The Inca Trail Challenge – my itinerary

If you have ready my blog post entitled “I know what I’m doing” then you don’t need to read ahead on this page, as it’s all been stolen from that very blog post. Why? So that any new reader to my blog (if they chose to) can easily find details of what my challenge will involve. Simples!


Day 1 (Fri 22 May) – Fly to Lima (doesn’t really need any further explanation!)

Day 2 (Sat 23 May) – Fly from Lima to Cusco. I don’t really know much about Cusco other than it is 3400m above sea level and helps prepare you for the high altitudes on the trail, so I’d best do a bit of research before I go! To help us acclimatise to the altitude we will take a gentle guided walk around Cusco to see the sights.

Day 3 (Sun 24 May) – We’ll be stretched a little further today, taking a longer walk up to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman (I have seen this spelt in at least 8 different ways, so not knowing which is the official spelling I’m just going to use this one) (3700m). My knowledge of Peru is very very limited (in fact I didn’t even know the Inca Trail was in Peru until two weeks ago!) so I’ve had a quick search on the Sacsayhuaman ruins and there seem to be quite a few theories out there that these ruins may have in fact been built by aliens – this is going to be an interesting trip!!


Day 4 (Tue 25 May) – the day when the hard work really gets under way! We will be up early to leave Cusco and travel 82km to the start of the trail. Apparently the trail will begin gently allowing us to warm up nicely. Two hours in to the trek we will reach the first archaeological centre of Pallacta. After lunch we will continue ascending to a semi tropical valley, for two hours, until arriving at our camp, Huayllabamba (3000m) where we will spend the night in a tent….. I don’t like camping in tents,,,,. hmmmmm…… didn’t think this one through….. bugger! At the end of the first day on the actual trail we will have trekked for 5-6 hours and covered 12km/7.5 miles, at a maximum altitude of 3000m

Day 5 (Wed 26 May – my 5th wedding anniversary!!) – Today (and every day on the trail) we will be woken up with the hot drink of our choice – tea, coffee, hot chocolate or coca tea (made from the same plant which cocaine comes from and is apparently good for altitude sickness!!), this will be a nice treat – I’m always up first in our house so I very rarely get a cuppa in bed. After a three course breakfast we’ll start hiking early, ascending to Warmiwañusca. Also known as Dead Woman’s Pass (because it looks like a dead woman, not because women die there thankfully!) it is known as the world’s highest cloud forest. After the toughest part of the journey, and an ascent of nearly 5 hours, we will arrive at the highest point (4200m), where if luck is on our side we will see the flight of the condors. We then start to descend as we head towards our second camp at Pacaymayo (3500m). By the end of day two on the trail we will have trekked for 6-7 hours, covering 11km/6.8 miles at a maximum altitude of 4200m – what a lovely way to spend my wedding anniversary, 6000 miles away from the other half!!

Day 6 (Thur 27th May) – This will be the longest, but apparently the most interesting day as we pass through numerous archaeological sites and lish cloud forest. We will have a short tour of Runkuracay, a building thought to have been an astrological site, and continue our ascent towards the Abra de Runkuracay (3970m)

On the far side of the pass the trail changes to a narrow stone roadway containing the exact stones that were in place when the Incas walked the trail. We will then visit a second Inca site Sayacmarca “Town in a Steep Place” (3642m). After lunch we will pass through Incan structures including Phuyupatamarca Cloud-level Town” (3700m) and learn about the ritual functions that took place here, and see the baths the Incas bathed in before they reached Machu Picchu. Soon after we will reach Wiñay Wayna “Forever Young” where we will make camp. At the end of the day we will have covered 16km/10 miles, trekked 7-8 hours and reached a maximum altitude of 3970m.

Day 7 (Fri 28 May) – The last day of the trek will see us rise very early (I’d quite like an idea of how early very early is!) and trek for an hour and a half until we reach a narrow flight of stone steps leading to Intipunko “The Sun Gate” where we will see our first view of Machu Picchu (2400m).


We will then descend in to this ancient site where a guide will provide us with a thorough tour. Later we will take the bus to Aguas Calientes for dinner and to take the train back to Cusco.

Day 8 (Sat 29 May) – We have the day to spend however we choose in Cusco. I have a feeling I’ll be so tired and stiff I won’t want to do much!

Day 9 (Sun 30 May) – Fly back to Lima and spend the afternoon exploring the city before flying back home.

Day 10 (Mon 31 May) – Arrive back home, and have a nice long hot bath


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