The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most traditional, the most famous, and most visited Inca Trail route in Peru. In its time, it was only used by Inca aristocracy. Now its your chance to follow in their footsteps and live an adventure that you will never forget!
The Inca Trail network was built by Inca and pre-Inca cultures, and it is an impressive 24 855 mi (40 000 Km) long. It connected the whole Inca Empire from Ecuador in the north to Argentina in the South. The trail is paved with blocks of stone; it has stone stairways, tunnels and wooden bridges. It crosses rivers, streams, temperate valleys, warm cloud forests, and cold highlands. It is a perfect mixture of Andean mountains and jungle exuberance! Along the way you will find Inca archaeological sites that will make you feel like they are being discovered for the very first time.
Many countries have mountain ranges with beautiful scenery and Cusco Peru itself is richly blessed in this respect with many other areas for hiking. However the scenery is only one of the elements responsible for the magic of the Inca Trail. Can there be any walk anywhere in the world with such a combination of natural beauty, history and sheer mystery and with such an awe-inspiring destination? The various archaeological sites along the way before ending the Inca Trail in the Sungate of Machu Picchu serve to heighten the hiker’s sense of anticipation as he or she approaches the sanctuary.
Walking the Inca Trail can be very rewarding and is possible for all ages as long as you are fit. Acclimation to the altitude is a must, and good physical condition advised.
INCA TRAIL DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Moderate to Challenging. We strongly recommend acclimatizing to the altitude by staying in Cusco for at least two – three days prior to the trek.
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[tabby title=”Inca Trail Itinerary”]
DIFFICULTY: MODERATE TO CHALLENGING
CUSCO – PISKACUCHO (KM 82) – LLACTAPATA AYAPATA
We will pick you up from the lobby of your hotel between 04:30 – 05:00AM and travel to Km 82, arriving at about 07:00AM. After a delicious breakfast prepared by your cook, we will go through the first Inca Trail checkpoint to begin our trek (please make sure you have your original passport with you to enter the Inca Trail). The first 2 hours of the trek are relatively easy as we make our way to our first Inca site, Patallacta which is an ancient Inca checkpoint for the approach to Machu Picchu. From Patallacta it is another 2 hour hike to our lunch stop. After lunch we will hike for another 2½ hours until we reach the first night’s campsite at Ayapata (3300 meters). On this last stretch we pass through 2 small communities. If you want to buy any energy drinks or snacks you can do so here, you can also buy any essential items such as batteries that you may have forgotten. We will arrive to our campsite by 17:00PM and after settling in for a bit you can relax and have a hot drink and snack with your team of porters, chef and guide. By 19:30PM your dinner will be ready, and afterwards you can get some welldeserved rest.
|Walking distance:||8.7 miles/14 km (6-7 hours)|
|Campsite Altitude:||3300 meter high above sea level|
|Considered:||Moderate day (getting used to the Inca Trail)|
|Weather:||Warm and windy|
Overnight at campsite.
(B, S, L, D)
AYAPATA – DEAD WOMAN´S PASS – RUNCURACCAY PASS – CHAQUICCOCHA
Your porters will wake you up early with a hot cup of coca tea to get you ready for the day. This day will be our longest day and we will start early. We will hike for roughly 4 hours to the highest pass of the trek, Dead Woman’s Pass (4215 meters/13829 feet). On reaching the pass we will stop for a short break to enjoy the views before setting off again to descend to the next valley (Pacaymayu Valley – Hidden River). It’s another hour and a half down the side of the valley to our lunch spot and a chance to refill our water bottles. After lunch we begin ascending again to the second pass of the trek. It is 2 hours to the pass and along the way we will stop at a small Inca site (Runcu Raccay) and see two huge waterfalls cascading down the opposite side of the valley. After the second pass, it is another hour downhill hike to reach the magnificent Inca site, Sayacmarca (an otherwise inaccessible village).
We will stop here for a rest and have a quick tour of the site and then watch the sunset over the Vilcabamba mountain range. It is then just another 20 minutes until we stop for the night at our second campsite Chaquicocha (Dry Lake, 3600 meters). After dinner, if you are not too exhausted, we can do some star gazing and we will point out the fascinating Inca constellations. In the magnificent Southern Hemisphere sky, away from all the artificial lighting, this sky is something to behold!
|Walking Distance:||9.94 miles/16 km (7-8 hours)|
|Campsite Altitude:||3600 meter high above sea level (chilly weather)|
|Considered:||Top day (you will have survived the two highest passes)|
|Area:||Andes and Cloud Forest|
|Weather:||Cold and rainy|
Overnight at campsite.
(B, S, L, D)
CHAQUICCOCHA – WIÑAYWAYNA CAMP
We begin early again, waking up at 06:30AM to begin what is commonly felt to be the most beautiful day of the whole Inca Trail. We hike for 2 hours along what we like to call “Inca flat” (gradual inclines) and begin to enter the jungle, known as the Cloud Forest. As we walk we will have the opportunity to see the majesty of Salkantay, the second highest snowcapped mountain in the Sacred Valley, and a fantastic panoramic view of the Vilcabamba mountain range. Towards the end of the Inca flats we begin to make our way up to the last peak at Phuyupatamarka (3600 meters) from where we will have great views overlooking the Urubamba River. Down the valley we get our first views of Machu Picchu Mountain but the site itself is still hidden from view. From Phuyupatamarka it is a 3 hour walk down a flight of steps to our last campsite, close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). Wiñay Wayna is the most spectacular Inca site on the trail after Machu Picchu and the most popular campsite because of its proximity to Machu Picchu.
During the descent we visit 2 Inca ruins, Phuyupatamarka (Town in the Clouds) and Intipata (Terraces of the Sun). We arrive at our campsite around 13:00PM to have lunch and then relax for the entire afternoon so that you are relaxed and ready for your final day at Machu Picchu. At around 16:30PM your guide will give you a short orientation and you will visit the Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna, spending about an hour and a half there. We will explain the significance of the site and combine all the information given during the trek so you are fully prepared for your visit to Machu Picchu the following day.
We like to spoil our guests as we enjoy our last feast with the porters and chefs. It is an Inca Trail tradition to organize a ceremony in the evening to introduce the team to the tourists once again and to thank them for the great job done (if you wish to provide tips for them then you can do so at this time). It is advisable to go to bed at a reasonable time in order to get up in the early hours of the morning to arrive to Machu Picchu at the crack of dawn in hopes that the weather will give us a beautiful sunrise over the ruins at Machu Picchu.
|Walking Distance:||6.2 miles/10km (5 hours)|
|Campsite Altitude:||2.600 meter high above sea level (chilly weather)|
|Considered:||Easy day – all downhill!|
|Area:||High Cloud Forest|
|Weather:||Warm and very humid|
Overnight at campsite.
(B, S, L, D)
MACHU PICCHU, “THE LOST CITY OF THE INCAS” – AGUAS CALIENTES – OLLANTAYTAMBO – CUSCO:
Wake up time is at 03:30AM. We will eat breakfast at 4:00AM and wait at the checkpoint to be one of the first to start trekking when they open the gates at 05:30AM. We will wave goodbye to our team of porters and chef and then it is “Forward On” to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). From here we have spectacular views of the mountains and Machu Picchu in all its glory. We reach the Sun Gate by 06:30AM and then it is just an hour trek downstairs to reach the Lost City of the Incas. As we approach Machu Picchu the views of the city just get better and better! At about 07:40AM we will reach the final checkpoint and enter Machu Picchu to begin our 2 hour private guided tour. After the tour you will be given your bus tickets to make your way down to Aguas Calientes and you will have between 3-4 hours to explore on your own. If you would like, there is an optional hike up Huayna Picchu Mountain which takes about 45 minutes to reach the summit. From here you can enjoy fantastic views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding scenery (optional, not included in your quote).
In the afternoon at about 13:00 you will regroup in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in its hot springs (not included in quote) and/or transfer, on your own, to the station to take the Expedition Train departing at 16:22 and arriving at 18:10 in Ollantaytambo (1hr 30min from Cusco) where you will find a person with a sign with your name to transfer you to your hotel.
|Considered:||The most exciting and magical day (early wake up 03:30AM)|
|Area:||High Cloud and Subtropical Forest|
|Weather:||Hot and very humid (bring lots of water)|
Overnight in Cusco (not included).
- All Inca Trail departures are subject to government space availability (500 people per day including guides, cooks, porters and travelers).
- Recommended period: March to October.
- Minimum number of people: 01 person per group.
- Extra Services (not included): sleeping bag, walking poles, Inflatable sleeping pads for extra comfort, Upgrade to Vistadome Train (return only), Entrance ticket to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountains, Buffet lunch at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.
- Group Departure: every day of the year except FEBRUARY (CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE).
- Student Discount (International Student Identity Card required): US$ 45
- Children Discount (under 7 years old): US$ 45
[tabby title=” Prices”]
|Inca Trail to Machu Picchu||Price per person / double occupancy tent|
|Group Service (minimum 1 person) including extra porter to carry your belongings||US$ 670|
|Private Service (based on 2 people) including extra porter to carry your belongings||US$ 990|
|Single Supplement (additional to have single tent)||US$ 35|
|Sleeping bag rental for 4 days||US$ 30|
|Inflatable sleeping pads for extra comfort||US$ 20|
|Pair of Walking Sticks||US$ 15|
|Upgrade to Vistadome Train (return only)||US$ 75|
|Entrance ticket to the mountains of Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu||US$ 80|
|Buffet lunch at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge (only hotel located right next to the entrance to Machu Picchu)||US$ 40|
[tabby title=” Included”]
|Included in Tour Price||Not included in Tour Price|
|Pre-departure briefing.||International and domestic flights.|
|Transfer in private transport to km.82 (starting point of the trail) from Cusco or Sacred Valley (only for hotels located between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo).||Visas required to enter Peru.|
|Professional English peaking tour guide.||Airport Taxes.|
|Inca Trail and Machu Picchu entrance fees.||Drinks.|
|Only 2 people per tent (in our 4 person tents giving lots of room for your personal items – clean & waterproof).||Tips.|
|Foam sleeping mat (1/2 inch/1.25 cm thick).||Sleeping bag per person for 4 days.|
|Small pillows for sleeping, more confortable!||Inflatable sleeping pads for extra comfort.|
|Rain ponchos.||Pair of Walking Sticks.|
|Day Pack Rain Covers.||Upgrade to Vistadome Train (return only).|
|Dining tent with tables and chairs and kitchen tent.||Entrance ticket to Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountains.|
|Private, portable toilet tent for your group’s use only.||Buffet lunch at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge (only hotel located right next to the entrance to Machu Picchu).|
|Cook and cooking equipment.|
|Porters (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment).|
|Porters to carry your belongings (up to 7kg/15.4lb per person) – at no extra cost!|
|Permits and entrance fees for our porters, cooks and guides.|
|Meals (4 breakfasts, 4 snacks, 3 lunches, 3 happy (social) hours, 3 dinners. Vegetarian food and specialized diets are available upon request and at no extra cost).|
|Boiled water provided after breakfast, lunch and dinner to refill your water bottles.|
|Coca tea served each morning in your tent for a gentle start to the day.|
|First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank.|
|2 hour private guided tour within Machu Picchu ruins.|
|Bus ticket from Machu Picchu down to the village of Aguas Calientes.|
|Expedition Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.|
|Transfer from Ollantaytambo Train Station to your hotel in Cusco.|
|Sales taxes and payment transaction fees.|