The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most popular and famous hike in all of South America - and for good reason. Each year, thousands of visitors embark on the challenge to trek this ancient and scenic trail set by the native Incas. The spectacular views and the fascinating ancient history of the area are worth the climb.
Spend your days trekking through cloud forests, passing sacred stone complexes, and meeting local wildlife such as roaming llamas, alpacas and various bird species. In the evenings, relax around roaring fires at your campsites.
While the four day hike is a challenging one, the rewards are more than worth it. Be prepared to hike up to eight hours on the busiest day and spend your evenings overnight in local campsites along the route. On your route, you’ll be treated to spectacular vistas of snow capped mountains, mysterious archaeological complexes and deep valleys.
Once we reach Machu Pichu, you’ll take a two hour guided tour to explore and learn all about the enchanting sacred history of the world famous site.
On the last day, watch the sunrise peek from the renowned Sun Gate over the famous views of Machu Pichu. You’ll also have the chance to soothe your hard working legs and relax in the comforting hot springs in the town of Aguas Calientes before catching a train to the city of Cusco.
- Explore the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu located high in the Andes Mountains
- Hike along looming snow capped mountain peaks at an altitude of up to 4,200m
- Admire sprawling views of the sacred Incan complex and the Urubamba Valley from Abra Phuyupatamarca
- Trek through cloud forests and pass by llamas, alpacas and bird species during your hike
Start your Journey
Cuzco - Huayllabamba
Your first day begins with an early start at four am. We’ll be driven through the rolling highlands of the Sacred Valley to Piskacuchu where our trek will begin.
Today we’ll hike around five to six hours in total. Past roaring rivers and among towering peaks, reaching a maximum altitude point of 3,000 metres.
Cross the bridge over the wild Urubamba River in the heart of the Sacred Valley and follow the scenic trail to the Inca village of Llactapata. There you can admire views of both Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu in the distance.
From Llactapata, we’ll hike among sky high grassy peaks for up to five hours before arriving at Wayllabamba Camp. This is the last inhabited village on the route and will be your camp spot for the night.
Huayllabamba – Pacaymayo
Today you’ll hike around six to seven hours so it’s up early for a tasty breakfast to line your stomach ahead of the day. It’s also recommended to pack your daypack full of sweet treats such as sweets, chocolates and cocoa leaves so you can snack and keep your sugar levels high. These snacks can also help if you suffer from altitude sickness.
You’ll begin with a challenging climb to the Abra Warmihuanusca mountain, passing roaming llamas and alpacas, along with many species of birds soaring through the clouds. Then you’ll reach the highest altitude point of the day at 4,200 metres. There, enjoy panoramic views of the snow capped mountains and the spectacular valleys of Huayanay Massif.
After the pass, climb down to the Pacaymayo Valley which is your next campsite.
Pacaymayo - Winaywayna
This is the longest but most fulfilling day of the tour. Prepare for around eight hours of hiking.
From Pacaymayo, we’ll ascend to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay where you’ll reach the highest altitude of the day at 3,970 metres. Halfway through your climb, take a breather to explore the archaeological complex of the same name. Standing at 3,800m, the ancient site comprises a small oval stone formation believed to have once been a watchtower spot.
Next, we’ll descend to Yanacocha, known as the Black Lagoon. Here we’ll trek through a cloud forest before reaching the stunning stone complex of Sayacmarca at 3,624 metres. Marvel at the beautiful archaeological site crafted with tiny streets, patios and canals - just like a tiny stone village.
The next ascent is easier, and soon you’ll reach the third pass, the Abra Phuyupatamarca at 3,700 metres. As you continue your hike, you can appreciate the grandeur and scale of the Incas’ talented handiwork.
You’ll pass through an Inca tunnel to arrive to at Abra Phuyupatamarca pass and complex, known to be the highlight of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Here you can admire one of the most complete and well maintained stone complexes found along the route. From the looming heights, you can appreciate the whole ancient complex, along with sprawling views of the Urubamba River Valley.
Next, hike down the winding stone steps that take you to the next complex of Wiñaywayna, where you’ll spend the rest of your evening. The sacred stone site comprises an agricultural centre for you to explore.
After discovering the various sectors of the agricultural centre, toast to your trek with a much deserved hearty goodbye dinner at camp.
Winaywayna – Machu Picchu – Cuzco
Our last day of the tour is a more relaxed one, with an estimated hiking time of two hours. We’ll reach a maximum altitude point of 2,700 metres.
Rise early at four am to begin your day with an ascent to the Intipunku stone complex, also known as the Sun Gate. You’ll reach the spot in time to enjoy a beautiful sunrise peeking over the world famous Machu Picchu site.
From Intipunku, climb down to Machu Picchu for around 40 minutes or so before entering a stone fort known as ‘The House of the Guardians’. Then, you’ll reach a control point to leave your belongings and register yourselves.
You’ll be given a guided tour of the Inca Citadel, which takes around two hours. Then you’ll have some free time to explore the area. You may like to ascend to the Huayna Picchu Mountain, which offers sublime vistas of Machu Picchu and the surrounding gorges and peaks.
In the afternoon, it’s time to reward your hiking efforts with a relaxing visit to the local hot springs in the town of Aguas Calientes. From here, it’s time to hop on to a train to reach the city of Cusco, arriving after nightfall.
- Cost of accommodation (double room based on two people sharing) for a total of 3 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
- 1 bottle of mineral water per person per day
- Private/small group (air-conditioned) transport / transfers
- Assistance and porterage: meeting and assistance on arrival/departure at airports and hotels
- Meals included as detailed
- English-speaking local guides for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
- Entrance fees (excluding video camera fee) for monuments and palaces and entertainment, and park fees for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
- International flights and airfare taxes
- Visa arrangements and fees
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel
- Video and professional still camera fees during excursions
- Gratuities for drivers, tour directors, local guides, naturalists and hotel staff
- Meals (unless specified)
- Optional attractions and excursions (unless specified)
- Car hire and insurance
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