Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Our most recommended tours and activities

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Classic 4-Day Trek

1. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Classic 4-Day Trek

Hike the unforgettable Inca Trail, and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Participate in one of the world’s oldest pilgrimages on this 4-day program that is consistently ranked among the ten best hikes on the planet. Pass through a number of different ecological zones home to a wide diversity of flora and fauna. Spot a variety of orchids and bromeliads, as well as hummingbirds, foxes, and deer. Strike lucky and you may even catch a glimpse of the magnificent South American Bear. Explore archaeological sites and farming terraces that were left behind by the Incas and remained undiscovered for over 400 years. Finish the hike in Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most spectacular historical sites on earth. Day 1: Training day! Cusco – Km 82 – LLactapata – Ayapata (14km, 6hrs).- Depart from your hotel around 4:30 am and drive to Km 82 to start the 6-hour hiking on the first day of the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu. The first campsite is located at 3300m (10826ft); we spend the night in comfortable tents. Day 2: The Challenge! Ayapata – Warmiwañuska – Chaquicocha (16km, 10 hrs).- The most challenging and longest day of the 4 days Machu Picchu Trek, passing two mountains in 10hrs of hiking: The first mountain is Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point of the Inca Trail with 4215m (13829ft). The second mountain is Runqurakay Pass, with 4000m (13123ft). Day 3: The easy day! Chaquiccocha – Phuyupatamarca – Wiñaywayna (10km, 6hrs). The most beautiful and relaxing day, hiking is only 6-hours passing through different ecological zones. Today, you will also visit several beautiful archaeological sites, including Wiñaywayna, located at 2600m (8530ft); we camp only 2 hours from Machu Picchu. Day 4: Machu Picchu! Wiñaywayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco (6km, 2 hrs), Wake up early and hike for 2 hours to Machu Picchu through the Sungate from where we will have a unique view of Machu Picchu. After exploring Machu Picchu, you will take the Panoramic train back to Cusco. Drop off back at your hotel around 7:30 pm.

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Cusco: 4-Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Small Group Trek

2. Cusco: 4-Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Small Group Trek

Day 1: Cusco to Wayllabamba After pick-up Cusco, drive for 1.5 hours by bus to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where the trek begins. The walking on the first day is relatively easy. Along the way you will visit the ruined city of Patallacta, and Willkarakay, a military post located above Patallacta. Then enter the lush valley of Wayllabamba, walking along the banks of the Cusichaca River. The trail continues gradually upward through dense Andean forest, to the first campsite in Wayllabamba. Day 2: Wayllabamba to Pacaymayu You will start early, as the walking is physically intense for those who are not accustomed to high altitudes. Trek through the densely vegetated Andean forest until you arrive at a campsite, where you will take a short rest. Continuing your ascent in the afternoon, the habitat will begin to change. After another rest, with snacks and hot drinks, begin the final ascent to a 4,215 meter pass, the highest point of the trek. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding valleys below, then descend to the campsite in Pacaymayu for the night. Day 3: Pacaymayu to Wiñay Wayna  Visit the archaeological site of Runkurakay, a former resting lodge for ancient pilgrims. Then after a 45-minute ascent, you will reach the second highest pass of the Inca trail. Descend to the archaeological site of Sayacmarca. After visiting the site, continue down the beautifully paved road to the lunch stop. From here you will enter the high Andean cloud forest. The trail continues along a narrow ridge, arriving at a natural viewing area, where it is possible to see the Sacred Valley and numerous mountain peaks, as well as Machu Picchu. From here, descend to the campsite at Wiñay Wayna, passing an important archaeological site and a temple where offerings are made to the sacred mountain spirits. Day 4: Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu Rise early to complete the final stretch of the Inca Trail. After about an hour you will reach the Sun Gate, and see the sunrise over the Andes (weather permitting). A 45-minute walk will take you into the higher area of Machu Picchu. Take a 2-hour tour to learn more about this magical place, and then you will have time to explore the citadel by yourself. The climb to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain is optional (at additional cost and must be booked in advance). In the afternoon you will descend by bus to the town of Aguas Calientes, where you will receive your train tickets for the return journey to Cusco. The train will arrive to Ollantaytambo, where you will be picked up and driven by bus back to your hotel in Cusco.

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From Cusco: Short or Classic Inca Trail Tour

3. From Cusco: Short or Classic Inca Trail Tour

Hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, considered to be one of the best walks in the world and perfect for visitors to Peru who are in search of a good adventure. Follow the ancient path that was traced by the Incas used to connect different cities and temple of the Inca Empire. Choose from 2 options of the tour depending on how much time you have.  Classic Option (4 Days, 3 Nights) Day 1: Get picked up from your hotel in Cusco very early in the morning and take a bus to the town of Chilca. Begin your hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. After approximately 3 hours of walking arrive at a beautiful Inca building known as Llactapata in the base of the mountains, where you will stop for lunch. In the afternoon, continue walking towards the first campsite at 3,000 meters, called Wayllabamba. Enjoy dinner at the camp.  Day 2: Wake up in the early morning. After breakfast, begin the toughest and the most amazing part of the trail, walking towards the highest point of the Inca Trail. Take in the panoramic views and observe different types of microclimates at 4,250 meters. After a 5 hour walk, reach the first pass, called Warmiwañusca or Dead Woman's Pass. Then, continue your walk down to Pacaymayo to each lunch and spend the night at the campsite. Day 3: After breakfast, hike towards the second pass of the Inca Trail, at 3,950 meters above sea level. On the way, enjoy the archaeological complex of Runkurakay, Sayacmarca. Stop for lunch at Phuyupatamarca (also known as the Cloud-Level Town). Descend down to one of the most beautiful Inca sites along the trail, Wiñay Huayna (which means Forever Young). Stay overnight nearby and enjoy a small party with the trekking crew at camp.  Day 4:  After breakfast, get up early to watch the sunrise at Inti Punku. After 1.5-hours of walking through the cloud forest, reach the Gate of the Sun, for the most impressive panoramic view of Machu Picchu. Arrival at the citadel for a 2-hour guided tour around the magnificent complex, and then take a bus down to Aguas Calientes. From there, catch a train back, where your adventure will end. Short Option (2 days, 1 night) Day 1: First, depart from Cusco to the train station in Ollantaytambo. Board the train that will take you to the starting point of the hike. Walk for approximately 3 hours until you reach the archaeological complex of Wiñay Wayna. After lunch, explore the houses and terraces, then visit the Inti Punku, the Inca Gate of the Sun. Admire your first views of Machu Picchu, then take the bus to Aguas Calientes, where you will spend the night in a 3-star hotel. Day 2: After breakfast, get picked up by your guide at the hotel. Visit Machu Picchu and spend a full day exploring the site. After this incredible visit, return to the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) and take the train bound for the Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival, hop into a car and transfer back to the main square in Cusco where your tour concludes.

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Salkantay Trek 5-Day Hike to Machu Picchu

4. Salkantay Trek 5-Day Hike to Machu Picchu

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incas and hike along the same paths they used to trek through the mountains centuries ago. Get back to nature and experience amazing views of the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Andes. Day 1: Cusco - Mollepata - Markhuq’asa - Soraypampa - Humantay Lake (L, D) Depart Cusco and journey to Markhuq’asa for the start of your trek to Soraypampa, 3,850 meters above sea level. Stop for lunch at the base camp and then go on a round-trip hike to Humantay Lake. Then return to base-camp to spend the night. Day 2: Soraypampa - Salkantay Pass - Collpapampa (B, L, D) Hike to the highest point of the trail at Salkantay Pass and get spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains before a 2-hour downhill hike to the camp for lunch. Then, enter the upper part of the Amazon jungle on a hike through the “cloud forest.” Look for native wildlife on the way to the village of Collpapampa, where you will spend the night. Day 3: Collpapampa - La Playa - Santa Teresa (B, L, D) After breakfast, take an easy hike to La Playa through the Santa Teresa valley and marvel at the waterfalls and wild orchids. Encounter coffee, banana and avocado plantations, and get the chance to sample the local coffee at an organic coffee farm. After a typical lunch in La Playa, take a 40-minute car ride towards Santa Teresa where attractions include hot thermal springs and abundant birdlife. Here you will spend the night.  Day 4: Santa Teresa - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes (B, L, D) On this day, in Santa Teresa, you can choose to visit the zipline, canopy, or hot springs. Then, you will head to Hidroelectrica, passing trough waterfalls coming from the glaciers and fields of cocoa and coffee. After a nourishing lunch, begin a 2-hour walk to Machu Picchu Pueblo, known as Aguas Calientes. Once in Aguas Calientes, you can go to your hotel to shower and relax before dinner. After dinner, get some rest before the early morning climb up to Machu Picchu the following morning. Day 5: Machu Picchu (B) Explore Machu Picchu in the early morning before the crowds arrive. You can choose to hike uphill to the ruins or take the bus for an additional charge. Benefit from a 2-hour guided tour on arrival and learn more about the temples, palaces, priest houses, and more. You will have some free time to explore at leisure and you can use it to climb to Huayna Picchu or the Machu Picchu mountain (if booked in advance). Alternatively, you can trek to the Sun Gate at the main entrance of the Inka Trail. Take the train to Ollantaytambo at approximately 6:30 PM and then catch the bus back to Cusco for drop-off at your hotel or hostel on arrival.

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Cusco: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Short Version

5. Cusco: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Short Version

Day 1: Cusco to Machu Picchu Pueblo Start your adventure bright and early and meet your guide at your accomodation at 4:00 AM. After a short drive to Ollantaytambo, you will set off on a 1.5-hour train ride to Chachabamba, taking in the scenery of the Urubamba river along the way. From the checkpoint at Chachabamba you will start your trekking experience. Visit the archaeological sites of Chachabamba and Wiñay Huayna and take in the variety of flora and fauna. Enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate, and from here you can take in one of the most spectacular views of the Lost City of the Incas. Arrive in Machu Picchu late in the afternoon and have the unique opportunity to see the city almost empty. After a short bus ride to your hotel you can enjoy a relaxed end to the day with dinner and a comfortable sleep.   Day 2: Machu Picchu to Cusco After another early start you will prepare to visit Machu Picchu, the highlight of the tour. Board your bus at 5:30 AM, just as the sun rises. Take a picturesque walk up to the Sun Gate with beautiful views of the city along the way. Your guide will take you on a 2 to 3-hour comprehensive tour of the city before leaving you in Machu Picchu to explore on your own. You also have the option to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Your guide will explain how to take the bus from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes and then take the train and bus back to Cusco. After a full day of sightseeing you will be conveniently shuttled back to your accomodation for a relaxing end to your Inca exploring adventure. 

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4-Day Inca Jungle Adventure with Mountain Biking and Rafting

6. 4-Day Inca Jungle Adventure with Mountain Biking and Rafting

Experience the thrill of adventure, the breathtaking natural beauty of the Inca Trail, and the marvel of Machu Picchu on a 4-day tour from Cusco. Detailed Itinerary Day 1: Cusco – Santa Maria (Bike and Rafting) Travel by bus to the high mountain pass of Malaga, where you’ll start your descent on a mountain bike to the town Huamanmarca. The bus will take you to the town of Santa Maria, where you’ll have a short break before beginning a rafting adventure on class III and IV rapids. Overnight at a home stay in Santa Maria. Day 2: Santa Maria – Santa Teresa (Trekking) Begin your trek with an ascent, stopping along the way to learn about the local flora and fauna. Enjoy a rest stop to resupply with water and taste regional tropical fruit. Cross a section of the Inca Trail that historically connected Machu Picchu with the city of Vilcabamba. Take in impressive views of the Huancarccasa Canyon. Descend to the small town of Quellomayo for lunch and a rest in a hammock. Continue to the thermal baths of Cocalmayo. Overnight in a home stay in Santa Teresa. Day 3: Santa Teresa – Aguas Calientes (Trekking and Zipline) Begin your trek to Aguas Calientes after breakfast. Walk through the Aobamba Valley, stopping for lunch along the way. See a series of waterfalls and admire the majesty of the mountains surrounding Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. Overnight at the Hatun Samay Hotel or similar. Day 4: Machu Picchu – Cusco Get an early start and board one of the first buses to Machu Picchu. See the sun rise over the Incan city and have plenty of time to take photos. Enjoy a guided tour of the site and hear about the history of Machu Picchu and its most important structures. From the top of Huayna Picchu take in breathtaking view of the complete Machu Picchu area. Take a bus down to the village of Aguas Calientes for lunch before heading back to Cusco.

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Cusco: 4-Day Lares Trek to Machu Picchu with Panoramic Train

7. Cusco: 4-Day Lares Trek to Machu Picchu with Panoramic Train

The Lares trek is an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail. You will learn all about life in isolated villages, become familiar with Andean culture and traditions, and even visit a local school. This trek is also outstandingly beautiful, combining the majestic Andean mountains with spectacular glaciers, glacial lakes, stunning waterfalls, and countless llamas and alpacas. Finish your experience on a high, spending an unforgettable day exploring Machu Picchu, one of the most incredible locations on the planet. Day 1: After pickup from your hotel at around 5:00 AM, you will drive through the beautiful landscape of the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the famous Lares thermal  baths. Jump into the medicinal pools, all of which are set at different temperatures. The water is great for your bones and muscles, as well as stress and headaches. The route on day 1 is relatively easy with a 2-hour uphill trek until you reach Kiswarani village for lunch. After lunch, continue for 2 hours to the campsite, located on the banks of a beautiful blue lake. Day 2: The second day is the longest and most challenging. After breakfast, set out on a 4-hour hike uphill to Condor Pass at 4700 meters, the highest point of your journey. After a break, descend for 3 hours through the breathtaking scenery. Day 3: Start day 3 with a beautiful view of the mountains and a delicious breakfast to prepare for the descent from the highlands into the sacred valley. Take some time to explore the ancient streets and the water channel that has been in use since Inca times. Have dinner in a local restaurant in Ollantaytambo before catching the 7:00 PM train to Aguas Calientes, where you will spend the night in a hotel. Day 4: On your final day, take the 5:30 AM bus to Machu Picchu and arrive as the sky brightens. Walk for an hour up to the Sun Gate, with incredible views of the city along the way. On a clear day you can watch the spectacular sunrise over Machu Picchu. This is truly an unforgettable sight. Your guide will take you on a 2 to 3-hour comprehensive tour of the city before leaving you in Machu Picchu to explore on your own or climb either the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (tickets must be booked as far in advance as possible). Your guide will tell you how to take the bus from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes and then take the Vistadome train back to Cusco. You will be met at the station and dropped off safely back at your hotel.

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Machu Picchu: 4-Day Multi-Activity Inca Trail

8. Machu Picchu: 4-Day Multi-Activity Inca Trail

Journey back in time and explore the dramatic Andes mountains of Peru on a multi-activity trip along the Inca Trail. Soar over the jungle canopy by zipline, freewheel down the mountains by bike and more. Encounter the indigenous flora and fauna and explore the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. Day 1: Cusco to Santa Maria - Downhill Biking Drive from Cusco to Abra Malaga, 4, 316 meters above sea level, and get a 20-minute briefing before freewheeling down quiet but challenging roads by bike. Head towards Huamanmarca and learn the historical background about the archaeological site before lunch. Descend to an altitude of 1,500 meters to arrive at the jungle town of Santa Maria, where you can rest your legs before a dinner of traditional food from Peru.  Day 2: Santa Maria to Santa Teresa - Inca Trail and Zipline Enjoy an early morning cup of indigenous coffee before hiking to Santa Rosa to relax in hammocks and admire the coca plantations on arrival. Navigate the steep slopes of the Inca Trail just as the Incas did thousands of years ago, and arrive in Qellomayo to catch a bus to an eco lodge where you will spend the night. Soar over the jungle canopy on a zipline of 2,500 meters of cables suspended above the tree tops, and go for a dip in the hot springs of Cocalmayo before dinner. Day 3: Santa Teresa to Aguas Calientes - Inca Trail to Llactapata Transfer to the town of Lucmabamba for the start of a 3.5-hour hike to the top of Llactapata, far from the crowds. Marvel at the peak of Salkantay during a picnic lunch before the 2-hour hike to the hydroelectric train station, where you will catch the train to Aguas Calientes. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant before for your overnight stay.  Day 4: Machu Picchu to Cusco Catch the first bus to Machu Picchu to watch the sunrise over the "Lost City of the Incas" and get detailed explanations about the ceremonial site from your guide. Enjoy some free time to explore at your own pace and avail of the chance to climb to Wayna Picchu, high above the ruins of the "Lost City." Return to Aguas Calientes by bus to catch the train to Ollantaytambo, and then continue by bus to Cusco. 

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Full Day – Tour to the Inca Bridge of Qeswachaka

9. Full Day – Tour to the Inca Bridge of Qeswachaka

First, you will be picked up from your hotel in the morning, then you travel through the province of Acomayo and stop to visit the different lagoons of Pomacanchi, Acopia, Asnaqocha, and Pampamarca or Tungasuca along the way. In these lagoons, you can see the local people fishing, totora hut camps, and pedal boats. You can also observe different species of flora and fauna in each lagoon. After the visit to the lagoons, you will go to the province of Canas. Finally, you will reach the main destination: the Inca bridge of Q’eswachaka, which is 33 meters long and 1.20 meter wide. Each year it is renewed by hand with the use of ichu by the inhabitants of the area - before carrying out the activity a payment ceremony is made to the Pachamama to ensure protection. You will cross the hanging Inca bridge, requiring courage in order to complete this very special experience that should not be missed. You will take great pictures of the authentic and unique panoramic views. Once you have visited the bridge, you will return to Cusco.

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Cusco: 2-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

10. Cusco: 2-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Day 1: Cusco, KM 104, and Machu Picchu You will be picked up in the early morning from your hotel from where you will be transferred to the train station in Ollantaytambo. Once there, you will take the train for 1.5 hours to KM 104. You'll pass the checkpoint at KM 104 from where you will begin trekking for around 3.5 hours to Wiñayhuayna. As you ascend you will be able to take pictures of the beautiful landscapes, including views to the sacred Wilkanota River and Challabamba. At the archeological site of Wiñaywayna your tour guide will explain to you the function of the site, and once you have enjoyed a delicious box lunch you will continue along the classic Inca Trail to arrive to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). From this place you will be able to enjoy the beautiful and unforgettable views of Machu Picchu's Citadel, after which you will travel down the trail for around an hour to Machu Picchu to enjoy the sunset. From Machu Picchu you will take a bus for 30 minutes to Aguas Calientes Village, where you will be taken to your hotel. You'll end your day in the evening with a delicious dinner with your guide. Day 2: Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, and Cusco   Following breakfast at your hotel, you will head to Machu Picchu by bus. Inside Machu Picchu you will receive a 2-hour guided tour during which you will learn about the types of amazing constructions, the engineering of the terraces, and the most important places in Machu Picchu (including how they were used). When you finish your tour you’ll return to Aguas Calientes by bus or by hiking. Once at the village you you will find that there is plenty to discover, as you explore the shops, crafts, and art, and can also enjoy the hot springs or try new foods. Later in the afternoon you will take the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, where as you arrive you will meet with your driver who will return you to your hotel in Cusco.

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Planning Your Visit

  • When is it open?

    You can access the trail at all times of the year except February, when routine maintenance is being done.

  • When is the best time to go?

    High season is from April to November - since it's in the southern hemisphere, Peruvian winter falls from around May to August. Temperatures during this time can go below 32 degrees.

  • What should I wear?

    It goes without saying that decent walking boots are a must. You should dress in light layers. Since the trek takes place over five days, you will want to keep what you're carrying to a minimum. Snowfall can also occur at high altitudes during winter, so make sure you have a good coat, hat, gloves, and other winter-appropriate attire if you choose to go during this season.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    The trail is open all year, except February.
  • Is it expensive?
    The entrance fee is about $45, tour guides vary in price.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Absolutely, hikers are prohibited from trekking without one. Might be worth it to check out our great tours.
  • How to get there
    You'll need to take the bus to kilometer 82, along the railway from Cusco to Aguas Calientes.
  • Additional information
    ** Make sure to do your research and plan ahead, only 500 permits are issued per day. | You need to be fit to hike the trail. | Don't forget extra shoes, bug repellent, sunscreen, and a poncho, among other things!*

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What people are saying about Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 110 reviews

Edwin was a great guide. The tour is absolutely worth hiking. Everything was top organized. We stayed at Suzanna Inn and enjoyed the breakfast with pancakes and fresh eggs. Unfortunately the hotel seemed to be a place of construction, the plugs were open and it was a bit loud.

Maribel was an INCREDIBLE guide! She was so fun to spend time with, and also had in-depth knowledge about the area, including flora & fauna, Incan history, and so much more. Highly recommend this tour (and Maribel!) to anyone looking!

Awesome experience! Our guide JJ was amazing, everything is perfectly taken care off: food is amazing, tents are really confortable I really recommend it!

Very well organized tour with great guides. And, of course, the hike to Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu itself is magical.

The tour was tough, but every step was worth it. The nature is fabulous!