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.

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

  • Cosmopolitan, scenic and steeped in Incan heritage, Cuzco is a dream to walk around. Marvel at the cathedral, explore colonial art and architecture or explore the incredible ruins nearby
  • Cuzco's central market is a great chance to meet Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas and browse for weird and wonderful Andean specialties
  • Hike to the mother of all Incan cities, magical Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins plus free time to explore at your leisure
  • Whether it's the Classic Inca Trail or the quieter Quarry Trail you hike, you'll be treated to incredible sunrise views over misty Machu Picchu – just cross your fingers for clear skies!
  • With a cook to prepare meals and porters to carry your equipment, you can focus on the walk and get the most out of your experience

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Cuzco, the heart and soul of Peru. You will be met on arrival at Cuzco airport – please make sure your flight details have been provided at least 14 days prior. Look out for the Intrepid representative, who will have a sign with your name on it, in the arrival terminal. If you are arriving earlier, note that this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. The day is at your leisure until your 6 pm welcome meeting in the hotel lobby. Be sure to take it slow while your body adjusts to the altitude (3,400 m). If you have time, check out the beautiful cathedral or perhaps the nearby ruins of Saqsayhuaman, Qenqo or Tambomachay. A Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket) will grant you access into these sites. For a change of pace, head to the central market, or perhaps enjoy a meal at Yanapay at 415 Ruinas Street. This restaurant uses all its profit to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects.

Notes: This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you will hike either the Classic Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail. While you're 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. Keep in mind 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.

Route 1: Classic Inca Trail

Travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite (located 3,100 m above sea level). On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, and catch incredible views of the 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 km long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of 7 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 inflatable 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 (3,700 m 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 km 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 on the third night you'll stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and inflatable 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 5 hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca (4,200 m) offers 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. Your walk (approximately 3 hours) takes you to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (4,370 m). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, hike to Kuychicassa (approximately 2 hours), the highest pass of the trek (4,450 m). 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 1: Classic Inca Trail

Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 m). Enjoy beautiful views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending to the ruins of Sayacmarca (approximately 2–3 hours). Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 m), also known as the 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site (approximately 2 hours).

Route 2: Quarry Trail

Today’s hike is all downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, your trek comes to an end. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. Visiting the natural hot springs in town is a recommended way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.
Today you will explore the incredible Machu Picchu ruins with a local guide. Your tour lasts for around 1.5–2 hours, and there will be plenty of free time afterwards to explore on your own. When it's all over, return to Cuzco for a well-earned shower and Pisco sour.

Route 1: Classic 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. Walk to Intipunku, aka the Sun Gate (approximately 2.5 hours). Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over Machu Picchu, ‘Lost City of the Incas’, as the sun rises (and before it’s crawling with visitors).

Route 2: Quarry Trail

Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5.30 am along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approximately 30 minutes). At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If the skies are clear, enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate before going on a guided walk around the ruins.

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 adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. Check-out time is 9 am. Luggage storage can be arranged at the hotel if you're departing later.
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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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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