The Incas built a highly advanced network of nearly 40,000 thousand kilometers of trails to connect the distant corners of their vast empire that stretched from Quito in Ecuador down to Santiago in Chile and east to Mendoza in Argentina. Cusco was at the heart of this great empire. Almost all of the main trails in the mountains surrounding Cusco were built or improved upon by the Incas. However, a particularly beautiful 43km section of mountain trail connecting the important Inca archaeological sites of Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñay Wayna and Machu Picchu has become popular with hikers in the last 30 years and has become known as the “Inca Trail to Machu Picchu." Access to this section of Inca Trail is strictly controlled and only authorized trekking companies are allowed to sell this trek. All guides on the Inca Trail must be licensed and only a limited number of trekking permits are issued and must be purchased several months in advance (see Inca Trail Permit Availability).
When booking an Inca Trail tour always book with a reputable trekking company and check the day-by-day trek itinerary. If the trek does not include a visit to all of the archaeological sites listed above, then it may be possible that you are looking at a different trek completely. There are many unscrupulous travel agencies in Peru who make a good living out of misleading visitors about the route of their Inca Trail.
Cusco – Km82 – Ayapata
The first day of the Inca Trail is easy going to help you settle into the trek. Covering 14km of the trail gently up the Cusichaca Valley, you will pass by the Inca site of Llactapata, enjoy great views of the snow-capped peak Veronica (5900m / 19000ft) and get to see a variety of native plant life and birds throughout the day.
Our campsite for the night is at Ayapata (3300m / 10829ft) which is a little further along the trail than most groups go. As we’re camping further up the trail, the next day’s trek up to the pass is a little easier for us and with fewer tourists at the campsite we can enjoy the peace and quiet of this beautiful place.
Ayapata – Chaquicocha
Today is considered by many to be the hardest day of the trek; with 2 high passes (Dead Woman’s Pass is the highest at 4200m / 13779ft) to cross and nearly 16km to walk, today really tests your spirit. There’s no need to worry though, thanks to our enthusiastic guides and team of porters, helping you along, you’ll have all the moral and physical support you need to make it.
Today we get fantastic views of the high mountain ranges as we cross the 2 passes and will have the chance to visit 2 Inca sites (Runcuraccay and Sayacmarca). We will also see a variety of plant and life in the Polylepsis forests that cover this area and hopefully spot White Tailed Deer as we near Dead Woman’s Pass. Our campsite tonight is at Chaquicocha (3600m / 11800ft) which like Ayapata is one of the quieter campsites and affords beautiful views of the sunset over the mountains in the distance.
Chaquicocha – Winay Wayna
Having made it over the 2 passes yesterday we are now treated to a relaxing day through some of the most beautiful scenery the Inca Trail has to offer. With a relatively short distance to cover, what is known the Inca Flat (gentle ascents and descents), we get to enjoy the lush and verdant cloud forest around us and the spectacular views of the Andes in the distance.
With visits to 2 Inca sites (Phuyupatamarca and Winay Wayna) this is by far one of the most impressive days of the trek. Our campsite for tonight is at Winay Wayna (2680m / 8792ft) which we will arrive at early afternoon and get an extended guided tour of when we have settled in.
Winay Wayna – Machu Picchu
Today is the highlight of the trek.
Upon arrival to Machu Picchu you will have a 2 hour guided tour of the site during which you will learn about the Incas and visit all the most important areas of the citadel. After your tour you will have free time to explore the site by yourself and if you trek either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. In the afternoon you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo and from there you will catch a bus back to Cusco.
- Professional licensed guide fluent in English, Spanish, and Quechua
- Pre-trek briefing 1 to 2 days before the trek
- Support staff including professional cooks and porters to carry all group gear and 8 kg (15 pounds) per hiker for your own belongings
- Airport pick-up & drop-off. We will pick you up at the airport and transport you to your Cusco hotel when you arrive in Cusco. At the end of your Cusco visit we will transport you back to the airport.
- 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners
- Drinking water and snacks
- Dining tent with table, stools, and all dining implements
- Toilet tent
- Kitchen tent
- Sleeping tents and mattress – 4 person tent for every 2 people
- Emergency supplies, including first aid kit, oxygen, and emergency radios
- All group fees, including Inca Trail permits and entrance to Machu Picchu
- Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- All transfers, private van to trailhead at km 82, bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes, and private van from Ollantaytambo to your hotel in Cusco.
- Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
- Hiking poles (can be rented from us)
- Ticket to climb Huayna Picchu mountain (ticket can be purchased for $65 USD / person)
- Breakfast on day 1, lunch and dinner on day 4
- Gratuity for porters, chef, and guide
What to Bring:
- Original passport (if you have acquired a new one after you have made your booking, bring both)
- Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
- Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, a few t-shirts, socks, sun hat, warm underwear, light long pants, gloves, and rain jacket)
- Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
- Sunblock (SPF 35+ recommended)
- Head lamp
- Camera with spare batteries (batteries run down faster at high altitudes)
- Book to read (you will have some spare time at every camp to read your favorite book)
- Hiking poles (recommended, especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)
- Insect repellent
$680.00 USD per person
- Student discount (only Green ISIC card): $25 USD
- Children Under 15: $25 USD discount
- Children under 7: $35 USD discount