Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews
Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews 4 days Inca Trail Summary:
Day 1: Cuzco – Km 82 – Ayapata
- Inca Trail trek briefing with your trekking guide the night before at your hotel at 6.00 PM
- Early morning pick up from your hotel
- Transfer service by tourist transport to Km 82 (2,720 m/8,923 ft.)
- Archaeological sites of Cana Marka and Llactapata with “spectacular views from the natural lookout”
- Lunch at Hatun Chaca village (big bridge) at approximately 1:30 PM
- Camping in Ayapata 3,300 m/10,829 ft.
- Walking distance: 14 km/8.6 miles
- Weather: Changes from hot to warm
- Elevation gained: from 2,720 m to 3,300 m
- Meals: Lunch and dinner
Day 2: Ayapata – Dead Woman’s & Runkuracay Pass – Chaquicocha
- Trekkers from around the world survive the two highest Andes passes: the Warmiwañusca and Runkuracay
- Explore the two Incan sites of Runkuracay and Sayacmarka
- Weather: several different micro-climates
- Lunch at Pacaymayo, located between the 2 passes
- Walking distance: 16 km/9.9 miles
- Use trek routes and campsites to avoid crowds
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Day 3: Chaquicocha – Wiñaywayna Camp
- Today is the easiest day trek into the cloud forest
- Explore 3 Incan sites: Phuyupatamarka, Intipata, and Wiñaywayna
- Elevation: descend from 3,600 m/2,236 ft. to camp (2,600 m/1,615 ft.). Last campsite of the Inca Trail located behind Machu Picchu.
- Walking distance: 10 km/6.2 miles
- Lunch at Wiñaywayna
- Free afternoon to recover energy for next day at Machu Picchu
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Day 4: Machu Picchu – Cusco
- Trek the last trace of the Inca trail towards Inti Punku “Sun Gate”
- Guided tour 2 to 3 hours for exploring Machu Picchu, “the 7th new wonder”
- Walking distance: 5 km/3 miles
- By bus descend to the town of Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included)
- PM train return service from Machu Picchu train station to Ollantaytambo train station
- PM or night transfer service from Ollantaytambo to Cuzco city by car
- Meal: Breakfast
Classic Inca Trail Difficulty
- Distance: 45 km/28 miles
- Duration: 4 days/3 nights
- When to go: The best time to visit is April through October,. It’s the busy season (especially June to August), but it’s also the dry season.
- Altitude: 2,720 m/8,817 ft. to 4,215 m/13,818 ft.
- Difficulty: The trek is rated moderate; any reasonably fit person should be able to cover the route.
- Longest Day: Day 2, approximately 16 km/9.9 miles
- Coldest Night: Day 2 around 0° Celsius/32° Fahrenheit
- Temperatures: From minus 4° C to 28° C/39° Fahrenheit to 82° Fahrenheit
- Note that the Inca Trail is closed in February.
BOOKINGS 2017 Classic Inca Trail 4D/3N
- US$ 730. Adults
- US$ 700. “Students” with a valid ISIC card!
*(p.p.p.) Price is per person, and applies for departures from 1st. Apr. 2017 until 31st. Mar. 2018.
PRIVATE KONDOR SERVICE:
- US$ 950. p.p.p
INCA TRAIL HIKING DEALS! Requirement: Book the Inca Trail together at the same time.
- US$ 685. p.p.p. Group of 6 people
- US$ 665. p.p.p. Group of 7 people
- US$ 650. p.p.p. Group of 8 people
- US$ 640. p.p.p. Group of 9 people
- US$ 620. p.p.p. Group of 10 people
- US$ 600. p.p.p. Group of 11 people
- US$ 580. p.p.p. Group of 12 + people
RESPONSIBLE Inca Trail OPERATOR, we are Specialists, working with NATIVE PEOPLE (Sensitive & Sustainable Machu Picchu company).
- The Classic Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu 4 days/3 nights
- Trek briefing with your guide.
- Professional native guide (On hike)
- Second tour guide for groups of 9+
- Private transport and professional driver (to the starting point of hike – km 82)
- All entrance tickets and permits for Inca Trail and Machu Picchu Park.
- Indigenous Porters to carry (camping equipment: client tents, dining and cooking tents, table, stools, cooking gear, stove, gas container, cutlery, plates, food and fresh vegetables).
- Extra porter to carry 7 kg/15.4 lb. personal items (so you just need to carry your day backpack with everything you will need during the day).
- Bus ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Village
- Machu Picchu guided tour (2 hrs) and extra time for you.
- 1 train ticket from Machu Picchu Pueblo to Ollantaytambo village (Expedition Tourist Train)
- 1 bus ticket from Machu Picchu Park to Machu Picchu Pueblo
- 3 nights camping
- Spacious tents/Sleeping mat.
- We provide a duffle bag for personal items.
- Boiled water provided from 2nd day (for drinking during hike)
- One chef and assistant cook
- Excellent Meals (3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners)
- Food includes pancakes, omelets, soups, fresh fruit, avocado, pasta, chicken, fish, meat, rice, all before rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking (Vegetarian, vegan or special diet meals upon request).
- Tea time before dinner (tea, coffee, biscuits, popcorn)
- Wake up coca tea in your tent.
- Buckets of hot water for washing in your tent every day
- Biodegradable soap and hand cleansing gel
- Kondor Path Tours uses walkies on all treks.
- Oxygen Tank & First aid kit
- All local taxes
- A good day-pack: Eagle Creek Afar Backpack –appropriate pack (to carry your personal belongings).
- Original passport (International Student Identity Card “ISIC” is applicable).
- Travel insurance (strongly recommended but not required).
- Lighter trekking boots (with good ankle support)
- 2 pairs of Trekking pants “not jeans”, 1 hiking and 1 cotton (this is enough). Please spray both pairs with an insect repellent spray the day before the trip.
- Layers for variable temperatures especially at night
- 1 rain jacket: The second night the temperature can be as low as – 5 degrees Celsius/41 degrees Fahrenheit. (The rain jacket can be helpful, because there are rainy days even if we are in dry season!)
- 1 warm winter jacket (Thermals: wool socks/gloves/scarf and woolen hat for cold nights).
- 3 pairs of underwear, 4 pairs of socks (Bamboo or cotton/nylon-blend socks dry faster than 100 percent cotton, which lose their softness when air-dried.) It is nice to have a couple of extra pairs of socks to change into at night when you’re not hiking. Also, we recommend bringing both really heavy hiking socks and lighter socks as well, the weather is variable, so you want to make sure you’re not too cold or overheat.
- 2 t-shirts, 2 long sleeve shirts
- 1 good sleeping bag liner. It is super lightweight, easy to pack, and definitely does its job!
- Travel-size tissues and wet wipes–The air is cold and damp, so your nose is going to run a lot. Everyone seems to run out of tissues by the end of the trek. Also, most bathrooms do not have toilet paper (if you even get to a bathroom), so wet wipes are a key item.
- Iron tablets and pills for altitude sickness. Several people on the hike have varying degrees of altitude sickness and both of these remedies (in addition to the coca tea) are very helpful in alleviating the symptoms.
- Sun protection cream (SPF 45 or higher recommended).
- Bug spray with 30% DEET in it–which you need, but it doesn’t work very well. The issue with Cusco outdoor is that most of the bugs are not mosquitoes. They are these small flies you can’t even see that leave weird bites that first look like you pricked your finger and then blow up into itchy red bumps. Unfortunately, these bugs seem to bite you no matter what kind of spray you put on, so it is also helpful to have some anti-itch ointment.
- Re-usable plastic or metal water container or a hydration pack such as Camelback
- Water (only for first day hike, then we will provide you throughout the hike).
- Camera and film
- A headlamp to navigate camp in the evenings and pre-dawn mornings with spare batteries
- Bandages or moleskin
- Flip flops to change into at night – your toes will thank you!.
- Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste/floss, shampoo/conditioner, brush/comb, Vaseline (for feet great for potential blisters), feminine hygiene products, deodorant, nail clippers/file/tweezers, spare glasses and/or prescription, mini-eyeglass repair kit, contact lenses if used and supplies, hand sanitizer etc.–which you need, but pack light.
- Medication (Imodium AD or something for your stomach. Some people get an upset stomach on the trek, but with 8-10 hours of hiking each day, you need to get over whatever the day throws at you quickly, so bring some meds to help.)
- Plastic bags for dirty and wet clothes
- Something to read in the evenings
- Extra money for drinks, tips for porters, cooks, guides in soles (Peruvian currency) (USD$30-40)
- Emergency money: at least 200-350 extra soles (USD$ 120)
Detailed Description of The INCA TRAIL: 4 DAYS to MACHU PICCHU “The Inka CAPAC ÑAN”
Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews This beautiful hike is located in South America. It is an exceptional hike along the Inca road where we can find some astonishing Inca ruins and temples. Kondor Path Tours invites you to take a walk on the Inca Ancient Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
Kilometer 82 and Pisqakucho
Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews This point is considered the start of the Inca Trail to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Today it has become the official entrance with a check control for all hikers on the great adventure which starts across the Urubamba River. But before we start, we have to record all the relevant documentation for entry to the Inca Trail. Once we’re on our way, we pass over the Urubamba River and find a path that leads us to Miskay and Llactapata, and Pisqakucho which means “five corners”.
Inca Trail Kilometer 88
Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews This is the beginning point of the second hiking option. After registering, we arrive at a bridge that crosses the Vilcanota River (Urubamba River). It is built on foundations of an original Inka bridge. It has a gigantic stone mass at one of the sides and in the middle there is a perron of narrow steps to ascend to the summit.
At the top there is a set of platforms walls and enclosures that once formed an Inca watch tower and Andean observatory, which takes advantage of the view of the extraordinary landscape.
Qori Wayrachina, in Quechuan language (Inka language), means “place where the gold is scented.” It is named because of its high location and vertical cut over the Vilcanota river where the strong winds blow. But whether or not gold was scented here, what is important is that the location is like a watchtower. It was also a place preferred as a shrine or a place to make offerings to Mother Nature (Pachamama), and also to send and to receive signals to and from the high summits. There are visible platforms from the areas of Machu Q’ente and Wayna Q’ente. From this high summit you will also see Pulpituyoc (part of Patallacta Incan site).
In addition to the controlled entrance to the rich valley, in the lower part appears the foundations of the Inka bridge whose walls seem to have forms of Inka stones, which, in fact, is a product of stone erosion.
The archaeological groups of Machu Q’ente and Wayna Q’ente (“young hummingbird” and “old hummingbird,” in Quechua language) are in the neighboring heights. (“Q’ente” in Quechuan language means “hummingbird” or “picaflor” in Spanish.) The Inkas very much appreciated this little bird because of their beautiful plumage which they used in their clothes such as the creation of dresses. Their exclusive feeding from the nectar of flowers, was represented symbolically in varied forms, including ceramics, as well as in the mysterious formation of Nazca Lines (Ica Peru).
When we cross the Inka Bridge, we are already at the Inka trail where we have a bifurcation that presents a mixture of natural and cultural features. To the right the trail takes the sacred road which continues along the Urubamba River until its arrival at Machu Picchu. We travel though a great wealth of typical areas of the high forest in Peru, called “Ceja de Selva” (the brow of the jungle) Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews which we will describe later on. The road goes on, first, in the middle of forests of eucalyptus and later among walls, platforms, and terracing systems (the agricultural platforms). The road is fast, moving away from the murmur of the sacred river. Later on we sight the archaeological complexes of Pulpituyoc and Llactapata.
This Incan site has a contemporary name which alludes to a pulpit of a catholic church. It is the shape of a cornice, an enormous dominant rock which forms a shelf. Above this there are two main enclosures, with other complementary enclosures with doors and trapezoidal windows that surround the central element. This is an excellent archaeological Inka site very near to the Cusichaca River. The site includes interesting examples of columns, perrons (open spaces), and a structure raised by platforms.
Llactapata or Patallacta
The Andean name of the archaeological complex of Llactapata, in Quechua language, means “town located in height.” This Incan site was a central town with more than 112 houses, that belonged to the local administrative nobility. Other residents lived here who were dedicated to developing agriculture. The town also was an entrance control to Machu Picchu because this Inca Trail was the royal road.
The town is organized into three levels or areas. The highest part is an urban area with houses of one or two floors which were evidently defined for many functions. The town has streets and perfectly organized houses, respecting the topography of the land and occupying those areas less suited for agriculture. The second area is comprised of staggered platforms and channels that adapt to the mountain shape, giving security to the superior housing. Finally, the third area consists of a plain area or pampas, suitable for extensive Andean agriculture, supplemented with a crystalline river that runs through the middle with additional water channels.
After crossing the Cusichaca river (happy bridge), the curious hiker notices the presence of a meteorite which was possibly being taken to some project, because part of the same one was used as a hammer in some Inka construction. Continuing on, we arrive at the pass of Willkaraqay which leads us to a gulch or short canyon that has been formed by a river with the same name.
The geography of the Andean valley is interesting because of the immensity of the hills that sometimes frighten the traveler. The beauty of the fields worked on terraces are spectacular with the multiplicity of colors of the countryside, which includes dense forests and unique singing creeks. The road always follows along the river so our hike is accompanied by the murmur of it. This road easily leads us to the Wayllabamba settlement.
The road that leads to the summit branches off, leaving the Willkaraqay pass towards Mirador that is the highest point, very similar to an Abra (pass). From there you can appreciate the whole valley and the Cusichaca River, as well as a short canyon that is the product of the patient work of river. This canyon is very narrow so is not passable.
This is the last unique small town of the ancient Inka trail.
Scattered houses comprise this town. We also have the opportunity to obtain food, drinks, or other equipment. Wayllabamba or “place of the Walla Walla,” takes its name from a bird that exists in the area. This place is an important point, because here the road divides into two trails, one which branches and leads us to the snowy Salkantay Mountain. This route is restricted some times of the year, but it is frequented by travelers with a desire for more intense adventure.
This place is an area predominately dedicated to agriculture. There are many platforms that harmoniously blend with the topography of the land. Further on there are other dispersed platforms located on hillsides of the mountains. The area is also the point of convergence of the creeks of Llullucha and Wayruro with the Salkantay River. Together they form the Cusichaca River. Continuing on a sequence of curved and parallel platforms we arrive at Paucar Cancha, a group of houses and rustic structures surrounding a courtyard. This place was responsible for controlling the roads that lead to the Salkantay and Machupicchu mountains.
When we leave Wayllabamba our road ascends on a sheer path, white and zigzagging.
From the path we see cultivation terraces and some houses still covered with straw. Little by little we go on conquering the formidable hills, as we appreciate the depth of the valley and the beauty of the Andean countryside. This path leads us toward the heights called Tres Piedras and further on to the Llullucha pampa.
A forest of Unca trees (Myrciantes orophyla) with curious contortions gives the road an atmosphere of dimness and solitude. At certain times, the fruits of these trees attract the Andean bear (“bear with glasses” because of its facial feature) which is a protected species in risk of extinction. As we move on we are accompanied by a creek of crystalline and singing waters, and a rich environment of vegetation including areas of forest with permanent fog.
After ascending for two or three hours, we arrive at the Llullucha pampa. Llullucha also is an edible plant with nutritious fruit, that grows in humid zones or near the creeks.
Because of the abundance of this plant, the area took the name of Llullucha pampa (3,750 meters of altitude / 12,303 ft.). This place also gives us the opportunity to acquire some snacks and to use the restrooms (Baño). If we camp around here, we will experience a fascinating sky full of stars.
The road toward the Abra of Warmiwañusca begins here. The silence of the trek is only broken by the sound of the wind or rain in the Andean hills, as we continue along the well placed solid Inka road of thick stone flagstone. It is advisable because of the elevation of these high mountains that we hike only short distances before taking a rest. It is also recommended to chew coca leaves (chacchar) Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews which should be done without swallowing the leaves. Coca is a plant considered sacred by the people of the Andes and the Inkas. It possesses nutritious qualities and has the ability to revive a tired walker. The Coca leaves combined with lemon candies form an effective and healthy energy mixture for the traveler above the Warmiwañusca Pass that is waiting for us.
The Warmiwañusca Pass
This is the highest point in the whole route. The Abra (pass) altitude is 4,212 meters/13,825 feet, so because of this elevation, the heart beats quickly. Although this is the most arduous part of the itinerary, it is an enjoyable experience.
Actually the name of this site isn’t strange, because Warmiwañusca in the Inca language means “where the women die or the dead woman pass.” The ancient Inkas had good reasons to give it this name.
This Abra presents a landscape dominated by the strong grass and vegetation of the high steppe or Puna. It is the territory of deer and the Andean bears. Nature is at its best as the sky plays with the clouds and the colors emanate such brightness that it is impossible to not experience considerable pleasure. Also from here we can appreciate the Salkantay glacier and other snowy peaks in the distance.
On Warmiwañusca Pass we can also appreciate Apachetas, heaps of stones, where the Andean people tossed a liquid mixture that they revered as much as the coca. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews The purpose of this offering from their mouths was to dispel the fatigue of the road. Other people leave their shoes as an offering. So for us it is important to acknowledge this Apachetas when arriving and before oing to the next camp of Pacaymayo.
From the Abra the road descends at a comfortable pace to the bottom of the gulch (3,650 meters/11,975 feet) and the Pacaymayo River (“hidden river” in Quechuan) Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews to a camp with the same name. There are designated spaces to install camps and adequate hygienic services. In this Andean forest we have Queuña, Pisonay and Kiswar trees, among other native trees which are at risk of extinction because of the continuous fires that affect large areas.
The Runkuracay Abra
The enclosures of Runkuracay are in the middle of the ascent route toward the Abra of the same name. The Incan site is located in an area almost always covered by the fog. The architecture is a harmonious interplay with the nature, a kind of organic architecture that was well known by the Inkas. The conformation of this architecture corresponds to an elliptic form of an egg, what inspired the name that was assigned to the Abra by the workers of the Hiram Bingham expedition in 1915 Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
A unique and main square gives entrance to a corridor that leads toward a central court. Around this there are two rustic squares which reconnect with two big and two small areas in semicircular form. A third part is a balcony looking toward the valley.
Continuing on the route there is a lagoon of Yanacocha or the “black lagoon” that could have been a reservoir of the Incas to assist with the agriculture of Runkuracay. Here is an appropriate place to take a short rest before following a short trek to the Runkuracay Pass (3,945 meters/12,942 feet) a lower elevation than Warmiwañusca. The road continues with less slope and the landscape changes to thick forest that is characteristic of these beautiful and remote places. Our following viewpoint will be the Incan site of Sayacmarka.
After conquering the last Abra, the landscape is wide open with a strong decline. Sayacmarka is a small Incan town which in the Quechua language means “place to stop and to contemplate.” From here the Salkantay chain can be seen. This snowy peak is one of the most important guardians of the Andes (Apus of the Incas). The spectacular glaciers of the Vilcabamba mountain range can also be seen as well as other snowy peaks such as Humantay and Palcay . In some parts of our hike the remains of Inca platforms will appear.
The architecture of Sayacmarka, shows buildings constructed in different formations, including many rectangular buildings, courts, streets, ceremonial areas and platforms, which all form a kind of functional labyrinth. The most important building has an elliptic way. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews All their appearances are rustic, with masonry held together with a mortar of mud and the characteristic earthquake proof engineering of Inka architecture. During many years Andean areas have considerable fog, so this situation was compensated for when the Inka people located their houses in high places so that they enjoy more hours of sun than in the lower parts. It is also an example of the impressive choice of Inka architects to build in places so rare and spectacular.
Continuing our hike, we find a building and several platforms denominated by the Concha Marka Incan site. This strategic locations has housing with typical Inka characteristics: a court of distribution and enclosures with stone walls and straw roofs preserved until today. Here we can also appreciate the solid construction of the Inca roadway as this tract is the best conserved in the whole route. It clearly shows the originality and Inka design, that took care to harmonize with nature (Pachamama). Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews The Inka workers conquered abysses that hide among the tangle of the vegetation, and with the effort of thousands of hours of work, they constructed superb stairways and courts in the rock. Everything was made to give comfort to the walker, so there was no fear of the abysses and cliffs or fear of security. Accidents that have happened in the Inka trails have been few and insignificant because of the safe construction. Those that have happened were for reasons of leaving the boundaries of the assigned areas.
At this point in the itinerary we can appreciate a changed landscape characteristic of a humid tropical area with an intense green color, multicolored flowers, and the trilling and singing of birds. From afar the mountains contemplate us as jealous guardians. Further on we find one of the Inka works that demanded a more sophisticated knowledge of the handling of materials. It is a twelve meter tunnel constructed directly in granite rock. In the interior are sculpted elegant tiers and tianas (seats). Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews This tunnel took thousands of hours of work to conquer a great abyss to make easier walking. It is not easily seen because it gets lost among the dense vegetation.
From here the roadway is impressive and rather flat. The path is carved directly in the rock with platforms whose foundations get lost in the bottom of ravines. The roadway has an average width of two meters. In this area there are the hygienic services of Chaqui Cocha (means “dry lagoon”) It is also an appropriate area to camp (depending on the itinerary).
We continue at a fast pace until we can see the deep valley that forms the Vilcanota river. Our following destination is Phuyupatamarka, a complex of impressive Incan architecture.
Phuyupatamarka was discovered by Dr. Paul Fejos. The name means “town among clouds,” which is an appropriate name because much of the time it is wrapped in a dense fog. It has the silhouette of a truncated pyramid. The platforms have the double purpose of incorporating the architecture with the hill and creating agricultural areas. In the high part there is a group of enclosures with multiple functions, Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews as well as six ceremonial sites which are examples of the permanent reverence that the old Peruvians had for the giver of life. This site also contains a series of stairways, channels, terraces, passages, a system of channeled water, and a sacred rock, all related to a population dedicated to agriculture and the acclimatization of species.
From this Incan site until Wiñaywayna is a distance of 3,150 tiers that are developed over five kilometers with tracts of tiers. The descent is interesting, because in this tract there are numerous changes from one area to another in only a few hours.
Before Wiñaywayna Camp where the electrical tower is, you can choose which trail to take: directly to camp or the Intipata route. Both roads lead to the camp.
The platforms of Intipata, whose name means “heights of the sun,” are formed by sequential convex platforms. These platforms, in a pyramidal way, have the characteristic of being oriented toward the dawn, with the purpose of capturing the first sunbeams. Studies in archaeological botany have demonstrated that these platforms contain earth brought from distant places and the spores found correspond to strange species. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews This demonstrates that at this place the Inka were engaged in acclimatization processes or adaptation of new species in a different ecological area. In addition to the platforms, there are some enclosures with fine masonry that correspond to the housing of the farmers. These constructions are in the top and bottom parts of the terraces.
In the central part, as well as at the ends, there are perrons and channels for water, located very near the enclosures and platforms. Besides these areas we assume that there are other archaeological remains patiently waiting, because we can see only the tiers of them which get lost in the thickness of the Intipata forest.
(An option to explore the Incan site if you have more energy during the afternoon.)
The road crosses in the middle of the mountain and is covered with straw and small bushes. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews Further on we come to the humid and tropical forest with its leafy trees, and the singing creeks which flow among the trees. Also we can see stone and wooden stairways and bridges suspended almost over the air. Then suddenly the Incan site of Wiñaywayna appears suspended between the mountains.
Wiñaywayna means “always young.” This archaeological site was discovered by the Peruvian scientist, Dr. Julio C. Tello, who named the site because of the abundant existence of a beautiful orchid with this name. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews After some minutes of walking between platforms covered with moss and flowers we arrive at Wiñaywayna.
Stairways and an enormous rock which is inclined towards the sacred river and was used for Inca ceremonies, marks the entrance to the site, the most beautiful of any archaeological complex that I have seen. It is located in the crossroad of the Inka road and the sacred road.
Entering from the side, one can observe that the site has two defined areas, an urban one and another agricultural one. Both areas are perfectly appropriate to the topography in the middle of the green Andes Mountain. The platforms take the concave form of the land and present interesting forms, while the urban popular area occupies the lower part, which is the first one that we will visit.
This area has the form of the hill where it was built. An interesting semicircular tower is the main feature which articulates the space of the other constructions of square and rectangular plans, which present one and two floors at different levels, many with patios. Streets also organize the small city. In the habitations one can observe a peaceful coexistence among man and nature (Pachamama), Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews because the layout is strategically planned to coordinate with the location. This tells us much about the old Peruvian man’s wisdom and about the degree of their capacity to understand the harmonious nature of architecture. Their architectural expression, appropriate to this topography of nature, is really worthy of being imitated today.
The popular area and the aristocratic one are united by a long perron and a dozen ceremonial areas linking the two neighborhoods. The source of water, which the Incas considered an element giver of life (Mama Cocha) had a double function both for domestic and sacred use. This spiritual mixture of reverence and everyday use of water is common in many parts of the Inca construction. area.
The Inka Andean architecture was elitist and took care in reserving the privileged places for the local noblemen or administrators of the roads in Wiñaywayna. The entrance to the aristocratic area can be clearly seen with its beautiful turret and the main door with its double jamb and elegant proportions. This type of doors characterizes the areas of social or ceremonial important places. To the side there is a main terrace forming a street that defined the areas.
The interior of the turret is semicircular with trapezoid windows which offer an impressive view of the whole valley. In the back part of the turret there are spaces for domestic use.
The last part of the 4 day Inca Trail 4 days is on a wide and well paved path that leads us to Inti Punku or Sun door, a natural watchtower from where you can sight the Inka city in its entire splendor. At Inti Punku it is imperative that we take time to stop because it is possible that many years could pass before you return here. From here we can see the imposing Machu Picchu citadel and its backdrop, the mountain of Waynapicchu with its form of a hidden puma, a guard for the Inca city. Everything is surrounded or hugged by the sacred river and its wide bend which is a jealous guardian of Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
From here, we can also see the mountain of Yanantin with its two summits or peaks. This curious duality was represented in the stone named the sacred rock.
We can also see the hill called Putucusi, which means “cheerful skull” in Quechua. Really, a lot of imagination is not required to see in the hill the form of a head with the empty cavities of the eyes and the jaw dropped down, giving the impression of laughing. There the city waits patiently for us: Machu Picchu, imposing and mysterious, a city with imposing architecture, made of our mother stone (Pachamama) Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
From here we are only one kilometer from the city. Along the low path directly leading to the city, we pass by some tianas or ritual stations.
The Town of Aguas Calientes
This town is known for its flourishing thermal, mineral and curative waters. Several puddles and pools full of these waters provide us the opportunity to take a hot soak and repair tired muscles. In this place one can enjoy the comforts of a tourist town which is atypical in nature. We walk everywhere, enjoying this unique town with its many restaurants and hotels, as well as night entertainment for your enjoyment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How difficult is the hike to Machu Picchu?
The 4-day hike is 45 km/27 miles so the distances traveled each day are not terribly long. Although it is generally accepted that anyone who is accustomed to hiking and camping (i.e. walking for several hours and sleeping in tents), Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews the altitude can make hiking these distances feel about twice as difficult as hiking the same distance at sea level, but steady at a turtle pace is the best.
What are the guides like?
Our Kondor Path teams are native guides are among the best and most experienced guides anywhere. They are from the surrounding Cuzco area mountains and speak fluent English, Spanish, and also Quechua (Inka language). Most have 3-10 years of experience leading Inca trail hikes to Machu Picchu, and all have training in the spirituality, culture, history, and ecology of the area Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
What is the food like on the Inca Trail 4 days?
A cook accompanies every group on the Inca trail and alternative trails in Cuzco. Almost invariably, hikers comment on the delicious Andean menu. The food includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and also a hot cup of Coca leaf tea every morning, and afternoon teas. Meals are a mix of local specialties and international favorites. Vegetarian meals are also available upon request. Other special dietary requests can usually be accommodated as well with sufficient notice; we promote organic and healthy food.
How is drinking water supplied?
Although occasionally there are places to purchase bottled water along the trail, please only bring water for the first day of hike. We will supply you with boiled water for the remainder of the trek. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews We recommend that hikers bring their own refillable bottles to limit plastic waste on the trek. Water is boiled and then filtered with one of our portable filters; it is available in the morning to fill your bottles and at every meal.
Which base-camp will we use?
Campsites are subject to change depending upon the crowds and the season. We generally try to camp in less trafficked areas so hikers can enjoy the natural beauty of the Inca trail road and minimize environmental impacts on Pachamama (mother nature). Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews Our most popular campsite choices are Wayllabamba, Pacaymayo and Wiñaywayna or Phuyupatamarka. But if the booking is done very early, we may be lucky enough to reserve one of the best ones: Ayapata, Chaquicocha and Wiñaywayna.
What equipment is supplied by Kondor Path Tours?
We supply the sleeping tents, dining tents, cooking tent, tables, chairs, toilet tents, cooking equipment, water purifiers, sleeping pads, and other camping equipment. Our outfitter purchases the highest quality equipment in Peru and older equipment is evaluated and replaced on a regular basis Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
What do I need to carry?
We recommend that each hiker carry the items that they will need each day while hiking such as water, snacks, camera and film. Porters will carry all of your other supplies including camping equipment, clothes, sleeping bags, etc. We generally ask travelers to bring only the belongings that they will need for the trail and leave any unneeded luggage in your Cuzco hotels. We ask all travelers to limit their personal belongings to 7 km/15 lbs. for the hike Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
What does Kondor Path Tours do to minimize environmental impact?
We use biodegradable soap and we transport all garbage back to Cuzco providing organic red/green plastic bags to carry hiker and worker garbage. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We highly recommend that travelers bring one or two large Nalgene bottles to use on the hike to limit plastic water bottle waste Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
What if I have a medical emergency while hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
Guides carry a first aid kit for basic medical problems (hiker’s diarrhea, cuts/scrapes, etc.) Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews They receive Red Cross First Aid and emergency training every year. Our guides lead over 500 hikers along the Inca trail and other alternative trails each year, and we have rarely had a trekker unable to complete the hike. In these rare instances when someone has not felt well enough to finish the hike, he/she has been escorted back to Cuzco or Machu Picchu Pueblo and generally felt well enough to re-join the group in Machu Picchu, via train in a few days later.
Note: the hiker (client) must pay the escort porter and the client has to book the train service to Machu Picchu Pueblo, and pay for the one night hotel stay. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews If if a second guide is required, expenses are the same for this guide.
Cusco has the nearest modern medical facilities so travelers with a serious medical emergency would need to be evacuated there. Guides and porters have pre-established evacuation strategies in place should this need occur.
How concerned should I be about the altitude on the hike?
Altitude affects each person differently and until you have visited an area with high altitude, it is impossible to predict how your body will react. Hiking tours include at least 3 days at high altitude with mild activities before travelers begin the hike. This time allows your body to begin acclimatizing and provides the hiker with a good indication of how they will feel on the Inca trail. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews We recommend that you drink plenty of water and the ancestral Coca tea, and chew coca leaves. Doing this will help immensely with the effects of the altitude.
Meet our Kondor Path Tour Team
Kondor Path Tours works with experienced professionals from Cuzco. We are able to provide individually tailored programs, personalized trips, and special interest trips Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
Our staff pays attention to every detail and is always prepared to offer the best advice and recommendations. Our employees are flexible and always willing to help! Our team is highly trained to create unique experiences according to your needs and desires.
What is a porter?
Thousands of tourists hike the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu sanctuary each year and this would not be possible without the help of our valuable Andean Porters who carry all of our equipment, personal belongings, food, and hiking gear. A porter is the most important person on the Inca Trail and perhaps the most misunderstood both by tourists as well as Inca Trail tour operators. The porters are the most important because they are the ones making your tour as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
How can I be sure that the porters are well-cared for?
Kondor Path Tours insures proper staffing with weight limits for individual porters and fair wages for each. Most of our porters come from remote Andean settlements such as the famous Yanacallos” (they are from the south of Cuzco and their nickname is black tongue “Yanacallos”). We have a long and successful relationship with their community.
Who are the porters?
Porters are indigenous people who have lived in Cusco, at 4,000 m/13,123 ft. altitude all of their lives, relying on the land of the Andes. Due to economic problems, Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews it is important for these native indigenous people to continue working in the mountains they know so well rather than give up their jobs in the country to move to the city. They prefer to stay in their local villages and support the education of their children by working as porters on tours Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews Packages.
What has the government of Peru done for the porters?
The Peru government has created the Laws of the Porter:
- Inca Trail Porters Protection Law No. 27607
- Decreed Laws Numbers 19990 and 25897 Article 3 Conditions of work (December 6, 2001):
- Transport up to the point of departure to the end of the trip.
- Limit of load up of 20 kilograms / 44 pounds.
- Warm equipment and accommodation.
- Special belts to protect their backs from injuries.
- Appropriate rest and sleep during the trip.
- Provision of sufficient food and appropriate clothing (Warm jacket, rain ponchos, walking boots and backpacks).
- Fair and decent payment on time on Day 4 at 10 am.
- Life/Accident Insurance, the Social Security of Health.
- Social Assistance to our Porters’ families not only at Christmas.
- Article 6: Single, fair and decent payment to our crew.
- Article 7: Minimum age of a porter is 18 years.
- The travel agencies are required to follow these government rules.
- Just 500 people including porters start the trek per day.
- Travelers have to book for the Inca trails in advance at least 3 months before departure.
- Porters were banned from carrying more than 50 kg/110 pounds and it was further reduced to 20 kg/44 pounds, which is still very difficult to carry because the hike lasts for hours Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
- Porters did not have to carry any kerosene but instead all travel agencies had to provide a tank of gas, kitchen tent, dining tent, tables and chairs.
- Designated campsites were specified in several different places, so groups had to camp in those places and could not camp any more in the Inca ruins.
- All trash that was generated by the groups has to be taken out from the national park and segregate out to different plastic bags of black, red, and green.
- Groups have to be organized with tour guides with a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 16 members and two guides.
Watch and see how our porters work!
- Our Company, Kondor Path Tours treats its porters well.
- Our porters and cooks work with us on a regular basis.
- Our porters have life insurance.
- The families of the porters directly obtain the benefits of working with us.
- There is a house in Cusco where all the porters can rest before and after the journey.
Hiring a porter on Inca Trail 4 Days
Hiring a porter will make your trip more enjoyable, and give you time to enjoy the scenery instead of looking for your boots! People, Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews who need to work, are also being given a job that they really love.
Interacting with your porters
Talk to your porters and learn about their traditions and families. Share coca leaves with them; even encourage them to sing some of their local songs. Most porters suffer from low self-esteem and shyness, so the first step is not to expect them to talk to you first Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
The maximum weight a porter can carry on the Inca Trail is limited to 25 kg/55 pounds, which includes his personal 5 kg/11 pounds. Each porter is weighed at the beginning of the route and then again at Wayllabamba camp on the second day of the hike. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews This regulation was introduced in 2002 and has been strictly applied. Companies infringing on this law receive penalties and risk losing their licenses. However, as with most regulations, many companies go to great efforts not to meet them.
Meals & sleeping conditions of the porters
Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews The biggest difference between a responsible and an irresponsible society is how agencies care for their porters along the hike. Many porters are given very little to eat on the way. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews They have to wait and see how much the tourists have eaten so they can divide the leftovers among themselves accordingly. This leaves a lot of porters hungry and tired. In general, porters sleep together in the group diner and cooking tents.
Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews The Quechuan people (Inka descendants) have a history of being oppressed by the Spaniards and then by the land owners. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews Only because of the relatively recent reforms have the Quechuan people started to own their own land. Due to their long history of being dominated by others, many of them have low self-esteem. It’s important that you try to get involved with the porters in your group along the Inca Trail. Take some coca leaves to share with them and try to learn a couple of basic words in Quechua. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews (Our Andes Guide will be pleased to help you.) Many of the porters have amazing stories to tell about the traditions and life in their villages Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.
How much should I tip?
Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews Tips for the native guide and the indigenous cook depend on the quality of the service you received, and is entirely your decision. Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews However, even when you think the food was horrible and the guide did not speak or explain well (which we hope was not the case) Andean porters were probably the ones who worked the hardest carrying the camp equipment and shelter tents; so please don’t forget to tip them (third day of hike). The amount depends on you, Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews but it is recommended that each porter in your group take home an extra 50 to 80 soles. Try to bring a lot of small change so you can tip the porters directly. This is much better than giving the cook or the guide the money to be split up later among the porters because many times the money is distributed unfairly Machu Picchu Travel Agency Reviews.