The Inca Trail Trek is one of the most iconic hikes in the world. Join this classic 4-day itinerary to experience the trail in all it's splendour. On the hike you'll visit a number of famous Incan archaeological sites, culminating in a full tour of Machu Picchu on the final day.
The Inca Trail is a permitted hike. There are only 500 permits available each day, half of which are designated for guides and porters. To secure a permit you need to book as early as possible, ideally 6 months in advance. Permits are non-refundable or transferable.
START & ENDS
Easy Moderate Challenge Hard
- DAY 1
- day 2
- day 3
- Day 4
CUSCO – PISKACUCHO KM 82 – LLACTAPATA – WAYLLABAMBA
Drive 1.5 hours. Hike 12km (5 hours)
Cusco (3,350m) to Piskacucho (2,720m) to Wayllabamba (3,000m)
We'll collect you from your hotel in Cusco early this morning. From Cusco we'll drive for 1.5 hours into the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas. The route takes us through the popular tourist town of Ollantaytambo and ends at the Inca Trail starting point called, Kilometer 82. Once we reach here you'll be introduced to your support crew and we'll do some final checks to make sure that you are ready for the hike ahead. The trail begins once we cross the bridge over the Urubamba River. The first day of the hike is relatively easy going. The first ruin we will see is Patallacta, which was an important city for the Incas and served as an administrative, economic, and religious center. We will also visit Willkarakay, a military post located above the site of Patallacta. After visiting these two sites we will enter the lush valley of Wayllabamba, walking along the banks of the Cusichaca, also known as the “happy bridge” river. From the river you'll be able to see Inca terraces and other minor archaeological sites. The trail then ascends a little through the dense Andean forest until we arrive at our first campsite in Wayllabamba.
WAYLLABAMBA – DEAD WOMENS PASS – PACAYMAYU
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hike 12 km (7 hours)
Wayllabamba (3,000m) to Dead Women's Pass (4,200m) to Pacaymayu (3,580m)
Today is the most challenging on Inca Trail, as it involves a steady ascent up and over the mountain pass of Warmihuañusca (aka Dead Woman’s Pass). After a hearty breakfast we will begin our hike through the cover of a densely vegetated Andean forest until arriving at the campsite of Three Stones, where we will take a short rest. From here we continue our ascent. You'll notice the vegetation begin to change as we enter the Inter-Andean forest full of Unca trees, which are unique to this area. After 3-4 hours hiking we will arrive at the Llulluchapampa campsite where we will take an extended rest with snacks and hot drinks. From here we'll begin the final ascent up the pass of Warmihuañusca, the highest point of the trek. From the top of the pass the views of the surrounding valleys below are fantastic. After taking some time to rest, we'll then descend a few hours to our final campsite in Pacaymayu for the night.
PACAYMAYU – CHAQUIKOCHA – WIÑAYHUAYNA
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hike 16 km (8 hours)
Pacaymayu (3,580m) to Runkuracay Pass (4,000m) to Wiñayhuayna (2,680m)
We start today's trek early with a 45 minute walk to the archaeological site of Runkurakay, which was in ancient times a “tambo” (a resting lodge for ancient pilgrims). After a short tour we continue on for another 45 minute uphill to the second highest pass on the Inca Trail, Runkurakay (4000 m, 13,123 ft). From here we will rest briefly before descending to the beautiful archaeological site of Sayacmarca, where your guide will provide a tour. We will then continue down to our lunch site at Chaquicocha.
After lunch we'll begin our hike into the high Andean cloud forest. There is a small pass, Phuyupatamarka (3,680m / 12070 ft), that we have to traverse, but as you are now well acclimatised you should find this section of the trail easy going. From Phuyupatamarka you'll catch a glimpse of Machu Picchu, as well as a great view of the Sacred Valley and the surrounding mountain peaks. From here we have a 2 hour descent to our final campsite, Wiñayhuayna. En route we will pass an archaeological site and temple that is designated for offerings to the sacred mountain spirits.
WIÑAY WAYNA TO MACHU PICCHU TO CUSCO
Hike 5km. Tour of Machu Picchu. Train and bus
Wiñayhuayna (2,680m) to Machu Picchu (2,400m) to Cusco (3,350m)
We will rise very early to complete the final stretch of the Inca Trail, which brings us to “Inti Punku” or the Sun Gate, the principal entrance of the city of Machu Picchu. The trail here is fairly easy going and after about an hour we will arrive at Inti Punku, an awesome location to observe the citadel of Machu Picchu and, weather permitting, sunrise over the Andes.
From Inti Punku we'll descend another 45-minute into the higher area of Machu Picchu, which provides a fantastic view of the city as well as a great group photo opportunity. From here we'll need to register via the main entrance before returning to the Citadel. The tour will last approximately 2 to 3 hours, and here is an option for those interested to hike up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu (this is an extra cost and must be booked in advance). In the afternoon we'll catch one of the shuttle buses that drop visitors at Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu.
Once in Aguas Calientes you are free to explore or grab lunch (not included) before boarding the train to Ollantaytambo, where a shuttle bus will be waiting for you to return you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Dates & Prices
Below are our open group dates for the Inca Trail. Single supplements apply.
Please note: January and February are the rainy season and we therefore don't operate treks during this period.
If the dates below don't suit, please get in touch as we can open a new group on any day as long as you have at least 2 people in your party.
When is the best time to complete this adventure?
The Inca Trail trek can be completed all year round, however, during the rainy season of January and February we recommend avoiding this adventure. The Inca Trail is closed in February.
When should I arrive in Cusco prior to this adventure?
Cusco is situated at high elevation (3,350m). To properly acclimatise we recommend that all guests arrive in Cusco at least 48 hours before their trip start date. Our local operator runs a pre-departure briefing in their Cusco offices the evening before trip departure. It is important you attend this.
How fit do I need to be?
You will need to be in good health and relatively fit for this adventure. We recommend doing 4-6 weeks aerobic gym / hiking training before embarking on this adventure.
Do I need a visa for Peru?
Most country nationals, including the UK, US, Canada and the EU, can enter Peru visa-free for 183 days. Check eligibility and exempt countries here.
What immunisations should I get?
We recommend reviewing the UK NHS fit-for-travel website for Peru: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/south-america-antarctica/peru
What currency is used in Peru?
Peru uses Nuevo Sol (S), which has traded at 2.50 to 3.50 Sol for $1US dollar for several years, although you should keep an eye on current events.
Carrying cash, an ATM card or traveler's checks, as well as a credit card that can be used for cash withdrawals in case of emergency, is advisable.
When receiving local currency, always ask for small bills, as 100 Sol bills are hard to change in small towns or for small purchases. Carry as much spare change as possible, especially in small towns.
Public bathrooms often charge a small fee for use, and getting change for paper money can be challenging.
The best places to exchange money usually are "Casas de Cambio" (foreign exchange bureaus), which are fast, have longer hours, and often give slightly better rates than banks.
Many places accept US dollars. It is best not to change money on the street as counterfeits are a problem.
Are vegetarian, vegan and other special dietary needs available?
Of course! And without any additional cost! When you make your reservation, please inform us of any dietary needs or requirements, including allergies!
Vegetarian foods will not include any meats, chicken, or fish. But we will assume that eggs and cheese or other lactose products are OK.
Most of our main meals are buffet-style, leaving you the option to avoid anything undesirable to you.
If there are any food items that you can not stomach, perhaps onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc., upon your request, we will ask our chef to leave them out or separate this item.
We can also cater for lactose-intolerant or gluten-intolerant diets.
We can not accept individuals with severe allergic or life-threatening reactions.
How big are the groups?
Group size is limited to 12 people.
Can I do the trek privately?
Yes, if you would like a private trek just contact us and we can arrange this. There may be a single supplement charge.
Is there a minimum age requirement?
Yes, the minimum age to join this adventure is 18. Children over the age of 10 can join this adventure but will need to be accompanied by a parent / legal guardian.
How much should I tip the crew?
Tipping is discretionary. But as a rough guideline you should budget 10% of your trek cost. Tips should be given to the guide at the end of the trek and can be given in US$ or Peruvian Sols. Your guide will distribute tips fairly to porters and the cook.
What are your cancellation terms?
Should you need to cancel the following terms apply.
- Less than 4 weeks from departure: No refund
- Between 4-8 weeks from departure: 100% refund less full deposit
- More than 8 weeks before departure: 100% refund less 3% refund transaction fee.
Cancellation fees are set our in our Terms and Conditions. You may be able to reclaim refund charges if your reason for cancellation is covered by your travel insurance policy.
The evening before departure we ask guests to visit the offices of Inkayni Peru Tours in Cusco for a pre-departure briefing. You will be sent details for this briefing once your trip is booked.
- 2-3 x hiking shirts + 1 x long-sleeve hiking shirt
- 1 x hiking shorts and 1 x hiking trousers
- Mid-weight fleece jacket
- Hard shell rain jacket
- Light insulating down or synthetic jacket / gilet
- Light, but warm gloves
- Sun hat + Sunglasses
- Beanie for the nights
- Mid-weight hiking boots / hiking trainers
- 4 x hiking socks
- Trainers for camp
- 20-25L daypack (bags larger than 25L will need to be stored outside Machu Picchu - lockers are provided)
- A duffel bag will be provided. Please note: Porters will carry up to 5 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you bring/rent one). From us these two items weigh 3.5 kg. Only pack what is necessary for the 4 days of the trip. The rest of your luggage can be left in a storeroom at your hotel/hostel in Cusco or our office.
- Plastic bags to protect sleeping bag and other gear from rain
- Original passport (you need this to enter Machu Picchu)
- Four season sleeping bag
- Hiking Poles
- Headlamp and spare batteries
- Water bottle / hydration bladder
- Water treatment tablets
- Sun cream
- Toiletries incl. toilet paper
There are a number of good rental gear shops in Cusco where one can rent / buy most items listed above. Sleeping bags and hiking poles can be rented from our local partner.
We highly recommend getting travel insurance for your trip. We recommend World Nomads as they provide comprehensive cover for adventurous activities and are very affordable. Get a quote below.
Night 1, 2 and 3: Great quality camping tents for 2 trekkers sharing.
Accommodation in Cusco: There are many accommodation options in Cusco. We would be happy to recommend options.
LOCAL TOUR OPERATOR
Inkayni Peru Tours
Inkayni Peru Tours are a fantastic local operator based in Cusco, Peru. The company is run by Edgar, Alex, and Percy, spiritual brothers and natives of the town of Chinchero in the Sacred Valley. Together they are united by their ambition of offering personalised services of great quality, aiming to make every experience unique and unforgettable. With Inkayni Peru Tours you can expect a professional tour to the highest standard!
Mountain IQ is a platform for travellers to book holiday services available from tour operators, accommodation providers and other service providers available around the world. We act as an authorised agent for these Suppliers. Please read our booking and cancellation terms here.
There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write one.
Leave a Review
Why book with us?
We connect travellers with the best local guides in each destination. No agents or expensive tour operators!
Our team have completed every adventure we offer. Get impartial and practical insight from real experts.
We only work with local guides to offer great value adventures at unbeatable prices.
Just wanted to thank the team at Mountain IQ for their super helpful advice. The trip we booked went smoothly and the local guides were amazing!
It was an absolute pleasure booking through Mountain IQ - seamless every step of the journey, thanks!