The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the highlights on a Peru trip and for many years, the most visited trekking route in Peru. Hardly any other destination in Peru can take up a visit to the Inca site Machu Picchu. For almost every visitor to Peru, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail are part of a successful round trip.
Active travelers and physically fit travelers can hike on ancient Inca trails and experience an active holiday on a 2-day or 4-day tour.
Attention: A large part of the Inca Trail consists of steps; the path is roughly paved and sometimes only 60-80 cm wide. Travelers with knee or foot discomfort should be aware of this and be prepared to walk with constant concentration. In four days we will cross many different landscapes of steep mountain passes, wild pastures and dense forests. You will walk over mountain passes with incredible views, parts of the original Inca Trail and along the Inca ruins. Out of nowhere there appears the green jungle.
What does the day’s course of the four-day Inca Trail / Camino Inca look like?
1st day: Cusco (3.350m) – Piskakucho (2.850m) – Wayllabamba (3.100m)
Early in the morning (between 5:50 and 6:30 am) you and other participants will take the bus up to km. Drive 82 (2,850m) this is the starting point of the Inca Trail. The bus passes through the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the villages of Chinchero, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. In Ollantaytambo you will have time to have breakfast and can buy some last things for the hike (eg hiking stick, rain poncho, snacks). Together with the participants of the Inca Trail you cross the Inka Trail Check Point and pass the Urubamba River. The trail will take you west to the ruins of Huillca Raccay and you will hike down the Cusichaca valley to the last inhabited village of the trail: Wayllabamba (3.100m). Here is the camp and the last chance to buy drinks and snacks for the tour.
- Walking time: 4.5 to 5 hours
- Total distance: 12km.
Day 2: Wayllabamba (3,100m) – Warnihuanusca (4,200m) – Pacaymayo (3,600m)
Today it is exhausting and sweaty, because you cross the highest Gerbirgspass, the Warmihuanusca pass. Leave Wayllabamba early in the morning and start climbing up to Llulluchayoc. The path consists of many bending curves. Through the cloud forest it goes up and up to the Llulluchapampa point (3.850m). A fantastic view over the valley invites for a short break.
Because before you is still the difficult climb to the Warmihuanusca Pass through the impressive Paramo landscape at about 4,000m altitude. The view from the Warmihuanusca Pass, at an altitude of 4,200 meters, is impressive. The Warmihuanusca Pass is translated in Quechua as “Dead Women’s Pass”. Before you reach the tent camp, it goes just as laboriously downhill into the lower valley to the Pacaymayo River (3.600m).
- Walking time: 7.5 to 8 hours
- Total distance: 13km.
Day 3: Pacaymayo (3,600m) – Sayacmarca (3,725m) – Phuyupatamarka (3,580m) – Winay Wayba (2,650m)
The program of the third day is spiked with historical and natural beauty and will therefore be the longest day. Enough time to enjoy the beautiful landscape to the fullest. From the camp, walk to the ruins of Runkurakay (3,800m), overlooking the Pacaymayo Valley. Here, the Inca Trail shows its full beauty, as a large part to the second pass, Abra de Runkurakay (4000m), consists of a road paved by the Incas. The path leads you to impressive Andean peaks, deep gorges and a beautifully constructed staircase to Sayacmarca (3.725m). The name means “unreachable city” because the ruin is protected by steep rocks.
Forests full of orchids, mosses and ferns are the highlight of this route. Then you go through an Inca tunnel up to the third pass at 3700 meters altitude. From here you have beautiful views over snow-capped mountains such as the mighty Salkantay (6,180m) and Veronica (5,750m).
The “city in the clouds”, Phuyupatamarca is the next stop on the trail.
These impressive ruins can only be reached over many steps. After visiting Phuyupatamarca, you have to descend hundreds of steps to Winay Wayna (3km).
Winay Wayna will be the last camp before arriving at the ruins of Machu Picchu. Winay Wayna is a more comfortable camp with a restaurant, toilets and hot showers. The hot showers can be used for a small fee. Near the camp is the beautiful ruin of Winay Wayna. Winay Wayna means “forever young” in Quechua, which is also the name of a pink-colored orchid that grows in the area. With ten Inca Baths in the area, Winay Wayna is believed to be a spa resort before Machu Picchu was built.
- Walking time: 8.5 to 9.5 hours
- Total distance: 15 km.
Day 4: Winay Wayna (2.650m) – Intipunku – Machu Picchu (2.430m) – Train back to Cusco
Seeing the sunrise over the Machu Picchu ruins is impressive. To see it you will leave the camp at 04:30 in the direction of “Sonnentor” (Intipunku) . At 7:30 you will have an impressive view of the first rays of sunshine over Machu Picchu. The descent to Machu Picchu is short and you will have more than enough time to explore the scenery and take photos. At the entrance of Machu Picchu you can also leave your backpacks. After an approximately two-hour guided tour of the resort, you will have enough time for yourself and maybe to climb the Huayna Picchu.
Huayna Picchu is the mountain behind Machu Picchu. It takes an hour to climb up and descend forty minutes. Note that you must make a reservation to climb the Huayna Picchu. Tell your guide in advance, then you can get one of the 450 tickets before the tour starts. The tour to Huayna Picchu will start at 6:30 and 9:00, and a surcharge will apply.
- Walking time: 2.5 hours (visit to Machu Pichu not included)
- Total distance: 6km.
What should I pay attention to when planning travel and carrying out the Inca Trail?
Many travelers take the bus to Aguas Calientes at around 1:00 pm for lunch, as there is only one restaurant (Sanctuary Lodge) in Machu Picchu which is relatively expensive. In Aguas Calientes you can also visit the hot springs, which can be relaxing after 4 days of hiking. Admission is relatively cheap and valid for two hours. The train to Cusco departs from Aguas Calientes in the afternoon and it is important to know the travel times of the bus that will take you from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes.
Normally the buses run every 25 minutes and the prices for bus and train are included in the price of the tour.
The transfer from Aguas Calientes to Cusco could be difficult to settle and we cannot promise exactly when you will be back at the hotel. The return trip is scheduled: You will travel by train from Aquas Calientes to Ollantaytambo from 14:00 or 18:00; the journey will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes. In Ollantaytambo you will be taken by bus to your hotel, the journey takes 1 hour and 45 minutes
The following important information, we need when booking the Inca Trail:
- Passport number, specific eating habits (eg vegetarian), hotel and address where you stay, if you have a specific illness you are responsible for your medication
The tour gives you the opportunity to put your personal belongings and sleeping bags that you do not want to wear, but still want to take you into a big bag. The sack that the mules will carry may weigh up to 7 kg.
Inclusive services of Classic Inca trail 4 days program
- Map of the Inca Trail, transfer from the hotel Km. 82, entrance fees Inca Trail / Machu Picchu, English speaking guide, cook, porter (not responsible for personal belongings), complete camping equipment, all meals from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 4 (3 breakfasts, 3x lunches, 3 x dinners), we offer a bottle of boiling water every day, except on day 1, visit of Machu Picchu including 2.5 hours guided tour, bus: Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes, train : Aguas Calientes to Poroy or Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, transfer from Poroy or Ollantaytambo train station to the hotel in Cusco
- Breakfast on the first day and lunch on the last day, bottle of water for the first day, extra snacks, personal trekking equipment (clothes, sleeping bag, better sleeping pads); The latter two things you can borrow, carrier for personal things (you can order, but only in advance)
What should be in my luggage?
Here you can see a luggage list of things we recommend to take with you:
- Original ID, ISIC Originals – If you are a student, backpack, hiking boots, raincoat or poncho, warm clothing, water bottle, flashlight, photo or video camera + extra batteries, insect repellent, snacks, hat, sunscreen, toiletry bag and medicine, towel, toilet paper, Cash (dollars and soles), binoculars (optional).
Why should I book the Inca Trail as early as possible?
Since only a limited number of people can enter the Inca Trail, it is very important to book in advance. For several years it was forbidden for private tourists to enter the trail. Only organizers with permission are allowed to do this tour. As the trail becomes more and more popular, we cannot guarantee the availability of tickets when you book at short notice. The local organizers have to submit a list of participants to the local authorities in advance, which cannot be changed later.
In February, the 2-day and 4-day tours to maintain the trail are closed.
Is there anything else I should know?
It may be that the camps differ from the descriptions. The camps are determined by the INC, which controls the Inca Trail organizers. The wearers carry only general camping equipment, sleeping bags and Madras; you must wear clothing and other luggage yourself. If you want a personal carrier, we can organize it for you. When booking, please let us know if you require an extra carrier. An extra carrier can be shared by two people, but the maximum weight is always 15 kg.
- If you bring your own hiking poles, you must not have any sharp edges, as they could otherwise damage the paths and ruins.
- The information in your booking must be the same as your passport. If you book with an old pass and arrive with a new one, you will not be allowed access to the Inca Trail. Please make sure that the information you send us is acute.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2 days / 1 night
This shortened version of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is suitable for those who have less time, but still want to miss this particular Camino Inca. They start at km. 104 and walk to the ruins of Winahuayna. After visiting the ruins, continue to Inti punku, the sun gate, from where you have a beautiful view over the lost city of the Incas. By bus you drive to the village of Aguas Calientes and spend the night there. The next day, you start the first bus very early to visit Machu Picchu, located 2,450 meters above sea level. At 15:30 the train back to Cusco.
Detailed information on the program of the 2-day tour as well as individual advice on your Peru trip can be obtained from our Peru travel specialists! Make a non-binding travel inquiry or call us on the following number: 51 931303626!