Inca Trail | Peru

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Season

Year-round, peak season is April to October

Group size

Up to 16 people

Duration

4 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced

Hiking the Inca Trail is a classic must-do adventure

Threaded through the towering Andes Mountains is the ancient Inca Trail, undoubtedly one of the most iconic thru-treks in the world. Each paved stone speaks of more than 900 years of history, and the Incas built the trail to honor the mountains and peaks along the route. Snaking through lush tropical flora, past terraces and ruins, hiking until you disappear high in the clouds, embarking on this 26-mile long, life-changing hike to the Lost City of the Incas, will be one of the best experiences of your life.

Most Popular Itineraries

Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

$690 per person · 4 days

The trek to Machu Picchu is four days of epic adventure as you embark to reach the Lost City. Each day, you’ll see the seasons change before your eyes, while scaling challenging peaks and exploring impressive ruins along the way. You’ll sleep under the same stars that the Incas meticulously charted. Each stop an experience unto itself, until your journey culminates at the ultimate destination — Machu Picchu.

Huayna Picchu

$75 per person · 3 hours

If you want to see the legendary ruins from a new perspective and take enviable photos of the Lost City or the distant Salkantay Mountain, the Huayna Picchu hike is worth the add on. The average time for this hike is 3 hours, which includes the ascent, descent, and time at the summit to visit the Temple of the Moon. Make sure to let your guide know well in advance, it’s a highly sought after trek, but worth the hype.

Trip Highlights

Far from the crowds taking selfies with alpacas, on carefully paved stones that have seen hundreds of years of travelers, you’ll find a challenging trek that will reward you immensely. Experience the Incan checkpoint of Chachabamba, the ruins of Runkuracay, the multi-level terraces of Llactapata, the Warmiwañusca pass, the Unaccessible Village of Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, the orchid paradise above the clouds, and the beautiful site of Wiñay Wayna.
The ancient ruins along the way makes every drop of sweat well worth it, and just when you think you’ve seen it all, those first sun rays reaching the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu will amaze you all over again.

Things you need to know

Why should I book with 57hours?

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Why should I go hiking?

There is no other way to experience the legendary Inca Trail. To keep the history intact, not even horses are allowed on this one-of-a-kind thru-trek. There are easier ways to reach the Lost City of the Incas from Cusco, but this is the best way. Wander through lush forests filled with orchids, scale towering peaks, witness centuries of culture and find yourself along the way.

What’s included?

What you’ll get on this adventure:

  • A local Alpaca Expeditions guide
  • Accomodations in tents along the way
  • Meals cooked by a local chef
  • Porters to transfer your belongings
  • Permits
  • Transfers to and from the hotel

What can I expect from hiking with a guide?

Due to strict government regulations, a guide must be present on all Inca Trail trips. For you, this is a guarantee that you’ll get the most out of your hike. Not only will you learn all about the history behind the sites you’ll pass along the way, in case of inclement weather, your guide will know just what to do.

What do I need to bring?

There are checkpoints along the Inca Trail, be sure to have these at hand:

  • Passport
  • Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)

Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:

Personal equipment:

  • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (no larger than a 25L bag)
  • Water storage for 2-3 liters
  • Sleeping bag (can be rented for $20)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Small bottle of soap
  • Battery charger (there is no place to plug in while trekking!)
  • Large plastic bags for organization
  • Toiletries (sunscreen, first aid kit, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Clothing and gear list:

  • Hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
  • Shoes for camp
  • 2-3 dry-wicking t-shirts
  • 2-3 pairs of hiking pants
  • 4 sets of undergarments
  • 4 sets of hiking socks
  • Fleece jacket
  • Warm down jacket
  • Rain jacket and pants
  • Sun hat
  • Wool hat
  • Headlamp
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
  • High quality sunglasses
  • Trekking poles (can be rented for $15)

What’s the itinerary?

Day 1:

Before sunrise, you’ll be picked up from your hotel. At the porters’ lodge, you’ll eat a hearty breakfast and start your 4-day Inca Trail hike. As an intro to the trail, you’ll hike 8.7 miles over 6 to 7 hours. The first historical sites you’ll explore are a small place of water worship, which the Incas used as a checkpoint, and a farming village on multiple terraces. Night spent in tents.

Day 2:

This will be the most challenging day of your thru-hike. You’ll scale two peaks and hike almost 10 miles, with stunning sights along the way. One moment you’ll see your breath in the air, and the next, you’ll be walking through a stone village that overlooks a subtropical forest. Night spent in tents.

Day 3:

The day starts with an early rise and you’ll be on your way through the cloud forest, scaling the last peak of your adventure. With Machu Picchu just out of reach, you’ll explore Wiñay Wayna, an orchid paradise, see where the Incas charted their star maps in Phuyupatamarca, and admire the many terraces of Intipata. Night spent in tents.

Day 4:

Today’s the day, you’ll finally have made it to the Lost City of the Incas! Seeing the first sun rays from the Sun Gate is a life-changing experience, so you’ll wake up hours before sunrise. You’ll get the chance to explore the ruins on a private 2-hour tour and either start your Huayna Picchu hike, or wander around on your own. At the end of your journey, you’ll take the train back and say farewell to your crew and guides.

How fit do I need to be?

While previous hiking experience is unnecessary for hiking the Inca Trail, you’ll need to be in considerably good shape. Each day you will hike between five and nine hours, on your most challenging day, you’ll traverse almost 10 miles.There are no flat areas on the entirety of the trail — it’s either uphill or downhill. Prior to your trip, you can prepare by exercising on steep inclines or even stairs.

What is the minimum age requirement?

There is no age limit for hiking the Inca Trail, but bear in mind that it is challenging. If you have anyone 17 or younger travelling with you, contact us prior to booking.

What about group sizes and pricing?

Groups usually consist of eight people, but trip can be arranged with up to 16 people if you’re traveling with a larger party. All pricing is per person.

Private group tours are available. Contact us for more information on booking a private guide for your group.

What about bad weather?

You’ll experience all four seasons in a matter of days hiking the Inca Trail, but the right gear makes all the difference. Make sure to pack waterproof pants, jacket, boots, poncho and gloves. Expect cold nights and chilly mornings, hot afternoons, rain, heat, wind, and just about everything in between.

The weather can change drastically no matter the time of year, but historically, there are two seasons in the Andes — the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season is from April to November, and the wet season is from November to April, with February being the wettest month. The Inca Trail is closed during February due to the slick stones. It’s best to plan ahead to ensure you have optimal weather, but if the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse on your trek, your guide will know just what to do.

Do I need an insurance policy?

It’s highly recommended that you cover all your bases with travel and medical insurance. While hiking might seem like a low-risk outdoor activity, accidents can happen anywhere and we recommend insurance to avoid paying out of pocket for costly medical expenses. And as we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to have cancellation insurance that also covers lost baggage. It’s tried and tested and it works.

Cancelation policy

All policies regarding cancellation, rescheduling and trip insurance will be clearly laid out by your guide prior to booking your adventure. Contact us if you’d like more information on a specific adventure.

Getting there and meeting location

Alpaca Adventures offers pick up from your accommodation in Cusco. At the end of your adventure, you will return to Cusco via train.

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