The Classic Inca Trail
The Inca trail (accessible from March to January/closed in February) is without doubt one of the most beautiful trails in the Americas and, therefore an unforgettable experience which shouldn’t be missed. In its journey, unforgettable impressions of unique ecological diversity, landscapes and archaeological can be obtained, all within the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. In addition, far away from cities and modern life. With altitudes varying between 2050-4200 m.a.s.l, you will experience an encounter with yourselves and your physical capabilities. Given the great demand and the limited access, the reservations must be made with at least 6 months in advance (especially for access in the months of April to October).
Day 1: Cusco – Piskacucho Km 82 – Llactapata – Ayapata
You will leave early by bus from Cusco until the official entrance control is reached at Piscacucho (KM 82 at 2200m). Here you will start with a delicious breakfast. Then the hike starts for its first stage on the legendary trail.
The first two hours are relatively easy and you will pass Patallacta which is an ancient Inca checkpoint for the approach to Machu Picchu. From there it is two hours hiking to the lunch stop. After lunch you will hike 2½ hours more until you reach the first night’s campsite at Ayapata.
You will pass through two small communities, where you can buy attributes that you might have forgotten.
Around 5 pm you should arrive at the campsite where you can relax and enjoy a hot drink and a snack. Later at night your dinner will be served.
Distance: 8.7 miles/14 km (6-7 hours)
Altitude campsite: 3300 m.a.s.l.
Day 2: Dead Woman´s Pass – Runcuraccay Pass – Chaquiccocha
This is the longest day so you will start early. After breakfast you will hike to the highest pass of the trek, Dead Woman’s Pass (4215 m). After a short break enjoying the magnificent views, you will descend to the next valley named the Pacaymayu Valley where you will reach the lunch spot.
After lunch you will ascend again to the second pass of the trek. You will pass a small Inca site called Runcu Raccay and see two huge waterfalls. After the second pass you descent to the magnificent Inca site Sayacmarca.
You will have a tour on this site and then watch the sunset over the Vilcabamba mountain range. Then it is a short hike to the second campsite Chaquicocha.
After dinner it is possible to do star gazing. The southern hemisphere sky, away from all the artificial lighting, is really amazing!
Distance: 9.94 miles/16 km (7-8 hours)
Altitude campsite: 3600 m.a.s.l.
Day 3: Chaquiccocha – Wiñaywayna:
This day is considered to be the most easy and most beautiful day of the Inca trail. After breakfast you will start hiking, entering into the jungle. During your walk you will enjoy the majesty of Salkantay and have a fantastic panoramic view on the Vilcabamba mountain range.
First we ascend to Phuyupatamarka (3600 m) having a great view over the Urubamba River. Then we descent to the last campsite close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) which is the most spectacular Inca site on the trail after Machu Picchu.
During the descent we visit two Inca ruins, Phuyupatamarka (Town in the Clouds) and Intipata (Terraces of the Sun).
You arrive at the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch there you will visit the archeological site of Wiñay Wayna and the guide will give you information about next day´s visit to Machu Picchu.
Walking distance: 6.2 miles/10km (5 hours)
Altitude campsite: 2.600 meters
Day 4: Sun Gate – Machu Picchu
Today you wake up very early. After breakfast you will hike to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). From here you have a spectacular view on the mountains and Machu Picchu in all its glory. Then you descend to reach the Lost City of the Incas, the views on Machu Picchu just get better and better! When you enter to Machu Picchu you will have a two hour private guided tour.
After the tour you have plenty of time to explore Machu Picchu on your own or climb one of the mountains nearby (Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain). This must be arranged in advance and is not included in the price.
Then you will descend by bus to Aguas Calientes where you can enjoy your last lunch in a local restaurant. This is optional and not included. Later in the afternoon you will take the train back from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo where you will continue by bus going back to Cusco to your hotel.
Walking distance: 3.1 miles/5km (2 hours)