Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu 5 Days / 4 Nights

5 Days

Go a bit slower on this Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 5-day/4-night trek and take in the wonders of the Andes!

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu treks generally follow the same itinerary as our clasic tour 4d/3n but at a more leisurely pace. You can spend more time at each ruin along the way. This is a great option for those worried about their hiking capability and speed, as well as families with younger hikers.

You can relax and enjoy a stress-free experience when you trek with Alpaca Expeditions. We take care of everything, from offering the best campsites to serving delicious and nutritious meals and providing top-notch equipment. Our dedicated team of a friendly guide, talented chefs and helpful porters will manage your experience flawlessly, so you can appreciate the stunning scenery and make unforgettable memories!

Tour Type: Hiking, camping, adventure, history, culture
Total Distance: 43 km/26 miles
Good For: Families with children, or those who wish to take their time
Difficulty: Moderate, but challenging
Considerations: Permit required

Overview

Inca Trail Availability & PermitsThe Inca Trail is one of the most popular treks in the world, and as such, availability is limited. If you are planning to hike the Inca Trail, it is important to book your trip well in advance. The availability of the Inca Trail is affected by a number of factors, including the time of year, the number of people in your group, and the number of spaces regulated by the Peruvian state.

Only 500 trekking permits are issued per day for Inca Trail treks annually; Inca Trail permits are also required for your travel team such as porters, cooks, and guides; therefore, booking the Inca Trail in advance is essential. because there are multiple needs, to take care of, there is no set amount of time in advance that you must book and guarantee an Inca Trail to Machu Picchu entrance ticket.

The best time to hike the Inca Trail is the dry season, which runs from May to September. It is also the busiest time of the year, so it is important to book your trip as far in advance as possible.

Don’t wait until next year – book now to ensure you get your preferred start date

Inca Trail Highlights

  • THE TRAIL. Built in the 1450s by the powerful Inca Empire, the trail required the use of rocks which were transported from nearby quarries and delicately carved to fit in precision and meticulously.
  • NATURE. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu passes through a wide range of microclimates as a result of varying altitudes. Along this trail, travellers hike from high altitude puna to high brow of jungle.
  • INCA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES. The trail takes hikers along valleys and through mountain passes, and grants hikers access to the archaeological sites of Patallacta/Llactapata, Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Inti Pata, Winay Wayna, and Intipunku. The Inca Trail leads directly to Machu Picchu and offers the hike of a lifetime.
  • HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE. The Inca trail to Machu Picchu holds great significance as it is the only hiking trail that grants access to Machu Picchu. After hiking 3 days along valleys and through mountain passes, all hikers reach Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate – and important construction of Machu Picchu citadel.
  • CAMPING EQUIPMENT. its implementation of top-quality equipment such as tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags and others.
  • FOOD. During your hike you are guaranteed to put on some pounds. Our chefs have special yearly training to create unique meals while on the trail. Our food is prepared with fresh ingredients, and is served buffet style. Our services includes breakfast, snacks, lunch that will come with soup, main course ad hot drinks, happy hours with hot drinks upon your arrival to each campsite and dinners that include with soup, main course and desserts. We also provide all hikers with potable drinking water while on the trails.
  • SATELLITE PHONES with the company that has satellite phones availble along all its operating trails. Hikers have access to satellite phones to contact their love ones.
  • PORTABLE TOILETS. The Agency provides portable ecological toilets at each of its campsites and for the private use of our clients only.
  • PERSONAL PORTER. All of our hiking services include porter service which allows travellers to take 7KG of personal belongings on the trail. All belongings are carried by our porters.
  • HOTEL TO HOTEL SERVICE. The offers hotel to hotel service to all of its travellers. All of our services begin with direct pick up from your hotel accommodation in Cusco and end with a direct drop off in Cusco.
  • FREE LUGGAGE STORAGE. The Agency offes free luggage storage for all extra bags and personal belongings.

Itinerary

We will depart for your Machu Picchu Inca Trail Tour from Cusco at 5 a.m. in private transportation and head toward KM 82, the starting point of the Inca Trail. After this beautiful drive, your chef will prepare breakfast before you start your trek. We start our hike walking along the left shore of the Urubamba River, following the trail along a flat terrain, to the community of Miskay (2800 m /9184 ft). The first two hours of the trek are relatively easy as we make our way to our first Inca site and checkpoint, Patallacta. This site will start the approach to Machu Picchu. After we arrive at Patallacta, we will make our way down into the canyon to enjoy lunch and the views of Patallacta. From Patallacta, we will continue on the trail at an easygoing pace, while enjoying the scenery and haring stories from your guide. It’s about a two-hour walk to reach our camping site at the village of Hatunchaka (3,300 meters).
Total Distance: 12 km (7,800 miles)
Estimated Walking Time: 4 hours
Maximum Altitude Point: 2,600 m (8,692 ft)
Campsite Altitude: 3,000 m (9,842 ft)

Hatunchaca – Dead Woman’s Pass – Pacaymayo
We wake up early to begin our ascent to Dead Woman´s Pass. The views of the snow-capped mountains and the cloud forest are fantastic. This first stretch is the most challenging part of the trek. It consists of a steep ascent that stretches for nine kilometers, which will bring us to the first mountain pass in the Inca Trail, Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s pass). We will stop at Llulluchapampa to relax and to buy any last essentials. We may be able to see deer and falcons in this area. We will have the chance to spot domesticated llamas and alpacas, who graze on ichu (one of the few plants that grow at that altitude). After the two-hour walk up to the pass, we can enjoy the beautiful views and a refreshing cup of coca tea. After we have made it to the pass, it´s downhill the rest of the day. After about two hours, we´ll stop for lunch, and have a free afternoon in the Pacaymayo Valley.
Total Distance: 10 km (7,376 miles)
Estimated Walking Time: 6 hours
Maximum Altitude Point: 4,215 m (13,821 ft)
Campsite Altitude: 3,600 m (11,811 ft)

Pacaymayo – Runcu Raccay Pass- Sayacmaraca Ruins – Phuyupatamarca
After breakfast, we will continue our hike up the opposite side of the valley, as we make our way towards the second pass on the trek. Along the way, we will see fantastic views of waterfalls and flora and fauna. Halfway up, we will stop and visit the Inca site of Runcu Raccay (an Inca watchtower), and to catch our breath before we continue our climb to the pass (4,000 meters). From the pass, we will once again begin our descent back into the cloud forest. After about an hour, we arrive at Sayacmarca, one of the most beautiful ruins on the Inca Trail, where we’ll have a one hour, guided tour. From Sayacmarca, we will continue to our lunch spot at Chaquicocha (dry lake). Here you will see some of the fantastic flora and fauna the Inca Trail has to offer. From Chaquicocha onwards, we will walk along Inca flat (gradual inclines), as we make our way towards our final campsite, Phuyupatamarca (3,680 meters). This area of the Inca Trail had stunning views of the Vilcabamba mountain range, as well as abundant flora and fauna. After another two hour walk, we’ll arrive at our campsite, where we’ll get our first view of Machu Picchu mountain and the Urubamba river. We’ll settle into our campsite, and have the chance to explore the Inca site. As the sun goes down, we can enjoy the beautiful sunset over the snow-capped peaks.
Total Distance: 13 km (8,136 miles)
Estimated Walking Time: 9 hours
Maximum Altitude Point: 4,000 (13,123 ft)
Campsite Altitude: 3,680 m (12,033 ft)

Today, we will have the chance to enjoy one of the most spectacular sunrises on the Inca Trail, weather permitting. After breakfast, you´ll have a guided tour of Phuyupatamarca. We will then start our way down the long descending stone steps to Wiñay Wayna 2,650m/8,692ft, where we will have lunch. As we near the bottom of the staircase, we will visit the site of Intipata (Terraces of the Sun). This site has beautiful views of the Sacred Valley and was an important agricultural site for Machu Picchu. After Intipata, we will continue to Wiñay Wayna, the archaeological site that is the largest on the Inca Trail besides Machu Picchu. It consists of an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center, with numerous terraces, a religious sector, and an urban sector. This site offers spectacular views over the already narrower Urubamba River valley. After our visit, we will have our last lunch with the porters. Following, it is a tradition on the Inca Trail to have a thanking ceremony for all the hard work the porters and cooks have provided. If you wish, you may leave a tip for them at this time. After we´ve said goodbye to our team, we will carry on to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), where we will get our first views of Machu Picchu. It takes about an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones in the highland jungle to reach the Sun Gate. From there, it is about another hour down to the site itself. Upon arrival, we´ll have a chance to enjoy the sunset and to see views of Machu Picchu without crowds, before taking the bust to your hotel in Aguas Calientes.

*Private groups can arrange to camp this evening, instead of staying at a hotel

Hotel: Inti Punku (or similar)way
Total Distance: 11 km (614 miles)
Estimated Walking Time: 5 hours
Maximum Altitude Point: 3,680 m (12,033 ft)

The Lost City of The Incas – Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo – Cusco
We will wake up early and board one of the first buses to Machu Picchu, to enjoy the sunrise at the citadel (if the weather allows). These buses are first come, first serve, starting at 5:30 a.m. You’ll have a two-hour tour of the Inca citadel, and then some free time to explore. If you have purchased permits for Huayna Picchu, your guide will show you where this climb begins. It will take you 45 minutes to the top and another 45 back down. Priced at $75 per person and will need to be booked in advance. After the citadel tour, you will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes, and meet for our last lunch in town. Having lunch with your group is optional and is not included in the trek cost. Following, you will take the afternoon train back to

Ollantaytambo, where our private bus will be waiting to take you back to Cusco and drop you off at your hotel.

The Trip Cost Includes

  • Professional Guides
  • All of our guides studied English and tourism at Cusco National University. They all grew up in the Cusco region, and are committed to teaching others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional and will ensure you are safe and happy.
  • Permits
  • As soon as we receive your details and deposit, we will purchase your permits (pending availability, check our Inca Trail Availability). These permits are for a specific date and in your name. They can´t be changed once confirmed. Only your passport number is allowed to be updated. The permit includes an entrance to Machu Picchu.
  • Briefing
  • The night before your trek, you will come to our office for your briefing. You will receive your duffel bag that will stay with your porters while you hike. This bag should not exceed 7kg/14 lbs and does need to include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
  • Porters
  • We include a personal porter who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag. There is no additional fee for this. You will not have access to your duffel bag until your evening campsite.
  • Hotel
  • The trek will include three nights of camping along the Inca Trail, and one night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu. We include a three-star hotel, typically at Inti Punku Inn (or similar), if available. Your booked hotel will be listed on your confirmed invoice. Upgrades are always possible.
  • Transportation
  • You will have transportation included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4 a.m. (unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo) and brought to KM 82 to begin your trek. Also included will be the Expedition Train from Aguas Calientes. You may also upgrade to the Vistadome Train for $75 per person. Once you arrive at the train station, we will take you back to your hotel in Cusco. Additionally, your round trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu will be included.
  • Equipment
  • The tour operator has the best equipment. We use Eureka Timberline 4 tents that are shared by only two people. You will also have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
  • Food
  • The tour operator chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have loved. We honor all food restrictions, so be sure to add any that you have on your booking form and let your guide know at your briefing. Food is typically all served family-style. You will enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day for the trek along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. A snack will be provided each morning for you to enjoy along the hike. Your last meal with your chef will be after breakfast on day four. Lunch on the last day is not included.
  • Water
  • Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, The tour operator will supply all the water needed. This water is boiled, filtered, and then cooled before distributing. You must bring your water bottles and or camelback. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. You will be able to refill your water at each meal.
  • First Aid
  • The tour operator guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training sessions every February, which every single tour guide must attend. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. We will get you off the trail as quickly and comfortably as possible, if needed, and ensure you get directly to a clinic for treatment.
  • Extras
  • We believe it´s the attention to small details that separates us from other tour companies. Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mattress for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking, and a rain poncho. We will work hard to create your best vacation.
  • Satellite Phones
  • Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While all our guides are prepared and trained to deal with most issues clients have on the mountain. Being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital, or friend helps everyone feel assured that they are safe. Radios, which all our guides have, are limited in how far they can reach, so The tour operator has added Satellite Phones to every trek. Every guide will have a fully charged phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to connect us anywhere in the world. And they can be used by our clients for non-emergencies as well. While they are not cheap to use, they are available just in case you need to check in on the puppy you left at home with grandma.

The Trip Cost Excludes

  • Rentals
  • Every trekker needs a sleeping bag when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:
  • Sleeping Bag: $25
  • Inflatable Air Mattress: $20
  • Walking Sticks (Pair): $20
  • Huayna Picchu
  • Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45-minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep if you are scared of heights. You would do this after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $75. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance due to popularity. Please understand that the weather is out of our control.

Frequently asked Questions

GETTING TO CUSCO

The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.

The best way to get to Cusco is by air, and there are several options in airlines. LAN tends to be the most expensive but has the most options and flights. Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land, and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available, and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.

LUGGAGE STORAGE

Any extra luggage you have with you can be left safely in Cusco at either your hotel or with us at the The tour operator while you trek. We will store your luggage on the morning of your trek and return it once you are back in Cusco. Make sure your bags have tags on them, so they are easy to locate.

ALTITUDE

As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. For this reason, we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek in the Andes. Cusco is a marvelous city with lots to do, so if you have more time to acclimate, you won´t be bored.

With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office, and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids that help bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee, since they will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.

Remember, the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness if they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slow, and it will give your body time to adjust to the elevation. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medication such as Acetazolamide and Dexamethasone to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to high altitude, and continue to take it while you are at high altitude. You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly and drink lots of water, and enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you, unfortunately, get sick, let your guide know right away. Alpaca Expedition guides are trained to help you get through it.

WEATHER

Of course, the weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December, so just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho, and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.

Also, be ready for four seasons. Treks in the Andes involve various microclimates, and you will need to be prepared for each one. Layers are always key since they are easy to adjust to different temperature changes. Be prepared with a warm packable down jacket since the evening will be cold.

FIRST AID

The tour operator guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February, and every single Alpaca guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical situations (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They will take good care of you.

In case something unexpected happens, and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way off the trail and to a clinic. You will never be left alone; you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and re-connect with your group. This way, you can finish your trip, traveling by train comfortably.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Getting travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. We work with a great agency in the United States, that has helped to make it easy and affordable. What an excellent way to protect yourself while you are visiting Peru.

ENVIROMENTAL IMPACT

The tour operator uses biodegradable soap and transports all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up any waste from other groups as well. We also use environmentally-friendly portable chemical toilets that allow us to carry waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.

COMMUNITY

The tour operator is proud of the work we do for our community, as this is the main focus of our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with the needs their families were missing. We have supported local schools by giving them computers and books. Alpaca Expeditions also sponsors a teacher at the village where most of our porters come from and ensures their children have the best opportunity for education.

We buy all our food from local farmers and markets and serve the freshest ingredients. We provide English classes for all our team: guides, porters, chefs, and drivers. We are also building a house for our porters. By giving them a safe and comfortable place to stay before and after our treks, they no longer need to sleep on the floor at a friend’s house.

And twice every year we bring our porters and their families to Machu Picchu. The men and women who work tirelessly have never visited the Lost Citadel of the Incas. So that makes this trip our favorite to-do. It is an honor to show them this place.

We are always looking to do more and for partners. Please let us know about your ideas, and we will work to help.

PERSONAL PORTER INCLUDED

All of our camping treks include porters, who are responsible for carrying and setting up all equipment. They will additionally carry the duffel bag you receive at your briefing the night before your trek. Each duffel bag can not exceed 7kg/14lbs and must include your sleeping bag and air mat.The tour operator gives each porter a proper uniform, salary, and insurance. They are the backbone of our company.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu 5 Days / 4 Nights
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