Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Code CIT4) - full itinerary
Day 1: Cusco - Ollantaytambo - KM 82 - Llactapata - Wayllabamba
You will be picked up from your Cusco hotel early in the morning in private transport. You should have breakfast in your hotel or bring some snacks. We will stop in Ollantaytambo for last minute purchases, plus an opportunity for breakfast if you wish. We will continue to Pisacucho (also known as Kilometre 82) where the trail starts. On arrival at Kilometre82, it is necessary to show entrance tickets, passports and (if paying a student rate) student card. Crossing the Urubamba river we begin our trek through typical dry forest growing cacti, prickly pears and the Tara tree. We will walk around 3 hours (6kms) to Llactapata the first archaeological site on our journey. 4 kilometres of gentle uphill through farmland takes us to Wayllabamba and our campsite for the night.
Walking – 12kms or 8 miles
Minimum Altitude – 2,700ms, 8990 feet. / Maximum Altitude – 3,100ms, 10000feet
Altitude of camp – 3,100ms , 10000 feet./ Approx night temperature: Around 10oC.
Day 2. Wayllabamba - Llulluchapampa - Dead Woman's Pass - Pacaymayo
This is generally considered the most challenging day of the trek. We will wake early in order to get a good start. Leaving small villages and farmland we will enter the sub tropical forest and lunch around Llulluchapampa. From here we will start a steep ascent towards the highest pass (Abra de Huarmihuañusca/'Dead Woman's Pass’ – 4200m/13779ft). There is an amazing sense of achievement upon reaching the top. We will continue downwards 600ms (1980 feet) over 3 kms (1.8 miles) through very humid forest to the evening campsite of Pacaymayo,
Walking – 11kms or 6.8 miles
Minimum Altitude – 3,100ms, 10000 feet. / Maximum Altitude – 4,200ms, 13780feet
Altitude of Camp – 3,600ms, 11810 feet/ Approx night temperature: Around 6 degrees C.
Day 3 Pacaymayo - Sayakmarka - Phuyupatamarca - Wiñay Wayna
After another early breakfast we will walk to the beautiful Inka site of Runkurakay one of the check points and the beginnings of the original royal Inca trail to Machu Picchu. We will continue on to Sayakmarka one of the most beautiful Inka remains on this, the Classic Inca trail. After lunch we trek through some very beautiful scenery ,with, the entrance to the cloud forest and the fabulous examples of orchids and humming birds we will walk for another hour to Phuyupatamarca (meaning ‘Town in the Clouds’) and to reach the third highest point on the trail (3680m). There are also wonderful views of Salkantay Mountain. From here we have 3 hours of downhill into the forest and Wiñay Wayna and our camp for the evening. A short distance from this campsite is located the Inca site of the same name ‘Wiñay Wayna’ (‘Forever Young’). Even if you are tired after your day’s trek, don’t miss out on visiting the most impressive site on the trail. Make sure you ask your guide about visiting this site!
Walking – 12kms, 10.5 miles
Minimum Altitude – 2,670ms, 8760 feet. / Maximum Altitude – 3,900ms, 12800feet
Altitude of Camp – 2,670ms, 8760 feet/ Approx night temperature: Around 12 degrees C
Day 4 WiñayWayna - IntiPunku - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes - Cusco
We will rise very early on this day in order to arrive at the (‘Sun gate’) (2730m/8792ft) before sunrise. This early morning hike is the final part of the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and from the Sun Gate you have your first view of the mysterious and enigmatic Machu Picchu. After some time there, we will walk down the last part of the trail to the spot where you can take the classic photo (picture postcard shot) of this ancient city. Finally we visit Machu Picchu itself! A walking tour (approximately 2.5 hours) is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city by yourselves. If you still have energy you can also climb Huayna Picchu (2720m/8923ft)!!! It takes 45 minutes to reach the top. (New system requires permit purchased separately)
You will meet your guide in Aguas Calientes (it can be reached by bus or on foot) for lunch and to be given your train tickets back to Cusco.
Note: The train included in all tours is the Expedition/Tourist Class service (to Ollantaytambo) and then bus to Cusco. For those who wish a more flexible train timetable, you might like to upgrade to a Vistadome/Executive Service train. This is an extra $30 per person and must be nominated AT BOOKING.
Walking – 8kms, 5 miles
Minimum Altitude – 2,400ms, 7870 feet. / Maximum Altitude – 2,720ms, 8920 feet
IMPORTANT – government regulations will not allow reservations to be made unless accompanied by full passport details of the client and full payment of the entrance fee to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. This is to assist in the 500 people a day rule. Therefore to guarantee your place on the inca trail trek or tour you must provide a scanned copy of your passport and a non refundable deposit. Your reservation will only be confirmed when we have your entrance ticket in our hands. In case of passport number change this information must be relayed to us or you will lose your booking. Original passport must be carried on trail.
Itinerary notes - Classic Inca Trail 4 days
- The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group and the guide can change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group. Each guide has their own preferred route and it might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
- Allocations or Itinerary are subject to change depending on time of booking and campsites provided by INC (institution that runs the Inca Trail).
- The above trek itinerary is our preferred option for this route. However campsites used during the Inca Trail section of the trek are subject to change depending on availability of spaces as issued by the Ministry of Culture, which are responsible for allocating the campsites to the authorised trekking companies. This is of particular importance for the last campsite, as WiñayWayna is the closest campsite to Machu Picchu, only being 2 hours trekking from the famous Inti Punku. (Sun Gate) However there is not enough space at Wiñay Wayna for all the Inca Trail groups. The next nearest campsite is Phuyupatamarca which is a 5 hour trek to Machu Picchu.
If having WiñayWayna as your final night campsite is important to you - we strongly recommend that you book your Inca Trail tour as soon as you can. As a “rough guide”, of the 500 permits issued each day, the last 200 permits will be allocated to trekkers who will camp at Phuyupatamarca. As its actually to do with campsite allocation, not number of trekkers, we say “last 200 permits” as a guide, rather than a fixed rule. However, if you are booking last minute, you might expect that you will camp at Phuyupatamarca. The plus side is that it’s a relatively untouristed campsite! We recommend that you upgrade your train to Vistadome/Executive Class, or request to take the late Expedition/tourist Class train back to Cusco. (to maximise your time at Machu Picchu)
- Considering an extra night in Aguas Calientes? (Please check out linked page) We can change the date of your train ticket to the following day. Hotels costs and costs associated with returning to Machu Picchu the following day are additional to trek costs. Please also note that your entry ticket to Machu Picchu is valid for one day only, if you wish to visit the ruins on a second consecutive day you will need to purchase the ticket again.
Aguas Calientes Extra Day Upgrade Package (optional)
With hikes that trek the traditional Inca Trail, the standard package has clients returning to Cusco at the end of the trek, and they don't spend a night in Aguas Calientes. This package provides clients the opportunity to stay in Aguas Calientes for an extra night, visit Machu Picchu for a second day and then return to Cusco by the comfortable Vistadome/Executive Class train.
** For Prices and detailed information please refer to the Aguas Calientes Upgrades page **
** The difference between the Standard option, and the Comfort Plus option, is the standard of the hotel.
- Standard Option includes - a night 3 star hotel, like La Cabaña (standard), Inti Inn (standard), Gringo Bills (Jnr Suite), Rupa Wasi (Suite). These are a nice hotels, with a little more character tha the average Aguas Calientes Hotel - well decorated, and clean.
- Comfort Plus Option includes - a night in higher price range 3 star hotel, like El Mapi or Taypikala. Both are new hotels with careful attention to detail.
Both packages include the same meals and trains.
- Second day's entry to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, valued at $60
- bus up and down to ruins on extra day, valued at $18
- Dinner at one of Aguas Calientes “best” restaurants, like Indio Feliz or Tree House restaurant!
- Buffet lunch at Tinkuy Restaurant, located in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.
- With limited eating choices at Machu Picchu hunger tends to send clients to Aguas Calientes; by including the buffet lunch we find that clients can visit Machu Picchu early, then go to the buffet to try lots of different Peruvian (and Western) dishes, and then rest and go back for a second look at Machu Picchu.
- Return in Vistadome/ Executive Class train rather than Expedition/ Tourist Class train, which gives you the opportunity for a more varied timetable and to return in a nicer train, with big windows in the roof.
For complete facts about many aspects of Apus Peru tours, check out our FAQs page!
- Pre trek briefing
- Collection from your hotel in the morning of trek departure.
- Transport from Cusco to the trailhead
- Inca Trail Permit (includes entry to Machu Picchu, but not to Huayna Picchu)
- English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 8 people).
- Tents - 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks.
- Basic foam mattress. If you require greater comfort during the trek we can hire you an inflatable mattress (eg. Thermarest) .
- Cook and Cooking equipment (Assistants are provided for larger groups)
- Toilet tent is NOT included on Inca Trail routes, because we use facilities provided by the Ministry of Culture.
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. (Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes). Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water.
- Porters (for equipment and personal items) They carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7kg/15lbs per person). If you wish to take more, you can hire a porter, please contact us for costs.
- Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & Kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
- Tents for our staff to sleep in
- First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Bus down from Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu
- Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
- Lunch on the last day is included in this itinerary.
What is not included?
- Breakfast on the first morning.
- Dinner on the last night.
- Entrance to the thermal springs
- Entry to Huayna Picchu ($60)
- Tips for the guide, cook and porters
You should bring:
- A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek - 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 .
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended.
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
- Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Insect repellent - minimum recommended 20% DEET - although no malaria risk has been reported
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
- Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
- We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
- Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
- Small towel or sarong
- Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs )
- Cash - sufficient for snacks, tips and souvenirs.
- Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you have one.
- Walking sticks or poles (we can hire these to you. Please note poles with metal tips cannot be carried into Machu Picchu and should be left at your hotel on the final day)
- Binoculars (if you have them)
We can hire the following to you.
- Porter to carry your things ($30 per day)
- Sleeping Bag suitable for – 10deg $4.00 per trip day
- Deluxe Sleeping Bag suitable for -15deg. $5.00 per trip day)
- Walking stick lightweight aluminum ($2.00 per day, per stick) Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
- Thermarest inflatable mattress - $4 per trip day
- Inflatable pillow - $2 per trip day
- Comfort Camping trek upgrade
- Single tent supplement (ie you don’t want to share a tent) $25.00 per person
- Aguas Calientes Extra Day Upgrade
- When calculating costs for hire of walking stick, sleeping bag, calculate using the length of the tour. Even though you won’t use the equipment on the final day it will still be ‘on the road’ and ‘occupied.’
- If you hire equipment and break it – you are responsible for price of replacement /or repair. (please do the right thing!)
AVAILABLE DISCOUNTS (these discounts are not cumulative)
- 5% discount on treks only for members of South American Explorers Club (SAE)
- Students: US$ 30.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card. Please beware that Youth Travel Cards are not valid)
- Teenagers: US$ 20.00 (up to 15 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
- Children: US$ 45.00 (up to 10 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
TO MAKE A BOOKING
Please visit our Make a Booking page.
You will need to email us to check availability, receive booking forms and then make your deposit. For our payment conditions and booking please refer to our Make a Booking page
* For organisational reasons, we require one week to organise your booking, prior to departure.