The Inca Trail started my love affair with walking as a spiritual channel. Day 3 is especially significant - I can't wait to go back there, but we will only tackle this one in 2022. The Trail itself is a 4 night 5 day experience. We spend one night beforehand in Cusco, and one night after in the Sacred Valley Pod Experience.
Follow in the footsteps of the Incas and hike the world-famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, on this fully-equipped and guided 5-day Inca Trail itinerary. The 5-day Inca Trail follows the route of the world-famous classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Hikers will arrive at Machu Picchu on the fourth day of the trek and descend directly to the small town of Aguas Calientes, for a well-deserved night’s rest in a comfortable hotel. Starting early, on the following day a knowledgeable guide will provide a tour of Machu Picchu, after which there will be time for the optional ascent of Huayna Picchu Mountain or a visit to the Temple of the Moon, before the return train ride to Cusco.
DAY 1: CUSCO / CHILCA / HUAYLLABAMBA
Trek length:12km/ 7.5mi; 5-6 hours
Main altitudes: Cusco 3400 m/ 11159 ft.;
Piscacucho (km 82): 2650 m/ 8692 ft.;
Llactapata: 2610 m/ 8563 ft.;
Huayllabamba: 2968 m/ 9737 ft
DAY 2: HUAYLLABAMBA / PACAYMAYO
Trek length:10.5km/ 6.5mi; 6-7 hours
Main altitudes: Huayllabamba: 2968 m/ 9737 ft.
Llulluchapampa: 3767 m/ 12359 ft.;
Warmiwañuska: 4205 m/ 13795 ft.;
Pacaymayo: 3604 m/ 11821 ft
DAY 3: PACAYMAYO / PHUYUPATAMARCA
Trek length:10.5km/ 6.5mi; 5-6 hours
Main altitudes: Pacaymayo: 3604 m/ 11821 ft;
Runkuraqay pass: 3950 m/ 12956 ft;
Phuyupatamarca: 3640 m/ 11942 ft
DAY 4: PHUYUPATAMARCA / MACHU PICCHU / AGUAS CALIENTES
Trek length: 12km/ 7.5mi; 5-6 hours
Main altitudes: Phuyupatamarca: 3640 m/ 11942 ft; Wiñay Wayna: 2665 m/ 8743 ft; Intipunku: 2693 m/ 8833 ft;
Machu Picchu: 2460 m/ 8071 ft; Aguas Calientes: 2070 m/ 6791 ft
Cusco - Huayllabamba
We will pick you up from your hotel in the early morning for the journey by private vehicle to Piscacucho, a community at Km 82 of the Cusco-Machu Picchu railroad. After crossing the Urubamba River, we will begin our trek. Along the way, you will be met by fine views of snow-capped Mount Veronica (5850 meters / 19,193 feet). After hiking along the riverbank, we will arrive at the beautiful Inca ruins of Llactapata, from where our route continues to the village of Huayllabamba and our first campsite.
12km/ 7.5mi; 5-6 hours
Day 2: Huayllabamba – Pacaymayo
After a good breakfast, we will begin the day by hiking up to Warmihuañusca Pass (4205 meters / 13795 feet), the highest part on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Along the way, the landscape will change as we move into the sparse vegetation of the high plains. It is possible to spot alpacas and llamas on this section of the Inca Trail. Arriving at the pass, we will have time to rest and enjoy the fine views, before descending to our second campsite at Pacaymayo in time our evening meal.
10.5km/ 6.5mi; 6-7 hours
Day 3: Pacaymayo – Phuyupatamarca
Today, the trail will climb to the second pass at Runkuraqay (3950 meters / 12,956 feet), from where there are spectacular views of both the Vilcabamba and Urubamba mountain ranges. After a short rest, we will descend along a paved Inca road to the restored ruins of Runkuraqay and Sayacmarca. Here, our route takes us into the cloud forest and in the afternoon we will hike along a series of stone Inca steps, passing the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3640 meters / 11,942 feet) before camping for the night.
10.5km/ 6.5mi; 5-6 hours
Day 4: Phuyupatamarca – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes
From Phuypatamarca, the trail descends a vertiginous slope along a remarkable set of stone Inca steps, a descent of approximately three hours to the picturesque Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna (2665 meters / 8743 feet), surrounded by tropical forest. You will have at least an hour to explore the ruins of Winay Wayna. In the afternoon we will walk for another two hours, enjoying spectacular scenery with the Urubamba River far below, until we reach the Sun Gate, from where you will get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. From here it is a forty-minute walk, followed by a 30-minute bus ride to the small town of Aguas Calientes (2070 meters / 6791 feet).
12km/ 7.5mi; 5-6 hours
Machu Picchu – Cusco
Today we will make an early start to ensure you will have plenty of time to visit Machu Picchu, the Inca city rediscovered in 1911. Located at the top of a steep, forested hill overlooking the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu was hidden by dense vegetation for centuries until the American explorer Hiram Bingham began to clear the site. Today the city has been extensively restored, creating an unforgettable sight for visitors who arrive from all over the world. Your guided tour includes a visit to the temples, plazas, palaces, watercourses and residential areas of Machu Picchu, and you will have the option of scaling Huayna Picchu Mountain (2-3 hours, subject to availability).
Sacred Valley Tour
Explore Cusco’s Sacred Valley of the Incas on this full-day excursion. Beginning in the city of Cusco, this full-day tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas includes visits to the remarkable Inca sites of Pisaq, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero, with plenty of time to enjoy and photograph the spectacular scenery of the Sacred Valley and surrounding peaks. You will be escorted by an experienced and knowledgeable guide as you walk the narrow streets of the Inca village of Ollantaytambo and wander through the handcraft market in the village square at Pisaq.
Transport and tickets
Private transport from your hotel in Cusco to the trailhead
Return train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (Poroy station). Expedition class train. We can provide an upgrade to Vistadome upon request
Transfer from the train station to your hotel in Cusco
Entrance tickets to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
Round trip bus ticket to and from Machu Picchu
Kitchen utensils, complete tableware, chairs and tables
Dining tent and kitchen tent
First aid kit and emergency oxygen bottle
One of our team to facilitate process work and lead the group
English speaking guide
Porters to carry camping equipment, food and up to 7 kilograms of each participant’s personal gear
Delicious meals as mentioned in the itinerary
Drinking water to fill your water bottle regularly (from natural sources, filtered and boiled)
Snacks in the morning and afternoon (fruit, biscuits, chocolate and energy bars, candy)
Hot drinks such as tea and coffee
Sleeping bags (we offer sleeping bags for hire at an additional cost)
Entrance fee to visit Huayna Picchu (subject to availability)
Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
Personal items, including personal medical supplies
Hotel in Aguas Calientes
WHAT TO BRING:
Passport (bring additional photocopies of your passport)
A daypack for personal items (to be carried personally)
Warm clothing for the Andean sections of the trek
Long sleeved shirts (cotton)
Shorts for walking (optional).
Cap and sunglasses
Binoculars for birdwatching enthusiasts
Good hiking boots
Walking poles (make sure they are not metal tipped, to protect the Inca Trail’s original stone steps)
Swimming gear and sandals (if you would like to visit the thermal baths in Aguas Calientes)
HOW TO GET THERE:
Fly into Cusco Airport. We will assist with transfers from the airport.