Vilcabamba Trek

Duration: 6 Days/5 Nights

Difficulty: Difficult

Start/End Point: Cusco

Price: From $860 USD


The last city if the Incas Vilcabamba   Lake LAZUNA     Inca Trail      Snowcapped (Vilcabamba) mountain range     Machu Picchu  Cloudy forest

  • Duration: 6D-5N (4 nights camping +1 night at a 3-star hotel)
  • Totally off the beaten path hike from Vilcabamba to Machu Picchu. We guarantee you won’t see any other trekkers outside your group. For that reason, we think this trek is even better than the crowded Salkantay Trek or the Inca trail)
  • Encounter nature at its most spectacular as you pass Inca ruins and the crystal blue lake LAZUNA (better than the Humantay lake), snowcapped mountains, and the famous cloudy forest
  • Taste the flavor and experience the culture and history of Vilcabamba & Machu Picchu in one trek!


2 Trekkers (Private): $1280 USD per person
3+ Trekkers: $860 USD per person

Only your $200 non-refundable deposit is due to reserve your space!  Final payments are due 30 days before your trek.


✓ Transportation from end to end in Cusco (van + Vistadome train)

✓ English speaking guide

✓ All meals as listed (6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners) + (can accommodate dietary restrictions with proper notice)

✓ One Duffle bag per clients for items to be carried by porters (up to 22lbs/10kilos per person).

✓ Clean water for drinking provided at every meal stop +  daily Snack.

✓ 1 Night 3* hotel in Aguas Calientes & 4 nights camping in the wilderness.

✓ All entrance fees and permits (permits for Vilcabamba & Machu Picchu + Bus & train tickets)

✓ Camping equipment (dining-kitchen tents, tents – 2 people/tent) (single occupancy available for additional charge)

✓ Portable toilet (Ecological toilet for our clients only)

✓ Professional Chef

✓ Pack animals to carry duffle + equipment (horse)

✓Emergency horse available for anyone who needs to take a break from hiking due to illness or injury

✓ Sleeping Mattress

✓ Basic First aid kit including emergency oxygen tank  

  Does not include:

X Gratuity for staff (Guide, chef, porters, horsemens)

X Accommodation in Cusco

X Airfare

X Travel insurance

Lunch & Dinner Day 6

X Walking sticks (available for rent for $20)

X Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain climb (can be reserved in advance available for additional fee of $85 per person)

X Sleeping Bag (can be rented for $30)  

History of Vilcabamba

  • Vilcabamba is located in north-eastern slopes of the Andes towards the Amazon Basin in the Echarate District of Cusco, Peru.
  • In the ancient Inca language, Quechua, the word “Vilcabamba” translates to “Sacred Plain,” but the city is more commonly known as the “Last City of the Incas.”
  • It was the capital of the Neo-Inca State from 1539 to 1572 and it was the refuge of the Inca emperor Manco Inca Ypanqui who won the battle of Ollantaytambo against the Spanish in 1537.
  • In 1572, the Spanish took Vilcabamba, but it was subsequently abandoned and its location forgotten.
  • In 1911 explorer Hiram Bingham mistakenly identified the abandoned ruins of Machu Picchu as Vilcabamba. It wasn’t until 1964 that the ruins you will see on this trek were correctly idenfied as the lost city of the Incas. 

Why is this trek better than Salkantay or Inca trail?

  • The hike is actually 100% off the beaten path, with no crowds at all. This trek is brand new and not well known, so you would have the distinction of completing a trek that very few people on Earth have completed.
  • There are astonishing vistas at each corner, full of flora and fauna, history and culture.
  • The trail is well marked and well maintained, with at least a 6 foot width.
  • The trail is moderate to challenging due to altitude – the highest point you get is 4,400meters/14435ft.
  • It’s an average of 6-7 hours of hiking everyday with a total distance of 52km/32.3 miles.
  • Weather is cold in the evenings and mornings, but very warm during the day. It is not uncommon to see the temperature vary between 28F and 75F in one day. Best time of year for this hike is late March to mid October.
  • Doing expeditions with us, you’ll just need to carry your daypack with your everyday essentials and water. The rest of your belongings will be transported to the campsite by our staff.
  • You’ll travel with a professional chef who will cook fresh, organic food and professional Tour Guide.

Full Itinerary

Night Before our Trek

The night before we leave Cusco for our epic trek to Vilcabamba, your trekking guide will need to meet with you at your hotel or another designated location to provide some information about the expedition. At that time, you’ll also receive a duffle bag + 5 plastic bags to put your belongings for the trek. You will also receive a daypack COVER to use it during the trek so our staff can easily spot you out on the trail. At the end of the briefing, your guide will confirm the pickup time for the next morning.

DAY 1 – Cusco -Huancacalle (3100m /10,170ft) – Vilcabamba (3200m/ 10,498ft) -Vitcos (3390m/11,122ft)

  • We’ll pick you up from your hotel around 4:00am and take a scenic drive (6-hours) through the Andes to Huancacalle where our 6-day Vilcabamba trek to Machu Picchu begins!
  • Your duffle bags will be handed to the horsemen and transported straight to the campsite. Keep in mind that you will only have access to your duffle bags at the campsites so take essential items in your daypack and make sure your day pack is not heavy.
  • After eating a homemade lunch, we’ll begin trekking.
  • The first stop will be the Last City of the Incas – Vilcabamba – which we will have time to explore at our leisure.
  • This loop will take us 3.5 hours, then it’s on to our first campsite, Vitcos (3,390m/11,122ft).
  • We’ll have the evening to enjoy the peace and tranquility of a spectacular milky way and watch majestic mountains surrounding us!

  • Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance: 3-4 hours/ 6km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: Tents
  • Camp Elevation:  3,390m/11,122ft
  • Highest Elevation:  3,390m/11,122ft
  • Weather: Morning cold/ midday warm-hot/ night cold

DAY 2 – Vitcos (3390m/11122ft)– Jasutina Pass (4200m/13,779ft) – Colpachina (3800m/12,467ft) 

Coca tea, are you still there?

  • Today’s hike will be one of the most humbling and physically challenging days, but it’s also one of the most beautiful and rewarding!
  • We’ll reach the first high point on our trek, the Jasutina pass (4,200 m/13,779ft) after 4 hours.
  • The hike until this point is little bit challenging due to the altitude, but otherwise moderate to easy. There are two strategically placed spots for snacks and lunch, Paqchapata or Tayancayoq.
  • Once we get to this point, you will think to yourself, “I got this,” but we will continue to take our time and include stops for photos and quick dance parties before traversing the valley through switchbacks to camp at Colpachina (3800m/12,426 ft)
  • Bonus: The contrast between the lush forests and mountainous peaks is one of the many reasons this trail will take your breath away! We’ll hike along the “Ceja de Selva” (eyebrow of the jungle), which is full of colorful orchids, hummingbirds and flocks of parrots. So many reasons to stop and catch our breath.
  • Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance: 7-8 hours/ 11km
  • Difficulty: Moderatestrenuous
  • Accommodation: Tents
  • Camp Elevation:  3800m/12426ft
  • Highest Elevation:  4200m/13,779ft
  • Weather: Morning cold/ midday warm-hot/ night cold

DAY 3- Colpachina (3800m/12,467ft) – Lake Lazuna (4200m/13,779ft)

Knock-knock amigos, wake up!

  • The hike today is going to be magical. We’ll visit the Hidden Gem of Vilcabamba “Lake LAZUNA” where the emerald water comes together with a hugely imposing glacier in flawless harmony for the truly incredible sight that you see, nestled between two peaks.
  • This lake is located  at 4200m/13,779ft — 6 km / 3 hours from the campsite. The first 15 minutes is uphill but then it is flat until we reach the skirt of the lake. The last 45 minutes of the hike is a steep (zip-zag) uphill.
  • Once we arrive, we can bask in the glory of our high-altitude achievements and relax for a little bit of time before returning (2 hours) down the slope and back to campsite.
  • Bonus: don’t forget to keep an eye to the sky while hiking! You might see Andean Condor flying above.
  • Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance: 6 hours/ 12km
  • Difficulty: Moderatechallenging
  • Accommodation: Tents
  • Camp Elevation:  3800m/12426ft
  • Highest Elevation:  4200m/13,779ft
  • Weather: Morning cold/ midday warm-hot/ night cold

DAY 4- Colachina (3800m/12,467ft) – Abra Pumaccasa (4245m/13,927ft) – Abra Mojon (4310m/14,140ft) – Mutuypata (3000m/9,842ft)

Are you ready to rock-n-roll?

  • After a good night’s rest, the staff will wake you up with Inca power tea – “Coca tea.”
  • The day’s hike will begin with a 3.5 hour steady uphill hike to the renowned Cordillera Vilcabamba -well known to locals as Abra Pumaccasa (4245m/13,927ft).
  • If the skies are clear, you’ll see the first sun rays peeking through the snow-covered peaks of Salkantay Mountain and Veronica Mountain nearby and also the tip of Huayna Picchu Mountain. These views are what make the journey worth the effort.
  • After breathing it all in, we’ll continue walking for 20 minutes more to the lunch spot in Yanacocha lake (4190m/13,746ft).
  • After Lunch and a well-deserved rest we’ll keep hiking the last leg of the day which is 1 hour to the 3rd pass-Abra Mojon(4310m/14,140ft- the highest pass of the trek).
  • From there, it’s just 3 hours downhill to the evening campsite-Mutuypata (3000m/9,842ft).
  • If the weather allows, you’ll get to enjoy the unbroken view of the sunset and milkyway.

  • Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance: 9-10 hours/ 15km/9.3ml
  • Difficulty: Moderatechallenging, then easy
  • Accommodation: Tents
  • Camp Elevation:  3000m/9842ft
  • Highest Elevation:  4310m/14,140ft
  • Weather: Morning cold/ midday warm-hot/ night cold

DAY 5- Mutuypata (3000m/9,842ft) – Chaupichaca (2900m/9,514ft) – Aguas Calientes 2040m/6,692ft) 

Are you still excited? 

  • After breakfast and a well-deserved rest we’ll continue with our expedition onto the easiest part of the trip!
  • Today’s hike is going to be only 3 hours and you will get to enjoy big changes in the micro-climate as we go from cold glacier views to warm evergreen cloudy forest. There will be many different species of orchids and hummingbirds, and keep eyes way open, there might even be a chance to see an Andean Bear.
  • We’ll have our last prepared lunch at the Chaupichaca bridge.
  • After this amazing experience, we’ll say “muchas gracias” and “hasta luego” to our staff (chef, porters, and horsemen) and hop in the van for a gorgeous 2.5 hour drive to the Hydroelectric Center Train Station.
  • A quick 45 minute train ride will take us to Aguas Calientes where you will check into a hotel and enjoy a nice hot shower.
  • We will have dinner together at a restaurant in town and confirm the plan for Machu Picchu the next day.

  • Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance: 3-4 hours/ 6km
  • Difficulty: Moderateeasy
  • Accommodation: 3-Star Hotel
  • Hotel Elevation:  20400m/6692ft
  • Highest Elevation:  3000m/9842ft
  • Weather: Morning cold/ midday warm-hot/ night warm

DAY 6 – Aguas Calientes 2040m/6,692ft) – Machu Picchu (2430m/7,972ft) – Cusco  

Are you interested in Machu Picchu?

  • Today your biggest dream will be realized as we finally enter Machu Picchu for your 2-3 hour walking tour.
  • The hotel will hold your duffle bags and daypack for you while we’re in Mach Picchu.
  • Take only your small hand bag for all your essential items up to Machu Picchu (daypacks over 20L, walking sticks, tripods, and plastic bottles are not allowed in Machu Picchu)
  • Keep in mind that you have one chance, one ticket, one time to use it now with your ticket having a timed entrance and route to follow.
  • You may want to hike Huayna Picchu Mountain (+$85 USD) or Machu Picchu Mountain (+$85 USD), but you must book that with us in advance as ticket sell out fast.
  • For your return from Machu Picchu, we will take the shuttle bus back to Aguas Calientes where you will have time to collect your bags and grab something to eat before we jump on the train to Ollantaytambo.
  • First Step Expeditions Staff will be waiting for you right by the station’s exit door in Ollantaytambo to take you back to Cusco in our private van.
  • Before you leave the van in Cusco, please return the Backpack COVERS to your guide. The guide will also inform you where to leave your duffle bags once they have been unpacked.

  • Included: Breakfast
  • Not Included: Lunch and Dinner (ON YOU)
  • Walking distance: 2-3 hour easy tour
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation: Back to your hotel in Cusco (ON YOU)
  • Highest Elevation:  2430m/7972ft
  • Weather: Morning chilly/midday warm

Add-Ons & Upgrades  

Upgrades you can include in this trip:

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain $85 USD
  • Machu Picchu Mountain $85 USD
  • Huchuy Picchu Mountain (small Picchu M) $85 USD
  • Single supplement (hotel Aguas Calientes) – $45 USD
  • Single supplement (camping tent) $25 USD

Additional items you can rent for this trip:

  • Sleeping Bag $30 USD
  • Trekking Poles  $20 USD
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