The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

If you are only going to trek to Machu Picchu once in your life, do it in style with this high quality 9-day itinerary including time to acclimatize and enjoy Cusco. Our Inca Trail programs can add one day onto the Trail. On this itinerary, we start the Trail a half day after the largest tourist groups. In this way, our camp sites are always half a day behind the big groups, ensuring quieter, more private nights, and a less crowded Trail during the day. Similarly, we arrive in Machu Picchu after the morning crowds have left the site, allowing for a more relaxed introduction to this legendary place. Rates vary depending on hotel choice and group size, we offer 3 star, 4 star and 5 star hotel options.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco Arrival

Cusco Arrival
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Accommodation: Quinta San Blas by Ananay

Today, you will be picked up at the airport in 4:00PM and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)


Cusco is a beautiful city with well preserved colonial architecture, evidence of a rich and complex history. The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets one sees the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly atop Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst. The city is surrounded by a number of ruins, the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman, the site of the 1536 battle in which dozens of Pizarro's men charged uphill to battle the forces of the Inca. Nowadays, Cusco is known for its indigenous population--often seen on the streets in traditional clothing--and its substantial tourist-fueled night life.

Day 2: Cusco

Daily Summary
  • Tour: Half Day City Tour & Nearby Ruins
  • Accommodation: Quinta San Blas by Ananay
  • Meals: B

Half Day City Tour & Nearby Ruins

Today, you will be taken on a half day private guided tour of the city, including some of the nearby Inca ruin sites. Cusco is a city with a wealth of history and splendor. As you wander through the streets, you will be guided through centuries of traditional culture and unique architecture. There is something to be admired in every direction you look, and a story to be told at every street corner. During your exploration, you will have the opportunity to discover the many highlights and hidden gems of Cusco. Although the modern travelers and vibrant night life can now be recognized in the city, Cusco is still known for its indigenous population--often seen on the streets in traditional clothing, maintaining it's colonial charm.

Your tour will then head out of Cusco, to visit the main Inca ruins in the Cusco valley, visiting Tambo Machay, Puca Pucara, Kenko, Sacsayhuaman, as well as some lesser known ruins. These impressive sites serve as a great introduction to Inca history, and by walking around them, you will continue to acclimate to the high altitude. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 3: Cusco - Sacred Valley

Cusco - Sacred Valley
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Maras & Moray Exploration
  • Accommodation: Hotel Pakaritampu
  • Meals: B

Maras & Moray Exploration

Today, you will be whisked away on a half day private tour of Maras & Moray. This excursion begins with a visit to the famous circular ruins of Moray. Your expert guide will teach you all about the extraordinary history behind this attraction, as you explore the fascinating ruins at your own pace. Moray is believed to have been an Incan agricultural center, that was once used to improve high altitude crops. This would have been an essential commodity for the massive Incan armies and road building teams, that supported the empire.

After visiting Moray, your adventure continues to the ancient town of Maras, characterized by beautiful Spanish decor and a central church. On the journey back down to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, you will visit some of the area's most famous salt pans. Covering entire hillsides, this iconic pattern of pans is impressive, to say the least. At the end of your tour, you will be driven the rest of the way to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 4: Sacred Valley - Inca Trail

Sacred Valley - Inca Trail
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Cusco - Chillca - Huayllabamba
  • Accommodation: Camping - Inca Trail
  • Meals: B, L, D

Cusco - Chillca - Huayllabamba

This morning, you will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco, to embark on the fascinating Inca Trail Trek! A spectacular drive through the Andean highlands will take you to Chillca, the trailhead (2,670 m / 8,760 ft), where your adventure on foot begins. Crossing a footbridge, you will be led on an undulating trek through a dry cactus zone, beneath soaring views of Mt. Verónica, with the turbulent Urubamba River on your right. You can stop for a break on a bluff, high above the Cusichaca Valley, to let your breath be taken away by the imposing sculpted terraces of Llaqtapata, a massive Inca farming complex. Afterwards, you will turn south and follow this side valley upstream to the village of Huayllabamba, where you will set up camp for the evening (3,000 m / 9,842 ft).

Distance: 16 km
Duration: 7 hours
Max Altitude Point: 3,000 m

Day 5: Inca Trail

Inca Trail
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Huayllabamba - Pacaymayo
  • Accommodation: Camping - Inca Trail
  • Meals: B, L, D

Huayllabamba - Pacaymayo

From Huayllabamba today, you will begin a steeper ascent, climbing the Llullucha valley, along a stream that rushes through enchanted native unca woodland. Crossing the rim of a small plateau, you will abruptly find yourself in the puna, the treeless grasslands of the high Andes. Here, a stretch of open trail climbs beneath mighty crags, to your first and highest pass, Warmiwañusca (4,200m/13,776ft). From Warmiwañusca, you can look back to the spectacular snow peaks and valleys of the Huayanay massif, and ahead, to a distant view of tomorrow’s trail to the second pass. Descending a stepped stone trail, you will encounter your campsite (3,627m / 11,899 ft) in a clearing of the forested Pacamayo valley.

Distance: 7 km
Duration: 7 hours
Max Altitude Point: 4,200 m

Day 6: Inca Trail

Inca Trail
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Pacaymayo - Phuyupatamarca
  • Accommodation: Camping - Inca Trail
  • Meals: B, L, D

Pacaymayo - Phuyupatamarca

Picking up camp this morning, you will head along an Inca stairway and ascend again past the small Inca site of Runkuracay . As you reach the second pass (3,900 m /12,800 ft), the landscape opens onto spectacular new views of the snow peaks of the Pumasillo range. You will descend again to the ruins of Sayacmarca (Inaccessible Town), an intricate labyrinth of houses, plazas and water channels, perched precariously on a rocky spur overlooking the Aobamba valley. The Inca trail, now a massive buttressed structure of granite paving stones, continues along the steep upper fringes of the cloud forest, through a colorful riot of orchids, bromeliads, mosses and ferns. At the third pass, you will camp by pinnacles topped with Inca viewing platforms, overlooking the archaeological complex of Phuyupatamarca (Cloud-level Town) (3,600 m / 11,810 ft).

Distance: 11 km
Duration: 7 hours
Max Altitude Point: 3,900 m

Day 7: Inca Trail - Machu Picchu Pueblo

Inca Trail - Machu Picchu Pueblo
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Phuyupatamarca - Machu Picchu
  • Accommodation: El Mapi Hotel
  • Meals: B, L

Phuyupatamarca - Machu Picchu

Today, you will explore the wondrous maze of Inca stone towers, fountains and stairways, spilling down the mountainside at Phuyupatamarca. You will then proceed to begin a long descent through ever-changing layers of cloud forest. An Inca stairway, partly cut from living granite, leads you at last to the site of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) (2,650 m / 8695 ft), the largest and most exquisite of the Inca Trail sites. In the afternoon, you will follow the last stretch of trail across a steep mountainside and through a lush, humid cloud-forest of giant ferns and broad-leaf vegetation. Suddenly, you will cross the stone threshold of Intipunku (Sun Gate) and encounter an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry –a backdrop of twisting gorges and forested peaks framing the magical city of Machu Picchu (2,430 m / 7,972 ft). Every step of your excursion will be worth it, once you are rewarded with this! Following your first visit to the ruins, you will continue to Machu Picchu Pueblo, where a comfortable night's rest in a hotel awaits.

Distance: 11 km
Duration: 5 hours
Max Altitude Point: 3,600 m

Day 8: Machu Picchu Pueblo - Cusco

Machu Picchu Pueblo - Cusco
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Machu Picchu Guided Tour
  • Transportation (Train): Peru Rail
  • Accommodation: Quinta San Blas by Ananay
  • Meals: B, L
Peru Rail
Aguas Calientes - Cusco
Train: Vistadome
Departs: TBA
Arrives: TBA

Machu Picchu Guided Tour

Enjoy an early morning visit to the fabled ruins, spending today in both guided and individual exploration. Take your time to investigate the multitude of hidden nooks and corners, as you discover the most fascinating features of this astounding and mysterious Inca settlement. If you're itching for a challenge, you may be interested in embarking on the grueling trek up to the summit of Huayna Picchu. Facing steep and exposed steps, this journey is not for the fainthearted, but offers an astounding "condor's eye" view above the ruins. Please note that this trek requires a special Huayna Picchu Permit, which has not yet been included in your tour. Should you be interested in taking on this expedition at an additional cost, please let us know as soon as possible, as permits do sell out.

After an overwhelming adventure of this glorious monument to the Inca achievement, you will ride the return shuttle down to Machu Picchu Pueblo, where you will board the Vistadome train back to Cusco. Upon arrival at the Poroy station, which is located just outside of Cusco, you will be greeted by your driver and transferred to your accommodations within the city. Fall asleep dreaming of today's once in a lifetime experience!

Day 9: Cusco Departure

Cusco Departure
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Meals: B

Sadly, you have reached your final day in Peru. You will be transferred to the airport in good time to board your international departure flight home...Buen Viaje! (This service is on a private basis.)


Quinta San Blas by Ananay

Quinta San Blas by Ananay

One of our top picks in Cusco, this restored republican house from the 17th century is located in the artisan neighborhood of San Blas. The hotel has 20 rooms, two cozy patios, a massage room, breakfast area, and terrace. Highly rated for cleanliness, featuring free WiFi access and a daily breakfast, Quinta San Blas by Ananay Hotels provides accommodation with impeccable service in Cusco. The property is 100m from Hatun Rumiyoc and 200m from San Blas Church. Rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV, a safety-deposit box and a wardrobe. All of them have private bathrooms with free toiletries. The 24-hour front desk provides helpful information for getting around the area.

Hotel Pakaritampu

Hotel Pakaritampu

Hotel Pakaritampu is located in the town of Ollantaytambo, in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, 1 hour and 30 minutes by car from Cusco. The local train station of Ollantaytambo offers easy access to Machu Picchu, on a scenic journey that is just 1 hour and 15 minutes away from the hotel. The property boasts 37 guestrooms that feature spectacular views of the area, lovely balconies, and a private bath with hot water and a shower. Nestled in the mystical wonders of the Andes, you will be surrounded by picturesque gardens and a variety of typical flora of the region.

Camping - Inca Trail

Camping - Inca Trail

There is no where more epic to spend the night, than tucked in between the dramatic Peruvian Andes, covered by a majestic blanket of stars. Enjoy the convenience, comfort and assistance of local porters and cooks, who will quickly become friends, as you trek through the impressive mountain scenery. The porters will carry all of your luggage, so you only need to worry about your day pack and making the most of this experience. Each evening, the tents will be assembled for you and delicious meals will be freshly prepared. The tents are sturdy and can fit up to two people. Each morning, you can wake up to the sweet smell of breakfast, accompanied by a heavenly panoramic view of the mountains.

El Mapi Hotel

El Mapi Hotel

Step into the smart, contemporary and cozy confines of El MaPi, amidst the picturesque Machu Picchu Pueblo. Discover an efficient, lively and friendly atmosphere, which will welcome you into a wondrous escape from real life worries. The flowing lobby creates a sense of vitality. Lofty ceilings, panoramic windows and an open air cafe, allow natural light to filter between tall eucalyptus dried branches, creating a lovely and relaxing ambiance. Make the most of your enlightening visit to Peru’s most famous destination, the Machu Picchu archaeological site, with the perfect home away from home at El MaPi.

Pricing and Details

Starting from $ 2,398 per person

*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.

Price Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

Price Excludes

  • International & domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

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