Price: From $2,549/person

Duration: 10 Days

Trip Rating: Moderate

When to Go: April-November

The INC (Instituto Nacional de Cultura) regulations allow only 500 permits per day for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and are granted on a first-come first-serve basis. Native Paths highly recommends that you make reservations 4-6 months in advance to secure your space.


All Inca Trail departures are subject to permit availability. Native Paths can offer this trip on alternate dates for a minimum of two participants. Please contact us for the latest update on permit status. Generally the trekking permits sell out 5 months in advance.

Highlights

  • Access to UNESCO world heritage site, Machu Picchu.
  • Four day hike on the Inca Trail
  • Learn about the Incas, their empire, art, architecture, and history during your visit to the Sacred Valley.
  • Try world-famous Peruvian food
  • Adopt five trees

Tour Itinerary

Days 1-4: Cusco & Sacred Valley

Cusco is located at 11,300 feet - this first afternoon in the city you may want to take it easy so that you can begin acclimating to the altitude. Upon arrival at the Cusco airport you will meet our representative. On the way to your hotel you will see examples of Spanish colonial architecture raised upon the foundations of ancient Inca palaces and temples. The first 48 hours are to explore Cusco as much as possible and get used to the altitude, which is not a minor detail considering the many days you will be at high elevations. You want to start your trip off right avoiding any health inconveniences.

Calle Hatunrumiyoc, Inca street wall near plaza in Cusco

Calle Hatunrumiyoc, Inca street wall near plaza in Cusco

An expert guide will take you to some of the world’s best archaeological sites in and around the city, including the Cusco Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas and the fabulous Temple of the Sun or Qoricancha (the heart of the Inca Empire). You will also visit the spectacular ruins of the Sacsayhuaman fortress overlooking the city, as well as the ruins of Q'enko, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay nearby. Before heading to the Sacred Valley, we recommend to explore on your own some of Cusco's less visited attractions including the famous San Pedro market, colonial neighborhood of San Blas or museums such as Pre-Columbian Art and the Casa Concha. The first two nights of the trip are at your leisure to explore the city, taste world famous Peruvian food, and enjoy Cusco night life.

We will introduce you to the beautiful Peruvian countryside with a full-day tour of the magical Sacred Valley, home to several royal estates of Inca emperors.

First, you will visit the town of Pisac, famous for its bustling indigenous market and for the beautiful Inca ruins on the hillside overlooking the city. In the market you will have the opportunity to browse the beautiful handicrafts and Andean garments displayed for sale as well as the local fruits, vegetables, and other natural products. While exploring the Pisac ruins above, you will wander through walls and palaces of spectacularly cut stones. Hungry yet? We'll take a buffet break at a restaurant offering a variety of Peruvian and international food near the town of Urubamba. After lunch you will visit the remarkable Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo. This magnificent archaeological site that clings to the hillside overlooking the small town of Ollantaytambo still has Inca houses at its base, making Ollantaytambo the only Inca city that is still inhabited today.

Now it is time to grab an early dinner and make sure you get a good night's rest. You will have an early transfer the next morning to start the Inca Trail.

 

Day 5: Ollantaytambo, KM82, Wayllabamba

Start your day with an early pick-up from your hotel and a scenic drive through the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo. Here you will collect your trekking equipment and food, and you’ll also meet the rest of your trek team before continuing by bus to Piscacucho (KM82) where the Inca Trail starts.

Once you cross the Piscacucho Bridge over the Urubamba River, you will begin the trek. You will walk on even terrain along the shore of the river until you reach the small community of Miskay, where you will have the chance to rest. Continuing on a path towards a viewpoint, you will be rewarded by a remarkable view of the Inca site of Patallacta.

Patallacta, "Village in the Heights," is an archaeological complex situated at the foot of a mountain on the left bank of the river Cusicancha, a tributary of the river Urubamba. There are many terraced fields here that probably served to feed other settlements and Tambos (pilgrims’ rest stations) along the Inca Trail. The archaeological site has hundreds of structures and several terraces. After lunch you will continue the trek for another two hours until you reach the first campsite of Wayllabamba. 

Hike distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)
Start of trek: 8,860 feet (2,720 meters)
Maximum altitude: 9,850 feet (3,000 meters)

Approximate trekking time: 5 to 6 hours
Gradient: Moderate

Overnight in Tents (Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).

 

Day 6: Wayllabamba, Pacaymayo

The second day is the most rigorous, as you will reach the highest elevation sections of the Inca Trail with a long steep climb to the Abra de Warmiwañusca known as the “Dead Woman's Pass,” at over 13,700 feet (4,200 meters).

Along the trail you will be able to appreciate the change in the natural landscape as you pass from the moderate temperatures of the valleys into the arid and cold high plains. Right before the pass, a campsite called Llulluchapampa sits on a small plain bordered by two streams of crystal clear water. Once you cross the pass, a twisting path of steps descends steeply across a natural valley to the next campsite. Today you will end your hike at the Pacaymayo Valley campsite. Here you will have dinner and take a well-deserved rest after a strenuous day on the trail. 

Hike distance: 5.6 miles (9 km)
Minimum altitude: 9,840 feet (3,000 meters)
Maximum altitude: 13,780 feet (4,200 meters) Warmiwañusca pass   Approximate time: 6 to 7 hours
Gradient: Challenging

Overnight in Tents (Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).

 

Day 7: Pacaymayo, Wiñay Wayna  

After breakfast, the hike continues along the Inca Trail with plenty of archaeological sites. A steep climb will lead you to the Runkurakay Pass. Halfway along the trail you will hike by the site of Runkurakay, an Inca tambo, or lodge, of semi-circular design with a view of the valley of Pacaymayo, “Hidden River,” below.  You will continue on to the lakes of Yanacocha and Sayacmarca. Aptly dubbed the “Inaccessible Town,” another Inca site along the trail is Sayacmarca, an interesting set of ruins located on a cliff with a panoramic view of the Aobamba valley and the snow-covered peak of Pumasillo. This construction comprises a labyrinth of very narrow corridors, some with exits and others without. The only access to the ruins is by a steep, but solid, stone staircase carved into the side of the mountain. You will pass Conchamarca, a small archaeological complex. Then the trail goes up again and you come to a 60-foot (18 meter) long tunnel with steps carved out of the rock. Continuing the climb, you will reach the third and final mountain pass of the trek at Abra de Phuyupatamarca. The path then continues downhill to the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca, “The Town above the Clouds.” This is a unique site along the trail. It is almost always covered in the mist rising from the cloud forest and is located on the side of a gorge looking down into the Urubamba Valley.  As the day ends, you will head toward the ruins of Wiñay Wayna or “Always Young” where you will camp for your final night. The complex consists of Incan agricultural terraces where water was worshipped. The campsite on the final night is ideal to share time with your trekking team allowing you to say goodbye to your cook and porters who will walk ahead of you early the next morning to catch a train back to Cusco.      

Hike distance: 9.3 miles (15 km)
Minimum altitude: 8,860 feet (2,700 meters)
Maximum altitude: 1,2960 feet (3,950 meters)
Approximatetime: 8 to 9 hours
Gradient: Moderate

 

Days 8-10

After an early start with breakfast at 5:00 a.m., you will be on the final leg of the trail by 5:30 a.m. in order to reach Inti Punku, the Sun Gate entrance to Machu Picchu. From here you will descend to the citadel for a 2-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu. You will be able to appreciate the complicated masonry carved into the very Andean mountains. After your guided tour, you have the option to explore more of the site on your own and take some final photos. In the afternoon you will take a comfortable train back to Ollantaytambo, then a bus to Cusco and be transferred to your Cusco hotel for the evening. 

Hike distance (to Machu Picchu): 2 miles (3 km)
Minimum altitude: 7,875 feet (2,400 meters)
Maximum altitude: 8,860 feet (2,700 meters)
Approximate time: About one hour of hiking

Gradient: Moderate - Easy
Train ride: 1.5 hours
Bus ride to Cusco: 1.5 hour
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Inti Huatana in Machu Picchu Cusco

Inti Huatana in Machu Picchu Cusco

The day before going back to Lima you will have plenty time to enjoy of what Cusco and its surroundings have to offer. For any particular activity you are interested in we can arrange it for you by working with people with the same service standards that we are committed to.                                                                          

On your final day our agent will pick you up from you hotel after a buffet breakfast for your transfer to the airport to continue with your journey or to find your way back home.