The Classic Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is one of South America's most popular trekking routes and is consistently ranked among the 10 best treks 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.
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 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 friends.
During the Inca Trail, we provide:
Food: Your chef will prepare special meals every day, starting from the first breakfast until the last breakfast. We use fresh local products to provide the best Peruvian food. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free meals are available on request.
Equipment: We provide kitchen tents, dining tents, toilet tents, tables, chairs, and Eureka! 4-man tents are provided for every two travelers.
Transportation: We provide door-to-door service (from hotel to hotel). We will start the tour from your hotel at any location in Cusco or the Sacred Valley, and after the tour, we will transfer you back to your hotel. We are the only company that provides panoramic trains on the way back, so you can relax and enjoy the fantastic views.
Safety: All staff has training in First Aid, Mountain Rescue, and COVID-19 protocols. We provide an oxygen tank, a first aid kit, and satellite phones.
Our porters have the proper equipment and are paid fairly. They are the most important people on the Inca Trail; without them, it is impossible to reach Machu Picchu.
- Duration: 4 Days / 3 nights
- Depart: Km 82 – Piscacucho
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Season: March to January
- Destination: Machu Picchu
- Hiking Distance: 43 km – 26 miles
- Type: Adventure – Camping
Highlights of the Inca Trail with TreXperience
- 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).
- Support our social projects and help children’s education.
Price per person: 690.USD
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.
All travelers under 17 will have a $40 discount. If you are 25 years old or under when traveling, you can get the 40$ discount with your student ID. Please advise by email to give you a code for the discount.
Inca Trail 4 days 3 nights – day-by-day summary
Day 1: Training day!
Cusco – Km 82 – LLactapata – 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 Runqurakay Pass at 4000m (13123ft).
Day 3: The easy day!
Chaquiccocha – Phuyupatamarca – Wiñaywayna (10km, 6hrs). The most beautiful and relaxing day, hiking, is only 6 hours through different ecological zones. Today, you’ll also visit a few archaeological sites, like Winaywayna, which is 2600m (8530ft) above sea level. We’ll camp 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 final campsite assignment!
- Safety briefing the day before the tour at 6:00 p.m.
- All of our guests receive complimentary luggage storage.
- You will be picked up from your hotel on the morning of the tour.
- All transportation during the duration of the Inca Trail Trek
- Personal Porter for items weighing up to 7 kilos
- Professional tour guides (fluent in English)
- Experienced chefs and porters
- 3-night camping with comfortable equipment
- During the trek, all meals are prepared with local ingredients.
- Entrance ticket to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
- Bus down to Aguas Calientes from Machu Picchu
- Panoramic Vistadome train or 360° train to return
- Satellite phones, a first-aid kit, and an oxygen tank
- Eureka 4-man tents for every 2 travelers.
- Private portable toilets and showers
- You will be dropped off 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)
- Montaña Machu Picchu (optional, only if you stay an extra day)
- Tips for porters, chefs, and guides (optional)
- Travel Insurance
Covid-19 measures to keep you safe during traveling
- Face masks are required for travelers and staff in public areas
- Travelers need to be fully vaccinated or have a Covid 19 test
- Hand sanitizer is available to travelers and staff at all times
- Printed materials such as maps or vouchers will be avoided.
- 100% online payments with no booking fees at all
- Flexible bookings during COVID – 19 pandemic
The Ultimate Travel Guide for Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
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 3 hours to Km. 82 (Piscakucho) to commence the 4-day/3-night Inca Trail to Machu Picchu; we will arrive at the trailhead around 8:00 a.m. – first, meet your chef, porters, and guides and then have a delicious breakfast with spectacular views of the Andes mountains. We’ll next go to the checkpoint to present our passports and begin our spectacular adventure to the Incas’ lost city.
After completing the checkpoint, we will begin the Inca Trail TreXperience; the first section is a relatively easy 2-hour hike to Patallaqta, the first ancient site along the Inca Trail route. We will enjoy beautiful views of this ancient city 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 from fresh local ingredients.
After a delightful meal, you’ll 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 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 Pacaymayu Valley, where we will enjoy a well-earned lunch.
After lunch, the second mountain is an easier 2-hour climb to Runqurakay Pass (4000m / 13123ft). We will take time to explore 2 Inca sites along the way; Runqurakay 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 / 9 miles
- Duration: 10 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, tea time, dinner
- Accommodation: Camping
- Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
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 two Inca sites, Phuyupatamarka (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: Easy
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, taking in the stunning views along the way. You can watch the spectacular sunrise over Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate on a clear day, which is truly an unforgettable sight. We will start our one-hour final 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 climb 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: 2700m -8858ft
- Distance: 6km / 3 miles
- Duration of the hike: 2 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snacks
- Difficulty: Easy
Ultimate 4-day Inca Trail 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 places like the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek.
Is read this blog: Inca trail vs 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 need the rest of your belongings in the Cusco hotel or Trerience 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, and you can find them only at campsites but not during the day.
Absolute essentials for the Classic Inca Trail hike:
- Valid, original passport (a copy will not be accepted)
- A passport must be valid for at least 6 months to enter and exit Peru.
- Valid Student ID (if booking as a student)
- Hiking boots (light, comfortable and broken in)
- A good quality daypack (light, small, and cozy)
- A camel bag or water bottle(s) for at least 2 liters of water storage.
- Trekking poles (you can rent them from us)
What to put in the daypacks:
Below is a list of items we highly recommend you keep in your backpack with you at all times. Remember, you will be carrying this with you every day of the trek, so we recommend bringing 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.
- Hats and sunglasses
- Rain gear
- Warm layers (fleece or long-sleeved tops)
- Sun cream, bug spray
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper
- Personal medication
- Band-aids, moleskin
- Camera, extra batteries
- Head Torch
- Additional snacks, power bars, chocolate
- Extra money for souvenirs, drinks, and tips (small change helps pay to use the villagers’ toilets on the first day).
What to put in the duffle bags:
TreXperience will provide you with a duffel bag to pack any items that you do not need to keep with you during the day. Our porters 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 bag for Inca trail (can be rented from us)
- Air mattress for Inca trail (can be rented from us)
- Some light, comfortable shoes for the camp
- Warm jacket, hat, and gloves for the Inca trail
- 4 t-shirts (wicking t-shirts are best)
- 2-3 hiking pants/trousers
- 4 sets of undergarments
- 4 sets of hiking socks
- 1 Fleece
- 1 Warm, down jacket for the coldest nights
- Quick-dry towel
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Face moisturizer
- Powerbank / battery charger
- Plastic bags to keep wet or muddy clothes separate
Inca Trail FAQs
What is the Inca Trail?
Few places in the world can take your breath away, like the Inca Trail. The Inca Empire built these spectacular ancient routes in the XV century as part of an extensive network of roads called Qhapac Ñan (Inca Trails) to maintain communication in such a large empire (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina).
Cusco was the Inca capital and, therefore, the empire’s most important city. The Inca Trails led from Cusco to the provinces and spanned over 40,000 kilometers across South America.
The Classic Inca Trail is a 26-mile (42-kilometer) stretch of stone-paved road to Machu Picchu. During the XVI century, this portion of the gigantic Inca route got lost with Machu Picchu. Discovered when Hiram Bingham III went to Peru to look for the Incas’ lost cities.
Where is Inca Trail Located?
The world-famous Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is located in the Urubamba Province, Cusco – Peru. The Classic Inca Trail connected Cusco with Machu Picchu during the Inca period. Over 4 days, you will explore ancient archeological complexes inside the Inca Trail until you arrive at Machu Picchu.
How Long is the 4-day Inca Trail?
The total distance of the Inca Trail is 26 miles or 43Km long.
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 Runccuracay 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, located in Piscacucho (2642 m or 8867 ft), Ollantaytambo district, Urubamba Province. The main checkpoint is located right side of the Urubamba River. Once you cross the river, you enter the Inca Trail protected area.
The Shor Inca Trail starts at Km 104, also called Chachabamba. This is the express Inca Trail for only 1 day, and the next day you will visit Machu Picchu
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 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, and this is 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 day in Machu Picchu.
- The rainy season starts in November until March; however, it is possible to have whole weeks without rain.
- February is permanently closed due to heavy rains and maintenance.
When was the Inca Trail Built?
The Inca Trail was built by the Inca civilization during the XV century by the 9th Inca King Pachacuteq. This Inca Trail was a pilgrimage route to Machu Picchu during this civilization’s height.
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 Llaqtapata and Runcuracay Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamrca, Initipata, Wiñaywayna, and Intipunku.
The vast number of Inca Sites, the very 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 important hikes in South America.
How many days in advance do I have to arrive in Cusco Before Inca Trail Trek?
We recommend arriving at least 2 days before your trip departure. This way, you will have time to adapt to Cusco city’s altitude and prepare for the Inca Trail.
When is the Classic Inca Trail Closed?
The Inca Trail is closed during the entire month of February due to the heavy rains and maintenance.
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 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 can book the Inca Trail permits in Cusco City. You can not secure the permits yourself 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 2022, we will book the permits for all 2023 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 1o 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 different tour operators with reasonable prices when searching online, and it is always hard to decide which tour company you will be traveling with.
It would be best if you considered the choice that fits your interests best:
- The average price on a 4-day Classic Inca Trail tour is 650 to 750 USD
- The average price on the Inca Trail 5 days trek is 800 to 900 USD
- The average Short Inca Trail tour price is 450 to 550.USD
You can find better prices or options but always remember to verify what is included. Some tour operators do not have a personal porter bus from Machu Picchu. TreXperience provides a personal porter and all transportation from start to end with panoramic trains.
How To Book Inca Trek?
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.
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. The best way to stay safe on the Inca Trail is to follow your tour guide’s instructions.
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.