International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

Machu Picchu

Peru  •  Inca Culture Adventure Trek

Machu Picchu Trek with International Mountain Guides

Machu Picchu Trek with International Mountain Guides

Join us for a fun filled adventure starting in Cuzco, Peru. We'll acclimate, explore local ruins and tour the "Sacred Valley of the Incas." Afterwards, we'll trek for several days to Machu Picchu, a nearly indescribable sight of early Incan architecture and ingenuity. We hope you can join us trekking to this awesome cultural and adventure experience!

Trip Highlights

  • A full day at Machu Picchu to explore and sightsee (most adventure companies only spend part of one day here). On the classic Inca Trail trek, there is an option for revisiting Machu Picchu the next morning and hiking up Huayna Picchu Peak for a spectacular viewpoint
  • Local guides and experts will supplement our own IMG lead guide to lend insight into the area's culture and history
  • Porters will transport a large part of your gear during the trekking portion of our trip, to make the hike more enjoyable. A cook staff accompanies the trek.
  • 3 star hotels (or better) with great accommodations
  • Private vehicle with driver for all transfers
  • Most meals throughout the trip, both on the trek and in town
  • Trekking at high altitude must be taken seriously. IMG carries a portable hyperbaric (Gamow type) bag, pulse oximeter and supplemental oxygen on every trip, along with a First Aid trained and altitude experienced IMG lead guide

Machu Picchu and Inca Culture

Machu Picchu, once the citadel of the Inca culture in Peru, sits atop a mountain in a jungle of green landscape in the steep rugged mountains of southern Peru. A mystery for over 400 years, it was left undiscovered during the Spanish Conquest, although the Spaniards searched in vain for the gold that was believed to have been there. The idea of a "lost city" of the Incas faded in credibility over time, as it sat disguised in the jungle overgrowth. Then, after years of searching, Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham found it in 1911. The rediscovery of the ancient city made worldwide news, as the citadel was slowly unearthed from its hiding place.

Inca Trail Trek

Today, the Inca trail is an extraordinary journey leading into a mysterious city built by remarkable craftsmen. The hidden secrets of this lost city are yours to explore with us, as we venture to the ruins on a spectacular four-day trek. We'll have ample opportunity to explore and photograph the breath-taking architecture; enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way; and learn about the Incan culture that fostered the growth of this extraordinary creation—the "Eighth Wonder of the World."

Our program begins in the 12th century colonial town of Cuzco, once the Incan capital and home of Manco Capac, one of the early rulers. Today, Cuzco retains a history which is a mix of tradition and legend. We'll spend a day here, acclimating to an altitude of 10,900 feet, with time to stroll the downtown area, sight see and shop for local artifacts. The following day we will depart for the "Sacred Valley." We'll visit the local ruins of Sacsayhuaman, travel to the famous Pisak market, a good place to purchase local crafts and goods, and on to Ollantaytambo, a spectacular site perched high above the town below. We'll overnight in a hotel here, close to our departure point for the Machu Picchu trek. Many people find the local cultural tours to be nearly as impressive as Machu Picchu itself.

Throughout our small expedition our staff will include at least one local resident and guide who is an expert of the local history and legends that surround the sights we will explore. This cultural expert will accompany the group throughout the trek and visit of Machu Picchu.

During the trek portion of our program, we will use local porters to transport our gear and supplies. This permits us to enjoy the walk each day, as we move along unencumbered, free to take photos and investigate our surroundings. Meals will be served by our cook staff in a dining tent set up for your comfort during breakfast and dinner.

Salkantay Trek

At 6271 meters (20,574'), Nevado de Salkantay is the tallest and most majestic mountain in the Cordillera Vilcabamba range and the backdrop for an alternate trek to Machu Picchu. This journey travels off the beaten track, far from the crowds found on the Inca Trail. It offers a true view of the Peruvian mountains with spectacular vistas and provides the feeling of adventure and remoteness the Inca Trail has lost. Salkantay means "Savage Mountain" in the Quechua language.

The trek takes us up over a high mountain pass gaining a maximum elevation of 4600 meters (15,180 feet), past the massive snow clad peaks of Tucarhuay, Salkantay and Huamantay. The trek then descends from the region of high peaks down river drainages and multiple ecological zones, ending in lush forested terrain, the "cloud forest" with wild orchids, banana plantations and exotic birds. The total trek distance is approximately 20 miles yet experiences the breadth and depth of the Peruvian mountainous region. This trek is slightly more arduous than the Inca Trail, but requires no load carrying other than a day pack. On the Salkantay we pack personal and group gear on horses led by wranglers in addition to the normal trek leaders, kitchen and camp staff. This route is less traveled than the Inca Trail and there is no limit on the number of permits for the trek. You do not need to apply by the first of the year in order to guarantee participation on the program.

Early Signup for Inca Trail

Beginning in the summer of 2001, a limit was placed on the number of trekkers allowed to walk the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. It is imperative that we submit actual requests for trekking permits for each person as close to the first of the year as possible in order to guarantee permits for each member of the group. This means you will need to submit your application and deposit prior to the first of the year in order to confirm a place on the trek. For the Salkantay trek, signups can occur up to 90 days in advance of the trek departure.

Trek Highlights

Our program begins in the 12th century colonial town of Cuzco, once the Incan capital and home of Manco Capac, one of the early rulers. Today, Cuzco retains a history which is a mix of tradition and legend. We'll spend a day here, acclimating to an altitude of 10,900 feet, with time to stroll the downtown area, sight see and shop for local artifacts. The following day we will depart for the "Sacred Valley." We'll visit the local ruins of Sacsayhuaman, travel to the famous Pisak market, a good place to purchase local crafts and goods, and on to Ollantaytambo, a spectacular site perched high above the town below. We'll overnight in a hotel here, close to our departure point for the Machu Picchu trek. Many people find the local cultural tours to be nearly as impressive as Machu Picchu itself.

Throughout our small expedition our staff will include at least one local resident and guide who is an expert of the local history and legends that surround the sights we will explore. This cultural expert will accompany the group throughout the trek and visit of Machu Picchu.

During the trek portion of our program, we will use local porters to transport our gear and supplies. This permits us to enjoy the walk each day, as we move along unencumbered, free to take photos and investigate our surroundings. Meals will be served by our cook staff in a dining tent set up for your comfort during breakfast and dinner.

The Machu Picchu Experience

Machu Picchu itself is nearly beyond words — a place so immense and so precisely built by the Incans, it is hard to imagine reproducing it nowadays. There are quiet courts and walkways, fountains, and other constructions created by the Inca people for both practical and astrological applications. Archeologists have explained many of these things, and others have yet to be deciphered — or discovered.

Our Machu Picchu adventure explores the area thoroughly, with plenty of time devoted to the area. You'll be armed with an excellent archeological overview of the ruins... and afterwards, there is time to go about on your own to further investigate and contemplate the meaning of the area at a relaxed and enjoyable pace.

For those hearty trekkers, the easy but steep ascent of Huayna Picchu is a satisfying optional challenge, which offers a great "reverse view" of the Machu Picchu ruins. Please note: we may not always make this option available to the group, depending on the trail and cable conditions that lead to the precarious summit. There have been fatalities and injuries recorded in the past on this short excursion. Sure footedness and a healthy respect for the exposure are required to make the ascent.

We invite you to join us, and a take a journey back in time — to view the incredible sights and views that Machu Picchu and Cuzco can offer. It's an experience that will provide memories for a lifetime!

Brand Spanking New

2013 Machu Picchu and Salkantay Treks
Story and photos by Peter Anderson

Trip Report on the 2012 Salkantay Trek
Story and photos by Kelly Ryan

Trip Report on the 2012 Machu Picchu Trek
Story and photos by Peter Anderson

Trip Report on the 2011 Salkantay Trek
Story and photos by Kelly Ryan

Dates and Prices

Classic Machu Picchu Trek ("Inca Trail")
July 21-30, 2014
Landcost: $2,750
Group maximum: 12 trekkers

Permits are limited on the Inca Trail and are issued to all agencies first come first served by name and passport number only. Reservations are accepted starting at the first of the year so be sure to sign up in advance of the New Year to confirm your place on the program.

Salkantay Trek
July 12-21, 2014
Landcost: $2,700
Group maximum: 12 trekkers

No permits are issued for the lesser traveled Salkantay route, so first of the year signups are not mandatory.

Highlights of All Treks

Trip highlights for all Machu Picchu programs include stays in first-rate hotels with all the amenities before and after the trek. All connections by private coach included. All meals included excepting select dinners in town as noted on the itinerary. The trek is fully staffed with an IMG lead guide, local lead guide and cultural expert, assistant guides, cook staff and porters. Horses are used for transporting personal and group gear on the Salkantay trek only.

More Need to Know
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I want to compliment IMG for a great effort on our Machu Picchu excursion... The places we stayed, the quality of the guides, and the overall organization was top notch... I don't think my wife and kids could have had a better overall experience and clearly one that they will cherish for a long time. I purposely booked with IMG because of my experience with your team on Mt. Rainier, and you did not let us down. I am already thinking about a few other trips... and I cannot imagine using any other guide service than IMG.
~John M.
Overall the experience for me and my children could not have been better; we experienced the right proportion of exercise, history, culture and food in a magical corner of the world. The planning of our itinerary and execution of these plans was flawless. From the time we arrived until the moment we left, our travel was facilitated and an effort made to meet any of our requests... Thanks for all your efforts; you made this trip something that my children and I will remember always.
~Rob M.
I had a wonderful time on the trek! The places we stayed and ate in were top notch. The guides were great... Off the top of my head I can't think of anything that could/should be changed. Thanks again for providing a wonderful experience in Peru!
~Jason G.
The thing I like best about George's longer expeditions is how everyone comes together and becomes a tight knit team. It's like having a family away from home. George takes smaller groups, and I think that makes a big difference.
~Bruce G.
 
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