The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (4 days)
Why you'll love this trip
Walk in the footsteps of the ancient Inca people on a historical trail winding through the Andes mountains. Start with views over snow-capped glaciers and hike for 4 days over passes into the lush cloud forest to the archeological wonder of the ancient world, Machu Picchu.
Built without the use of mortar, metal tools, or the wheel, this trail and Machu Picchu stand as a testament to the power and ingenuity of the Inca empire. Hiking the Inca trail will be an experience you will never forget.
Example trip itinerary
Day 0. Briefing
One of the evenings prior to your trek we coordinate a meeting at your hotel with our mountain guide. This allows you to get to know each other; we brief you about the trail, answer all your questions and make sure that you have everything you need for this adventure.
TIP: For the Inca Trail we recommend to sleep the night before the trek starts at the beautiful Inca town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This town is 2 hours closer to the trek starting point than Cusco, which allows you some extra sleep and to start in a more relaxed way on the morning of day 1.
Day 1. Easy start on the first day of the Inca Trail
After breakfast you join our expeditions team of porters, cook and your professional mountain guide to the starting point of the famous classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu. We cross the bridge over the Urubamba river and we begin an easy hiking day, passing by small ruin sites, the first of which is Llactapata. You stop for a nice lunch break, hike further in the afternoon and we then camp near the town of Huallabamba, located around 3,000 meters above the sea level. We enjoy tea time and dinner in the dining tent and your guide looks for the perfect moment to introduce you to our staff.
Day 2. Over the highest pass
Be ready for some incredible views today and the physical challenge to hike over the highest pass of the trek. It is the long steep path to Warmiwañusca. Literally translated from Quechua, this means ‘dead woman’s pass’ because the shape of the mountain is like a women laying down looking up. We climb up to her breast located at 4,198 m.a.s.l., which is the highest point of the entire trek. We then recharge our batteries during our lunch break. In the afternoon, we continue to the Runkurakay pass (3,998 m.a.s.l). Runkurakay means “basked shaped” in Quechua, referring to the unique circular Inca structure that is found on the trail up and from where in clear days, it is possible to have super views of the snow-capped Vilcabamba cordillera.
Later in the afternoon, you arrive at our tent camp where you can enjoy tea time with popcorn, a nice dinner, and rest.
Day 3. Over the third pass to spectacular Inca ruins in a cloud forest decor
Today the landscape changes a lot as the trail starts winding through beautiful cloud forest. A gentle climb takes us to the third pass. You hike on a causeway and through a tunnel, both original lnca constructions. The third highest pass is at 3,700 meters above sea level, and it is possible to get beautiful views of the Urubamba Valley below of this point (on clear days). We keep walking and soon we reach the serene-looking ruins of Phuyupatamarca, also known as “the town above the clouds”, located at about 3,650 meters above sea level. Our camp for tonight is close to the Wiñay Wayna ruins (meaning “forever young”). You have the chance to visit this grandiose terraced hillside site with waterfalls and enjoy panoramic views of the valley.
Day 4. The Sun Gate and Machu Picchu
We get up early today to hike the last part of the trail to the Sun Gate. Here, all your efforts are rewarded with a panoramic and unique view over Machu Picchu. From the Sun Gate, we hike down to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Here you are able to use the bathrooms and then you have a guided tour of this amazing Inca site.
You some have free time to take it all in and enjoy lunch in the little town. In the afternoon, we take the train back to Ollantaytambo and transfer you to your hotel in Cusco.
- Activities & Entrances:
- 4d/3n Inca Trail hike
- Guided tour in Machu Picchu
- Permit for the Inca Trail and Entrance to Machu Picchu
- Transportation to the starting point of the Inca Trail (km 82)
- Shuttle bus from Machu Pichu to the town of Aguas Calientes
- One way train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Transport from the train station to your hotel in Cusco
- Accommodation & Equipment:
- Inca Trail: 3 nights in tents
- North Face Expedition tents (3-person tents we use for 2 people)
- All meals included during the Inca Trail hike (starting from lunch on day 1 until breakfast on day 4)
- Professional local English and Spanish speaking guides
- Support from Vamos Expeditions staff
- Mountain guide for the Inca Trail
- Cook and expedition staff for the Inca Trail who carry the camping equipment
- Our porters will carry up to 6kg of personal luggage per person
- Safe drinking water will be provided during breakfasts, lunch and dinners to refill your bottles
- Sleeping bag (rental: 20 USD for the trek)
- Inflatable camping mattress for extra comfort (USD 20)
- Travel insurance
- Tips for your expedition staff and mountain guide
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