The Inca is carried from Cusco
to Saccsayhuaman for the
Inti Raymi festival ceremony.
This adventure is a
special, once a year, extension of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu trek. We hike
the Inca Trail the first five days. The Inti Raymi trekking adventure includes the Inca Festival of the Sun celebrated each year during the winter solstice; an authentic celebration to worship Apu Inti Taita, the Sun God. Processions, music and dancers in traditional clothing will offer their praises for the return of the Sun, the source of life.
The Inti Raymi trekking adventure is meticulously planned so you can visit Machu Picchu on June 21, the day of the Winter Solstice — the single most coveted day in the year to be in Machu Picchu — and return to Cusco in time for the annual Inti Raymi Festival on June 24.
Our adventure begins in Cusco, the archaeological capital of the Americas at an altitude of 11,150 feet. In Cusco you will see massive walls, cobblestone streets and remnants of the Inca Empire and the Spanish colonial period. After a tour of Cusco, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, we are ready to start our trek on the ancient Inca trail that leads to the legendary lost city of Machu Picchu, an extraordinary adventure into the history of the grand Inca civilization.
Along the way, we explore the intriguing ruins of Inca fortresses, and enjoy expansive views from the high passes. One night we camp in a high meadow, above tree-line, and the next at airy Phuyupatamarca, "town in the clouds." Descending to the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu, the cloud forest trail becomes increasingly lush and varied. After two days exploring Machu Picchu one of the world's most spectacular ruins we take a train ride back to Cusco.
The second half of this adventure takes us to the Cordillera (mountain range) Vilcanota and the high circuit around its tallest peak, Mount Ausangate, a glacier covered 20,905 foot massif.
Inside the loop we encounter Mounts Jatunuma, Maria Huamantilla, Janajaja and Mount Santa Catalina (19,055'). On the east side of massive Mount Ausangate, we will admire the Cordillera Vilcanota offering views of Mounts Collque Cruz (20,046') Collpa Ananta (20,046') and Tres Picos (19,990'). Snow-capped peaks in this mountain range crowd the horizon with massive glaciers rewarding us with scenery unsurpassed anywhere in the Andes. We will meet the people of the Vilcanota, the most traditional and colorfully dressed of all the Peruvian highlanders, who live the same way their ancestors did in Inca times.
Our adventure concludes with the flight back to Lima and a guided city tour.