Inca Trail in 5 days (Code CIT5) full itinerary and inclusions
Day 1 – Cusco – Llactapata
Today we pick you up from your hotel in the morning (approx 8am) and travel by private transport to Ollantaytambo where you will have an opportunity to have breakfast (not included in price of tour – we recommend Hearts Café - http://www.heartscafe.org/ ) and stock up on last minute supplies. From here we will continue to Piskacucho (kilometre 82) where the trail starts.
On arrival at kilometre 82, it is necessary to show entrance tickets, passports and (if paying a student rate) student card. To start the Inca Trail we cross the Vilcanota River and follow its route to the right. This first day will be relatively easy and a good warm We will go to the Inca Fortress of ('Huillca Raccay') from where we will have great views of the area where we are going to camp. Then we will walk down to the vast Inca site - Patallacta - where we will spend the night (2620m/8595ft).
Total distance: 5 km (3,11 miles)/ Estimated walking time: 2,5-3 hours
Maximum altitude point:2,650 m (8,692 ft)
Campsite altitude:2,650 m (8,692 ft)
Day 2 – Llactapata to Llulluchapampa
We wake up early to continue trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca river, gradually climbing until we reach the farming community of Wayllabamba (3000m/9840ft). All along the way we see spectacular views of the Vilcanota mountain range on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive Veronica peak reigns at 5832 meters above sea level. Not to mention the diversity of wild flora and fauna that can be found all along the valley. Continuing through the trail, we leave Wayllabamba behind to begin the most difficult part of the trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km and reaches the first mountain pass in the Inca Trail, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s pass). We only climb half way up the pass, stopping at Llulluchapampa, where we camp and spend the night. Along the climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation), having the chance to spot domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at that altitude. We also cross an area of the so called cloud forest, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows and the Andean bear, which is also called the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctus Ornatus).
Total distance: 12 km (7,46 miles)/ Estimated walking time: 5-6 hours
Maximum altitude point:3,850 m (12,589 ft)
Campsite altitude:3,850 m (12,589 ft)
Day 3: Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca
After breakfast, we continue our hike up the highest point in the Inca Trail, reaching the mountain pass of Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s Pass – 4200m/13776ft) after about 2 hours. Immediately after the pass, we descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600m/11808ft), from which we then start to climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3970m/13022ft). Half way up, we visit the archaeological complex with the same name. This site, located at 3800m/12464ft, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower. After going over the pass, we descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624m/11887ft). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals. Continuing up an easy climb, we arrive at the third pass, the Abra Phuyupatamarca (3700m/12136ft). Along this climb we can appreciate the magnitude of the Incas´ ancient craft, by walking along paths semi-detached from the mountain, and seeing rocks that fill up ravines in perfect order, saving the trail from the multileveled Andean geography. Phuyupatamarca is one of the most complete and best preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machupicchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. Curiously, Phuyupatamarca means ¨town over the clouds¨. We set our camp in Phuyupatamarca and spend the night there.
Total distance: 15 km (9,32 miles) /Estimated walking time: 8 hours
Maximum altitude point:4,200 m (13,776 ft)
Campsite altitude:3,600 m (12,033 ft)
Day 4: Phuyupatamarca - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes
Today, we might have the chance to appreciate one of the most spectacular sunrises in the Inca Trail, provided the sky is clear, as Phuyupatamarca’s location offers awesome views at this moment of the day. We then start our way through the long descending stone steps which will lead us to Wiñaywayna (2650m/8692ft), where we find a campsite equipped with a restaurant, bar and bathrooms with hot showers. The campsite has the same name as the complex located only five minutes away from the lodge. Wiñaywayna is the biggest archaeological site in the Inca Trail besides Machupicchu and consists of an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector, offering spectacular views over the already narrower Urubamba River valley. After our visit, we leave Wiñaywayna to climb to Intipunku, or The Sun Gate. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, we may enjoy spectacular views over the sacred citadel of Machupicchu, weather permitting. From Intipunku, a short walk brings us down to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Before reaching the entrance, we will take a side path off the trail to go down to Aguas Calientes, as we will visit Machu Picchu on day 2. We will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes where you will check into your accommodation, and a celebratory dinner before getting to bed early in preparation for the next day’s early start. A basic one star hostal is included in the price. For upgrades, see http://www.apus-peru.com/accom_aguas_calientes.htm
Total distance: 11 km (6,84 miles)
Estimated walking time: 5 hours
Maximum altitude point:3,600 m (11,772 ft)
Day 5: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu tour - Cusco
We have breakfast and then take the first bus (6am) up to Machu Picchu. 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 have energy you can also climb Huayna Picchu (2720m/8890ft)!!! (It takes about 45 minutes to reach the top.) From the top of Huayna Piccchu is one of the most spectacular views of Machu Picchu and there is also an opportunity to visit the Temple of the Moon or the Inca Bridge. (you need to buy your Huayna Picchu entries in advance)
We include in your tour a box lunch in Machu Picchu and your bus ticket back down to Aguas Calientes.
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 - Inca Trail 5 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.
- Just because we describe this route as more "relaxed" DOES NOT mean easy. The walking days are shorter - but not any easier. You must be fit and in good physical health to do this trek!
- Allocations or Itinerary are subject to change depending on time of booking and campsites provided by INC (institution that runs the Inca Trail). .
- 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 upgrade package (optional)
This is an upgrade package for treks that already include a nights stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, but you would like to upgrade the standard of hotel, meals and train service. This price doesn’t change depending on the number of people in the group.
** 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.
- 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 train rather than Expedition 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
- Entry fee to Machu Picchu for second day (If you wish to climb Huayna Picchu its $15 extra, please advise at booking)
- 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 7 kg 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, up and down from Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu
- Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
- Celebratory dinner in Aguas Calientes
- Lunch on the last day is included in this itinerary.
- 1 night accommodation in Aguas Calientes in a basic hotel. This will be a nice, clean and safe hostel with breakfast included and private bathroom. If you wish to upgrade from this hotel, please check out the options listed on our Aguas Calientes accommodation page.
What is not included?
- Breakfast on the first morning.
- Dinner on the last night.
- Entrance to the thermal springs
- Entry to Huayna Picchu ($15)
- 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) $25.00 per person
- Aguas Calientes Upgrade
- When calculating costs for hire of walking stick, sleeping bag, calculate using the length of the tour. Even though you won’t use the equipment on the final day it will still be ‘on the road’ and ‘occupied.’
- If you hire equipment and break it – you are responsible for price of replacement /or repair. (please do the right thing!)
AVAILABLE DISCOUNTS (these discounts are not cumulative)
- 5% discount on treks only for members of South American Explorers Club (SAE)
- Students: US$ 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.