7 days

Inca Trek

Inca Trek

The 'Lost City of the Incas' - UNESCO World Heritage-listed Machu Picchu

UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient Inca capital of Cusco

Warminwanusca - 'Dead Woman’s Pass' on the Inca Trail

Trip rating
  • This is one of Peregrine’s shortest and most rewarding trips in Peru. It will take you high into the Andes Mountains following along ancient Inca trails. Your ultimate destination is the sensational ruins of Machu Picchu, perched on a mountaintop overlooking the magnificent Urubamba River. It is hard to believe these ruins were lost to the world until 1911, when they were re-discovered by an American explorer. Recent permit restrictions on the 'Classic' route sometimes means that we will need to use the more remote but equally challenging 'Quarry' route. Either route will see you out trekking along old Inca pathways through absolutely breathtaking scenery.

    Why we love it

    • Learn your llama from your alpaca, your vicuna from your guanaco in the Sacred Valley's Awana Kancha Tourist Centre
    • Put your stamina to the test clambering over Warminwanusca
    • Walk past Inca ruins and the Vilcabamba range en route to Phullupatamarca
    • See the sun's rays wash over the setting of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate


    Day 1 - Cusco

    • On arrival at Cusco Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel, close to the centre of the town. You will have a pre-departure meeting at 2pm. Please check the noticeboard at the hotel reception for details of the exact time and place of your pre-trek briefing.
    • This meeting will generally followed by an orientation walk with your leader.
    • If you arrive early in Cusco, there is plenty to see and do in this former Inca capital. Most of the major attractions are easily accesible on foot and it is easy to while away the time.
    • Tonight there will be an optional group dinner.
    Terra Andina hotel or similar

    Day 2 - Sacred Valley

    • The Sacred Valley, located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River. On your full day tour of the Sacred Valley, you will see evidence of the Incas' engineering skills in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River, imposing sets of terraces and centres of worship dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth).
    • At the Sacred Valley you will visit the the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is built out of massive stone blocks and is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength, The Awana Kancha tourist centre where we see llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco all in the one place and the colourful market town of Pisac and the towering Inca citadel at Ollantaytambo. Built on a steep mountainside this grand citadel served as both a temple and fortress. A walk up to the top is rewarded by fine views over the village and out further into the valley.
    Samanapaq hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 3 - Inca Trail Km 82 - Wayllabamba (8km)

    • Important Note:
    • We trek the ‘Classic’ and the ‘Quarry’ routes, both of which include a visit to incredible Machu Picchu at the end of the trek. Although you will normally trek the 'Classic' route, it is restricted by the number of trekkers permitted on the trail each day and unless you have booked early, it may be difficult or impossible for you to secure the necessary group permits (especially during the peak season).
    • It is also closed during the month of February for cleaning and rejuvenation. If you are unable to confirm your permit for the 'Classic' route you will instead use the ‘Quarry’ trail. This is an exceptional alternative. Venturing further off the beaten path, this trek winds its way through remote rural villages and provides stunning views across the Andes. Along the way you can mingle with local families, llama herders and weavers, renowned for their brightly coloured hats and ponchos. The trek is of similar altitude and level of difficulty as the 'Classic' route and also includes a visit to the town of Aguas Calientes and the magnificent Machu Picchu, recently voted one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’.
    • The following description refers to the 'Classic' route. Please refer to the 'Itinerary Variation' earlier in these trip notes for details of the 'Quarry' route.
    • This morning you will set off for the Inca Trail by travelling from Ollantaytambo heading to Kilometre 82, where your trek begins. Today you will hike past the ancient hilltop fort of Huillca Raccay and the beautiful archaeological site of Llactapata.
    • It is a fairly leisurely hike and along the way there are stunning views of snow-capped Veronica Peak (5860m). Following the river you will pass a tiny village and continue on to your camp at Wayllabamba, located at 3000 metres. Porters are provided on this trek, so during the day you will only need to carry a daypack with your personal items. This needs to be big enough to carry such items as water, camera and a warm jacket.
    Camping on the Inca Trail
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Inca Trail - Pacaymayo (11km)

    • Today is the most difficult part of the trek as you climb to Warminwanusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass (4200m). Along the way you will trek through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery to be seen anywhere in the Andes. This is the first and highest of three Andean passes on the Inca Trail, with breathtaking views over the snow-capped Vilcanota and Vilcabama mountain ranges.
    • Ahead of you, you will see the ruins of Runkuracay and in the valley below, Rio Pacamayo (Sunrise River). Here the trail changes from dirt to steps and stone pathways, your route will take you through a landscape dotted with rural hamlets, grazing llamas and well-preserved remnants of the Incan culture.
    • Although it's not too arduous, you will make a steep descent to the valley below, and your camp beneath the cliff tops at Pacamayo (3600m), overlooking the cloud forest.
    Camping on the Inca Trail
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Inca Trail - Winaywayna (15km)

    • You will climb up to the oval-shaped ruin of Runkurakay, which is believed to have once been an Inca tambo or post house. Pushing on up the Inca staircase and beside two tiny and fast diminishing mountain lakes, you will be rewarded at the summit of your second pass (3900m) with spectacular views of Pumasillo (6245m) and the entire snow-capped Vilcabamba range.
    • From here it will be a steep descent and then ascent to your third pass and the ruins of Phullupatamarca, where we embark on a long descent into a beautiful orchid-filled cloud forest. The scenery will blow you away! Butterflies flutter across the trail and the air is pure and clean as you head to breathtaking Winaywayna (2650m).
    Camping on the Inca Trail
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 6 - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes (5km) - Cusco

    • The day starts before dawn with breakfast served nice and early at approximately 4.30 am. The early start serves two purposes, one we farewell our porters as they descend to the train station to catch their 6.30am train home and two, we are ready to start hiking by 6am by when the gate that leads through to the Inti-Punku (sun gate) opens. The walk to the sun gate takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.
    • Here you will enjoy your first views of the complex of Machu Picchu, often referred to as the Lost City of the Incas. On a clear morning the view from the Sun Gate can be quite stunning and creates a lasting impression that will stay with you long after you return home.
    • Built around 1450, the city was deserted less than a century later following the Spanish invasion and ‘lost’ for hundreds of years before it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. The architecture of Machu Picchu is quite extraordinary, with the mortar-free design particularly earthquake resistant and the stones so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife fits between them.
    • You will tour the site with your guide and then have some free time to explore by yourself, before taking the bus down to the small town of Aguas Calientes. There are some small shops and restaurants in the town where you can wile the time away.
    • Alternatively you may choose to wash away the dust and grime of the trail in the hot thermal baths located on the edge of town. In the afternoon you take the train back to Cusco.
    Terra Andina hotel or similar

    Day 7 - Cusco

    • Your short journey in the Peruvian Andes ends after breakfast this morning.
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking specialist trekking guide and assistant trekking guide.
    • Four day trek on the ‘Classic’ or 'Quarry’ routes to Machu Picchu.
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu and park fees.
    • Machu Picchu- Guided Tour
    • Full service camping including the services of porters and a cook, a sleeping bag, inflatable sleeping mat, and use of a kit bag & Walking pole during the trek.
    • Arrival transfer.
    • Authentic Accommodation- 3 night comfortable hotel, 3 nights full service camping
    • Meals- 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners.
    • Tips for services you receive as part of your trip including drivers, specialist local guides & porters (excluding your tour leader)
    • Full Boleto Turistico Pass: A tourist pass that gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in and around Cusco, including Qenqo, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Saqsaywaman, amongst others.

    Not Included

    • International flights, airport departure taxes, visas where required, meals not included in the itinerary, insurance, laundry, any optional tours or activities during free time, tips for your tour leader and items of a personal nature.
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Inca Trek

    Rob - Australia, 25 Oct, 2012
    Overall Rating

    Tour leader and guide were very good, and accommodating

    Inca Trek

    Kathleen - , 31 Dec, 2011
    Overall Rating

    The Machu Picchu trek was fantastic; comfortable walking pace and distance, amazing views, wonderful campistes, ridiculously large amounts of very tasty foods and the best service anyone could imagine on a trek. Loved Machu Picchu; the views were worth the walk and the slipping on the many stairs and even the torrential rain over "dead woman's pass". Would do it all again!


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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PSIT
Start City: Cusco
End City: Cusco
Style: Small Group

What to know

A good level of general fitness and pre trip training is required for the Inca Trek. You will trek on hilly terrain, generally on well-defined paths, walking between 6 and 8 hours per day. Altitude may exceed 4000 metres.

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