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Cusco and Alternative Inca Trail

11 days

Cusco and Alternative Inca Trail

We begin in Cusco, once the ancient capital of the Inca civilization and inhabited today by the descendants of the Incas and those of Spanish origin. The city’s narrow streets are bordered by Inca and Spanish architecture and the plazas are dominated by imposing colonial-era churches. The hills around Cusco are rich in archaeological treasures, and the Sacred Valley offers ancient remains and living culture. From the city, we venture into the remote Andes. This trek takes us around the sacred peak of Mount Salkantay along little-used trails, before joining other travelers from all over the world at Machu Picchu.

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Day 1: Transfer to the hotel in Lima

Day 2: Transfer to airport in Lima and to hotel in Cusco

Cusco lies in exceptionally beautiful Andean countryside at 3400 meters above sea level. Its legacy as the hub of the Inca Empire is readily apparent: Most of the streets are lined with Inca-built stone walls and crowded with Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas.


The city of Cusco and Sacsaywaman (half day)

We begin our tour with a visit to the cathedral. From the cathedral we move on to Qoricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun, where we will be able to see some of the finest remaining examples of Inca stonemasonry. Leaving the city, in the surrounding hills we will visit Sacsaywaman. We will explore this ancient Inca sanctuary with its immense monolithic walls and then visit the amphitheater at Qenqo, the fortress of Puka Pukara and the ritual Inca baths at Tambomachay.

Day 3: Sacred Valley of the Incas (full day) Pisaq market

The colorful markets of the valley are open during the mornings and sell crafts, jewelry and textiles, as well as the produce which local people trade. Pisaq market is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and Chinchero is open on Sundays.



Ollantaytambo is the only surviving example of Inca urban planning. Our tour will include a visit to the agricultural areas around the village, the irrigation system, granaries and the fortress- temple.

Day 4: The saltpans of Maras and the ruins of Moray (full day)

The saltpans at Maras consist of 3000 small pools. A number of salt water springs emerge from the hillside and are channeled along canals using the natural gradient. The water evaporates leaving behind the salt which slowly solidifies.



The Incas built a series of agricultural terraces in the form of a circular amphitheatre 150 meters in diameter as a centre for agricultural experiments and recent research has shown that the different levels of terraces represent different microclimates in the region and that temperatures between the terraces vary greatly.

Salkantay / Chillca / Machu Picchu by train (5 days / 4 nights)

Day 5: Cusco / Mollepata / Soraypampa

We journey west through the Anta Valley. Descending into the dry Apurimac Valley we visit the Inca temple of Tarawasi. Further along the road we climb to the village of Mollepata, where our mule drivers will be waiting to load the horses or mules. We then walk to a nearby valley where we will camp at Soraypampa (3250 m / 10,660ft).

Day 6: Cruz Qasa

We climb a summit above the Rio Blanco. It is common to see condors along this section of the trail. We continue our steep ascent of the enormous glacier, arriving at the pass at 4825 m (15,826ft) below the south face of Salkantay (6247 m / 20,600ft) the highest peak of the Vilcabamba mountain range. Our path continues down to Cruz Qasa, where we will camp at 4490 m / 14,727 ft.

Day 7: Inca Raqay

A short hike takes us to Cruz Qasa pass at 4715 m / 15,465 ft. with exceptional views of Mount Ocobamba (5126 m / 16,813ft). We camp at Inca Raqay (4600 m / 15,088 ft).

Day 8: Chillca

Crossing the final pass just 200 m / 656 ft above our camp the trail descends to the narrow Chillca gorge and the most fertile area of the region -the Urubamba Valley- where we will camp at 2800 m / 9,184 ft.

Day 9: Machu Picchu

Today we leave the camp early to walk to the train station for the ride to Machu Picchu. This so-called “Lost City of the Incas”, remains intact because it was never discovered by the invading Spanish. Constructed on a high, forested mountain overlooking the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu was lost in time and dense foliage until 1911. Our guide will carefully explain the history of this unique place and guide us around its terraces, temples, palaces and watercourses.

Day 10: Free day in Machu Picchu

This is an opportunity to explore the ruins independently, before returning to Cusco by train in the afternoon.

Day 11: Transfer to airport.


  • All necessary land transport.
  • All tours and transfers with English-speaking tour guide. Entrance fees for all tours and excursions, parks and museums.
  • Accommodation at selected hotel with private bathroom (double room basis).
  • Single supplement includes: single room where available. Meals according to itinerary.
  • Second day bus services to Machupicchu. Second day entrance fee to Machupicchu. Domestic flights unless you book directly.

Other Services Included in Trekking Services:

  • Private bus outbound and return.
  • Trekking services, including: camp cook, porters and camp assistant(s).
  • All group camping equipment, double tents and Thermarest, kitchen and/or dining tent, and toilet tent. All our trash produced during the trek, returns to Cusco. First-aid kit.

Not Included:

  • Tips to guides.
  • Airport taxes approximately $6 USD for each domestic flight and $28 USD for the international flight.
  • Drinks.
  • Tips to the staff.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Personal expenses: clothing and sleeping bag, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
  • Meals not included in the program.

Things to bring on the trip

  • Passport, (bring additional photocopies of your passport).
  • A big and small backpack. Sleeping bag
  • Warm coat for Andean region. Rain jacket.
  • Long sleeved shirts (cotton). Shorts for walking.
  • Cap and sunglasses. Bathing suit and sandals. Sun block insect repellent.
  • Digital camera or 35mm film camera
  • Knife, Flashlight. Boots.
  • A bottle of mineral water for the first day only. Bags for garbage.

To be in good health and shape to be part of this adventure (Try to train by walking each day for at least two weeks before departure).

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+51 984 948 057
Andean Adventures Peru
Urb. Lucrepata E-13, Cusco, Peru
Telephone: (+51 84) 229911 / (+51 84) 263498