As the mist lifts off the mountains and over the Inca ruins, Machu Picchu evokes an otherworldly feeling.

It’s one of the world’s most incredible archaeological sites, with a breathtaking location to match. With all that Machu Picchu has to offer, it’s easy to understand why so many are drawn to the visitor heartland of Peru. The ultimate decision is how to get there. Choose a trek or take the train? You could hike through cloud forests along the classic Inca Trail, fulfil your Andes experience on the Quarry Trail or challenge yourself on the Choquequirao trek – it's up to you. We don’t need to tell you why the adventure is worth your while. Our local leaders will keep you safe, informed and inspired at every step of the way.

Machu Picchu Travel Deals

Departing Days From AUD
24 Mar 2024
Inca Trail Extension
6 1875
24 Mar 2024
Machu Picchu by Train Short Break
3 945
25 Mar 2024
Sacred Land of the Incas
15 5175
29 Mar 2024
Classic Peru
9 3605
3245
30 Mar 2024
Peru Family Holiday
9 3995
3396
2 Apr 2024
Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure
17 10455
9430
3 Apr 2024
Explore Peru & Bolivia
25 7755
6 Apr 2024
Inca Trail & Amazon Adventure
12 4340
6 Apr 2024
Inca Trail Express from Lima
8 2530
7 Apr 2024
Peru Encompassed
20 6910
6219

Which route is right for you?All of Intrepid Travel's Machu Picchu treks

Classic Inca Trail

With its spectacular natural scenery and profound cultural encounters, the Inca Trail is an international beacon for trekking. Attracting thousands of hikers each year, it's a challenging yet rewarding hike that stays with you for a lifetime. Although rated moderate, the relentless uphill (and downhill) hiking is tough - the fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy it.

Learn more

Inca Quarry Trail

For an impressive hike off the beaten path, consider the Inca Quarry Trail. This lesser known trek offers the same magical scenery of the Andes mountains, passing through local villages and visiting three smaller archaeological sites the other trails don’t. Another bonus is that the hike doesn’t require a permit – so once you book, you’re set.

Learn more

Choquequirao Trail

Take your boots further with a challenging eight-day hike moving through high-altitude cloud forests, over mega mountain passes and along an ancient trail leading to the well-preserved Inca city ruins of Choquequirao. This trail might be secluded and not for the faint-hearted but it's also one adventure you'll never forget, and that's a promise. 

Learn more

Our Machu Picchu tours

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Only got one day to spare?

The One Day Inca Trail is a great four-hour trekking option for those wanting to set their sights on Machu Picchu and experience a taste of trekking in Peru, without doing one of the multi-day Classic Inca, Quarry or Choquequirao trails. 

Learn more about the One Day Inca Trail

Not the hiking type?

On every Intrepid trip that visits Machu Picchu, you can choose the rail journey instead of the hike – simply specify while booking that you’d prefer the train option. There is no extra cost for this, though please note fees may apply if you decide to change to the train option after your Inca Trail permit has already been purchased.

Learn more about the train to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu highlights 

A couple of travellers looking out of a window on the train journey to Machu Picchu.

Choose your own route to Machu Picchu

There’s no right or wrong way to get to Machu Picchu. On most of our trips, you can choose your own adventure with three incredible ways to travel through the Sacred Valley; the Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail and the train journey. That way, if hiking’s not your thing, you can still retrace the steps of the Inca and reach your final, breathtaking destination. 

The ancient ruins of Machu Picchu on a misty day

Walk the ruins on an expertly guided tour

So, you’ve made it to Machu Picchu – now what? Your ancient Incan adventure doesn’t have to end once you reach the Sun Gate (and fill up your phone’s camera roll). Embark on a guided tour of the ruins themselves, stopping to marvel at temples and wander around palaces while learning about a fascinating civilization from centuries ago. 

A group of travellers sitting with locals in the Sacred Valley in Peru

Explore the Sacred Valley

Sometimes the stops you make along the way can be just as extraordinary as the destination itself; the Sacred Valley is one of those unforgettable stops on your journey to Machu Picchu. From terraced valley walls covered in maize crops to bead and poncho-filled market stalls, this special place has been a source of livelihood for the locals for centuries and stopping here gives you a chance to learn all about it.    

People walking through the cobblestoned streets of Cusco

Wander the streets of Cusco

Cusco might be the entryway to the Sacred Valley, but it’s also a spectacular city in its own right with ancient fortresses, colonial houses, fascinating museums and public plazas around every corner. A perfect place to acclimatize before you continue your Peruvian adventure, this charming city promises local markets to wander through and plenty of tasty food (made with Andean ingredients) to eat. 

FAQs

Machu Picchu is a magnificent reminder of the power and ingenuity of the Inca civilisation. Built in the 15th century, the ancient citadel was abandoned only 100 years later and many mysteries remain. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1983 and announced as one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, Machu Picchu makes a lasting impression.

Overlooking the Urubamba River, the site of Machu Picchu sits above the Sacred Valley – located in the Cusco region of Peru.

Many travellers fly into the capital of Cusco, before taking the train or choosing a hiking tour. The stepping stone to Machu Picchu is Ollantaytambo, which is about 1.5 hours away from Cusco by bus.

From Ollantaytambo the most common ways to get to Machu Picchu are:

Learn more about how to get to Machu Picchu

So, you want to experience the Inca Trail but aren't quite up for the entire hike? The one-day option takes you by train part of the way where you hop off and trek the trade highway of the ancient Inca empire. You'll arrive at the Sun Gate in the afternoon to take in the views of Machu Picchu.

The good news is Machu Picchu can be visited year-round. The most popular time, and therefore the most crowded, is in June and July. Low cloud cover during the dry season from April to October also means cold nights on hiking trails – so make sure to bring some thermals for a good night’s sleep. The wet season takes place from November to March. This is when the temperature rises and the region receives heavy rainfall. The Inca Trail closes every year in February for trail maintenance.

Learn more about the best time to visit Machu Picchu

Technically, yes you can. Starting with an early rise in the morning, take a 1.5 hour bus ride to Ollantaytambo, then a 2.5 hour train to Aguas Calientes, followed by a 30 minute bus to Machu Picchu. You will have a couple of hours to visit Machu Picchu then return to Cusco the same way.

None of our trips visit Machu Picchu this way, as we believe it doesn’t allow enough time to explore (and really enjoy) the site and the Sacred Valley area.

Machu Picchu is found deep in the cloud forest at 2440 m (7972 ft) above sea level, sitting at 1000 m (3280 ft) lower than Cusco. What does this mean for you? In terms of altitude, it means that you are unlikely to experience any altitude issues at Machu Picchu itself. But be aware, trekking to Machu Picchu involves walking up and down a number of steep stairs, ramps and terraces at various altitudes, which can be strenuous.

Most people can start to feel the effects of altitude at over 2000 m (6561 ft) regardless of age, gender or fitness level. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you make yourself aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.

It’s important to take it easy, drink plenty of water and speak to your group leader at once if you feel unwell.

We recommend seeing your doctor if you have any health concerns before undertaking the trip. Particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are take any medication.

Learn more about how to prepare for Machu Picchu altitude

Everyone hiking to Machu Picchu via the iconic Inca Trail or the shorter Inca Trail Express will require a permit. You don't need a permit if you're trekking via the Quarry or Choquequirao trails. 

If you’re tackling the Inca Trail with Intrepid, our adventure consultants can secure your permit for you so you can focus on getting excited, so just make you have your passport details handy at the time of booking. Permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so booking well in advance is imperative. We endeavour to purchase your permit within two working days of receiving all necessary information and relevant payment. 

Learn more about permit requirements for Machu Picchu

For a day trip exploring Machu Picchu, it is recommended to take a small backpack with the essentials: sunscreen, hat, water bottle (filled before departing for the day), a few snacks and mosquito repellent. It helps to wear breathable pants, a long shirt and to bring a waterproof jacket – since the UV index is higher in the Andes and the site is prone to receiving rainfall.

If you plan to trek before visiting Machu Picchu, be sure to read our detailed packing instructions in your Essential Trip Information.

Check out our ultimate Machu Picchu packing guide

Wayna Picchu (also known also as Huayna Pichu or Wayna Pikchu) means ‘young peak’ in Quechua – although the mountain appears anything but young towering behind Machu Picchu. Known as the ‘stairs of death’, the hair-raising climb takes about three hours return. More recently, a cap of 400 people a day has been introduced on the number of visitors allowed to climb.

We've performed risk assessments on all our optional activities and unfortunately, at this stage, we don’t consider climbing Wayna Picchu a safe activity for our travellers. Reaching Wayna Picchu involves climbing steep, narrow and exposed sets of stairs and we just can’t guarantee the safety of our travellers. Our leaders are specifically prohibited from assisting travellers to visit Wayna Picchu.

There are public toilets located at the main entrance of Machu Picchu and none after entering the site – so make sure you time your stop before heading off to explore. Take some coins with you as there is a small fee to use the toilet facilities.

The Rainforest Alliance is a non-profit organisation working to build strong forests, healthy agricultural landscapes and thriving communities. The green frog seal indicates that an enterprise has been audited to meet standards that require environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Intrepid is recognised by the Rainforest Alliance as one of the top certified tourism business in Peru.

Yes, but of course it will depend on your level of disability, fitness and what support will be available to you. Travellers who are visually impaired have even completed the Inca Trail (with the right support crew of course). Contact us to discuss your particular circumstances and we can assess it from there.

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveller. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. 

Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe.

Find out more or make a donation

Why choose Intrepid

Trek experts

All our guides are certified local tour guides and trained in-house on Intrepid Safety Policies. Each trekking guide also receives exclusive Intrepid training, provided by mountain rescue experts in the field.

Safety First

All our guides and trek leaders have been trained by medical specialists in handling altitude illness and are proficient in first aid. Our team carries oxygen cylinders on all treks for emergency use.

Local matters

Our team members live and work in the Andean region, which means revenue from all our treks benefit the local economy.

Full inclusions

We take care of the details, so you can focus more on enjoying the journey. Our tours include all meals, with essential camping equipment and the option to hire additional hiking equipment if needed.

Rainforest Alliance tick of approval

We are proud to have the tick of approval from the Rainforest Alliance indicating that we meet and operate at the highest standards in environmental, social and economic sustainability

Sustainable travel

We strive to use travel as a force for good. That’s why we choose to give back to the communities we visit, carbon offset all our trips and take our social and environmental responsibilities seriously. We’ve been officially certified as the world’s largest travel B Corp, which means when you choose Intrepid Travel, you can rest assured you’re travelling to improve the planet.

Meet our team

Woman standing in front of the ruins of Machu Pichu

Maritza, operations manager

"I am passionate about empowering local Indigenous communities, especially women, and am also a committed defender of Mother Earth, known in the Andes as Pachamama. I have also worked tirelessly with local communities and governments to help improve the sustainability of treks in the Cusco region".

Man standing in front of the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru

Paul, leader

“It will be a pleasure to share our traditions and beliefs, take you to the most amazing sites and, most importantly, interact with the locals! Get ready for a behind-the-scenes tour where we’ll visit hole-in-the-wall restaurants and find the best picarones (Andean doughnuts). I’ll be waiting for you here, in my beloved Peru."

Man smiling into the camera with camping gear in the background

Fernando, general manager

"I like working for Intrepid because their social and environmental philosophy isn’t just a slogan to sell more trips, they really do care about it. I have changed my life in so many aspects due to all the learning coming from Intrepid, from recycling to accepting myself, and being proud for who I am."

A local porter giving a thumbs up to the camera along the Inca Trail in Peru

Ascencio, porter

"I started working with Intrepid in 2014 and now I'm 61 years old. I'm very happy to be working with Intrepid because each porter's treatment is better than other tour operators in Peru. Because of this job (which includes fair pay), I can provide a better education for my children". 

Local woman with a backpack on along the Inca Trail in Peru

Valentina, porter

"I come from Huilloc Community in Ollantaytambo town in the Sacred Valley (Cusco), and I started working as a porter on the Inca Trail in 2021. I love walking the Inca Trail and I'm very happy to be working for Intrepid as my income enables me to provide a better education for my 7 children". 

A smiling man standing in front of the Intrepid logo at an office in Peru

Teofilo, porter

"I'm from the Community of Kalla Rayan (Calca town) in the Sacred Valley, and I'm 53 years old. I've worked as a porter for Intrepid since 2009, mainly because I love it and we have very good working conditions. Thanks to my job, I've saved money to spend on my wife and better education for my children". 

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Responsible travel

Intrepid is actually the largest B Corp operator on the Inca trail and we're always committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. We're also dedicated to ensuring respectful and just working conditions for all trekking porters and leaders and have a porter policy in place to guarantee their welfare and fair treatment. 

A travel group with a local leader

How we're giving back

In Machu Picchu, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.

Combine your trek with a Latin America adventure

Machu Picchu is one of the great treasures of Latin America, but there are jaw-dropping jewels scattered all across this region. Combine your Machu Picchu trek with a land-based itinerary for a truly next-level adventure – the Amazon Jungle, Galapagos Islands and Bolivian salt flats are practically on your doorstep.

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