The 4 day 3 night INCA TRAIL Trek is the most popular trek to Machu Picchu. It traverses the original Inca steps ending at the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), the entrance to Machu Picchu city.
The 4D/3N Inca Trail trek has 7 archaeological sites along the way, has a variety of flora and fauna, and the area is rich in history. The 4 day trek is 42 km/26 mi and goes up to 4,215 m/13,828 ft and is classified as a moderate trek. If you love the idea of trekking the classic way to Machu Picchu and don’t mind crowded trails and campgrounds, then the Inca Trail Trek is the one for you!
This trail requires a permit and a limited number of people are allowed to trek per day. These spots fill quickly so booking well in advance (at least 7 months recommended) is essential. Minimum passengers necessary for trek departure: 2 people (1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum)
The Nitty Gritty Trek Details
Moderate, high altitude
Famous, touristy trail, crowded
When to Go
DAY 1: CUSCO – PISCACUCHO KM 82 – WAYLLABAMBA
Very early in the morning your private transport will pick you up at your hotel for the 3 hour drive to the beginning of the Inca Trail (known as km 82). On the way we stop for breakfast Ollantaytambo, which is a small town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here you can buy different things for your trek if needed, such as coca leaves, sun screen, plastic rain ponchos, etc. When we get to KM 82 we show our permits and original passports (make sure you have the same passport number as the one when you made your reservation) at the Control Checkpoint. Then we walk 3 1/2 hours to lunch and another 2 1/2 hours to reach our first campsite Wayllabamba (3,000 m/9,843 ft). On the way we have the opportunity to see the third highest snow capped mountain in the Cusco region, named Wacaywillca or Veronica (5,800 m/19,028 ft).
Walking distance approximately 10km/6.2 miles (6 hour hike)
DAY 2: WAYLLABAMBA – PACAYMAYU
An early wake up call to continue hiking the Sacred Trail. Today we climb Dead Woman`s Pass, the highest pass of the trek, at 4,215 m/13,828 ft. It will take approximately 5 hours to reach the top of the pass. The views from the Dead Woman’s Pass are spectacular and you can see glaciers, valleys, and never ending mountains. After the pass we continue downhill for 2 hours to our second campsite called Pacaymayu 3,600 m/11,810 ft. At the campsite we will have lunch and you will have the rest of the afternoon free until happy hour and dinner.
Walking distance approximately 14 km/8.6 miles (7 hour hike)
DAY 3: PACAYMAYU – WIÑAYWAYNA
Early wake up call again to climb two passes today (Runkurakay and Phuyupatamarca). We will walk up a semi-steep path for 1 1/2 hours to reach the first pass Runkurakay 3,950 m/12,959 ft. On the way we will visit the archeological site called Runkurakay. After the first pass we will continue downhill for 1 1/2 hours to our lunch spot Chakicocha (3,500 m/11,482 ft) visiting another archeological site, Sayacmarca, along the way. After lunch we walk 1 1/2 hours up to Phuyupatamarca Pass (3,650 m/11,975 ft) . This trail is particularly beautiful and from the pass we will see Machu Picchu mountain, the Vilcabamba range, and the Urubamba river. After the second pass we will continue downhill for 2 more hours to our third campsite Wiñaywayna (2,700 m/8,858 ft).
Walking distance approximately 16 km/9.9 miles (7 hour hike)
DAY 4: WIÑAYWAYNA – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
Wake up call is very early, at 4:00 a.m, in order to reach the entrance to Machu Picchu at daybreak. After breakfast we go to the Control Checkpoint to show our permits and tickets again. We then walk 1 1/2 hours to the Sun Gate, the entrance to Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail and then another 1/2 hour to reach the southern agricultural zone of Machu Picchu city (where the most famous photos of the site are taken from). Your guide will provide you with your entrance ticket to Machu Picchu. Please have your passport because without this you will not be able to enter the park. If you are a student you must bring your ISIC card to the entrance or you will not be permitted entrance. You will show your entry ticket and passport/ISIC card, and continue back into Machu Picchu to begin the tour, where your guide will unfold the mysteries of this magical site. After the tour you will have free time to explore the city yourself. After you are done exploring the ruin site you will take the bus (25 minutes) down to Aguas Calientes. There are many restaurants to choose and your guide can also help find a nice place for lunch. After lunch you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo where your private transport will pick you up and take you back to your hotel in Cusco.
NOTE: there are no bathrooms in the ruin site. There are bathrooms right outside the entrance, cost 1 sol per entrance, and they provide a little toilet paper.
HIKES WITHIN MACHU PICCHU
There are hikes within Machu Picchu that you can do on your own if you wish. The hikes that do not require an entrance ticket are: The Inka bridge and the Sun Gate (where the Inka Trail ends with a view of Machu Picchu city). Wayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes both require a paid ticket and there are a limited number of spots (200 at 7am and 200 at 10am). It is only possible to hike one per day due to regulations. If you want to hike one of these mountains please let us know well in advance as these spots fill up very quickly. Price per hike is 75USD. Please note we cannot guarantee you a spot for the mountains requiring tickets and that the trail is very steep and slippery and not for those afraid of heights or with vertigo. The price for these interior hikes is higher for those hiking the Inca Trail – rates have been set by the Peruvian government and are outside of our control.
INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
- Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
- Collection from your hotel in the morning or our departure point (your choice) Plaza Regocijo
- Private bus transport to the starting point of the trek
- Personal porter up to 8 kg/17.6 lbs to carry your overnight gear
- Dry bag in which to put your overnight gear so it won’t get wet or dusty on the trail
- 3 person, 3 season tents (2 people in large and comfortable Mountain Hardwear tent)
- One inch thick foam mattress sleeping pad to put under your sleeping bag
- English speaking professional guide
- Full meals on trek (3 meals per day, tea time every afternoon, and snacks on the trail)
- Dietary needs: able to cater to any dietary preference/need
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank
- Dining tent with tables and stools
- Chef and cooking equipment and cooking tent
- Hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes
- Boiled water to fill your water bottle every morning and afternoon
- Inca Trail Permit
- One entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex (6am to 11am)
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Tourist Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Private transport back to your hotel in Cusco
NOT INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
- Hotel before/after the trek
- Lunch and dinner on the last day
- Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Extra hikes within Machu Picchu: Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain – please note we cannot guarantee a spot will be available. We recommend booking well in advance. If you choose one of these hikes it will cut into your guided tour in Machu Picchu
- Extra time slot in Machu Picchu (in 2019 the government split the entrance ticket into three time slots. We include the first one 6-11am)
- Items of a personal nature and souvenirs
- Travel interruption & travel medical/evacuation insurance (required)
- Tip for your guide(s) and support staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
PRICE AND NUMBER OF TREKKERS
A minimum of 2 trekkers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group.
- Price for 7-10 trekkers: 750 USD per person
- Price for 5-6 trekkers: 790 USD per person
- Price for 3-4 trekkers: 875 USD per person
- Price for 2 trekkers: 990 USD per person
Private treks, single trekker, custom treks and packages, large groups, and packages welcome! Please email us to customize.
Yes, we do cater to any dietary restriction. We have had many people join our trips who are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, and have various other intolerances and/or allergies. Just inform us well in advance of your specific needs!
WHEN TO GO AND DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
Year round except for February. Best time for trekking is March to November. The Inca Trail is closed in February for repair/clean-up. This trek is rated as an intermediate to advanced hike considering the high altitudes, number/length of stone steps up and down, multiple passes, and length of walking. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco for at least 2-3 days before trekking.
WEATHER & WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR TREK
Weather on the trek and in Cusco
The weather varies a lot across Peru, having 28 climates and 84 of the worlds 104 ecosystems. Cusco is set high up (3,380 mts, 11,089 ft) in the Andean Mountain Range and the dry season (winter) is from Mar/April to October/November with the wettest part of the year (summer) being December through March. The weather for trekking is pretty much the same year round, with the main difference being the amount of rainfall. During the dry season, most days are dry and clear, but high-altitude mountains always have the potential for rain and/or snow so it is essential to come prepared for all types of weather regardless of the time of year.
The Inca Trail trek is not as high altitude as others in the region, therefore the weather is warmer overall. The nights on this trek are usually around 45F/7C, except for the second night that can be below freezing (roughly 25F/-4C). During the day it can get quite warm if the sun is out; anywhere from 60-80F/15-26C. Keep in mind if the weather is rainy or cloudy it will be colder. As with any high-altitude trek you’ll want to bring plenty of layers to adjust to the fluctuating temperatures and appropriate sun/rain protection. And yes, snow is possible (though unlikely) on the Inca Trail.
Cusco weather: Cusco is always very cold at night due to the high altitude. It is regularly around 40F/4.4C at night so bring a nice warm jacket for nighttime walking in town. It is warmer in Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley and Aguas Calientes as these areas are lower altitudes than Cusco and the trek.
What to bring: for your trek
Everything you need for the day should be kept in your daypack that you carry because all the items you leave with your porter will not be available to you until the evening at the campsite. It is recommended not to hike in cotton or jeans in the event of rain as cotton takes a very long time to dry. It is also recommended to bring true hiking boots or trail running shoes as regular running shoes do not get very good traction, especially when it has rained.
- Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Recommend a sleeping bag rated for 32F/0C for this trek
- Sleeping bag liner (for your sleeping bag if you wish)
- Mattress pad – while we provide a mattress pad, being rested is essential for a great hiking experience and we find that sleep habits are very individualized. Therefore we recommend bringing your own pad that you know you are comfortable sleeping on, as well as any other sleep items you might want to have (camp pillow, etc).
- Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
- Sun hat
- Lip balm
- Hiking shoes/boots with good, grippy tread
- Hiking pants (or shorts) and shirts (layers)
- Layers – long underwear and/or warm sleep pants for cold nights
- Hand warmers if you wish
- Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional Peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
- Daypack and rain cover
- Rain gear – rain jacket and rain pants (optional for the pants), can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek
- Cash for tipping porters (USD or Peruvian Soles are fine), cooks, horsemen, guides, buying items along the trail, for in town, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash should be in perfect condition (ripped, damaged bills of any kind are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
- Swim suit, flip flops, towel for any hot springs you may visit (not every trek/trip has this) if you wish to go
- Torch/flashlight/headlamp (and batteries)
- Insect repellent – essential for this trek
- Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
- E.g. if you have a favorite protein bar as Cusco doesn’t sell items like this
- First aid kit, including blister protection (though your guide will have one, you may wish to carry one of your own)
- Personal medication and toiletries you might want/need
- Camera, extra memory cards, batteries and solar panel/power bank
- Water bottle or water bladder to refill
- Passport (must be valid 6 months past your final travel dates for most countries)
- Copies of passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
- Power plug adapter
- Travel lock(s) approved by TSA (or they cut them off – US only)
- Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information
- Any medications you currently are taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)
- Small quick-dry pak towels and/or compostable wipes for a quick wipe down at the end of the day
What to bring: medications – medications are optional and depend on your specific needs
- Antibiotic for travelers diarrhea or UTI
- Antibiotic for a severe bacterial infection
- Medication for upset stomach/indigestion
- Medication for prevention of altitude sickness (requires a prescription from your physician and has contraindications for certain people and potential side effects)
- Anti-inflammatory medication (some people find this is useful for prevention of altitude sickness as well. Speak with your physician for more information)
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Anti-nausea medication for motion sickness/altitude sickness if needed
- Cold/flu medication
- General pain killer/fever reducer
- Vaccinations – recommend bringing all boosters up to date (MMR, tetanus, etc)
We have blogged about what we bring and you can use it as a general guideline if you wish: What To Pack For Peru Trekking
View latest travel advisories and recommended vaccinations and medications for the regions you plan to visit. For Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu there are generally no vaccinations required. If you are going to the jungle or any other higher risk area you may need: yellow fever vaccine, medicine for malaria, typhoid vaccine, etc. Click here for updated info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/peru.aspx NOTE: Please consider visiting your doctor several weeks before your trip to discuss any health restrictions you may have, medications he/she might recommend for you personally, and to seek more information about any vaccinations or medications recommended for Peru (or any of your other destinations). Additionally: speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter and/or prescription medications alone or combined.
WHAT TO CARRY - DAYPACKS
On the trail you should carry a day pack with your camera, water bottle or bladder, insect repellant, snacks, cold weather clothing and rain gear or poncho in case of rain (unlikely in dry season – May to October) and anything you will need before dinner as horses do not walk alongside you. A recommended packing list is sent after you book the trip and can be found below under the “what to pack for your trek” tab. Your bag will be waiting for you at every campsite. We will provide you with a duffel bag for extra luggage to be carried by horses. Yes we do offer luggage storage and most hotels/hostels in Cusco also offer this service.
PAYMENT, PERMIT & PASSPORT INFO
Deposit: A 250 USD (changing to 400 USD starting 2020) deposit will be charged to your card when you book the trek. This allows us to purchase time sensitive items such as train tickets and entrance fees. This is non-refundable.
Payment of Balance: The balance of the trek is due 30 days (changing to 60 days prior starting 2020) prior to departure and will be auto-debited via the booking software system on that date. If you wish to pay early, or use a different card to the one you have on file, you may do so by clicking on the reservation number in your confirmation email and entering the pin that was provided to you in the original confirmation email. If you wish to make other arrangements (e.g. pay cash in Cusco), please contact us. Please note if you book your trip within 30 days of departure, the balance of the trek will be auto-debited the next day. If you do not wish this to happen please contact us.
Passport: We need a photo of your passport bio page ASAP in order to book the above items (your permit being very time sensitive) in your name (Peruvian Government Requirement). Please note that each traveler is responsible for knowing the re-entry rules for their country of residence/citizenship. Some countries require 6 months of passport validity beyond the final date of travel. Please ensure that your passport is up to date and meets your country and residency requirements. We can use an old/expiring passport to book your permit/tickets but we will need a copy of the updated passport as soon as you receive it in order to update your tickets.
Inca Trail Permits: There are only 500 spaces per day (including guides, porters and trekkers). Permits are NOT transferrable or refundable for any reason (not even medical). Once you have booked your date we are unable to alter the date of departure. These are Peruvian Government rules. We must have a snapshot of your passport bio page (old/expiring one is ok) in order to book the permit. Without this we are unable to reserve your spot. Permits sell out VERY fast, especially for April to August, therefore it is essential to book at least 7+ months in advance.
Visa’s: Most countries are allowed to obtain a visa upon entry at immigration. Very few countries require a visa to be granted in advance. Please note that each traveler is responsible for finding out and obtaining a visa prior to entry if required. Please also note that tourist visas are for 90 days or less (typically) and you must show proof of return travel.
Please review our booking terms carefully.
- The minimum number of trekkers required for departure is 7 for the price quoted online. If the minimum is not met within 2 weeks of departure, Killa Expeditions reserves the right to offer the 1-2 paid trekkers the option of 1) paying the difference to take a private trek, 2) transferring their payment to another trek with more trekkers booked, or 3) cancel the trek and provide a full refund. Please contact us with questions.
- Deposit: At the time of booking only a deposit is charged. The trek deposit is required to secure your spot on a trek and is non-refundable. It is used to purchase non-refundable items such as train tickets, Machu Picchu entrance tickets, etc. The balance of the trek is due within 30 days of departure.
- Cancellations: Initial deposit is non-refundable. You may cancel your booking by notifying Killa Expeditions or Agent used and the applicable cancellation fees shall be determined based on when the request is received by Killa Expeditions or Agent. (a) Cancellation received 60 days or more before departure of the first Product to depart in relevant booking: 60% of the Product total shall be refunded to you (Inca Trail excepted where 25% of the Inca Trail product total shall be refunded to you). (b) Cancellation received 59-30 days before departure of first Product to depart in relevant booking: an amount equal to 25% of the total Product shall be refunded to you. (Inca Trail excepted where no refund is payable). (c) Cancellation less than 30 days before departure of first Product to depart in relevant booking: no refund shall be payable to you.
- Travel Medical Insurance: is required to depart on any trek (including emergency evacuation coverage and high altitude hiking). We also suggest travel interruption insurance in the event of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances that may arise. Killa Expeditions is not responsible for losses incurred due to any travel interruption (ex: weather/natural phenomena, missed/delayed/canceled flight, acts of war/terrorism, strikes, etc.), passport, visa, family emergency, or illness/medical issues.
- For Full Terms and Conditions please see the policy linked at the bottom of our website in the footer. It is also available to read during the checkout process. https://killaexpeditions.com/terms-conditions-peru/
WHY CHOOSE KILLA EXPEDITIONS?
ETHICAL, SUSTAINABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY Our mission is to provide exceptional treks, tours, and adventure trips with a strong commitment to environmentally responsible, sustainable, ethical, and socially conscious travel. During our trips, we make every effort to minimize negative impacts and maximize the benefits to the local people and natural environments we visit. We pay fair, livable wages, ensuring we hire and maintain the absolute best guides and support staff. We are committed to international sustainable tourism guidelines and have developed ongoing community projects and charity events supporting 4+ local Andean communities.
EXCELLENCE We pride ourselves on providing 5 star service before, during, and after your trip. Killa Expeditions is dedicated to excellent customer service and adventure experiences. We have been awarded the 2017, 2018 & 2019 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence!
QUALITY When trekking through rugged mountain terrain, at high altitudes, with unpredictable weather, it is essential to have the best equipment available. We provide Mountain Hardwear 4 season tents (3 season for Inca Trail due to warmer weather), extra thick mattress pads, dry bags for your overnight gear, and more, to ensure a safe and pleasant journey.
NO HIDDEN COSTS Our treks and tours are truly 5 star and all inclusive. We do not charge extra to “upgrade” as we offer the best option included in the price already. There are no hidden meal costs, we are transparent about all inclusions, and best of all no booking fees!
SMALL GROUPS Our groups average about 8 guests per departure, and are typically a mix of solo travellers, friends travelling together, and couples, all of varying ages, backgrounds and nationalities. Come prepared to make lots of new best friends. If you book a custom/private large group we provide 1 guide per 8 travelers, ensuring a small group feel and specialized attention.
GOURMET Only the best, quality ingredients are selected from local farmers. Our chefs prepare a specially designed menu to maximize energy and facilitate acclimatization. And the dishes, a mix of traditional Peruvian cuisine and contemporary cuisines, are delicious too! And yes, we cater to any dietary need.
PERSONALIZED We can customize any trek or tour to suit your travel, fitness, budget, and time preferences. Got a corporate or work shindig, charity group, or other major event you’d like to book a trek or tour for? Get in touch, we can arrange everything for you!
LEAVE NO TRACE Our trips leave behind nothing but smiles and footprints, as it should be.
REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE We love our planet, which is why we reduce, reuse and recycle. Our gear is reusable (no paper or plastic plates/cups/utensils), we buy local goods that do not come in paper/plastic wrapping, and we recycle everything we can. This is not the norm in Peru but we hope to help it become the norm one day soon!
PASSIONATE All of our employees are passionate about what they do. Who wouldn’t be with majestic mountains and never-ending vistas as your office! We are proud to offer our guides and staff the highest wages.
WE GIVE BACK We buy locally produced food, hire native tour guides, and book locally owned hotels and restaurants whenever possible. We hold numerous charity events throughout the year in various traditional Andean communities. Events often involve distributing food, drinks, daily essentials (such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and more), toys for the children, shoes and clothes donated by many of our wonderful guests, and we are currently raising funds to finish building a school in the Willoc Community. Ask us about how you can help!
For further information about us please see the following links:
Equipment: learn about why we provide the best! http://www.killaexpeditions.com/our-equipment/
Our Team: meet some of our amazing guides! http://www.killaexpeditions.com/our-team/
Reviews – find us on Trip Advisor! Killa Expeditions Trip Advisor Page (Awarded 2017, 2018 & 2019 Certificate of Excellence)