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!
In 2017, we were able to obtain Inca Trail permits and tickets for all of our clients. We were also able to reserve space at the Wiñay Wayna campsite (the closest campsite to Machu Picchu) on the third night of the trek for all of our groups. This campsite is extremely popular, since it is only an hour and twenty minutes hike from the Sun Gate, where trekkers can see the sunrise over Machu Picchu before arriving at the site. However, the Peruvian government has changed the manner in which they assign campsites.In previous years, campsites were assigned when permits and tickets were purchased-both could be obtained at the same time.
For 2018, campsites will be assigned only three days before the trek departure, and Wiñay Wayna will be automatically given to the largest groups instead of to those who reserved their permits and tickets first. This means that it is possible some of our groups will have to camp at Phuyupatamarca on the third night of the trek.
The Phuyupatamarca campsite is located three hours from the Sun Gate. In spite of these changes, we guarantee that our clients will still be able to arrive at the Sun Gate in time to enjoy the sunrise anyway!
Cusco (3,300m/10,827ft) – 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.
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.
Chaquicocha – Wiñay Wayna or Phuyupatamarca
On this day, we will walk for only five hours, but see three Inca sites along the way. Though this is the easiest day, most hikers say it is the most unforgettable! From Chaquicocha, we will walk for about an hour and a half to get to Phuyupatamarca, the third pass, at an elevation of 3550m/11550ft. On the way, we will pass through an impressive Inca tunnel carved through sheer rock. From here, there are spectacular views of several snow-capped peaks, including Machu Picchu Mountain and the town of Aguas Calientes.
The Inca site Phuyupatamarca is located a short walk from the third pass. After visiting the site, we will continue to our final campsite, at either the nearby Phuyupatamarca campground or down a path of two thousand original Inca stone steps to Wiñay Wayna, located at 2750m/8910ft. (Campsites are assigned by the government three days before the trek and based on group size. For this reason, we cannot guarantee which camp you will stay at until your pre-trek briefing.) Wiñay Wayna is carved deep into the hillside above the Urubamba River and means “forever young” in Quechua. At whichever campsite we have the fortune to stay at, we will thank our porters for their tremendous efforts at the tipping ceremony, as in the morning they will descend downhill while we continue on to our final goal.
The Glory of Machu Picchu!
On our final day of trekking, we will wake up between 3:00 and 3:30 am in the morning, pack our bags, and set out for our final day of trekking to Peru´s most iconic landmark! Since our porters will leave us after Wiñay Wayna to descend by a different trail to the train station, we will take our breakfast to go. After a ten-minute walk, we will arrive at the Inca Trail´s final checkpoint, where we will queue with all of the other trekkers to wait for the park rangers to open the last section of the trail at 5:30 am. Our early wake-up time will ensure both that we get a forward spot in the line at the checkpoint and that our porters are able to catch the 5:30 am train.
Once the trail opens, we will hike in the early morning darkness for approximately ninety minutes until we arrive at Inti Punku, the “Sun Gate” (2730m/8792ft), just as the sun´s first rays appear over the rooftops at Machu Picchu—this first dramatic view of the sunrise over Machu Picchu will make for a memory you will never forget!
After soaking in the view, we will walk down the final part of the trail and approach the ancient city, where we will be able to celebrate our accomplishment and pose for photos together before the steep peaks and mist-filled ruins of this amazing place!
We will descend to the main entrance, where we can leave our backpacks, use the restroom, and enjoy a quick coffee. After our break, we will re-enter Machu Picchu for a walking tour of the mysterious city, followed by four hours of free time for your own exploration of the Incan site.
After enjoying our final hours at Machu Picchu, you will take the bus down to the town of Aguas Calientes, where we will meet for lunch and show you to your hotel. You will then be given your train tickets for the return trip to Cusco.
Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo – Cusco
After breakfast, you will board the 8:53 a.m. train for Ollantaytambo, which arrives at its destination at 10:50 a.m. In Ollantaytambo, we will pick you up and transport you back to Cusco by bus. If you choose to visit Machu Picchu a second time on the fifth day, we will book you the afternoon train instead, which departs at 2:55 p.m. and arrives in Ollantaytambo at approximately 4:50 p.m.
Price: US $780 per person. Includes Personal Porter (7kg/15lbs)
Group Size: 2-8 people per trek
Prices are the same for private or group treks!
100% Operated by Inti Sun Trek, we never put you with other tour operators.
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 Inca 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.
Train at the end of your Inca Trail Trek: The most common departure times that we book for our tourists is the 8:53 a.m. train. The 8:53 a.m. train will arrive in Ollantaytambo train station at 10:50 a.m. where 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 your driver initially, just wait for them outside of the train station. Once the driver has picked you up, you will travel for one and a half hours in a van before you arrive back at your hotel/hostel. Arrival time in Cusco will be at approximately 12:30 p.m.
However, if you are planning to reenter Machu Picchu and climb Huayna Picchu Mountain on the fifth day, we can book you the 2:55 p.m. train instead and arrange your transportation back to Cusco.
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.
- Pre-departure briefing the night before your tour in our office
- Porters that will carry your personal belongings (up to 7kg/ 15lbs) – no extra fee
- Pick up from your hotel
- Professional tour guide who is fluent in English
- Private bus to Km 82- the beginning of our trek
- Inca Trail entrance fees
- Machu Picchu entrance fee
- Two-person tents with plenty of room for your backpacks
- Inflatable 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, prepared from organic vegetables and fresh ingredients (Vegetarian, vegan, gluten, wheat free, or special diets options available)
- 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.)
- Porters to carry camping equipment: (tourist tents, dinning and cooking tents, table, stools, cooking gear, stove, gas container, cutlery, plates, food, and fresh vegetables).
- Portable toilet and toilet tent
- Porter’s health insurance paid for by INTI SUN TREK
- First aid kit including an emergency oxygen bottle and radios
- Bus ticket from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes
- Lunch and dinner on Day 4
- A hotel room with private bathroom on Day 4
- Breakfast on Day 5
- Expediton train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on Day 5
- Bus transfer from Ollantaytambo train station to your Hotel in Cusco
- Breakfast on the first morning. Some hotels offer an early morning breakfast service. If not, we stop at the town of Ollantaytambo on the way to the start of the trek, where you’ll have the chance to buy breakfast.
- Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day
- Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (optional: 10 soles)
- 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.
- Entrance tickets to Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain
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.
What type of hotel does Inti Sun Trek use for this tour?
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 hostels will be reserved, as per the itinerary, only if you book your trek at least two months in advance, otherwise we may be forced to offer substitutes.
Can I upgrade the 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 hostel that Inti Sun Trek books are considered basic and so if you wish to upgrade to a hotel you need to either do this yourself or ask Inti Sun Trek to do it for you.
If you wish to book a hostel independently, a $15 discount is given per person off the tour price and you can use this money to pay for an alternative hostel.
Are lunch and dinner included on Day 4?
Yes, once you finish your tour of Machu Picchu, your guide will lead you to your hotel or hostel in Aguas Calientes. After you have checked into your lodging for the night, we will meet to have lunch together at a restaurant in town. In the evening, you will return to the same restaurant for dinner which is included in the tour.
What is the extra cost if I want to reenter Machu Picchu and climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain on the fifth day?
The cost for the extra trip to Machu Picchu is US $75. This price includes the ticket to climb Huayna Picchu. You will also have to pay US $24 for your round trip bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back. An option to avoid this cost is to hike up to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. The hike is very steep and takes about 90 minutes each way.
Will our tour guide remain with us on the fifth day of the trek?
No, your tour guide will finish his job when he shows you to your accommodation in Aguas Calientes on the fourth day. However, do not worry: the hostel staff will help you with any requests you have and will be able to answer all of your questions.
What time will we take the train to Ollantaytambo on the fifth day?
After breakfast, you will board the train that departs to Ollantaytambo at 8:53 a.m. and arrives at its destination at 10:50 a.m. From Ollantaytambo, we will pick you up and transport you back to Cusco by bus. However, if you are planning to reenter Machu Picchu and climb Huayna Picchu mountain on the fifth day, we can book you the 2:55 p.m. and arrange your transportation back to Cusco.
Is it recommended to climb Huayna Picchu at 7:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. on the fifth day?
During the rainy season (November to April) fog and clouds often cover Machu Picchu early in the morning. If you are planning to visit during these months, we recommend that you choose the 10:00 a.m. climbing time. Once the sun has established itself, the fog in the mountains usually clears, giving you a great view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding landscape.