Designed for seasoned trekkers looking to venture off the beaten path, this extraordinary trek through the Vilcabamba range is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Extremely isolated and fairly unknown, this region was once the retreat of the glorious Inca Empire.
Forced to retreat by the Spanish, the Incas sought refuge in these wild and impenetrable lands, building impressive strongholds, fortresses, and sacred sites in the desolate mountains. As you hike along the remote trails of the Vilcabamba cordillera, you’ll pass by incredible sites that could rival the ingenuity and beauty of Machu Picchu itself.
Because of their extreme isolation, very few travelers venture to the sites you’ll see on the way. Become one of the few, and discover treasures of history, testaments to the might of the Inca Empire. During the trek, you’ll be supported by a team of expert guides, cooks, and porters, who will make your journey through the wilderness an unforgettable one.
Early in the morning, you will meet your guide in your Cusco hotel and set off for a drive into the Sacred Valley of the Incas and through a pass at Abra Malaga. From there, the road begins the long descent towards the high jungle of the southern Andes.
Aftr you reach your destination, Huancacalle, you will enjoy a tasty lunch before setting off on foot towards the important archeological site of Rosapata & Vitcos, the place where the infamous Inca emperor Manco Inca II was killed, marking the end of the civilization’s resistance to the Spanish. From here you’ll head to the sacred white rock called Yurac Rumi, an intricately carved stone of significant importance to the Inca.
You will then return to your camp at Huancacalle for dinner and a relaxing evening.
Distance: 4 mi (6.5 km)
Maximum Altitude: 9,977 ft (3,041 m)
Duration: 3 hrs
After a hearty breakfast in the early morning, you will leave camp and head toward the town of New Vilcabamba, which was founded by the Spanish. The trail leads uphill and passes into a new ecological zone until you reach the Collpajasa pass, the highest point of your trekking adventure.
From this point you’ll descend along an ancient path which leads to the banks of the Pampacona River, marking the boundary with the high jungle itself. The trail eventually arrives at the settlement of Ututo where you will enjoy a well deserved meal and camp for the night.
Distance: 13.45 mi (21.6 km)
Maximum Altitude: 12,664 ft (3,860 m)
Duration: 10 hrs
Leaving your campsite after breakfast, you will follow the trail downhill towards the Huayna Pukara sector, which marked the final stand of the Incas against the Spanish.
Your guide will explain how this land witnessed the final moments of the Inca resistance, right up until the eventual Spanish victory. From there, the trail leads through semi-tropical forest until you reach the school of Vista Alegre, where you will have a delicious evening meal and stop for the night.
Distance: 8.85 mi (14.25 km)
Maximum Altitude: 97,11 ft (2,960 m)
Duration: 7 hrs
After a hearty breakfast you’ll continue along the trail, following the final footsteps of the Incas. The trail, an original Inca road, enters increasingly dense rainforest, lush with native flora and fauna species. The route eventually leads you to the campsite at Concebidayoq, where you will stop for dinner and camp for the night.
Distance: 10.20 mi (16.4 km)
Maximum Altitude: 6,617 feet (2,017 m)
Duration: 7 hrs
Today you’ll have some time to relax and rest as the hike will be moderate. After breakfast, you’ll follow a short trail to your next campsite at Espiritu Pampa. You will reach the “Thousand Steps” which leads to the stronghold of Vilcabamba itself.
Accompanied by your guide, you will begin a tour of this fascinating site buried in the jungle and get a chance to explore all its mysterious sectors. After taking a break for lunch, you will continue the tour before returning to the campsite for the night.
Distance: 2.77 mi (4.46 km)
Minimum Altitude: 4,753 ft (1,449 m)
Duration: 2 hrs
After breakfast you will leave the campsite at Vilcabamba and hike towards Azulmayo. Here you will meet your private transport for the scenic journey to Kiteni where you will have dinner and spend the night.
From Espiritu Pampa to Azulmayo (hike)
Distance: 5 mi (8 km)
Minimum Altitude: 1,945 ft (593 m)
Duration: 3 hrs
From Azulmayo to Kiteni (private transport)
Distance: 13 mi (21 km)
Duration: 4 to 5 hrs
For the last day of your trekking adventure, you’ll have a chance to relax with a visit to the beautiful waterfalls at Siete Tinajas, where you’ll enjoy its many small swimming pools. After lunch you will meet your transport for the journey back to Cusco.