Inca Trail to La Paz

UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic centre of the Peruvian capital Lima
The perfect pisco sour?
The floating reed islands of the Uros people on the highest navigable lake in the world - Lake Titicaca
The condors of one of the deepest canyons in the world - Colca Canyon
The white volcanic 'sillar' architecture and Cathedral of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Arequipa
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nazca Lines - gigantic lines, symbols and animal images etched into the ground
UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient Inca capital of Cusco
Warminwanusca - 'Dead Woman’s Pass' on the Inca Trail
The 'Lost City of the Incas' - UNESCO World Heritage-listed Machu Picchu
Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca
The potions of 'Witches’ Market'
Drink like a local in Peru
Eat llama in La Paz
La Paz - the world's highest 'unofficial' capital city
Guinea pig - a Peruvian delicacy
Puno - a town four kilometres above sea-level
  • After you tick a trek to Machu Picchu off your bucket list your adventure continues with a trip across the Bolivian Altiplano to check out Lake Titicaca before you get to jaw-dropping La Paz.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Cusco

    Our trip starts today in Cusco, but with no activities planned you may arrive at any time. There is a pre-departure meeting with your trek leader in the early evening to go over all the arrangements of your Inca Trail trek. Please check the notice board in the foyer of your joining hotel for the exact time of this meeting and any other messages regarding your trip. Please bring your passport and travel insurance documents to the briefing.

    Day 2-5 - Important Note

    We trek the ‘Classic’ and the 'Quarry’ routes, both of which culminate in a visit to the incredible ruins of Machu Picchu. Although we normally trek the 'Classic' route, it is restricted by the number of trekkers permitted on the trail each day and unless you have booked early, it may be difficult or impossible for us to secure the necessary group permits (especially during the peak season). It is also closed during the month of February for cleaning and rejuvenation. If we are unable to confirm your permit for the 'Classic' route we will use the ‘Quarry’ trail. This is an exceptional alternative. Venturing further off the beaten path, this trek winds its way through remote rural villages and provides stunning views across the Andes. Along the way you can mingle with local families, llama herders and weavers, renowned for their brightly-coloured hats and ponchos. The trek is of similar altitude and degree of difficulty as the ‘Classic’ route and also culminates in a visit to the village of Aguas Calientes and the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu, recently voted one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’. The following description refers to the 'Classic' route. Please refer below to the 'Itinerary Variation' section of this Trip Note for details of the ‘Quarry’ route.

    Day 2 - Inca Trail to Yuncachimpa (13km)

    We leave Cusco by bus and travel over the mountain range and down into the Urubamba Valley to the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo. Built on a steep mountainside this grand citadel served as both a temple and fortress and is one of the few sites where the Incas were able to defeat the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Their success was however short-lived with the Spaniards returning with force to claim victory. Here we have time to gaze upon the massive Inca fortifications before continuing to Kilometre 82 - the starting point of our trek. Today is a relatively easy hike past the ancient hilltop fort of Huillca Raccay and the beautiful archaeological site of Llactapata. Along the way there are stunning views of snow-capped Veronica Peak (5860m). Our first camp is just past the village of Wayllabamba at 3000 metres.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 3 - Inca Trail to Pacaymayo (11km)

    Today is the most difficult part of the trek as we climb to Warminwanusca or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ (4200m). This is the first of three Andean high passes we traverse and the highest point on the Inca Trail. Stopping to catch our breath we take in the superb panorama of the Vilcanota and Vilcabama mountain ranges, the ruins of Runkuracay ahead and Rio Pacamayo (Sunrise River) in the valley below. Here the trail changes from dirt to steps and stone pathways. Although not difficult we still need to make a steep descent to the valley below and our camp at Pacamayo (3600m). Located in a basin beneath the cliff tops, the campsite faces down the valley with a view over the cloud forest.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Inca Trail to Winaywayna (15km)

    We climb up to the unusual, round ruins of Runcuracay, which is believed to have been an Inca tambo or post house. Forging on we continue to climb the Inca staircase and sighting the small mountain lake of Cochapata on the way to our second pass at 4000 metres, from where we are rewarded with spectacular views of Pumasillo (6245m) and the entire snow-capped Vilcabamba range From here it is a steep descent to our third pass and the ruins of Sayacmarca, where we enter the beautiful cloud forest full of orchids, ferns, flowers and hanging moss. The scenery will blow you away! Butterflies flutter across the trail and the air is pure and clean as we head to the breathtaking Winaywayna, (2450m).
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (5km) - Cusco

    The final leg of the trek to Machu Picchu is the most spectacular of all. We arrive at sunrise at Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun, where through a rectangular doorway we experience a panoramic view of Machu Picchu. After taking a short path down, it’s time for us to explore! The secrets of the Incas are slowly revealed to us on a guided tour. We then depart by catching a bus down to the hot springs at Aguas Calientes before returning to Cusco on a late-afternoon train.
    Breakfast

    Day 6 - Puno

    After breakfast we transfer to the bus station, where we catch our bus for the magnificent drive over the mountains to Puno. We travel over the Le Raya Pass and make our way across the ‘Altiplano’ to the shores of Lake Titicaca. Puno lies at an altitude of 3860 metres above sea level and the people of this region are descendants of the Aymara, a strong looking people who once ruled the high plateaus. According to legend, Puno was the cradle of Inca civilization. Manco Capac, the first Inca, is said to have risen from the waters of Lake Titicaca and under instructions from the Sun God, founded the Inca Empire. Lake Titicaca at 3815 metres is the world's highest navigable lake and the second largest lake in South America, covering an area of 8400 square kilometres.
    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Puno

    This morning we board a boat and travel across the waters of Lake Titicaca to the floating reed islands inhabited by Uros Indians, who still live as they have done so for centuries. The islanders use totora reeds for many things including building their homes and boats to producing hand-woven mats. We then return to Puno where your afternoon is free to further explore this small town and its surroundings. You could arrange an optional tour out to Sillustani, where located on a small peninsula are well-preserved burial towers called ‘chullpas’ that were constructed by the Colla people in pre-Incan times.
    Breakfast

    Day 8 - La Paz

    A bus ride takes us to the border where we cross from Peru to Bolivia and continue on to La Paz. The highest capital city in the world, La Paz lies nestled in a steep canyon on the ‘Altiplano’, with the towering Mount Illimani forming an impressive backdrop. It is also the country’s largest city and home to over half of its indigenous population. It was founded in 1548 following the discovery of gold and although that boom didn’t last long, the city’s location on the main silver route ensured its continued prosperity. We arrive in La Paz in time to enjoy a chance to wander around the hilly cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways that mark this city. Perhaps a final night out on the town and a chance to farewell new-found friends?
    Breakfast

    Day 9 - La Paz

    Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast. We recommend that you stay on after the tour and explore the sights of La Paz. This Andean city is renowned for its spectacular setting and unique cultural attractions, including the Witches' Market. Additional post-tour accommodation can be booked in La Paz at the same time you book on this tour.
    Breakfast
  • What's Included

    • An experienced Peruvian tour guide, and there will be the services of local guides at some sites. All transportation, accommodation, sightseeing and meals as indicated.

    Not Included

    • International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
  • Map Itinerary

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Nuts+Bolts

#GSIL
- 16
Boat, Bus, On foot, Plane, Taxi
3 nights Full service camping, 5 nights Hostel
Cusco
La Paz

What to know

Some entrance fees not included.

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