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
Classic/famous trail, 7 ruin sites, original Inca steps, ends in Machu Picchu
Many stone steps, multiple high passes, rocky terrain
3 day acclimatization and multi-day trekking experience recommended
4 Days/3 Nights
42 km/26 miles
2,400m/7,874ft to 4,214m/13,828ft
Moderate, high altitude
Famous, touristy trail, crowded
When to Go
Best from March to November
Daily with 2 or more people, book 7+ months ahead
7-10 trekkers: 750, 5-6 trekkers: 790, 3-4 trekkers: 875, 2 trekkers: 990 (per person)
Yes! Private, custom, add-ons all available.
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 2: 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)
- 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
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex and Inca Trail Permit
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu, plenty of time to explore in your own
- Bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Tourist Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Private transport back to your hotel in Cusco
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.
WHEN TO GO AND DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
From March to November. The Inca Trail is closed in February. This trek is rated as an intermediate to advanced hike considering the high altitudes, multiple passes, and length of walking. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco for at least 2-3 days before trekking.
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)
- Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain hikes within Machu Picchu City (75USD/person) – advanced booking essential
- Travel/medical insurance
- Tip for your guide(s) are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
ON THE TRAIL
On the trail you should carry a day pack with your camera, water bottle or bladder, 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. 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.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Itinerary is subject to change and Killa Expeditions is not responsible for loss of personal effects, interruption in your travels (from illness or other reason), or inclement weather/natural phenomena. Please see our disclosure agreement for further information. All trekkers will be required to sign an accident waiver form at time of departure and travel/medical insurance is highly recommended.
WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR TREK
What to bring: for your trek: The weather varies a lot in Peru, having 28 climates and 84 of the worlds 104 ecosystems. Cusco is set high up (3,380 mts, 11,089 ft) near the Andean Mountain Range and the dry season (winter) is from April/May to October/November with the wettest part of the year (summer) being January through March. Temperatures don’t vary too much between these seasons but the amount of precipitation does. If the sun is out it can be quite warm, but in the shade it gets cool fast. Temperatures change quickly and you will need layers as you hike during the day. At night it is quite cold in the mountains (usually near or below freezing) and most people will need long underwear and layers to sleep in, nice warm socks, gloves, and a hat. 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)
- 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
- Hiking pants 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, cooks, horsemen, guides, buying items along the trail, for in town, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash should be in perfect condition (ripped, damaged soles are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
- Swim suit, flip flops, towel for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes if you wish to go
- Torch/flashlight/headlamp (and batteries)
- Insect repellent
- 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
- Camera, extra memory cards/film, batteries
- Water bottle or water bladder to refill
- Passport (must be valid 6 months past your travel dates for most countries)
- Copies of passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
- Power adapter/converter
- 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 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
- 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)
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 visit 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.