The Inca Trail is by far the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be amongst the top 5 treks in the world. With over just 26 miles (43 Km) of trail, the Inca Trail combines beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle and, of course an outstanding mix of Inca paving stones and ruins and tunnels. The final destination of the trail: Machu Picchu, the mysterious “Lost City of the Incas…”
With an early start on our first day, your guide will start you off with a delicious breakfast just before we make our way to the first Inca checkpoint on the trail (Don’t forget your passport!). We will then hike onwards to our first Inca site, Patallacta – a site believed to be used by the Inca as a stopping point for those on their way to the ancient city. Burned by the Inca as they retreated from the Conquistadors, today the remains of the village, include dozens of walled houses and other buildings, can still be explored. From here, we will continue our trek onwards into several more villages before the days end.
Every morning, become exhilarated as our porters prepare delicious – and nutritious! – coca tea. On our second day, we will be hiking upwards through Dead Woman’s pass. What makes Dead Woman’s Pass so famous (or infamous) is its altitude. At 4,215m (13,828 ft), it’s the highest (and most dreaded) point of the Inca Trail, and nearly 1,800m (5,905 ft) higher than the altitude of Machu Picchu itself. The pass comes during the second day of the hike, often perceived to be the most challenging. But not to worry, the beautiful views of the scenery are beyond worth the hike. After visiting many Inca sites throughout the day, we can enjoy the sunset over the Vilcabamba mountain range, atfer ascending through the Pacaymayu (Hiden River) Valley.
Some say the third day may be the most beautiful – passing through the Inca flat (gradual inclines) and begin to enter the peak of the jungle, which is also known as the cloud forest. As we walk we will have the opportunity to see the beauty of the Salkantay snow capped peak and a fantastic panoramic view of the Vilcabamba mountain range. Towards the end of the Inca flat we begin to make our way up to the last peak at Phuyupatamarka (3600 meters) from where we get great views overlooking the Urubamba river. Down the valley we get our first views of Machu Picchu mountain but the site is still hidden from view. Later in the evening, we will have a final Inca feast.
The last day, we finally finish our trek at the archeological site you’ve been waiting for. Machu Picchu is tangible evidence of the urban Inca Empire at the peak of its power and achievement—a citadel of cut stone fit together without mortar so tightly that its cracks still can’t be penetrated by a knife blade.
The complex of palaces and plazas, temples and homes may have been built as a ceremonial site, a military stronghold, or a retreat for ruling elites—its dramatic location is certainly well suited for any of those purposes. The ruins lie on a high ridge, surrounded on three sides by the windy, turbulent Urubamba River some 2,000 feet (610 meters) below.
- Pickup from your hotel
- Transfer to KM 82 ( 2720 m / 8923 Ft ), breakfast with Inca Trail views, beginning of trek.
- Hiking the Inca Trail
- Archaeological site of Kanabamba, Llactapata (Quechua names )
- Lunch at Hatun Chaca village at 1:30 pm approximately
- Camping in Ayapata ( 3300 meters / 10829 ft )
- Walking distance 14 km.
DAY 2 – Ayapata – Dead Womens’ Pass – Chaquickocha.
- Meet with local rangers and present planting tools to them
- Survive the two highest mountains, great views
- Walking distance: 16 km.
DAY 3 – Chaquikocha – Winay Huayna.
- Easy day – We will visit Winay Huayna ruins.
- Walking distance: 10km.
DAY 4 – Wiñay Huayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco
- Hiking to Inti Punku, the “Sun Gate”
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Climb to Huayna Picchu ( book in advance )
- Descend to Aguas Calientes for lunch
- Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Transfer from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
- Walking distance 5 km
Day 1: CUSCO – KM 82 – AYAPATA:
We’ll pick you up from your hotel between 4:30-5:00am and travel to Km 82. You’ll arrive at about 7:00am and you´ll stop for a delicious breakfast prepared for you by your guide. After breakfast we’ll go through the first Inca Trail checkpoint to begin our trek (please make sure you have your passport with you to enter the Inca Trail.) The first 2 hours of the trek are relatively easy as we make our way to our first Inca site, Patallacta, which was an Inca checkpoint for the approach to Machu Picchu. From Patallacta, it’s another 2 hour hike to our lunch stop. After lunch we will hike for another 2 and a half hours until we reach the first night’s campsite, Ayapata (3300m). On this last stretch we pass through two small communities. If you want to buy any energy drinks or snacks you can do so here. You can also buy any essential items (such as batteries) that you may have forgotten. We’ll arrive to our campsite by 5:00pm. By 7:30pm your dinner will be ready and afterwards you can get some well deserved rest.
Walking distance: 8.7 miles/14 km (6-7 hours)
Campsite altitude: 3300 m.
Considered: Moderate day
Weather : Warm and windy
DAY 2: AYAPATA – DEAD WOMAN´S PASS – RUNCURACCAY PASS – CHAQUICCOCHA:
Your porters will wake you up early with a hot cup of coca tea to get you ready for the day. Today is our longest day and we will start with an early wake up. We’ll hike for roughly 4 hours to the highest pass of the trek, Dead Woman’s Pass (4215 meters = 13,828 ft.) On reaching the pass we’ll stop for a short break to enjoy the views before setting off again to descend to the next valley (Pacaymayu Valley – Hidden River.) It’s another hour and a half down the side of the valley to our lunch spot and a chance to refill our water bottles. After lunch we begin ascending again to the second pass of the trek. It’s 2 hours to the pass and along the way we’ll stop at a small Inca site (Runcu Raccay) and see two huge waterfalls cascading down the opposite side of the valley. After the 2nd pass, it’s another hour downhill to reach the magnificent Inca site, Sayacmarca (Unaccessible Village). We’ll stop here for a rest and have a quick tour of the site and then watch the sunset over the Vilcabamba mountain range. It’s then just another 20 minutes until we stop for the night at our second campsite – Chaquicocha (Dry Lake, 3600 meters = 11,811 ft.) After dinner, if you’re not too exhausted, we can do some star gazing.
Walking distance: 9.94 miles/16 km (7-8 hours)
Campsite altitude: 3,600 meter = 11,811 ft high above sea level (chilled weather)
Considered: Toughest day (we will survive two passes)
Area : Andes and the cloud forest
Weather : Cold and rainy
DAY 3: CHAQUICCOCHA – WIÑAYWAYNA CAMP:
Completing day 2 and beginning day 3 certainly deserves a pat on your back! We begin early again, waking up at 6:30am to begin what is commonly believed to be the most beautiful day of the whole Inca Trail. We hike for 2 hours along what is known as Inca flat (gradual inclines) and begin to enter the peak of the jungle, which is also known as the cloud forest. As we walk we will have the opportunity to see the beauty of the Salkantay snow capped peak and a fantastic panoramic view of the Vilcabamba mountain range. Towards the end of the Inca flat we begin to make our way up to the last peak at Phuyupatamarka (3600 meters) from where we get great views overlooking the Urubamba river. Down the valley we get our first views of Machu Picchu mountain but the site is still hidden from view. From Phuyupatamarka it´s a 3 hour walk down a flight of steps to our last campsite, close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). Wiñay Wayna is the most spectacular Inca site on the trail after Machu Picchu and the most popular campsite because of it´s proximity to Machu Picchu. During the descent we visit 2 Inca ruins, Phuyupatamarka (The Town in the Clouds) and Intipata (Terraces of the Sun). We arrive at our campsite around 1:00pm to have lunch and then relax for the entire afternoon so you’re relaxed and ready for your final day at Machu Picchu. Your guide will give you a small talk at around 4:30pm and you will visit the inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna spending about an hour and a half there. We will explain the significance of the site and combine all the information given during the trek so you’re fully prepared for your visit to Machu Picchu the following day.
We like to spoil our guests as we enjoy our last feast with the porters and chefs. It’s an Inca Trail tradition to organize a ceremony in the evening to introduce the team to the tourists once again and to thank them for the great job done (if you wish to provide tips for them then you can do so now.) It is advisable to go to bed at a reasonable time in order to get up in the early hours of the morning to arrive to Machu Picchu at the crack of dawn.
Walking distance: 6.2 miles/10km (5 hours)
Campsite altitude: 2,600 meter =8,530 ft high above sea level. (Chilled weather)
Considered: Easy day (Just down hill)
Area : High cloud forest
Weather : Warm and very humid
DAY 4 : THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY – MACHU PICCHU (THE LOST CITY OF THE INCAS)
Wake up time is at 3:30am. We’ll eat breakfast at 4:00am and wait at the checkpoint to be one of the first to start trekking when they open the gates at 5:30am. We’ll wave goodbye to our porters and chef and then it’s full steam ahead to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku.) From here we have spectactular views of the mountains and Machu Picchu in all its glory. We reach the Sun Gate by 6:30am and then it’s just another hour´s trek down a stairway to reach the lost city of the Incas. As we approach Machu Picchu the views of the city just get better and better and at about 7:40am we reach the final checkpoint and enter Machu Picchu to begin our 2 hour guided tour. After the tour you’ll be given your bus tickets to make your way down to Aguas Calientes and you’ll have between 3-4 hours to explore on your own. At about 1:30pm we’ll meet at a restaurant in Aguas Calientes to have our last lunch together and you’ll be given your train tickets for your return journey to Cusco. We´ll arrange to meet 30 minutes before your train departs and then all go together to the train station. If you like there is an optional hike up Huayna Picchu mountain which takes about 45 minutes to reach the summit. From here you can enjoy fantastic views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding scenery. If you’re interested in this, please book it in advance for $65.
Considered :The most exciting and magicial day!
Area : High cloud and tropical forest Weather:Hot and very humid (requires a lot of water)
INCLUDED IN THE TREK
- Pick up from your hotel by your tour guide
- Transfer to the start of your trek, KM 82
- Professional English speaking tour guide
- Entrance fee to the Inca Trail National Park
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Sanctuary
- Super PumaPath porters to carry all the equipment, tents, food, cooking gear, and dining tents
- Permits and entrance fees for our porters and cooks
- 4 breakfasts, 4 snacks, 3 lunches, 3 happy hours, and 3 dinners. All of these meals are prepared by our cook and his assistant
- Coca tea served each morning in your tent for a gentle start to the day
- Boiled water after breakfast, lunch and dinner to refill your water bottles
- Happy hour including hot drinks such as mate de coca and locally grown coffee which is prepared by our cook
- Snacks every morning
- Oxygen tank and first aid kit
- Vegetarian food and specialized diets on request
- 2 people per tent (4 man tents, clean, waterproof)
- All camping equipment
- 2 or 3 hrs guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Bus from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes village
- Expedition train return to Ollantaytambo then by bus to Cusco
- OPTIONAL: Extra personal belongings ( 7 kg = $ 75 for 4 days)
- Last lunch in Aguas Calientes
- Original passport
- Student ISIC card (www.isic.org) if it is applicable (needs to be sent at the time of your booking)
- Day Pack
- Hiking boots and sandals (very important)
- Warm clothes: layers for variable temperatures, especially at night. Thermals/gloves/scarves; wool socks /wool hat for cold nights: About 4 T-shirts for the entire trek
- Head lamp (very important)
- Camera and extra batteries
- Sunscreen/hat and sunglasses
- Personal medical kit
- Insect repellent
- Rain Gear: a good rain jacket and rain pants and plastic rain poncho
- Toilet paper
- Small towel
- Camel bag – if not you can take plastic bottles for water
- Extra money for drinks & tips, souvenirs, etc. (soles or dollars) At least 200 extra soles
- Bathing clothes for the hot springs (optional.) Recommended for those who stay extra night
- OPTIONAL: Bring your own sleeping bag, trekking poles
Price for 2016 (groups leaving between March 1st, 2016 and January 31st, 2016)
At PumaPath, your comfort and safety are of our utmost concern. Therefore, we provide all necessary camping equipment for your trek. Included in prices are: sleeping tent, rollmat and pillow for your comfort. Please feel free to bring your own sleeping bag if you prefer.
Price for 2016 (groups leaving between the 1st March 2016 and the 31st January 2016)
- Price per person : US$685 – Group
Private Service Prices
- 2 people : US$885 per person
- 3 people : US$845 per person
- 4 people : US$785 per person
- 5 people : US$745 per person
- 6 people : US$705 per person
- 7+ people : US$675 per person
- Student Discount: US$35 (Requires ISIC Card to qualify)
- Optional Extras:
- Sleeping Bag US$25
- Walking Pole US$20
- Inflatable Mattress US$25
- Single Tent Supplement US$75
- Personal Porter to carry extra 7kg of personal items US$75
*****IMPORTANT NOTES *****
NEED A PERMIT: In order to book your Inca Trail treks, the Peruvian authorities cap the number of Inca Trail trekking permits to 500 per day. Everyone entering the trail needs a permit including the trekker, guide, porters and other support staff. Permits often sell out several months in advance and you must book well ahead to secure your place.
When you fill in our booking form you must fill in alternative start dates that are possible for you to begin the trek and these have to be validated. If your preferred date is sold out we will use one of these alternative dates for your permit. Once we purchase your permit from the National Park office, you are 100% confirmed to start this day; this date cannot be changed. Permits are completely non-refundable or transferable, so please make sure the date you booked is a good date to start this adventure.
Your permit is linked to your name and passport number. If you change your passport after booking your Inca Trail trek permit or you plan to travel with a different passport, you MUST also bring the passport you used to book your permit, or you will not be able to trek the Inca Trail trek.
STUDENTS: If you booked your trek with your International Student Identity Card (ISIC) you must have this card and it must be valid for you to enter the trail. If you purchased a permit with the student discount and you do not bring your ISIC card or it is not valid at the time of your trek start they will not allow you to enter the trail. These are National Park rules.
HUAYNA PICCHU: Only 400 people can climb this mountain per day, so this ticket also needs to be booked in advanced. The price is $65 per person (read our Huaynapicchu sidebar about this cost). It is recommended to climb Huayna Picchu in the 10-11am time slot as otherwise you miss your guided tour. It is recommended to have this booked about 2 months in advance to secure your permit.
EXTRA NIGHT: If you want to stay longer at Machu Picchu then you can book an extra night at Aguas Calientes village. Just let us know that you plan to stay an extra night so we can organize your return train for the next day. You can either organize your accommodation by yourself or we can assist with making bookings. If you were thinking of going back to Machu Picchu the next day then you will have to buy a new entrance fee to Machu Picchu and the bus tickets for about $70.
RETURN TRAIN TO CUSCO: The return train is the Expedition train which departs either at 2:55, 4:20, 4:42 or 6:40 pm. The train that is booked depends on availability and is confirmed at your briefing. There is an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train, which is an extra $65 per person. Please let us know your preference at the time of booking. None of the trains go straight to Cusco, they run either to Ollantaytambo or Poroy but in either case we will transfer you back by bus to your hotel.
FOOD ON THE TREK: Definitely one of the highlights of the tour is the food. It is always fresh and most of it is organic. There is always a lot to eat and lots of options including vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and other types of protein and carbohydrates. Everyone sits down to eat together and we go out of our way to accommodate all dietary requirements including vegetarian options and any food allergies. We do not provide any alcoholic drinks on the trek but if you would like you can bring your own.
OUR EQUIPMENT: We provide 4 person tents for every 2 people, sleeping bags and foam mattresses for everyone. Our dining equipment includes a spacious dining tent, tables and chairs, plates and utensils. We do NOT supply walking sticks, but they can be rented from PumaPath. We bring an extra blanket for all our hikers for those especially cold nights. Just ask and your guide will provide you with this.
OUR GUIDES, COOK AND PORTERS: All of them are amazing, helpful, caring and great people to be around. Our guides speak excellent English and are patient and very informative. Our cooks provide amazing family-style food for you and our porters and you will be impressed with what they can whip up in the middle of the mountains! Your porters will carry everything for you which makes your trek as easy and comfortable as possible. Thanks to them you will finish your trek and have a great time. Our porters are called ´WE ARE PUMAS…´ on the Inca Trail.
We make sure that all our team are well looked after and we provide all the equipment that they need so that they can do the trek in as much comfort as possible.
FITNESS: The Inca Trail is certainly not easy but you do not need to be an athlete or a trekking expert to complete it. Fitness is naturally important but the Inca Trail is the kind of trek that anyone with a positive attitude and determination can do. Obviously the more fit you are the more you will enjoy the trail and the more chance you will have to take in the scenery and appreciate the Inca ruins dotted along the way. If you do not exercise regularly, it is advisable to do some extra walking or some kind of aerobic activity in the months leading up to your trip.
Many people worry whether or not they will be able to cope physically, but complete failure is rare and would usually only result from severe altitude sickness or a person lacking even a basic level of fitness. People of all ages (from teenagers to pensioners) complete the trek, and age itself is no barrier if you are positive minded and live an active lifestyle. Before departing for your tour, we recommend visiting your doctor who will be able to provide you with more information.
STORAGE DURING YOUR TREK: During the Inca Trail trek your main luggage will be stored in Cuzco and you will receive a small duffle bag at your Inca Trail briefing (briefings are normally set for the evening before you start the trek) to pack your clothes in for 3-4 days. Your team of porters will carry these bags together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day as the porters will always be ahead of the group. You should therefore bring a day pack in which you can carry personal belongings such as your camera, water and sun screen etc. By Peruvian law the duffle bag carried by the porters must not weigh more than 7kg (14pounds). You can either store the rest of your luggage at your hotel or you can leave it with us.