5 Days / 4 Nights
Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
Our friend, Madonna
Our friend, Madonna
Peak Elevation :
4,200 m / 13,780 ft
2,040 m / 6,690 ft
Length of Trail:
~ 49 km / 30 mi
updated on Wednesday, 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. They 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 guide will confirm your pick up time.
Cusco | Ollantaytambo | Km 82 | Miskay | Patallacta | Hatun Chaka
You will be picked-up at your hotel in Cusco around 6:30 am. 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. 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 2.5 hours until you reach the village of Miskay 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 -- Q'anabamba and Patallacta. After lunch, you'll continue for another 3 hours, arriving at Hatun Chaka, 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!
Hatun Chaka | Wayllabamba | Ayapata | Llulluchapampa | Warmiwañusca / "Dead Woman's Pass" | Pacaymayo
Breakfast will be served at 6:30. At 7:30 you will begin your 3.5-hour uphill trek to Llulluchapampa. Along the way, you'll pass Wayllabamba, Ayapata, a native Queuña forest and be accompanied by the soothing sounds of a glacier stream and the various wildlife inhabiting the Andes. The steep ascent will be grueling at times, but the gorgeous surroundings will make the effort worth your while. After lunch, it's another 2-hour steep ascent until you reach the highest point of the trek, appropriately named Warmiwañusca, or Dead Woman's Pass, because, when viewed from a distance, its crests resemble the silhouette of a woman lying on her back. Take a few moments to celebrate your achievement while you enjoy the spectacular views! You will then continue on a steep, 2-hour descent to Pacaymayo, your campsite, where 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 Pass | Sayacmarca Incan Complex | Chaquicocha | Puyupatamarca
You will begin with a 6:30 am wake up. Breakfast will be ready at 7. At 8, you'll head out on a 2-hour steep ascent toward Runcuracay Pass, passing the Runcuracay Incan Complex after about 1 hour. Then it's a steep downhill for about 1.5 hours to the Sayacmarca Inca Complex. From there, a 45-minute gentle descent to Chaquicocha, where you'll stop for lunch. The path will be easy and beautiful for the next 2 hours to your campsite -- Phuyupatamarca, where you'll have a great view of Machu Picchu Mountain. Tea will be served at 5, and dinner will follow at 7. Dulces sueños.
Puyupatamarca | Wiñay Wayna | Inti Punku |
Machu Picchu Citadel | Aguas Calientes
Wake-up at 6:30. Breakfast will be served at 7. You will begin trekking at 8 on a 3-hour path to Wiñay Wayna, your lunch site. The first 2 hours will be a steep descent to the Inti Pata Incan Complex followed by 1 hour of gentle downhill. You'll spend about an hour at the Wiñay Wayna Archaeological Site before having your final lunch. The porters will then wish you a farewell and you will part ways (they will take your Bandertias duffel bags to the hotel). Afterwards, you'll continue on for about 2 hours, on a mostly flat path, to Inti Punku, The Sun Gate (the final 25 minutes will be a steep uphill). From here, you'll have a great view of Machu Picchu Citadel from a distance. You'll descend steeply, then gently, for about 1 hour to the upper terraces of the Citadel. This will be your brief preview of this Wonder of the World before your guided tour tomorrow morning. You will then proceed to the exit where you'll catch your 25-minute bus ride down to Aguas Calientes. You'll check into your hotel, then have some free time before you meet up with your guide at 7 pm to enjoy a fabulous dinner. Dulces sueños.
Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu Citadel | Ollantaytambo | Cusco
You should be up by 4:45 to have breakfast at the hotel and meet up with your guide to catch the early bus to Machu Picchu at 5:30. You'll have a 2-3 hour guided tour of the archaeological complex. Afterwards, you are free to explore the citadel, Sun Gate, or Incan Bridge on your own. Or, if you had already pre-purchased a ticket, you may proceed to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain.
You will then take the bus back down to Aquas Calientes, grab lunch on your own, retrieve your gear at the hotel, and wait for your return train 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. Thank you!
2021 prices per person in USD
Group of 2: $1330
Group of 3: $1240
Group of 4: $1140
Group of 5: $1080
Solo traveler: $2,590
please inquire about pricing for larger groups
prices listed above will increase by 5% for 2022 TREK DEPARTURES
Our prices include these upgrades
- a ride on PeruRail's Vistadome train with a panoramic view and live entertainment*
- free use of a pillow a Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus inflatable sleeping pad and a pillow
- dinner at a top Aguas Calientes restaurant
- accommodations at a highly-rated hotel on the final night
*most tour operators include tourist-class train service and offer Vistadome as a $50-$75 add-on
What is Included
- Experienced, Professional Tour Guide
- Responsive, U.S.-Style Customer Support
- Experienced Cook
- Reliable Porters
- Safe, Responsible Drivers
TICKETS / ENTRY FEES
- Inca Trail Permit / Ticket
- Machu Picchu Entry Ticket (for Day 5)
- Via private vehicle, pick-up from your hotel to Ollantaytambo
- 3 Consettur bus tickets:
- Day 4: from Machu Picchu down to Aquas Calientes
- Day 5: Round-Trip from Aquas Calientes to Machu Picchu
- PeruRail ticket on Vistadome train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- This is a comfortable, upscale service with panoramic views (side and ceiling windows)
- Private transport from Ollantaytambo back to your hotel in Cusco
MEALS and BEVERAGES
From Breakfast on Day 1 to Dinner on Day 4:
- 11 Fresh, wholesome meals prepared by Banderitas' Cook: 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 3 Dinners
- We respect dietary restrictions and preferences, and will accommodate special requests (i.e., vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, etc.)
- Dinner on Day 4 will be at one of Aguas Calientes' top-rated restaurants on TripAdvisor (e.g., Indio Feliz or a comparable restaurant)
- Breakfast on Day 5 will be provided by the hotel
- Snacks -- unprocessed, and healthful (e.g., fruit, nuts or cereal bars)
- Variety of teas including whole leaf coca
- In the morning, freshly ground, organic coffee from Quillabamba
- Drinking water (boiled and cooled, from lunch on Day 1)
EQUIPMENT / ACCOMMODATIONS
- First Aid Kit
- Oxygen Tank
Days 1, 2, 3
- Eureka Timberline Tent
- Inflatable Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus Sleeping Pad
- plus an additional foam pad for extra comfort
- Hot water bottle
- Private room at a top-rated hotel in Aguas Calientes (e.g., Panorama B&B, La Cabaña, El Quetzal or one on par with these hotels)
- At the Pre-Departure Briefing on the evening before your trek, you will be provided with a Banderitas Duffel Bag which you may fill with up to 7 kilos / 15 pounds of your belongings. This will be carried by a porter. While we recommend that you carry all you will need for the day in your daypack, you will have access to your duffel bag at all lunch stops and campsites. The duffel may be left at the front desk of your hotel following your trek.
These extras and upgrades come as standard services when you book with
Banderitas Adventures in Cusco
What is NOT Included
HUAYNA PICCHU / MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAINS
AUGUST 2021 UPDATE: The mountains remain closed
- Ticket to climb either Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain on Day 5. It may be purchased through us for $70 USD. Please let us know as soon as you book if you wish to purchase a ticket as they are subject to availability.
EQUIPMENT for RENT
- Down Sleeping Bag $15 USD
- Trekking Poles (rubber-tipped, per pair) $15 USD
(Not applicable to solo travelers)
- For your own tent $35 USD
- For your own hotel room based on availability $85 to 95 USD
- Lunch on Day 5
(you will have many restaurants and cafes to choose from in Aguas Calientes)
Inca Trail Permit
In an effort to preserve the Inca Trail (Qhapaq Ñan) -- designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2014 -- the Peruvian Ministry of Culture limits the number of trekkers entering the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to 500 per day. This number includes visitors as well as support staff (guides, cooks, and porters). A non-transferable / non-refundable permit with the trekkers name and passport information is required to enter the Trail and must be purchased in advance -- sometimes as far as six months. Please note: the Inca Trail is closed the entire month of February for maintenance.
Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountains
AUGUST 2021 UPDATE: The mountains remain closed
During your visit to Machu Picchu Citadel, you'll have the option to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. We prefer that you decide upon booking your trek as entrance tickets are limited to 400 per day per mountain. Tickets for each mountain cost US$ 70. Both are moderately challenging hikes with stunning views from the top. Climbing and descending Huayna Picchu, on average, takes 2-3 hours; Machu Picchu can take 3-4 hours. Tickets to Huayna Picchu tend to sell out quickly, but don’t be discouraged if they’re sold out during your visit; Machu Picchu mountain may not be as popular to climb, but it is less crowded, and the views are just as beautiful, if not more.