Peru – Rainbow Mountains Inca Trail & Machu Picchu
Peru – Rainbow Mountains Inca Trail & Machu Picchu
This beautiful multi day trek is tucked away in the well hidden section of the Vilcanota mountain range where we trek to spectacular Rainbow Mountains with the highest point on the trek being 5,050m. From the Rainbow Mountains we then continue on to trek the Inca Trail which leads us to the iconic Machu Picchu. A truly unique trip!
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A good level of fitness, building on prior experience to enhance your ability and keep those challenges going on a journey of progression. Enjoys using clothing and equipment that generally work well but forever prepared to learn and share experiences with others. 6-7hrs of walking each day.
Departure is usually London Heathrow, this may vary and the specific location will be provided upon booking.
All international and connecting return flights are not included in the EDGE Travel Worldwide trip price per person. If you would like EDGE Travel Worldwide to book your flights, please note there will be a £100 administration fee applied.
DAY 1 Arrive in Lima.
After picking up your luggage and clearing customs you will meet your driver and guide as you walk towards the exit of the international terminal. This will still be inside the building but just beyond the fence/barrier as you walk towards the exit doors. He will be waiting for you on foot with an EDGE Travel Worldwide sign in his hand. He will walk you to the large sprinter van that will take you directly to your hotel in Miraflores (approx. 45 min drive). Settle into your room and rest up after your travels and have dinner at one of the many, delicious restaurants in Miraflores. You have an exciting trip ahead, filled with ancient ruins, local markets and hiking through the beautiful Andean Mountains!
DAY 2 Lima to Cusco
Rest, Relax, Explore Cusco. Wake up early to have breakfast and take private transport back to the airport (approx. 1 hour depending on traffic) to catch your flight to the Inca capital of Cusco where Quechua and Spanish speaking descendants of the Incas hustle back and forth in the busy plazas and markets. Colonial churches sit atop bases of eerily accurate and smooth Inca stonework laid centuries before the arrival of the Conquistadors.
The afternoon is yours to explore Cusco’s narrow streets and bustling markets. Travelers can explore the churches and surrounding ruins, wander through Cusco’s busy center, shop in local markets, see local artisan workshops in the old San Blas neighbourhood, or just people watch in the Plaza de Armas. There are many half day tours that can be arranged on request if desired. The night is yours to explore and discover the many places to enjoy a wide range of food and entertainment. At 7pm your guide will come to your hotel to provide a briefing about the trek and give each guest a dry bag, in which to put your overnight clothes, toiletries, sleeping bag, mattress pad, up to 8kg per person. (Breakfast)
DAY 3 Cusco
Today is yours to explore Cusco’s narrow streets, little shops and cafes. Travelers can visit churches, museums, wander through Cusco’s busy center, shop the local markets, see local artisan workshops in the old San Blas neighbourhood, enjoy a massage, or just people watch in the Plaza de Armas. This day is essential to help also acclimatise for the trek (Breakfast)
DAY 4 Cusco – Tinqui Village – Upis
Early transfer from your hotel in Cusco with 6:00 am departure. We drive for 4 hours on a new highway to Tinqui, passing Urcos Pass (4,000 m/13,123 ft) along the way. Tinqui is a village on the high plains “altiplano” east from Cusco and is where we will start our trek. We follow a wide, gently ascending path toward the northwest face of the impressive Ausangate mountain. We will have a small lunch around noon by the side of the trail. We will continue walking through fields and by scattered stone farm houses, and later in the day we will begin to see llamas and alpacas. We ascend gently to the Upis pass (4,435 m/14,107 ft) and camp at Upis Hot Springs (4,250 m/13,779 ft) where we will be surrounded by snow-capped mountains (Ausangate and Maria Huamantilla). Happy hour (tea and snacks) at 4:00pm and dinner at 6:00pm. There are thermal springs at Upis where we can enjoy a soak at the end of the day (10 soles entrance fee). (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
DAY 5 Upis – Arapa Pass – Pucaccocha
After an early breakfast we begin our second day of the hike. You will hike very close to the Ausangate Glacier Peak and will have incredible views of this mountain as well as beautiful lakes and waterfalls. We may see some llamas, alpacas and wild vicuñas (the undomesticated ancestor of the alpaca) and perhaps a rare condor soaring above. We will have a 3-hour uphill hike to reach the first pass (4800m/15,748ft) where you will have magnificent views of the surrounding area. After taking a few amazing pictures we continue hiking gradually downhill for another 1½ hours to our beautiful lunch spot. After lunch we hike for another 2½ hours to arrive at our campsite at Puca Ccocha (Red Lake). This spot is one of the most beautiful campsites located at the skirt of the Ausangate peak and at the bank of the lake. (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
DAY 6 Pucaccocha – Puca Pass – Anantapata – Warmisaya – Yanacocha Lake
Wake up early with a hot cup of coca tea to start one of the most beautiful days of the trek, enjoying majestic views of some of the highest peaks in the Andes and depths of the beautiful valleys. This morning we will summit the Puca Pass. After an early breakfast we begin our 2-hour steep climb to the Puca Pass at (5050m/16,568ft). Along the way we have gorgeous views of turquoise lakes and the Ausangate glacier. Once you reach the summit of this mountain, you will be located right in front of the Ausangate Mountain and you can enjoy the views of Chillca Valley, with alpaca grazing along these hills. Also, from this pass you will see the beginning of the Rainbow Mountain range with their strikingly striated colours. After taking some great pictures we continue gradually downhill for another 2 hours until we reach our lunch spot located at Anantapata 4400m/14,435ft with amazing views of green hills and snow-capped peaks. After lunch and a little rest and relaxation, we will hike gradually uphill for 1½ hours until we reach the Warmisaya (aka Pitumarca) pass 5050m/16,568ft. After enjoying the views at the top, we descend for 20 minutes to Yanacocha lake where we set up camp for the night. After dropping our bags, we take our gradual 1-hour sunset hike to the Rainbow Mountain Pass and watch as the sun sets over the stunning Rainbow Valley. Once we have finished enjoying the view, we hike 45 minutes back down to camp at Yanacocha to have happy hour (tea and snacks) followed by a hearty dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
DAY 7 Yanacocha Lake – Rainbow Mountains – Rainbow Valley – Hanchipata – Cusco
After a very early breakfast (5am) we hike 1 hour up to the Rainbow Mountain Pass (Vinicunca Mountains or Montañas de Colores), the highest pass of the trek, again to see the beautiful Rainbow Valley at sunrise (5050m/16,568ft)! Enjoy the view for an hour without the crowds as we are one of the first groups to arrive. Your guide will walk you to the best spots to get the perfect postcard pictures of these incredible mountains and the other surrounding peaks. Your guide will explain what makes these mountains so unique: they are composed of various minerals, which make different colours of stone striations. This is definitely one of the most stunning places in South America and one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Peru. There are Rainbow Mountains in only a few other locations in the world. After enjoying the sunrise view we hike for 4.5 hours further into the Rainbow Valley than any other trekking company. You will be able to walk along the beautiful Rainbow Mountains and hike behind these peaks to experience the Red Mountain Valley with all it’s incredible colours. You will see a small waterfall and some sections of this trail are rocky, narrow and uneven. Enjoy the views as we walk to the small community Hanchipata (3800m/12,467ft) where we will have lunch and end our trek. After lunch our private transport will drive us back to Cusco – about a 3.5 hour drive that provides nice views of the Andes, passing some traditional villages along the way. Once in Cusco we will go to our hotel to freshen up and relax before our celebratory group dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
DAY 8 Cusco
Rest of the day in Cusco before we start the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu (Breakfast)
DAY 9 Wayllabamba
Kilometer 82 to Wayllabamba Very early in the morning private transport will pick you up at your hotel for the 3-hour drive to the beginning of the Inca Trail (known as km 82). On the way we stop for breakfast in Ollantaytambo, which is a small town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here you can buy different things for your trek if needed, such as coca leaves, sunscreen, plastic rain ponchos, etc. When we get to KM 82 we show our permits and original passports (make sure you have the same passport number as the one when you made your reservation) at the Control Checkpoint. Then we walk 3 1/2 hours to lunch and another 2 1/2 hours to reach our first campsite Wayllabamba (3,000 m/9,843 ft). On the way we have the opportunity to see the third highest snow-capped mountain in the Cusco region, named Wacaywillca or Veronica (5,800 m/19,028 ft). Walking distance approximately 10km/6.2 miles (6-hour hike).(Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner))
DAY 10 Wayllabamba to Pacaymayu
Hiking Wayllabamba to Pacaymayu We have an early wake up call to continue hiking the Sacred Trail. Today we climb Dead Woman`s Pass, the highest pass of the trek, at 4,200 meters. It will take approximately 5 hours to reach the top of the pass. The views from the Dead Woman’s Pass are spectacular and you can see glaciers, valleys, and never-ending mountains. After the pass we continue downhill for 2 hours to our second campsite called Pacaymayu (at 3,600 m/11,810 ft). At the campsite we will have lunch and you will have the rest of the afternoon free until happy hour and dinner. Walking distance approximately 14 km/8.6 miles (7-hour hike). (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner))
DAY 11 Pacaymayu to Wiñaywayna
Hiking Pacaymayu to Wiñaywayna Early wakeup call again to climb two passes today (Runkurakay and Phuyupatamarca). We will walk up a semi-steep path for 1 1/2 hours to reach the first pass Runkurakay at 3,950 m/12,959 ft. On the way we will visit the archaeological site called Runkurakay. After the first pass we will continue downhill for 1 1/2 hours to our lunch spot Chakicocha (3,500 m/11,482 ft) visiting another archaeological site, Sayacmarca, along the way. After lunch we walk 1 1/2 hours up to Phuyupatamarca Pass (3,650 m/11,975 ft.) This trail is particularly beautiful and from the pass we will see Machu Picchu Mountain, the Vilcabamba mountain range, and the Urubamba river. After the second pass we will continue downhill for 2 more hours to our third campsite Wiñaywayna (2,700 m/8,858 ft). Walking distance approximately 16 km/9.9 miles (7-hour hike). (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner))
DAY 12 Cusco
After waking up at 3am we begin our early morning hike that takes us across a steep mountainside through lush, humid cloud-forest of giant ferns and broad-leaf vegetation. At the top we cross the stone threshold of Intipunku (Sun Gate) and encounter an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry –a backdrop of twisting gorge and forested peaks framing the magical city of Machu Picchu. We complete the final leg down the royal flagstone walkway, past outlying shrines and buildings and into the heart of Machu Picchu, where we spend the rest of the morning with a guided tour of the city’s highlights and some time for individual exploring among Machu Picchu’s multitude of hidden nooks and crannies. If you wish you can book one of the extra hikes within Machu Picchu (Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain). These hikes are permitted, incur a fee, and spots are limited. These hikes must be booked well in advance, at the same time the permit is secured. In the afternoon, a shuttle bus takes us to the small town below Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, where we board our return train to Cusco. (Breakfast)
DAY 13 Flight to Lima and Return Home
Private transport will pick you up from the hotel or a pre-determined location to take you to the Cusco airport for your departing flight home: (Breakfast)
You will need extra money to cover the cost of drinks, souvenirs, meals (where applicable) airport taxes, etc. It is advisable to change money on arrival at international airports whilst waiting for your luggage, as opportunities for changing money are subsequently few. Credit cards are generally not accepted.
The altitude of the Inca Trail makes the trip most suitable for the more serious walker with previous experience of hill walking. Extreme cases of Acute Mountain Sickness are rare, but if it becomes necessary for someone to abandon the trek in the interests of safety, the Tour Leaders decision on this is final.
Bearing the above in mind, we ask for a synopsis of recent walking experience from people intending to go on the trip.
You should visit your GP and specifically mention the maximum altitude the trek reaches, i.e. 5,050m.
Please note all illness, injuries and medication need to be disclosed to EDGE Travel Worldwide at time of booking – please seek advice from your Doctor to your suitability of participating on this trip.
These will vary throughout the year, but early bookings will avoid a possible change in fee. (These are built into the trip cost.)
In this area, tipping is a recognised part of life. Although EDGE Travel Worldwide pays most gratuities for the trip, porters and guides on the trips still look to members of the group for reward. Accordingly, you should allow $100 for tipping. (Please carry low denominations of US Dollar currency.)
Local food and drink: Meals other than those included in the itinerary are paid for separately by the traveller.
These maybe available, please contact us for further details.
Clothing and equipment required for the trekking part of the trip
Personal first aid kit including any medication needed
Day sack: 35 to 50ltrs
Warm and water proof gloves
Warm and water proof hat
Warm jacket for the evening
Sun protection for skin/head/hands
Water proof sacks for the inside of your day sack
4 season sleeping bag.
X2 1ltr water containers
X1 3ltr bladder with drinking tube