2018 4-Day Inca Trail Hike
The 4-Day Inca Trail is the most popular hike that ends in Machu Picchu as you get to follow the same path and stone steps that the Inca royalty used to arrive to their sacred city. However, this hike requires having a permit and they generally sell out very fast. There are only 500 permits available per day and they are for both hikers and tour operator staff (guides, chefs, porters). Currently, 2018 Inca Trail permits are scheduled to be activated in October 2017. That means that you should book your hike ASAP so that we have all of your information and can get your permits as soon as they become available!
|Perfect for:||Everyone who wants to experience this world famous hike. Especially good for history lovers, as the trail offers many historical ruins.|
|Duration:||4 days/3 nights|
|Level:||Moderate to difficult, depending on your fitness level|
|Distance:||45 kilometers or 28 miles|
|Limited Spaces:||Yes. To protect the historic trail, the number of people allowed to hike the Inca Trail each day is limited to 500. For this reason, you should reserve your spot as soon as possible. During the high tourist season from April to September, permits can sell out 5-7 months in advance.|
|Acclimatization:||Since there is one pass that is at 4,215 meters (13,828 feet), we recommend spending at least 2 days in Cusco or the surrounding area before your hike begins to properly acclimatize.|
Day 1 – On the first day, we will pick you up at 6:00 am from your hotel in Cusco after you have had breakfast. We will drive for about 2 and a half hours total, going through the Sacred Valley. We will first stop at the town of Ollantaytambo where you can buy any last minute supplies for the hike. Then we will continue until we arrive at a site called Kilometer 82 where we will begin the hike. The altitude here is 2,673 meters (8,770 feet) and on this first day we will hike about 11 km (7 miles). The first part of the hike is relatively flat, and we will trek for about 3 hours to our lunch site, starting in an area that is dry with cacti and arriving in a green valley where we will visit our first archaeological site called Patallaqta. The name means “City over the Terraces” in the Quechua language, and here we will be able to explore the ruins and also look down and see more located in the valley. Then we will hike 20 minutes more until we arrive at our lunch site located at Tarachayuc. After enjoying a filling lunch, we will start the next stretch of the hike to our campsite which will take 2 hours. This part of the trail has small ascents and descents, and we will hike through a wooded valley until we reach our first campsite, Wayllabamba which is at 3,000 meters, or 9,842 feet.
Day 2 – The second day is the most challenging since we will climb over 1,200 meters (3,940 feet) to reach the highest pass and will hike 12 km (7 miles) in total. After having breakfast, we will start our uphill hike which will take about 5 hours to reach the pass. On the way, we will pass through different climactic and ecological zones as we climb higher and higher. We will start in green mossy forests and will end in the grassy highlands where there are no trees. Once we reach the highest point of the trail, known as Dead Woman’s Pass at 4,215 meters (13,828 feet), we will take a well-deserved break and will be able to enjoy the amazing view of both valleys below. Then we will start our descent to the campsite which will take about an hour and a half. We will climb down Inca stone steps heading down through the highlands until we reach our campsite called Pacaymayo which is at 3,630 meters or 11,910 feet. Here we will have our lunch, then have time to rest and explore the area before having supper in the evening.
Day 3 – On the third day we will hike the farthest distance (16 km or 10 miles) and will also see the most archaeological sites along the way. After waking up early and eating breakfast, we will hike up the opposite side of the valley to reach the second pass which will take about 2 hours. About halfway up we will see a small, round, roofless stone building, known as Runkuracay. This building was a shelter and a checkpoint for travelers following the trail to Machu Picchu. After our history lesson here we will continue to the second pass, Runkuracay, at 3,941 meters, or 12,800 feet. Then we will descend for about 2 hours to our lunch site, stopping first at another Inca site called Sayaqmarka, translated to “Town in a Steep Place.” Here, we will see an important temple for the Salkantay mountain, which is the highest mountain in the area. Then we will arrive to our lunch site and once we are full will continue hiking 4 more hours to our last campsite. The first part of the trail will involve little ascents and descents until we reach the next archaeological center called Phuyupatamarka which means “City above the Clouds.” Here, we will see where the Incas took their final baths before reaching Machu Picchu. This location is also a second option for the last campsite. After our tour, we will hike downhill and will visit the farming terraces at Intipata. From there we will continue to our campsite called Wiñaywayna, which means “Forever Young,” and is located at 2,650 meters, or 8,694 feet. This is our last night camping, and in the evening after supper we will get to thank our amazing Quechuas for their hard work.
Day 4 – On the last day we will wake up very early (at about 3:15 am) and after having breakfast will wait in line until the Control opens at 5:30 am. Once we pass the Control, we will start hiking to Machu Picchu which will take 2 hours and we will hike for 6 km (4 miles) following the trail which is relatively flat until we reach Intipunku, the famous Sun Gate. Here, we will have our first view of Machu Picchu below us and depending on the season we may get to see the sunrise. From there, we will descend down to Machu Picchu which sits at 2,400 meters or 7,874 feet, and we will first check any large backpacks at the entrance. We will then have our 3-hour tour where you will see and learn about the most important sites including the Temple of the Sun, the main plaza, Intiwatana, and the Temple of the Condor. After your tour, you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, and in the afternoon you will take the train back to Cusco where we will pick you up from the train station and drop you off at your hotel.
- Transportation from your hotel in Cusco to the start of the hike and back to your hotel at the end
- Inca Trail permit and Machu Picchu entrance ticket
- Bus ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Train ticket in the Expedition service from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco at the end of the journey
- North Face Mountain 25 tents which are 2-person, 4 season tents designed for maximum comfort
- Therm-a-Rest mattress and pillow provided for free (please note that if you do not hire an extra Quechua that you will have to carry your own mattress and pillow)
- Other camping equipment, such as a kitchen tent manned by a professional cooking staff, a dining tent with table and chairs, and a bathroom tent
- Tour guide fluent in English, Spanish and Quechua. Our guides are equipped and trained to practice First-Aid, administer oxygen if needed, and conduct radio communication.
- Complete meals and snacks during the trip starting with lunch on the first day and ending with breakfast on the fourth day (the last lunch in Aguas Calientes is not included). Our experienced chefs make amazing meals in the middle of the mountains and are also used to preparing dishes for people with different food restrictions or lifestyles, so please let us know your preferences and we will make sure to meet your dietary needs.
- Professional chef who grew up in the countryside and several Quechuas (porters) who will carry the equipment
- Breakfast on the first day and lunch on the last day
- Sleeping bag or trekking poles (can be rented from us)
- Extra Quechua (porter) to help carry your personal gear (can be hired)
- Tips for guide, chef, and Quechuas (optional)
What to Bring
- Original passport
- Sleeping bag (or you can rent one from us)
- Backpack to carry your things
- Trekking poles (or you can rent a pair from us)
- Bathing suit (if you would like to enjoy the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
- Good sneakers or light hiking boots, and one pair of flip-flops or light sandals
- Camera and extra batteries
- Rain jacket and plastic poncho (especially if traveling in the wet season, from October to March)
- Comfortable hiking clothes
- Bug repellent
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Cap for the sun
- Warm clothes for the nighttime including thermals, warm hat, and gloves
- Travel towel
- Toilet paper
- Water bottle and about 1 liter of water for the first day until lunch, and after that we will supply you with boiled water for the rest of the hike
Quechuas (Porters): Depending on your level of physical fitness, the hike can be strenuous. If you would like to reduce the load you have to carry, you can hire an extra Quechua to carry your belongings. You can hire a Quechua to carry 8 kg (18 lb) for $80 USD, or 15 kg (33 lb) for $150 USD. Included in this service is the porter’s salary, entrance fee to Machu Picchu and his food. If you decide to use this service, the Quechua will carry your packs until we reach Aguas Calientes. You must reserve your extra Quechua at the same time you reserve the trip, because the extra porter is counted as part of the 500-person limit on the trail.
Huayna Picchu: If you are interested in climbing Huayna Picchu, the mountain overlooking Machu Picchu, there is an additional fee of $70 USD per person for us to buy your entrance ticket. Spaces are limited, so please let us know when booking whether you would like to hike Huayna Picchu, and we will reserve it for you. For information about this hike, please visit our Huayna Picchu page.
Additional Night in Aguas Calientes: After hiking for 4 days, some people prefer to spend the 4th night in Aguas Calientes instead of returning to Cusco right away. This can give you more time to enjoy the ruins of Machu Picchu, relax in the hot springs in Aguas Calientes, and in general not have to worry about the time. This option is also good for those who want to climb Huayna Picchu but want to have some time to rest after the hike, so you can return to Machu Picchu the next day to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about options and prices.
Sleeping Bags: If you would like to rent a sleeping bag from us, the price is $25 USD per person in total for this 4-day hike.
Trekking Poles: We recommend taking trekking poles on the hike especially when hiking downhill. If you would like to rent a pair for the whole hike, the price is $15 USD per person.
Private Tent: In our service we include North Face Mountain 25 tents that are 2-person tents. However, if you would like to reserve a private tent the price is $40 USD.
Vistadome Train: Our price includes a return train ticket in the Expedition train, however, if you would like to upgrade to the Vistadome train the price is an additional $25 USD per person.
Additional Information: For more information on rules and regulations of the Inca Trail and other hikes, please see our Rules and Regulations page here. To see information on cancellations and other policies, please see our Cancellations page here.
How to Book
If you would like to hike with us, please send us an email to email@example.com to check the availability. Please let us know the hike you want to do, the date you are looking to hike, how many people are in your group, and we will send you back the availability.
When you are ready to book your hike, please send us the following information for each traveler:
- Full name
- Passport number
- Date of birth
- Food restrictions (if any)
- Would you like to climb Huayna Picchu for an additional $70 USD per person?
If you would like tickets to climb Huayna Picchu after your tour of Machu Picchu, we will reserve a ticket for you as long as there is availability.
After sending your personal information, the next step is for each person in your group to make a deposit of $300 USD to reserve your hike. To make your deposit, please pay by selecting the correct amount below or by visiting our Book Now page. To receive the child discount, you must email us a copy of the child’s passport at the time of making your reservation. The remaining balance is due in Cusco. You may pay in cash (either in US dollars or Peruvian soles) at your briefing, or if you prefer you may pay with a Visa credit card at our office. To pay with a credit card, before your briefing please visit our office which is located at Calle Union #140 in the reception of the Cusco B&B Hotel.
Click the Amount to Deposit via Visa: