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For several millennia, Vilcabamba mountain range was an important cradle for ancient civilizations, also serving as a refuge for the last rebel Incas
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The Cordillera Vilcabamba is a mountain range which houses a range of both historical and natural attractions of great importance to the development of Andean civilisation.
The trek we propose is one of the most remote that we have experienced. We have to consider that this cordillera served as a refuge to the last rebel Inkas fleeing the invasion; led by Manqo Inka II for about forty years.
Geography, flora, fauna and a rich history take us on an adventure through a remote region of the southern Andes which motivates us to arrive at the legendary Machu Picchu, the maximum expression of the high level of civilisation achieved by Andean people, represented by the Inkas.
Day 1: Cuzco – Casapata
We leave very early in the morning, taking the road to the Sacred Valley of the Inkas. Passing the town of Ollantaytambo, we head towards the Abra Málaga (mountain pass) which we cross, and then descend through the Puna towards the high jungle.
At this ecological level the principal activity is agriculture, mainly products such as tea, coca, coffee, cacao and fruits; and we will see the crops.
Our first stop is at the archaeological site of Huamanmarca, where there is an important Usnu or ritual platform and a precinct with four double jamb doorways facing the four cardinal points.
We continue to the settlement of Santa María, where we can rest for a few minutes, to then continue on to Huancacalle, the village where we will leave our motorized transport. The journey is long; but the reward is the solitude we enjoy as tourism is not very developed in this area. Here we meet our arrieros (mule-handlers) and mules which will accompany us on our walk. We have lunch.
After a short break, we begin our walk to visit the Rosaspata – Vitcos sector of the Vilcabamba Archaeological Park, including a tour of the famous Ñusta Hispana. It is suspected that the tomb of the rebel leader Manco Inka II can be found in this area of the Vilcabamba cordillera. We will also see the famous white rock.
By dusk we arrive at Casapata, which will be our campsite, where we enjoy our dinner and rest.
Meals: lunch and dinner
Maximum Altitude: 3060 masl / 10039 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2950 masl / 9678 ft
Distance Travelled: 5 km / 3.10 ml
Approximate Walking Time: 3 hrs
Day 2: Casapata – Hatumpampa
We leave early in the morning, climbing up through the ravine of the Pumachaka river to the Chupana sector where this river begins. Here we find segments of Inka Trail which we will follow. We can observe local flora, which is used to dye textiles produced in the area.
We walk through Quechua, Suni and Puna ecological levels. When we arrive at the Pillaujasa mountain pass, we can see the Jasutina pass nearby, in the middle of an Andean landscape worthy of a postcard.
We begin the trail which descends to the valley of the Racchchaka river and following the river upstream, we arrive at Hatunpampa, where we will camp and enjoy a beautiful view of the Tuytubamba snow-capped peak.
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner
Maximum Altitude: 4086 masl / 13406 ft
Minimum Altitude: 3060 masl / 10039 ft
Distance Travelled: 17 km / 10.56 ml
Approximate Walking Time: 10 hrs
Day 3: Hatumpampa – Nogalpampa
We take the path which climbs to the Yanacocha mountain pass, finding a forest of native trees (Qeuña y Kiswar) at over 4500 masl. At the pass itself, we will enjoy a view of the Yanacocha lake, and then begin our walk to the Mojon pass, the last high pass on our trek. The landscape of the Puna reminds us of how far we are from civilisation.
We descend through the Mutuypata ravine, where we have lunch, and after a rest we continue to the valley of the Saqsarayoq river which we will cross to reach Nogalpampa, where we set up camp.
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner
Maximum Altitude: 4500 masl / 14764 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2788 masl / 9147 ft
Distance Travelled: 14 km / 8.69 ml
Approximate Walking Time: 8 hrs
Day 4: Nogalpampa – Aguas Calientes
We resume our walk downhill through a spectacular native forest, towards the town of Yanatile. Here we take our transport to the train station at the Hidroelectrica (hydro-electric plant), where we will board the train which will take us to the town of Aguas Calientes. Overnight in a hotel.
Maximum Altitude: 2788 masl / 9147 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2100 masl / 6890 ft
Distance Travelled: 13 km / 8 ml
Approximate Walking Time: 5 hrs
Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cuzco
At sunrise, we take the bus to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, where we will have the chance to climb up to the summit of Huayna Picchu, from where the view is spectacular; Inti Punku (the sun-gate) and the archaeological complex itself. The length of the tour will depend upon which train we take back to the town of Ollantaytambo, where our transport will await us to take us back to Cuzco.
Maximum Altitude: 2437 masl / 7995 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2070 masl / 6791 ft
Distance Travelled: 1.50 km / 0.93 ml
Approximate Walking Time: 3 hrs
|Group Service – Price per Person|
|1||2||3||4 – 10|
|Private Service – Price per Person|
- Private transportation Cuzco – Huancacalle
- Guide service in Spanish / English
- Sleeping Bag per person (-10 ºC), mummy form (our sleeping bags are cleaned after every use)
- Sleeping liner
- Inflatable sleeping pad
- Cook and assistant
- Cooking equipment
- Food (3 breakfast, 3 lunch, 3 dinner)
- Daily tea service
- Dining equipment including chairs and tables
- Cooking, eating and bathroom tents
- Vegetarian menu at no extra cost
- Two person tents (3-people capacity tent – 4 seasons), single tents available for extra cost
- Saddled horse (for every 6 passengers there is one saddled horse)
- First-aid kit
- Emergency oxygen bottle
- Train ticket Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
- Round trip bus ticket to Machu Picchu
- Train ticket Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo
- Private Transportation Ollanta – Cuzco
Services not included
- Hotel in Aguas Calientes
- Extra food
- Optional tip for field staff
- Extra costs
We recommend that you bring
- Water-resistant trekking shoes and sandals
- Warm clothing (thermal underwear, fleece, hat, gloves, socks)
- Waterproof clothing (poncho)
- Synthetic or cotton clothing (socks, trousers, shorts, t-shirts)
- Sunhat and sunglasses
- Sun cream and insect repellent
- Water bottles such as Nalgene
- Basic medications
- Walking sticks
- Swimsuit and towel
- Personal items
- Personal snacks
- Previous acclimatization in Cuzco city, for at least 2 days and general good health. Pachatusantrek offers easy one day and half day routes which can be completed before the main trek
- DNI / Original Passport
- Previous acclimatisation in the city of Cuzco, for at least 2 days, and to be in good health. Pachatusantrek offers easy half day and one day walks which can be undertaken before the main trek
Important Environmental Note
Pachatusantrek is committed to following the principles of ecotourism in our operations, and request the understanding and cooperation of trekkers, especially by not contaminating the waters and in the adequate disposal of non-biodegradable waste. We must also respect the customs and traditions of the local people.