Highlights

  • Private luxury camping to Machu Picchu with first-class equipment and no set departure dates for complete flexibility
  • Visit the highlights of Lima, Cusco and the Sacred Valley
  • Optionally upgrade to unrivalled Luxury VIP camping with a masseusse and showers

The Inca Trail is the most famous trek in South America and deservedly so, what with three major sets of Inca ruins reachable only on foot along the way to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu. From cloud forest to puna grasslands, you reach the mythical citadel with three nights camping at our strategically selected campsites.

Aracari arranges luxury camping trips along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu on a private basis only, not as a group tour, giving you utmost flexibility in your travels. The Inca Trail with Aracari is unique in that we offer ”appropriate luxury”, for an authentic hiking experience balanced with luxury comforts. Our equipment standard is top of the line featuring 4-season tents, with 3 person tents used for just 2, inflatable (not foam) mattresses and private ecological bathroom tents. This itinerary takes in the iconic Inca trail to Machu Picchu, Lima, Cusco and the Sacred Valley so that you can see some of the best of Peru. Optionally upgrade to our all-out Luxury VIP trekking service which includes a dedicated massage tent, gourmet dining, shower tents with premium toiletries and alcoholic drinks. See our Peru Treks page for more details.

Please note: Due to its popularity, the Inca Trail is carefully regulated with limited permits that sell out well in advance, so contact us for the latest availability or for our expert travel advice on the best alternative hiking trips in Peru that don’t require the same forward-planning!

Daily Summary 10 Days / 9 Nights

Day 1 Lima Arrival in Lima. Overnight at Hotel B or Belmond Miraflores Park.
Day 2 Lima – Cusco – Sacred Valley Fly Lima to Cusco. Visit Pisac archaeological site and market. Overnight at Sol y Luna or Belmond Rio Sagrado.
Day 3 Sacred Valley Visit Chinchero, the salt pans of Maras and the terraces of Moray. Lunch at a traditional hacienda. Overnight at Sol y Luna or Belmond Rio Sagrado.
Day 4 The Inca Trail Start the luxury camping Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Day 5 The Inca Trail Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Day 6 The Inca Trail Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Day 7 The Inca Trail – Machu Picchu Final day hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and arrival at the ruins. Overnight at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo or Sumaq.
Day 8 Machu Picchu - Cusco Second Day at Machu Picchu with optional hikes. Vistadome train back to Cusco. Overnight at Inkaterra La Casona or Belmond Nazarenas.
Day 9 Cusco Visit the key sites of charming cobbled-street Cusco. Barbeque atop Inca ruins. Overnight at Inkaterra La Casona or Belmond Nazarenas.
Day 10 Cusco – Lima Fly Cusco to Lima. Visit Lima's city highlights. International Departure.
  • Day 1
    LimaView on map
    Arrival to Peru

    An English-speaking Aracari representative will be expecting you from your international arrival, will greet you and give you your customized welcome pack with a booklet of your trip itinerary and other useful information before whisking you off to your hotel, assisting you with all check-in procedures.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 2
    Lima – Cusco – Sacred ValleyView on map
    Visit Pisac Market and Ruins

    Our Aracari representative will pick you up from your hotel for your private transfer to Lima airport, where he will assist you with check-in procedures for your domestic flight to Cusco. Upon arrival in Cusco, your personal guide and private driver will greet you at the airport to head straight to the Urubamba Valley - also known as the 'Sacred Valley'. Your guide will accompany you throughout the Urubamba Valley, Cusco and Machu Picchu.

    En route, stop for a short visit of Awanacancha where you will have the opportunity to see the different camelids that live in the Andes such as llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and guanacos. In Pisac experience the sights and sounds of the town’s famous market, with its variety of handcrafts and fresh produce. Continue on to the Pisac ruins. With Inca masonry of superlative quality, the stunning terracing following the contours of the mountain and superior view of the valley will leave you in awe. After lunch (own cost), check-in to your chosen hotel.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 3
    Sacred ValleyView on map
    Sacred Valley highlights - Chinchero, Maras and Moray

    This morning, you will head to the town and ruins of the village of Chinchero (3,800m/12,500ft), once home to the great conquering emperor Inca Topa Yupanqui. The town also boasts a hillside of terraces studded with rock-outcrop shrines, a charming village and views to the snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera Vilcabamba range. Enjoy lunch a traditional lunch at a scenic hacienda before heading to Maras. Maras consists of a huge number of watered terraces that collect salt by evaporation from the saline waters that gush from an underground stream. Built in a similar way to agricultural terraces seen throughout the Andes, the Salinas have been in use since pre-Columbian times. Visually, the shining, salt-encrusted terraces are extraordinary. Nearby Maras lie the most enigmatic Inca terraces at the site of Moray. This unique site, probably used for agricultural experimentation, consists of several enormous terraced circular depressions. Following your visit, transfer back to your hotel.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 4
    The Inca TrailView on map
    Inca Trail start point

    The Inca Trail offers it all: gorgeous mountain scenery with lush sub-tropical vegetation and numerous species of flora, three sets of remarkable Inca ruins which can only be accessed on foot and stunning vistas at the final destination, Machu Picchu. We supply all camping equipment including tents, sleeping bags and Therm-a-Rest pads. You will have at your disposal 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. Throughout the trail we carefully select our campsites to avoid the larger groups of campers and backpackers as much as possible.

    This morning a private transfer will pick you up at your hotel to travel to Km. 82, the trailhead. After a couple of hours of gentle hiking, you will reach and visit the Inca ruins of Llactapata (2,600m/8,531ft). Continue on, 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).

    • Total trek today approx. 12km (7.5 miles)
    • 6-8 hours of hiking (approx)
  • Day 5
    The Inca TrailView on map
    Inca trail - Dead Woman’s Pass

    After a relaxed breakfast, climb 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.

    • Total trek today approx. 10km (6.2 miles)
    • 5-6 hours of hiking (approx)
  • Day 6
    The Inca TrailView on map
    Inca trail - Pacamayo to Phuyupatamarca

    After breakfast you will 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 rewarding, 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).

    • Total trek today approx. 11km (6.8 miles)
    • 5-7 hours of hiking (approx)
  • Day 7
    The Inca Trail – Machu PicchuView on map
    Inca trail - arrival to Machu Picchu

    Sunrise in Phuyupatamarca is considered one of the highlights of the trek on the final day of the trail which culminates at Machu Picchu. After an early breakfast, you 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. Enjoy an short evening visit after the majority of the day trippers have since left. Check in to your hotel.

    • Total trek today approx. 10km (6.2 miles)
    • 5-6 hours of hiking (approx)
    Accommodation options
  • Day 8
    Machu Picchu - CuscoView on map
    Visit Machu Picchu

    This morning you’ll return to the ruins with your guide. “Magnificence” is the only word to describe the scene, as you gaze upon the ruins of Machu Picchu. The main destination on many travellers’ lists, the ‘lost city of the Incas’ is a man-made marvel that has become a symbol for the ingenuity and prosperity of one of the most expansive empires in Latin American history. Only a century ago were the incredible ruins uncovered; a two year-excavation led by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham and the National Geographic Society of Washington DC allowed Machu Picchu to gain the prominence that it deserves. Its fascination is due in part to its position, high on a mountain ridge and 2,430m/7,972ft above sea level. Believed to be an Inca settlement built to control the economies of neighboring communities, it is associated with being the royal estate of Pachacuti, the great Inca who sparked the expansion of the empire. Following your visit, take the bus back to the town of Aguas Calientes to catch the Vistadome train (approx. 1.5hrs) back to Ollantaytambo, where a private vehicle will be waiting to transfer you by road to Cusco (approx. 2hrs) to check in to your hotel.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 9
    CuscoView on map
    Cusco walking tour

    Since its narrow alleyways were originally designed by the Incas as a city for walking, start your exploration of Cusco on foot. Begin at the Plaza de Armas, the Main Square, which is marked by the exquisite Spanish Colonial architecture and ornamentation imposed by Spanish colonists to exert religious and political influence. Underneath it all, however, you can clearly see remnants of Inca Cusco in the solid stonework. Visit Koricancha, the most sumptuous “Sun Temple” in the Inca Empire, and the breathtaking Cathedral, a repository for Cusco’s colonial art, as well as many other important archaeological relics and artifacts. You will also stop by the colourful San Pedro market and pass through the charming neighborhood of San Blas. Next, visit Sacsayhuaman, an Inca citadel atop a hill, on the outskirts of the city. Not only are the imposing terraces of masterful stonework a sight to behold, but the vistas overlooking the sienna rooftops of Cusco provide a whole new perspective to the city you traversed. Afterwards, return to your hotel.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 10
    Cusco - LimaView on map
    Fly to Lima for Into the Past Lima City Tour. Departure.

    Transfer by private vehicle from your hotel to the airport in Cusco for your domestic flight to Lima. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide for a half-day city tour. One of the main fascinations of Lima is the concentration of ancient history in the area; not only do the origins of the city pre-date the Spanish foundation of the city by several millennia, its museums are full of the artistic treasures of magnificent pre-Columbian civilizations that flourished throughout the coastal deserts of Peru. Visit the colonial area of Lima, featuring the Cathedral, the Convent of Santo Domingo, and the Main Square with its beautiful baroque style buildings. You will also have a chance to visit Casa Aliaga, reportedly the oldest home on the Continent and still family-owned after 17 generations. After visiting the city, transfer to Lima airport for international departure flight.

Itinerary pricing as of 2019

Basic Pricing - US$5,720

This is a sample itinerary and can be tailored to your interests and travel style.

  • Based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy
  • Price is per person for this full 10-day itinerary
  • Based on Hotel Selection 1: Hotel B, Sol y Luna, Luxury Exploration Camping, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo, La Casona
Premium Pricing - US$6,513

The alternative pricing is based on the same itinerary with upgraded accommodations showcasing the best luxury hotels that destination has to offer.

  • Based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy
  • Price is per person for this 10-day itinerary:
  • Based on Hotel Selection 2: Belmond Miraflores Park, Belmond Rio Sagrado, Luxury Exploration Camping, Sumaq, Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
  • Optional upgrade to Luxury VIP Camping - supplement price applies. Please contact us for details.

What's Included?

This itinerary is based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy, excluding flights (international and domestic).

  • Includes all specified services in the itinerary description
  • All transfers and entrance fees
  • A welcome pack on arrival including: a pre-loaded cell phone to contact your travel consultant at any time, a printed booklet packed with insider tips alongside your detailed itinerary and up-to-date recommendations on dining and shopping
  • Hand-selected English-speaking guides
  • Specialist guides (where noted)
  • 24-hour support from our locally based team
  • 9 nights in a hand-picked and personally tested selection of Peru’s finest hotels, as well as luxury camping
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
The most famous trek in South America