Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (4 Days)

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Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Details

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a popular way to reach Machu Picchu from Cusco. It covers an overall distance of 25 miles (40 kilometres). 

The trail was built some 500 years ago entirely of stones. This was widely used by Incas to travel from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Now, this is recognised as one of the most beautiful and famous trails in South America. Infact, National Geographic Traveller Magazine considers Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu as one of the best 25 trails in the world. 

Why Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu offers enchanting views of snow capped peaks, cloud forests and some lesser known archaeological sites. The trail is also dotted with some picturesque lagoons and Andean villages. The best part, only those hiking this prestigious Inca Trail to Machu Picchu seize the opportunity to see the unique view of sunrise at Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate.

Inca Trail starts in a place called Km.82. As the name suggests, the trail head is located 82 kilometres away from Cusco en-route to Machu Picchu. On the first day of the trail you will be passing a renowned ruins, Llaqtapata.

Day Two you will be crossing the esteemed “Dead Woman’s Pass” at 13,379 feet (4,200 meters) above the sea level. From here you will reach the lesser known Inca ruins of Intipata and Wiñay Wayna. On the fourth and the last day, you will be hiking up to Machu Picchu and have a complete guided tour of the citadel. 

Needless to mention, it has gained so much of popularity among travellers that the authorities had to restrict the number of trekkers daily. This was imposed to maintain the authenticity of the trail and to prevent any environmental hazards.

Only 500 people are allowed to enter per day. This means, it is limited to 200 travellers a day and the rest are for guides, porters and cooks. As a result, the trail requires permits which tend to sell normally six months in advance. Inca Trail remains closed for a month in February for maintenance. 

Why Encuentros Peru Adventure?

Encuentros Peru Adventure is a fully locally owned travel agency in Cusco. We have dedicated and qualified English speaking local guides for Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Our guides have an extensive training on first aid and using oxygen cans. 

We are a licensed tour operator for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

We highly recommend you to spend atleast 3 days in Cusco before the trail to avoid altitude sickness

Departure & Return Location

Cusco Hotel Transfer

Departure Time

04:30 AM

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Includes

  • Professional Guides
  • Briefing: The night before your trek, you will come to our office for your briefing.
  • Porters & Horsemen: We include a personal porter, who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag containing your personal items
  • Emergency Horse: All of our Alternative Treks include an extra horse for our clients to use if they need a break from trekking.
  • Hotel: The trek will include three nights of camping and hotel for one night in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu.
  • Transportation: All your transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4:30 a.m. (unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo before the trek) and brought to the trail head to begin your trek.
  • Equipment: We have the best equipment. We use Eureka Timberline 4 person tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
  • Food: Our chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have raved about. We honour all food restrictions. Be sure to remind your tour guide of any food restrictions at the beginning of your trek. Lunch the last day is not included.
  • Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, we will supply all the water needed.
  • First Aid
  • Train tickets from Ollantaytambo to trail head and Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Entrance Fees to Inca Trail
  • Entrance ticket to archeological sites of Machu Picchu

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Excludes

  • Sleeping bag: USD $20
  • Inflatable Air Mattress: USD $15
  • Walking sticks (pair): USD $15
  • Entrance to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain

Things To Carry

  • Original passport and Student ISIC card (if applicable), and some copies.
  • Sleeping bag (or you can rent one from us).
  • Backpack to carry your things.
  • Bathing suit (if you want to take dip in the hot springs in Aguas Calientes).
  • Torch or headlamps.
  • Hands sanitiser.
  • Hiking poles ( or you can rent one pair from us).
  • Comfortable hiking clothes, including warm clothes for the nighttime.
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Sunblock and sunglasses.
  • Reusable water bottle or canteen
  • American dollars and Peruvian soles in cash.
  • Toilet paper, and face tissue paper.
Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Summary
  • 7:30PM DINNER
  • 1:00 PM LUNCH
  • 4th Day: 4:00 AM BREAKFAST

Day 1Cusco - Piskacucho Km 82 - Wayllabamba

At early in the morning, we will be picking you up from your hotel in Cusco. We will then be traversing through the Sacred Valley of Incas to a remote town called, Piskacucho, known to many as KM 82. Once in KM 82, we will have to cross a check point where the officials will verify your document against the Inca Trail permit. Please remember to carry your original passport.

From the check point, we will start the real adventure. We will be hiking for three hours to Tarayoc, where we will stop for lunch. This section of the trail would reward you with sights of Kanabamba an ancient Incan ruin and the snow capped peak of Veronica Mountain, at a distance.

The most fascinating site of the day is ruins of Llaqtapata. Llaqtapata is an Incan site, it houses remains of palaces, temples and terraces. This was used as a nexus point between the cities from the jungle side and the cities from the highlands during the Incan empire. Our tour guide, would give you a detailed explanation here about this lesser known yet an important site.

We will stop for lunch at a town called, Tarayoc at around 0100 PM. From here we will hike for another two hours to our first camp site called Wayllabamba .

After a full day hike it will be nice to relish a cup of hot chocolate or tea accompanied with pop corn, empanadas and some snacks. At night we will serve a Novo Andean meal for dinner before you crawl into your tents.

Trip Summary:

  • Hiking Time: 6-7 Hours (approx)
  • Hiking Distance: 11 Kms/6.83 Miles
  • Highest Point 3,000 m/9,840 ft.
  • Lowest Point: 2,700m/8,856 ft.

Day 2Wayllabamba - Pacaymayu

The second day of Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is considered to be quite challenging. After relishing on a nutritious breakfast, we will start hiking uphill to the highest point of the trek, called the DEAD WOMAN’S PASS at 4,215 meters (13,825 feet).

Enroute to the dead woman’s pass, we will be passing through different ecotones. We will be taking a lunch break at Llulluchapampa (3,800 meters / 12,464 feet).

After relishing on a nutritious meal for diner, we will continue with our hike to the Dead Woman’s Pass. Here, we will stop and rejuvenate . You will witness a fantastic scenery here. From here, we will continue with our downhill hike to Pacaymayu, which roughly takes three hours. This evening, we will stop for tea followed by dinner.

Trip Summary:

  • Hiking Time:7-8 Hours (approx)
  • Hiking Distance: 12 Kms/ 7.45 Miles
  • Highest Point 4,215 m/ 13,825 ft.
  • Lowest Point: 3,000 m/ 9,840 ft.

Day 3Pacaymayu - Wiñay Wayna

After having breakfast at early in the morning, we will start hiking to the second pass, Runkuraqay (3,950 m / 12,956 ft). Third day of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is quite interesting. You will be passing through many Incan sites along the trail. Our guide would explain the richness and the importance of each site during the Incan empire.

On this day, mostly the trail goes through the cloud forest, you will be seeing birds and orchids. You would also be rewarded with sights of Urubamba and Vilcabamba mountain range. Around noon, we will stop for lunch. After lunch, we will start our downhill hike to Wiñay Wayna which in Quechua means “Forever Young”.  It is at 2560 meters or 8962 feet). This is the third and the last camp site on the 4 days Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. After savouring a cup of hot tea, we will serve dinner.

Trip Summary:

  • Hiking Time:8-10 Hours (approx)
  • Hiking Distance: 15 Kms/ 9.32 Miles
  • Highest Point 3,950 m/ 12,956 ft.
  • Lowest Point: 2,650 m/ 8,692 ft.  

Day 4Wiñay Wana - Machu Picchu - Cusco

The fourth day marks as the most important day on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The best moment of the Inca Trail that you would surely relive for the rest of your life is the eye catching view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate (Inti Punku).

You would get a view of Machu Picchu, as the cloud would clear the sights of the walls of the prestigious Incan citadel while the golden rays of the sun shimmers over the citadel of Incas. After witnessing the sight of Machu Picchu from distance we will start hiking down to the citadel itself.

Our guide would give you a two hours guided tour explaining the existence and building of Machu Picchu. After thr tour, we will take the tourist bus down to Aguas Calientes town. Here you can have lunch (not included).

Later in the afternoon, you will be boarding the train to Ollantaytambo where our guide would meet you and will organise your transfer back to your hotel in Cusco.

Tip Summary:

  • Hiking Time: 2-3 Hours (approx)
  • Hiking Distance: 5 Kms/ 3.11 Miles
  • Highest Point 2,700 m/ 8,856 ft.
  • Lowest Point: 2,400 m/ 7,872 ft. 

When is the best time to hike Inca trail?

The best time to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is during the dry season – late April through to early October. The trail remains closed every year in February for maintenance. 

How hard is the Classic Inca Trail?

The Classic Inca Trail of four days is somewhat challenging. It is imperative that you spend 2-3 days before the trail in Cusco to acclimatise. 

How many miles is the classic Inca Trail?

The Classic Inca Trail is 26 miles (42 kilometres). 

1 Review
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Solo Traveller

I did my Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Encuentros Peru. Jose Luis was my guide and he is ver knowledgable and helpful. I highly recommend them.

March 11, 2020
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