Map of Six Days to Machu Picchu including Peru

Get straight down to business and up the Inca Trail

Whether you're dreaming of walking the Inca Trail, seeing Machu Picchu or deep diving into the cultural wonders of Cusco, this trip has something special in store. You'll arrive in Cusco and waste no time in tackling your choice of trail to the ‘City in the Clouds’, or alternatively hang out in beautiful Cusco and Aguas Calientes before travelling by train on the penultimate day of the tour. The choice is yours! You can make this trip whatever you wish - just know whatever you choose, it's sure to be an incredible experience. We employ local guides and porters, so you can be sure your trek is benefitting the Andean community.

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

Some of our under-30 travellers prefer to get around with people their own age. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!

Over 29? We’ve got over 900 other great adventures to choose from for solo travellers, friends, families, food lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and more.


Start
Cusco, Peru
Finish
Cusco, Peru
Destination
Peru
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
GGYM
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Travel solo, together

You're never alone when travelling solo with Intrepid

Why you'll love this trip

  • Choose your own adventure! Whether you pick the classic Inca Trail*, the Quarry Trail or take the train route, we are dedicated to making it unforgettable.

  • This trip is perfect for those who want to tackle the Inca Trail in just a few days and explore the beauty of Machu Picchu but don’t want to commit to a longer tour.

  • Don't worry, we won't hog all of your time. You'll have plenty of opportunity to bounce around Cusco, digging deep into the city's pockets of Inca history and cobblestone alleyways.

  • Machu Picchu itself is a true wonder, but trekkers also witness plenty of incredible scenery, smaller Inca ruins and archaeological sites along the way.

  • Your time is precious, so dive right in with a guided tour of downtown Cusco on the first day of your tour.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Part of the appeal of the Inca* or Quarry Trail is being among nature. You’ll be camping with very basic, shared facilities along the trail (where there are drop toilets and no showers).

  • While hiking the Inca Trail* or Day 3 of the Quarry Trail, you may be joined by some travellers over the age of 29.

  • We’ll be experiencing a mix of hot and cold climates, so pack accordingly and bring layers.

  • You don’t have to be an athlete to hike the Inca* (or Quarry) Trail. But (obviously) this trip involves a lot of hiking and walking, so a moderate level of fitness is required. Please see the Inca Trail* and Machu Picchu section on the website for detailed information on different rail options. You will need durable footwear suitable for hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive into Cusco a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.

  • 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. Please refer to the itinerary for details.

  • Travellers who choose different ways of reaching Machu Picchu (Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or Train), will not follow the same routes within Machu Picchu. This means that you may not be able to have photos together, overlooking Machu Picchu. This applies to travellers on the same booking or separate bookings.

Itinerary

Welcome to Cusco, Peru! Your adventure starts at 2 pm with a welcome meeting at your hotel. After the meeting, your tour leader will take you on a walk around downtown Cusco. You’ll visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, the local San Pedro market, the main square, past the 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. This evening, you might like to head out and have some dinner with your trekking buddies!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass (access to 16 archaeological sites, transport & guides not included) - PEN135
  • Cusco - City tour - USD15
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

We recommend not partaking in any strenuous activity until you have time to gauge your reaction to the city’s high altitude, as some people experience mild symptoms of attitude sickness such as dizziness, shortness of breath and sleeplessness.
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 Inca Trail (Route 1), hiking the Quarry Trail (Route 2) or staying in Cusco for two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes (Route 3). All routes visit Machu Picchu.

While away from Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cusco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. 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 Cusco and travel with only a small bag for the overnight stay in Aguas Calientes.

Route 1 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 3100m 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 prepared by your cook.

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 3700 metres 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.

Route 3 Cusco:
Enjoy a free day in Cusco, the heart and soul of Peru. You may like to purchase a boleto turistico, which allows entry to the city's many museums and archaeological sites. Ask your leader for their recommendations.
Accommodation
  • Route 1 & 2: Camping (with basic facilities)/Route 3: Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 3 Night/4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night/3 Day Inca Quarry Trail) guided hike(s) with porters' support. Or guided Cusco stay (Machu Picchu by train)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Included lunch and dinner on this day is for travellers on the trekking options.

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.

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 4450 metres 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 wi
Route 1 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 sits at a height of 4200 metres above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3650 metres.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A 3 hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4370 metres 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 4450 metres. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku. This is a sun gate, where the sun will stream through at particular times of the year and there are views of the Nevado Veronica mountain year-round. The Incas built several sun gates, the most notable overlooking Machu Picchu. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away and at 3600 metres.

Route 3 Cusco:
Today is yours to spend as you wish in Cusco. Perhaps use the day to indulge your inner foodie at Cusco's many cafes, restaurants and markets. The ChocoMuseo is a must for those with a sweet tooth - they offer tastings and chocolate-making workshops.
Accommodation
  • Route 1 & 2: Camping (with basic facilities)/Route 3: Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Included lunch and dinner on this day is for travellers on the trekking options.
Route 1 Inca Trail:
Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay Pass (3980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around 2 to 3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the 2 hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 Quarry Trail to Aguas Calientes:
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. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3 Train to Aguas Calientes:
After a drive to Ollantaytambo (about 1.5 hours), catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (another 1.5 hours). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Quarry Trail. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.
Accommodation
  • Route 1:Camping (with basic facilities)/Route 2 & 3: Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Included lunch and dinner on this day is for travellers on the Inca Trail trekking option.

Included lunch on this day is for travellers on the Quarry Trail trekking option.
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 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking by 4.30 am. Once the final checkpoint opens at 5 am, begin the final leg of the trek. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around 2.5 hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.

Route 2 Machu Picchu to Cusco:
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.

Route 3 Machu Picchu to Cusco:
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.

For all travellers, after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to catch the bus to Aguas Calientes where you’ll stop for lunch together. From here, take a scenic train ride to Ollantaytambo, then drive back to Cusco, arriving in the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu - Guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
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, re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site. Personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted.

Due to safety reasons the final checkpoint for all trekkers does not open until 5 am. The estimated arrival time at Machu Picchu's Sun Gate for Inca Trail trekkers is approximately 7.30 am. For Quarry Trail trekkers and train travellers the first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu departs at 5.30 am. The estimated arrival time is between 6 and 6.30 am. The sun rises at Machu Picchu at approximately 5.30 am, therefore it's not possible to be there in time for sunrise.

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 this morning. There are no more activities planned and you're free to leave the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Pisco Making Urban Adventure (minimum 2 people) - USD57
  • Cusco - Stand Up Paddle Boarding (minimum 4 people) - USD95
  • Cusco - Totem painting workshop - USD59
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking - USD120
  • Sacred Valley - Via Ferrata & Zipline - PEN265
  • Cusco - Rainbow Mountain Hike - USD97
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Bus Taxi, Train - Route 3 only

Accommodation

Route 1 - Inca Trail: Camping with basic facilities (3 nights), Hotel (2 nights). Route 2 - Quarry Trail: Camping with basic facilities (2 nights), Hotel (3 nights). Route 3 - Train option: Hotel (5 nights)

Included activities

  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
  • 3 Night/4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night/3 Day Inca Quarry Trail) guided hike(s) with porters' support. Or guided Cusco stay (Machu Picchu by train)
  • Machu Picchu - Guided tour

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Six Days to Machu Picchu trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 2 and 3 (Route 1 and 2 : Camping) and Day 4 (Route 1 : Camping) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. 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 Quarry Trail instead https://www.intrepidtravel.com/machu-picchu-peru/quarry-trail or travel to Machu Picchu by train.
3. 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 Quarry Trail.
4. Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know at time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made to travel to Machu Picchu by train. Without this prior warning, cancellation fees for the trekking permits may apply.
5. 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.
6. While hiking the Inca Trail* or Quarry Trail you may be joined by other Intrepid and/or non-Intrepid travellers, some who may be over 29 years old.
7. Please note this trip starts at 2pm on Day 1.
8. 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. 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: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/altitude-sickness

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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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