Classic Inca Trail 4 Days / 3 Nights

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Duration: 4 Days / 3 Nights
Availability : Every Day
Depart: Km 82
Destination: Machu Picchu
Min Age : 10
Max People : 12

About the 4 day Inca Trail Trek

The Classic Inca Trail 4 days adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the adventure-seeker wanting to hike a famous trek in Peru. Each day brings something new as you travel from Andean tundra to cloud forest, passing incredible Incan sites along the way.

Read about hiking the Inca Trail vs an alternative trek in Peru.

See Full Description

Hiking the Classic Inca Trail

From Colombia to Chile, the Andes are home to thousands of “Inca Trails”. The ancient Incas connected their vast empire through an intricate network of roads, facilitating transport for trade and in times of war. There are an estimated 26,000 – 40,000 km of roads criss-crossing the Andes, of which the Classic Inca Trail trekking route is just a tiny part.

The Classic Inca Trail starts in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and finishes in the jungle. You’ll first travel from Cusco to Km 82, where the trail begins, by private transport. This now-famous trek is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, never to be forgotten. 

Did you know? FAQs about the Inca Trail

Only a special few actually get to hike the Inca Trail every year. Peru’s permit system means that just 500 people are allowed on the trail every day – approximately 200 visitors and 300 trekking staff.  Permits are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and are in very high demand: they can sell out as much as 6 to 8 months in advance! Once spaces have been booked, NO OPERATOR CAN OFFER YOU A SPACE. All spaces are personal and non-transferable, and there is no waiting list, so if someone cancels, their spot cannot be taken by someone new. Also note that the Classic Inca Trail is closed in February for maintenance.

Read more facts about the Inca Trail in our blog!

We treat our staff right!

The Classic Inca Trail is notorious for the mistreatment of porters and other trail staff who are asked to carry more than government regulation allow. At Apus Peru, we do things differently, going above and beyond these minimums. Read more about how we take care of all our staff, including porters and horsemen.

Tips for Hiking the Inca Trail

For tips and inspiration before hiking the Inca Trail, check out these blogs on our website:

What to Expect on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 Days Adventure

Inca Trail Terrain – What to Expect

The Classic Inca Trail follows an ancient Inca road, meaning that you will be hiking along a combination of ground trails and stone-paved paths. Some sections are very steep, and require sustained uphill or downhill climbing. Much of the trail consists of stone steps, some of which are quite tall, as much as 30 cm (12 inches). This can be hard on the knees, and could be a problem for someone with a knee injury. The Inca Trail may also be a problem for you if you suffer from vertigo or have a severe fear of heights, as there are sections with steep drop-offs, where the path narrows and becomes single file.

Climate conditions, flora & fauna on the Inca Trail

You will hike through a wide-ranging series of micro-climates, from alpine tundra to lush cloud forest. Expect to see a variety of flora and fauna, including different species of cacti, orchids, birds and possibly a vizcacha or two. Majestic views at high altitude of neighboring mountain ranges also await, as well as the chance to see several impressive Inca ruins along the way.

How busy is the Inca Trail?

This is a very popular and busy trek. If you hike the Inca Trail, you will be hiking with hundreds of other people, and staying in busy (sometimes noisy) campsites. If you want a remote, wilderness trekking experience, the Inca Trail is not the trek for you. Talk to one of our Peru trekking experts for tips on alternative treks to Machu Picchu.

>>For more great insight about what to expect on the Classic Inca Trail, check out this great blog about hiking the Inca Trail day by day by past Apus Peru passengers Trans-America Journeys.


Inca Trail 4 Days - Trek Highlights

  • Retrace the steps of Ancient Incas as you hike through the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu
  • Hike along a combination of ground trails and stone-paved paths. There are stone steps, with steep uphill and downhill sections.
  • Experience a wide-ranging series of micro-climates, from alpine tundra to lush cloud forest.

2 people


3 people


4-6 people


7+ people


Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. Apus Peru exclusively operates private groups, except by special request. Hiking the Inca Trail as a private group allows us to offer you a highly personalized experience, with more one-on-one time with your guide and a more tailored, off-the-beaten-path experience on the trail. We do not have fixed-date group departures. If you do not want to book a private trek, please see our Trekkers Wanted page for a list of open departures within your dates.


Please Note: These prices are subject to a new Peruvian law governing the employment of porters on the Inca Trail. These changes are expected to substantially increase the cost of operating the Inca Trail for all licensed agencies. Contact us to learn more.


High quality personalized experience

Unique, off-the-beaten track routes

Experienced staff

Verified sustainability practices

$20 of every trek donated to Threads of Peru

Important Details About this Trek

What is Included?


  • Tent: 2 people in a 4-person tent, allowing for greater comfort and backpack storage!
  • Basic foam mattress. If you would like greater comfort during the trek we can rent you an inflatable mattress. See Optional Extras & Upgrades below.
  • Toilet tent


  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs, and kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
  • Cook and cooking equipment, plus assistants for larger groups.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary. Our professional cooks prepare a combination of traditional Peruvian and Western cuisine. Talk to your Travel Consultant during the booking process if you have certain preferences! Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. When served, salads are washed in boiled water.
  • Boiled water to drink on the hike (which you can carry in your own reusable water bottle)
  • Filtered water provided during the drive on the first day
  • Lunch on the last day.


  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of the Inca Trail Trek departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek
  • Bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu
  • Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.

Trekking Team

  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
  • Porters, who carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7kg / 15 lbs per person). If you wish to take more, you can hire a personal porter. Please contact us for costs.
  • Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses for our staff to sleep in, plus a budget for their meals


  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle

Additional inclusions

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Inca Trail Permit (includes entry to Machu Picchu)

What is Not Included?


  • Breakfast on the first morning
  • Dinner on the last night


  • Sleeping bags. Available for rent if you don’t have one with you.
  • Additional Porter for more of your personal luggage, if you exceed the included 7kg (15 lbs).


Optional Extras & Upgrades

We offer you the opportunity to personalize your trek and make your experience more comfortable through our Optional Extras and Upgrades. All options are available during the reservation process; please ask your sales consultant for more information.

Equipment Available for Rent

  • Porter to carry your own things (beyond the included 7kg / 15 lbs)
  • Sleeping Bag suitable for -5˚C (1.8kg)
  • Deluxe sleeping bag suitable for -15˚C (2.7kg)
  • Camping pillow (0.27kg)
  • Light-weight aluminum walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.

Service Upgrades

  • Single-occupancy tent supplement
  • If you’d like more flexibility in your return travel to Cusco, consider upgrading to the Vistadome train (Executive Class). This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.

Optional Activities


  • When calculating the cost of renting equipment, calculate using the length of the entire trip, not just the number of trekking days.
  • Please be careful with rented equipment! You are responsible for the cost of replacement if something is damaged or broken.
  • Any upgrades or trip extensions must be requested at time of booking.
  • All rental equipment needs to go in your personal duffel bag and counts towards the 8kg weight limit.

What to Pack

We recommend that you bring the following items with you:

  • A fleece or down jacket is an essential item at this elevation;
  • Hiking trousers with zip off shorts are a good idea, as day time temperatures can be quite warm, yet temperatures plummet as soon as the sun goes down. You can supplement these with leggings or thermals to wear underneath;
  • A rain poncho or waterproof jacket is also important. It can rain or even snow at certain times of the year!;
  • Water-resistant trekking boots are advisable. The trail on this hike can sometimes be muddy and wet, so we also recommend to bring extra socks!;
  • A warm sleeping bag, rated to -15°C (5°F). If you prefer, you can rent one from us;
  • A headlamp or torch;
  • A high factor (SPF) sunscreen, a sun cap and sunglasses. The sun can be really strong, especially in dry season. Sun protection is essential!;
  • A small daypack to carry your necessary items for each day’s hiking.

For our full packing list for treks in the Andes, see What to Pack for the Inca Trail.

Our blog How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru will also give you some great tips for how to get ready for your trek, before you even leave home.

Available Discounts

  • Students: USD $30 off, in certain circumstances. Please enquire for details about eligibility.
  • Youth 12-17: 5% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 5-11 years: 15% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 0-4 years: 75% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group, but will be charged 25% of the per person price based on final group size. For example, a group of 4 adults and one child under 4: adults will be charged the full price per person based on a group size of 4 and the child will be charged 25% of the per person price for a group of 4. Children under 3 will not be considered to occupy a seat on any train or bus, and instead must ride on a parent’s lap. Car seats, cribs and other baby needs may not be included and must be discussed in advance. For more information about travelling with infants and toddlers, please see this blog as well as the Age Requirements section of our Booking Conditions.
  • 5% off a day tour listed price when you also book a 3-day or longer trek operated by Apus Peru

Guides & Safety on the Trail

Our whole trekking team is native to the Lares region and know the Inca Trail like the back of their hand! They are some of the warmest, endearing and wonderful people you are ever likely to meet.

Our guides are all licensed and receive regular training. They share their experience, professionalism, knowledge and enthusiasm with our passengers on every trek.

Get to know our team!

Trekkers Wanted!

Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone! Visit the link to read more about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!

Note: Trekkers Wanted for the Inca Trail ONLY available while permits last for your departure date.

Important Info

General Information About trekking with Apus Peru

  • Each guide has their own preferred route and so the route you trek might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
  • The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group, and the guide may change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group.

Specific Information About Hiking the Classic Inca Trail 4D

  • The Inca Trail is not open in February
  • Campsites or itinerary are subject to change, depending on the time of booking and availability of campsites. The Ministry of Culture, the government institution responsible for operating the Inca Trail, allocates campsites to authorized trekking companies on a first-come, first-served basis, and so we cannot guarantee that all campsites described in this itinerary will be available when you book.
  • Wiñay Wayna vs Phuyupatamarca campsites. Your last night on the trail will be spent either at Wiñaywayna or Phuyupatamarca campsites. Many people covet Wiñay Wayna as it’s just a 2-hour hike to Machu Picchu from there, whereas it is 5 hours from Phuyupatamarca. Being the most popular, Wiñaywayna is allocated first. If you have your heart set on camping at Wiñay Wayna, book early! The plus side to Phuyupatamarca is that it is generally less crowded.

Booking Your Classic Inca Trail 4D Trek

  • A scanned copy of your passport and a non-refundable deposit must be provided upon booking a Classic Inca Trail trek. This is due to government regulations which require complete passport details and full payment of the Machu Picchu entrance fee in order to issue a permit. Your reservation will only be confirmed when we have your entrance ticket in our hands.
  • If your passport number changes after you book, you must tell us immediately or you may lose your booking! If the name or number on your passport is different from the name or number on your Inca Trail permit, you will not be allowed to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund.
  • You must carry your original passport with you on the trail.
  • If you booked a Classic Inca Trail tour at a student rate, you must bring your valid student card and ISIC card on the trail with you. If you do not present your student card, you will not be allowed to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund, nor given an opportunity to pay the full rate.

Extras & Upgrades on the Classic Inca Trail 4D

  • If you’d like to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain , let us know at the time of booking as it requires a separate permit.
  • This trek includes transportation by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on the Expedition service (Tourist Class), followed by bus transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco. If you’d like more flexibility in your return travel to Cusco, consider upgrading to the Vistadome train (Executive Class) for an extra $30 per person per leg. This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.

Ready to Book?

Does this trek sound like just what you were looking for? If you’re ready to book or just want to find out a bit more information, fill out the Inquiry Form in the top right-hand corner of this page to get the ball rolling. You’ll be connected with one of our amazing sales people who will be able to turn your dream of hiking in the Andes into a reality. For more information on the entire booking process, please see our How To Book page.

Travel insurance is a must! World Nomads offers travel insurance for adventure activities.

4-Day Inca Trail Trek Itinerary

Day 1Cusco - Ollantaytambo - KM 82 - Llactapata - Huayllabamba

  • Total Walking Distance: 11km (6.8 mi)
  • Total Walking Time: 5h
  • Minimum Altitude: 2700m (8858 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3000m / (9842 ft)
  • Altitude of camp: 3000m (9842 ft)
  • Approx. night temperature: 7˚C (45˚F)

Your 4 day Inca Trail trek begins with a pickup from your Cusco hotel early in the morning in private transport. You should have breakfast in your hotel or bring some snacks. Our first stop will be the “living Inca village” of Ollantaytambo after about a 1.5 hour drive, where you will have some time for last-minute purchases, or a quick breakfast if you missed it in Cusco! Then we will continue to Piscacucho (also known as Kilometer 82) where the Classic Inca Trail starts.

On arrival at KM 82 (2700m / 8858m), it is necessary to show entrance tickets, original passports and student card (if applicable). Crossing the Urubamba River, we begin our Inca Trail hike by climbing upwards from the beautiful Sacred Valley, watching the river get smaller below us. 

We hike through typical dry forest growing prickly pear and other cactus, and the tara tree. We will walk around 3 hours (6km / 3.7 mi) to Llactapata, the first archaeological site on our journey. From there, another 4 km (2.5 mi) of gentle uphill through farmland takes us to Huayllabamba (also spelled Wayllabamba, 3000m / 9842 ft), and our campsite for the night.

Day 2Huayllabamba - Llulluchapampa - Dead Woman's Pass – Pacaymayo

  • Total Walking Distance: 7.5 km (4.6 mi)
  • Total Walking Time: 6h
  • Minimum Altitude: 3000m (9842 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4215m (13,828 ft)
  • Altitude of Camp: 3620m (11,876 ft)
  • Approx night temperature: 7˚C (45˚F)

After a good night’s rest, we will get started on what is generally considered the most challenging day of the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We wake early in order to get a good start on the day, but we typically leave later than other groups to make sure we’re warmed up and ready to tackle the highest point on the trail.

Leaving pastoral villages and farmland behind, we enter the subtropical forest, stopping for an early lunch around Llulluchapampa (3780m / 12,402 ft). It’s 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from the campsite at Wayllabamba to Llulluchapampa, or about 2 hours of hiking.

From here we will start a steep ascent towards the highest pass on the classic Inca Trail 4 days route: the Abra de Warmihuañusca, or “Dead Woman’s Pass,” coming in at an impressive 4220m (13,845 ft). While it’s just 1.5 km (0.9 mi) to the pass, it takes us 2 hours as we climb upwards steeply – yes, it’s difficult! One of the advantages of our slower paced day is that the porters shouldn’t be racing past you as you take on the pass. You’ll feel an amazing sense of achievement upon reaching the top!

After a short rest, we continue downwards 600m (1968 ft) over 3 km (1.8 mi) through very humid forest to the evening campsite of Pacaymayo (3620m / 11,876 ft).

Day 3Pacaymayo - Sayakmarka - Phuyupatamarca / Wiñay Wayna

  • Total Walking Distance: 15km (9.3 mi) to Phuyupatamarca; or 16km (9.9 mi) to Wiñay Wayna
  • Total Walking Time: 9h
  • Minimum Altitude: 2670m (8760 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3960m (12,992 ft)
  • Altitude of Camp: 3680m (12,073 ft) at Phuyupatamarca / 2670m (8760 ft) at Wiñay Wayna
  • Approx night temperature: 9˚C (48˚F)

For many people, Day 3 of the 4 day Inca trail hike is by far the best. After another early breakfast, we walk to the beautiful Inca site of Runkurakay (3960m / 12,992 ft), one of the checkpoints and the beginning of the original Royal Inca trail to Machu Picchu, known as Qhapaq Ñan. 

We continue on to Sayakmarka from here, one of the most beautiful Inca ruins on the Classic Inca Trail. From last night’s campsite to Sayacmarca (3620m /11,877 ft) it is about 3.5km (2.2 mi), but there is plenty of up and down. After our tour of these ruins, we will continue onto Chaquicocha (“dry lake,” in Quechua) where we will have lunch. 

After lunch you are in for a big treat as you hike the best section – in our humble opinion! – of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu 4 days. The hike from Chaquicocha to Phuyupatamarca takes about 1.5 hours, as you stop to take pictures, discover beautiful orchids, see hummingbirds, and again have a view of the Sacred River, the Willka Mayu, or Urubamba River (also known as the Vilcanota). We can also see caves and a tunnel near the trail. 

An hour later we arrive at Phuyupatamarca (“town in the clouds”), the third highest point on the trail (3680m / 12,073ft) where, if you’re lucky, you may see breathtaking views of Salkantay mountain.

After feasting our eyes for a moment, we continue downhill through the cloud forest. After the first 20 minutes, we will see one of the steepest staircases on the entire Inca Trail, carved into the rock. In total we descend about 3 hours until we reach Wiñay Wayna (‘forever young’), our campsite for the evening. 

Near the campsite is the truly stunning Winay Wayna ruins, arguably the most beautiful ruins on the trail and certainly with some spectacular views. No matter how tired you are, don’t miss out on seeing this wonder!

Please Note

  • Only maybe 1 in 5 hikers on the Inca Trail are treated to beautiful views of Salkantay from Phuyupatamarca. If having wonderful views of Salkantay mountain is important to you, you should consider doing the 5 day Inca trail hike instead, as early in the morning or late in the afternoon the chances of seeing Salkantay are much higher – as much as 80%.
  • Campsites on the Classic Inca Trail are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and we cannot guarantee that Wiñay Wayna will be available. If not, the alternative campsite is located at Phuyupatamarca, located farther away from Machu Picchu but generally less crowded. For more details about the differences between these two campsites, check out our blog on Phuyupatamarca vs Winay Wayna.

Day 4Wiñay Wayna - Inti Punku - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes - Cusco

  • Total Walking Distance: 5.5km (3.4 mi)
  • Total Walking Time: 2h (from Wiñay Wayna); 5h (from Phuyupatamarca)
  • Minimum Altitude: 2670m (8760 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 2730m (8956 ft)

We will rise very early on Day 4 of the 4 day Inca Trail hike in order to arrive at Inti Punku (the Sun Gate; 2730m/8,956ft) in the early morning. This early morning hike is the final part of the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and from the Sun Gate you have your first view of the enigmatic Machu Picchu. If we’re lucky, we may be able to spot the sun rising over Machu Picchu from where we stand!

After some time there, we will walk down the last part of the trail to the spot where you can take the classic shot of this ancient city (yes, you might encounter others hiking up to this spot from the ruins below!) From Inti Punku, we descend into Machu Picchu through the control point where we register ourselves and leave our backpacks and then we enter this famous city. Finally, we visit Machu Picchu itself! Your guide will give you a 2h walking tour of the historic citadel.

When your two hour tour of Machu Picchu is finished, we will enjoy a buffet lunch at the Tinkuy Restaurant, located just outside the gates inside the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, which will be a welcome treat after the rigours of the trail.

At this point, you will return to Aguas Calientes, either on foot or by bus (bus fare is included in the price of your trek). Here you might want to explore the extensive Aguas Calientes markets, but note, some prices may be double what you would find in Cusco for the same thing.

Alas, your 4 day Inca Trail journey comes to a close, but not before you enjoy spectacular views of the river and surrounding mountains as you journey from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo by train. The train trip takes about 2 hours, and arriving in Ollantaytambo, you will be greeted by our private car to take you the rest of the way back to Cusco, where we will leave you at your hotel.

What about Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain?

You may have heard about the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain hikes, both amazing challenges and extra things to do at Machu Picchu. We do not recommend tackling either of these hikes on the Inca trail 4 days itinerary. Both hikes have limited entry times and it can be hard to get there in time; not to mention, you will arrive already quite tired after an early morning start and after hiking 2-5 hours to get there. 

If you really have your heart set on doing one of these hikes, we recommend making your Inca trail 5 days instead of 4. 

For more details, check out our Machu Picchu hikes blog, as well as our 5 day Inca Trail itinerary. The 2-day Inca Trail is another alternative itinerary where you can easily add one of these hikes.

Want more time to explore?

Talk to your Travel Consultant about adding an Extra Day at Machu Picchu.

19 Reviews
Sort By:RatingDate

Deanna & Dwayne J (Australia)

Family Traveller

The Inca Trail was an amazing experience. Apus and particularly our guide Arturo was absolutely amazing. We could not have done it without him. He was absolutly fantastic, patient, very knowledgeable, courteous and very accommodating.

15 August, 2023

Bryan H. (USA)

Group Traveller

Excellent food & well prepared at every meal. Commitment to a clean trail & camping area. The staff always seemed happy and worked together well.

7 June, 2023

Emily S.

Couple Traveller

“Would give it 5 stars from moment of enquiry to end of trip!
Excellent communication, including at the pre-trip meeting which [our travel consultant] Sarah attended too. [The route was] challenging in some parts but [our guide] Herbert was great of helping us get through and giving information as a distraction, and resting when necessary. [He was also] constantly removing litter from trail, the porters made sure no food, etc. was wasted.
I’m vegetarian, [our cook] Herbert made excellent alternatives to meat, very good at preventing cross-contamination. Absolutely delicious.
Our guides, cook, porters were so friendly and welcoming, took excellent care of us – we had so much fun, felt safe and comfortable the whole time. We can’t thank Apus Peru, Herbert (guide), Herbert (cook), Valentine (head of porters), and our 5 porters enough!”

17 October, 2022

Collin S.

Couple Traveller

It was better than expected, and we had high expectations! The route was challenging but so rewarding. We loved the Inca sites and scenery, and changing landscapes. The food was incredible, we were blown away by the quality and quantity. One of the best experiences of my life! I loved it so much and I know [my wife] Emily did too. The staff were just outstanding and so kind.

17 October, 2022

Caitlyn L.

Couple Traveller

Greco was the most knowledgeable guide on the trail by far. He was funny, knew so much history/culture, and answered all of our questions with respect. The trek was harder than I expected, but doable. I did not expect the trail to be so rocky , but the views were more beautiful than I ever imagined! The highlight was hiking Huayna Picchu, and I honestly enjoyed my meals and playing cards with Greco at the camp. [One thing I noticed:] No single use plastics! Other trekking companies had more trash and to-go containers. Best trip ever! Beyond my wildest expectations. Oh and Greco was an amazing translator! And the private bathroom was an unexpected surprise.

8 July, 2022

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