Surely the most impressive and unforgettable way to get to Machu Picchu: on foot, using the same path traveled by the Incas more than half a millennium ago. You will walk the beautiful path made of stones, stairs and tunnels through roads that lead from the gorge of the river Urubamba (2350 m) to the peaks of the Andes (4200 m). The 43km trail is interrupted by impressive Inca citadels that dominate the landscape … book at least 6 months in advance, there are only 500 seats a day!
We will leave Cusco (3350m/10990f) at 6:00 am by tourist bus heading for the Sacred Valley of the Incas and till a Community located at km82 of the Cusco – Machu Picchu railway, Inca Trail’s departure point. We start our walk crossing a bridge over the Urubamba River. We follow the path until Miskay (2800M), from where we can observe the impressive Inca complex of Llactapata (2650m). We continue the trek through the valley created by Kusicacha River, rising gradually during 5 hours up to Wayllabamba community (3000m) where we camp tonight. During the way we can observe the rich fauna and flora of the valley, as well as the wonderful snowy peak of Veronica (5.832m).
Total distance: 12km approx.
Hiking time: 5/6 hours
Max altitude: 3000m
Campsite altitude: 3000m
We wake up at 6am and then we start the hardest part of the trek: a 9km straight ascent. On the way up we can observe how the landscape is changing. Next to the “Abra de Warmihuanusca” (the death woman pass) we can see wild lamas and alpacas. They eat Ichu, one of the only plants growing at such an altitude. We cross a zone that is home to many birds as hummingbirds and other animals as Andean bear (Tremarctus Ornatus). This is a harsh walking day and we recommend you bring snacks and chocolates, as well as coca leaves to fight altitude sickness. After the pass we start going down until reaching Pacaymayo valley (3600m), where we camp tonight.
Total distance: 15 km
Approx. Hiking time: 6-7 hours
Highest altitude: 4200m
Campsite altitude: 3500m
The third day is the longest and also the most interesting. We can see many Inca ruins on the way. From Pacamayo campsite we head towards the second pass: Abra Runkurakay (3970m). En route we visit the archaeological site, an oval structure that is believed to be an observation tower. Once the pass is left behind, we go down until Yanacocha (black lagoon) and Sayacmarca site (3624m). It is an amazing semi circular archaeological site with narrow paths and irrigation canals. Then we continue till the third pass (Phuyupatamarca, 3700m) and visit the ruins named after the pass. They are the best preserved of all. Its name means “”town above the clouds” and from here we can enjoy a spectacular view of the Urubamba valley. We follow our way through a stone stairs till we reach Wiñay Wayna (2700 m), another stunning Inca complex with many terraces, a religious centre and an urban sector, all located next to your campsite. Here there’s a lodge, a bar and bathrooms.
Total distance 16 km
Estimated walking time: 8 hours
Highest point: 3900 m
Campsite altitude: 2650 m
We leave Wiñayhuayna at 4:30 am; We will head to the Inti Punku (Sun Gate – Machu Picchu viewpoint). The walk lasts for around 1h30. From the sun gate, we enjoy an amazing view and if the weather is fine, the sunrise over Machu Picchu. From Intipunku we go down till Machu Picchu and about 40 minutes after we enter the citadel reaching the “Guardians house”. We get to the checkpoint, register and leave our bags to start the guided tour of the site (about 2 hours). You also have free time to visit Inca Bridge or to climb to the top of Huayna Picchu or visit the Machu Picchu Mountain or the Huchuy Picchu. In the afternoon we get back to Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Ollantaytambo and Cusco.
Total distance: 4 km
Estimated walking time: 2-3 hours
PeruEtico does not operate directly the trek. We use a reliable and professional agency that has a fair salary policy and is environmental friendly.
There will be a briefing with the guide the day before the trek departure at 6pm.
Campsite may be changed due to weather conditions and are set by DRC (Cultural Regional Department)
Remember to bring your original passport as it will be requested at Inca Trail’s entrance (km82)
Group tour: 12 to 14 people.
This trek is considered level 3.5 (from a 1 to 5 scale). Reserved to fit people.
The train departs from Aguas Calientes at 4.43pm and your arrival time in Cusco is around 8.30pm. It is possible to take an earlier train (2.55 pm, with arrival time in Cusco around 6.30 pm). It has an additional cost of 25 USD per person.
WATER AND PLASTIC
We are fostering campaigns for an Inca Trail free of plastic. The use of plastic is not yet regulated, but we suggest you use a reusable water bottle as from the first day (the staff will give you boiled water whenever you need it as from day 2. You have to get water by yourself on the first day).
Tip to porters and cooking staff is a very established tradition on the Inca Trail. We have selected a local operator that is respectful of working conditions, but we cannot include the cost of the tip in our final price, so you’ll have to consider it as an extra.
For your information, the expected tip is around $ 20 per person – in total, for all porters and cooks.
This amount does not include the guide’s tip. It is not mandatory and at your discretion.