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Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu is an off the beaten path trek. It takes you to the last capital of the Inca empire, Vilcabamba. The modern name is Espiritu Pampa. This is another lost city of Incas.
Although the trek is not as popular as Salkantay Trek or Inca Trail, it offers a rewarding experience. Infact, this is the best alternative to the Inca Trail. Only a few travel companies operate this tour, so you will seldom come across any other trekker.
You will have the archaeological sites to yourself. Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu is one of those treks where you can immerse in the beauty of nature on your way to Machu Picchu from Cusco.
Vilcabamba Trail is somewhat challenging. There are plenty of uphill and downhill hikes. We highly recommend you to spend some time in Cusco acclimatising before the trek.
After winning the battle of Ollantaytambo in 1537, the Incas were certain of a following attack. This was mainly because of Ollantaytambo’s close proximity to Cusco. Fearing this, Manco Inca fled to the high jungle to Vitcos – Rosaspata. He eventually moved to Vilcabamba.
In 1539 he called it as the capital of Neo-Inca state. It was the capital from 1539 to 1572. Upon Spanish conquest, the Incas abandoned the city.
When Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911, he thought he discovered Vilcabamba. It was brought to a wider attention by Vincent Lee through his book Forgotten Vilcabamba.
Treks in Cusco is an outdoor company based in Cusco. We are a fully locally owned tour operator. We take pride in working with a team of locals. Also, we offer high altitude eco tourism. Our team comprises of passionate hikers, climbers, trekkers who breathe and live the outdoor adventure life.
Our guides use their extensive trekking and mountaineering skills to safely lead our groups on high altitude treks. All our team members have an ample of training on first aid and use of Oxygen cans in case you have altitude sickness.
It is best to experience the trek during the dry season – March to November.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
We will be picking you up from your hotel in Cusco at 0400 in the morning. Driving through the Sacred Valley of Incas, we will be reaching Ollantaytambo. From here we will continue our journey to Abra Malaga pass at 4170 metres. We will have a brief stop here. You will be able to see the landscape from high above.
From here, we will start driving down the hill to a village called Chaullay and onward to Huancavalle. We will be roughly reaching Huancavalle at 0100 PM. Here we will be stopping for lunch. After lunch, our local guide will be giving you a guided tour of the nearby archaeological sites, Victos (Rosaspata) and Ñustahispana (White Rock).
After the tour, we will be camping near Victos for the night.
After breakfast, at around 0700 in the morning, we will start our hike. This section of the hike is through some distinct flora and fauna which our guide will be explaining. After hiking for about 04 hours, we will be reaching Totora Huayco (1890 m.a.s.l.). From here, we will descend for about an hour to Asuntina Pass where we will be stopping for lunch. After lunch, we will continue hiking down the hill for another three hours to Racachaca. We will be camping here, on the foothills of the snow-capped peak of Lasoma hill.
We will be starting our up hill hike at 0700 in the morning. The hike will be from Racachaca to Pumaccasa pass, where we can see Yanacocha Lagoon. After hiking for 20 minutes from here, we will be reaching Pumaccasa pass. The snow-covered peak of Pumacillo and Soyroccocha lagoon offers wonderful view here.
From here, we will be descending to Soyrococha lagoon for lunch. After lunch, we will be continuing to Mujun Pass. It is the highest pass of Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu, at 3340 metres. From here, you will be able to see snow capped peaks of Veronica and Salkantay mountain range. You will also get a nicer view of Huyana Picchu from here. We will be descending from here for four hours to Mutuypata. We will be spending the night at a campsite in Mutuypata.
At 0700 AM, after breakfast, we will be leaving Mutuypata. We will be descending to Yanatile town. Along the way, you will be seeing some native flora and faunas.
From here, we will be taking a local transport to Santa Teresa town. It is about a forty minutes drive. Once in Santa Teresa, we will be walking for fifteen minutes to La Oroya. Here, we will be taking a bus to Hydroelectric Station. We will stop here for lunch.
After lunch, you will be walking along the railway lines to Aguas Calientes town. It is the same route that Hiram Bingham III took, when he rediscovered Machu Picchu. At Aguas Calientes town, you will be accommodated in a basic ensuite hotel room.
At early in the morning, we will be taking a bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. This will be a 25 minutes uphill drive. Once at the entrance of Machu Picchu, our guide will assist in you in crossing the security control. Here you will have to present your entrance ticket along with original passport.
Once inside the citadel, our guide will give you a detailed tour of Machu Picchu for two hours. You will be visiting some of the prominent sites like the main plaza, remains of royal quarters, farming terraces etc. After the tour, you will have some free time to explore the citadel on your own.
If you have booked to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu mountain, our guide will direct you to the entrance. Alternatively, you can walk to Sun Gate. It is a two hours walk back and forth from Machu Picchu. You will have a pristine view of the Machu Picchu citadel from here.
At a mentioned time, you will be taking the bus back to Aguas Calientes town. Later in the evening, you will be boarding a train to Ollantaytambo. Our representative will meet you at Ollantaytambo train station and will transfer you back to Cusco.
I cannot say enough about the wonderful experience we had with Treks In Cusco. From the very beginning to the end, the employees of Treks In Cusco treated us exceptionally. The Vilcabamba Trek is not a well-known trail, but it should be! The views of the mountains and the trails that you follow during the 5 days are something that I hope others will get to experience. Although the Salkantay trek is what everyone wants to take, CHOOSE THE VILCABAMBA TREK, you will not be disappointed.