Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The most popular hike in South America, thousands of people every year take the challenge to walk this ancient trail set by the Incas. Trek during the day and enjoy evenings around the fire in the campsites along the way. Challenging it might be at times but incredible are the rewards: snow-capped mountains, cloud forests, mysterious archaeological complexes and, on the last day sunrise at the Sun Gate with spectacular views of Machu Picchu.

Duration
4 days
Options
Group basis, Escorted
Start your journey
Machu Picchu

Trip highlights

  • For the most adventurous.
  • Trek among forests and mountains.
  • Sunrise at the Sun Gate.
  • Spectacular views of Machu Picchu.

Cuzco to Wayllabamba (estimated walking time 5-6 hours, maximum altitude point 3000m): Early pick up at 4am and drive to Piskacuchu, the starting point of the Inca Trail. Cross the bridge over the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley and follow the trail to the Inca city of Llactapata before climbing among impressive peaks for about five hours to Wayllabamba, our first camp.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Camp at Wayllabamba or similar

Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo (estimated walking time 6-7 hours, maximum altitude point 4200 m): Early breakfast for steep ascent to the Abra Warmihuanusca mountain pass at 4200 metres. Along the way, see llamas and alpacas and, in the cloud forest, many species of bird. Stock your daypack with candies, chocolates and coa leaves to keep your sugar level high and help with altitude sickness.

After the pass, descend into the Pacaymayo valley, where we set up camp.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Camp at Pacaymayo Valley or similar

Pacaymayo to Winaywayna: (estimated walking time 8 hours, maximum altitude point 3900 m) This is the longest but also the most rewarding day, due to the number of sites and the lush cloud forest.

From Pacaymayo we climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3970m/13022ft). Halfway up, we stop to visit the archaeological complex with the same name. This site, located at 3800m/12464ft, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower. After going over the pass, we descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624m/11887ft). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals.

Continuing up an easy climb, we arrive at the third pass, the Abra Phuyupatamarca (3700m/12136ft). Along this climb we can appreciate the magnitude of the Incas´ ancient craft, by walking along paths semi-detached from the mountain, and seeing rocks that fill up ravines in perfect order, saving the trail from the multileveled Andean geography. We go through an Inca tunnel to later arrive at the aforementioned pass and down to the complex of the same name. This is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machupicchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. From above, one can observe a sophisticated sacred complex made up of water fountains with solid foundations, and also impressive views of the Urubamba River valley.

We continue our trek down the long descending stone steps that lead us to Wiñaywayna (2650m/8692ft), an impressive Inca complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector, close to which our camp is located. After visiting the impressive archaeological site, we enjoy our farewell dinner at our camp.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Camp at Winaywayna or similar

Winaywayna to Machu Picchu (estimated walking time 2 hours, maximum altitude point 2700m): Early wake up at 4.00am to climb to the Intipunku, or The Sun Gate for a fabulous sunrise over sacred Machu Picchu.From Intipunku we descend in Machupicchu and 40 minutes later we will enter the citadel from the highest point through the 'House of the Guardians'.

We will then descend to a control point where we will register ourselves and leave our backpacks. We will then begin a guided tour of the Inca Citadel that will take approximately two hours. We will then have some free time to walk around, climb the Huaynapiccu Mountain where you can experience spectacular views of Machupicchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it, visit the Temple of the Moon or the impressive Inca Bridge. In the afternoon we will meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where you can visit and relax in its hot springs.

From here we will take the train back to the city of Cusco, where we arrive after nightfall

Included

  • English speaking local guide.
  • All entrance fees as apropriate.
  • Air-conditioned transportation.
  • Accommodation listed (subject to change) with private facilities.
  • Meals included as detailed.

Not included

  • International and domestic flights.
  • Optional excursions.
  • Tips for the guide and driver.