The Vilcabamba Trail
- Trekking & Hiking
our UK team
All trekkers need to organise their own flights to Cuzco Airport (CUZ). From the airport we will arrange an airport transfer for you. That evening you will meet your local Kandoo representative and have a full pre-trek briefing.
The city of Cuzco sits at an altitude of 3400m and is a great place to acclimatise before you start your Vilcabamba trek. You’ll have plenty of time to explore this charming city and soak up the local atmosphere.
We leave Cuzco at 4 am this morning to transfer to our trek start point, passing through the scenic Sacred Valley. We stop for a break in the village of Ollantaytambo, before ascending up a steep winding road to reach the pass at Abra Malaga (4315m). We descend down to Chaullay (1890m) before heading towards Huancacalle where we will have our lunch. From here we can trek to the archaeological sites of Vitcos-Rosaspata and the Ñustahispana (or White Rock). After hiking for a further hour and a half, we will reach our campsite at Pillaopata.
After an early breakfast we begin our trek up to the Asutina Pass (3915m) after which we descend quickly along well-preserved Inca Roads to Pillaukasa (3860m). From here we have wonderful views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks of Lasoma as we leave the high jungle and arrive in the Andes. We spend the night at Racachaca.
Today is a demanding trekking day with many changes in altitude as we traverse three high Andean passes. We start by climbing up to Hatun Pampa (3860m). From here we continue ascending to reach the first pass of the day, Yanococha (4420 metres). We then begin a steep descent down to Yanacocha Lake, only to start climbing back up to the second pass, Tullu Tacanca (4500m) and then onto the well-known third, and final, pass, Abra Mojon (4510m). After descending from Abra Mojon we will camp at Lajo campsite.
After breakfast, we start our descent, entering once again into the high jungle. Our route today will take us through deep canyons and coffee, fruit and granadilla plantations, before arriving at the village of Yanatile. From here, we will transfer by vehicle to the Hydro-Electric station, where we will have lunch, after which we begin the final section of our route following the railway tracks all the way to Aguas Calientes where you stay in a hotel for the night.
An early start to take the bus to the Citadel of Machu Picchu where you will have a guided tour for around 2½ to 3 hours. There is also the option of climbing Huayna Picchu, the iconic mountain behind Machu Picchu, but you will need to book s permit in advance. After the tour of the ruins we will take the bus down to Agua Calientes where you will catch the train to Ollantaytambo to be met by our driver who will take you back to your hotel in Cuzco.
After a much needed night’s rest, we will bid you goodbye. We will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Cuzco Airport for your departing flight.
The Vilcabamba Trail is considered a difficult trek. It’s the longest and most strenuous trek to Machu Picchu. However, the beautiful wilderness you trek through certainly makes the extra effort worthwhile!
well-fed on your trek is absolutely vital, especially when conditions are such
that you might not want to eat or drink as much as you should. Because
so many trekkers experience a loss of appetite at altitude, our head chef has
developed special menu plans that are appealing, healthy, and filled with all
the energy you need to make it to Machu Picchu. By default, our meals include
fresh fruit and vegetables every day, as well as fresh meat and fish.
is usually fairly hearty. Of
course, you’ll also have hot drinks, generally a choice of tea, coffee or hot
chocolate. Let your guide know if you are still hungry, or even if you think
you could ‘pack in a few more bites’. Our cooks always try to provide more
food than necessary to ensure everyone gets a good meal.
is packed for you, to carry in your rucksack.
Tea is served at the end of the days walking, once you get to camp. In
addition to tea and other hot drinks, there are plenty of snacks to help
restore some of the energy you’ve just burned off.
are quite filling. They usually begin with a nice hearty soup, and then a
main course with fresh vegetables, and plenty of rice, pasta or potatoes,
followed by a yummy dessert.
the trek, we filter and boil all the water that we give to you for drinking.
You may wish to bring purification tablets as an extra precaution but they
are not essential. Every morning we will fill up your water bottles or
hydration bladder with at least 2 litres of water.
tea is thought to help relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness. In Cuzco,
all the hotels have dried leaves and hot water available throughout the day
so you can make your own tea whenever you wish.
On the trek we will take coca leaf tea bags for you.
We use only the very best high altitude
mountain tents, Eureka K-2 XT, to ensure you stay warm, dry and comfortable on
trek. Please bear in mind, these are proper mountain tents, designed to cope
with extreme conditions so don’t expect to be able to stand up and walk around
A toilet tent is provided with toilet
Kandoo Adventures operates a strict
limit of 7kg for your main equipment bag.
limit includes your sleeping bag, even if it is rented from us. This is more
than sufficient for your needs on the trek. Your bag will be weighed before you
leave the hotel to start the trek and if it is overweight you will have to take
items out and leave them at the hotel.
The Peruvian Sol can be purchased in
advance, although US Dollars are also widely accepted in larger establishments.
If you want to change money when you arrive we can take you to an ATM or
foreign exchange bureau. When changing money, request small denominations
(10’s, 20’s and 50’s) as the larger notes can be hard to spend. If you withdraw
money from an ATM, you are likely to receive 100 sol notes.
If you are relying on a credit or debit
card for emergency funds, make sure you tell your card issuer that you will be
using it abroad, or you may find that it won't work when you really need it.
We realize that tipping may not be a
common practice in all countries but for Peru it is a standard practice that
all operators support. The decision on how much to tip should be determined by
how well the team served you while you were on the trek. Tips are always
discretionary and if you are not happy with the service you have received you
do not have to pay tips. Tips can be made in US dollars or Peruvian Sols. It is
very important that US bills be new (post 2006), crisp and untorn.
We say goodbye to our crew at the Hidroelectrica station, before we continue to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. Any
tips that you wish to give to the cook and arrieros will need to be carried on the trek with
you’ve decided to rent gear, then below is a list of equipment available.
Just let our team know what you’d like to hire at your Pre-Trek
payments are made locally in US
Dollars (cash only):
must be packed in your main equipment bag.
should not be attached to the outside, as we are not responsible if items
fall off when the bags are being carried on the trek. The sleeping bags weigh
approximately 2kg each
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