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Leave London Heathrow bound for Lima, where we stay in a hotel overnight.
We take an early morning flight to Cusco and transfer to a downtown hotel. After a trip briefing, the afternoon is free to explore the sights of the ancient city of Cusco, or simply adjust to the altitude watching the world go by in one of the numerous cafes in the Plaza de Armas.
Today we enjoy an acclimatisation walk from Tambo Machay, an ancient ruin high in the Cusco valley back into the town. We will pass some of the amazing Inca sites in the countryside around the city, walking downhill to Sacsayhuaman, the huge and impressive Inca ruin on the outskirts of Cusco. We finish the day back at the hotel.
Walk time approx five hours.
After a second night at altitude we should all be feeling ready for action. We have a three hour drive via Ollantaytambo to the Trail's starting point at Km 82. We set off from here on a fairly easy and undulating path which follows the Urubamba River for much of the way. After lunch a gentle climb takes us to our camp at Wayllabamba. There are a couple of steep drops and climbs into gullies along the way, with great views of Mt Veronica standing at 5000m. The path is dusty but firm and there are no steps.
Walk time approx six hours .
Today we have the big climb from 2700m to Dead Woman's Pass at 4200m. This is a relentless and steep climb on narrow trails, first through grassland and then cloud forest where the path is steeper and can be muddy. Eventually it opens out onto pasture where we will have lunch with snow-capped mountains behind us and a distant view up to the top of the pass, still several hours ahead. The final stretch to the top of the pass is well maintained with steps but the pace is slow because of the altitude. Once we've recovered at the top, we descend 500m on steps to our evening's campsite at Pacamayo below the ruins of Runkurakay.
Walk time approx 8-12 hours.
Now on the Inca Trail proper the path is mostly steps which are steep in places and there are ruins every mile or so along the way. We have our second high pass at 4000m again with steps leading up to the top and down the other side. The descent takes around an hour to Sayacmarca ruin, which is perched above more steps. From here the trail is very pretty, wide and easy going with interesting fragments of cloud forest on route. The third pass is reached easily after passing through an Inca tunnel in the rock and a gentle climb. We continue on to the ruins of Puyupatamarca and then descend steep steps to our camp-site at Winay Wayna.
Walk time approx 8-10 hours.
We start early and after saying good bye to our trusty porters we commence our final days walk towards Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. The route is along a beautiful stretch of trail, scattered with ruins and some steep flights of steps, with a few large drops down the side to Urubamba river. We arrive at Machu Picchu at around 10 am before the crowds arrive from Cusco. Once we have explored the ruins thoroughly we will take a bus down to the train station at Aguas Calientes for the three hour train journey back to Cusco.
Walk time approx three hours.
Free day in Cusco to relax and recover, explore Cusco further or sit and enjoy the atmosphere and its many places to eat and drink.
Morning flight back to Lima, linking up with the evening flight back to London. City tour option.
Arrive in the UK early evening.
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