The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is arguably one of the most famous and most popular multi-day hikes in the world. With permits now limited to roughly 200 tourists per day, the privilege to walk in the footsteps of Incan Pilgrims to their spiritual citadel at Machu Picchu often requires booking up to a year in advance.
It’s popularity is unsurprising, as this ancient trail scales spectacular mountain passes with breathtaking views across the majestic Andes; it passes the ruins of numerous Inca settlements, many of them meticulously preserved by the passage of time; it winds through remote Andean communities still active in the livelihoods of generations past and it leads us through contrasting ecological environments from the barren mountainside, to eerie Cloud Forest to the lush green valleys.
And of course the Classic Inca Trail concludes at the jewel in the Peruvian crown, the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Named as one of the “New Wonders of the World” in 2000.
We will camp for 3 nights in the most spectacular and remote locations. Far from the crowds and the lights of the city, the skies in the Andes are a wonder all to themselves and the display of constellations and shooting stars is truly mesmerising. We pride ourselves on making your camping experience as comfortable as possible, using only the highest quality equipment, and with a team of porters whose skill and experience will ensure your safety at all times. Perhaps the jewel in our crown though are our chefs, who are truly culinary masters on the mountain. You will be amazed at the delicious meals they prepare for us!
We take care of booking all transfers, transport and tickets, ensuring that the tour goes as smoothly as possible. Our guides are especially selected for their trekking experience and their historical knowledge; keeping us on the right path, setting the pace for the hike and providing historical commentary and context for the many sites that we will see along the way.
Our time on the trail demands a number of steep ascents to passes above 4,000m. As such we consider this trek to be ‘Challenging’ and recommend it for people with a good level of fitness, and some trekking experience. If you are unsure of whether this trek is for you, please do get in touch as we would be happy to discuss it with you.
We look forward to welcoming you on this unforgettable trek, guaranteed to leave you breathless….from the views!
Classic Inca Trail is the perfect journey of your vacations¡
Classic Inca Trail Machu Picchu – Overview
Type of tour: Trekking, camping, historical
- Distance covered: 45 km (28 miles)
- Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
- Lowest elevation: 2400m (7,880 feet)
- Highest elevation: 4200m (13,776 feet)
- Level of difficulty: Demanding
- Good for: anyone with a moderate level of fitness
Classic Inca Trail Machu Picchu – Itinerary
Day 0: Briefing
At PBL we believe it’s important that all of our clients have the opportunity to ask questions about the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (the itinerary, the challenges, what to bring etc) before we start. At a pre-arranged time, your guide will provide a full pre-trek briefing at your Cusco hotel the day before the start of the trek. A Peru by Locals representative will also be available at the briefing to collect any outstanding cash balance for the tour.
Day 1: Warm-up day – Cusco to Wayllabamba
Day 1 kicks off with an early morning pick up from your hotel in Cusco. From there we take a three hour drive through picturesque villages along the way to the starting point of the Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu at PISQACUCHO, also known as Km. 82, where we will meet our team (porters), who will be in charge for carrying all the equipment and cooking for us.
Our Classic Inca Trail starts along a trail surrounded by cacti and a dry forest, with a view of WAQAYHILLCA mountain with 5.800 m / 19.030 feet of elevation (the tallest mountain along the Sacred Valley mountain range). After about two hours of hiking we will stop for lunch.
The last 2 hours of the hike, the vegetation becomes jungle and you have a chance to spot the biggest hummingbird (Patagonia’s gigas). We can expect to arrive at our campground by 4 pm.
Our porters will provide you a bowl of warm water to wash. After you clean yourselves, we will have Inca trail happy hour with hot drinks, popcorn, cookies, etc. and dinner will be served by 7pm.
|Distance covered:||12 km (7.5 miles)|
|Time:||7 to 8 hours|
|Lowest elevation:||2700m (8,858 feet)|
|Highest elevation:||3000m (10,168 feet)|
|Level of difficulty:||Moderate|
Day 2: Challenging day through Dead Woman’s Pass – Huayllabamaba to Paqaymayu
You will have an early wake-up call in the morning by one of our porters with a nice cup of coca tea served in your tent. You will also be given a bowl of warm water to wash yourselves before having a delicious breakfast; the hike begins around 7am. This day is especially demanding because of the high altitude and the ascent to the highest point on the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Warmiwañusqa – 4.215 m / 13.776 feet)
The four hours of our hike winds through a high altitude jungle and all uphill, with beautiful mountain views. Once we reach the top of Warmiwañusqa or Dead Woman’s Pass (4.215 m / 13.776 feet), we descend to the campground at Paqaymayo (3.650 m / 11.975 feet), where we will spend the night. Here the temperatures may drop down to 0°C / 32° F in winter (from May to August).
|Distance covered:||11km (7 miles)|
|Time:||7 to 8 hours|
|Lowest elevation:||3000m (9,842 feet)|
|Highest elevation:||4215m (13,776 feet)|
|Level of difficulty:||Demanding (nothing is impossible in the land of the Incas)|
Day 3: Jungle hike – Paqaymayu to Wiñayhuayna
We undertake the longest stretch on the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but in return, you will have amazing views, many Inca sites to explore, orchids along the way etc. We start with one and a half hour ascent to the second pass on the Inca Trail, Runkuraqay (3.450 m / 12.959 feet). After taking some time to rest here and taking pictures, we descend to explore the Inca ruins of Sayacmarca before we head to our lunch spot. After lunch, we start one and a half hours hike up and down and descend for about 3 hours towards the camp at Wiñayhuayna, where we will spend the last night. Here you have a chance to take cold shower.
|Distance covered:||16km (9,941 miles)|
|Time:||8 to 10 hours|
|Lowest elevation:||2650m (8,694 feet)|
|Highest elevation:||3950m (12,959 feet)|
|Level of difficulty:||Moderate to demanding|
|Inca ruins:||Today you will explore the ruins of Sayaqmarca, as well as Wiñayhuayna.|
Day 4: Machu Picchu tour and train back to Cusco
Today you will have the earliest wake up call at 3:30 am, but you are not leaving the camp site until 5:30 am, so, after you pack and have the last breakfast (until 4:15 am), you will walk to the check point of the camp site that is just 5 minutes from your tents, where you will line up for more than one hour until the gate opens at 5:30 am. All that is because our porters have the train that leaves really early from the bottom of the valley – it is the only train during the day they can load the equipment back to Cusco, so we thank you for your understanding.
Leaving at 5:30 am, you hike towards the Sun Gate, where you will have the first view of Machu Picchu. After that you will descend for fortyfive minutes down to Machu Picchu, where you will have two and a half hour tour given by your guide. Afterwards you will have time to enjoy Machu Picchu at your leisure. If you are brave enough and have more energy, you can climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, i you booked your permits in adnace.
When you are ready to leave Machu Picchu, you will take a bus down to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town), where you can have a farewell lunch and a Peruvian Pisco Sour to celebrate your trek with the rest of the group, before taking the train back to Cusco which will mark the end of your hike.
|Distance covered:||6km (3.7 miles)|
|Time:||2 hour trek and 3 hour tour in Machu Picchu|
|Lowest elevation:||2400m (7,874 feet)|
|Highest elevation:||2700m (8,858 feet)|
|Level of difficulty:||Moderate|
Inclusions & exclusions
Included on the Classic Inca Trail Machu Picchu:
- Transport to and from your hotel in Cusco
- Organic meals (3B, 3L, 3D)
- Entrance tickets to the Classic Inca Trail and Machu Picchu (does not include Huayna Picchu, but if you would like to climb it, we can arrange the ticket for you at additional cost of US$ 70 per person
- Porters, who will carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc.)
- Personal porter who will carry your belongins such as sleeping bag, sleeping pad or cloths for the ninght up to 6kilos / 13Lbs
- Boiled drinking (cooled down) water from day 2 onwards
- Professional trekking guide, knowledgeable in history, tradition, fauna and flora. Our guides are trained in Wilderness firts responder in USA standars, we believe your safety is our priority
- Walkie talkies, we are conected with Machu Picchu park is case of any emergencies we can conect them in real fast time.
- First Aid Kit, carried by your guide
- Equipment (sleeping tent, dining tent, kitchen tent, table, chairs, air mattresses)
- Duffle bag if needed (in time you get your briefing with you guide, you can request for a duffle bag or email us before comming so we can have it ready for you)
- Bus tickets from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Train tickets from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (expedition). If you prefer vistadome service, we will upgrade it at additional cost of US$ 25 per person
- Toilet tent with toilet sit
Excluded on the Classic Inca Trail Machu Picchu:
- Sleeping bag (can be rented from us at a cost of US$ 20). our sleeping bags are washed after each use
- Lunch on day 4 at Aguas Calientes
- Gratitudes for porters and guides (please check our FAQs section of this site for more details)
- Huayna Picchu ticket or Machu Picchu mountain tickets (please check in additional section)
Classic Inca Trail Machu Picchu – Additional options
|Machu Picchu Mountain||Machu Picchu mountain is taller mountain than Huayna Picchu and offers you spectacular views of Machu Picchu and surroundings. Our clients said before that it is better than Huayna Picchu and to get to the top it will be about 1,5 h and another 1,5 hours back down. The tickets are asually available almost all the time and not like Huayna Picchu.|| $ 70|
|Huayna Picchu||Huayna Picchu tickets must be booked in advance, since permits are limited to 400 per day and they are divided in 2 groups – the first from 7 to 8am and the second from 10 to 11 am. This hike is very well know in the world because the views are beautiful.||$ 70|
|Overnight in Aguas Calientes||If you wish to stay an extra night in Aguas Calientes after the trek, just let us know and we will arrange your train ticket back to Cusco for the desired date. We can reserve you hotel too at addional cost.||Various prices|
Price per person: $ 690
Private service: $ 770
Students: discount of $30, but you have to supply us with a copy of your ISIC card when booking the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with us.
Children up to 15 years of age will be considered as students, under the condition that you supply us with a copy of the passport at the time of booking.
In order for us to reserve your spot on this Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you are required to send us the following information: full names, passport number, age, gender, nationality and make the relevant deposit of US$200 per person using PAY PAL as indicated below:
When you have sent us the information of each person, made your deposit using PAYPAL and once we have both, we will confirm your tour. Thank you so much for choosing PERU by LOCALS.
If you have any questions, send us an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
What to bring
WHAT TO BRING ON THE CLASSIC INCA TRAIL MACHU PICCHU?
Original passport – please remember to bring your original passport, which should be the current one; if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking, bring both (the one you used for booking your trip and the new one). The information you provided us in time of your booking have to match with your tickets in the Classic Inca trail.
Down sleeping bag – Recomended at least 5°F (If you don’t have one, you an rent from us for $ 20)
Good hiking shoes – they should be breaked already; if you have acquired new ones, make sure to break them down before you come. They should be comfortable for your feet and possibly have ankle support.
Down warm fleece – jacket has to be warm enough for the nights and the jacket that is a wind breaker and/or waterresistant.
Few t-shirts – made for hiking; as you will sweat a lot, you may consider bringing at least 3 or 4 of them, one for the hike, one for the night and one clean for Machu Picchu
Socks – bring at least 3 pairs
Sun hat – as some days can be hot and sunny, we recommend you to bring a sun hat that can keep the sun off your face.
Light long pants – trekking pants are the best ones, especially those that you can zip off the legs, plus they dry fast.
Clothes for sleeping – warm long underwear; you can use your fleece to sleep in and you may consider bringing gloves especially for the camp site
Head lamp – all the camps are dark so you will need to bring your head lights for organizing your stuff in your tent or going to the bathroom at night
Sunscreen – SPF 35+ recommended
Trekking poles – they are very helful, they can take 30% of you weigh (if you don’t have them , you can rent them from us for $10 per pair for 4 days hiking)
Camera with spare batteries or just phones take greta pictures nowadays (batteries run down faster at high altitudes)
Bug repellent – there are mosquitos all year round so make sure you pack your bug spray
Book to read – you will have some spare time at every camp to read your favorite book or those that are about Machu Picchu that may make you journey more interesting (the following books are recommended by us: Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie, Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Timeby by Mark Adams)
FOR MORE QUESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS GO TO F.A.Qs
Please, for for details visit us in F.A.Qs section where you will find all the recomendations and often asked questions.