy tents and at the end of the day a massage therapist will offer a relaxing massage. The hikes average six to seven hours.