Conquer ancient pathways on the historic Inca trail hike.

Spend a week retracing the steps of the ancient Inca civilisation on the historical Inca trail hike. Explore Cuzco's maze of ruins and cobblestone streets, and discover the fascinating colonial and Inca histories that have visually impacted this fascinating town. Rise early to join our expert local guides and porters for a challenging hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Watch the sun rise over the enigmatic ruins and get lost exploring these crumbling structures, an experience that is sure to take your breath away. This week-long tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will challenge and reward.

This trip requires an Inca Trail Permit. To view permit availability click here.

Start
Cuzco, Peru
Finish
Cuzco, Peru
Countries
Peru
Themes
Short Breaks
Code
GGHC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
91kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Take in the ancient and colonial sights of Cuzco
  • Meet Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas
  • Experience the reward of the historic Inca Trail hike
  • Explore the impressive ruins of mist-shrouded Machu Picchu
  • Discover Inca history and culture

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Cuzco.

You will be met on arrival at Cuzco airport, please ensure that you advise your full flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to trip start. Look out for our representative holding a board with your name at the arrival terminal. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

The rest of the day is at your leisure until 6pm, when your Intrepid local representative will meet you at the lobby of the hotel.

The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was home to the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today, Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. Steeped in history, tradition and legend, the city is a perfect base for optional explorations into the Inca world and to enjoy a range of outdoor activities.

Take the time to acclimatise to the city's 3,400 m (11,150 ft) altitude and explore the many baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city. The cathedral, built on top of an Inca palace, dominates the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco's picturesque heart. The cathedral is one of the city's greatest repositories of art and houses an elegantly carved choir stall and a gold-covered Renaissance altar. Also worth visiting are the churches of La Compania, La Merced and San Blas.

There are several impressive Inca ruins in the areas surrounding the city such as Saqsayhuaman, Qenqo or Tambomachay. The Boleto Turistico covers entrance into these sites.

For a change of pace, head to the central market and browse the stalls alongside the Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas and pick up some alpaca goods, magic charms or colourful Andean food.

For a meal or a light snack head to Yanapay restaurant on 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profit to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit http://yanapay.facipub.com/
ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!

Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.

During your trip: While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:

http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
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 or hiking the Inca Quarry Trail.
While away from Cuzco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. 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 kilometre 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 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 high). 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, only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo.
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 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. The journey takes 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.

MACHU PICCHU: While it's thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There's plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters. You will have a guided visit (approx 1.5-2 hrs) with plenty of free time afterwards.
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.

WAYNA PICCHU: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
Today is departure day. The hotel check-out time is 9am. You can arrange with hotel reception to store your luggage if you wish to depart later.

Spend your last morning relaxing, shopping or exploring more of Cuzco's sights. Rest weary legs at any of the cafes around Plaza de Armas. For those who can't get enough active adventure, there are plenty of opportunities to go mountain biking or whitewater rafting on the Urubamba River.
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View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
Transport
Minibus, Train
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Hotel (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • 4 day guided hike with porters' support
  • Machu Picchu guided tour

Dates

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This trip requires an Inca Trail Permit. To view permit availability click here.

For information about altitude sickness click here


Important notes

ARRIVAL TRANSFER
An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.

TRAIN OPTION
The train option is not available on this trip. Passengers wanting to take the train should see the GGHT or one of our group itineraries.

INCA TRAIL PERMITS
Please note this trip can be confirmed immediately up until 30 days out from the departure date, however Inca Trail permits are sold on a request basis only. Once your deposit is paid and passport details provided, we will endeavour to secure a permit for you and get back to you within 72 hours.

If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.
https://www.intrepidtravel.com/sites/default/files/pdf/Inca_Quarry_Trail.pdf

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.

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.

View trip notes

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