Peru best-known hike visited by thousands of tourists every year. This 43-km trek combines the visit of mysterious archaeological sites, amazing mountain scenery and lush cloud forest rich in Andean flora and fauna, ending in the Sacred Inca City of Machupicchu. This 5-day program is an excellent alternative to avoid most of the crowds found on the 4-day classical route and to reach quieter, more distant and beautiful campsites. It is also recommended for families with children, as it allows a better acclimatization to altitude and the daily walking distance is lower than in the 4-day version.
- Day 01: Cusco to Llactapata
- Day 02: Llactapata to Llulluchapampa
- Day 03: Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca
- Day 04: Phuyupatamarca to Machupicchu
- Day 05: Machupicchu to Cusco
Price: Sale: $..00 USD per person
Day 01: Cusco to Llactapata
We depart Cusco at 5:00am in a private transport, which will drive us to km.82, the starting point of the Inca Trail. We start our hike walking along the left shore of the Urubamba river. Following the trail along a flat terrain, we arrive in Miskay (2800m/9184ft), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the Inca city of Llactapata (2750m/9020ft). From this point, we descend to the ruins, next to which we set our camp, after an approximated 3 hour walk. We spend the afternoon exploring and visiting this archaeological site. Meals L, D
Total distance 5 km (3,11 miles)
Estimated time 2,5-3 hours
Maximum altitude point 2,650 m (8,692 ft)
Campsite altitude 2,650 m (8,692 ft)
Day 02: 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). We advise that on this day and the next one specially, your day-pack is well stocked with candies, chocolates and coca leaves that will keep your sugar level high, and help with altitude sickness. Meals B, L, D
Total distance 12 km (7,46 miles)
Estimated time 5-6 hours
Maximum altitude point 3,850 m (12,589 ft)
Campsite altitude 3,850 m (12,589 ft)
Day 03: 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. We go through an Inca tunnel to later arrive at the aforementioned pass and down to the complex of the same name. This 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¨. From above, one can observe a sophisticated sacred complex made up of water fountains with solid foundations, and also impressive views of the Urubamba River valley. We set our camp in Phuyupatamarca and spend the night there. Meals B, L, D
Total distance 15 km (9,32 miles)
Estimated time 8 hours
Maximum altitude point 4,200 m (13,776 ft)
Campsite altitude 3,600 m (12,033 ft)
Day 04: Phuyupatamarca to Machupicchu
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 from where we continue down to Puente Ruinas, a campsite located just at the basement of the Machupicchu Mountain. We camp and dine at this place. Meals
B, L, D
Total distance 11 km (6,84 miles)
Estimated time 5 hours
Maximum altitude point 3,600 m (11,772 ft)
Campsite altitude 2,400 m (7,872 ft)
Day 05: Machupicchu to Cusco
We wake up early and board a bus, which will take us up to Machupicchu where we begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. We will then have free time to walk around, climb up the Huaynapicchu Mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machupicchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it (please note that there are only 400 visitors allowed per day), or we can visit the Temple of the Moon or the impressive Inca Bridge. In the afternoon, we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in its hot springs. From here we take the train back to the city of Cusco, where we arrive after nightfall. Meals B
Included / Not Included
What is included
- Pre-departure briefing
- Collection from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transport to km.82 (starting point of the trail)
- Inca Trail and Machupicchu entrance fee (days 1-4) + Machupicchu entrance fee (day 5)
- Personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks. Our tents are 3-season, highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance in field. kailas tent or north face tent
- One inflatable sleeping pad per person
- Dining tent with tables and chairs
- Kitchen tent
- Toilet tent with bio-degradable toilet facilities
- English speaking professional guide (2 guides for groups of over 10 people)
- Chef and cooking equipment
- Porters (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment)
- Accommodation for all our staff
- Meals (04B, 04L, 04D + daily morning snack + daily tea service except last day). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
- Filtered boiled water from lunch time on 1st day onwards
- Bio-degradable personal hand soaps
- Bio-degradable dishwashing detergents used by our kitchen staff
- Others: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunch time if requested with enough time ahead
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Bus ticket from Machupicchu ruins down to the village of Aguas Calientes
- Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (Expedition, Vistadome, upon request)
- Transfer train station to hotel in Cusco
What is not included:
- Breakfast on the first day
- Lunch and dinner on the last day: after the guided tour at Machupicchu, you can enjoy free time to further visit the ruins and choose to have lunch either in Machupicchu or in Aguas Calientes at your own expense. Arrival in Cusco is estimated after nightfall, dinner being at your own expense too
- Sleeping bag
- Visit to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes: a relaxing way to end-up the trek while you’re awaiting the return train to Cusco, only 10 minutes from the village center, entrance fee is s/10.00 (Peruvian Soles). Towels can be hired in Aguas Calientes
- Huayna Picchu entrance fee: if you would like to climb this mountain a new entrance fee applies (US$ 80)
- Tips: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish
What we recommend that you brin
- A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
- Sandals or jogging shoes for a higher comfort while at camp
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping
- Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
- Camera 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 – no malaria risk has been reported
- Toilet paper
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc. Please note that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. This recommendation applies for all clients being used to a specific snack, as it may happen that it is not included in our selection
- Water container and water for the first morning. Important notice: plastic water bottles are no longer allowed into the Inca Trail. Plastic water containers (ie. Nalgene) or metal ones are recommended
- Optionally: water- sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem so far
- Small towel
- Swimsuit (if you wish to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
- Cash in soles and/or US$
- Original passport
- Original International Student Identity Card (in case you have applied for a student discount)
- walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage the Inca Trail)
Appropriate clothing along the Inca Trail
Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the fourth day (if sunny) and in Machupicchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Machupicchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.
Prices & Avaylability
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Available discounts (these discounts are not cumulative)
- Students: US$ 40.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card. Please note that Youth Travel Cards are not valid)
- Teenagers: US$ 400.00 (up to 15 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
- Children: US$ 70.00 (up to 7 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
DEPARTURE ON 2017
Inca Trail Availability
The exact information provided by you will be submitted to the governmental institution in charge of regulating the access to the Inca Trail and will be included in the official permit to enter the Inca Trail on the requested date. Should there be any change in the above-mentioned data (ie. New passport number), we kindly request you to inform the Reservation Department at Terra Quechua Tour Operator via email as soon as possible. The government reserves the right not to allow the entry to any visitor whose data are not the exact ones as those in the official permit. Terra Quechua Tour Operator excludes any responsibility for a no entry in case the passenger information has changed without prior notice to us.
Inca Trail permits are available. You can book your trip for this date, 2017.
- January: Availability
- Fefruary: Also note that the Inca Trail will be closed for general maintenance during the month of February each year. Also, closures may occur at various times throughout the year due to inclement weather or other conditions beyond our control. During these periods, any tour affected will do the Lares Trek
- March: Availability
- April: Availability
- May: Availability
- June: Availability
- July: Availability
- August: Availability
- September: Availability
- October: Availability
- November: Availability
- December: Availability
Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 degrees at night.
Along the Inca Trail, temperatures range from 15-20ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 05-10ºC during the day if not sunny or 0-05ºC at night. At Machupicchu, at lower altitude, temperatures are usually warmer though warm clothes are still recommended at night.
Difficulty:Moderate to challenging
Inka Trail Frequently Asked
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: Is the trek difficult, do I need to be fit?
The Inca Trail is a 43km (26 mile) hike through mountainous regions. The maximum altitude reached is 4200m above sea level. On the second day of the trek we climb 1200m. Make no mistake, the Inca Trail is a fairly difficult trek and you should be well prepared and healthy prior to starting it. You have to be moderately fit and take regular exercise. Try walking 15km in a day or go to the gym in the months leading up to the trek. It is also important to be well acclimatized to the altitude. Try to spend 2 or 3 days in Cusco (3400m) prior to starting the trek. This time can be put to good use visiting the city of Cusco, nearby Inca ruins and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The good news is that virtually everyone in the last few years who started the trek finished it Only a handful had to turn back. (see tips on staying healthy on the trail below).
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: How far in advance do I need to make a trek reservation?
As far in advance as possible. The government has strictly limited the number of people permitted on the Inca Trail (permits are issued to about 200 trekkers per day plus 300 porters). We therefore recommend that you try to make your Inca trail reservation as far in advance as possible as soon as you know the dates of your international flights.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What do I need to bring for the hike?
Travelers only need to bring their own personal supplies and a sleeping bag. If you do not have a sleeping bag, these can be rented in Cusco for a reasonable rate ($20 per all trips). A duffle bag will be provided for your belongings on the Inca trail so travelers do not need to bring a large backpack unless desired. Proper sungear, comfortable trekking clothes, mosquito repellant, hiking shoes, a flashlight, a camera, and 1-2 refillable water bottles are recommended. Rain gear is also recommended during the wet season (December- March) and cold weather gear (warm jacket, thermals, hat and gloves) is recommended for the dry season (especially June- August).
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: Which campsites do you use?
Campsites are subject to change depending upon the crowds and the season. We generally try to camp in less trafficked areas so that travelers can enjoy the natural beauty of the Inca trail and minimize environmental impacts. Our typical campsite choices are Huayllabamba, Pacaymayo and Wiñay Wayna or chaquicocha.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What are the guides like?
Our Adventure,Tour guide are among the very best and most experienced guides anywhere. They are from the surrounding Cusco/ Sacred Valley area and speak fluent English, in addition to Spanish and the native language of Quechua. Most have 10 years of experience leading Inca trail hikes and all have training in the history, spirituality, culture, and ecology of the area.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO:Can I have vegetarian meals?
Our cooks can provide vegetarian meals no problem. Just let us know your dietary requirements when you book your trek.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: I have a food allergy, can this be catered for?
A6: We have plenty of clients who have allergies to nuts, wheat, etc. Please give us details of your allergy at the time of booking. Please indicate the severity of the reaction and what type of medicines you have to take in an emergency. If your allergy is severe you must be accompanied by a friend on the trek who is aware of your allergy and the location of any required medicines. Due to the nature of the remote geographical location of the trail and the lack of suitable nearby medical facilities Peru Treks will not accept any responsibility, either directly or indirectly, for any problems due to your special medical/dietary requirements. We suggest that you to check with your doctor before booking the trek.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: I have asthma / diabetes / another medical condition. Can I still do the trek?
You must disclose at the time of booking any medical condition that you may have that could affect your ability to do the Inca Trail trek. Terra Quechua hikers reserves the right not to accept a trek booking if we feel that a medical condition may put your life or the lives of any of our trekking staff or other clients at risk on the trek. People with heart conditions, knee problems, severe asthma or are more than 18 weeks pregnant should not participate in the trek. People with mild asthma / diabetes / pregnant less than 18 weeks will have to bring a medical note from their doctor stating that they are fit to undertake the trek. They will also be required to be accompanied by a trekking companion on the trek at all times who will trek at their sides and be familiar with any medicines required in case of an emergency. Peru Treks reserved the right to cancel the trek booking of a client if the client has not fully disclosed at the time of making a booking a medical condition that may pose a risk to the health of the client and/or other trekkers. No refunds will be given in this instance.
Due to the nature of the remote geographical location of the trail and the lack of suitable nearby medical facilities along the trail Peru Treks will not accept any responsibility, either directly or indirectly, for any problems due to your special dietary requirements / medical condition. We suggest that you check with your doctor before booking the trek.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: How is drinking water supplied?
Although there are places to purchase bottled water occasionally along the trail, we recommend that travelers bring their own refillable bottles to limit plastic waste. Water is boiled, treated with iodine, and then filtered with one of our portable filters (Katadyn and PUR commonly used). It is available in the morning to fill your bottles and at every meal.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What do I need to bring on the trek?
Backpack, sleeping bag, thermarest mattress (we will provide you with this but you have to carry it), rain jacket, strong footwear, one complete change of clothing, sweater, jacket (something warm), water bottle (metal or nalgene type) and sterilizing tablets (Micropur are recommended and can be bought in local pharmacies in Cusco), flashlight and batteries, broad-brim or peaked cap, sunblock, insect repellent, toiletries and toilet paper, selection of small snacks, chocolate, dried fruit, biscuits etc, camera and spare batteries (nowhere to charge your camera during the trek). For your own personal hygiene we also recommend that you bring a small bottle of antiseptic/anti-bacterial hand gel to clean your hands each time after using the camp toilets and before eating any snacks / meals. You also have to bring your original passport with you on the trek, with the same passport number you originally made your reservation with, otherwise you will be unable to go on the trek. Photocopies are no longer acceptable.
We will buy your Inca Trail trek permit using the names & passport numbers that you send us with your trek booking application. You must bring these same passports with you to Cusco and take them on the Inca Trail. If the name or number in your passport is different from the name and number on the trek permit, the government authorities will not allow you to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund. If you plan to renew your passport between making the trek booking and actually starting the trek please see the section below about Frequently Asked Questions relating to passport numbers. If you make a trek booking at the student price you must send us a copy of your ISIC card at the time you pay the trek deposit. If you fail to bring your ISIC card on the trek the government authorities will not allow you to start the trek. You will not be given the opportunity to pay the extra difference in price and you will not be entitled to a refund. These are government regulations and apply to ALL licensed Inca Trail tour operators.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What do I need to carry?
Unless you hire an extra ‘third of a porter’ you will need to carry all of the above personal items. We include porters to carry all the other items such as tents, food and cooking equipment.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: Do I need to bring walking boots?
Walking boots are recommended as they provide support to the ankle which reduces the risk of injury especially when trekking in the wet season (December – March). However it is important that your boots are comfortable and well worn-in and not brand new. Many people prefer to trek in tennis shoes but extra care should be taken. We do not recommend trekking in sandals or using new boots or hiring boots prior to the trek. Make sure the shoes are sturdy enough for the duration of the trek and will not fall apart.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What equipment is supplied by Adventure Life?
We supply the sleeping tents, dining tents, tables, chairs, toilet tents, cooking equipment, water purifiers, sleeping mattress (the thermarest), and other camping equipment. Our outfitter purchases the highest quality equipment in Peru and older equipment is evaluated and replaced on a regular basis.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: Can I use trekking poles / walking sticks on the Inca Trail?
Many people like to hike with trekking poles or walking sticks. This is fine as long as the poles will not cause damage to the stone paving along the Inca Trail. If the trekking poles have metal spikes then these must be protected by rubber tips. We recommend bringing some spare rubber tips with you. Rubber protectors can also be bought in several shops in Cusco. Wooden walking sticks are obviously fine as long as you bring them with you from home. Recently government authorities have stopped trekkers using wooden sticks that could have come from local forests (to prevent deforestation of protected Andean forests). Metal trekking poles can also be hired in our office.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: Where can I store the bags that I do not need to take on the Inca Trail?
Any bags that you don’t need to take on the Inca trail can be left at your hotel in Cusco. Nearly all hotels have a luggage deposit and rarely charge for this service as long as you are returning to the hotel after the trek. You can also leave valuables in the hotel safe, but remember to bring your passport and some emergency money. We do not store clients luggage or valuables in our office.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: How many porters and trekking staff are in the group?
Terra Quechua Peru is committed to looking after our porters and our trekking weights are carefully calculated so that our porters are not overloaded. The group sizes given below show the absolute minimum number of porters that we will provide for each group. As a professional company we will guarantee these numbers. Obviously we will use extra porters if any of our clients decide to hire the services of an extra third of a porter up until the maximum number of porters per group permitted by the government. This is why we limit each client to a maximum of just a third of a porter i.e. maximum 6kg.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What if I have a medical emergency while hiking the trail?
Guides carry a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts/ scrapes, etc.). They receive Red Cross First Aid and other emergency training every year. Our guides lead over 500 travelers along the Inca trail each year and we have rarely had a traveler unable to complete the hike. In these rare instances when someone has not felt well enough to finish the hike, he/ she has been escorted back to Cusco and generally felt well enough to re-join the group in Machu Picchu via train a few days later. Cusco has the nearest modern medical facilities so travelers with a serious medical emergency would need to be evacuated there. Guides and porters have pre-established evacuation strategies in place should this need occur.
TERRA QUECHAU INFO: What is the food like on the Inca trail?
A cook accompanies every group on the Inca trail. Almost invariably, travelers comment on the delicious menu. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and hearty snacks are provided for your hike. Meals are a mix of local specialties and international favorites. For a sample menu, check out our Inca Trail Menu below. Vegetarian meals are also available upon request. Other special dietary requests can usually be accommodated as well with sufficient notice.