The famous Classic Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu arriving at the Sun Gate in the afternoon
Known as one of the world’s ten best hikes,This is the original pilgrimage route for the Inca to their most sacred temple and is a highly popular route, being trekked by hundreds of visitors each day.
Our Classic Inca Trail trek takes you all the way to Machu Picchu on day 3 with an overnight stop in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, before returning to the site the next day for a full tour. There are a number of reasons why we think this is a better option than staying at the final campsite. Firstly, the gate on the path from the last camp is locked until 5:30am by which time everybody is in a long queue to start walking another two hours until Machupicchu. When the gate opens there is a headlong rush with lots of pushing and shoving along a wet and narrow trail. The reason for this rush is that everyone wants to be first to get to Machupicchu and sun gate to take the best photos of Machupicchu uncrowded. However, even if you are the first person to get there from inca trail, it is going to be crowded because they open at 6 am Machupicchu. And the irony is that most days there is heavy morning mist over the site and nothing can be seen at all.
This alternative route has the advantage of avoiding this crazy early morning stampede. You can walk to the Sun Gate in the early afternoon, almost invariably by yourself, and take time to enjoy the last section of the Inca Trail. The weather is generally better later in the day and there will be far less people photo-bombing your pictures. We then drop down to a hotel in Aguas Calientes where you can enjoy a shower and a good night's sleep, before returning the next day, fully refreshed, to tour the Machupicchu site. But please book early, because permits sell out months in advance.
2-3 Trekkers US$799 per person
4-6 Trekkers US$765 per person
7+Trekkers US$725 per person
Student Discount: US$20 (Requires ISIC Card to qualify)
Under 18's Discount: US$20
Sleeping Bag US$20
Walking Pole US$15
Inflatable air matts US$20
Hotel single room +US$35
Huayna Picchu permit US$25
we will pick you up from where ever you are staying in Cusco, Urubamba or Ollantaytambo. Pickup from Cusco will be at 4:30AM. At your briefing, these times will be confirmed as they might fluctuate based on where you staying. We'll set out from Cusco on a TrueMountainTourist bus to arrive in the Inca's Sacred Valley. We'll have a break in Ollantaymabo, then drive to Km 82, arriving at about 7:30AM. After you get ready, we’ll go through the first Inca Trail checkpoint to begin our trek (please make sure you have your original passport with you to enter the Inca Trail). The first 2 hours of the trek are relatively easy as we make our way to our first Inca site, Patallacta which is an ancient Inca checkpoint for the approach to Machu Picchu. From Patallacta it’s another 2 hour hike to our lunch stop. After lunch we will hike for another 2½ hours until we reach the first night’s campsite at Ayapata (3300 meters). On this last stretch we pass through 2 small communities. If you want to buy any energy drinks or snacks you can do so here, you can also buy any essential items such as batteries that you may have forgotten. We’ll arrive to our campsite by 5:00PM and after settling in for a bit you can relax and have a hot drink and snack with your team of porters, chef and guide. By 7:30PM your dinner will be ready, and afterwards you can get some well-deserved rest.
Walking distance: 8.7 miles/14 km (6-7 hours)
Campsite altitude: 3300 meters (high) above sea level
Considered: Moderate day (getting used to the Inca Trail)
Weather: Warm and windy
Leave your alarm clocks at home. Instead, your wake up call will be a hot cup of coca tea in bed. Today is our longest day and we will start early. We’ll hike for roughly 4 hours to the highest pass of the trek, Dead Woman’s Pass (4215 meters/13829 feet). On reaching the pass we’ll stop for a short break to enjoy the views before setting off again to descend to the next valley (Pacaymayu Valley – Hidden River). It’s another hour and a half down the side of the valley to our lunch spot and a chance to refill our water bottles. After lunch we begin ascending again to the second pass of the trek. It’s 2 hours to the pass and along the way we’ll stop at a small Inca site (Runku Raccay) and see two huge waterfalls cascading down the opposite side of the valley. After the second pass, it’s another hour downhill hike to reach the magnificent Inca site, Sayacmarca (an otherwise inaccessible village).
We’ll stop here for a rest and have a quick tour of the site and then watch the sunset over the Vilcabamba mountain range. It’s then just another 20 minutes until we stop for the night at our second campsite Chaquicocha (Dry Lake, 3600 meters). After dinner, if you’re not too exhausted, we can do some star gazing and we’ll point out the fascinating Inca constellations. In the magnificent Southern Hemisphere sky, away from all the artificial lighting, this sky is something to behold!
Walking distance: 9.94 miles/16 km (7-8 hours)
Campsite altitude: 3600 meters (high) above sea level (chilly weather)
Considered: Top day (you will have survived the two highest passes)
Area: Andes and Cloud Forest
Weather: Cold and rainy
Completing Day 2 and beginning Day 3 certainly deserves a pat on the back! wake up call early again, to begin what is commonly felt to be the Day 3: Chaquiccocha – Wiñaywayna – Sun Gate – most beautiful day of the whole Inca Trail. We hike for 2 hours along what we like to call “Inca flat” (gradual inclines) and begin to enter the jungle, known as the Cloud Forest. As we walk we will have the opportunity to see the majesty of Salkantay, the second highest snow-capped mountain in the Sacred Valley, and a fantastic panoramic view of the Vilcabamba mountain range. Towards the end of the Inca flats we begin to make our way up to the last peak at Phuyupatamarka (3600 meters) from where we’ll have great views overlooking the Urubamba River. Down the valley we get our first views of Machu Picchu Mountain but the site itself is still hidden from view. From Phuyupatamarka it´s a 3 hour walk down a flight of steps to our lunch spot, close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). Wiñay Wayna is the most popular campsite because its proximity to Machu Picchu. During the descent we visit Inca ruins, Phuyupatamarka (Town in the Clouds), Intipata (Terraces of the Sun) and Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). We arrive at our lunch spot (2600 meters) around 12:30PM to have lunch.
We like to spoil our guests as we enjoy our last feast with the porters and chefs. It’s an Inca Trail tradition to organize a ceremony to introduce the team to the tourists once again and to thank them for the great job done (if you wish to provide tips for them then you can do so at this time). Afterwards we will walk 1 hour to the Sun Gate, where we will see the picturesque landscape of Machu Picchu. After taking in the once-in-a-lifetime views, we will begin our descent to Machu Picchu.
A big advantage of this hike, is that by the time we reach Machu Picchu, most of the day travelers will have returned home, so you will have the area to yourself. After taking photos, we take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and head to your hotel. After dinner, we recommend going to bed early to make the most of the next day.
Walking distance: 8 miles/14km (6-7 hours)
Considered: Easy day – mostly downhill!
Area: High Cloud Forest
Weather: Warm and very humid
We will wake up early in the morning in order to catch the sunrise at Machu Picchu. You will have a two hour guided tour by your private English speaking guide. After that, you will have time to explore Machu Picchu by yourself. Those who have tickets to huayna picchu will have time to climb the mountain, which takes approximately an hour and a half, round-trip. When you are done exploring, you can either take a bus, or walk, down to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included). Following, you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy, and then a bus to Cusco, where you will be brought back to your hotel.
- Trekking briefing the night before at your hotel with your trekking guide where your guide will overview the trek and provide the duffle bags which will be carried by our porters.
- Pick up from your hotel
- Transfer in private transport to km82 ( trailhead )
- sleeping tents (we only put 2 in each tent) very spacious, large and comfortable with plenty of room to fit your trekking gear and your day packs
- Foam mats to put under your sleeping bag (carried by horses)
- Dining and cooking tents with tables and chairs (very confortable)
- English-speaking professional guide (2 guides for groups over 10 people)
- 3 meals per day, tea social/happy hour every afternoon, snacks every morning
- Portable private toilet tent
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank
- Chef, cooking equipment and kitchen tent
- Porters (to carry tents, food, cooking equipment)
- Drinking water every morning, lunch, happy hour, and dinner time and water for washing your feet and hands
- Expedition Tourist class train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, then a private Van to transfer back to your hotel in Cusco
- Entrance to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex
- Bus to/from Machu Picchu (roundtrip)
- 2 hour Private Guided tour of Machu Picchu with plenty of time to explore on your own
- Hotel in Aguas Calientes double or triple rooms, private bathrooms, hot showers, wifi, and storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
- Climb to the Sun Gate, inka bridge.
- 8 kg /17 lb luggage allowance to be carried by our porters (you will trek only with your day pack which is way more confortable than carrying a big bag!)
- We are a locally owned Peruvian company with the best adventure guides, professional chefz, and amazing porters.
- We will create a the trip of a lifetime experience for you.
- Taxes included
- breakfast on the first day
- Lunch on the last day
- Sleeping bag (this can be rented from the company for $25 for the entire trek)
- Walking sticks (this can be rented from the company $20 for the entire trek)
- Optional inflatable sleeping pad (7cm/3″) (you can rent from the company $20)
- Optional Huayna Picchu Climb ($75 per person)
- Original Passports and student cards (if applicable and booked as a student)
- Good backpack or daypack
- Good sleeping bag (can be rented from the company for $20)
- Hiking boots
- Walking sticks (can be rented from the company)
- Warm clothes (the temperature changes – you might experience 4 seasons all in one day)
- T-shirts (4), sun hat, 2 pairs of pants/trousers, gloves, 4 pairs of socks, rain jacket, warm jacket, extra layers
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Insect repellent (non malarial mosquitos)
- Rain poncho (you can buy this in Cusco or on the trek)
- Toiletries, toilet paper, wipes, hand sanitizer
- Bathing suit
- Sandals are recommended to get changed into the evenings
- Water bottle (it’s not necessary to bring water tablets)
- Personal medical kit
- Student card if you are student, you must scan it when you are booking
- Some plastic bags in the rainy season
- Waterproof gloves (important!)
- Toiletries: toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, wipes, hand sanitazer
- Good trekking shoes as the trail is mudy and slippery in some sections