Trekking the Inca Trail is the ultimate backpacking rite of passage. An unreal journey that takes you four days to complete, trekking high up in the Andes in search of the lost city of Machu Picchu. Not for the faint hearted, this trail leads you through steep mountain passes, with dramatic scenery culminating in a magnificent view of the Inca citadel, through the infamous Sun Gate.
Trek the Inca Trail in search of Machu Picchu.Book Now
When was the last time you took an adventure? Now you can experience one of the last great adventures, the Inca Trail. Discover the The Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu, which is undoubtedly the most recognised symbol of Inca civilization. Perched high up in the Andes, it is known to be the only Inca city that was never found by the Spanish.
“The Inca Trail”, as it is commonly called, was originally the Camino Real, or Royal Highway, that led pilgrims and officials of the Empire to the Sacred City of the Incas. Winding through several mountain passes high up in the Andes, the trail leads through several lookout points, from where the Incas could see any approaching enemies.
What makes the Inca Trail so intriguing is the amazing combination of Inca ruins, superb views, the dramatic Andes scenery. There is plenty of flora ( 250 species of orchid have been counted in the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary) as well as fauna – numerous birds such as hummingbirds, waterfowl and the majestic Andean condor. Not to mention the odd alpaca lama!
- Following the footsteps of the Incas on high mountain passes
- Seeing the sun come up over Macchu Picchu through the sun gate
- Exploring the cool city of Cuzco
- Amazing views from the Inca Trail
- Crossing a must do before you die item off that bucket list!
- Pre-trek night in Cuzco with great backpacker nightlife!
Life on the trail
Ask anyone travelling to Peru, and they will all state they are heading to the Inca Trail, taking four days to complete, it is as much about the adventure as it is about meeting fellow trekkers!
Starting on the same day you will bump into the same people en route, and although the pace may well be different for everyone, climbing at altitude is not easy,everyone camps out at the same spots, making the night times a pretty social experience.
In the day you will push on through ever-changing scenery, passing sheer cliff drops, llamas, trekkers, ruins and many excited adventurers heading to Machu Picchu. All different nationalities get together around camp fires to discuss, well you name it, anything and everything. International life time friendships are cemented in just four days.
This is the very essence of what makes travelling so cool, and it all happens on the Inca Trail.
Two hour guided tour included
A guided tour of Machu Picchu with a professional English-speaking guide and then enjoy free time to explore the ruins, truly a once-in-a-lifetime unforgettable experience.
When And How
From March 2013 we have 5 departures per week: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. With an included night in Cuzco the previous day.
Please be advised that there are limited numbers of trekking permits for each day (500) and once they are gone they are gone. Sometimes they sell out up to three months in advance so please book early. This means you have to set your date for arrival in Cuzco, but with our Lima to Cuzco travel pass you can get there easily enough. (You can also fly direct from Lima so be sure to check out the Lima surf connection arrival pack too. It rocks!)
Please note the Inca trail is closed in February for maintenance.
There are alternative routes you can take if you are unable to get a permit, however we advise you do not leave it to chance, this is a once in a life time adventure, and going to Peru and missing out on this trip is criminal!
If you want to know more about getting to Cuzco or any more detail on the trip, please request trip notes or contact us. Remember you can combine this trip with a more epic adventure across South America!
- From: Pick up at hostel
- To: Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes; Back to Cuzco
- Departure time: 06:00 am
- Returning time: 20:30 – 21:00 pm
A spectacularly rich experience in the Andean mountains and Inca culture awaits you! One night in Cuzco and four days of trekking, 50 kilometers through the heart of the Andes, the only trek to take you along the the original Inca Trail, an authentic hand-built stone footpath where you will walk in the footsteps of ancient Inca royalty and enter Machu Picchu through the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) at sunrise for awe-inspiring views as the ancient Incas did a thousand years ago. Climb from 2,380 meters to 4,210 meters at Dead Woman’s Pass, then pass through unforgettably beautiful jungle scenery and hidden labyrinth-style ruins to reach the most spectacular Inca archaeological site in South America.
Arrive into Cuzco and head to the hostel for check in. You have the day to settle in, explore Cuzco and attend a pre trek briefing and meet the other members of the group. Get a good nights sleep and be ready to start your adventure the next day.
Hostel Pick-Up at 6:00am. Please make all of the necessary preparations one day prior to the trek. You will be taken by bus to the town of Ollantaytambo where you will have an hour to eat breakfast and purchase last minute snacks, water and walking sticks. A good hot breakfast will give you energy to start the Inca Trail off on a good foot. Then you will hop back on the bus to KM 82 where the famous Inca Trail journey will begin. Hike along rolling hills in the Urubamba River Valley passing by several small archaeological sites along the way. Lunch will be prepared half-way and you will have time to relax before reaching Wayllabamba camp (2,980m) around 17:00pm. (11 km trek; 6 hour duration).
Today is the most challenging day along the trail with a vertical hike of approximately 5 hours to reach Dead Woman’s Pass at 4,215 m followed by a 2 hour hike down stone steps to reach Pacaymayo camp at 3,600 m. You will begin with a 5:30 am wake-up call with hot coca-leaf tea in your tent. After packing up and eating breakfast at 6:00 am you will start off for the big hike.
Take your time and rest as much as you feel necessary as you ascend more than 1,200 meters over the course of the morning. Don’t miss awe-inspiring views of the valley as you reach the pass and remember to take your photograph at the top! Just after you cross Dead Woman’s Pass you will be rewarded with spectacular views of nearby snow-capped mountain peaks and roaring waterfalls. Stroll slowly down to Pacaymayo Camp (3,660m) to enjoy the scenery. Arrive in time for lunch and a well-deserved nap to the sounds of the nearby waterfalls and nature. Then you will have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the camp before dinner and an early bedtime. (10 km trek; 7 hour duration). (It may be possible to rent an extra porter on days two and three for approximately £15 per day – this can be organized directly with your guide).
An unforgettable journey along ancient Inca stairways, mountain lakes, intriguing archaeological sites and humid jungle scenery awaits you. Another early start with a wake-up call at 5:30 am in your tent and breakfast at 6:00 am with cocoa leaf tea to get you kick-started for this full day. Start with a one-hour hike uphill to visit the oval-shaped Pacaymayo archaeological site believed to have been either a crop-storage structure or an Inca military fortress overlooking the valley to control the region. Continue one hour to Runquracay Pass where you can climb to the tip-top of the mountain for incredible views of surrounding peaks. Visit two more archaeological sites with your guide and have lunch along the way.
By late afternoon you will reach WiÃ±ayhuayna High Jungle camp (2,700m) set above a river valley in a high jungle/ rain forest climate. Throw down your gear and grab a place in line for the hot-shower that awaits you. Then stroll over to the lodge and order a (not-so-cheap but well-worth-the-money) cold beer or hot chocolate to enjoy with friends on the balcony looking out over lush green mountains. After dinner, say a big THANK YOU to your porters and guides. (14 km, 8 hours duration).
A unique and magnificent experience is in the cards for you today. Wake up before the sun (depending on your guide, between 3:30 – 4:30 am) for breakfast. Get on the trail before the rest of the groups and hike about an hour to reach Inti-Punku (Sun Gate). Walking through magical Inti-Punku to glimpse the first sights of Machu Picchu is truly a once-in-a-lifetime unforgettable experience. Then continue down the final length of the trail to reach the wondrous Machu Picchu archaeological complex perched delicately on the top of the sacred Machu Picchu mountain. You will have time to check your backpacks (bring water, sunblock, sunglasses, hat and sweater or rain poncho with you), grab a quick bite at the snackbar and use the restrooms before re-entering the site with your guide. (7 km; 2 hours duration).
MACHU PICCHU GUIDED SITE VISIT
The one and only, the most spectacular (and not to mention most popular) archaeological site in all of South America. Your guide will take you on a 2-hour tour of Machu Picchu walking you through the most important sites and covering the history of the place (if you haven’t already heard it all during the Inca Trail Trek). Then you will have free time to explore on your own and take pictures at your leisure. When you decide to head back down to Aguas Calientes, there are buses departing every 15 minutes from the entrance or you can take the walking trail down if you feel like another 1 hour stair stepping downhill to Aguas Calientes town.
Machu Picchu was (relatively recently) “discovered” by American historian, Hiram Bingham, in 1911 while searching for the legendary “Lost City of the Incas”. Hiram Bingham and his local guides stumbled across the site which was then covered in thick vegetation which was later cleared revealing the magical mountain-top archaeological site and opening up the possibility for archaeologists to conduct research on the site by 1915.
Whether arriving via Inca Trail or entering from Aguas Calientes don’t miss the excellent photo opportunities from the following spots:
- Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock (a restored building with a thatched roof), Sacred Plaza with views of the Cordillera Vilcabamba in the distance and Rio Urubamba below.
- Hike up the steep (and sometimes muddy) peak named Wayna Picchu* (45 – 60 minutes) for unforgettable views of Machu Picchu from a coveted perspective (you must purchase a ticket before entering the site in order to do the hike – note: there are only about 200 tickets available for the 7:00am and 10:00am entry times to Wayna Picchu.)
- For two other views of the site, walk out to the Inca Drawbridge (30 minutes) and Inti Punku (45 – 60 minutes).
*If you are coming from the Inca trail, speak with your guide regarding purchasing a ticket for Wayna Picchu since they may sell out early.
Have a delicious lunch at any restaurant you desire and then head over to the hot-springs to soak your sore body in the rejuvenating waters. There are internet cafes, cafes with board games and cards, plenty of shops and places to relax. Visit the local marketplace right next to the train tracks where you can shop until the train whistle blows signalling your return to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you will take a bus for the last section of highway to Cuzco arriving back around 10:30pm.
The Inca trail trek involves camping at high altitude, camping equipment is provided and expect to wake up to some amazing views from your tent zipper!
Frequently Asked Questions
The most common question we are asked is how fit do you have to be to trek the Inca trail? Is is tough?
Well the short answer is it is not hard, but not easy either. The challenge comes because you are walking at altitude, where the air is thin and you do not get as much oxygen. This turns a stiff uphill walk into something a lot more tricky.
The worst part comes on day two, and whilst it does not look so bad it is a long way up when you have to stop and catch your breath for a few minutes more frequently than you would think is normal.
Do not let that put you off though, the reward is more than worth it, not only in terms of the views and experience, but also from the sense of accomplishment. Just you try and walk for four days straight, over 50km, and you would feel like you have achieved a lot anyway.
- Pre-departure information
- 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
- Sleeping Mattress
- 4-man tent for 2 people
- Porters and cook to carry shared camping and cooking equipment
- First Aid kit
- Emergency oxygen bottle
- Flights to Peru
- Airport pickup
- Transfers to and from Cuzco
- Day 1 Breakfast
- Day 4 Lunch
- Tourist bus Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes ( £5.00)
- Trekking poles
- Sleeping Bag
- Inflatable sleeping mattress (you will be provided with a normal sleeping mattress)
- 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 aluminium 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
- Travel insurance