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View of Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

This is the big one and one of the best treks in Peru! The Inca Trail winds its way along ancient Andean paths and goes past mysterious Inca ruins high ... Read More

Inca Trail - 33 Trips with 24 Reviews

Highlights
  • Challenge yourself on the most beautiful trek in the world.
  • Set foot on this ancient Inca trail, the very trail used by the Incas.
  • Witness spectacular landscapes and mountain views.
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Condor Expeditions

Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is arguably one of the most famous and ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Condor Expeditions
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 50
From US$ 720 4 days View Tour
Next Departures
Aug 30
Aug 31
Highlights
  • This trip allows you to choose how you want to approach Machu Picchu.
  • Trail or relax and take the train.
  • You'll have plenty of free time to explore the greatest icon of ancient South America, Machu Picchu.
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Intrepid Travel

Inca Trail Express

of 182 reviews
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Travel to Peru to retrace the steps of the Inca, Peru's fascinating ancient civilisation ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco View Map
  • Operator Intrepid Travel Active 39 minutes ago
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 314
From US$ 1,225 US$ 980 7 days View Tour
Next Departures
Apr 29 Only 3 seats left
Apr 30 Only 4 seats left
Highlights
  • Trek the most popular & historical path in the world..
  • Pass through diverse wilderness, amazing scenery & numerous Inca ruins on the magnificent..
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Journey To Machu Picchu Through The Inca Trail

of 7 reviews
Easter Sales
The Inca Trail is probably the best trek in Peru, and considered one of the ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Inkayni Peru Tours
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 672
From US$ 1,699 US$ 1,104 7 hours View Tour
Next Departures
Oct 11
Oct 18
Highlights
  • Cosmopolitan, scenic and steeped in Incan heritage, Cusco is a dream to walk around.
  • Cusco's central market is a great chance to meet Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas and browse for weird and wonderful Andean specialties.
  • Hike to the mother of all Incan cities, magical Machu Picchu.
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Intrepid Travel

Inca Trail Extension

of 1 review
Spend a week retracing the steps of the ancient Inca civilisation on the historical Inca ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco View Map
  • Operator Intrepid Travel Active 39 minutes ago
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 87
From US$ 1,240 6 days View Tour
Next Departures
Apr 28 10+ seats left
Apr 29 10+ seats left
Highlights
  • Lima’s grand colonial facades, Spanish houses and endless culture make it one of the prettiest cities to explore in Latin America.
  • Machu Picchu may just be the greatest icon of ancient South America.
  • The Inca Trail is one of the best ways to approach Machu Picchu, along the way you'll see multiple Inca sites and beautiful landscapes.
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Intrepid Travel

Inca Trail

of 31 reviews
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Travel to Peru and retrace the steps of the Inca, Peru's fascinating ancient civilisation ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Lima/Cusco View Map
  • Operator Intrepid Travel Active 39 minutes ago
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 444
From US$ 1,735 US$ 1,388 8 days View Tour
Next Departures
Apr 29 Only 4 seats left
May 2 Only 6 seats left
Highlights
  • Fly from Lima to Cuzco with time to acclimatize.
  • Enjoy trekking the original Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
  • Experience hidden archaeological sites in the Andes.
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Bamba Experience

Inca Trail Trek Experience 8D/7N (Lima To Cuzco)

A spectacularly rich experience in the Andean Mountains awaits you! Travel from Lima to Cuzco ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Lima/Cusco View Map
  • Operator Bamba Experience Active 3 hours ago
  • Tour Type Self-Guided Tour
SaveUS$ 84
From US$ 1,193 8 days View Tour
Next Departures
Oct 7 10+ seats left
Oct 9 Only 7 seats left
Highlights
  • There's no better place to fuel up for an Inca Trail trek than Lima, home to a booming food scene full of delicious specialties like ceviche and chicharron.
  • Marvel at the mother of all Inca cities – Machu Picchu – during a guided tour of the site.
  • Take a guided stroll through Cusco, where Inca temples and Spanish cathedrals alike line the cobblestone streets.
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Intrepid Travel

Inca Trail & Amazon

of 8 reviews
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Travel from the heady heights of the Andes to the exotic lowlands of the Amazon ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Lima/Lima View Map
  • Operator Intrepid Travel Active 39 minutes ago
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 723
From US$ 2,825 US$ 2,260 12 days View Tour
Next Departures
May 3 Only 5 seats left
May 4 Only 1 seat left
Highlights
  • Hike the original & legendary Inca Trail.
  • See hidden Inca ruins along the trek.
  • Cross the Sun Gate in the early morning.
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Bamba Experience

Inca Trail Trek To Machu Picchu 5D/4N (Start Trek On Day 2)

A spectacularly rich experience in the Andean Mountains awaits you! Immerse yourself in the Inca ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco View Map
  • Operator Bamba Experience Active 3 hours ago
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 55
From US$ 782 5 days View Tour
Next Departures
Oct 9 Only 6 seats left
Oct 11 Only 4 seats left
Highlights
  • Machu Picchu.
  • Inca Trail.
  • Rainbow Mountain.
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Classic Inca Trail - Inca Soul

Inca Soul Experience 6 Days / 5 Nights

This Inca Soul Peru tour package showcases the best of Cusco and the Sacred Valley ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Classic Inca Trail - Inca Soul
  • Tour Type Private Tour
SaveUS$ 88
From US$ 1,259 6 days View Tour
Next Departures
Apr 24
Apr 25
Highlights
  • Trek the original Inca Trail.
  • Visit Wiñayhuayna archaeological site.
  • Visit Machu Picchu after a night's rest in a hotel.
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Apu Andino

Short Inca Trail – 2 Days With 3* Hotel

This short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the perfect alternative for those who would ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Apu Andino
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 42
From US$ 600 2 days View Tour
Next Departures
Apr 24
Apr 25
Highlights
  • Trek through amazing scenery with waterfalls and ruins.
  • Enjoy stunning panoramic views of breathtaking valleys.
  • Discover a unique Inca Sun Gate and amazing Machu Picchu.
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Bamba Experience

Inca Quarry Trek To Machu Picchu 3D/2N

The Inca Quarry Trek is one of the newest and least crowded trekking routes to ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco View Map
  • Operator Bamba Experience Active 3 hours ago
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 50
From US$ 715 3 days View Tour
Next Departures
Apr 27 10+ seats left
Apr 29 Only 6 seats left
Highlights
  • Descend into the vast catacombs beneath Lima on an underground tour.
  • Marvel at ancient Incan architecture throughout the fertile Sacred Valley, before discovering the mother of all Incan cities, Machu Picchu.
  • Experience the untouched world of the Amazon rainforest.
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Intrepid Travel

Inca Encounter

of 8 reviews
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Travel to South America and tour Peru on an eye-opening sojourn from the depths of ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Lima/Cusco View Map
  • Operator Intrepid Travel Active 39 minutes ago
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 822
From US$ 3,210 US$ 2,568 10 days View Tour
Next Departures
May 12 Only 9 seats left
Jun 9 Only 1 seat left
Highlights
  • Trek through amazing scenery with waterfalls and ruins.
  • Enjoy stunning panoramic views of breathtaking valleys.
  • Experience a unique Inca Sun Gate and Machu Picchu.
Read More
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Bamba Experience

Inca Quarry Trek To Machu Picchu 4D/3N

Make your way to Machu Picchu on this newly discovered and less crowded route. This ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco View Map
  • Operator Bamba Experience Active 3 hours ago
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 54
From US$ 765 4 days View Tour
Next Departures
Apr 27 Only 10 seats left
Apr 29 Only 6 seats left
Highlights
  • Witness spectacular landscapes and mountain views.
  • Staying at the comfortable Eco Quechua lodge featuring authentic Peruvian hospitality.
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Eco Quechua Lodge

Machu Picchu Lodge To Lodge Adventure 6D/5N

WHAT YOU’LL DO Mesmerizing and mystical, the legend of Machu Picchu may never be fully ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Santa Teresa/Santa Teresa
  • Operator Eco Quechua Lodge
SaveUS$ 160
From US$ 2,290 6 days View Tour
Next Departures
Apr 24
Apr 25
Highlights
  • Original Inca Trail.
  • Sayacmarca, LLactapata, Phuyupatamarca, Intipata & Wiñayhuayna Archaeological Sites.
  • Machu Picchu.
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Apu Andino

Premium Inca Trail 5 Days To Machu Picchu

This tour allows you to experience the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu over a period ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Apu Andino
  • Tour Type Group Tour
SaveUS$ 81
From US$ 1,160 5 days View Tour
Next Departures
Apr 27
Apr 28
Free Cancellation
Free cancellation on most tours.
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Inca Trail Reviews

4.8 - Excellent Based on 24 customer reviews
Very Good Reviewed Tour: Inca Trail Extension
Jessica O'Brien From Australia At
4 - Very Good
“Very Good”
Peru tour Reviewed Tour: Inca Trail, Titicaca & Nazca
4 - Very Good
“Really enjoyed the tour or Peru. Everything was well organised which made the tour really easy. Caesar was a brilliant guide, not only did he ensure everything ran well, he took the time to make sure we all had a good trip. I left the trip in Puno (to go to La Paz) and he took the time to arrange a bus ticket and taxi to get me there. The only negatives were the tourist bus you take between Cusco & Puno ( this really highlighted how good the guiding had been before then).”
Inca Trail Titicaca & Nazca Reviewed Tour: Inca Trail, Titicaca & Nazca
4 - Very Good
“Great holiday with full (but not overloaded) itinerary. Don't dismiss the problems that can be associated with altitude (coupled with the demands of trekking and camping) but the group leader took great care to ensure these were mitigated as far as possible.”

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

This is the big one and one of the best treks in Peru! The Inca Trail winds its way along ancient Andean paths and goes past mysterious Inca ruins high in the mountains before finally, reaching the enchanting monument of Machu Picchu itself, nestling on its lofty perch. It is deservedly one of the most famous treks in South America and is the highlight of almost any trip to Peru. Here is the information you need for a successful and memorable trek.

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.

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