CLASSIC INCA TRAIL (4 DAYS)
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most famous and impressive treks in South America, and it’s on the top of the bucket list of all the hikers around the world.
The 4 day Inca Trail takes you from the snow-capped Andean peaks to the cloud forests of Cusco along the 43km of distance. You’ll be in contact with the wild nature as well as visit some of the most impressive inca ruins that can be only seen during this trek such as the Wiñay Wayna.
But the highlight of the trail comes on the last morning as you will be entering Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) and enjoy a stunning sunrise while continue entering the inca city – just like the incas did back in times.
During the 4 days our team of experts will be in charge of helping you have a smooth and unforgettable journey with the best guides, chefs, and support staff that will carry all of your camping equipment.
PACKAGE DETAILS | Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
DAY 1: CUSCO – OLLANTAYTAMBO – PISCACUCHO – WAYLLABAMBA (L)(D)
The adventure begins in Cusco. Before leaving the hotel, make sure you are carrying your original passport and ISIC card if you are a student. Travelers are picked up at around 6:00 am from their hotels and taken on a spectacular scenic drive through the mystical Sacred Valley of the Incas, with beautiful views of the Urubamba river, picturesque Andean villages, and the Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo. We may stop at Urubamba or Ollantaytambo on our way to Piscacucho for last minute supplies, leg-stretching, or to use the restrooms.
In Piscacucho, Km 82, you will meet the rest of the crew and the porters who will be carrying the camping equipment. Here we will pass the first official Inca Trail checkpoint and begin our hike.
After clearing the gates and crossing a suspension footbridge across the Urubamba river, the trek begins with a gentle climb. Following the course of the river, the first three hours are on relatively flat terrain.
Superb views of the snow-capped peak of Wakay Willka, also known as Veronica, can be observed, as well as the Urubamba mountain range, which divides the jungle and the Andes. You will then arrive at the Inca fortress of Willka Raccay.
After lunch, you will continue hiking towards the extensive Inca settlement of Llactapata (Patallacta on some maps) and take in the impressive farming terraces of this complex.
The Inca Trail follows the left bank of the river up to the village of Wayllabamba at 9840 ft above sea level (3000 masl) to where you will have dinner and camp for the night. Buenas noches, amigos!
(About 5 hr trekking 12 Km/7.5 miles)
DAY 2: WAYLLABAMBA – WARMI WAÑUSKA (DEAD WOMAN’S PASS) – PAQAYMAYU (B)(L)(D)
Early wake-up call today, with hot tea brought to your tent in order to prepare for today’s trek, which is considered by many to be the hardest. Today, you will complete a steep ascent reaching an altitude of 13779 ft above sea level (4200 masl) at the Warmi Wañuska pass.
After breakfast, we depart from the campsite at around 7:00 am. The uphill hike through Llulluchapampa will give you the opportunity to appreciate several species of birds (if we’re lucky, we may see falcons, hummingbirds, or black-chested eagles). From here the trail traverses a beautiful cloud forest full of Polylepis or Queñua trees before entering the puna, a zone characterized by treeless grasslands only found at this particular altitude across the Andes.
Walk at your own pace, stop as many times as you like to catch your breath or to stretch the muscles. The last hard climb takes us to the highest pass of the Inca Trail at Warmi Wañuska. Once at the top you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Andes, the Huayanay Massif, and the surrounding snow-covered peaks. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment after conquering the Dead Woman’s pass. Remember to have a warm jacket and your winter hat at hand, when reaching this altitude, as temperatures may drop drastically. After a well-deserved rest, continue traversing the slopes on the left side of the valley all the way to our campsite (toilet facilities are available here) in Paqaymayu at 11811 ft above sea level (3600 masl).
(About 6 – 7 hr trekking)
DAY 3: PAQAYMAYU – SAYACMARCA – PHUYUPATAMARCA – WIÑAYHUAYNA (B)(L)(D)
This is possibly the longest day of the Inca Trail hiking but one that will bring splendid landscapes and views. A perfectly scheduled cup of hot tea will follow the wake-up call around 6:00 am. Enjoy breakfast with your trekking compadres and prepare yourself to hike along the well-preserved Inca pathway that is mostly original.
You will start with a steady ascent to the second highest pass at Runkuracay, reaching 12400 ft above sea level (3780 masl), and passing through a circular Inca control point that overlooks the spectacular Vilcabamba mountain range below. Catch your breath, from here the rest of the Inca Trail is mostly downhill. Be careful with your knees as the descent from the pass to the ruins of Sayacmarca is very steep and you may feel the strain at the end of the day. It is recommended to use trekking poles, additional gel insoles, and perhaps an additional porter.
Take a pause at this archeological complex located at 11472 ft above sea level (3497 masl) for an in-depth tour and explanation. The name Sayacmarca means “inaccessible town” and clearly describes the position of the site, perfectly perched on the edgy rocks.
The Inca Trail, now follows through a monumental structure of granite stones, continues through ever-changing layers of cloud forest, full of rare orchids, hanging mosses, bromeliads, and tree ferns. Past the Inca tunnel, a gentle climb will take you to the third pass at 12139 ft above sea level (3700 masl), offering incredible views of several snow-capped peaks including Salkantay (20574 ft./6271m) and Veronica (18865 ft./5750m).
Close to the pass you will find the impressive ruins of Phuyupatamarca (a cloud-level town). You’ll receive a brief explanation about the mysteries of the Inca architecture before continuing along the paved Inca road to the impressive agricultural site of Intipata and up to the third and last campsite at Wiñayhuayna (“forever young” in Quechua) located at 8856 ft above sea level (2700 masl).
Wiñayhuayna is named after a variety of pink orchids that grow here, and is the last official campsite before Machu Picchu. The most impressive ruins are located just minutes away, so even if you are tired after today’s hike, it is a good idea to explore the Wiñayhuayna archeological site. Then, rest.
(about 7 hrs trekking)
DAY 4: WIÑAYHUAYNA – INTI PUNKU – MACHU PICCHU – AGUAS CALIENTES – CUSCO (B)
Today’s day begins earlier than normal. After breakfast we say a farewell to the porters and set off on the trail by 4:00 am to Machu Picchu. This last part of the trail from Wiñayhuayna to Machu Picchu takes about one hour and a half of hiking and is clearly marked, but you will be walking in the dark. It is highly recommended to bring a headlamp or at least a flashlight. The walking path is narrow and is beside a lush cloud forest of giant ferns, that brings an almost vertical ascent of about 50 steps to Inti Punku, the gate of the sun at 8920 ft above sea level (2719 masl).
All your efforts from the last few days are rewarded with an unforgettable sight: a backdrop of natural beauty, human art, and forested peaks framing the magical city of Machu Picchu. You will have plenty of time to take photos of the Lost City of the Incas from the classic postcard view and additional angles. A final short hike will bring us to the entrance and into the heart of Machu Picchu itself, where we will spend the rest of the morning with a 2-hour guided tour and some free time afterwards.
The shuttle bus ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes is included, buses depart every 5 to 10 minutes, and it will be available for you to descend whenever you decide it is time to head back down. Double-check your train schedule and be at the train station 1 hr before departure. The train ticket departs at 6:45 pm. arriving in Ollantaytambo at approximately 8:18 pm. It is recommended to upgrade your train to Vistadome service, giving you more train departure times and superior seat comfort for the ride back to Cusco. Whichever train station at which you arrive (Ollantaytambo or Poroy), transportation from this location to Cusco will be provided. You will arrive back in Cusco at around 10:30 pm.
(B)=Breakfast ; (L)=Lunch ; (D)=Dinner
Important note: Campsite allocations are subject to change depending on availability provided by the National Institute of Culture (government office in charge of the Inca Trail)
It is included
IT IS INCLUDED:
- Pre-departure Inca Trail tour briefing, presented by your tour guides at our office downtown in Cusco
or at your hotel, at least 1 day before.
- Pick up from your hotel in Cusco and transfer to the trek starting point at km 82.
- Entrance ticket to the Inca Trail
- Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
- Two hour Machu Picchu guided tour
- Visit different Inca archaeological sites during the Inca trail hike
- Return expedition train ticket on day 4 from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Pick up from the train station on day 4 and transfer to Cusco
- Professional, multilingual Inca Trail tour guides and leaders
- Assistant tour guide (for groups of 11 or more people)
- Cook and cooking equipment
- 3 nutritious breakfasts
- 3 high-energy lunches
- 3 delicious dinners
- Vegetarian food available upon request with no extra charge
- Hot tea kindly brought to your tent, first thing in the morning
- Clean and spacious 4 people-capacity tents – only 2 people per tent
- Comfortable and personal double foam pad, given to you at the beginning of the trek
- Dining and kitchen tent
- Portable camping tables and chairs
- 24 hours emergency oxygen assistance
- First aid equipment
- Accommodation, food, transport, permits and entrance fees for our porters and cooks
- Specialized travel advisor assigned for you to customize the rest of your Peru-trip
IT IS NOT INCLUDED:
- International round-trip airfare to and from Peru
- Bus ticket up from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
- Tips and gratuities
- Sleeping bag (available to rent at our agency)
- Travel insurance
- Personal trekking gear
What to Bring?
WHAT TO BRING
- Original passport
- Comfortable and resistant walking shoe, hiking boots are recommended
- Sweater and a thick jacket
- Sun and winter hat
- A bottle for water (plastic is not allowed)
- Good raincoat
- Pants and shorts
- Insect repellent
- Sunscreen with UV forty degrees
- Lip Balm
- Toilet paper
- Personal snacks
- Headlamp / flashlight
- Plastic bags
- Personal medications
- Sandal/flip flop
- Small backpack per person
- Extra money in Soles
What is the total distance and maximum altitude reached on the trail?
The total distance covered over the 4 days is about 26 mi, and the highest point reached during this hike is 13828 ft above sea level.
Do I have to carry all my luggage during the hike?
No. Our team of experienced porters will be in charge of carrying the backpacks and all the bulky luggage during the hike. Travelers will carry only their small backpack with personal items during the hike.
Can I do the hike without previous experience and good physical condition?
As it is a demanding hike at high altitude, we recommend that you be in good physical condition and have experience with long hikes before taking on this challenge. For those who are inexperienced or not in good physical condition, we recommend the short, 2-day Inca Trail
When is the best season for this hike?
The best months to do the Inca Trail are between May and October, thus avoiding the rainy season in Cusco that goes from November to April.
How far in advance do I need to book this experience?
As this is an activity with extremely limited tickets and high demand, especially in the months between May and August, we recommend that reservations are made at least 6 months in advance.
Can i hike the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain?
Yes but you’ll need to check the availability in advance with our team and pay the extra fee of U$75 per person for the mountain you choose to hike at the moment of your reservation.
Flexible cancellation/ change
- Due to the strict controls and limitations of the Inca Trail permits, this reservation is NOT refundable.
- Any changes must be previously informed and are subject to availability and extra charges