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.
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.
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.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
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.
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.
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.
The fourth day marks as the most important day on the Inca Trail to Mach 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.
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.
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.
The Classic Inca Trail is 26 miles (42 kilometres).
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.