Conquer ancient pathways on the historic Inca Trail hike

Travel to Peru and retrace the steps of the Inca, Peru's fascinating ancient civilisation. Follow Inca traditions from Lima to Cuzco, journey through the fertile heartland of the Sacred Valley, see the magnificent Ollantaytambo ruins before embarking on the ultimate adventure – trekking to Machu Picchu. This action-filled Peruvian tour gets you closer to the secrets of this elusive civilisation on a breathtaking adventure along the Inca Trail.

Lima, Peru
Cuzco, Peru
Walking & Trekking
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16
Carbon offset
121kg pp per trip


  • Learn about local culture on a Sacred Valley tour
  • Explore Peru's mixture of colonial and Inca architecture
  • Explore Lima's historical centre
  • Trek the challenging Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2015 - 31 December 2015

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. After the meeting, go on a walking tour of downtown Lima, one of the most beautiful cities in South America, and an optional dinner with your group. Be sure to get your hands in Peru's national dish of ceviche during your stay. As there's little time spent in Lima, you may like to arrive a few days early to see the sights, including the chic suburb of Miraflores, Central Park, Lovers' Park and the National Museum. Notes: As this is a combination trip, your experience can be quite different to the other travellers. Some may start later in Cuzco and everyone will choose their own route to Machu Picchu, either by train or trekking. Also, due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Health' sections in the trip notes for detailed information.
This morning, take a short flight from Lima to Cuzco. Cuzco is the region's oldest continuously inhabited city, built on foundations left by the Inca and dominated by beautiful colonial architecture. Spend a little time acclimatising to the high altitude (3,450 m) and then go on a guided tour of the city led by a local expert. You’ll be taken through the Plaza de Armas, the lavish cathedral, and led through the Coca Museum and San Pedro Market. You might feel overwhelmed by all there is to see in Cuzco, but there’ll be more time for you to go exploring at the end of the trip.
Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley for about two hours today. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood to the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced valley walls and the sacred river beneath. For lunch, visit a community that live in the valley and learn about the local lifestyle and language. If it’s market day, you may have the opportunity to browse the local handicrafts, such as beads and ponchos. Continue your journey to the town of Ollantaytambo where you’ll spend the night. If there’s time, you may like to see the town’s archaeological site, which includes remnants of an Inca city and soaring views over the present-day settlement.
Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you’ll be doing one of the following: hiking the Classic Inca Trail, hiking the Inca Quarry Trail or staying in Cuzco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. While away from Cuzco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cuzco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (6 kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cuzco and only travel with the necessary items during the excursion by train. Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: Today travel by minivan to the 82 kilometres marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3,100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, as well as incredible views of snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening, unwind at the campsite with a nourishing meal. Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 kilometres long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of seven hours of walking (uphill and downhill), with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals. Route 2 Quarry Trail: Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3,700 meters above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas. Notes: The Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 kilometres long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping and the third night you will stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals. Route 3 Train: After spending the night in the Ollantaytambo, leave around 9.30 am and take a short drive to the town of Pisac. Pisac is well known for its market. Here you’ll have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and perhaps try some local Empanadas. Arrive back into Cusco in the afternoon, where your leader will take you to San Pedro Market in order to buy some things for a picnic tomorrow. In the late afternoon, you’ll have an option to visit the Choco Museum where you can try some artisanal chocolate that is prepared in-house from cacao beans into a chocolate bar. Be sure to sample some of the delicious hot chocolate. Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: This is the most challenging day of the trek, as you ascend a long steep path (approximately five hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4,200 meters above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres. Route 2 Quarry Trail: This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 meters). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, which is only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo. Route 3 Train: Today, take a taxi to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cuzco. From here you’ll take a short downhill walk (between one and three hours) back to Cuzco. On the way, stop to admire some of the archaeological sites including Puka Pukara, Qinqu Quenqo and Saksaywaman. Arrive back in Cuzco in the afternoon and enjoy some free time to go shopping, or perhaps visit Merida, Mendivil and Olave art galleries and workshops. Your tour leader will be able to give you some suggestions or point you in the right direction. Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around two to three hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the two-hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site. Route 2 Quarry Trail: Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Visiting the natural hot springs in town is a soothing way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu. Route 3 Train: After a drive to Ollantaytambo (about one and a half hours), catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (another one and a half hours). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want a sneak peak, there is time to visit Machu Picchu independently before a guided tour the following day. Otherwise, you can while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs at Aguas Calientes. Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Route 1 Inca Trail: This is the final and most spectacular leg of the trek to Machu Picchu. The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4.30 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station, and begin hiking by 5.30 am. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around two-and-a-half hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over Machu Pichu, ‘Lost City of the Incas’, as the sun rises (and before it’s crawling with tourists). Route 2 Quarry Trail: Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5:30 am this morning along the winding road to Machu Picchu (around 30 minutes). At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If skies are clear, enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate, before going on a guided walk around the ruins. Route 3 Train: Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy free time afterwards to wander around on your own before the group returns to Cuzco. For all trails - after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well-deserved shower and a pisco sour. Your evening is then free for the last night of your adventure. Notes: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.  
Your tour comes to an end today and there are no activities planned. As there was little time spent in Cuzco at the start of the trip, you may like to stay on for a few extra days to make the most of your visit here. We’ll be happy to assist in booking accommodation. Visit some of the sites you didn’t cover during your orientation tour at the beginning of the trip, such as the Inca ruins of Coricancha, Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Perhaps buy a boleto turistico (tourism ticket) and gain access to the many fascinating museums here such as the Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum.  
View trip notes to read full itinerary


7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
Private minibus, Train
Included activities
  • Coca Museum


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For information about altitude sickness click here

Important notes

A single supplement is available on trip. This includes the Inca Trail where a single tent will be provided.

Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you.

If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead.

The Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.

Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.

Important information regarding new regulations and booking procedures for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Our Inca Trail trips score an average of 4.88 out of 5 based on 8 reviews in the last year.

Inca Trail , September 2015

Inca Trail , May 2015