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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 in the mountains before finally, reaching the enchanting monument of Machu Picchu itself, nestling on its lofty perch. It is ...

Inca Trail - 13 Trips with 7 Reviews

Highlights
  • This trip allows you to choose how you want to approach Machu Picchu. Hike the Inca Trail, Quarry 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. Take a guided tour and then wander around it at your own pace
  • Explore Cuzco, South America's oldest continuously inhabited city. The city has ancient foundations, an interesting blend of Inca and colonial influences, and endless things to do and see

Travel to Peru to retrace the steps of the Inca, Peru's fascinating ancient civilisation. Follow... ... Read More

Intrepid Travel

Inca Trail Express

of 182 reviews
  • Starts/Ends Cuzco/Cuzco
  • Operator Active 13 minutes ago Intrepid Travel
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Next Departures Dec 26 Dec 31
From US$ 1,154 7 days
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.

Travel to South America and tour Peru on an eye-opening sojourn from the depths of... ... Read More

Intrepid Travel
20% Discount

Inca Encounter

of 8 reviews
  • Starts/Ends Lima/Cusco
  • Operator Active 13 minutes ago Intrepid Travel
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Next Departures Dec 31 Feb 25
From US$ 3,160 US$ 2,528 10 days
Highlights
  • Trek the most popular & historical path in the world..
  • Pass through diverse wilderness, amazing scenery & numerous Inca ruins on the magnificent..

The Inca Trail is probably the best trek in Peru, and considered one of the ... Read More

Selling out Fast Best Seller Free Cancellation
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Journey To Machu Picchu Through The Inca Trail

of 7 reviews
  • Starts/Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Inkayni Peru Tours
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Next Departures Dec 15 Dec 15
From US$ 1,200 7 days
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.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful treks in the ... Read More

Condor Expeditions
Free Cancellation

Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

  • Starts/Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Condor Expeditions
  • Next Departures Dec 15 Dec 16
From US$ 720 4 days
Highlights
  • Experience Cuzco's Inca culture
  • Be amazed by the Ollantaytambo ruins
  • Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Travel from the heady heights of the Andes to the exotic lowlands of the Amazon... ... Read More

Intrepid Travel

Inca Trail & Amazon

of 8 reviews
  • Starts/Ends Lima/Lima
  • Operator Active 13 minutes ago Intrepid Travel
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Next Departures Dec 30 Jan 12
From US$ 2,615 12 days
Highlights
  • Discover Peru's deserts and high Andes and follow a classic trekking route.
  • Hike to the mother of all Incan cities, magical Machu Picchu..

The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or Inca Trail Peru is the most famous ... Read More

Tierras Vivas

Classic Inca Trail - Group Tours

  • Starts/Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Tierras Vivas
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Next Departures Dec 15 Dec 16
From US$ 700 4 days
Highlights
  • Trek through more than 12 biozones including valleys, mountains and jungle.
  • Stay in an ecolodge and enjoy massages, the sauna and the jacuzzi.
  • Enjoy fantastic scenery and mountain views.

Machu Picchu Honeymoon Adventure – 4 Days/3 Nights Similar to our jungle lodge adventure but ... Read More

Eco Quechua Lodge
Free Cancellation

Machu Picchu Honeymoon Adventure – 4D / 3N

  • Starts/Ends Santa Teresa/Santa Teresa
  • Operator Eco Quechua Lodge
  • Next Departures Dec 15 Dec 16
From US$ 1,092 4 days
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.

Travel to Peru and retrace the steps of the Inca, Peru's fascinating ancient civilisation. Follow... ... Read More

Intrepid Travel

Inca Trail

of 31 reviews
  • Starts/Ends Lima/Cuzco
  • Operator Active 13 minutes ago Intrepid Travel
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Next Departures Dec 25 Dec 30
From US$ 1,545 8 days
Highlights
  • Witness spectacular landscapes and mountain views.
  • Staying at the comfortable Eco Quechua lodge featuring authentic Peruvian hospitality.

WHAT YOU’LL DO Mesmerizing and mystical, the legend of Machu Picchu may never be fully ... Read More

Eco Quechua Lodge
Free Cancellation

Machu Picchu Lodge To Lodge Adventure 6D/5N

  • Starts/Ends Santa Teresa /Santa Teresa
  • Operator Eco Quechua Lodge
  • Next Departures Dec 15 Dec 16
From US$ 2,290 6 days
Highlights
  • Cosmopolitan, scenic and steeped in Incan heritage, Cuzco is a dream to walk around. Marvel at the cathedral, explore colonial art and architecture or explore the incredible ruins nearby
  • Cuzco'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. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins, plus free time to explore at your leisure

Spend a week retracing the steps of the ancient Inca civilisation on the historical Inca... ... Read More

Intrepid Travel

Inca Trail Extension

  • Starts/Ends Cuzco/Cuzco
  • Operator Active 13 minutes ago Intrepid Travel
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Next Departures Dec 18 Dec 20
From US$ 950 6 days
Highlights
  • This 5 day trek through the Land of the Incas is breathtaking!.
  • Journey along the famous Inca trail on your way to the world famous Machu Picchu.

Explore Peru with a tour to Machu Picchu tour and experience one of the most ... Read More

Valencia Travel Cusco
Free Cancellation

5 Day Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

  • Starts/Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Valencia Travel Cusco
  • Tour Type Private Tour
  • Next Departures Dec 18 Dec 25
From US$ 895 5 days
Highlights
  • Trek the original Inca Trail.
  • Visit Wiñayhuayna archaeological site.
  • Visit Machu Picchu after a night's rest in a hotel.

This short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the perfect alternative for those who would ... Read More

Apu Andino

Short Inca Trail – 2 Days With Hotel

  • Starts/Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Apu Andino
  • Tour Type Group Tour
From US$ 600 2 days
Highlights
  • Original Inca Trail.
  • Sayacmarca, LLactapata, Phuyupatamarca, Intipata & Wiñayhuayna Archaeological Sites.
  • Machu Picchu.

This tour allows you to experience the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu over a period ... Read More

Apu Andino

Premium Inca Trail 5 Days To Machu Picchu

  • Starts/Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Apu Andino
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Next Departures Mar 1 Mar 2
From US$ 1,160 5 days
Free Cancellation
Free cancellation on most tours.
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Inca Trail Reviews

5.0 - Excellent Based on 7 customer reviews
Inca Trail Reviewed Tour: Journey to Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail
Paul Healy From USA At
5 - Excellent
“My wife and I visited Peru on our honeymoon and I highly recommend Inkayni Peru Tours and Alex as a guide for trips made in this beautiful country. First He took us on a full day long tour of some of the most amazing sights we've ever seen, truly incredible! Alex was extremely professional and knowledgeable and about the many amazing historical sites we visited, stopping off at local markets and sites not on the map for that truly authentic experience.

Also we did the inca trail to Machu Picchu....gorgeous!!! and the best team were in Inkayni Peru.Looking back on our seven day visit to Peru I would have to say that the highlight of our trip was the experiences we had with Inkayni and Alex as our guide. While you can buy tickets from various travel sites, you can't buy the wonderful personality and experience he possesses and it truly makes all the difference. Thanks Inkayni , for a memorable vacation experience!”
Inca Trail Reviewed Tour: Journey to Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail
Sol Mato From USA At
5 - Excellent
“Amazing Salkantay trek with Inkayni. We wanted to do the inca trail but our travel agents suggested this trek instead because there are less people the views are better and it's off the beaten path. Well they were right this trek was spectacular the views are incredible

first two days climbing of the Salkantay mountain pass. Then great trek through jungle, hot springs, a bonfire party, zip lining, the walk up to Aguas Calientes along the railway and, of course, Machu Picchu! This is the better trek for you!

Thanks Inkayni!!!”
Inca Trail Reviewed Tour: Journey to Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail
Slopes Bayona From Peru At
5 - Excellent
““Excellent Experience! 4 day/3 night Trek”

We thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the excellent experience with Inkayni Peru Tours. Tour guides Percy and Alfredo demonstrated experience and professionalism. We found them to be knowledgeable and conscientious. They are well organized and well prepared, and they prepared us to be ready for experience on the day before the trek. The food was delicious and nourishing! All the staff, including the Chef and porters are attentive bringing us hot tea and bowls of warm water in the morning and hot water bottles to keep us warm at night. We appreciated the character of the staff, respectful, friendly, and genuinely warm, we felt the spirit and heart of their ancestors alive within them and they made us feel very comfortable. We could see that they really love doing what they do and they all care for each other as well. Walking the Inca trail is exhilarating and invigorating – it was the experience of a lifetime that we will never forget! Inkayni made the whole experience wonderful and we highly recommend them without any reservation.”
Inca Trail Reviewed Tour: Journey to Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail
Randall. J. Sundeen From USA At
5 - Excellent
“It's clear why Inkayni is above other tour companies when you are on the Inca trail, trust me. It is not even a close comparison when it comes to the overall fidelity of their services. They treat porters in a great way, they treat guides in a great way, and they all respect their hikers, whether beginner or advanced.

Edgar was our lead guide and was not only the most knowledgable in terms of history and ecology, but he is definitely the most tough. Seriously, you'll know what I'm talking about when you are on the trail w/ Edgar and Inkayni Peru Tours and you see other groups and observe their crews.”
Inca Trail Reviewed Tour: Journey to Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail
Paul Healy From USA At
5 - Excellent
“My wife and I visited Peru on our honeymoon and I highly recommend Inkayni and Alex as a guide for trips made in this beautiful country. He took us on a Inca Trail and some full days tour of some of the most amazing sights we've ever seen, truly incredible! Alex was extremely professional and knowledgeable and about the many amazing historical sites we visited, stopping off at local markets and sites not on the map for that truly authentic experience.

Looking back on our six day visit to Peru I would have to say that the highlight of our trip was the experiences we had with Inkayni Peru Tours. While you can buy tickets from various travel sites, you can't buy the wonderful personality and experience he possesses and it truly makes all the difference. Thanks Alex and Inkayni, for a memorable vacation experience!”
Inca Trail Reviewed Tour: Journey to Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail
Rober Laurin From Canada At
5 - Excellent
“We did the once 4d/3n trek. I was blown away by everything the porters and cooks do along the trail! The food is amazing, there was always too much and it was exceptional. There are tons of nice touches/surprises the porters add along the way that I did not see other groups receive.

Our guide, Percy, was awesome some great English and had a great sense of humour and was very informative. I did not find the tipping to be that uncomfortable we were informed prior to what it would be for the porters and cook. And Percy was not very pushy about what to give him as a guide and we gave what we felt appropriate.

Inkayni is the best!!”
Inca Trail Reviewed Tour: Journey to Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail
Cesar Bayona From USA At
5 - Excellent
“My wife and I did the 4 day/3 night Inca Trail. Everything was well organized. The service throughout the trail was exceptional. Tour Guides Percy and Alfredo are welcoming and extremely knowledgeable. They are not your average tour company, they enjoy what they do and this quality shines through in their hospitality and attention to their work. We recommend Inkayni Tours 100 percent!”

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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