Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4D/3N
Peru is home to Machu Picchu—one of the 7 new wonders of the world. No one has truly been able to grasp how the Incas were able to construct such a magnificent mountaintop city made from heavy stones that were meticulously placed in the most intricate of designs. The Classic Inca Trail is the most highly sought after route to these magificent sacred ruins. The Inca Trail meanders across two mountain passes that tower over 13,768 feet (4,215 meters) before it drops down to where Machu Picchu sits at an altitude of 8,020 feet (2,435 meters) above sea level. This Andean path is still composed almost entirely of the original construction which is a true testament to the Incas’ engineering.
While trekking on the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you will witness the spectacular sight of the Peruvian sun peeking out from behind elysian mountains, streaking the sky with a stunning palette of colors that bleed from pale yellow to a deep cherry red as nights blend into days. At the end of the route, you will be greeted by the light of the sunrise which slowly reveals the awe-inspiring ruins of the ancient site of Machu Picchu. This major trekking spans for 26.5 miles (43 km) which allows you to travel through a wide range of landscapes including the alpine tundra and the lush cloud forest. While the route only takes 4 days to complete, the experiences you will have here will last you for a lifetime.
When you decide to book this trekking, you will have the opportunity to not only visit the sacred city, but you’ll also be able to visit Wayna Picchu—the breathtaking mountain that stands just behind Machu Picchu. Wayna Picchu is incredibly popular due to its amazing vantage points and panoramic views of Machu Picchu. It is said that as you travel the Incas’ route up Wayna Picchu, you will witness some seemingly impossible structures that will really pull at your imagination. If you are really interested in climbing this mountain, then you should book it as early as possible. Only 450 people are allowed to visit the site per day, and many book the hike several days and in most cases, months in advance.
Classic Inca Trail – Overview
- Starting altitude – 8920ft. / 2720m
- Highest altitude – 13,780ft. / 4215m
- Walking distance – 26miles / 45km
- Longest day – Day 2, approximately 9.9 miles / 16km
- Coldest night – Day 2 around 0° Celsius
- Overall difficulty – Challenging
Inca trail permits
In order to hike the 4-day Classic Inca Trail, you must have a permit which we will obtain for you. Unfortunately, the Peruvian government limits the amount of permits issued to only 500 people per day so as to ensure your safety and to keep the trail in good condition. Furthermore, everyone must have a permit no matter which tour you choose (2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 day), and this is not limited to your tour guides and porters. Consequently, the permits run out very quickly.
Classic Inca Trail – Itinerary
DAY 1: Piscacucho (Km.82)–Ayapata
We will pick you up from your hotel in our private bus to take you the starting point (km 82) of the 4-day classic Inca Trail. The first day of the hike is relatively easy and is going to help you settle in to the trek. While trekking 14km of the trail up the Miskay and Cusichaca valley, we will pass by an astonishing cluster of Inca ruins accompanied by the impressive views of the mountain ranges and an eclectic mix of local herbs and animals. Afterward, we will camp for the night at Ayapata (3,350m/10,850ft). Since it is further along the Classic Inca Trail than most groups go, we can enjoy quite a bit of peace and tranquility, and the trek up to the pass the following day will be shorter for us.
DAY 2 Ayapata – Chaquicocha
At 6am after a healthy breakfast, we will start climbing up to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass (4,200m/13,768ft) which is aptly named due to it being the highest point of the trek. During this part of the stretch, we will pass an alluring native forest featuring trees that are over 350 years old before continuing up the steep stairs for about 2,700ft (823m) more. We recommend that you take all the time that you may need to stop for breaks because this part of the Classic Inca Trail is considered the hardest and the most challenging. Upon reaching the pass, we’ll stop for a short time to enjoy the scenery, but afterwards, we will descend for two hours to the other side of the valley where we will have lunch.
Following lunch, we will begin ascending again for about 2 hours to the second pass of the trek. Once we are about half way up, we’ll pause for a moment at a small Inca site in Runcu Raqay, before we continue climbing to the second pass (4,000m/13,040ft). After having survived 2 passes in one day, we will go downhill to the other side of the mountain until we reach the amazing ruins of Sayacmarca where we’ll have a quick guided tour. Most notably, we will have the incredible opportunity to enjoy the fiery sun set over the Vilcabamba mountain range. Once we make camp and eat dinner at Chaquicocha (3,600m/11,736ft), if you are interested in the magnificent southern hemispheric sky, we can revel in some stargazing. Our passionate guide would be delighted to point out the fascinating Incan constellations.
DAY 3 Chaquiqocha – Wiñaywayna
Following the completion of day 2, you must certainly be proud of yourself! On day 3, we will again start the day early at 6am. This day has unanimously been said to be the most beautiful day out of the whole 4-day trek. We will commence the hike on the beautiful, gentle gradual inclines colloquially dubbed the “Inca flats”. Then, we will enter a jungle cloud forest where we’ll have the chance to experience the majesty of Salkantay—the tallest snowcapped mountain and the most stunning view of the Vilcabamba mountain range.
Phuyupatamarca (3,650m /11,899ft) is the last pass of the trek. It features spectacular views overlooking the Urubamba River, and it is here where you’ll get your first glances of Machu Picchu Mountain. As we descend, the landscape will start to change dramatically. We will enter another jungle that contains to enchanting Inca sites called Phuyupatamarca (town in the clouds) and Intipata (terraces of the sun). After approximately 3 to 4 hours, we will arrive to the camp just in time for lunch. Then, as a way to relax, we’ll take a leisurious walk to Wiñaywayna which is notably the most beautiful Inca ruin along the Inca Trail. We will take this opportunity to relax and take in the beauty of this ancient site.
DAY 4 Wiñaywayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco
Today, we will conquer the last stretch of our trek. If we want to arrive to the Sun Gate early enough to watch the sun rise over the Machu Picchu, we will need to wake up at 3:30 in the morning. After reaching the last check point of the Inca trail, we’ll pass the control gate which leads to an hour-long gentle path to the Sun Gate. This is where you’ll witness the first dramatic revealing of the Machu Picchu Inca ruins. After taking in the jaw-dropping sights, we will keep hiking down until we reach Machu Picchu.
After 4 days of hiking the Classic Inca Trail, we will have finally arrived to Machu Picchu—the most sought after place in Peru and arguably one of the world’s greatest treasures. Along with our professional guide, we are going to visit the most impressive temples and palaces of this magnificent site. After the tour, you will have free time to explore the city on your own in order to discover the other magical places that speak to you. Once we have finished wandering through the ruins, we will catch a bus down to Aguas Calientes. After spending so much time with your group, you may want to share your last lunch together before you catch the train from Aguas Calientes back to Ollantaytambo which will be subsequently followed by the bus ride to Cusco. Your transportation will be at the train station awaiting your arrival at the previously scheduled time.
What is Included in the Classic Inca Trail Package?
Airport/Hotel: Upon your arrival to the airport in Cusco, one of our representatives will be waiting to transport you one-way to your hotel.
Professional Tour Guide: We work with professional tour guides with many years of experience on adventure trekkings. They have a collegiate-level education and degrees in tourism, and they’ve also studied English at a university. Our guides are all passionate about the History, Archeology, and Astronomy of Peru. They’re always happy to teach you about their heritage and to answer any questions you may have.
Entrance Fee: We cover the following entrance fees: The entrance fee onto the Inca trail and entrance fee into Machu Picchu.
Briefing: The night before your journey there will be an orientation where your guide will give you all detailed information about the trek. You will also receive your duffel bag which must hold all of your personal belongings. If you bring additional items that weigh more than a total of 7kg/14lbs, you can leave them in your hotel or carry them yourself in your day bag. Your sleeping bag or air mattress in the event you have brought or rented one should be included in your 7kg/14lb allowance.
Porters: The number of porters coming along depends directly on the number of the hikers in the group. These people are in charge of transporting all of the camping equipment, food supplies and your 7kg/14lb personal duffel bag.
Transportation: All transportation is included from the first to the last day of your trip. This includes the bus to the trailhead, the bus from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes, and the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. Our train service is Expedition Class, but it can easily be upgraded to the Vistadome train.
Camping Equipment: Our camping equipment is of the best quality and is very comfortable. Each tent will be shared by 2 people unless you had previously placed a request for a single tent. We also provide a spacious dining tent and a kitchen tent.
Food: Our amazing and experienced chefs, prepare all of the meals, and they make this magic happen during the trek in a small tent over a single flame. As we are always looking out for the well-being of our clients, we provide only all natural, fresh vegetables and properly-selected meat from the Andes of Peru. We honor all food restrictions, but you should mention any dietary needs you may have while you are booking your trek. Food is served family-style and will be traditional dishes from Peru and Cusco. Our meal service is listed accordingly: 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners, and every morning your chef will provide you with a snack to enjoy along the trail.
Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, you will be provided with all of the water you will need. The water comes straight from the glaciars and streams; it will be boiled, filtered and cooled before being distributed. You must bring your own water bottles or Camelbak. It is highly recommended that you carry about 3L of water at a time. You will have the chance to refill your bottle every day during each meal.
What is not Included on the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
Sleeping Bag: You really need a sleeping bag when you choose this trek. A couple of our campsites are above (3,500m /11,390ft), therefore, the temperature drops down below 0°C. We highly recommend bring sleeping bag for -10°C (available for rent).
Inflatable Air Mattress: It is optional, but it helps with getting a good night’s sleep (available for rent). If you have your own air mattress, we highly recommend bringing it with you.
Walking Poles: They’re highly recommended. It helps you keep your balance, especially when going down steep hills. If you bring your own, they must have a rubber tips. If you do not have a pair, they can be rented from us.
Huayna Picchu: This amazing mountain stands behind Machu Picchu; the views from the top are spectacular. It a 45-minute hike both ways, and it is quite steep. If you are interested in experiencing this adventure, you need to book it in advance. Also, we highly recommend doing the climb with the second group at 10am because the views are so much better.
Breakfast: Breakfast is not included on the first day, but once we take you to the trailhead, there will be a quaint restuarant where you can purchase breakfast before the hike begins.
Lunch: After the tour at Machu Picchu, we’ll go through the town of Aguas Calientes. Before boarding the train back to Cusco, you can enjoy one of our traditional Peruvian dishes at a nice restaurant with your group and tour guide.
Classic Inca Trail – Prices
We warmly welcome you, and we really want to make sure that you have the best possible experience on the Classic Inca Trail. Our treks can be during any date of the year as long as there are available governmental permits for that day. Permits are only needed for your start date.
*Group Service Price: $650 USD Per Person*
A group service means that other hikers are able to join you. Your group will have varying hiking and fitness abilities. Our Professional Tour Guides are experts on how to keep the group moving and happy no matter how fast you go.
*Private Tour Service is also available and is priced by party size.*
The 4-day Classic Inca Trail is the best trek to Machu Picchu, but it’s even better if you share this amazing experience privately amongst your friends or loved ones. This option is highly recommended for families with children or for people who don’t have much hiking experience because you can set your own pace without having to worry about waiting for the others or trying to keep up with them. Our private tours can start at any size, and we all will do our best to make this the most positively unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
- 2 Hikers: $700 per person
- 3 Hikers: $690 per person
- 4 Hikers: $660 per person
- 5 Hikers: $630 per person
- 6 Hikers: $600 per person
- 7 Hikers: $570 per person
- 8 or more Trekkers: $550 per person
Student Discount: $40 USD (Requires ISIC Card to qualify)
Student Discounts apply to anyone who has a valid GREEN ISIC card at the time of the Inca Trail tour, or is 16 years old or younger. For those using an ISIC card to receive the discount, we do need to see a copy of the card at booking time. For children who are 16 years old or younger, we need a copy of their passport at the time of booking. Please send all information to firstname.lastname@example.org
Inca Trail Tours – Optional Extras
- Sleeping Bag $25 USD
- Walking Pole $8 USD each
- Inflatable Mattress $25 USD
- Single Tent Supplement $30 USD
- Huayna Picchu: $65 USD per person
- Vistadome train (One-Way): $65 USD per person
Additional Free Tours
If you are traveling to Peru with your family or friends and there are 4 or more people in your group, then you automatically get one of our additional tours for free. You may pick whichever one you like from the list below. Please note that we do not include the entrance fees for these, but we do include the transportation and a professional tour guide.
Do not worry single travelers! If you travel with us, you will also get special discounts on any of our additional tours.
- South Valley Tour
- Maras Moray Tour
- Sacred Valley Tour
- Cusco City Tour
Inca Trail Tours – Packing List
- Original Passport
- White Imigration card that you received on the plane as you entered Peru
- Green Isic Card, if you booked as student
- Hiking Poles with rubber tips
- Hiking boots with ankle support
- Head lamp
In your Duffle Bag
Remember you are packing for 3 nights of camping and porters will carry up to 7 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
- 3 wicking t-shirts
- 2 hiking pants
- 3 sets of undergarments
- 3 sets of hiking socks
- 1 Fleece jacket
- Warm, down jacket: this trek includes 2 cold nights of camping
- Quick-dry towel. We provide small ones.
- Battery Charger: There is no place to plug-in on the trek
- Sleeping bag: Recommend down bags for -10°C at least
- Face moisturizer
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
In your Daypacks
Small daypacks are always recommended. Inside Machu Picchu, only bags no bigger than 25L will be allowed in. If it is larger, you will need to store it outside the citadel gate.
- Water: We supply clean water at each meal.
- Bug spray
- Rain gear
- Fleece jacket
- First-aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc.
- Toilet paper and small plastic bags for waste
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips
Inca Trail – Booking
How to Book
It’s always better to contact us directly and to confirm with our team before booking. Once you are ready, please fill out the Booking Form and pay the Deposit of $200 USD per person. Our office will email you back that same day with your confirmation. We always send out confirmations, so if you don’t hear from us, check your spam or contact our office and we will resend them.
We are so excited to take you on the 4-Day Inca Trail, and thank you for trusting us to give you the best possible experience.
We Are: Inka Trail Explorer
We are an adventure tour company; we operate treks on the Inca trail, Salkantay, Ausangate, as well as to Choquekirao and Lares. We provide adventures with authentic life, changing experiences in each of our treks. We ensure the quality of our trips, by operating our own programs in Cusco