Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu is one of South America's most popular trekking routes and is consistently ranked among the 10 best hikes in the world. During this 4-day adventure, you will encounter a perfect combination of history and natural beauty. Visit the ancient Inca sites and get to the Sun Gate (Intipunku) before sunrise to get the best view of Machu Picchu, which is said to be the legendary Lost City of the Incas.
Classic Inca Trail hike 4 days 3 nights – Group Tour.
Go out of your comfort zone and explore the Iconic Inca Trail hike; enjoy the natural wonders, visit the ancient Inca sites, interact with our local porters, and experience the best of Peruvian food while you meet new friends and arrive in Machu Picchu through the mountains s.
Hiking the Inca Trail with TreXperience is discovering a new hiking and camping experience where simplicity becomes an experience of a lifetime. Come and join our fun small group tours with like-minded trekkers from all over the world, of different ages and genders. It’s perfect for solo travelers, couples, or groups of friends looking for inspiring and life-changing trekking experiences.
TreXperience organizes premium Inca Trail tours with personal porter, buffet meals, and Panoramic trains included. We have group departures every day.
Why book with TreXperience?
- Food in the Inca Trail: Our chefs use fresh local products to provide the best Peruvian food. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
- High-Quality Equipment: Kitchen tents, dining tents, toilet tents, tables, chairs, and Eureka! 4 or 2-person tents
- Transportation: We provide door-to-door service (from hotel to hotel). Pick up and drop off from any location in Cusco or the Sacred Valley.
- Trains from Machu Picchu: We are the only company that provides Vistadome panoramic trains to return.
- Safety and Security: All staff has training in First Aid and Mountain Rescue
- We provide an oxygen tank, a first aid kit, and satellite phones.
- Our porters have proper equipment and are paid fairly. They are the most important staff on the Inca Trail; without them, it is impossible to reach Machu Picchu.
- Duration: 4 days - 3 nights
- Depart: Km 82 - Piscacucho
- Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
- Season: March to January
- Destination: Machu Picchu
- Hiking Distance: 42 km - 26 miles
- Type: Hiking - Adventure - Camping
- Book with Confidence and Flexibility
- Stay in the best and less crowded campsites
- Arrive at the Inca sites at exclusive hours.
- Enjoy the panoramic trains to return (Vistadome or 360 train).
Inca Trail 4 days 3 nights at a Glance!
Day 1: Training day!
Cusco — Km 82 — Patallacta — Ayapata (14km, 6hrs).- Depart your hotel around 4:30 a.m. and drive to Km 82 to start the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu. The first campsite is at 3300m (10826ft); we spend the night in comfortable tents.
Day 2: The Challenge!
Ayapata — Warmiwañuska — Chaquicocha (16km, 10 hrs).- The most challenging and longest day of the 4-day Machu Picchu Trek, passing through 2 mountains in 10 hours of hiking: The first mountain is Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point of the Inca Trail at 4215m (13829ft). The second mountain is Runkuraqay Pass at 4000m (13123ft).
Day 3: The easy day!
Chaquicocha — Phuyupatamarca — Wiñaywayna (10km, 6hrs).- On the most beautiful and relaxing day, hiking is only 6 hours through different ecological zones. Today, you’ll also visit archaeological sites like Phuyupatamarca, Intipata, and Winaywayna; this last one is the campsite at 2600m (8530ft), just 2 hours from Machu Picchu.
Day 4: Discover Machu Picchu!
Wiñaywayna — Machu Picchu — Cusco (6km, 2 hrs).- Wake up early and hike for 2 hours to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate, from where we will have a unique view of Machu Picchu. After exploring Machu Picchu, you will take the Panoramic train and bus back to Cusco. Return to your hotel around 7:30 p.m.
Campsite locations might change depending on availability and the final campsite assignment!
- Safety briefing the day before the tour
- Complimentary luggage storage.
- Pick up from your hotel for the tour.
- All transportation during the trek
- Personal Porter for up to 7 kilos
- Professional tour guides (fluent in English)
- Experienced chefs and porters
- 3-night camping with comfortable equipment
- All meals are prepared with fresh local ingredients.
- Entrance ticket to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
- Bus down to Aguas Calientes from Machu Picchu
- Panoramic Vistadome train to return
- Satellite phones, a first-aid kit, an oxygen tank
- Eureka 4-man tents for every 2 travelers
- Private portable toilets
- Drinkable water and snacks every day
- Drop off back at your hotel
- All taxes and fees are included.
- Sleeping bags, air mattresses, or trekking poles
- Last day lunch after Machu Picchu Tour
- Huayna Picchu Mountain (optional)
- Travel Insurance
Full Itinerary of the 4 days Inca Trail Trek
Day 1: Cusco — Km 82 — Hatunchaca — Ayapata
The Inca Trail trekking team will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco around 4:30 a.m. If you stay in the Sacred Valley, like Urubamba or Ollantaytambo, the pick-up will be after 6:00 a.m. Next, travel for about 2.5 hours to Km 82 (Piscacucho village) to commence the 4-day & 3-night Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We will stop at Ollantaytambo, where you will enjoy a delicious breakfast with amazing views of the Inca site and the mountains; you will also have the opportunity to buy some last-minute things for the trek. Afterwards, you will continue to Km 82 and arrive at the trailhead around 8:00 a.m. – first, meet your chef, porters, and tour guides. We will head to the checkpoint to present our passports and begin our TreXperience to the Legendary Lost City of the Incas.
After completing the checkpoint, we will begin the Inca Trail TreXperience; the first section is a relatively easy 2-hour hike to Patallacta, the first ancient site along the Inca Trail route. We will enjoy beautiful views of this ancient citadel surrounded by mountains and rivers from a unique, hidden location. Then it will be a 2-hour hike to Hatunchaca village, which is in the heart of the Inca Trek, where a team of porters and cooks will be waiting with a delicious lunch made using fresh local ingredients.
After a delightful meal, we will continue for another 2 hours to Ayapata, the first campsite, where you’ll arrive at about 5:00 p.m. You’ll find your tent, a snack, and a hot beverage waiting for you. Before tea time and dinner, you’ll have time to relax, arrange your bed, and take in the view of the mountains.
- Campsite Altitude: 3300m – 10826ft
- Highest altitude: 3300m – 10826ft
- Distance: 14km / 8 miles
- Duration: 6 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, tea time, dinner
- Accommodation: Camping
- Difficulty: Moderate
Day 2: Ayapata — Dead Woman’s Pass — Chaquicocha
Our team will wake you up bright and early in the morning with a hot cup of coffee or coca tea in your tent. Today will be the most challenging part of the 4-day hike to Machu Picchu, and after breakfast, it will be a 4-hour hike to Dead Woman’s Pass (4215m / 13829ft), the highest point along the Inca Trail Trek. At the summit, we will take time to enjoy a coca tea and appreciate the serenity of this location. At the same time, your guide completes a traditional offering ceremony to the Apus (local Gods). After enjoying the views, we will start a 2-hour downhill trek to Pacaymayo Alto valley, where we will enjoy a well-earned lunch.
After lunch, the second mountain is an easier 2-hour climb to Runkuraqay Pass (4000m / 13123ft). We will take time to explore 2 Inca sites along the way; Runkuraqayay and Sayacmarca. The second campsite is Chaquicocha (dry lake, 3600m / 11811 ft.), where you can admire a beautiful sunset over the Vilcabamba mountain range before dinner. This campsite is the perfect place to stargaze with an unobstructed view of the constellations!
- Campsite Altitude: 3600m – 11811ft
- Highest altitude: 4215m -13829ft
- Distance: 16km / 10 miles
- Duration: 10 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, tea time, dinner
- Accommodation: Camping
- Difficulty: Challenging
Day 3: Chaquicocha — Intipata — Wiñaywayna
With the hard part of the 4-day Inca Trail tour well and truly over, you can relax and enjoy the most leisurely and exciting day of the Inca Trail. Today’s route is extremely varied; it is only a 5-hour hike to the final campsite. Along the way, you will pass through several different ecosystems, experience the atmospheric cloud forest, and observe the magnificent panoramic view of Salkantay Mountain (the second-highest peak in Cusco). We will visit 2 Inca sites, Phuyupatamarca (City in the Clouds), with spectacular views of the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu Mountain, and Intipata (Terraces of the Sun).
At Intipata, there will be time to rest and take in your magical surroundings. We will reach the campsite at approximately 1:00 p.m. to have lunch, and then you can enjoy some free time to relax, unwind at the camp, chase llamas, or take a refreshing shower. Later in the afternoon, we will visit the Inca site of Wiñaywayna, where your guide will explain this fantastic location’s history. We will then return to the campsite for tea, dinner, and a special farewell surprise!
- Campsite Altitude: 2600m – 8530ft
- Highest altitude: 3600m – 11811ft
- Distance: 10km / 6 miles
- Duration: 5 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snack, lunch, tea time, dinner
- Accommodation: Camping
- Difficulty: Moderate
Day 4: Discover Machu Picchu — Cusco
On our final day of the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, we have to get up very early to prepare for the highlight of your TreXperience! Visiting Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. We will go straight to the checkpoint and wait until it opens at 5:30 a.m. As the sky brightens, we will walk to the Sun Gate (Intipunku) for one hour, enjoying the stunning views. You can watch the spectacular sunrise over Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate on a clear day, which is truly an unforgettable sight. Next, we will start a final 1-hour descent towards Machu Picchu, arriving at the last control point around 8:00 a.m.
Your tour guide will take you on a 2-hour comprehensive tour of the city before leaving you in Machu Picchu to explore on your own or hike Huayna Picchu Mountain (tickets must be booked as far in advance as possible). Your guide also will explain how to take the bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes for lunch and then take the panoramic train (Vistadome or 360° train) and bus back to Cusco. TreXperience Team will meet you off the train and safely return to your hotel in Cusco or the Sacred Valley. The approximate arrival time back to Cusco is around 7.30 to 8:00 p.m.
- Highest altitude: 2720m -8923ft
- Distance: 6km / 3 miles
- Duration of the hike: 2 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snacks
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Ultimate 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu hike Packing List
What should I pack for the Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu? This is the most common question asked by Inca Trail hikers. When traveling to a new faraway destination like South America, you must prepare long before, especially when hiking to remote places like the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek.
For your trip to Peru, you will bring one or two big pieces of luggage depending on how long you spend on your vacation. However, you will only take the necessary equipment for the 4-day Machu Picchu hike. You must leave most of your belongings in the Cusco hotel or TreXperience storerooms.
For the Inca Trail hike, you must reduce the gear you will take to a minimum. We recommend 5 kilos in your daypack and 7 kilos in your duffle bag. Remember that you are responsible for carrying your daypack at all times and must have all the necessary equipment for the day. Our strong porters will take the 7 kg duffle bag; you can find them only at campsites but not during the day.
- Original passport; a copy will not be accepted; your passport must be valid for at least 6 months to enter and exit Peru. You'll also need to ensure that your passport has two blank pages for entry and exit stamps.
- Valid Student ID; this ID is required only if you have booked the tour as a student. Student cards must be issued by the university up to the age of 25, containing the following: university information, personal information of the student, photo of the student, and a valid date no later than December 31 of the year of travel.
- Hiking boots (light, comfortable, and broken in). Make sure your shoes are not too tight or too loose. They should provide enough room for your toes to wiggle without being too spacious.
- A good quality daypack (light, small, and cozy); you will need a comfortable backpack to carry all your supplies.
- A camel bag or water bottle(s) for at least 2 liters of water storage. Choosing a water bottle that will keep your water cold is essential.
- Trekking poles (you can rent them from us) Trekking poles are highly recommended for the Inca Trail.
What to put in the daypack?
Below is a list of items we recommend you keep in your backpack. Remember, you will be carrying this with you every day of the trek, so bring a good quality daypack that is light and comfortable.
It is important to note that, due to local regulations, your backpack should not exceed 25 liters. All larger bags can not be taken into Machu Picchu and must be stored outside the gates. The 25 liters is not about the capacity of your backpack; it is about the size; if you have larger bags, you can bring them and make sure your backpack looks small for Machu Picchu.
- Hats and sunglasses; the sun can be pretty intense at high altitudes, and you'll want to protect your eyes from the glare. Look for a pair that offers UV protection and is comfortable for long periods.
- Rain gear, the trail can be notoriously wet, especially in the rainy season, and being prepared with the right equipment can make all the difference. Look for materials like Gore-Tex or eVent that allow your skin to breathe while keeping you dry.
- Warm layers (fleece or long-sleeved tops); on the Inca Trail, where temperatures can vary widely from day to night, it's essential to have a good layering system; base layer, mid-layer of fleece or down, and a waterproof shell layer.
- Sun cream, Choose a high-factor sunscreen and apply it generously before setting off on your trek. Reapply regularly throughout the day, especially if you're sweating. And don't forget to protect your lips with a lip balm that contains SPF.
- Bug spray, choose a bug spray that contains ingredients like DEET or picaridin. These chemicals will help keep the bugs at bay so you can enjoy your hike without worrying about being bitten.
- Hand sanitizer, make sure to use hand sanitizer before you eat or drink on the Inca Trail and after you use the bathroom. Carrying a small bottle of hand sanitizer throughout the day would be best.
- Toilet paper, there are plenty of bathrooms along the Inca Trail; take toilet paper inside a plastic bag.
- Personal medication includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines for common ailments such as headaches, stomachaches, and colds. Take also band-aids and moleskin.
- Camera, extra batteries, note that the battery life of your electronic devices will be reduced at high altitudes. So, pack plenty of spare batteries for your camera, phone, and other devices you'll use during your hike. Also, pack a charger or power bank to keep your devices powered up along the way.
- Head Torch, a headlamp, is vital equipment for anyone embarking on the Inca Trail. Not only will it light the way in the dark, but it will also help to keep your hands free from other tasks. A few things to consider when choosing a head torch are brightness, weight, and comfort.
- Snacks, make sure that they are high in energy and easy to digest. This means that foods like candy bars or cookies are not ideal, as they can be hard on your stomach and leave you feeling sluggish. Instead, opt for something like granola bars or trail mix. These will give you the energy you need to power through the hike without weighing you down.
- Extra money for souvenirs, drinks, and tips (small change helps pay for using the villagers' toilets on the first day).
What to put in the duffle bags
TreXperience will provide you with a duffel bag to pack items you do not need to keep during the day. Our Porters on the Inca Trail will carry this bag for you throughout the trek. Please note that this bag should weigh a maximum of 7 kg, including your sleeping bag and air mattress (if you bring/rent one). These 2 items weigh about 3 kg (2 kg sleeping bag and 1 kg air pad). During the Inca Trek, you will travel through different temperatures as you climb and descend; it can also be cold at night at the campsite. Therefore, layers work best.
During the safety briefing, duffle bags will be available at our office the day before the trek. We can also bring them to your hotel if you need to get your things together sooner.
- Sleeping bags (can be rented from us); buy a sleeping bag that fits your height and weight, and remember to pack it in a waterproof bag, so it stays dry on the trail. For the Inca Trail, we recommend sleeping bags rated at -10°C.
- Air mattress (can be rented from us); having an extra layer to sleep will make your hike more comfortable and enjoyable and help you get a good night's sleep even in the most challenging conditions. We provide a foam mattress on tour.
- Shoes for the campsite. After a long hour of hiking with boots, you may want to remove the heavy shoes and have something light to wear at the camp.
- Warm jacket, temperatures can drop sharply at night, so it's essential to have a few warm layers you can put on when the sun goes down. A good base layer will help regulate your body temperature, while an insulating layer will keep you warm even when cold outside. Make sure you also have a waterproof outer layer in rain or snow. And don't forget to pack a hat and gloves!
- 4 or 5 t-shirts (wicking t-shirts are best). A synthetic fabric like polyester or nylon is a good option, as it will wick away sweat and dry quickly. Avoid cotton shirts, as they will hold onto moisture and can cause chafing.
- 2-3 hiking pants/trousers, there are two main types of hiking pants: cargo pants and convertible pants. Cargo pants have large pockets on the sides of the legs, which are great for carrying extra gear. Convertible pants have legs that zip off at the knee, making them perfect for hot weather or changing conditions on the trail. Leggings work as well for ladies.
- 4 sets of undergarments, wearing a sports bra, and compression shorts will help keep you comfortable and prevent chafing. If you're hiking in cold weather, layering with a base layer and thermal underwear will keep you warm. And finally, don't forget to pack plenty of socks! Hiking socks should be moisture-wicking and cushioned to protect your feet from blisters.
- 4 sets of hiking socks, make sure the socks are made from a breathable material like wool or synthetic fibers. You don't want your feet to get too sweaty during the hike, which can lead to blisters.
- 1 Fleece, a fleece jacket or pullover is a good choice, and you can layer it with other clothing if necessary. Be sure to pack a rain jacket as well, as the weather can be unpredictable on the trail.
- 1 Warm, down jacket for the coldest nights. The best jackets are made of down or synthetic insulation, keeping you warm even when wet. Look for a coat with a hood and plenty of pockets to store all your essential gear.
- Quick-dry towel, a quick-dry towel is a must-have for anyone planning on hiking the Inca Trail. It will help you stay dry and comfortable during your hike and speed up your drying time when sweating it out on the trail.
- Biodegradable soap is specially formulated to break down quickly and safely in nature, so it won't pollute the trail or harm any wildlife. Plus, it's super effective at removing dirt and grime - perfect for a long hike.
- Wet wipes, pack plenty of wet wipes! The trail can be dusty and dirty, so keeping your skin clean is essential. Wet wipes are perfect for this purpose, as they're easy to use and disposable. They'll also help keep you fresh and cool in the hot sun.
- Toothbrush and paste, make sure the brush and paste are small, compact, and for camping trips.
- Face moisturizer, the high altitude, and the harsh sun can take a toll on your skin, so it's essential to keep it hydrated. A rich, creamy moisturizer will help protect your skin from the elements and keep it looking its best.
- Power bank/battery charger, You should use your phone in airplane mode and have power banks with you; we recommend one of 20,000 MaH.
- Plastic bags to keep wet or muddy clothes separate
Price for the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Price per person:
- 740.USD for adults
- 700.USD for children and students
To book the Classic Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu, you need to make an initial payment of 200.USD per person, the remaining balance can be paid online, in installments, or Cusco with any credit card or PayPal with no booking fees at all.
- 40$ off per person
All travelers under 17 will have a $40 discount.
If you are 25 years old or under when traveling, you can get a 40$ discount with your student ID. Please advise by email to give you a code for the discount.
Valid Student ID for Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
To get the student discount, travelers should have a Valid ID with the following:
- 25 years or less at the time of entering Machu Picchu. Older than 25 can not enter as a student
- The ID must have the Name of the university, name, and photo of the student
- The ID must have a valid expiration date
Invalid Student IDs
Student IDs are not eligible for a discount when:
- Traveler is older than 25
- Expired ID
- Student Id without expiration date
- ISIC cards are not valid.
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Inca Trail Frequently Asked Questions.
How to book Inca Trail Tour?
Booking the Inca Trail is easy with TreXperience; click on any BOOK NOW button, select your departure date, fill up the form with all details requested, including passport information, and finally submit the initial payment required to book the Inca Trail.
Due to the permits' strict booking policy for the Inca Trail administered by the Peruvian Government, all Inca Trail bookings must be confirmed manually. Only after manual confirmation from our side will your tour be 100% guaranteed.
Can I store my luggage with TreXperience?
During the Inca Trail, you will only take your daypack and a small duffle bag with 7 kilos. Your luggage must stay in Cusco. You can store it at the hotel or with TreXperience.
How can I reduce the risk of altitude sickness?
There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of altitude sickness:
- Arrive in Cusco at least 2 days before your tour; this way, you will have time to acclimatize
- Avoid rapid ascent: This gives your body time to adjust to the change in altitude. Our tours are designed that way.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Staying hydrated is vital. Make sure you're drinking enough water and avoid alcohol.
- Eat light meals: Eating smaller, lighter meals will help your body digest food more efficiently at high altitudes.
- Get enough sleep: Good night's sleep will help your body recover from the day's exertion.
If you start to feel symptoms of altitude sickness, descend to a lower altitude immediately and rest until you feel better.
What can I do in Cusco before the Inca Trail?
We recommend low-altitude tours or staying in the city of Cusco.
- On the first day, you can rest in Cusco and, if possible, explore on a guided Cusco City Tour in the afternoon.
- On the second day, you can take a full-day Super Sacred Valley Tour and, if possible, stay in Ollantaytambo. If you stay in Ollantaytambo, you will save a 2-hour trip by bus on the day of the Inca Trail.
What are the recommended tours after the Inca Trail?
After the Inca Trail, we recommend resting for one day to recover if possible, and then you can explore more places In Cusco.
- Rainbow Mountain is the best day tour in Cusco after the Inca Trail. This fantastic hike takes you to the colored mountain at 5200 meters and the Red Valley.
- Humantay Lake hikes is another classic day tour located at 4200 meters.
- You can travel to Puno by bus and explore the floating islands.
How long in advance do I have to book the Inca Trail?
Inca Trail is the most popular trek in South America; only 500 permits are sold daily. Make sure you book far in advance to get your preferred date.
For months like April, May, June, and July, we recommend booking the previous year before October: Every year, in the first months of October, the Inca Booking system will be open for the next year, and some dates will sell out immediately. It's essential to book before October the Inca Trail tours.
We recommend booking at least 6 months in advance for the high season. We recommend booking at least 3 months in advance for the slow season.
What happens if the Inca Trail is sold out?
Our team will contact you to offer alternative tours or dates if the travel date is sold out. It's important to note that submitting the payment does not guarantee an Inca Trail permit. You must always wait for manual confirmation from our team indicating that we have successfully secured the Inca Trai permits. This process could take around 24 hours; if weekend, the confirmation will be sent on Mondays.
How many people are allowed in each group?
The maximum group size is 16 travelers. However, this number is hardly met since it will depend on how many spots we sell before the permits are sold out. These are the general rules of the Inca Trail and apply to all tour operators.
The average group size is 8 to 12 travelers per group.
Is it better to have a group of 8 people or 12 to 16?
Some operators only offer groups of 8 people, saying guests will get personalized service. However, this is not the best option for the following reasons.
- Groups of 8 people or fewer will only be allowed 1 tour guide
- Groups of 9 or more will be allowed 2 tour guides.
As a tour guide and with personal experience, managing a group of 8 people is very challenging; if we have travelers of different ages and speeds, it will become complicated for 1 person to lead the group.
If there are 9, 10, or 12 travelers and 2 tour guides, it is easier to manage as 1 tour guide can be at the front of the line, and 1 tour guide can stay at the back. Hiking in a group tour during the Inca Trail, all travelers will walk at their speed and only group at specific places for resting or guided tours.
When organizing a group tour is difficult to know how many people will be on a specific date. However, we will always aim to get the maximum to have 2 tour guides.
What equipment can I rent from TreXperience?
Sleeping bags, Trekking poles, and inflatable mattresses are not included during the Inca Trail. You can bring your own, or you can rent from us.
- Sleeping bags, we rent for 20$
- Trekking poles for 15$
- Inflatable mattress for 15$
The prices are in USD for the whole trip. We provide a foam mattress; the air mattress is optional if you want more comfort.
How long is the 4-day Inca Trek?
The total distance of the Inca Trail is 26 miles or 42 km long. The average person takes about 4 days to complete the entire trail, but if you're not used to hiking, you may want to give yourself an extra day or two. A Short Inca Trail option is also available if you don't have the time for an entire hike.
How high is the Classic Inca Trail?
- Cusco city is located at 3,399 m or 11151 ft.
- The start point of the Inca Trail is KM 82 at 2642 m or 8867 ft.
- The average altitude of the Inca Trail is 3,000 m or 9842 ft.
- Dead Woman's Pass is the highest mountain at 4,215 m or 13835 ft.
- The second highest mountain pass is Runkuraqay at 4,000 m or 13123 ft.
- Machu Picchu, where the Inca Trail ends, is 2,430 m 7972 ft.
- Aguas Calientes town, where we take the train back to Cusco, is 2,040 m or 6692 ft.
Where does the 4-day Inca Trail start?
The Classic Inca Trail starts in Km 82, Piscacucho (2642 m or 8867 ft), in the Ollantaytambo district, Urubamba Province. The main checkpoint is located on the right side of the Urubamba River. Once you cross the river, you enter the Inca Trail protected area.
The Short Inca Trail starts at Km 104, also called Chachabamba. This is the express Inca Trail for only 1 day, and you will visit Machu Picchu the next day.
When is the best time to hike Inca Trail?
This question is often tough to answer, Inca Trail is Inca Trail, and you will be amazed even with the sun, rain, wind, cold, or any weather you might encounter on your trip. You must have the proper equipment and always be prepared for all types of weather. Inca Trail is located in the cloud forest, famous for having the most unstable weather in Peru and perhaps the world.
- The best months to hike and visit Machu Picchu are April to October.
- The Driest months on the Inca Trail are May, June, July, and August. However, these are the busiest months of the year in Machu Picchu.
- The rainy season starts in November and until March; however, it is possible to have whole weeks without rain.
- The Inca trails are closed during February due to heavy rains and maintenance.
When was the Inca Trail Built?
The Inca Empire built the trail in the 15th century, most likely between 1450 and 1500. This is based on archaeological evidence that has been found along the route, as well as historical records of the Inca Empire.
Why is the Classic Inca Trail Important?
After the Inca Trail's rediscovery in 1915, archaeologists explored the ancient route. They found many Incan temples, religious sites, and administrative areas, such as Patallacta, Runkuraqay Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Intipata, Wiñaywayna, and Intipunku.
The vast number of Inca Sites, the remarkably well-preserved ancient Inca Trail, the secluded location of the area, the varied landscapes, the fantastic view, endemic flora, and fauna are a few of the reasons why the Inca Trail hike has become one of the most popular hikes in South America.
How many days before the trek do I have to arrive in Cusco?
You should arrive in Cusco at least 2 days before your Inca Trail trek begins. This will give you time to acclimate to the high altitude and settle before starting your hike. Cusco is a beautiful city with plenty of things to see and do, so you won't be bored while waiting to start your trek. Plus, if you have any last-minute gear or supplies you need to pick up, you'll have time to do that before heading out.
When is the Classic Inca Trail Closed?
The Classic Inca Trail is closed annually from February to March for maintenance. It is also closed occasionally due to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Before you plan to trek the Classic Inca Trail, check the latest information on closures.
Which Inca Trail Trek is the best?
There are 3 ways to make the Inca Trail and arrive at Machu Picchu through the Sungate.
- The Classic Inca Trail 4 days and 3 nights are the most popular, and 90% of travelers will choose this option—only camping.
- The Inca Trail 5 days and 4 nights, 3 nights camping, 1-night hotel in Aguas Calientes.
- The Short Inca Trail, 1 day hiking the last part of the Inca Trail and the next day visiting Machu Picchu.
This trek has other variations and extensions, like the Salkantay Expedition, 6 days and 5 nights; however, it is always based on those mentioned above.
Where do I have to book Inca Trail Permits?
Only authorized local, registered tour operators like TreXperience can book the Inca Trail permits in Cusco City. You can not secure the permits and must travel with a tour guide, chef, and porters.
How to get Inca Trail Permits?
The Inca Trail permits are released during the first days of October for the following year. This October 2032, we will book the permits for all 2024 seasons.
A few months might well out fast, like May, June, and July, so it is essential to get manual confirmation that the tour operator has secured the permits.
Is the Inca Trail Trek Hard?
Another tricky question, and the answer is no! the Inca Trail is challenging but doable. You must be able to hike on uneven terrain for about 8 to 10 hours daily, sleep above 3000 meters, and be able to go up and down the stairs on the trail.
If you are in average physical condition to handle this type of hike, you must practice regularly before coming to the Inca Trail, and you will have a wonderful time.
How much does Inca Trail Cost?
There are so many tour operators with reasonable prices when searching online; deciding which tour company you will travel with is always hard.
The most popular Inca Trail tours are:
- The average price on a 4-day Classic Inca Trail tour is 700 to 750 USD
- The average price on the Inca Trail 5 days trek is 850 to 950 USD
- The average Short Inca Trail tour price is 500 to 550.USD
You can find better prices or options, but always verify what is included. Some tour operators do not have a personal porter or bus from Machu Picchu. TreXperience provides a personal porter and all transportation from start to end with panoramic trains.
Is the Inca Trail Hike Dangerous?
Any adventure trip you go on, there are always risks involved. Dangerous situations during the Inca Trail could be due to negligence or the force of nature. Following your tour guide's instructions is the best way to stay safe on the Inca Trail.
Can I Hike The Inca Trek Without a Guide?
You can not enter the Inca Trail without hiring a registered tour company. You must hike the Inca Trail with a tour guide, chef, and porters.
Inca Trail Travel Information
The Classic Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is one of the world's most breathtaking adventures! Built by the Incas in the 15th century, Qhapac Nan or Inca Trails helped connect their empire which included Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia Chile and Argentina.
Cusco was the capital city of the Inca empire, and thus its most essential city. From here, Inca Trails connected it to other locations across South America - these trails covered over 40,000 kilometers!
The Inca Trail, which is well-known around the world, begins at Kilometer 82 in Piscacucho Village located in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, Peru.
This Iconic Trail was built by the Incas in the 15th century. It is thought that the same people who built Machu Picchu also built the Inca Trail. The trail was used for trading between Cusco and the area around the Amazon region.
After the spanich conquest, this trail was lost for many year together with Machu Picchu. It was re-discovered in 1915 by an American named Hiram Bingham III. Today, the Inca Trail is now one of the most famous tourist destinations in Peru.
The weather in the Inca Trail is unpredictable and variable. We have 2 seasons, however you need to be prepared for all seasons when hiking to Machu Picchu.
- The wet season runs from November to March
- The dry season runs from April to October
Temperature on the trail varies significantly depending on the altitude and season; temperatures can reach as high as 80°F (27#C) during the day and drop down below freezing at night, so hikers must come prepared for hot as well as cold conditions.
Hiking along the Inca Trail can be challenging due to its length and high altitudes; however, its rewards make the experience well worthwhile; its breathtaking scenery will impress anyone while feeling great satisfaction from having accomplished something big!
Inca Trail altitude map
Inca Trail permits
To participate in this amazing tour, you will need to secure the permits long in advance. Every day, there are only 500 permits available and this number includes porters, chef, tour guides and travelers.
Inca Trail length
The Inca Trail stretches for about 26 miles (42 kilometers) from the Sacred Valley (Km 82), through the Andes Mountains, to the lost city of Machu Picchu.
Inca Trail compared with other tours.
The Inca Trail is one of the most popular trekking routes in the world, but, if is sold out, you might consider alternative tours to Machu Picchu. Below you will find a comparison of the most popular tours.
Inca Trail vs. Salkantay Trek
When choosing a trek to Machu Picchu, there are two main options: the Inca Trail and the Salkantay Trek. Both tours offer stunning scenery and an unforgettable experience but have some key differences.
The Inca Trail is the classic choice for a Machu Picchu trek. It's the most popular option, and for a good reason – it's an incredible journey that takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in Peru. The trail follows the ancient path of the Incas and ends with a spectacular entrance into Machu Picchu. The downside of the Inca Trail is that it's crowded (permits are limited to 500 people per day) and can be expensive.
The Salkantay Trek is an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail. It's less crowded, more affordable, and still takes you through beautiful scenery. The highlight of the Salkantay Trek is Mount Salkantay, which at 6,271 meters (20,549 feet), is one of the tallest mountains in Peru. The views from the summit are breathtaking! Another plus of the Salkantay Trek is that it ends with a visit to Aguas Calientes, where you can relax in the hotel before going to Machu Picchu.
Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek
Here's a look at the key differences between these two famous treks.
The Inca Trail is the most popular option for trekkers visiting Machu Picchu. This four-day hike takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in Peru, including several Inca ruins. The downside is that it can be pretty crowded, especially during peak season (May-September).
The Lares Trek is a shorter, 4-day option that starts in the village of Lares and ends at Machu Picchu. While it doesn't have as many Inca ruins along the route, it's a great choice if you want to avoid crowds.
Inca Trail vs. Short Inca Trail Trek
The original Inca Trail is a long and challenging hike, but there is also a shorter version known as the Short Inca Trail Trek. So, which one should you choose?
The Inca Trail is 26 miles (42 kilometers) long and takes four days to complete. It starts at Km 82, in the Sacred Valley, and ends at Machu Picchu. Trekkers will pass through beautiful scenery along the way, including alpine forests, mountain valleys, and lush jungles. The trail also crosses several high-altitude passes, reaching a maximum elevation of 13,829 feet (4,215 meters).
The Short Inca Trail Trek is only 10 miles (16 kilometers) long and can be completed in two days. It starts at Km 104 and ends at Machu Picchu. While this route doesn't offer the same variety of scenery as the longer Inca Trail, it still passes through some stunning landscapes, including cloud forests and alpine meadows.
Inca Trail vs. Quarry Trek
Both treks have their unique benefits, so it's essential to choose the right one for you.
The Inca Trail is the more popular of the two treks, and for a good reason. It's a 26-mile trek that takes you through stunning scenery, past ancient ruins, and finally to Machu Picchu. The Inka Trail is also a bit more challenging than the Quarry Trek, which makes it more rewarding.
The Quarry Trek is an excellent option If you're looking for a shorter, easier trek. It's only 20 miles long and takes you to some of the best viewpoints of the Sacred Valley. The Quarry Trek is also a great option if you want to avoid the crowds of the Inca Trail.
Inca Trail vs. Choquequirao trek
The Inca Trail and Choquequirao Hike are 2 of the most epic hikes to an ancient citadel in Peru. Both treks offer stunning views of the Andes mountains and the ancient Inca ruins, but there are some critical differences between the two.
- The Inca Trail is much more popular than the Choquequirao trek, which can be pretty crowded during peak seasons.
- The Choquequirao trek is more challenging but less crowded and offers a more authentic experience.
- The Inca Trail trek takes 4 days to complete, while the Choquequirao trek can be 4,5, up to 8-10 days.
- The Inca Trail is also a bit more expensive than the Choquequirao trek.
So, which trek is suitable for you? The Inca Trail is a good option for a shorter, less challenging hike with stunning views of the Andes and ancient Inca ruins. If you want a more extended, more authentic experience with fewer crowds, then the Choquequirao trek is a better choice.
Inca Trail Marathon
One of the most popular events in the world is the Inca Trail Marathon. This race takes place in Peru and follows the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The marathon is considered one of the most difficult in the world due to the high altitude and rugged terrain. However, many runners find the challenge to be worth it for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Inca Trail Marathon is held every year in May or June. The race starts at KM 82 of the Inca Trail, about 2,000 meters above sea level. Runners then go through the jungle, mountains, and ancient ruins before finishing at Machu Picchu. The total race distance is approximately 42 kilometers. To participate in the Inca Trail Marathon, runners must have a good fitness level and be able to train appropriately for the race. Runners should also be aware of the dangers of running at high altitudes and be sure to acclimate to the altitude before race day.
Inca Trail elevation gain
The Inca Trail elevation gain is around 3,000 feet (914 meters) from start to finish. The highest point on the trail is 13,828 feet (4,215 meters) at Dead Woman's Pass. Most of the elevation gain is in the first few days, with around 1,000 feet (305 meters) of ascent on Day 1 and 800 feet (244 meters) on Day 2. After that, the trial levels out somewhat, although there are still some ups and downs.
Inca Trail Reservations
If you're planning on Inca Trail hiking, you'll need to make sure you have a reservation. This trek is one of the most popular hiking trails in the world, and it cannot be easy to get a spot.
- There is only one way to make a reservation for the trail. You need to book through an authorized tour company like TreXperience.
- When making your reservation, you must provide your passport information and choose a start date for your hike.
- It's important to note that the Inca Trail is closed in February.
- You should also try booking at least six months in advance, as spots fill up quickly.
- Once your reservation is secured, all left is packing for your adventure!
Inca Trail's highest point
Dead Woman's Pass is a high mountain on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It is 4,215 meters (13,829 ft) above sea level and is the highest point on the Inca Trail. The pass gets its name from its resemblance to a woman lying on her back. The pass is a challenging section of the Inca Trail, with steep ascents and descents.
Inca Trail 2 days
The short Inca Trail is an excellent option for those who want to hike the trail but are short on time. The trail is only 2 days long and is a great way to see some of the most incredible views of the Andes Mountains. The trail starts at Km 104, about 1 hour from Cusco by train from Ollantaytambo. From there, you will hike for about 4-5 hours to reach the site of Wiñay Wayna. You will enjoy a box lunch and continue the final stretch of the trail to Machu Picchu to the Sungate (Initupunku), from where you will have the first and most amazing view of Machu Picchu.
Inca Trail 5 days
The Inca Trail 5 days slow version is an excellent option for those who want to enjoy the scenery and take their time on the trail. The slower pace means you'll have more time to take photos, enjoy the views, and explore the ruins. This version of the trail is also a good option for those not as physically fit, as it is not as strenuous as the shorter versions. Book your tour early if you're planning on hiking the Inca Trail. Tours often fill up months in advance, especially during peak season (May-September).
Sungate or intipunku
Sungate, or Intipunku, is the official name for the entrance to Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail. The views from the Sun Gate are breathtaking, and it's incredible to stand at the top of Machu Picchu and take it all in.
Inca Bridge in Machu Picchu
The Inca Bridge is a stone bridge located in the citadel of Machu Picchu. The bridge spans a gorge with a drop of around 60 meters (200 feet). It is believed to have been built by the Incas in the 15th century. The purpose of the Inca Bridge is not known for sure, but it is thought that it may have been used as a way for the Incas to cross the gorge without descending into the valley below.
It is also possible that the bridge was used as a defensive structure to prevent enemies from crossing into the citadel. The Inca Bridge is an impressive feat of engineering and one of the many remarkable features of Machu Picchu. If you are visiting Machu Picchu, take some time to admire this incredible structure.
Training for Inca trail
When preparing for the Inca Trail, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, some tips will help you get in shape for the hike.
- Start by gradually increasing your overall fitness level. This can be done by walking or running for 30 minutes daily, three to five times weekly. If you can't commit to this much exercise, try to at least get out for a walk or run once a week.
- In addition to general fitness, building up your leg muscles is essential. This is because the trail is mostly uphill, which can be tough on your legs if they're not used to it. Try doing some squats and lunges at home, or take a few hikes in hilly areas before embarking on this fantastic tour.
- Finally, give yourself ample time to adjust to the altitude before starting the hike. The Inca Trail reaches over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), so it's essential to acclimatize slowly by spending a few days in Cusco (the hike's starting point) before beginning the trek.
Inca Trail stairs
Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to this question. The number of stairs on the Inca Trail varies depending on your route. Some sections of the trail have more stairs than others. And, as the trail is constantly being maintained and updated, the number of stairs can change from year to year. However, we can give you a rough estimate based on reports from previous hikers. Most hikers report between 5,000 and 7,000 steps along the entire Inca Trail. That's an average of 200 to 300 steps per mile (120 to 190 steps per kilometer). So, if you plan on hiking the Inca Trail, be prepared for many stairs! But don't let that discourage you – the experience is well worth it.
Inca Trail facts
- The Inca Trails are a network of ancient roads and trails extending more than 4,000 miles across the Andes Mountains.
- The Classic Inca Trail leads from the sacred city of Cusco to the lost city of Machu Picchu.
- The Inca Trail was built by the Incas over 500 years ago and is one of the most famous hiking trails in the world.
- The Inca Trail is 26 miles long and takes 4 days to hike.
- The Inca Trail is located in the Andes Mountains of Peru and reaches an altitude of 13,000 feet.
- The Inca Trail is a challenging hike but rewards hikers with stunning views of mountains, valleys, rivers, and ancient ruins.
- The Inca Trail is notoriously difficult, with narrow paths, steep ascents and descents, and unpredictable weather conditions.
- Trekkers typically spend four days hiking the trail, although shorter and longer options are available.