The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is not only a marvelous and unique trail because of its incredible variety of flora, fauna, and climates hence the colorful and the ever changing landscape, or its singular and aesthetically harmonious construction, but it is also an important Inca remain because of its historical and spiritual meaning. The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was a royal trail back in the times of the Inca Empire, and it was travelled by the Inca and his court for sacred and ceremonial ends, in pilgrimages. Many visitors and trekkers have had indescribable experiences during their hike along this classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu which have had a special impact on their lives…
The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is part of an impressive road network which connected the entire Inca Empire, all the way from Ecuador to Chile and Argentina. The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is paved with blocks of stone, stone stairways, tunnels, and wooden bridges. It crosses rivers, streams, temperate valleys, warm cloud forests, and cold highlands. Along the way, you will encounter the different enticing Inca constructions which served a purpose in its golden years.
Hiking the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu can be very rewarding, available for all ages as long as you are fit and in good physical condition. The previous acclimation to the altitude is highly required since you will be hiking through different levels of altitude.
INCA TRAIL MACHU PICCHU 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.
If you are looking for a complete experience in Cusco, you can add this hike to our:
For more references about the different destinations Peru has to offer, please go to:
- EXPLORE INCA LIFE BEYOND MACHU PICCHU ON THIS SOUTH AMERICAN TRAIL (National Geographic)
Cusco – Piskacucho (Km 82) – Llactapata Ayapata
We will pick you up from your hotel between 04:30 – 05:00 AM and travel by car to Km 82, arriving at about 07:00 AM.
We will have a satisfying breakfast prepared by our cook, then we’ll start the trek by first stopping at the first Inca Trail checkpoint (please make sure to bring your passport with you to enter the Classic Inca Trail). The first 2 hours of the trek are relatively easy as we make our way to our first Inca remaining: Patallacta, an ancient Inca checkpoint for all people traveling to Machu Picchu. From there it is another 2-hour hike before our next stop for lunch.
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 of the day, we will pass by 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 for your flashlight, etc.
We will arrive at our campsite by 17:00hrs, giving us enough time to adjust and relax while we share a hot drink and snack with our fellow travelers. By 19:30hrs dinner will be served. Afterwards you can go to bed and rest.
Informative facts for your first day hiking the Classic Inca trail to Machu PicchuDaily Trek Statistics
Walking Distance: 8.7 miles/14 km (6-7 hours) Campsite Altitude: 3300 meters high above sea level Considered: Moderate day (getting used to the Inca Trail) Weather:
Warm and windy
Overnight at the campsite.
Ayapata – Dead Woman’s Pass – Runcuraccay Pass – Chaquiccocha
Your porters will wake you up early in the morning with a hot cup of coca tea to energize you for the hike. This day will be the longest in all the hike therefore we will start early. We will be reaching the highest pass of the trek, Warmiwañuska (Dead Woman’s Pass: 4215 meters/13829 feet) after hiking approximately for 4 hours.
On the pass, we will make a quick stop to take a breath, enjoy the scenery and set off to our descent to Pacasmayo (Hidden River). After descending for an hour and a half, we will make a lunch stop and also refill our water bottles, before we start ascending again for the next 2 hours to the second mountain pass. On the way we will stop at a small Inca site Runcurakay, considered a Tambo (something close to an Inca version of an Inn). As we reach the second pass we will be able to notice the landscape, gradually changing to a more jungle like scenery, a colorful forest welcoming us as we walk for another hour downhill to reach the magnificent Inca site of Sayaqmarka, a small town for 200 inhabitants more or less, of fine architecture, built up on top of a mountain which made it difficult to access, therefore the meaning of its name.
We will stop here to rest. We will have a quick tour of the site while we witness a compelling sunset over the Vilcabamba mountain range, 20 minutes more and we will be arriving at our second campsite Chaquicocha (Dry Lake, 3600 meters). Once we arrive we can get comfortable and have dinner, and if you are not too tired, we can star gaze and learn about the Inca names for the constellations on the Southern Hemisphere, away from city lights, the sky magically unfolds before our eyes and let us admire its infinite number of stars.
Informative facts for your second day hiking the Classic Inca trail to Machu PicchuDaily Trek Statistics
Walking Distance: 9.94 miles/16 km (7-8 hours) Campsite Altitude: 3600 meters high above sea level (chilly weather) Considered: Top day (you will have survived the two highest passes) Area:
the Andes and Cloud Forest
Cold and rainy
Overnight at campsite.
Chaquiccocha – Wiñaywayna Camp
Today we will be getting up at 06:30hrs, have breakfast, and set off for the next 2 hours hiking on what is recon as one of the most pleasant walks on the trail entering the Cloud Forest. We hike along the “Inca flat” (gradual inclines). As we walk we will spot in the distance the awe-inspiring Salkantay peak, the second highest snowcapped mountain in the Sacred Valley, along the 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 Puyupatamarka (3600 meters) from where we will have great views overlooking the Urubamba River. Looking across the valley we get our first sights of the Machu Picchu Mountain yet the architectural site is still hidden from view. From Phuyupatamarka we will continue 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 before arriving in Machu Picchu and the most popular campsite because of its proximity to Machu Picchu.
During the descent, we will visit 2 Inca ruins, the Phuyupatamarka site (Town in the Clouds), and Intipata (Terraces of the Sun). We will arrive at our campsite approximately at 13:00hrs to have lunch and then you can have some relaxing time and at about 16:30hrs, your guide will give you a brief explanation of what to expect the next day 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.
Since this is the last part of the trek and we like to spoil our guests, we prepare a little party to enjoy our last day together 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 this is the ideal moment to do so). 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 at Machu Picchu at the crack of dawn in hopes that the weather will give us a beautiful sunrise over the ruins at Machu Picchu as we reach the Intipunku (Sun Gate).
Informative facts for your third day hiking the Classic Inca trail to Machu PicchuDaily Trek Statistics
Walking Distance: 6.2 miles/10km (5 hours) Campsite Altitude: 2.600 meters high above sea level (chilly weather) Considered: Easy day – all downhill! Area:
High Cloud Forest
Warm and very humid
Overnight at the campsite.
Machu Picchu, “The Lost City of the Incas” – Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo – Cusco
We will get up at 03:30hrs, have breakfast at 04:00hrs, and head to the checkpoint so we can be the first ones to start the trek to Machu Picchu when the gate opens at 05:30hrs. We will say goodbye to our helpful and great porters and cook and off we will hike the last stretch of our exciting trek to Machu Picchu with our main goal in mind, to reach the impressive Sun Gate (Intipunku). From here we will have our first glimpse of the spectacular citadel of Machu Picchu and the mountains surrounding it as the valley opens up before our eyes and fill us with an amazing feeling of accomplishment and awe. We will reach Intipunku at about 06:30hrs. As we descend the sun will rise higher in the sky and offer us amazing views as we come closer to the legendary Lost City of the Incas within an hour. At about 07:40hrs we will have reached the final checkpoint and officially enter Machu Picchu! And our 2 hours private guided tour will begin. Once the tour is completed we will hand the bus tickets to you so you may take your trip down to the town of Aguas Calientes. In town, you will have 3 to 4 hours to explore the place on your own. If you are up to and with enough energy and enthusiasm to try the Huayna Picchu hike you can sign up for the trek which takes about 45 minutes to reach the summit. From here you will enjoy charming views from a different angle of Machu Picchu and the surrounding scenery (the Huayna Picchu hike is optional and not included in the price).
In the afternoon at about 13:00hrs we will meet up in Aguas Calientes and if you like, you can join in and relax in the hot springs of the town (not included in the price) or just go directly on your own to the Train Station to get on the Expedition Train departing at 16:22hrs and arriving at 18:10hrs in Ollantaytambo (1hr 30min from Cusco) where you will find a pickup person with a sign with your name on it, ready to assist you and transfer you to your hotel in Cusco.Informative facts for your fourth day hiking the Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu
Highlight: Intipunku: best views of Machu Picchu at the beginning of the day Area: High Cloud and Subtropical Forest Weather:
Hot and very humid (bring lots of water)
Overnight in Cusco (not included).
Trek Price per Person / double occupancy tent (US$)
|Group Service (minimum 2 people) includes extra porter to carry your belongings*.||US$ 894|
|Private Service (based on 2 people) includes an extra porter to carry your belongings*.||US$ 1,334|
|Private Service (based on 3 people) includes an extra porter to carry your belongings*.||US$ 1,109|
|Private Service (based on 4 people) includes an extra porter to carry your belongings*.||US$ 1,009|
|Private Service (based on 5-7 people) includes an extra porter to carry your belongings*.||US$ 1,044|
|Private Service (based on 8-10 people) includes an extra porter to carry your belongings*.||US$ 899|
|Private Service (based on 11-13 people) includes an extra porter to carry your belongings*.||US$ 869|
|Private Service (based on 14-16 people) includes an extra porter to carry your belongings*.||
|Single Supplement (additional to have a single tent).||US$ 50|
|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$ 80|
|Entrance ticket to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountains.||US$ 80|
|Buffet lunch at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.||US$ 40|
*Pricing based on Expedition Train.
The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is customizable. If you would prefer to add destinations to your trip, please let us know in the Comments Section of the Get Free Quote form. You can also fill out our Design Your Trip form or Contact Us form with your specific needs.
- The Classic Inca Trail departure dates are subject to space availability given by the Ministry of Culture (Only allowed 500 people per day including guides, cooks, porters, and travelers).
- The recommended period to hike the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is from March to October.
- Group Departure availability: every day of the year except February (closed for maintenance).
- A minimum number of people: 02 people.
- Student Discount (International Student Identity Card required): US$ 45.
- Children Discount (under 7 years old): US$ 45.
- Extra Services (not included): sleeping bag, walking poles, Inflatable sleeping pads for extra comfort, changing your train trip to Vistadome Train (return only), Entrance ticket to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountains, Buffet lunch at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.
- Price does not include local sales taxes; as foreign travelers are sales tax exempt according to Peruvian Law.
- If you are looking for a complete experience in Cusco, you can add this hike to our 4-day Machu Picchu Tours.
- Pre-departure briefing.
- Transfer in private transport to km.82 (starting point of the Inca trail) from Cusco or Sacred Valley (In the valley, this service is only available for hotels located between the towns of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo).
- Professional English-speaking tour guide.
- Inca Trail and Machu Picchu entrance fees.
- A maximum of 2 people per tent (4-person-capacity tents, giving you plenty of room for your backpack and personal items – clean & waterproof).
- Foam sleeping mat (1/2 inch/1.25 cm thick).
- Small pillows for sleeping, more comfortably!
- Rain ponchos.
- Day Pack Rain Covers.
- Dining tent with tables and chairs and kitchen tent.
- Private, portable toilet tent for your group’s use only.
- 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 menus are available upon request and at no extra cost).
- Previously boiled, cold water provided after breakfast, lunch, and dinner to refill your water bottles.
- Coca tea served each morning in your tent for an energetic altitude sickness free, the start of the day.
- First-aid kit including an emergency oxygen tank.
- 2-hour private guided tour in Machu Picchu the site.
- Bus ticket from Machu Picchu down to the town 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.
- International and domestic flights.
- Visas required to enter Peru.
- Airport Taxes (if not included in the flight ticket)
- Sleeping bag per person for 4 days.
- Inflatable sleeping pads for extra comfort.
- Pair of Walking Sticks
- Upgrading to Vistadome Train (return only).
- Entrance ticket to Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountains.
- Buffet lunch at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (only hotel located right next to the entrance to Machu Picchu).
The best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu is from April to mid-October. For more information click here.
Bring clothes you can use in layers so that you can adjust your body temperature depending on local conditions and time of day. Alternatively, you will also find excellent quality alpaca and llama wool products available in town, for easy wear and staying warm at night.
Bring a small foldable pouch, daypack, or backpack to carry your valuables, a water bottle to keep you hydrated and any extras like a light coat to be prepared for lighter temperature.
Daytime in the Andes can be extremely sunny and bright so bring sunglasses, a hat, and some sunscreen; lip moisturizer is also useful since the air is dry.
Hiking Machu Picchu requires proper footwear. Sturdy shoes with good ankle support or light hiking boots.
We strongly recommend you rest for at least 3 hours upon arrival at your hotel and limit food intake as digestion might be a bit slow during your first day. Also, many hotels offer a tea made with the leaves of the coca plant (considered a sacred plant in the Andes), it possesses the property to ease oxygen into the body blood cells and helps relieve altitude sickness.
You can also purchase “Sorocchi pill” or “Gravol” pills sold over-the-counter at drugstores and airports in Perú. However, the best thing you can do is to take a nap, eat lightly on the first day, drink lots of fluids, and avoid excessive physical or mental effort until acclimatized. Most people do NOT have serious problems with the altitude, and only experience a mild headache and shortness of breath on the first day.