INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU (5 Days, 4 Nights)
Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan spiritual haven. In 2007 its ruins were declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it is now one of earths most famous trekking destinations. The Incas built a series of roads throughout the Andes, now called the "Inca Trail"; follow in their footsteps on this adventure to the "Lost City".
DURATION: 5 Days, 4 Nights
TYPE: Trek with camping (tents provided)
DIFFICULTY (1 - 5): 3, Moderate. Multiple days of hiking. Includes moderate to steep inclines and declines. There will be some strenuous climbs, but we will take our time. Trek preparation is recommended.
- Professionally guided tour of several Incan Archeological Sites (including Machu Picchu)
- Hike on the the exact same path built and used by the Incas in the 13th century
- More time to spend at the Incan ruins, kick back and enjoy the stunning views
- Great option for families with children or members who need to hike the trail a little slower
- Enjoy fewer crowds and the best campsites
- Multiple micro-climates, including cloud forests, rain forests and mountain scenery
- The most popular route to Machu Picchu
DEPOSIT for both PRIVATE and GROUP Tours: $200/Trekker. We use this deposit to secure your hiking permits and your tickets for Machu Picchu in advance. The $200 will be deducted from the Total Price below.
PRIVATE TOUR PRICE BREAKDOWN: A "Private Tour" is just your group and our guides.
2 PEOPLE - $1,100.00
3 PEOPLE - $980.00
4 PEOPLE - $915.00
5 PEOPLE - $880.00
6 PEOPLE - $870.00
7 PEOPLE - $885.00
8 PEOPLE - $825.00
9+ PEOPLE - $800.00
GROUP TOUR PRICE: $800.00
A "Group Tour" means you or your smaller group will be paired with other individuals and/or smaller groups that are doing the same hike on the same dates as you.
*A 5% Transaction Fee will be added to the Total Cost. We are charged to convert and transfer money. We do our best to keep this rate as low as possible.*
*Highly recommended that reservations are made 4+ months in advance*
TRANSPORTATION: All transportation is included. However, if you would like to take the Vistadome train back to Cusco after the trek, rather than the "normal" train, tickets are an additional $70.
FOOD: All food is provided. In fact, we'll be hiking with a professional chef! Our chef and his staff will cook you some of the best meals you've ever eaten, and they'll do it in the middle of the Andes. Please notify our staff of any food allergies or restrictions and we will ensure that the food is prepared property.
WATER: Your guides will supply all of the water you'll need on the trek. The water will first be boiled, then filtered and then cooled. You'll need to bring a container for the water (Camelback, Nalgene, etc.), we recommend carrying at least 2L, your water container will be refilled at each meal.
PROFESSIONAL GUIDES: Kusa Treks strives for greatness and this starts and ends with our people. All of our trek leaders are locals to this region and studied Tourism and/or Archaeology at a University. They are all fluent in English and are passionate about their work. Trust me when I say, there is no better person to be on the Inca Trail with than a Kusa Treks guide, you will be in incredible hands.
PERMITS & TICKETS: Once you pay the trip deposit we will purchase your permits for the Inca Trial and Machu Picchu. The government issues permits in your name, under your passport number and for a specific time-frame; they cannot be changed once confirmed, which is why the initial deposit is non-refundable. We will also secure your train tickets and entrance tickets to Machu Picchu.
MEDICAL EMERGENCY: Alright, emergency sounds a bit dramatic. However, you can be confident in your Trek Leader. All of Kusa Trek's guides receive extensive First Aid training from a qualified and licensed physician, and we conduct mandatory review/training sessions twice a year. Your Trek Leader will carry a Hiking First Aid kit (including oxygen), and should the need arise we will get you off of the trail and to a medical facility as quickly, and comfortably, as possible.
TENT: Your tents are provided, they are comfortably, roomy and cozy. Sleep well chicos!
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:
HIKING EQUIPMENT: To complete the Inca Trail, you will need a sleeping bag, some type of air mattress (ThermaRest), and walking poles (with rubber tips). If you do not wish to purchase or travel with these items, we have high quality equipment you can rent:
- Sleeping Bag: $25
- Inflatable Air Mattress: $15
- Trekking Poles (2): $20
PERSONAL PORTER: Porters are local men from the Andes who help carry the majority of our supplies during the trek (tents, food, cooking equipment, etc.). You can choose to hire a Porter who will carry up to 19.8lbs. (9kg) of your belongings, we will provide a bag for you to put your belongings in, which the Porter will take and run ahead of our group. If you choose to hire a Porter you will be responsible for carrying the things you need throughout the day (sunscreen, snacks, rain jacket, etc.), you will not have access to the things the Porter carries until we reach camp at night.
NOTE: You can always "split" a porter with another trekker, you would each pay $40 and the Porter will carry ~10lbs. of each of your belongings.
Learn more about Porters on our FAQ page under "Porter's...Men or Superhero's?".
HUAYNA PICCHU (Wayna Picchu): Huayna Picchu is the pointy, tall mountain in the background of all the pictures of Machu Picchu. Tickets to climb it are available for travelers who wish to hike up an ancient staircase to the top of Machu Picchu's sister mountain. Hiking to the top of it provides adventurers with incredible, unique views of Machu Picchu. This secondary hike will have a 1-hour ascent, 15 minutes to take selfies and high-five at the top of the mountain, and then a 45-minute descent. FYI, the ascent and descent are pretty steep, but totally worth it! Price: $75/person
NOTE: tickets to ascend Huayna Picchu are limited, and are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis.
VISTA DOME TRAIN: On the way back from Machu Picchu to Cusco, we will book tickets on a "regular" train. However, there is a company that offers a train ride in a "Vista Dome Train" through the Sacred Valley. This train has glass walls and a glass ceiling, which provide panoramic views of the surrounding beautiful Andes mountain-side. Tickets include in-trip meals and entertainment. Price: $65/ticket.
Day 1: Our adventure begins!
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 9,842ft. (3,000m)
- Min Altitude: 8,790ft. (2,680m)
- Distance Traveled: ~6.8 miles (11 km)
- Walking Time: 4-5 hours
Our journey together starts early, private transportation will pick you up from your hotel at 5AM. Our 3-hour drive to the trek starting point includes stunning scenery and a hot breakfast, prepared by our professional chef. We'll start our trek by hiking next to the Urubamba River, the trail will start with flat terrain, which will help warm up your legs and muscles for the day ahead.
The first two hours of the trek aren't too difficult, we'll make our way to the Miskay community (9,184ft / 2,800m). After visiting this community we'll hike to the first Incan Archeological site of our trek, the Patallacta Ruins. These ruins acted as a checkpoint for the ancient Incan people as they approached Machu Picchu, after taking a break to enjoy the view we'll walk a short ways down into the canyon and enjoy a freshly prepared lunch at a spot with spectacular views of the Patallacta Ruins.
After lunch we'll hike at an easy pace for 2-3 more hours, you'll enjoy the stunning scenery of the Andes that surround you and your Trek Leader will tell you historical accounts of the Incas and facts about the surrounding country-side. We'll reach our private campsite near the village of Hatunchaka (10,800ft. / 3,300m), where hot showers are available for 10 soles.
Day 2: Difficult, but beautiful
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 13,821ft. (4,215m)
- Min Altitude: 11,811ft. (3,600m)
- Distance Traveled: ~7.1 miles (11.5 km)
- Walking Time: 6 hours
You'll be roused from your tents early, around 5:00AM, by a smiling Porter with a hot cup of tea. Our first task today will be to conquer the hardest stretch of our hike...Dead Woman's Pass. The ascent is steep, but the views of snow capped peaks make it all worth it! However, the main benefit of turning a 4-day hike into a 5-day hike is that we can take our time. We will hike to the pass at a leisurely pace and stop frequently to enjoy the view and eat a snack or two.
Once we reach the peak of Dead Woman's Pass we'll pause to take a family picture and rest our legs and lungs. After a quick break we'll begin our decent into the valley where the landscape will shift from a cloud forest to the Puna region of the Andes, which is a dry grassland with little vegetation. Alpacas and Llamas love to roam this region in large herds, and with any luck you'll be able to see some up close and personal.
Our decent will last about 2 hours, all of it downhill. We'll stop for lunch around 1PM and will have the rest of the day to rest and explore the Pacaymayo Valley. As night approaches we'll enjoy a family tea-time, followed by another fabulous, gourmet dinner prepared and served by our professional chef. You can choose to stay up and gaze on the Milky Way with unobscured and transcendent views, or head to your tent to catch up on sleep. Sleep well chicos!
Day 3: Stunning Views!
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 13,123ft. (4,000m)
- Min Altitude: 12,033ft. (3,680m)
- Distance Traveled: ~8.1 miles (13 km)
- Walking Time: 9 hours
Our crew will wake you up around 6:00AM with a hot cup of tea and a warm breakfast. Once our bellies and water containers are filled we'll commence our trek by heading up the opposite side of the valley we hiked down to the previous night. We'll ascend to the second pass of our trek, which thankfully is not nearly as challenging as Dead Woman's Pass was.
Today's hike is full of incredible, breathtaking views starting with early waterfalls and a variety of stunning Andes flowers. After hiking for about an hour we'll pause to explore the Runkuraqay Ruins, which served as an Inca Watchtower over 600 years ago. After learning about its history and catching our breath we'll hike another hour to reach the top of the pass, after which we'll start out descent into another cloud forest.
An hour into the cloud forest will lead us to Sayacmarca, which is one of the coolest ruins we'll see on our trek (besides Machu Picchu of course). We'll stop here and enjoy a guided tour of these beautiful ruins, which will last about an hour. After touring the site and resting we'll hike to our lunch for the day, which is at Chaquicocha, or "dry lake", which has fantastic views and several rare, indigenous flowers.
After lunch we'll hike for 2 more hours at a slight incline until we reach our campsite for the night, our final campsite on the trek. This campsite is located just below Puyupatamarca, which is another set of Inca ruins with an absolutely sensational view of the Vilcabamba Mountain Range below. Once we arrive at our campsite, we'll actually have our first view of the Machu Picchu mountain, we'll just be looking at the "back side" of the mountain that Machu Picchu was built on. We'll settle into our site around 3 or 4PM and then we'll have time to explore the incredible Archeological site above us, while enjoying a majestic sunset over the snow-capped peaks of the Andes.
Day 4: Sun Set over Machu Picchu
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 12,033ft. (3,680m)
- Min Altitude: 7,902ft. (2,430m) (Machu Picchu)
- Distance Traveled: ~6.1 miles (11 km)
- Walking Time: 5 hours
The day will start and end with the prettiest sunrise and sunset you'll ever see in your life, weather permitting...After a warm breakfast and shower (you wish!), we'll actually take some time to do a guided tour of Puyupatamarca, the ruins right about our campsite. After the tour we'll start a long descent on stone steps that will lead us to Wiñay Wayna (8,700ft. 2,650m.), which is the second largest set of ruins on our trek aside from Machu Picchu. These ruins included the Intimate, or "Terraces of the Sun", which are incredibly impressive and will give you a taste for what's ahead at our final destination.
We'll spend an hour or two at this site, and enjoy a guided tour of the ruins in addition to a dramatic view of the Sacred Valley stretching out below us. After our tour we'll share a final gourmet lunch with the Porters, we'll share a tearful goodbye with these incredible men and press on to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate). After pausing to take pictures of Machu Picchu, which lays below us, we'll hike for another hour downwards, using flat stones that were laid by the Incas hundreds of years ago as the final stage of their journey to the City in the Clouds.
We will reach the upper walls of Machu Picchu, which is where the best photo opportunity is, we'll take a family picture and learn some history about this amazing site. We'll see Machu Picchu just as the last of the crowds are leaving and the sun begins to set behind its majestic silhouette. After taking a few (thousand) pictures, we'll catch a bus to our hotel in Aguas Calientes (those traveling as a private group have the option to camp rather than stay in a hotel).
Day 5: Tour of Machu Picchu, tearful farewell
Our group will rise before the sun, eat an early breakfast and board one of the first buses to Machu Picchu. The 10-15 minute bus ride will be spent in eager anticipation by all, because it will lead to our entry of Machu Picchu. Once we arrive you will be treated to a 2-hour tour from your Trek Leader of Machu Picchu and its incredible features. Those who purchase tickets to climb HUAYNA PICCHU will do so at the end of the tour. It usually takes 2 hours round-trip and provides sensational views of the Machu Picchu. Those who decide not to climb Huayna Picchu will have an extra 2 hours to explore the ruins up close or simply rest in the city center.
Once we have explored our fill of the Jewel of the Andes we will take a bus back to Aguas Calientes where we'll enjoy a final lunch together, share hugs, have tearful goodbyes, and part as friends for life. Please note, that lunch is optional and is not included in the trek costs, but we will take you to a great, and reasonably restaurant in the middle of the city. After lunch, you will board a train back to Ollantaytambo, where a private bus will take you back to Cusco and drop you off at your hotel. You can plan on being back in Cusco around 7 - 8PM. Adios amigos, it was an amazing journey!