Rio Apurimac & Inca Trail Multi-Sport Itinerary

Day 1

We will meet you at the Cusco airport mid-day and transfer to our hotel near the main plaza. Tonight we will have an orientation dinner and distribute river dry bags and discuss the upcoming week’s activities.


Day 2

We meet at 9:00 am. From Cusco we drive 4 hours through the Andes to the put-in at Huallpachaca bridge 2,000 mts.altitude. It will take us a couple hours to prepare all the equipment, self-bailing rafts, oars, paddles, coolers, helmets, lifejackets, wet suits etc. you will be given a safety orientation and drills in rafting techniques. We will put emphasis in training all the participants, in how to get back into the raft, flipping the raft, swimming a rapid etc. You will be floating for 2 or 3 hours, doing class II and III rapids. Camp will be in a narrow gorge with impressive walls. Here the guides will prepare dinner.


Day 3

After a healthy breakfast we start rafting around 9:00am. Today we will be in the water for about 6 hours, doing mostly class III and IV rapids, through this incredibly beautiful and sheer walled gorge. We will encounter one easy portage today, stopping for lunch and arriving to camp around 4:00p.m., happy hour, dinner and sleep on a sandy beach under the night sky of the southern hemisphere.


Day 4

After a great hot breakfast we gear up to paddle the most challenging whitewater of the expedition. Class V rapids “Toothache,” “C-U First,” and ”Last Laugh” will rock our boats as we cruise downstream through the colossal, smooth, water-sculpted, vertical walls. After taking out in the afternoon, we’ll transfer to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and check into the celebrated Mirador de los Incas, where we‘ll enjoy a fabulous dinner overlooking the Rio Urabamba.


Day 5

After a nice breakfast and hot coffee, it’s time to tour the Sacred Valley away from the tourists, on front suspension mountain bikes. This ride takes us away from the other tourists and allows us to see the less trodden, real Peru, as we bike on dirt roads and footpaths and visit traditional villages. Half way through our journey we stop for a gourmet picnic and some well deserved rest next to a 16th century Spanish church. We then carry on downhill, following ancient Inca footpaths, eventually reaching the salt mines of Pichingoto. These are not actually mines, but a rather amazing conglomerate of over 3000 evaporation troughs carved into the hillside where the salt-laden silt gathers and becomes gradually distilled into rock salt. This ancient site was perfected and developed to a high degree by the Incas. Depending on our time, we can either stop and visit this fascinating complex or continue straight through to the bottom of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This ride is 80% downhill and covers more than 35 miles of stunning countryside – A true Classic! For those with no interest in riding bikes, we can arrange a modified walking tour following the same route. We arrive to our beautiful Sacred Valley hotel in the afternoon leaving plenty of time to relax in the sun.


Day 6

Between 9:00 and 9:30 am, we will leave the hotel in route to Piskacuchu (2700 meters), a community located on the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco -Machu Picchu railroad. Starting at this point, we will cross the bridge and walk along the left shore of the Urubamba River as it flow northwest along the Sacred Valley. Following the trail along a flat terrain, we will arrive in Miskay (2800 meters), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the Inca city of Patallacta (2750 meters). We will continue trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca River, gradually climbing for about five hours until we reach our first campsite in the Wayllabamba village (3000 meters). All along the way we will see spectacular views of the Vilcanota ridge on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive Veronica peak reigns at 5832 meters above sea level. Not to mention the diversity of wild flora and fauna that can be found all along the valley.


Day 7

Wayllabamba – Pacaymayo
We will wake up at around 6:00 am, and after breakfast we will leave Wayllabamba behind to begin the most difficult part of the trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km. along this climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). On the way to the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s Pass), we will see domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at that altitude. We will also cross an area of the so called cloud forest, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows and the Andean bear, which is also called the Spectacled Bear ( Tremarctus Ornatus). We advise that on this day specially, your daypack is well stocked with candies, chocolates and coca leaves that will keep your sugar level high, and help with altitude sickness. Immediately after the pass, we will descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600 meters), where we will camp after approximately 6h of hiking.


Day 8

Pacaymayo -Wiñaywayna
This day is the longest but also the most impressive and the most interesting, due the number of archaeological sites that we will visit and learn about from our guide. From Pacaymayo we will climb to the second pass, the Abra de Runkurakay (3970 meters). Half way up, we will visit the archaeological complex with the same name. This site, located at 3800 meters, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower. After going over the pass, we will descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624 meters). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals. Continuing up an easy climb, we will arrive at the third pass, the Abra de Phuyupatamarca (3700 meters). Along this climb we can appreciate the magnitude of the Incas´ ancient craft, by walking along paths semi-detached from the mountain, and seeing rocks that fill up ravines in perfect order, saving the trail from the multileveled Andean geography. We go through an Inca tunnel to later arrive at the aforementioned pass and down to the complex of the same name. This is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. Curiously, Phuyupatamarca means ¨town over the clouds¨. From above, one can observe a sophisticated sacred complex made up of water fountains with solid foundations, and also impressive views of the Urubamba River valley and the long descending stone steps along which we will continue on to Wiñaywayna (2700 meters). At this campsite we will find a lodge with a restaurant, bar and bathrooms with hot showers. The campsite has the same name as the complex located only five minutes away from the lodge. Wiñaywayna is an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector.


Day 9

Wiñaywayna -Machu Picchu
On this fourth and last day we will awake to leave Wiñaywayna and climb to Intipunku, or The Sun Gate. This will take a couple of hours of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, we will see the greatest and most unique view of the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. From Intipunku we will descend into Machu Picchu and enjoy lunch overlooking one of the seven wonders of the world. After lunch we will enter the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in the thermal baths or enjoy some shopping time in town. Overnight at a hotel in Aguas Calientes in the shadow of Machu Picchu.


Day 10

This morning we will wake early for a full interpretive tour of the Machu Picchu ruins. There will be time afterwards for your own exploration of the site including climbing the Huayna Picchu Mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machu Picchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it, or visit the Temple of the Moon and the fabulous Inca Bridge. This afternoon, the train will depart Machu Picchu and take us back to the Sacred Valley and the Mirador de los Incas, arriving around 6 p.m. Tonight is our final banquet and celebration after an incredible journey through the Incan world.


Day 11

This morning we leave early for the Cusco airport or on to your next destination.


Global Descents reserves the right to change the order of activities or even some of the activities due to changes in weather, transportation or other unforeseen events.