Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
4 Days / 3 Nights
$805 - $995 USD per person
Peak Elevation :
4,200 m / 13,780 ft
2,040 m / 6,690 ft
Length of Trail:
~ 49 km / 30 mi
updated on Monday, December 23, 2019
Please note that all distances and elevations are approximate. Trek times and distances covered on each day are estimated; various factors -- such as weather conditions, camp sites assigned by the Ministerio de Cultura, individual fitness levels, and how each trekker manages at altitude -- may affect the time it takes to reach each point.
The evening before your trek, you will meet with your tour guide at your place of lodging (hotel, hostel, etc.). Your guide will give you an overview of your trek to help you prepare and pace yourself for the physical and mental challenges that lie ahead. S/he will answer any questions and address any concerns you may have regarding the trek, and can offer suggestions on where you may purchase last-minute supplies. You will receive a duffel bag to hold up to 7 kg / 15 lbs of your personal belongings; this will be carried by a porter (more info). Your pick-up time will be confirmed.
Cusco | Ollantaytambo | Km 82 | Patallacta | Wayllabamba (or Ayapata*)
(* The campsite will be assigned by the Ministerio de Cultura. If Ayapata is chosen, elevation and trekking distance will increase slightly.)
You will be picked-up at your place of lodging sometime between 5 and 6 am, depending on your location. You will travel by private van to Ollantaytambo (2 hours from Cusco) where you will stop for breakfast. Here, you may purchase last-minute supplies (toiletries, rain gear, meds, snacks, bottled water, etc.). You will continue travelling for about an hour to Pisacucho -- famously known as Km 82 -- the beginning of the Inca Trail, where you will be introduced to the team. You will gear up and make your way to the first checkpoint where you will present your passport, Inca Trail permit (to be carried by your guide), and student ID if applicable. You will then begin your trek to Machu Picchu along the Inca Trail! After you cross the Urubamba River by footbridge, you will trek for 4 hours until you reach the village of Tarayoc where you will be served lunch. Along the way, you'll enjoy magnificent views of snow-capped Mount Veronica who stands at 5,895 m / 19,335 ft, and pass the first archaeological sites along the trail -- Qanabamba and Patallacta. After lunch, you'll continue for another 2.5 hours, arriving at Wayllabamba, your campsite. You may then get settled in your tent, freshen up, and relax. Afternoon tea will be served at 5 pm. Dinner will follow at 7 pm. Be sure to get a good night's rest; you'll need it!
Wayllabamba (or Ayapata) | Llulluchapampa | Warmiwañusca / "Dead Woman's Pass" | Pacaymayo
Wake-up at 6. Breakfast will be served at 6:30. At 7 you will begin your 4-hour uphill trek to Warmiwañusca, appropriately named Dead Woman's Pass because, when viewed from a distance, its crests resemble the silhouette of a woman lying on her back. Along this path, you will pass a native Queuña forest and be accompanied by the soothing sounds of a glacier stream and the various wildlife inhabiting the Andes. After about 2 hours, you will reach the 1/2 way point of Llulluchapampa. The steep ascent will be grueling at times, but the gorgeous surroundings will make the effort worth your while. Once you reach Warmiwañusca, the highest point of the trek, take a few moments to celebrate your achievement while you enjoy the spectacular views! You will then begin a steep, 2-hour descent to your campsite, Pacaymayo, where the Banderitas team will greet you with a hearty lunch. That's it for trekking for the day. You may freshen up and have yourself a very well-deserved rest. We'll let you know when tea's ready at 6 pm. Dinner will be served at 7 pm. Afterwards, as Silverio likes to say, "may you sleep like a baby alpaca."
Pacaymayo | Runcuracay | Sayacmarca | Phuyupatamarca | Wiñay Wayna
You will begin with a 5 am wake up. Breakfast will be ready at 5:30. You'll head out toward Runcuracay Pass at 6 on a steep, 2-hour uphill trail. Along the way, you'll make a quick stop at the Runcuracay Incan Complex. Once at the pass -- the highest point of the day -- it's a steep 1.5-hour descent to Sayacmarca Incan Complex. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of two valleys -- Aobamba and Urubamba -- as you continue on for the next 3 hours on a gentle up-and-down path until you reach your lunch site, Phuyupatamarca.
After lunch, the trail continues steeply downhill for the next 3 hours; it will be steep for the first 2 and then gradual from the IntiPata Incan Compex to Wiñay Wayna, your campsite. You'll have the option to take a quick ten-minute stroll to the Wiñay Wayna Incan Complex to explore or simply relax and enjoy the spectacular view from camp. Tea will be served at 5:30 and dinner at 7. This will be your final dinner with the porters. They'll wish you a farewell this evening as they'll be heading home the following day. Before sleeping under the stars, you'll pre-pack your gear for a super early start.
Wiñay Wayna | Inti Punku | Machu Picchu Citadel | Aguas Calientes
You'll be waking before the roosters this morning! 3:45 am wake up. Breakfast will be served at 4, and you'll depart from your campsite at 4:30. (The porters will take your Banderitas duffel bag to Aquas Calientes where you will retrieve it after your tour.) It's just a five-minute walk to the final checkpoint which opens at 5:30 am (a line will form, so the earlier you arrive, the better). Here, your guide will present your Inca Trail permit. You'll then trek for about 2 hours along a path with a gentle incline. There will be some steep steps which will lead you to Inti Punku (the Sungate). From here, you'll have your first view of Machu Picchu in the distance! Then, it's one more hour of downhill until you reach the Machu Picchu Citadel. You'll first head toward the entrance, exit the complex, and have some time to use the restroom, grab a snack and have your passport checked (and stamped!) at the control point before you re-enter the complex and begin your guided tour of the citadel. Afterwards, you are free to explore the citadel on your own. You will then take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes where you will meet your guide at a designated spot and pick up your duffel bag. You'll grab lunch on your own before you take your train back to Ollantaytambo. Private transport will await you there to take you back to your hotel in Cusco. Please leave your empty Banderitas duffel bag at the front desk of your hotel.