Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
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 walked by thousands of people every year. It has everything: gorgeous mountain scenerywith 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 sleeping bags and Therm-A-Rest pads. You will have a guide, cook and his assistant, porters, and all the equipment, water and food, including tents, chairs tables, kitchen kit and first-aid kit. Porters will carry the majority of your gear, and you simply carry your water, camera and some clothes that you may need. At every camp 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: 59 km (32 mi)
- Max. Altitude: 4,200m (13,860 ft)
*Keep in mind that trekking time varies for each hiker and any times listed are averages.
Inca Trail Head to Huayllabamba
You will begin your trek at 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 reach and visit the Inca ruins of Llactapata (2,600m/8,580ft). 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 (3,200m/10,560ft) where you will have a picnic lunch and set up camp. Your total trek today will cover approximately 12 kilometres (7.5 miles), which is about six to eight hours* of hiking.
Huayllabamba to Pacamayo
After a relaxed breakfast with time to enjoy the beauty of your campsite, you will register at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary control station 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/13779ft). Spectacular views lead your way in the afternoon as you descend to your campsite at Pacaymayo at 3,600 metres (11,880 feet). Your total trek today will cover approximately 17 kilometres (10.5 miles), which is about seven to eight hours* of hiking.
Pacamayo to 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 on 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 the Inca remains of Sayacmarca at 3,640 metres (13,035 feet) and is 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”) at 3,680metres (12,144 feet). You will camp here and should have enough time to soak up some of the magical charm of this marvelous campsite. Your total trek today will cover approximately 20 kilometres (12.4 miles), which is about eight to ten hours* of hiking.
Phuyupatamarcato Machu Picchu
Watching the sun rise at 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 flagstoned trail winds sharply down into the cloud forest to the ruins of WinayWayna (2,644m/8,674ft). Lunch nearby. You will continue on to IntiPunku, or Gate of the Sun. 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 citadel. Your total trek today will cover approximately 8 kilometres (5 miles), which is about four hours* of hiking.