This version of the classic Inca Trail gives you the opportunity to spend a night relaxing in a hostel in Aguas Calientes before your day exploring the citadel of Machu Picchu. You will walk the entire distance of the normal 4 Day Inca Trail, but compressed into just three days—instead of stopping to camp at Wiñay Wayna on the third day, you will walk an extra hour and a half to the Trail´s end at Machu Picchu. Best of all, you will not need to wake up at 3:00 am in the morning on Day 4 like the trekkers on the classic 4 Day Inca Trail version! Excellent for travelers looking for an active Peru trekking experience with an extra touch of comfort, this tour fulfills your wildest vacation dreams without wearing you out!
This Inca Trail Trek includes the services of a porter for no extra cost. You can give him a maximum of 7kg/15lbs of your belongings to carry. Your sleeping bag will weigh approximately 2kg and your air mattress approximately 1kg. This makes a combined weight of 3kg, leaving 4kg/9lbs of personal items (clothing, toiletries, etc) to add to the bag carried by the porter. However, you will still need to bring a daypack with your essentials such as water, sunscreen, hat, camera, ect.
Please note that there will be trekkers of many different abilities in your Inca Trail group. Our guides are very experienced and will work to accommodate the needs of all of our trekkers in a safe and friendly manner. However, if you and your friends or family all have the same fitness level and you would prefer to hike in a private group, contact us today about booking a private service for your Inca Trail adventure!
Day 1: Cusco (3,300m) – Km82 (2550m/8269ft) – Yuncachimpa (3000m/9842ft)
The first day of the hike is fairly easy and serves as a warm up for the days to follow. Our hikers are picked up early from their hotels (5:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m.), and travel by bus through the pretty villages of Chinchero, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo. The scenic trip lasts for two and a half hours before we arrive at Kilometre 82, the start of the trail, located at 2550m/8269ft. Our buses normally stop at the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley for about an hour to give passengers the opportunity to have breakfast.
At Km 82, our hikers cross the Vilcanota River and embark on this unforgettable journey. You will be amazed by the great views of the Cordillera Oriental and the snow-capped peak of Veronica. We will start our trek not far from where Hiram Bingham began his re-discovery of the Inca Trail in 1915. From here, the trail is flat for almost two hours of hiking until we arrive at our first Inca site, Llactapata. On our way, we will pass a rest stop at Mescay, where there are bathroom facilities. The path then follows the left bank of the Cusichaca River to the small village of Wayllabamba, located at 3000m/9900ft, that serves as the porters´ checkpoint.
Continuing on, we will walk for one more hour until we reach the Tres Piedras, or Ayapata, which is going to be our first camp of the trek. Please note that with this itinerary, we may want to walk one more hour in order to walk for less time on the second day.
Day 2: Yuncachimpa (3000m/9842ft) – Dead Woman’s Pass (4200m/13779ft) – Pacaymayu – Chaquicocha
This is the most challenging day of the trek: we will go over two high passes, walking about four hours uphill. In the morning, we will pass by Llullucha Pampa, the last place along the trail where it is possible to buy snacks and drinks. We will then continue hiking uphill for two hours until we arrive at the top of Dead Woman’s Pass, located at 4200m/13779ft.
This is the highest point of the Inca Trail. Once at the top, hikers can celebrate having completed the most difficult section of the trail, while taking stunning pictures of the scenery. We will then start to walk down for one and a half hours until we reach Pacaymayo, at 3600m/11880ft, where we will have lunch and there are bathroom facilities.
After lunch, we will continue hiking uphill for two hours until we reach the Runcuracay pass, at 3900m/12900ft, which is the second highest point of the Inca Trail. On the way, we will also pass the Inca sites of Runcuracay and Sacyacmarca, which means “Inaccessible Town”. The ruins at Sacyacmarca are protected on three sides by sheer cliffs. From this point, the path descends into a magnificent cloud-forest full of orchids, hanging mosses, tree ferns, and flowers. We will walk for two hours through this striking scenery until we reach our second campsite, Chaquichocha.
Day 3: Chaquicocha – Phuyupatamarca – Wiñay Wayna
In our opinion, this is the most rewarding and impressive day of the trek. We will wake up for breakfast at 5:00 a.m. and start the day with a gentle climb to the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca, the “Town in the Clouds,” which is the third highest point on the trail. After visiting this site, we will continue walking (up three thousand steps!) through the cloud forest and the impressive agricultural Inca site of Intipata. Finally, we will arrive at Wiñay Wayna, at 2680m/8792ft, for lunch time! After lunch, you will visit the archeological site perched on the steep, green side of the mountain, which is so beautiful that its name translates to “Forever Young”.
We will leave at 2:00 p.m. in order to get to Inti Punku “Sun Gate,” located at 2730m/8792ft. At the Sun Gate, you will have your first dramatic view of Machu Picchu, at 2400m/7873ft and we will watch the sun set over the iconic ruins. We will continue walking down the last part of the trail to the spot where you can take the classic “postcard” photo of this ancient city. After our first taste of Machu Picchu, we will descend to the main entrance and catch the bus down to Aguas Calientes to spend the night. Once we arrive in Aguas Calientes, you will have some time to relax at the hotel before we take you to the hot springs to soothe your sore muscles, relax, and maybe even enjoy a massage!
Day 4: Machu Picchu!
You will have a relaxing morning where you can sleep in and enjoy another trip to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes, if you like. You will then board a bus to Machu Picchu for a two hour walking tour of this amazing site. After the tour, you will have several hours of free time for your own exploration of the city. If you are interested, you may also climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain for US $65 extra.
After you have enjoyed Machu Picchu, you will take the PeruRail´s Expedition train back to Cusco, which departs at 2:55 p.m. This train will arrive at Ollantaytambo at 4:30 p.m. There, you will be picked up by your driver, who will be holding a sign with your name on it so there will be no confusion. You will then be transported back to your hotel/hostel in Cusco.
Price: US $750 per person.Includes half hour massage session in Aguas Calientes after the Inca Trail Trek and a Personal Porter (7kg) to carry your personal belongings
Group Size: 2-8 people
Prices are the same for private or group treks!
100% operated by Inti Sun Trek, we never put you with other tour operators.
We offer a discount of US $20 to children under the age of 16 years old.
Please note: Pick up and drop off from your accomodation is included in all our tours.
Student Discount with valid student ID card $20
Under 18 Discount $20
Under 7 Discount $50
Important Notice Regarding Student Discounts:
The ISIC card is no longer valid for purchasing Machu Picchu or Inca Trail tickets with a student discount.
Students can still obtain this discount with their student identification card issued by the university where they study, which is the only valid document for this end at this time. For more information, please visit the following link: http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/items/estudiantes.html
Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu and can be seen in most photos of the ruins. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. While this hike is done on your own, your guide will direct you to where this hike begins. This requires a separate entrance ticket that we can secure for you with advance notice, for an additional $75 per person.
Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu Mountain is the other mountain that stands above the Machu Picchu ruins. It offers even more stunning views than Huayna Picchu, but takes an hour and a half of steep climbing to reach the top. This also requires a separate entrance ticket that we can secure for you with advance notice, for an additional $75 per person.
The Vistadome train is an upgraded train, that offers slightly larger seats, windows, and even some entertainment! Normally, the Vistadome train is booked at 3:20 p.m. and travels to Poroy, a train station closer to Cusco (we will still include your transportation back to your hotel.) This train is $75 per person.
Storage during your trek: Most of our trekkers leave their belongings that they do not want to bring on the trek in the hostel they were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can securely store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to store your belongings for you.
Return train at the end of your Inca Trail Trek: The most common departure times that we book for our tourists are 2:30 p.m. or 2:55 p.m. On the final day of the Inca Trail Trek, we will wake up very early, in order to hike or take the bus to Machu Picchu in time for the sunrise. We understand that you will be very tired after a long trek, and this departure time will allow to eat an early lunch, while still having plenty of time to explore the ancient Incan city and to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain. After a refreshing lunch in Aguas Calientes, you will enjoy the train journey back to Cusco.
The 2:30 p.m. train will arrive in Ollantaytambo train station at 4:05 p.m., and the 2:55 train will arrive a bit later at 4:30 p.m. You will be picked up by your driver outside of the train station. The driver will be holding a sign with your name on it so that there is no confusion. If you do not see the driver initially, just wait for them outside of the train station. Once the driver has picked you up, you will travel for 1 1/2 hours in a van before you arrive back at your hotel/hostel. Arrival time in Cusco is approximately 6:30 p.m., or 7:00 p.m.
You may also choose to update your train ticket to the Vistadome train, for an extra cost of (US $60).
Important: We guarantee these departure times, as per the itinerary, only if you book your tours in advance. Otherwise, we may be forced to offer you a train that departs at a later time. Note: We will still pick you up at Ollantaytambo train station and bring you back to your hotel in Cusco regardless of your departure time.
- Half hour massage session in Aguas Calientes after the Inca Trail Trek
- Personal Porter to carry 7kg/15lbs of your belongings
- Professional tour guide who is fluent in English
- Private bus to the start of the trail
- Inca Trail and Machu Picchu entrance fees
- Two-person tents with plenty of room for your backpacks
- Sleeping mattress
- Meals cooked by an experienced chef: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners, and snacks!
- Delicious food rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking, and prepared from organic vegetables and fresh ingredients
- Water (We will provide you with boiled and filtered cold water during the trek after lunch on the first day. You will need to bring a container to carry your water in. Also, you need to ensure that you pack a sufficient amount of water for the first half-day of the trek.)
- Vegetarian/special diet options available
- Porters to carry the tents, food, and cooking equipment
- Porter’s health insurance paid for by INTI SUN TREK
- Dining and kitchen tents
- First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Dinner in Aguas Calientes on the third day
- One night accommodation in Aguas Calientes
- Breakfast on the fourth day in Aguas Calientes
- Three bus tickets from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu
- Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
- Breakfast on the first morning. Some hotels offer an early morning breakfast service. If not, we will stop at the town of Ollantaytambo on the way to the start of the trek where you will have the chance to buy breakfast.
- Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day.
- Sleeping bags (These can be rented from our office for US $20 for the entire trek. Every sleeping bag is washed prior to each use).
- Tips for the guide, cook and porters.
- Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain entrance fees
What to Bring:
- Original passport
- Sleeping bag
- A daypack to carry your personal belongings
- Insurance card/certificate
- Hiking boots
- Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
- Warm jacket
- Hat and gloves
- 2-4 t-shirts
- 2 pairs of pants (1 for hiking, 1 for relaxing)
- Long underwear for sleeping/thermal underwear
- Hand sanitizer
- Comfortable trousers
- Sun hat or cap
- Personal first aid kit, insect repellent
- Reusable water bottle or canteen
- Water and/or water purification tablets
- Toiletries/ toilet paper
- Personal medication
- Camera and Batteries
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Extra money for tips/snacks/beer. (We recommend at least 200-350 extra soles). (US $120)
Optional items to bring:
- Basic first aid kit
- Walking stick
- Bathing suit for hot springs in Aguas Calientes
Before You Go
At Inti Sun Trek, providing a personal experience and ensuring you are thoroughly prepared for your trek is very important to us. Before you depart on the Inca Trail trek, you will receive a briefing in our office. At the briefing, you will get to meet our staff, receive maps and a detailed description of each day of your tour, be given duffel bags if you have hired a porter, and have the opportunity to ask questions. Please do not forget to bring your original passport with you
Hiking in the Andes: Hiking the Andes is something that everyone can do no matter what age, but it is never easy. You will need to be at a moderate fitness level to be able to complete it comfortably. Each trail involves inclines that can take your breath away if you are not in shape and downhill hiking that can be tough on knees. Walking sticks are encouraged for everyone. Please remember the group treks are open to everyone, all abilities, so be patient and help those struggling with some kind words.
Getting to Cusco: The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through customs there. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day and with the same airline carrier, you must collect your bags in Lima and then check them again before continuing to Cusco.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air: LATAM tends to be the most expensive, but has the most options and flights. Regardless of the airline you choose, expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land and any inclement weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is also always available and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if you will be coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about twentyhours to arrive.
Storage during your trek to Machu Picchu: Most of our trekkers leave their belongings that they do not want to bring on the trek in the hostel they were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can securely store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to store your belongings for you. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.
Your safety is our first concern: Trekking the Andes is not your typical vacation. Since most people who come to visit us have little to no experience of life this high up in the mountains, we understand the large responsibility we have in ensuring that you are well taken care of every step of the way.
First Aid: Each year Inti Sun Trek guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February – every single guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts/scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better! It is important to be very honest with your guide as soon as you are experiencing any discomfort. If you suffer from any medical conditions, please let your guide know during the briefing so he is prepared to give you extra attention, if needed.
In case something unexpected happens and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way off the course and to a clinic. You will never be left alone, you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and reconnect with your group, traveling by train comfortably.
Travel Insurance: To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. This is a great way to protect yourself while visiting Peru.
Altitude: Altitude sickness is serious and has the potential to ruin your trip. The biggest mistake you can make is to fly directly to Cuzco and expect to hike the next day. Give yourself several days to adjust to the altitude first. You will thank yourself for this during the trek.
The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water and enjoy the coca tea. If, unfortunately, anything does happen and you get sick, let your guide know right away – all guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Weather: Of course, weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant. You will notice that there is a large variation between the minimum and maximum temperatures on the trek. In general, when the sun is out it will be very hot. In this heat, you need to drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated. The early hours of the morning and night can be very cold. As a result, you need to be prepared for just about every weather condition.
What to wear for the trek: One of the most important investments for this trek is a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Your feet will thank you after the long trek if your shoes are well worn in and waterproof. The temperature varies throughout the trek, so it is best to dress in layers. Avoid cotton, as cotton does not dry quickly and wet clothing will be a problem when the temperatures drop pack for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. a t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a sweater/microfleece, and a waterproof jacket. These items will provide you with enough warmth and will allow you to “peel off” layers as it gets warmer or your body temperature increases. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm winter-weight jacket. During the rainy season, rain pants are a good idea as we will encounter a lot of mud, rivers, and rain. A plastic poncho is also great because it will keep you and your pack dry. You can also pack your belongings inside of plastic bags to ensure they stay dry.
Do I need to bring hiking boots? Hiking boots are recommended, as they provide ankle support to reduce the risk of injury, especially when trekking in the wet season (December – March). However, it is important that your boots are comfortable and well worn-in. Many people prefer to trek in tennis shoes, but extra care should be taken. We do not recommend trekking in sandals, using new boots, or renting boots prior to the trek. Make sure the shoes are sturdy enough for the duration of the trek, waterproof and with good traction, and will not fall apart.
Can I use walking sticks on the Inca Trail? Many people like to hike with trekking poles or walking sticks. This is fine as long as the poles will not cause damage to the stone paving along the Inca Trail. If the trekking poles have metal spikes, then these must be protected by rubber tips. We recommend bringing some spare rubber tips with you (they can be purchased in Cusco or Ollantaytambo.) Wooden walking sticks are fine, as long as you bring them with you from home.
Recently, government authorities have stopped trekkers from using wooden sticks taken from local forests to prevent deforestation of the protected Andean region.
Strikes in Peru: A popular way for the people in Peru to communicate unhappiness with the government is to strike. This area sees quite a few strikes a year, which sometimes affects the logistics involved in our tours. Most strikes are well organized and planned in advance, so the office will have at least a few hours to make the necessary arrangements. Often, this involves leaving for your trek early, the night before. Please understand we will do everything we can to get you to and from the Trail and will give you the information you need as soon as we have it. We will always get you to and from the trail very safely.
Environmental Impact: We use biodegradable soap and transport all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up any waste from other groups, as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.
How is this trek different from the 4 Day Inca Trail?
This trek will take you through all of the same sites and amazing landscapes as the classic 4 Day Inca Trail. However, you will visit Machu Picchu twice: once in the afternoon of the third day, and again the morning of the following day for a more extensive tour.
On this trek, you will not have to wake up at 3:30 in the morning to stand in line to pass the last checkpoint of the Inca Trail. Instead, we will continue extend the third day´s hike all the way to the entrance of Machu Picchu, then spend the night relaxing in Aguas Calientes before returning to the site the next day.
How fit should I be to do this trek?
This trek is more demanding than the classic 4 Day Inca Trail, since the third day requires you to walk a further distance. In order to complete the trek, you must be at a moderately good level of fitness: to prepare, try walking at least ten kilometers per day or going to a fitness club three to four times a week in the months before you arrive in Peru.
How many hours per day will we walk on the trek?
On the first day of the trek, we will walk for about six hours. On the second and third days, we will walk for about eight or nine hours per day
What time does the Trek begin?
We will pick you up from you hotel/hostel in Cusco at 5:30 a.m. on the first day of the trek.
If we choose to include Huayna Picchu Mountain, what time will we climb it?
We will book you a ticket to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain at 10:00 a.m. after the walking tour of Machu Picchu on the final day of the trek. You will also have the option to climb Huayna Picchu earlier at 7:00 a.m. However, we do not recommend this time because it is often misty early in the morning. Please let us know your time preference when you book the trek.
Can I explore Machu Picchu on the third day of the trek?
No, since we arrive shortly before dark, we will only have time to take some photos and see a small part of Machu Picchu. However, you will have plenty of time to explore the entire site when you return to Machu Picchu the next day.
What will the personal porter carry?
This Inca Trail Trek includes the services of a porter for no extra cost. You can give him a maximum of 7kg/15lbs of your belongings to carry. Your sleeping bag will weigh approximately 2kg and your air mattress approximately 1kg. This makes a combined weight of 3kg, leaving 4kg/9lbs of personal items (clothing, toiletries, etc) to add to the porter-carried bag.
However, you will still need to bring a day pack with your essentials such as water, sunscreen, hat, camera, ect.
We will store your belongings in your hostel in Aguas Calientes before you arrive there.
On the fourth day of the trek, you can leave your belongings that you do not want to bring with you to Machu Picchu in the hostel in Aguas Calientes. After your tour of Machu Picchu, you can return to the hostel to grab your belongings before you head to the train station for your return trip to Cusco.
When will I recive my duffel bag to put my belongings in?
We will give you one of our specially designed duffel bags at the briefing for the trek the night before we depart. We use these bags to insure that the porters will be able to comfortably carry the weight.
What type of hostal does Inti Sun Trek use for Inca trek?
At Inti Sun Trek, we always book through El Tambo or Machu Picchu hostals which offer private, double rooms. These hostals offer comfortable beds, hot water for showering, WiFi, and breakfast.
NOTE: We guarantee these hostals will be reserved as per the itinerary if you book your trek two months in advance, otherwise we may be forced to offer substitutes.
Can I upgrade the hostel to a hotel in Aguas Calientes?
Every traveller has their own expectations for accommodation and that is why we offer you the option to book your own hostel independently.
The two hostels that Inti Sun Trek books are considered fairly basic and so if you wish to upgrade to a hotel you may either do this yourself or ask Inti Sun Trek to do it for you.
If you wish to book a hostel independently, a $20 discount is given per person off the tour price and you can use this money to pay for an alternative hostel.