Peru

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (4 Days)

6

Follow in the footsteps of the Incans and discover ancient ruins on the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Highlights in 60 seconds

Itinerary

Day 1: Drive to KM82, Trek to Wayllabamba

We will pick you up from Cusco, Urubamba, or Ollantaytambo (pick-up time will be confirmed at your briefing). We travel about 1.5 hours by private transportation to Sacred Valley. At kilometer 82, we meet our crew and begin our trek. This first day is relatively easy-going as we visit the ruins of Patallacta, a very important administrative and religious center. We will also visit the military post of Willkarakay. After exploring these ruins, we will enter the lush valley of Wayllabamba. Follow the Cusichaca River and continue upward through the dense Andean forest to our first campsite in Wayllabamba.

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Day 2: Wayllabamba to Pacaymayu (Up Dead Woman's Pass)

Begin the day very early to trek up to the highest point on the Inca trail, Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s Pass). This morning's trek is physically intense but also one of the most spectacular sections of the trail. We will walk approximately 1.5 hrs under vegetated cover to Three Stones campsite for a short rest. On our ascent, we enter the inter-Andean forest full of Unca trees. After two more hours, we reach Llulluchapampa and stop for snacks and hot drinks. Then it's the final ascent to the top of Dead Woman's Pass. The views from the top are worth it! It takes a few hours to descend to our campsite in Pacaymayu for the night.

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Day 3: Pacaymayu to Winayhuayna

In the morning, we take a short, 45-minute trek to the archaeological site of Runkurakay. This was once a resting lodge ('tambo'). Another 45-minute ascent will take us to the second-highest pass of the Inca trail trek, Runkurakay. After which we will descend to the beautiful archaeological site of Sayacmarca and continue down the paved road to our lunch site at Chaquicocha. From here we will enter the high Andean cloud forest. We'll continue along a narrow ridge until arriving at Phuyupatamarka Pass with a stunning view of the Sacred Valley. We'll pause at a sacred offering site before reaching our last camp at Wiñayhuayna.

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Day 4: Wiñayhuayna to Machu Picchu - Enter the Sun Gate!

Rise early for our final, easygoing stretch of the Inca Trail to “Inti Punku”. Also known as the Sun Gate, this is the famous gateway to Machu Picchu. Weather permitting, you will have an awesome view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate. It's a 45-minute descent to the higher area of Machu Picchu where you can take the classic picture with the ruins in the background. From here, we enter through the main entrance for registration before A 2hr (approx.) tour of the main site. After exploring, we will descend by bus to the town of Aguas Calientes. We meet for lunch and receive your train tickets. The train will take you as far as Ollantaytambo where our bus will pick you up and transfer you back to your hotel.

Note: a popular activity to do at Machu Picchu is to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. If you would like to do this, please let us know in the Skyhook guide's chat after making your booking.

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What's Included

Included
  • Pre-departure briefing in Cusco.
  • Professional English speaking tour guide.
  • Assistant tour guide for groups of 9+.
  • Professional cook.
  • Porter to carry 5 kg of your personal items (2,5 kg for the sleeping bag & mattress + 2,5 kg for your belongings).
  • Hotel pick-up from around the historic center of Cusco.
  • Water (excl. the first 4 hrs of the trek when you need to bring your own).
  • 3 x breakfasts, 3 x lunches, 3 x afternoon snacks, 3 x dinners.
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs.
  • Wake up tea every morning.
  • 4-man tent (shared between 2 trekkers).
  • Double-thick sleeping mattress.
  • Inflatable pillow (which you must carry).
  • Oxygen bottle.
  • First aid kit.
  • Entrance to Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.
  • Train ticket Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • Transportation Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
Not Included
  • Single supplement: US$30 for single person bookings.
  • Sleeping bag: US$25 to hire.
  • Walking poles: US$15 to hire.
  • Breakfast on day 1, lunch on day 4.
  • Tips and gratuities.
  • Entrance to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Airport transfers or accommodation in Cusco.
Have a question?

If you have any questions about this trip or want to speak with an expert, get in touch.

We're ready to help.

Team Images
Team Images
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Rated 5.0

6 verified reviews

Karoly
Karoly

(Aug 2023)

Amazing guide, unforgettable experience! Fantastic food, comfortable tents, very careful and supportive guidance through the entire hike. We received a lot of information about culture, history, and nature from the fantastic guide Yiyo. Thanks a lot, also for his assistant Edwin, the superb chef Nazario, and all the porters!

Kenan
Kenan

(May 2023)

Paul was the best guide we could have asked for. Funny, passionate and a great leader. So knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the history of the trail and Peru. Food blew our expectations out of the water, Mario the chef put out multi course meals every day, some of the best food we had our whole trip. Highly recommend this experience!

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Kayla
Kayla

(Nov 2022)

Inkayni provided an absolutely unforgettable adventure in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Our Guide Eli was extremely knowledgeable about Incan history and culture - he always had an insightful answer to our (many) questions. Eli was incredibly personable, and was encouraging and enthusiastic every second of the trail. The Chef and Porters were superstars! I have so much respect for their profession and am so grateful for all of their hard work. The Chef cooked up a delicious, unique dish every day on the trail, complete with 4 courses at lunch and dinner. I am beyond impressed with Inkayni’s incredible organization and hospitality. HIGHLY recommend booking with Inkayni for a life changing experience. Thank you Eli and team!

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Stephen
Stephen

(Jul 2022)

Our guide - Paul - was great and the cook a genius for what he could do in a tent! Equipment was good and Paul is not only very knowledgeable and helpful but has a great feel for what you like and dislike and adapts quickly and accordingly. I loved it - an amazing and informative experience. If you can, ensure to go in as small a group size as possible. Other operators had 10+ people in a group and that looked like a nightmare to me - I loved the personal and private attention of our small group and being given time alone. Would give 6 stars if I could.

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Neil
Neil

(Jun 2022)

Unbelievable experience with Inkayni! From planning the perfect itinerary with Lisseth to actually being on a private tour with Paul, it was completely flawless! Always punctual and designed to meet our every desire, this tour was everything I dreamed of and more!!!!! Our guide Paul was incredible!!!!! Extremely knowledgeable and always looking to make our trip memorable by catering to our personalities! I couldn’t ask for a more amazing trip! Seriously, book these guys if you want all your dreams to come true!

FAQs

Before you go

The best time for experiencing good weather on the trail is between the months of April – October when there is minimal rainfall and clear skies. The driest months are June – August, which is winter in the Andes. Nights and early mornings are chilly during this time. November can still be good to hike but, as the season progresses, there is a fair chance of getting wet. Rainy season peaks over the Peruvian summer (December- March). The Inca Trail runs through tropical cloud forests and is especially wet over this time. The trail is closed over February for maintenance.

See above for inclusions and exclusions.

Your body needs time to acclimatise to high-altitude conditions with lower oxygen levels. We recommend arriving in Cusco at least 2 days prior to your trek (3 days for guests over 60). There is no way of knowing how your body will react to the change in altitude. The more days you can take to acclimatise, the better.

This is a moderately difficult, multi-day hike through rough mountain terrain. You need to be in relatively good physical condition and able to hike for several hours each day. During the final months leading up to your trek, we suggest a regular exercise routine including cardio and strength to improve endurance and stamina. We wish for you to have the best experience possible!

The most important thing on this trail is to pack light! Pack animals are not allowed on the Classic Inca Trail, so your belongings will be split between yourself and your personal porter. Your portered luggage is limited to 5kg per Guest (including your sleeping bag and mattress). You will need to carry anything more than this, plus your water, snacks, and essentials for the day in your daypack. Below you will find a link to a useful article on what to pack for the Inca Trail (links visible after booking).

To have the best chance of getting a permit, It's best to book your trial 6 MONTHS+ in advance. Inca Trail permits are limited to only 200 hikers a day. For this reason, we urge you to book as far in advance as possible. Note that your booking becomes non-refundable as soon as we've purchased your permit.

Of course, without any additional costs! When you make your reservation, please inform us of any dietary requirements, including allergies. We provide vegetarian options and can cater to lactose-intolerant or gluten-intolerant diets. Most of our main meals are buffet-style, so you can pick and choose. If you have preferences( for example, strongly dislike onions, tomatoes, or mushrooms) we will ask our chef to leave out or separate these items. Please note, we cannot accept individuals with life-threatening allergic reactions.

Absolutely! Solo travellers are most welcome. There does, however, need to be at least two people booked on a date to confirm departure. If you are travelling solo, please drop us a message beforehand to confirm existing groups. If you are traveling alone, you will need to pay for a single supplement (USD $30.00). This gets you a private tent during the tour. This is payable in cash USD once you arrive in Cusco.

For this trip, we do need at least two people booked on a date to confirm departure. If you are travelling solo, you're welcome to book, but please drop us a message beforehand to confirm existing groups.

On your trip

There are many outhouses along the Inca trail and at the campsites. Although the sanitation standards have improved over the years, you should keep your expectations low. Bring your own sanitiser and a roll of toilet paper. We will provide you with hot water and soap for washing your hands at mealtimes. - Wayllabamba (1st campsite): There are bathrooms that belong to the local people who rent them to trekkers. They cost S/ 1.00 to S/ 2.00. There are showers, but you pay extra to access these. - Pacaymayu (2nd campsite): There are bathrooms and showers with cold water. These are property of SERNANP and are free. - Wiñayhuayna (3rd campsite): There are free restrooms but no showers. There is a shower a distance away from the campsite. However, it costs from S/ 15.00 to S/ 20.00 and there are usually long queues to use it. Besides what's available on the trail, we also provide a private portable toilet at every campsite. This is a small tent that the team sets up at each camp with a basic portable loo in it.

This tour includes a personal porter to carry your things up to 5 kg / 11.02 lb. Before the start, we will provide you with a duffle bag, where you can pack your basic necessities such as: - a sleeping bag & mattress (average 2,5 kg) - extra clothing (average 2,5 kg) Note that your porter will not be hiking at your side during the trek. So, you need to carry a daypack with the things you need throughout the day, including your water, snacks, camera, extra layers, and a raincoat. You will also be carrying your own inflatable pillow (provided).

Trekking poles are recommended for this trail, especially for those with existing knee problems. The poles will assist your balance and reduce knee impact on the steep sections and Inca steps. Trekking poles are available for rent at $15 per pair. If you would like to rent poles, message us after making your booking. Note: As per the Ministry of Culture, you may not use metal-tipped poles that damage the trail.*

Any baggage that you do not need for the trek may be stored in your hotel in Cusco (most hotels offer this service free of charge). If your hotel does not provide this service, we will store your belongings safely in our office at no extra cost.

1 porter per person is included in this tour price. We require all trekkers age 60 or above to hire an additional porter for their convenience. Additional porters cost $80 for 5kg of luggage. If you would like to hire another porter, please message us after making your booking.

We provide you with boiled water to refill your bottles after each meal-time, starting with lunch on the second day. Before this, you may bring your own or purchase bottled water from small ‘shops’ at local homes on the trail. If you have a filter bottle or purification tablets, you can refill at the many small streams and taps along the trail. This is a better environmental option than buying disposable plastic bottles. For safety's sake (from experience), we discourage drinking unpurified water straight from the source.

We will pick you up from your hotel to begin your trek and drop you back there after the tour.

Here are the approx. daily hiking distances and elevations: Day 1: Walking Distance – 12km / 7.45 miles Starting Elevation – 2720 m. / 8923 ft. Highest Elevation – 3000 m. / 9842 ft. Campsite Elevation – 3000 m. / 9842 ft. Difficulty: Moderate Day 2: Walking Distance – 11km / 6.83 miles Starting Elevation – 3000 m. / 9842 ft. Highest Elevation – 4200 m. / 13779 ft. Campsite Elevation – 3580 m. / 11700 ft. Difficulty: Challenging Day3: Walking Distance – 16km / 9.94 miles Starting Elevation –3580 m. / 11700 ft. Highest Elevation – 4000 m. / 13123 ft. Campsite Elevation – 2680 m. / 8792 ft. Difficulty: Challenging Day 4: Walking Distance – 5km / 3.10 miles Starting Elevation – 2680 m. / 8792 ft. Highest Elevation – 2730 m. / 8956 ft. Difficulty: Easy

Other FAQs

Our groups are limited to a maximum of 8 people.

There are NO government restrictions regarding the age limit for classic Inca Trail. However, as a responsible Tour Agency, we prefer to take children 7 years or older. For families with children, we highly recommend booking a private tour to make your experience more comfortable. All children below the age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult. Trekkers age 65 + must consult with their physician before booking and also before traveling to verify health conditions for participating in a high-altitude multi-day trek. We will require a medical file confirming a good state of health and NO cardiac problems. All clients 60 years of age or above should arrive in Cusco at least 3 days before your trekking date to adjust to the altitude. Please also ensure that your travel insurance covers this type of trek.

After you have made your booking, we will get on the system to buy your permit. Note that permits are controlled by state authorities, and availability can change in minutes. Because of this, we can only confirm your trip once we have secured the permit. Once this happens, we will send a confirmation message (at this point, your booking becomes non-refundable). If we are unable to get a permit for your date, we will recommend an alternative date or refund your booking in full.

Hiking up the neighbouring Huayna Picchu mountain is an extremely popular add-on to this tour. This mountain has an additional cost of $85 USD per person and needs to be booked in advance. If you would like to add this to your Machu Picchu visit, please let us know once you have confirmed your booking (use the button on your tour dashboard; MESSAGE THE GUIDE). This extra activity is subject to availability. You will need to pay this balance at our offices once you arrive in Cusco. Note: Due to schedule time restrictions, climbing the alternative, Machu Picchu Mountain, is not usually possible as part of this itinerary.

Yes! If you would like to add extra days to your stay in Cusco and visit Rainbow Mountain, please 'Message Your Guide' from your Skyhook Dashboard after making the booking. Any activities that are not included in the itinerary of this trip will need to be arranged directly with the local operator and paid for in the country.

We happily receive clients with food allergies (nuts, wheat, dairy etc.) Please inform us in detail of your condition upon making your reservation. If in doubt, ask us. We kindly ask that you declare the severity of your reaction and any medication that you take in case of an emergency. If your allergy is severe, you need to be accompanied by someone who will take responsibility for your situation and carries the necessary medication. WE CAN NOT ACCEPT CLIENTS WITH LIFE-THREATENING ALLERGIES

Your head guide is Lisseth

All trips on Skyhook are run by small, hand-picked local guiding companies. For this trip your guides run Inkayni Peru Tours, based in Cusco.

By booking through Skyhook you'll be joining a small-group trip. This can make it nice and sociable (you'll be added to a group chat after booking), and guarantees great value for money!

Lisseth