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 Cusco'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 Inca Trail Permits. View permit availability here.


Start
Cusco, Peru
Finish
Cusco, Peru
Destination
Peru
Style
Original
Theme
Short Breaks
Code
GGHC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Cosmopolitan, scenic and steeped in Incan heritage, Cusco is a dream to walk around. Marvel at the cathedral, explore colonial art and architecture or explore the incredible ruins nearby

  • Cusco'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 Inca 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

Is this trip right for you?

  • SHORT BEAK ADVENTURE:

  • This tour is a Short Break Adventure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader, our local representative fills this role and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip. This trip will run with a minimum of one person, so you may be joined by other travellers booked on the same date as you, or you may be on your own.

  • 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.

  • The trip is recommended for those with a moderate level of fitness but there are also a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • On the trail you'll be camping with basic facilities. It's not exactly the Hilton Hotel, but the rewards of the trek are great.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2018.
View the 2019 itinerary
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Cusco, the heart and soul of Peru.

Today is free for you to explore Cusco until 6pm when you meet your Intrepid representative at the lobby of your hotel. As this tour is a Short Break Adventure, you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader but, our local representative fills this role. On this trip you will join other Intrepid travellers who are hiking this trek as part of longer Intrepid Group trips and may have been travelling together for a few days before you meet them.

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 Cusco 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.

CAFÉ DARIA:
In your free time in Cusco why not stop & check out Café Daria? This café & pizzeria which opened in its now permanent home in the tourist area of Cusco city in April 2018, is Cusco’s first vocational training site for young adults with special needs. Manos Unidas core purpose to improve the quality of life for people with developmental & intellectual disabilities though vocational training, education and parent advocacy, leading to successful inclusion within a society in which they had traditionally been ostracised from.

The food is all natural and is prepared and baked by the students on site and students are trained across all aspects of hospitality so this is a great way for our travellers to interact with locals and in doing so, give a young adult who would normally be isolated from society the opportunity to meet people from all over the World and hone their skills.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Pisco Making - Urban Adventures - USD36
  • Cusco - Ruins & Market Walking Urban Adventure - USD70
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
SHORT BEAK ADVENTURE:
This tour is a Short Break Adventure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader, our local representative fills this role and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip. This trip will run with a minimum of one person, so you may be joined by other travellers booked on the same date as you, or you may be on your own.
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 Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. The evening before you leave Cusco 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 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 will reach the campsite at 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: Inca Quarry Trail

Make a very early start (5.30am) and drive to Choquequilla. As breakfast is not available at your hotel this early in the morning, you will be given a "box breakfast" later in the morning. This box breakfast will consist of cereal bars, seasonal fruit, boxed juice, chocolate bars and a ham and cheese sandwich. Once in Choquequilla, visit 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 Inca 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 4 day guided hike with porters' support
  • Machu Picchu guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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, located at 3,650 metres.

Route 2: Inca 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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 on the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site (approximately 2 hours).

Route 2: Inca 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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 Cusco for a well-earned shower and perhaps a 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, the ‘Lost City of the Incas’.

Route 2: Inca 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, take in spectacular views 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 prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.

Visiting Machu Picchu:
According to Machu Picchu visiting regulations, all visitors must follow a pre-determined route within the site. This route must be followed in one direction only and once the guided visit commences exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Pisco Making - Urban Adventures - USD36
  • Cusco - Ruins & Market Walking Urban Adventure - USD70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Sunrise at Machu Picchu:
Inca Trail trekkers: Due to safety reasons the final checkpoint for all trekkers does not open until 5am therefore the estimated arrival time to Machu Picchu Sungate is approximately 7.30am.
Inca Quarry trekkers: The first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu departs at 5.30am. The estimated arrival time is between 6- 6.30am The sun rises at Machu Picchu at approximately 5.30am, therefore it's not possible to be there in time for sunrise.
Farewell your new friends as 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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Minibus, Train

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Hotel (2 nights)

Included activities

  • 4 day guided hike with porters' support
  • Machu Picchu guided tour

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Inca Trail Extension trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

SHORT BEAK ADVENTURE:
This tour is a Short Break Adventure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader, our local representative fills this role and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip. This trip will run with a minimum of one person, so you may be joined by other travellers booked on the same date as you, or you may be on your own.

TRAIN OPTION
The train option is not available on this trip. Passengers wanting to take the train should see 'The Machu Picchu Explorer'

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/machu-picchu-peru/quarry-trail

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.

PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

INCA TRAIL OR INCA QUARRY TRAIL
While hiking the 4 Day Inca Trail or the 3 Day Inca Quarry trail portion of this trip you may be joined by other Intrepid and/or non-Intrepid travellers.

On June 30th Peruvian authorities released a new list of regulations for visiting Machu Picchu, which came into effect from July 1st. The main points impacting our visits are:
1. There is now a time limit to visit the citadel. Morning visitors must exit the site by 12pm and afternoon visitors by 4.30pm
2. Visitors must complete a designated circuit, in one direction only. Exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted and, upon completion, visitor must exit the site. There is no allowance for personal exploration of the site any longer.
Overall we support these changes as they help preserve this invaluable archaeological site. While this somehow restricts the amount of time we are now allowed to spend in Machu Picchu, we’ll do all possible to maximise your time there and make sure you have the best possible experience.

Essential trip information

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