Great Inca Trail to Vitcos
Tick two incomparable Inca highlights off your bucket list on this 9-day Great Inca Trail to Vitcos Expedition. First immerse yourself in melting pot of Inca and Spanish culture that is Cuzco, before delving into the splendour of the Sacred Valley, the Incas’ agricultural heartland. After a life-changing visit to Machu Picchu, you will venture way off the beaten path on a 3-night private trekking extravaganva that follows the Great Inca Trail through the mythical Vilcabamba region to Vitcos, the enigmatic and awe-inspiring city that was the penultimate stronghold of the Incas.
Starting from $3,890 per person
Pricing includes everything from your international arrival to your departure, with the exception of flights and a few lunches and dinners.
HOW IT WORKS
- Visit enigmatic Inca sites that have been half-consumed by the jungle and traverse remote Andean landscapes that only a handful of Westerners have had the privilege to witness.
- Take a tour of mythical Vitcos, a place that has been immortalised as the penultimate stronghold of the rebel Inca state that continued to thrive for decades after the Spanish conquest.
- Ascend (and descend!) the thousands of hand-hewn stone stairs that make up the dazzling Choquetecarpo Pass.
- Visit the imposing ancient Incan temples of Sacsayhuaman and Koricancha in Cuzco, to discover the history and might of the lost empire.
- Take a tour of Cuzco’s Cathedral where you’ll learn about the fascinating Cuzco school of colonial art.
- A tour of key sites of the Sacred Valley, including the agricultural terraces of Moray, the salt mines at Maras, and the ruins and village of Ollantaytambo.
- A guided tour of the Machu Picchu, the “lost city of the Incas”. You’ll see breath-taking views and learn how the temples were built.
- Hike on a masterfully constructed ancient road through some of the world’s most rugged and pristine landscapes, while carrying only a daypack.
- Camp in ultimate comfort and warmth, with quality sleeping bags and Therm-a-Rest sleeping mats in your spacious two-man tent.
- While on trail, enjoy four wholesome meals every day and make use of a private tented bathroom.
Welcome to Peru! Today is a transit day, and after a long flight you're probably looking forward to a nice meal and some relaxation. The Costa del Sol hotel is located right across the street from the airport and is the best choice for travelers connecting to Cuzco. But if you arrive in Lima in the early afternoon, you’ll have the time to make your way to a hotel in the picturesque waterfront district of Miraflores. If you go for this option, one of our representatives will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel.
Return to the airport this morning to check in independently for your flight to Cuzco. On arrival, your host will meet you and bring you to your Cuzco hotel. During your afternoon tour of Cuzco, the capital of the Incan Empire, you'll visit Sacsayhuaman, an immense Incan complex with impressive stonework, and Koricancha, one of the most important Incan temples (the walls were once actually coated in gold!). You’ll also stop at Cuzco's Cathedral where you'll learn about the intricacies of the Cuzco school of art and view fascinating historical artefacts – including a painting of The Last Supper which features guinea pig on the menu!
Prepare to have your breath taken away! Your Sacred Valley exploration will include visits to the ancient circular agricultural terraces of Moray, the still-operational salt mines at Maras, and the ruins and village of Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you’ll be treated to a scenic train ride through the Sacred Valley to the town of Aguas Calientes – gateway to Machu Picchu – where you will stay in comfort to await the first highlight of your tour.
This is one for your bucket list. Uncover the mystical secrets of Machu Picchu during a guided private tour of this Incan citadel. You'll have the opportunity to visit the most important parts of the ruins to wonder at how they were constructed. You can also hike to the top of Huayna Picchu for a bird's eye view of the ruins and valley beneath you. The steep path takes about an hour and a half to ascend. In the afternoon, descend to Aguas Calientes for some free time.
Now you’ve ticked Machu Picchu off the bucket list, it’s time to experience, first-hand, another of the Incas’ greatest engineering feats. After a short train ride down the Urubamba River Valley, you’ll venture well off the beaten path on a 4-hour land transfer to the town of Yanama; a remote outpost of about 60 families. This will be your camp for tonight, and your first taste of Vilcabamba: The Last Refuge of the Incas. Enjoy the afternoon getting accustomed to camp life, and the evening marveling at the symphony of stars out here on the perimeter.
Wake early for a hot and hearty breakfast, followed closely by your first experience of the Great Inca Trail. The trail from the Yanama River ascends 3,000 feet up the Choquetecarpo Valley, transporting you into an Andean wonderland. Once you rise above 11,000 feet, you’ll walk on pristine Inca Road, passing Inca tambos (way stations) and water temples (one, called Unusaminchana, features canals and a two-sided bath beneath a natural spring) along the way. After walking for most of the day, you will arrive at your camp for the night: a place called Qelqamachay that’s surrounded by native Quenua forest which creeps up into the seams of the cliffs. Be sure to get some rest, because tomorrow you’ll be summitting the 15,000-foot Choquetecarpo Pass.
Make sure you have a good breakfast: today’s 5-hour hike traverses some of most spectacular Inca road (not to mention rugged terrain) on the planet. From the outset, you’ll hike on Inca steps towards the snowy 15,000-foot pass, the curves of the Inca Road softening the intensity of the ascent. After walking up and down the Choquetecarpo Pass on thousands of Inca steps that cover more than 2,000 feet of elevation on each side, you will make your way to Huancacalle – a 500-person town that is your camp for the night – right below the Inca citadel of Vitcos. This is the end of your time on the Great Inca Trail…and the beginning of an archeological adventure that very few human beings ever get to experience.
Passing between the massive polished stones which mark the site’s most important entryways, you’ll visit Vitcos, the center of the exiled neo-Inca state in Vilcabamba and a place very few outsiders ever visit. On a guided tour of the city which served as the Inca capital for seven years from 1537 onwards, you will explore the important religious temple of Yuraq Rumi, a massive carved rock from which a spring emanates, not to mention a series of Inca terraces and a main plaza which looks down upon the breathtaking Vilcabamba River. After your tour of Vitcos, you’ll embark on the drive back to Cuzco, where a proper bed and a hot shower await.
Spend a free morning exploring Cuzco further and picking up some last-minute souvenirs. When you’re ready, one of our representatives will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to the Cuzco airport for your flight to Lima. On arrival, connect independently to your international flight home.
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