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This is probably the most famous trek in South America and rated by many as one of the top 5 treks in the world. Total length of the trek is about 50 Km. It combines beautiful mountain scenery, lush green cloud-forest, subtropical jungle and, of course, a stunning mix of Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels. The final destination of the trail just cannot be beaten: Machu Picchu, the mysterious “Lost City of the Incas”.This is a controlled trek. Only a certain number of people are allowed to trek each day. The group / individual must be accompanied by a qualified guide from a recognized agency.
Day one of the trek started with an early morning pick up from Cusco. We drove to Piskacuchu (2700m/8856ft), a community located on the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco Machu picchu railroad. This is the starting point of the Inca trail.
We began our hike by crossing the bridge over the Urubamba River and walking along its left shore as it flows northwest along the Sacred Valley. Following the trail along a flat terrain, we arrived in Miskay (2800m/9184ft) then ascended and finally saw the impressive Inca city of Llactapata (2650m/8692ft). We continued trekking along the
valley created by the Kusichaca River, gradually climbed for about five hours until we reach the community ofWayllabamba (3000m/9840ft), where we set our first camp. All along the way we enjoyed spectacular views of the Vilcanota ridge on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive Veronica peak reigns at 5832 meters above sea level. This was our first campsite.
Day two was the most challenging part of the trek. This was the day to cross the highest point in the trail. We woke up at around 6:00 am and after breakfast began a steep ascent that stretched for 9 km . Along this climb, the landscape changed from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). On the way to the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s Pass – 4215m/13776ft), we saw domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on Ichu, one of the few plants that grow at high altitude.
At “Dead woman’s Pass”
We crossed an area of the so called cloud forest, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows, and the Andean bear, which is also called the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctus Ornatus). Immediately after the pass, we descend ed into the Pacaymayo valley (3600m/11808ft), where we camped after approximately 7 hour of hiking.
Day three is the longest day. Today we were supposed to cover from Pacaymayo to Wiñaywayna. But we did not get a place in Winaywayna campsite so we were allocated a campsite in Phuyupatamarka. This is 3 hours away from Wiñaywayna. This is the most impressive and the most interesting day due the number of archaeological sites and the lush cloud forest area that we crossed, so rich in Andean flora and fauna. From Pacaymayo we climbed to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3970m/13022ft).
Halfway up, we stopped to visit the archaeological complex with the same name “runcuracay”. This site, located at 3800m/12464ft, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower or look out. After going over the pass, we descended towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and entered the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624m/11887ft). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical
fountains, patios and irrigation canals. Continuing up an easy climb, we arrive at the third pass, the Abra Phuyupatamarca (3700m/12136ft). Along this climb we appreciated the magnitude of the Incas ancient craft, by walking along paths semi-detached from the mountain, and seeing rocks that fill up ravines in perfect order, saving the trail from the multi-leveled Andean geography. We went through an Inca tunnel to later arrive at the aforementioned pass and down to the complex of the same name. This is one of the most complete and best preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to
Machupicchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. Curiously, Phuyupatamarca means ̈town over the clouds ̈. From above, one can observe a sophisticated sacred complex made up of water fountains with solid foundations, and also impressive views of the Urubamba River valley.
This was the last day with our porters and cook. They baked a cake for us @3700M . It was awesome.
Last day of our Inca trail started at 3AM in the morning because we had to cover extra distance to Wiñaywayna. It was very hard to trek down these long descending stone steps at dark.
We arrived at Wiñaywayna at 5.30 , after some rest climbed to the Intipunku, or The Sun Gate. This took an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot,we saw the sunrise over the sacred citadel of Machupicchu. From Intipunku we descended into Machupicchu, and 40 minutes later we enter the citadel from the highest point through the ̈House of the Guardians ̈.
We then descended to the control point where we registered ourselves and left our backpacks. We began a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that took approximately two hours.
I then walked around and visited Inca drawbridge and then took a bus to Aguas Calientes. I had my lunch there , traditional delicacy roasted guinea pig .
I took the train back to Cusco and arrived my hotel in the evening.
How did I do it? I used Perupath to organize MachuPichu trek. Freeddy Lonconi was really helpful and took care of all logistics .