Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
The Inca Trail Trek is a world-renowned hiking route that leads to the majestic ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru. This iconic trek offers a unique blend of natural beauty, archaeological wonders, and a sense of adventure, making it one of the most popular trekking experiences in the world.
Along the trek, hikers follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incas, walking on stone paths and traversing mountain passes, including the famous Dead Woman’s Pass, which stands at an elevation of 4,215 meters (13,825 feet). The trail offers breathtaking panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, deep valleys, and the surrounding lush landscapes.
The Inca Trail Trek is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, offering a combination of breathtaking scenery, ancient history, and a profound connection to the Inca civilization. It is a truly transformative experience for those who seek to explore the wonders of Machu Picchu and immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Peru.
Note: Due to its popularity and conservation efforts to protect the archaeological site, access to the Inca Trail is limited, and permits must be obtained in advance. The trail is also regulated to minimize environmental impact and ensure a sustainable trekking experience.
- 4-Day hike along the famous Inca Trail to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu
- Get acclimated while exploring the Cusco Ruins, the Sacred Valley, and Pisac Ruins
- Enjoy a full-day guided tour of Machu Picchu with the option of climbing Huayna Picchu, named one of the 20 most dangerous hikes in the world by Outside Magazine
- Soak in the hot springs of Aguas Calientes
- Take a train surrounded entirely by glass with large panoramic windows from Machu Picchu to Cusco
Day 1: Cusco
Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to your hotel where you can start acclimating to being at 11,000 ft elevation in this beautiful city. This site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th into the 16th century until the Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
In the afternoon, we’ll take a walking tour of Cusco city and it’s archaeological and historical sites.
Overnight in Cusco
Day 2: Cusco Ruins, the Sacred Valley & Pisac Ruins
Today, we’ll head out of Cusco to visit the main Inca ruins in the Cusco valley. We’ll visit Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Pucapucara, and Q’enco. Leaving early by vehicle, we wind our way on the road to Sacsayhuaman, a vast fortress built on three platforms, overlooking the city of Cusco. From here we continue to Q’enco, a site of worship with a high rock carved into the shape of a Puma which dominates a series of canals, passageways painted with animals. The road continues uphill to reach Pucapucara and Tambomachay, a site with Inca baths. From here, we descend to the Sacred Valley overlooking the Pisac village and ruins, our first view of this beautiful Valley that runs from east to west.
The Spanish built the present-day town of Pisac along the Urubamba River half a century after the conquest, but the surviving terraces of it predecessor, Inca Pisac, are still draped across the mountains above. The signature terraces — stacked 40 high — are visible throughout much of the switch-backed drive from the market. The buildings are scattered nearly two square miles of the slope, and include fortifications, aqueducts, granaries, homes, and ceremonial spaces. A road takes us up to the ruins of Pisac where we will do a short hike over to the main temple and extended terracing before heading down to the village for lunch.
After lunch, we’ll head back to Cusco and spend the rest of the day relaxing or exploring the city.
Overnight in Cusco
Day 3: Inca Trail – Cusco to Llaqtapata Camp
With your guide, you’ll be transferred from your hotel to Pisaycucho. You’ll start hiking at Km 82 on the railway along the Urubamba River stopping at Q’oriwayrakina for lunch. At Km 88, you’ll cross a small bridge at Q’ente and hike to the Llaqtapata campsite. If there is time, you may take a side trip to visit the archaeological remains of Qente and Machu Qente and the Llaptapata ruins. The camp is located amidst Inca terracing.
Hiking time: 5-6 hours
Distance: 11 km (approx 6.8 miles)
Overnight at Llaqtapata Campsite
Day 4: Inca Trail – Llaqtapata to Llulluchapampa Camp
The Inca Trail winds slowly up to the Cusicacha Valley passing houses of settlers to finally reach the Andean community of Huayllabamba. From here the trail ascends steeply to a large pampa (meadow) below the first pass. At this campsite there is a breathtaking view of Mt. Huayanay. Along the trail up this narrow hanging valley is a rare Andean cloud forest that harbors the Que’ua tree, a rare forest found in the Andes.
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: 9 km (approx 5.6 miles)
Overnight at Llulluchapampa Campsite
Day 5: Inca Trail – Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca Camp
A steady ascent on the Inca Trail up to the Warmiwañusqa pass (Dead Woman’s Pass) at 4,200m (13,800 ft) affords a magnificent view of your ascent and the trail ahead of you. You’ll descend on a restored Inca Trail down to the Pacaymayo River to then ascend again to the ruins of Runkuraqay and the second pass at 4,050m (13,200ft). From here, you’ll walk down to the site at Sayacmarca at 3,850m (12,551ft) on the original Inca Trail, passing a dry lake and the first signs of the cloud forest. A beautiful location overlooking the Aobamba Valley, it affords a respite for a leisurely walk through its imposing structures. Continue along the ridge through amazing landscapes, viewing Mt. Salkantay from the western side and Mt. Pumasillo, a silhouette to the north on the horizon. Walking through a rolling flag stoned trail you arrive at Phuyupatamarca (the village on the edge of the clouds) in whose vicinity you’ll camp.
Hiking time: 7-8 hours
Distance: 14 km (approx 8.7 miles)
Overnight at Phuyupatamarca Campsite
Day 6: Inca Trail – Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu via Winay Wayna and Intipunku
An early departure today will have you trekking along a buttress and passing Phuyupatamarca ruins. The flag stoned trail winds sharply down into the cloud forest to the well restored ruins of Wiñay Wayna, located below the ridge on the same water course as the previous site. After a two hour walk through a cloud forest covered Inca Trail you’ll arrive at Machu Picchu the way the Incas used to come, watching the magnificent citadel at your feet from Intipunku (“the door of the sun”). Upon arrival, you’ll take a shuttle to your hotel in Aguas Calientes and once you get settled, relax your sore muscles in the Hot Springs of Aguas Calientes (not included).
Overnight in Aguas Calientes
Day 7: Machu Picchu and return to Cusco
A half-hour bus ride will bring you back to Machu Picchu for a guided visit, which on average takes about three hours. Your’ll explore the extraordinary Inca remains with your guide, including an optional climb up Huayna Picchu, the towering mountain behind the site. For many people, climbing Huayna Picchu is one of the highlights when visiting Machu Picchu. The climb itself is interesting as you will see how the Incas cut out steps in the rocks as you wind around the side of a mountain. It will also allow you to see Machu Picchu from different angles. From a distance, the mountain looks impossible to climb without necessary tools, but the climb is quite possible for anyone who is averagely fit. The views of Machu Picchu seen from Huayna Picchu are breathtaking and really gives you an impression of the magnitude of the site.
In the afternoon, we’ll return by Expedition train to Cusco and transfer to our hotel. If we have any energy left, we can explore Cusco’s excellent nightlife. With a vast abundance of nightclubs, restaurants, bars and lounges, Cusco comes alive at night with the sights, sounds and experiences of a most fascinating, vibrating metropolis.
Optional: Climb Huayna Picchu
Overnight in Cusco
Day 8: Cusco
Today is departure day and you’ll be transferred to the airport at the appropriate time.
- Our local travel partner for Machu Picchu was the first company to operate the Inca Trail trek.
- Our local guides are certified by Wilderness First Responder and use only high quality safety gear. They are highly experienced and know how to get you to your destination with utmost comfort and safety. They are caring, understanding and experienced to handle your individual needs. They are aware of the nature of adventure, sustainability, and social responsibility.
- Travel insurance is mandadory for the Inca Trail Trek. A minimum of $200,000 in emergency medical and evacuation, including repatriation, is required to participate in any of our trips. We strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance which provides coverage for trip interruption, flight cancellation, and loss of baggage.
- We are aware of the negative impacts of travel and we choose our travel partners based on their commitment to social development and environment preservation. Our guides are responsible for ensuring that the guests understand the nature of the environment that they are in and minimize the impact they may have.
- Our local partners in Peru have been recognized and certified by the Rainforest Alliance, Regenera (Your Positive Impact for Nature), World Travel Awards for World’s Leading Green Tour Operator, and APTAE Responsible Tourism.
- The trail spans approximately 43 kilometers (26 miles) and typically takes 4 days to complete, although variations of the route and shorter options are also available. The journey begins in the Sacred Valley, near the town of Ollantaytambo, and winds through the stunning Andean mountains, cloud forests, and Inca ruins, before reaching the legendary city of Machu Picchu.
- One of the highlights of the Inca Trail Trek is reaching Inti Punku, also known as the Sun Gate, which provides a mesmerizing view of Machu Picchu as it emerges through the morning mist. The final descent leads hikers to the magnificent archaeological site itself, where they can explore the intricate stonework, terraces, and temples of the ancient Inca civilization.
- The trek offers a sense of cultural immersion, as hikers pass through local villages and encounter the Quechua-speaking people, who still preserve their traditional way of life. Campsites along the trail provide a place to rest and rejuvenate, with the opportunity to enjoy delicious Peruvian cuisine prepared by the trekking team.
Level 5: Challenging
Our Challenging Trips are intended for physically fit individuals who are seeking a challenging experience. Previous trekking experience is not required for EBC, but you should be able to hike 4-6 hours a day at a moderate pace over hilly terrain with a light day pack. Your duffle bag will be carried by a porter. You can walk at your own pace with a small backpack and take rest breaks. ‘Slow and steady’ is the key to achieving this climb and enjoying the trek. If you do not have a habit of walking at hom, you should walk briskly for 45 to 60 minutes a day for two weeks prior to the trip. Cycling, swimming, climbing stairs or hills, and doing some squats are also very good training for the trip.
Once we receive your enquiry, we will reach out with a calendar invite in order to schedule a time to talk about your trip. A 25% deposit is required once the itinerary is approved. Payment is due in full 90-days prior to the start date of your trip.
For group size of 2-4 people