Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
4 days / 3 nights
Please note: On the fourth night, trekkers stay at a hotel near Machu Picchu before returning to visit the archeological site the following day.
This is the classic version of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is probably the best known and most popular hike in the Americas and is undertaken by thousands of people every year. It has everything: gorgeous mountain scenery with lush sub-tropical vegetation and numerous species of flora, three sets of remarkable Inca ruins, which can only be accessed by foot and a stunning final destination. The views of snow-capped mountains and high cloud forest can be stupendous, weather permitting, and walking from one beautiful site to the next is a mystical and unforgettable experience.
We have carefully spaced out our campsites and tried to pick the best ones for your enjoyment. We supply all camping equipment including tents, sleeping bags and Therm-a-Rest pads. You will travel with a guide, porters, a cook and his assistant, drinking water, food, chairs, tables, kitchen kit and first-aid kit. Porters will carry the majority of your gear, and you simply carry your water, camera, sunscreen and some clothes that you may need. At every campsite you will have a toilet tent available to use. Items not included are alcoholic beverages (other than wine), extras, tips, laundry service, insurance, hiking boots and other personal gear.
- Grade: Rigorous
- Highlight: Archaeology, Scenery
- Distance Covered: 43 km (26.7 mi)
- Max. Altitude: 4,200m (13,779 ft)
Important note: Please bear in mind that distances, altitudes and chosen campsites are subject to minor variations as the route undertaken may vary slightly. In addition, trekking time can vary for each hiker and any times detailed in the description below are averages.
Important Note about Inca Trail Permits: Please be aware that there are daily restrictions on the number of people that can participate in the four day Inca Trail hike. Permits are limited to 500 people a day by local authorities, including guides and porters, and this quota can be reached up to 6 months in advance. Once the permits are sold out, it is not possible for Aracari or any other travel company to organise the Inca Trail for travellers.
If you already have set dates for your trip, you can check current availability for Inca Trail permits on the following link: Dirreción Regional de Cultura Cusco. If there is no availability and you cannot amend your dates, we can offer a range of alternative treks that do not require a permit.
Inca Trailhead – Huayllabamba | We will collect you from your hotel and travel to Km. 82 located approximately one and a half hours from Urubamba. Here, at the trailhead of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you will meet your porters and begin your trek following the left bank of the Urubamba River.
After a couple of hours of gentle hiking, you will reach and visit the Inca ruins of Llactapata (2,600m/8,531ft). Then you will continue hiking, diverting away from the Urubamba River and following the Cusichaca River towards the village and small agricultural settlement of Huayllabamba, where you will have a picnic lunch and set up camp (3,200m/10,498ft). Your total trek today will cover approximately 12 kilometres (7.5 miles), which is about six to eight hours of hiking.
Huayllabamba – Pacamayo | This morning enjoy the beauty of your campsite as you have a relaxed breakfast before registering at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary control station. Then you’ll to continue on a tough ascending trail with increasingly fantastic views and a clear change of vegetation as you gain altitude. You will pass through a protected cloud forest of native trees before reaching your lunch spot at Llullucchapampa. Continue the tough ascent towards the highest pass of the trail, called Warmiwañusta or Dead Woman’s Pass (4,200m/13,780ft). Enjoy spectacular views in the afternoon as you descend to your campsite at Pacaymayo (3,600m/11,812ft). Your total trek today will cover approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 miles), which is about five to six hours of hiking.
Pacaymayo – Phuyupatamarca | After breakfast you will start your walk and soon encounter the original cobblestone paved trail left by the Incas. You will be able to appreciate the sudden changes in vegetation and geology as you pass through different ecological zones. Today is a long but interesting and rewarding day since you will be encountering both original Inca cobblestone trails, as well as magnificent archaeological sites along the way. You will climb up and over the second pass, the Abra de Runkuracay, (3,800m/12,467ft). On a clear day your efforts are rewarded with unparalleled views of the snow-covered peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the lush valley vegetation. Masterful Inca engineering is visible along the trail and at the Inca remains of Sayacmarca (3,640m/11,943ft), a highlight of the trek. Explore the site, have a picnic lunch and continue to the incomparable site of Phuyupatamarca, (“the place above the clouds”). You will camp here and should have enough time to soak up some of the magical charm of this marvelous campsite (3,680m/12,074ft). Your total trek today will cover approximately 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), which is about five to seven hours of hiking.
Phuyupatamarca – Machu Picchu | Sunrise in Phuyupatamarca is considered one of the highlights of the trek. Today you will reach Machu Picchu, the lost City of the Incas. After an early breakfast, you will trek several hours down a clear stone paved trail with several incredible stairways, some carved in stone, a small tunnel and several viewing terraces. After continuing along a buttress and passing Phuyupatamarca ruins, the flag-stoned trail winds sharply down into the cloud forest to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna (2,644m/8,675ft). After lunch, you will continue on to Inti Punku, or Sun Gate. This is the point where you will get your first glimpse of the spectacular city of Machu Picchu below you. A quick descent along the wide royal Inca road and you will spot the mysterious site. Your total trek today will cover approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 miles), which is about five to six hours of hiking.
Please note: On this evening trekkers stay at a hotel near Machu Picchu before returning to visit the archeological site the following day.