All Peru was once criss crossed with Inca and pre-Inca highways, which were paved with thick interlocking blocks of stones, variating in quality and width. On the plain uplands the stones could be up to six meters wide; in the mountain the width usually was less than a meter. The Inca roads used to follow the valleys, but just as often they traversed the high mountainsides, tracing the impossible pathways and following narrow ledges above the bottomless gorges of the Andes. The trails were built for men on foot and lightly burdened llamas. Frequently their gradients gave way to stairways, tunnels and long zig zag trajectories down the steep mountains.
The Inca trail is the most interesting and accessible trail going to the enigmatic Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. The best time to hike the Inca trail is during the dry season between May and September. This season is not absolutely dry, gentle rains or showers can occur, however they are not strong enough to cancel the hike. To do the Inca trail it is necessary to get the right camping equipment. Machulas journey organizes excursions and provides all equipment and knowhow necessary to experience an unforgettable trip.
By booking your Inca Trail with Machulas journey you are choosing the best company.
Inca Trail Availability
We offer daily departures from March to January. This tour can be done any day of the week and 11 months a year except in February because the Inca trail is closed. We recommend you to book the Inca Trail at least 5 months in advance because there are only limited spaces available.
We will depart from Cusco at 4:30 a.m. in a private transport and head toward KM 82. First we will stop at Ollantaytambo where we will have breakfast and then continue driving until Km 82 to start our hike. At the entrance gate you will have to shown your passport and entrance ticket which we have already bought for you. During the first couple of hours we will be hiking over flat Inca paths until we reach the Inca site of Llaqtapata. This is where you will get first information about the Inca culture and Peruvian history. After your first Inca lesson we will hike for another hours until we arrive at our first lunch place where your porters will be waiting with a delicious organic buffet lunch. After lunch we will have a relax of 15 to 20 minutes and then continue hiking for another couple of hours until our first campsite at Ayapata. In all day we will be walking 14 km in about 7 hours and arrive at the campsite at approximately 5:00pm. we will have an amazing dinner at night and talk about the next day’s hike.
We wake up early to begin our ascent to the Dead Woman's Pass, and we will have breakfast at 6:00 a.m. and then we will leave. The second day is considered as the hardest day of the Inca trail because we will hike up to the two highest summits of our trip. The Dead Woman's pass (4215m / 13828ft) and Runkurakay pass (4000m/13123ft). These spots are perfect to enjoy the view and to take beautiful and unique photos. We will also visit the two beautiful Inca sites Runkuraccay (means: round shape area) and Sayacmarka (means: stand upright area). At both Inca remains we will find a variety of plants and different kind of highland animals like the Patagonian humming bird and the white tailed deer. Finally, around 5.30pm we will reach our campsite in Chaquiccocha. During all day we will have spent around 10 hours and 16 kilometers of walking. Once arrived we will have a delicious dinner and then fall asleep like baby alpacas.
After we had made it through a challenging day, our today’s hike will be much easier and we will walk through some of the most beautiful sceneries that the Inca trail offers. We are sure that the third day will be your favorite because in this section we will enjoy spectacular views of the Andes. Arrived at the pass of Phuyupamarca (3870m/12696ft) we will be able to see Mach Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountain. Here is the beginning of the amazon jungle. Once arrived at the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca you will get interesting explanations about the Incan culture and the Spanish invaders. After that we will continue hiking all the way down, enjoying the rain and cloud forest until we arrive at our campsite. On the way we will visit Intipata (a sun terrace), from where you will have a beautiful view through the valley of Urubamba and on Vilcanota river. We will arrive in the earlier afternoon at our campsite, have lunch and then visit together with your tour guide Wiñaywayna inca site, where you will get a lot of information about the place and Inca history. In the afternoon we will get back to the campsite to had the las dinner. After that farewell our amazing porters and show our appappreciation with a tipping if you want. Tipping is customary, but not compulsory and you should never feel pressured to do something you are not comfortable with. For more information, check our helpful tip section.
Today is a very important day because we will visit one of the Seven wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. We wake up at around 3:00am. You can have breakfast or take a snack box along the way. We start our hike so early in order to be one of the first visitors at Machu Picchu. From the camp site we just walk 5 minutes to the check point. Once we have passed the check point we will hike for 2 hours until we get to the citadel of Machu Picchu. One the way we will visit the sun gate from where we will be able to see Machu Picchu in distance. Here we will have a short break to take pictures and then continue our way to the lost city of the Incas. At the main entrance point you will have to show your original passport and your admission ticket which your tour guide provide you. Finally, we will enter the citadel of Machu Picchu and our tour guide takes you on a 2 hours guided tour, visiting the most important places such as temple, plazas, palaces and altars. After the guided tour you will have free time to explore Machu Picchu by yourself. If you booked either Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu mountains you can climb them now. In the afternoon we will catch our bus from to the town of Aguas Calientes. If you want you can have the last lunch in one of the restaurant together with your guide:
Note: the last lunch is not include in your trip. Then you will go to the train station and take your train back to Ollantaytambo, where our minivan will be waiting for you to take you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Longest Day - Day 2, approximately 16km / 9.9 miles.
Coldest Night - Day 2 around 0º celsius.
Overall Difficulty Moderate
Tour Guides: All of our tour guides are professionals who studied tourism at University and come from around the Cusco region. They also all speak Quechua the language of Cuzco region. All of them are extremely knowledgeable and fun to be around.
Master Chef: Your master chef is an important person, preparing you delicious, buffet-style organic meals throughout the trek. If you have any dietary requests, such as vegetarian foods, please let us know.
Porters: The porters will carry our cooking and camping equipment and up to 7 Kg of your personal belongings. Note: We will give you your duffel bags (for the porters to carry) at your briefing the night before we start the trek. This should be filled with the things you need for the night and the next day. You will not have access to your duffel until you reach the campsite on the first night.
Transportation: We will go by bus to km 82, where we will start our hike. After we end our trip in Aguas Calientes, we’ll go back by train to Ollantaytambo and then continue by bus to Cusco.
Tents: Made especially for trekking, our tents are professional and very comfortable. We use 4-person, Eureka Timberline tents that only need to be shared by 2 people.
Inca Trail and Machu Picchu permits: A permit is required for entry to Inca trail and Machu Picchu. As soon as we receive your details and deposit, as long as permits are still available with the government office (please check our Inca Trail Availability link), we will purchase your permits for you. These permits are in your name for a specific date and can't be changed once confirmed. Only your passport number may be updated
Oxygen and First Aid: On this trek, the highest point is at the first pass (4300m / 14,107ft). The guide will have oxygen and first aid them at all times. However, if you have any prescriptions from your doctor, please bring them with you. All our guides have received training from a medical doctor.
Pre - Briefing: Prior to your trek you will have a briefing in your hotel. Please let us know where you are staying and what time is good for you. We typically suggest around 6:00 pm, but you may choose another time if you prefer. At briefing time, we will give you the details of the trek and provide the Machulas Journey duffel bags that will be with the porters while you hike. And finally, you will have the opportunity to ask your guide any questions you might have.
Water: We will supply water every morning, at lunchtime, during our afternoon hike, and at night. The water will be boiled, filtered, and then cooled down before distributing. You just need to bring a container for water on the trek and let our master chef know how many liters you will drink so that he knows how much water to prepare. Our recommendation is to drink a lot of water while you hike, especially when we are at higher elevations.
Sleeping Bags: Your sleeping bag is not included in your trek, so hikers will need to bring their own or rent one from Machulas Journey. Machulas Journey will provide you with a regular mattress. If you want to sleep well, you may want to bring an inflatable air mattress as well. They are also available for rent: (sleeping bag 20 USD, and inflatable air mattress 20 USD).
Walking Stick: Walking sticks are very helpful on this trek. If don’t have your own, you can rent them from our office for 15 USD.
The Last Lunch: After our amazing experience on the Inca trail, many of our clients want to go to one of the restaurants in Aguas Calientes to have a local meal. This last lunch is not included in your journey.
Huaynapicchu and Machpicchu: Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu the mountains that stand next to Machu Picchu citadel offer spectacular views. Huayna Picchu takes 45 minutes to get to the top and then 45 minutes back down. Machu Picchu takes 1 hour to summit and another hour back down. This is done after your tour of Machu Picchu Inca city. If you want to climb either of these mountains, please let us know so we can better organize your tour. The cost for Huayna Picchu is 60 USD per person and 55 USD per person for Machu Picchu Mountain. Note: Don’t confuse Machu Picchu Inca citadel with the Machu Picchu mountain.
A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the Journey - prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature.
Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco.