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View of Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail

Inca Trail - 25 Trips with 38 Reviews

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  • Starts Cusco, Peru
  • Ends Cusco, Peru

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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4 day trekking trip in Peru, visiting Huayllabamba, Pacaymayo and Winayhuayna. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Condor Expeditions Active 1 day ago
  • Activities Trekking
  • Accommodation Hotel, Tent & Camping
  • Transport Bus & Train
  • Age Range5 to 70 years old
SaveUS$ 43
From US$ 720 04 days View Tour
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  • Sep 21
  • Sep 22
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  • Starts Cusco, Peru
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Inca Trail Express

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7 day trekking tour in Peru, visiting Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Inca Trail. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Intrepid Travel
  • Activities Trekking & Walking tours
  • Accommodation Hotel & Camping
  • Transport Train & Private Vehicle
  • Age Range15 to 99 years old
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From US$ 1,215 US$ 1,033 07 days View Tour
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  • Sep 30 Only 2 seats left
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  • Starts Cusco, Peru
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Inca Trail Extension

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6 day getaways and short breaks trip in Peru, visiting Cusco, Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Intrepid Travel
  • Activities Getaways and short breaks
  • Accommodation Hotel & Camping
  • Transport Train & Bus
  • Age Range15 to 99 years old
SaveUS$ 59
From US$ 978 06 days View Tour
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  • Sep 25 10+ seats left
  • Sep 26 10+ seats left
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  • Starts Lima, Peru
  • Ends Cusco

Inca Trail Express from Lima

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8 day trekking trip in Peru, visiting Lima, Cusco and Ollantaytambo. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Intrepid Travel
  • Activities Trekking & Walking tours
  • Accommodation Hotel & Camping
  • Transport Train, Private Vehicle & Plane
  • Age Range15 to 99 years old
SaveUS$ 332
From US$ 1,655 US$ 1,407 08 days View Tour
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  • Oct 03 Only 1 seat left
  • Oct 04 Only 1 seat left
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  • Starts Lima, Peru
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Inca Trail & Amazon

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12 day explorer tour in Peru, visiting Lima, Cusco and Ollantaytambo. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Intrepid Travel
  • Activities Explorer
  • Accommodation Hotel, Camping & Lodge
  • Transport Train, Plane & Bus
  • Age Range15 to 99 years old
SaveUS$ 560
From US$ 2,785 US$ 2,367 12 days View Tour
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  • Oct 04 Only 1 seat left
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  • Starts Cusco, Peru
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Inca Soul Experience 6 Days / 5 Nights

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6 day adventure tour in Peru, visiting Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. Read More
  • Tour Type Private Tour
  • Operator Classic Inca Trail - Inca Soul
  • Activities Adventure & Trekking +1 more
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Transport Train
  • Age Range5 to 79 years old
SaveUS$ 76
From US$ 1,259 6 days View Tour
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  • Sep 21
  • Sep 22
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  • Starts Cusco, Peru
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Short Inca Trail – 2 days with 3* Hotel

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2 day trekking trip visiting Machu Picchu and Cusco in Peru. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Apu Andino
  • Activities Trekking
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Transport Train & Bus
  • Age Range5 to 79 years old
SaveUS$ 36
From US$ 600 02 days View Tour
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  • Sep 21
  • Sep 22
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  • Starts Cusco, Peru
  • Ends Cuazco, Peru

Inca Quarry Trek to Machu Picchu 3D/2N

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3 day explorer tour in Peru, visiting Carr Cachicata, Aguas Calientes and Cusco. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Bamba
  • Activities Explorer & Trekking +2 more
  • Accommodation Camping, Tent & Hotel
  • Age Range18 to 99 years old
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From US$ 715 03 days View Tour
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  • Starts Lima, Peru
  • Ends Cusco

Inca Encounter

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10 day explorer tour through Lima, Puerto Maldonado, Cusco and 3 other destinations in Peru. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Intrepid Travel
  • Activities Explorer
  • Accommodation Hotel, Camping & Lodge
  • Transport Private Vehicle & Plane
  • Age Range15 to 99 years old
SaveUS$ 632
From US$ 3,145 US$ 2,673 10 days View Tour
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  • Oct 27 Only 5 seats left
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  • Starts Cusco, Peru
  • Ends Cusco, Peru

Inca Quarry Trek to Machu Picchu 4D/3N

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4 day explorer tour in Peru, visiting Choquetacarpo, Aguas Calientes and Cusco. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Bamba
  • Activities Explorer & Trekking +2 more
  • Accommodation Camping, Tent & Hotel
  • Age Range18 to 99 years old
SaveUS$ 46
From US$ 765 04 days View Tour
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  • Sep 25 10+ seats left
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  • Starts Santa Teresa, Peru
  • Ends Santa Teresa, Peru

Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge Adventure 6D/5N

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6 day trekking tour in Peru, visiting Cusco, Chinchero and Abra Malaga. Read More
  • Operator Eco Quechua Lodge
  • Activities Trekking
  • Accommodation Lodge, Hotel & Eco Lodge
  • Transport Train
  • Age Range5 to 79 years old
SaveUS$ 137
From US$ 2,290 06 days View Tour
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  • Sep 21
  • Sep 22
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  • Starts Cusco, Peru
  • Ends Cusco, Peru

Premium Inca Trail 5 Days to Machu Picchu

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5 day trekking trip in Peru, visiting Llactapata, Llulluchapampa and Phuyupatamarca. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Apu Andino
  • Activities Trekking
  • Accommodation Tent, Hotel & Camping
  • Transport Train & Bus
  • Age Range5 to 79 years old
SaveUS$ 70
From US$ 1,160 05 days View Tour
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  • Tomorrow
  • Sep 25
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  • Starts Cusco, Peru
  • Ends Cusco, Peru

5 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Private Service)

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5 day trekking trip in Peru, visiting Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Inca Trail. Read More
  • Tour Type Private Tour
  • Operator Valencia Travel Cusco Active 1 day ago
  • Activities Trekking
  • Accommodation Hotel, Tent & Camping
  • Transport Bus & Train
  • Age Range5 to 90 years old
SaveUS$ 53
From US$ 885 05 days View Tour
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  • Sep 21
  • Sep 22
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  • Starts Cusco, Peru
  • Ends Cusco, Peru

Machu Picchu Honeymoon Adventure – 4D / 3N

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4 day trekking tour in Peru, visiting Eco Quechua Lodge, Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. Read More
  • Operator Eco Quechua Lodge
  • Activities Trekking
  • Accommodation Lodge & Eco Lodge
  • Transport Train
  • Age Range5 to 79 years old
SaveUS$ 66
From US$ 1,092 04 days View Tour
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  • Sep 21
  • Sep 22
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Inca Trail Reviews

5 - Excellent
Based on 38 customer reviews
Very Good Reviewed Tour: Classic Inca Trail
4 - Very Good
  • Anonymous
“Andreas our leader, thought of everything! we lacked for nothing. He was very considerate of my impaired hearing.”
Excellent Reviewed Tour: Classic Inca Trail
5 - Excellent
  • Anonymous
“... back from South America, and what a fantastic time we have had! All our guides were wonderful and the food and hotels terrific. We survived the trek to Macchu Pichu it was probably one of the hardest things we have ever done but well worth the experience.”
Excellent Reviewed Tour: Classic Inca Trail
5 - Excellent
  • Anonymous
“OMG....it really was a trip of a lifetime. I haven't shed so many tears in my whole life. The world expedition part of the trip was INCREDIBLE!!!!! everything was perfect and exceeding my expectations. Ever my guide is an amazing man who shared his knowledge, beliefs, religion and passion for the land with me and I soaked it all up and fell hook line and sinking in love with everything. The W.E crew whether they were the pick up crew or a guide did the company justice and I intend to do a lot more travelling with you guys. Thank you so much for such an amazing experience. I truly believe that my life will never be the same.”

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Overview

The Inca Trail involves four days of hiking along an ancient path high in the mountains and passes several sets of Inca ruins along the way. The most challenging section is crossing the infamous Dead Woman’s Pass at 4,200 metres (on the second day), after which the trek becomes somewhat easier and more enjoyable. After descending through mystical cloud forests and taking in more Inca ruins, trekkers finally arrive at Machu Picchu on the fourth day.

Highlights

  • Chance to trek one of the most famous trails in South America
  • Great feeling of achievement for having conquered Dead Woman’s Pass
  • Visiting several enigmatic sets of Inca ruins along the way
  • Magnificent mountain scenery and mysterious cloud forests
  • Arriving at Machu Picchu itself after a tough four-day trek

Lowlight

  • Very popular and overcrowded
Map of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Overview map of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Inca Trail Facts

  • Trek Difficulty: The Inca Trail is a challenging hike that usually involves four days of walking through tough, mountainous terrain. Much of the trek is above 3,000 m and reaches a maximum of 4,200 m.
  • Trek Duration: 4 days are standard. 5 days or 2 days variations are available.
  • Remoteness: Very remote with no road access and few settlements.
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,212 m at the Huarmihuañusca Pass (Dead Woman's Pass).
  • Accommodation Type: Tents at campsites along the way. On the two-day trek, you sleep in a hotel in Aguas Calientes.
  • Best Season: Dry season (April to October) when the paths are dry. The wet season (November to March) will leave the trail muddy and wet, increasing the risk of slipping. There is no ‘winter’ and the trek can be attempted year-round except in February when the trail is closed for maintenance. 
  • Start / End Locations: Cusco. Transportation usually includes a combination of minibus and train.
  • Permits Required: Yes. To preserve the trail, permits are limited to 500 per day including porters and guides. In practice, this means that only 200 tourists are allowed on the trail each day. Permits are released in January for the whole year and sell out quickly, especially for peak season – it is imperative to reserve well in advance. Permits can only be obtained from government-approved tour operators and all visitors must be accompanied by a guide. Each permit is registered to one passport and is non-transferrable. Trekkers must carry their original passport and permit with them. There are checkpoints along the Inca trail where documents are inspected. Admission to Machu Picchu must be reserved in advance as well.

4D / 3N: The Classic Inca Trail Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco - Huayllabamba
Drive from Cusco to kilometre 82 (2,600 m) for the start of the trek. A gentle ascent of 400 m to the Inca ruins at Llactapata is followed by a descent to Huayllabamba and the first camp.

Day 2: Huayllabamba - Abra Huarmihuañusca - Paq’aymayo
A steep ascent to the highest point of the trek, Abra Huarmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s Pass at  4,212 m), is followed by a descent to the second camp at Paq’aymayo (3,600 m). This is the hardest day.

Day 3: Paq’aymayo - Wiñay Wayna
This is the most pleasant day and it starts with a climb past the ruined Runkuracay staging post up to the second pass, followed by a descent to the ruins of Sayaqmarka, meaning ‘town in a steep place’. Another ascent leads to the third pass, Abra de Phuyupatamarka (3,650 m), and through bewitching cloud forest scenery, before descending to the camp at Wiñay Wayna for the third camp on the Inca trail.

Day 4: Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco
A final hike to Intipunku, the ‘Sun Gate’, and the first views of Machu Picchu from above. Trekkers descend to Machu Picchu for a grand Machu Picchu tour before returning to Cusco by train and bus.

2D / 1N: A Shorter Inca Trekking Itinerary

The shorter version of the hike starts at kilometre 104. From here, trekkers hike to the archaeological site of Chachabamba (2,250 m) and then on to Wiñay Wayna. Next, they continue to Intipunku for sunset views of Machu Picchu before heading to Agua Calientes by car where they spend the night in a hotel. The second day involves a tour of Machu Picchu and transport back to Cusco.

5D / 4N: A Longer Inca Trail Itinerary

A more leisurely five-day version gives hikers the chance to avoid the crowds and stay at quieter campsites. It also allows more time to acclimatise and daily distances covered are shorter.

Typically, trekkers travel to kilometre 82 and then walk to Llactapata on day one. The second night’s camp is at Llulluchapampa and Abra Huarmihuañusca is tackled on day three. The third camp is at Phuyupatamarka and on day four, the trek reaches Intipunku. The camp is near Machu Picchu at Puente Ruinas. Day five includes a tour of Machu Picchu and then transport back to Cusco.

Other Alternative treks to the Inca Trail

Alternative treks are available for those who don’t manage to book a place on the Inca Trail, or for those wishing to avoid the crowds. A popular choice is the tough five-day Salkantay Trek which crosses the Salkantay Pass at 4,600 m and later affords majestic views of Machu Picchu from above. Another option is the challenging Choquequiro Trek taking from 4 days to 9 days, where the 9 days itinerary crosses the Yanama Pass at 4,668 m as well. Especially the 9 days Choquequiro trek requires a high level of fitness. A third option is the Lares Trek, shorter and easier than the Inca Trail and requiring no permits. This trail see fewer trekkers compared with the Inca Trail.

Safety Considerations

Altitude sickness

Altitude sickness can be a problem at altitudes of above 2,000 - 2,500 m and it is recommended to spend a few days in Cusco to acclimatise before attempting the trek. Early symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache and dizziness. Anyone displaying these symptoms should immediately descend to a lower altitude.

Physical fitness

You don’t need to be super-fit to complete the Inca Trail but a good level of physical fitness is required. Up in the mountains, if you struggle to keep up with the group, you will spend the whole time suffering and you won’t enjoy the trek. You can prepare for the trek by eating healthily and, if possible, attempting some easier hikes.

It may be commercialised, regulated and crowded but the Inca Trail is still the quintessential Machu Picchu trek. Few can forget their first glimpse of those spectacular ruins from the Sun Gate high above, and the feeling of having conquered this classic Andean trek is something that will stay with you forever.

Machu Picchu has seasonal weather, please do check up on the best time to visit Machu Picchu before planning your next trip to Peru.  

Good to know

Since there is a limited number of permits per day, the Inca Trail is fully-booked practically every day of the year so there is no best time to beat the crowds. The Trail is closed every February for cleaning.