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Thinking about taking the famous Peruvian adventure?
Trekking to Machu Picchu
The 39 km walk between Piscacucho (km82) and the ancient city of Machu Picchu is the most reknown trail in South America, and it is part of the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, situated within the District of Cusco in the Urubamba province. It is one of the Conservation projects created by the Peruvian Government in 1981 for the further conservation and protection of environmental and historically important areas. In 1997, Romßn Tinta - an athlete from Cusco, won a marathon competition on the Inca Trail, establishing a record time of 3 hours, 34 minutes and 20 seconds from Km 88 up to Machu Picchu, covering a distance of 33 km. We think the classic trek of 4 days and 3 nights is fast enough!
Only limited reservations per day. Book early to ensure the dates that you need!
3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail Trek
Many travellers from all over the world come to Peru not only to visit Machu Picchu, but also to hike on the Inca Trail, perhaps the most famous trek in South America if not the world. On one hand, they are attracted by the challenge posed by the trail; on the other hand, the beauty of the scenery, the impressive ruins and above all, the mystery that awaits at the end of the trail, Machu Picchu!
Below is a day-by-day account of what to expect on the Inca Trail:
First day on the Inca Trail: Cusco - Km. 82 - Wayllabamba Camp (altitude: 2,980m)
You will be picked-up at your accomodation in Cusco very early, generally pick-up time is from 6.30 to 7am at the hostels. After a 3-hour bus ride and a 1-hour break in the town of Urubamba to get supplies, the bus arrives at Km 82 on the route to Machu Picchu. Every tourist has to register here at the checkpoint in order to start the trekking (you must have the passport you reserved the Inca Trail with and entered the country on). From here only 42 km over mountains, Andean valleys, rivers and tropical forets stretch between you and Machu Picchu. The first stretch is basically flat with easy ascents and takes barely 1 hour to cover. The trek goes on after lunch by descending and ascending a canyon. Later on, from the top of the hill, the ruins of Llactapata citadel come into view. The trails winds down to enter the valley of the Kusichaca river, from where a light climb gets you to the camp at Wayllabamba. Up to this point, it┤s a 2-3 hour hike since lunch. The camp lies 3 000 m high and it┤s cold at night. After dinner and before going to sleep, it┤s a good chance to look at the stars. On clear nights, it┤s possible to see most of the Milky Way, some constellations like Orion┤s Belt and if lucky a shooting star.
Second day on the Inca Trail: From Wayllabamba Camp to Paqaymayo Camp (altitude: 3,660m)
Wake-up calls begin around 6am for breakfast and packing. The second day is considered by far the most difficult, due to the 1,200 m ascend to the highest point on the trail, the Warmiwa˝usca pass or "Dead Woman┤s Pass" (altitude: 4,215m). This stretch usually takes from 4 to 5 hours. Once there, it┤s recommended to take a break and wear thick clothes, for it┤s generally cold. Don┤t forget to bring warm clothes for this pass!
Once through the pass, the trails head down for 2 hours to the next camp. However, some groups take lunch midway to have a break and others do it at the camp in Paqaymayo, where we stay overnight. This way, almost the whole afternoon is devoted to rest.
Third day on the Inca Trail: From Paqaymayo Camp to Wi˝aywayna Camp (altitude: 2,700m)
This is the most interesting day, besides being the longest. It begins with a 1 and a half hour ascend to the Runkurakay pass, located at 3,950 m. There┤s a stop at an ancient Inca checkpoint on the way, as well as a lagoon where deer often drink from. After this pass the trail basically goes down. Other four ruins lie along the way to be visited: the first is Sayacmarca, which during Inca days was also a checkpoint for the trails leading into Machu Picchu. The hike continues on to Phuyupatamarca, where groups do lunch and visit the ruins here. From this moment the ascend is pretty steep and difficult, for it mainly consists of steps. Finally, we make it to the ruins at Intipata, a complex of terraces built halfway on a mountain slope, covered by dense vegetation. The trail leads to the camp at Wi˝aywayna which offers rest, a shower and a cold beer. Once settled, we could visit the ruins of Wi˝aywayna, similar to those of Intipata, but way more impressive.
Fourth day on the Inca Trail: From Wi˝aywayna Camp to Machu Picchu
This starts earlier than normal, since 5:30am is the time to start towards Machu Picchu. The flashlights will come in handy, it┤s still dark at this hour and the trail is rather narrow. In one and a half hours, we arive at Inti Punku or "The Sun Gate", from where it┤s possible to admire for the first time the majestic Inca city of Machu Picchu. From here it┤s only 30 minutes to your guided tour of Peru's most famous Inca ruins.
The Tour of Machu Picchu will take around 2 hours, and then you have free time to explore the site more, or head to the town of Aguas Calietes to soak in hotsprings or walk around the shops and restuarants (your bus ticket to Aguas Calientes is included). Then it is back to Cusco via the train on the comfortable backpacker class.
Inca Trail Photos
What is included in your Inca Trail package?
The camps are located outdoors and accomodation is in supplied two man tents. There are hygenic toilets situated along the track and at the camps. Hot showers are only available at the last camp. Qualified personnel are situated at checkpoints at every camp to provide security and assistance in case of accidents and medical emergencies. Your tents are put up and taken down for you. Meals are also provided from the first days lunch until the 4th days breakfast. All you have to do is walk and enjoy the views!
- Pre-departure briefing
- Cuzco Hotel Pick-Up
- Professional English/Spanish/Quechua Speaking Guide
- Inca Trail and Machu Picchu Entrance Fees
- Tourist bus Cuzco - Kilometer 82 (starting point of trek)
- Tourist train Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo
- Tourist bus Ollantaytambo - Cuzco
- Cuzco Hotel Drop-Off
- Meals: 3B/3L/3D/3 snacks with typical menus
- Basic sleeping pad
- All season 4-man tent for 2 people
- Porters and cook to carry shared camping and cooking equipment
- First Aid kit
- Emergency oxygen bottle
Whats not included:
- Breakfast on Day
- Day 4 LunchTourist bus Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes ($8 USD)
- Trekking poles
- Sleeping Bag
- Inflatable Sleeping Mattress (you will be provided with a normal sleeping pad)
- Bottled Water
- Extra Porter
- Bottled water (NOTE: you need to bring your own bottled water on the first day. You will have access to boiled water during the trek. We recommend bringing water purification tablets and an aluminum water bottle so you can drink water at any time during the trek. The cost of water may double or triple along the trail so plan to bring extra cash to purchase water)
- Tips for guides and porters (WE RECCOMEND that you take along approximately 100 soles in small denominations.)
- Extra Money - Best to have too much money than too little, as you won't be finding ATM machines on the Inca Trail. Bring small notes so you can buy little things along the way.
- Optional Wayna Picchu Trek ($26 soles in advance)
- Your Travel Insurance
Inca Trail Photos
Pictured above - porters carrying your tents, camping and cooking equiptment!
Want More Comfort?
Is the Inca Trail hard?
Well we won't lie to you, its a 4 day walk with a lot of climbs and dips at altitude, so yes, you would have had easier walks in your life! If you are worried about how you will fair on the Inca Trail or would rather enjoy your time with a little more comfort, then we recommend an upgrade to superior class!
What do you get with an upgrade?
Well the big difference is you will have an extra porter available to help carry your belongings, allowing you less load so as to concentrate more on enjoying yourself! A sleeping bag, walking pole, inflatable matress and are just some of the other things in which an upgrade will make your walk more comfortable! Here is the list of all the extra things an upgrade will supply:
- Thermal sleeping bag
- Inflatable sleeping mattress
- Professional Trekking Poles
- Extra Porters & Duffel bag to carry 5 kilos of personal belongings for each trekker
- Day 4 Lunch in Aguascalientes
Inca Trail Photos
What should you take on the Inca Trail?
Our tour provides tents, thermal rest matresses, as well as food. The only extra things you need to take is your personal stuff, flashlight and sleeping bag (unless you upgrade). A plastic poncho or a raincoat is a key piece during the months from November to March.
It is possible to buy bottled water during the first two days, but for the third day it┤s necessary to purify water and here┤s when purifying pills or iodine come in handy. As far as clothes are concerned, hikking boots, long pants (which can convert into shorts are best), Shorts, T-shirts, jackets, gloves and cap are recommended. Not to forget sunblock and insect repellant, especially during the wet season.
You only need to carry a daypack with your water, camera, snacks, insect repellent and warm clothes. The remainder of your luggage should be stored at your hostel in Cusco until your return, along with your valuables locked up in a secure place. You need to take your passport on the Inca Trail!
A List of what you will need!
- SLEEPING BAG
- WATER PROOF CLOTHING.
- PLASTIC BAGS or something similar to place your belongings in to keep everything dry.
- TOILET PAPER. (Very important)
- BASIC PERSONAL TOILETRIES.
- WATER BOTTLE.
- WARM CLOTHING FOR COLD NIGHTS. (Fleece, long pants, woollen hat, gloves)
- SPARE UNDERWEAR & SOCKS.
- PERSONAL MEDICATION
- CAMERA & BATTERIES
- SNACKS (Chocolates, chips, biscuits, energy bars.)
- TORCH / FLASH LIGHT (Very Important) and spare batteries.
- RE-HYDRATION SATCHELS
- BASIC FIRST AID KIT (Band-aids, Imodium, panadol)
- SUNSCREEN, SUNGLASSES, HAT & MOSQUITO REPELLANT.
- WALKING CLOTHES IN LAYERS. I.e.: - (zip off pants, fleece etc.)
Inca Trail Photos
Walk during the day, but at night socialize in the cook tent! Do these people look like they have had a tough day?
Other Inca Trail Information
The Inca Trails begins at Km 82 from Cusco City in the direction towards Machu Picchu. It covers a 39 km distance.
Climate is rather varied along the trek. During the day, it┤s generally sunny and dry (first two days), but a bit humid on the third and fourth days. At night, it┤s cold at the first two camps, but it changes to temperate at the third camp. The wet season starts at the end of November and goes through to March. This makes trekking more difficult, but the landscapes benefit from the rain.
Scenery and landscapes gradually change along the trail. The landscape reflects Andean features like steep snow-topped mountains, forests and creeks during the first two days. In turn, vegetation goes more tropical on the third day, ressembling a rain forest. Llamas, hawks, lizards and an occasional deer may be seen along the hike.
Inca Trail Regulations
Items not allowed on the Inca Trail:
- Firearms or compressed air, bows and arrows, hunting and fishing implements, axes, machetes, mount knives, picks, shovels or other tools.
- Any type of trap to catch specimens of fauna.
- Fossil fuels such as kerosene, diesel oil, gasoline.
- Stimulants, narcotics and other drugs not permitted by national legislation.
- Sound equipment and other generators of annoying noises.
- Domestic animals and exotic species.
- Metal-tipped canes without protective rubber or wooden sticks of native species.
- Bottles, plastic containers and disposable cups
Inca Trail Periods of Closure
For reasons of ecological recovery, during the month of February each year the Inca Trail is closed for tourist use.
For reasons of conservation or restoration, there may be Inca Trail closure periods; in this case the UGM will notify users thirty (30) calendar days in advance.
In situations of risk, acts of God or force majeure, the Peruvian government may order the closure or restriction of the Inca trail without previous notice.
Length of stay for tourists
- Once admitted to the Inca Trail, the users can not extend their stay for longer than what is established on their ticket, except for fortuitous or force majeure circumstances.
- The stay applies from the moment the user registers entry to the Inca Trail Network at the SHM check-in point and monitoring station.
It is mandatory that all users of the Inca Trail, enter the Inca Trail with their original identity cards (passport) and register their entry at the checkpoints or the INC or INRENA.
Prohibition of traffic and night use of the Inca Trail
It is forbidden to move through the network of the Inca Trail between the hours of 19:00 and 05:30am, unless deemed necessary by unforeseen circumstances or force majeure.
Inca Trail Photo
Inca Ruins are found throughout the track!
The History of the Inca Trail
For thousands of years, South American civilizations developed themselves apart from the rest of the world. The last of these people were the Incas, who extended over the territories of Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, placing their political center in Peru. As the Romans did, the Incas produced monumental stone buildings, as well as an extensive network of paved roads to link the farthest corners of their vast Empire. Many of them have recently been re-discovered and cleared, such as the Inca Trail, allowing modern man to admire the best example of the routes trodden by the first Spainish invaders, who couldn┤t help but praise every inch of these ancient trails.
The Inca Trail served as a pilgrimage route to Machu Picchu, trekked by the Inca King himself in the 15th century. It wasn┤t intended for commercial purposes, as there were other easier trails to carry products, llamas and people to Machu Picchu. The purpose of the Inca Trail was religious and ceremonial, a pilgrimage that included rituals for worshiping the mountains along the route, and along the way you can visit ceremonial centres such as Verˇnica and Wakaywilka. On the Inca Trail you will overcome high snow-covered peaks, and then sneak down into the jungle, where access grows difficult by the minute, and it is right here where the Sacred City of Machu Picchu rests.
Inca Trail Photos
<---- Make your Inca Trail Reservations now! Click on the Inca Trail product window to start your reservations process. Once you choose your dates we will check for availability and send you a payment request. If there is no availability for the dates you requested, then we will inform you of the closest available dates.
Want to know about what other Machu Picchu treks are available?
If you want to trek without the crowds, try something different, or there is no availabilty on the Inca Trail, then check-out the alternatives below!
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Testimonials > Inca Trail | June,12 2011
We were extremely happy with the hike, tour operator and Machu Picchu is the most beautiful ruins we have seen, comparing to Pompeii, Ephesus, Egyptian Pyramids and many other Greek/Roman ruins we ...... [Read +]
Testimonials > Inca Trail Trek | April,20 2011
Thank you so much for all your help, we really appreciate the extra steps you have taken to ensure our satisfaction. Thanks again for all the emails and answers to questions from the start. Amazin...... [Read +]