Peru is truly a nature lover’s paradise! The mighty Andes run the full length of the Peru, rising to almost 7,000 meters (23,000 feet), separating the arid coastal strip from the lush Amazon rainforest and providing a diverse range of travel experiences. This unique environment provides the perfect environment for enthusiasts of trekking and nature!
This is truly a tour for the trekking, hiking and outdoors enthusiast. After arriving in Cusco and getting acclimatised you head out on one of the most famous trekking routes in the world, the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. With good reason this is the pinnacle of Peru trekking, and even though touristed, is a “must do” trek for the beauty of the scenery and the inspiring Inca ruins along the way. And though popular, it still offers some challenging trekking, with the high point being 4200 m on the Dead Woman’s Pass.
After the high jungle birds and scenery of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, you have a day of rest or free activities in Cusco before heading out for the literal high point of this Peru trekking tour. A very special, innovative Spiritual Ausangate trek, as you hike in the area of the sacred Ausangate peak (6372m/20900ft).
This is truly a sensational Peru trekking and nature itinerary!
PERU EXTENSIONS FOR NATURE LOVERS
Our founders are nature lovers, and passionate trekkers – they’ve trekked a diverse range of off the beaten trails in the Andes, and can share this knowledge when you are planning your trek. From 2 day birding or flower forays to 19 day traverses of the Vilcabamba ranges we can tailor something to your age, fitness and interests.
Peru’s Amazon jungle includes biodiversity hotspots like Manu National Park that has over 1,000 species of birds — about 10 percent of the world’s bird species — and 1,200 species of butterflies!!
Rise at dawn to glide across a lake on a dugout canoe, enjoy the cacophony of monkeys high in the trees or the calls of toucan pairs as they fly home at sunset – the Peruvian Amazon is a nature lover’s paradise and we can offer family tours, birding and other specialist tours.
Peru is truly a nature lover’s paradise!
INSIDER PERSPECTIVE: MANDY KALITISIS, GENERAL MANAGER
The Inca Trail is always beautiful but with quite a few people. It is a great mix of varying ecosystems and archaeological sites and it is a different experience to trek with porters rather than donkeys, one that can be very eye-opening for many people.
Cusco city is often tPlaza de Armas Cusco, Peru Trekkingreated as the jumping off point for Machu Picchu or Peru trekking, but it is so much more than that. A diverse, cosmopolitan city, it incorporates colonial and Inca culture at every turn with some fantastic architecture and stories. As a modern Peruvian city it has been influenced by the tourism industry – and as a result offers world class accommodation and five star dining, plus creature comforts like luxurious spas. This co-exists with an indigenous population that still speaks Quechua, the language of the Incas and lives a traditional lifestyle high in the Andes mountains. These great contrasts come together to make a fascinating place to spend some time.
After settling in your hotel, and lunch with your guide, we will set off on a 3 hour exploration of the City of Cusco.
This walking tour of the city allows you to get yourself oriented and to be introduced to this amazing World Heritage city and its history. From the hotel you will visit the San Blas artist quarter, one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods where you will be treated to spectacular views of the city and have the chance to visit a small local gallery. From here we walk to the Qoricancha or Sun Temple but not before stopping to see the 12-angled stone, an amazing example of the Quechua’s architectural prowess. This walking tour also enables you to feel the effects of altitude a little!
Classic Sacred Valley tour, described below
Or one of our Short Trips listed at this link, and located in the Cusco area.
For those interested in Peru trekking and ensuring that they are acclimatised properly, you might be interested in a Day hike, like a half day Cusco hike or Sacred Valley Cultural Immersion .
Alternatively, the Classic Sacred Valley tour is a fantastic overall look at all the main ruins in the Sacred Valley and a great introduction to Inca history.
With the Classic Sacred Valley tour we head off early, with our first stop at Pisac ruins, followed by a visit to the bustling Pisac market. We will have lunch in Pisac before continuing through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Ollantaytambo where we will have a guided tour of the ruins.
We will stay overnight in Ollantaytambo or Urubamba, which means you have more time for a sleep-in or breakfast in the morning before heading off on the epic Peru trekking highlight: the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Between 5.00 and 5.30am you will be picked up from your hotel and will travel to Piscacucho (2700m/8856ft above sea level)t a community located at the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco –Machu Picchu railroad and the site of the trailhead for the trek, and your Inca Trail trek adventure! You will begin the hike by crossing the bridge over the Urubamba River and walking along the south bank of the Urubamba River. Following the trail along a flat terrain, you will arrive to Miskay (2800m/9184ft above sea level) and then ascend and finally see from the highest part of the look-out, the impressive Inca city of Llactapata (2650m/8692ft above sea level). You will continue through the valley created by the Cusichaca River, and will climb gradually for about five hours until you reach the community of Wayllabamba (3000m/9840ft above sea level), where our first campsite is located. Along the way, you will enjoy 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 while also enjoying the diversity of flora and fauna that can be found along the Inca Trail.
You will wake up at around 6:00am and after breakfast will begin the most difficult part of the Inca Trail trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km. Along this climb, one of the most iconic in Peru trekking, the landscape changes from a more lush valley to the twisted trunks of the native queuna trees and finally puna, a dry and high grassland with little other vegetation.
On the way to the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman´s Pass – 4200m/13776ft above sea level), you may see domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on the ichu, one of the few plants that grow at high altitude. You will also cross an area of cloud forest, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows, and of the Andean bear also known as the Spectacled Bear. Dead Woman’s Pass is also the highest point of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!
We recommend that today, your daypack be well stocked with candies, chocolates and coca leaves that will keep your sugar level high, and help with the altitude. Immediately after the pass, you will descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600m/11808ft above sea level), where you will camp after approximately 7 hours of hiking for this day.
This day is the longest of your Inca Trail trek, but also the most impressive and the most interesting, due to the number of archaeological sites and the lush cloud forest area that you will pass through, rich in Andean flora and fauna. From Pacaymayo you will climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3970m/13022ft above sea level). Halfway up, you will stop to visit the archaeological complex with the same name (Runkurakay). This site, located at 3800m/12464ft over the sea level, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served as a watchtower. After going over the pass, you will descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624m/11887ft above sea level). This is a beautiful complex made up of semicircular constructions, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals.
Continuing along a gentle ascent, you will arrive at the third pass, the Abra Phuyupatamarca (3700m/12136ft above sea level). Along this climb, you can appreciate the magnitude of the Incas´ ancient engineering, by walking along paths seemingly hanging from the side of the mountain, and seeing rocks fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, saving the trail from the erosion due to the precipitous Andean geography. You will go through an Inca tunnel later, arrive at the pass, and then continue on to the complex of the same name, Phuyupatamarca.
This is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. Phuyupatamarca means “town over the clouds” and the ethereal shroud of mist makes it easy to bury yourself in its mystery and in the moment. For this reason we will stop here for a short tour and so that you may take in the energy of the site and take the time to really be present in this experience.
You will continue the trek, descending the long stone stairways that lead you to Winay Wayna (2650m/8692ft above sea level), an impressive Inca complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, religious sector and urban sectors, close to where the camp is located. After visiting the impressive archaeological site, you will enjoy the farewell dinner at our camp, on this, the last night of your Inca Trail trek.
On this fourth and last day of your trek to Machu Picchu, you will wake up at 4.00am to leave Wiñay Wayna, an hour later. From here, we will climb to the Inti Punku, or The Sun Gate. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, you will see the first rays of sun coming over the mountains and shining down over the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu.
From the Inti Punku you will descend the final trail towards Machu Picchu, and 40 minutes later you will enter to the citadel from the highest point through the “House of the Guardians”. You must then exit through the control point at the main gate of the site where you will register and leave your backpacks. You will immediately begin a complete guided tour of Machu Pacchu, taking approximately two hours. You will have free time to walk around, to climb Huayna Picchu and visit the Temple of the Moon, to climb Machu Picchu Mountain (both must be reserved at time of booking), where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machu Picchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it, or visit the fabulous Inca Bridge. In the afternoon, we will meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in its hot springs. From here we take the train back to the city of Cusco, arriving after nightfall.
* The Departure and arrival times are approximate.
** Campsites are subject to change according to the designation of the governmental institution that regulates the use of the Inca Trail.
We do recommend an evening visit to the Planetarium of Cusco where we will learn more about Andean cosmology and view of the universe. The Cusco Planetarium is a private stellar project, that organises a unique experience for you to approach a different perception of the universe. Nature, meanings and facts of the amazing Inca culture, southern skies, workshop of constellations, stargazing and more!
Cusco to Pacchanta
Ausangate trek, Tinki, Tinqui, peru trekking, Ausangate spiritual trekWe leave the city of Cusco and drive along the Cusco – Puerto Maldonado highway in the direction of Tinki (3800m/12464ft). On the way we stop in Urcos, where we may visit a beautiful lake with the same name. We then go on to Cattca, an agricultural and livestock community where we can appreciate the region’s spectacular views and finally pass through Ocongate, capital of the district with the same name and home to many Andean priests or Paqos. After a 4-hour drive, we arrive to Tinki where we will stop to stretch our legs and have lunch.
We will leave Tinki, and start our Ausangate trek by initiating a slight climb that crosses through puna (dry, high area with little vegetation) and walk approximately 4 hours, arriving at Pacchanta (4100m/13448ft) from where we already have beautiful views of the sacred Ausangate peak (6372m/20900ft). We will camp here and enjoy the community’s natural hot springs. We camp and dine directly in front of Ausangate.
Ausangate trek, Tinki, Tinqui, peru trekking, Ausangate spiritual trekAfter breakfast, we continue our Ausangate spiritual trek by ascending for three hours to reach Quecmoco (4550m/ 15015ft). We then continue to our lunch spot, crossing an area of falcons and ¨vizcachas¨, an Andean member of the chinchilla family. This area also boasts three beautiful lakes with tones of reds, greens, and turquoises (Azul Cocha, Uturunco Cocha, and Pucacocha) and spectacular views of the surrounding snow peaks.
After lunch, we will participate in an Andean cleansing and flourishing ceremony near Uturunco Cocha using the energy of these beautiful waters to help us remove our blocks and be able to forgive. Our campsite tonight is also at Uturunco (4440m/14563ft).
Ausangate trek, Tinki, Tinqui, peru trekking, Ausangate spiritual trekToday, we depart early so we have time to make an offering to pachamama (Mother Earth). This important spiritual ceremony will give us the important feeling of living with reciprocity with mother earth, the universe and ourselves.
From here we then descend for another 4 hours through an area of llamas, alpacas and ¨vizcachas¨ to reach Marambaqui (4050m/13284ft). Here we meet the people from this community and are able to witness their way of life and spot llamas, alpacas, and maybe even pumas. We will camp and dine here under the stars, one of our favourite aspects of trekking in the Andes.
Ausangate trek, Tinki, Tinqui, peru trekking, Ausangate spiritual trekWe will climb 4 hours until we reach Mt. Ochuycruz where we may have the chance to spot the Andean Condor. From here we will descend towards the tiny village Mahuayani to have lunch. Unless we are visiting during one of the festival days of Qollor Riti, Mahuayani is a tiny, sleepy village. During a few days a year it swells to be home to thousands of pilgrims.
After lunch we will walk uphill for three hours to get the sanctuary of Qoyllurity where we will set our camp site. This is a wide, developed trail and we will pass the 12 stations of the cross in route. While the Qollurity Sanctuary and church are located under the Sinkara Glacier, this is not a remote campsite, but none the less, still moving and spiritual – and also the highest campsite on this trek.
Early morning, we will leave for the glacier of Qouylluriti, the site of the most important pilgrimage in the Cusco region, to participate in an offering ceremony to Mother Earth and the main mountain protectors from this local area and the Cusco region. This ceremony provides strength, power and protection for us, our family, and friends worldwide . The ceremonies will be made by a Q’eros’ master, who is a highland priest After the ceremony descend back to Mahuayani, which will take approximately 3 hours. Once in Mahuayani , we board a private transport that will take us back to the city of Cusco, with our estimated arrival after nightfall. Today, having completed both the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and the Spiritual Ausangate trek, we can be highly satisfied at having completed two of the best Peru trekking highlights!
Ausangate trek, Tinki, Tinqui, peru trekking, Ausangate spiritual trek* Departure and arrival times are approximate.
** Campsites are subject to change according to our guide’s criteria and the group progress
Difficulty degree of this hike
Travelling with Children to Peru?
Discounts apply for Children 17 and under. Please advise the age of your child when travelling and we will let you know the price. A copy of their passport will be required when booking, as proof of age.
Want to know more about Peru trekking?
At Majestic Peru we are trek enthusiasts and have an encyclopedic knowledge of many routes around Cusco. Email us for more information!