The Inca Trail and Sacred Valley 10 Day Tour

Trip Length: 10 day / 7 night tour.

Activities: Moderate hiking on the Inca Trail.

Highlights: Cuzco, Valley of Urubamba, Machu Picchu.

Accommodations: 3 nights full-service camping,
3 nights in Cuzco, 1 night at Machu Picchu in Aguas Calientes.

Departures: March – December, weekly, every day of the week.




Detailed Information

Take a journey to an Empire of Gold, an active adventure to the heart of the exotic Incan Empire. We immerse ourselves in the cultures of Peru, past and present. We will see all the sights that have drawn centuries of travelers from Pizarro to Paul Theroux, without sacrificing the benefits of quality meals and comfortable nights. Our full package includes flights originating from the USA to Lima, Peru's capital and continue on an spectacular flight up and over the Andes to Cuzco, a timeless town dominated by the fine stonework of plazas and palaces, all created centuries ago by craftsman of ancient empires. A full day in the old capital of the Incas give us the ground work for succeeding adventures; starting with a choice of one day river rafting on the Rio Urubamba as it races through the agricultural oasis of the Sacred Valley or a horseback riding tour of the surrounding sites and explore the ruins of Qenko, Puca Pucara and Tambo Machay, culminating in the imposing fortress of Sacsayhuaman in the outskirts of Cuzco.
The next morning at daybreak, we venture into the remote reaches of the Andean kingdom of the Incas where you will be joined by an English speaking guide, a professional chef and porters to transport your gear as you set out to hike the Inca Trail. You sleep warm and protected in high quality tents with the most reliable outfitter in the Andes for a trek you'll never forget. Few hikes of this length in the world can offer such variety of scenery, so many staggering views, such diversity of ecological zones.
The route weaves along the transition zone between alpine grassland and cloud forest. You will witness fantastic vistas of snowy peaks and river valleys. We will pass through elfin forests and naturally carved tunnels. This path of antiquity will crest at 14,200 feet at the Warmiwanuska pass, before leading into the Machu Picchu National Sanctuary.
Certainly no other walk known to Man will lead along ancient highways to one secluded ruin after another, each one almost perfectly preserved, giving you shelter, solitude and views that no pen or camera can ever adequately describe.
Concluding the four day-three nights trek, we descend into ruins through the symbolic Gateway of the Sun where the citadel of Machu Picchu shows its exuberant beauty and mystery. After an overnight in Aguas Calientes, a frontier like town at the base of the mountain, we will be at the ruins again at sunrise and catch the first light on the ancient stones.
At last we begin the ride back on the narrow-gauge train into to the granite gorge of the Urubamba River,where we are blessed once again with more spectacular views of the Sacred Valley until we reach the majestic city of Cuzco at dusk.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

DAY 1 / 2 - USA - Cuzco

Leave USA in the evening in your American Airlines flight to Lima via Miami, arrive there early in the morning. Check in to your domestic flight up and over the Andes to the Imperial city of Cuzco.
Once there you will be greeted and transfer by your hotel of choice by the Nuevo Mundo Tours personnel and will be taken to your comfortable quarters for the next 2 nights. The seat of Inca civilization, Cuzco was founded around 1100AD has a wealth of fascinating historical sites.
Pre-Inca, Inca, and colonial architecture and customs juxtaposed in this colorful and memorable Andean city. Four roads once led from Cuzco's main square to the four corners of the Inca empire that extended from what is today Ecuador and part of Colombia to northern Chile and Argentina including all of Peru and Bolivia. An empire almost as vast as the Roman Empire, the Inca nation was connected by a road network stretching over 23,000 km. (14,300 miles). Due to its position as the capital of the Inca dynasty, contemporary Cuzco, a city 3,200 meters above sea level (10,500 ft.) was more than just a capital city. It was an administrative, military and holy city, similar to Mecca, and is now the oldest inhabited city of the Americas. Many kinds of architecture are found here and one's eyes can feast on their splendid variety and combinations. Explore the City and the Inca's most sacred building in Cuzco, the Korikancha (Temple of the Sun) today forms part of the Spanish church of Santo Domingo. Ruins, temples, churches, and mansions make this a memorable destination, full of history and culture. A city with a splendid legacy, Cuzco's winding cobbled streets transport visitors through its rich and beautiful past. The surrounding countryside is stunning, much of it sculpted by agricultural terraces once watered by complex irrigation systems.
Included is an afternoon horsebackriding tour of the nearby ruins of Qenko, Puca Pucara and Tambo Machay. Start your adventure at Tambo Machay ruins, the farthest from Cuzco and at 3,700 meters the highest. From there you can ride back to Cuzco, visiting all three ruins along the way: First, Tambo Machay a beautiful construction with a beautifully wrought ceremonial stone bath and it is therefore popularly called El Bano Inca. Then Quenko, the labyrinth, a ceremonial site carved out of solid limestone, with winding tunnels leading to an underground altar and last ruins are Sacsayhuaman, a vast Inca fortress on the outskirts of the city. The massive stones of its walls, some weight as much as 300 tons, are intricately shaped and fitted together in an impressive display of ingenuity and engineering. Some say it formed the head of a huge puma, with the body of Cuzco spread out below. Once home to as many as 5000 Inca warriors, it was most likely an important religious site as well.

DAY 3 - Cuzco - Valley of Urubamba - Pisac

Early pick up by the Nuevo Mundo Tours personnel for your journey back in time and take this optional shared excursion into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the perfect way to relax in the heart of the country, as you set out into the Andean village of Pisac, and its dual personality. Six days a week, it is a sleepy little Peruvian town with about 1,500 residents. But come Sunday, the population swells and a carnival atmosphere prevail. The reason for the transformation: a sprawling street market in town square teeming with vendors selling everything, bustling with activities. You can bargain for weavings, blankets, sweaters, jewelry and fresh fruit, sample fresh-baked bread and catch the scents and sounds of and ancient way of life that attracts locals decked out in traditional Andean clothes who held it to be the cradle of their civilization, a spot that brought them closer to their gods. At the end of the paved road rest the city of Ollanta where you'll take a short hike to the extensive ridgetops ruins at Ollantaytarnbo, after lunch you'll visit the Quechua village of Chinchero where skilled weavers introduce You to the ancient art of backstrap. Later head back and follow a road that winds up and down, in and out the mountains, with breathtaking views around every bend. Return transfer to your Hotel of choice. Breakfast.

DAY 4 - Inca Trail - Chilca

The first day of the trek is relatively easy and serves as training for the days to follow. Travelers are collected early from their hotels (6:30-7am) and travel by bus, past the picturesque villages of Chinchero, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, for the 2½ hour scenic trip to kilometer 82 (the start of the trail). Buses normally stop at the town of Urubamba in the Sacred Valley for about an hour or so to give people the opportunity to have breakfast. You trek with an English-speaking tour leader, and a professional kitchen staff. Porters carry your duffel, so that you hike carrying only a day-pack. You sleep in spacious, twin-shared, well-maintained tents. Included are foam sleeping pads, all transportation, and all meals.
Hikers cross the Vilcanota River and follow the trail to the right as it climbs steeply up from the river. After passing through a small village, the ruins of the Inca hillfort of Huillca Raccay come into view high above the mouth of the river Cusichaca ( 'happy bridge' ). The Incas, when they conquered the area, built a fort here since the site commanded an excellent view up and down the Urubamba valley and controlled the entrance to the Cusichaca valley. It is a simple descent down to the Cusichaca River. From parts of this trail there are great views of the Cordillera Urubamba (Urubamba mountain range) and the snow capped peak of Veronica. (5860m)
From here you'll get a great view over the extensive Inca ruins of Llactapata (also known as Patallacta on some maps). Llactapata means 'upper town' in Quechua and was first discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and was primarily an agricultural station used to supply Machu Picchu with maize, the staple crop of the Incas. The settlement comprised over one hundred buildings, houses for the workers and soldiers, including five baths. For a further 7 km the path follows the left bank of the river up to the small village of Wayllabamba (3,000m). The name in Quechua means 'grassy plain'. We will probably spend the night here depending on the speed of the group. This is the last place along the trek that you can buy snacks and drinks. (5.7 miles) Breakfast, Lunch, Dinn

DAY 5 - Inca Trail - Pacaymayu

Climbing up from Wayllabamba following the left bank of the Llulluchayoc river for about 1 hour brings you to 'Tres Piedras' (three stones) and a small bridge over the Huayruro river. There is a small campsite here which we sometimes use on day one if the group is making good progress. The stream is named after the Huayruro which is an ornamental tree. It's seeds are red and black. Many of the porters from the Ollantaytambo district are also known as Huayruros because of their traditional red and black ponchos! A little further on you'll enter a beautiful cloud forest passing a waterfall.
A further three hours trek through steepening woods and increasingly spectacular terrain brings you to the treeline and a meadow known as Llulluchapampa (3,680m). It is another 1½ hours climb to the first and highest pass of the trail (Abra de Huarmihuañusca or 'Dead Woman's Pass) at 4,200m. During this part of the trail hikers are exposed to the Andean elements: first scorching sun and then, closer to the pass, freezing winds. Once at the top hikers can celebrate having completed the most difficult section of the trail.
We descend to the Pacaymayu River valley then up an Inca stairway with magnificent views to snow peaks and ruins, following the trail on the left side of the valley to the valley floor and to the 2nd night's campsite at Pacaymayu (3,600m). There are toilet facilities here. (6.8 miles) Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

DAY 6 - Inca Trail / Phuyopatamarka

From Pacaymayu it takes about an hour to climb up to the ruins of Runkuracay. These small circular ruins occupy a commanding position overlooking the Pacaymayu valley below.
Another 45 minute hike will bring you to the top of the second pass: Abra de Runkuracay (4,000m). At last you'll feel that you are walking along the trail of the Incas with paving, for the most part, being original.
This section of the trail, up till the 3rd pass, is particularly beautiful as the path crosses high stone embankments and skirts deep precipices. The longest trail descends into high jungle transition zone continuing down the stone laid path to the impressive ridge-top ruins of Sayaqmarka. After exploring it, we pass through an elfin forest and a natural carved tunnel by the Incas along a well-engineered trail following the contour of the Andes.
The name Sayaqmarka means ' Inaccessible Town ' and describes the position of the ruins perfectly, protected on three sides by sheer cliffs. No one knows the exact purpose of these ruins.
You have to backtrack a little to rejoin the trail as it passes Conchamarca, a small Inca dwelling situated in the shadows of Sayaqmarka, which was probably a tambo for weary travelers on their way to Machu Picchu.
From then on the path descends into magnificent cloudforest full of orchids, hanging mosses, tree ferns and flowers, passing through an impressive Inca tunnel, carved into the rock, on the way.
The trail then climbs up to the 3rd pass (3,700m). The view from the pass offers excellent views of several snow-capped peaks including Salkantay (6,180m) the principal Apu or sacred mountain dominates the landscape and Veronica (5,750m). A few minutes after the pass and amid luxuriant vegetation is Phuyupatamarca, the most impressive Inca ruin so far. The name means 'Town in the Clouds'. Access to the ruins is down a steep flight of stairs passing six 'Inca Baths' probably used for the ritual worship of water.
Leaving the site via an impressive Inca staircase leading from the west side of the ruins (the far end from the baths) you descend a thousand or so steps.
After about an hour of walking through cloudforest you may just be able to see the tin roof of the Trekkers Hostal at Wiñay Wayna, although it probably won't be for another 2 hours until you arrive.
Wiñay Wayna is the last official campsite before Machu Picchu. There is a restaurant where you can purchase drinks and even a well deserved beer, as well as hot showers ($1.5) and toilets.
A short trail leaves from the southern end of the hostal to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna. The name in Quechua means 'forever young' and is named after a variety of pink orchid which grows here. The ruins comprise magnificent agricultural terraces set in an impressive location. There are also many buildings of good quality stonework and a sequence of 10 baths, suggesting that the site was probably a religious center associated with the worship of water. Ritual cleansing may have taken place here for pilgrims on the final leg of the trail to Machu Picchu. (6.7 miles) Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

DAY 7 - Inca Trail / Machu Picchu / Cuzco

The trail from the hostal to Machu Picchu is clearly marked and takes about 1½ hours. We'll wake early at 4.30am, have breakfast and set off on the trail again by 5.30am to get to Machu Picchu before sunrise. The sky starts getting light by 5:30am and the first rays of the sun reach Machu Picchu at about 7am, the jungle thickens as you descend on a single, continuous mountain stairway.
The Royal Road descends 2,300 long stone steps through orchid-rich cloud forest and emerge at what once was the main entrance, the Intipunku or Gate of the Sun, and here we get our first view of Machu Picchu (7,806ft.). Reach there around 7:00AM and be among the first in the ruins to contemplate this spectacular spiritual moment in the Andes. Our guide will accompany you on a private tour and explain the citadel secrets as you have a full day of exploring this magnificent Inca marvel.
When you arrive at the ruins you'll have plenty of time to take photos of Machu Picchu from the classic view point. Most groups wait at this point for a while so most of your photos should be 'tourist free'. When the group is back together again we descend to the main entrance where you can safely leave your large backpacks. You can also go to the toilet and have a quick coffee in the restaurant just outside the entrance. With just your daypack on the group will re-enter the ruins with the same guide for a complete tour of the major sectors. The tour takes about 2 hours so by about 10:30 you'll have free time to explore the ruins alone.
We suggest that after visiting Machu Picchu that you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes at 15:30 at the latest (assuming train departs at 16:30). Buses depart every 15 minutes. Check with the guide for actual times. Most people, however, leave the ruins at about 13:30 and return to Aguas Calientes for lunch (at the ruins there is only one restaurant and it's very expensive). There are several small restaurants in Aguas Calientes to satisfy all budgets. You may also wish to pay a visit to the town's famous thermal springs which feel great after finishing the trail. Entrance to the springs costs $2.00 USD, allow 2 hours to really enjoy them.
Stay for the night in Aguas Calientes, a frontier like town at the base of Machu Picchu Ruins at your hotel of choice. Breakfast. (2.3 miles)

DAY 8 - Machu Picchu - Cuzco

Have a return look at Machu Picchu, climb its sister mountain Huayna Picchu and later return to Cuzco by train in the late afternoon all along the raucous Urubamba River and experience the most breathtaking views of The Sacred Valley of the Incas. The train back to CUZCO departs from Aguas Calientes. The train departs at approximately 16:30 (time can vary) and you'll arrive back in CUZCO for about 21:00. Included in our standard service is the tourist bus from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes, the train back to CUZCO and a transfer from the station to you hotel.
Sometimes, however, we buy train tickets just back as far as Ollantaytambo and then bring you back to your hotel in CUZCO by private bus. The later method usually works out about 30 minutes quicker.
Transfer to your hotel of choice by the Nuevo Mundo Tours personnel in Cuzco. Rest of the evening at leisure.Breakfast.

DAY 9 /10 - Cuzco - Lima -USA

After breakfast, early transfer to the Cuzco airport for your flight to Lima. Have a 12 hour stopover in Lima and prepare for your 11:30 pm flight back to the USA. There is a mandatory 3 hour check - in for the return flight. Breakfast.




2004 Cost:

US$ 1499.00 per person plus taxes. (based on double occupancy).
High Season - June 10 to Sep 10

US$ 1299.00 per person plus taxes. (based on double occupancy).
Low Season - Sep 11 to June 9

Optional upgrade to first-class Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge from $274 per person in shared twin; $455 in single (includes 3 meals at the hotel)

Additional Expenses

Currency other than US$ is difficult to exchange in Cuzco. Bring travelers' checks and/or cash. Major credit cards are also accepted in hotels and larger restaurants. Food and beverages in mainstream restaurants and hotels are comparable in cost to what you'll pay for at home. 18% government value-added tax plus service charges of up to 10% are added to your bill.

You’ll pay airport departure taxes of US$4 for domestic flights in Peru, and US$25 for international departures.

Tipping your trek staff is optional but customary. Take along between $20-$40 in local currency for this purpose. On the final trek morning, trekkers distribute pooled funds among guide(s), kitchen crew and porters. Suggested distribution: Guide $2.50 per day, Asst guide $1.00 per day, Cook $1.00 per day, Asst cook $.50 per day. You will have two porters, allocate a total of $5 per each of 2 porters. Porters appreciate receiving donations of old clothes that are in good condition, including children's clothes.

Included / Not included


¨ International flights from Boston and NYC, other cities on request.
¨ All domestic flight within Peru.
¨ All ground transportation in Peru.
¨ All excursions including English-speaking local guides.
¨ All transfers and porterage.
¨ All hostal and hotel, service charge and taxes.
¨ Continental Breakfast in the Hostal stay.
¨ All meals as specified on the itinerary.


¨Personal trekking gear and sleeping bag.
¨Tips to guide and trek staf.
¨Expenses of personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, beverages or excess luggage.
¨Pre and Post-departure expenses (Airport taxes of 3.00usd per domestic flight and 25.00 USD exit tax from the Lima Airport).
¨Trip Interruption and Travel Insurance (Strongly recommended).
¨Any other optional tours.
¨Rental sleeping bag: $15 (includes sheet liner). Rental sleeping bags should be requested well in advance of your departure.

Single supplement:

If you are traveling alone and are willing to share a tent, we will pair you with another trekker of the same gender and you pay no supplementary charge. If you prefer a tent on single occupancy basis, the surcharge is US$50.

For acclimation purposes, we strongly recommend that you arrive in Cuzco two days or more prior to the trek. This is a 28-mile trek with a maximum elevation close to 14,000 feet.

Participants 18 years and older with a valid student ID such as the International Student ID card pay a reduced rate for their trail ticket and at the Trail. In order to qualify for a student trail ticket, we must receive a legible faxed copy of your student ID no later than 2 weeks prior to the start of the trek. You must also bring the ID to the trek orientation meeting. Passengers who cannot produce student ID judged acceptable to the Machu Picchu Park authority will pay the full adult rate. Students 17 years and younger need no student ID, but must present their passports to receive the student rate.

Please Note: We reserve the right to make minor changes where necessary for the safety and comfort of tour participants. Tour charges may vary from those quoted above; please reconfirm the current rate when you make your reservation. Additional expenses caused by circumstances beyond the control of the operator will be the responsibility of the tour participant.

Planning your trip

Cuzco has well-defined seasons. From June to August, while winter days are typically sunny and warm, the temperature can drop to below freezing (27°F/-3°C) at night in our high camps. Rain seldom falls during winter. From January to March, the summer months offer daytime temperatures to 85°F/30°C, milder nights (typically to 45°F/8°C) and plenty of rain. Despite some rain, December is one of our favorite months for trekking, since the mountains are lush with summer flowers and you enjoy plenty of sunshine. Departures during Andean spring and fall offer weather patterns intermediate between these seasonal extremes.

Expect a wide range of temperature and precipitation on your program. In high mountain environments, you must be prepared for inclement weather at any time. Even at mid-day, if clouds obscure the sun the apparent temperature cools dramatically. By packing a system of thin, independent layers, you can easily add or remove layers to remain comfortable as conditions change. Most trekkers leave camp in the morning wearing a cold-weather layer over T-shirt and shorts. At the first rest stop, after you have warmed up a bit, remove a layer and continue in hot-weather clothing until the temperature cools off later in the day. At all times, carry rain-gear in your day-pack. Basic clothing list: underwear, socks, light hiking boots, sneakers for around camp, loose-fitting long pants or wind-pants, shorts, T-shirts, long-sleeved shirt, bunting jacket, full rain gear, sun hat, bathing suit, gloves and wool hat.

Other Gear:
Essential: Day pack, sleeping bag, water bottle, iodine-type water purification pills, flashlight, sunglasses, sunscreen, toilet kit, insect repellent, pocket knife. Optional: sewing kit, camera and film, binoculars, paperback book, snacks and/or energy bars. Your outfitter provides: a heavy-duty, 4,100-cubic-inch trail duffel, Thermarest sleeping pad, tents and communal camping gear. Weight Restriction: Porterage for up to 10 kg (22 lb.) of personal gear is included. If your packed duffel exceeds 10 kg. In weight (including sleeping bag and pad) at trailhead, you will have to transfer excess items from your duffel to your daypack.

While none are mandatory for entering Peru, and no official is likely to demand to see proof of your vaccination against any disease, some protection is recommended. Consult your physician or local travelers' clinic for the latest recommendations. For general travel, vaccinations or boosters against tetanus, typhoid/diphtheria, Hepatitis A, and polio are commonly advised. If you're visiting the Amazon before or after your trek, ask about yellow fever and chloroquine-resistant malaria. The World Health Organization does not recommend vaccination against cholera.

Nuevo Mundo Tours, Inc.,
2 Bow Street, Harvard Sq., Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Phone: 888/ 877.7378 - 617/ 864.3880 Fax: 617/ 863.3888

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