Royal Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 4 Days - 2020
Today the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu - which, as part of the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, has been designated a World Heritage natural and cultural site is the most important and most popular hiking trail in South America, followed by many thousands of ecotourists and modern-day pilgrims in the past 3 decades. Its extreme popularity in recent years -- more than 75,000 people a year hike the famous trail -- has led to concerns among environmentalists and historians that the trail is suffering potentially irreparable degradation.
The National Institute of Culture (INC) and the Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Integration, and International Trade (MITINCI), reacting to pressure from groups such as UNESCO (which threatened to rescind Machu Picchu's World Heritage Site status), instituted far-reaching changes in practices designed to limit the number of visitors and damage to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, though these alone may not be enough to forestall the trail's damage.
Preparing with us your Inca Trail Experience
The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 days route is along hand-hewn stone stairs and trails through sumptuous mountain scenery and amazing cloud forest, past rushing rivers and dozens of Inca ruins. The zone is inhabited by rare orchids, 419 species of birds, and even the indigenous spectacled bear. The trek begins at Qorihuayrachina near Ollantaytambo- more easily described as Km 88 of the railway from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. The 43 km (26-mile) route passes three formidable mountain passes, including the punishing "Dead Woman's Pass", to a maximum altitude of 4,200m (13,800 ft.). Most groups enter the ruins of Machu Picchu at sunrise on the fourth day, although others, whose members are less keen on rising at 3:30am to do it, trickle in throughout the morning.
Day 1: Transfer by ITEP Van from Cusco to Km 82 “Inca Trail Entrance”
Meals: Lunch, snacks, afternoon tea and dinner.
Accommodation: Camping facilities.
Distance: 11kms/6.8 mls (6 hours more or less of hiking)
Walking Time: Approximately 6 hours (including picnic lunch in route)
Walk and Terrain: Walk, canter on open roads, some steep ascending
Trekking Km 82 “Piscacucho to Wayllabamba”
Today begins your adventure of a lifetime; We will pick you up from your hotel in our private van very early in the morning at 5:30am. You will be transferred in one hour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where our van going to take us to Piskacucho, which is called kilometer 82, where the Classic Inca Trail begins. On the way, we stop for breakfast in Ollantaytambo at 6:30-7am to load up on energy for our start of the trail. (Breakfast is not included). Upon arrival at kilometer 82 at 11:30am, we will have some time to organize ourselves, At the Inca Trail first control point be ready to show your entrance tickets, passports and (if paying a student rate) your student card.
At the start of the trail (2720m/8923ft) we cross the Vilcanota River and follow its route to the right. The first day is relatively easy, a warm-up along the Inca flat terrain. There are great views of the Incan Fortress (‘Huillca Raccay’), the vast and incredible Inca site of Llactapata, (officially called ‘Patallacta’), and the beautiful snow-capped peak of ‘W’akay Willca’ (5860m/19225ft) known in books as Veronica. Our first campsite is in Wayllabamba (3000m/9842ft) in the temperate green valley with the same name. Temperatures at night are around 5ºC depending on the month.
During the day, we will enjoy spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains Veronica, (5,860m/19,337ft), the lush green valley around us and a myriad of flora and fauna.
Day 2: Trekking “Wayllabamba to Pacaymayuc/ Runkuraqay”
- Meals: Breakfast, water, lunch, snacks, afternoon tea and Dinner.
- Accommodation: Camping facilities.
- Distance: 16kms/10mls (9 hours more or less of hiking time)
- Difficulty: Moderate/challenge.
After waking up at 5 to 5:30am and enjoying a hot breakfast, we start a steep ascent towards the highest pass, abra de Warmihuañusca or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ at 4200m/13779ft. On this day, you will feel a real sense of achievement upon reaching the top! After a well-deserved rest, we begin the descent to where we stop for lunch, which is located at Pacaymayu (3550m/11646ft).
On our way up to the pass, we will be able to see an array of hummingbirds and a combination of other species of bird life. There will be plenty of time to appreciate the incredible variety of native plants and the ´Polylepis´ or Q’ueuña trees which grow in the astonishing cloud forest located at 3650m/11972ft! After lunch, begins the second two-hour steep climb to Runkuraqay pass (almost 4000m/13,123ft). We arrive at our campsite by 5 pm. Temperatures at this campsite are around 4ºC during the night.
Day 3: Trekking “Pacaymayuc to Wiñayhuayna”
- Meals: Breakfast, water, lunch, snacks, afternoon tea and dinner.
- Accommodation: Camping facilities and hot showers.
- Distance: 10kms/6.2mls (5 hours more or less of hiking)
- Difficulty: Moderate
This is the most impressive day so far; keep this in mind as you ascend on day three! We wake up for breakfast at 6am and start the day with a gentle climb to visit the archaeological site of ‘Phuyupatamarca’ (meaning ‘Town in the Clouds’). Here we reach the third highest point on the Inca trail (3680m/).
The views of the mountains, canyons and surrounding areas are spectacular! The Inca site of ‘Phuyupatamarca’, is located a few minutes’ walk from the third pass. After visiting this site, we continue walking down 3000 stairs through the cloud forest to the impressive agricultural Incan site of ‘Intipata. After taking some time to visit this site, we continue until we arrive at our third campsite Wiñay Wayna. (2680m/8792ft). Today, we will only walk about 4 to 5 hours.
We arrive at camp by lunchtime! Temperatures during the night are about 12º C. A short walk from our campsite is the famous Incan site of ‘Wiñay Wayna’ (‘Forever Young’). Even if you are feeling tired after your day’s trek, it´s a moment you cannot miss, the most impressive site on the Inca trail.
Day 4: Trekking “Wiñayhuayna – Inti Punku & Machupicchu guided Tour”
- Meals: Breakfast
- Distance: 8.9kms/5.5mls “By Bus in 25 minutes”
- Difficulty: Easy
At around 4:00am it´s time to wake up, have breakfast and start day 4 on the Inca trail to get to Machu Picchu on time. This is the final part of your journey, arriving by 6:00am to reach Inti Punku or The Sun Gate. At that point, the majestic Machu Picchu Citadel is in front of us with its intense beauty – an incredible sight for all to see. The reality of what the Inca people must have encountered on their taxing journey to this expansive temple of Machu Picchu.
At this point, we walk downhill towards the Machu Picchu Citadel. (2400m/7872 ft.) After walking 40 minutes, we enter the citadel from the top through the “House of the Guardians”. From there we proceed to the control point where we register and leave our belongings. Your professional guide will direct you throughout the astounding ruins and its main streets.
You can wander around the town squares as well as climb the intricately carved stairways made from stone. Machu Picchu is considered as the world’s spiritual center by esoteric wisdom. Once the guided tour is over, you will have free time to explore the site on your own.
You will also have time to indulge in a few of the following activities on your own if you choose (not included in the price)
Climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain and appreciate the beauty and magnificence of Machu Picchu from there.
Other optional activities in Aguas Calientes include a visit to the new local museum or bathe in the hot springs.
Back to Cusco: You will descend to Aguas Calientes by bus (included) and later board the Expedition train to the Ollantaytambo Train Station “Train departure time can vary according train schedule and availability”. In Ollantaytambo Train station you will meet our private van and be transferred to your hotel in Cusco.
*** Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountains hike depends on availability; please let us know if you want to add one of these extra hikes at the time of your booking.
*** We only take ITEP EcoTravel clients in our vans / cars – We do not use public transport.
End of our Services
- Pre-departure briefing: You will meet your royal Inca Trail guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. At this time, we will provide you with the duffle bags which will be carried by our Porters. The meeting will be at 6:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. In case you can´t come at this time “please let us know” to coordinate another time.
- Touristic Transport: You will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco in the morning and will travel by private transportation to Piscacucho, the starting point of the Royal Inca Trail to Machupicchu.
- Adventure Experienced Royal Inca Trail Tour Guide: English speaking, professionally educated, and official tour guide with tourism certification. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. Your guide will explain the culture and surroundings along the entire route, including leading your group in ancient ceremonies! He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time along the Inca path and will ensure you are safe and happy.
- Tour Guide in Machupicchu Cultural Experienced: English speaking, professionally educated, and official tour guide with tourism certification. For visit the sacred city of Machupicchu.
- Private campsites: Each campsite is carefully choosed for have a very local experience.
- Night 1: Enjoy the 1st night in Wayllabamba on the route Royal Inca Trail and sleep in our 4 season Pro Aconcagua Doite tents. All our tents are 4 man tents, but ONLY sleep 2, leaving lots of room to spread out comfortably and store your duffel bags. They also include a little vestibule in front, giving you some extra outdoor space to leave your boots and walking sticks so you don’t have to bring in dirt.
- Night 2: Enjoy the 2nd night in Wayllabamba on the route Royal Inca Trail and sleep in our 4 season Pro Aconcagua Doite tents. All our tents are 4 man tents, but ONLY sleep 2, leaving lots of room to spread out comfortably and store your duffel bags. They also include a little vestibule in front, giving you some extra outdoor space to leave your boots and walking sticks so you don’t have to bring in dirt.
- Night 3: Enjoy the 3rd night in Wayllabamba on the route Royal Inca Trail and sleep in our 4 season Pro Aconcagua Doite tents. All our tents are 4 man tents, but ONLY sleep 2, leaving lots of room to spread out comfortably and store your duffel bags. They also include a little vestibule in front, giving you some extra outdoor space to leave your boots and walking sticks so you don’t have to bring in dirt.
- Note: It is not usual that the campsites, lodges or hotels change after the confirmation, however it can vary per government regulations and authorization, also for bad weather conditions and maybe because physical condition of our visitors: any changes in this matter ITEP travel will be informing you previously and as soon as possible.
- Camping equipment: Dining and kitchen tents, tables, chairs, and cooking equipment (all carried by our porters and horses).
- Entry ticket to The Royal Inca Trail
- Entry ticket to Machu Picchu Inka Site
- 1 Duffle Bag: You can put your personal luggage, up to 5 kgs (11.02 lbs.), including your sleeping bag; this bag will be carried by our horses. Also last day your luggage will be carried by our porters to Machupicchu village “Aguas Calientes” and you will get it after your guided tour in Machupicchu. Porters can’t enter in Machupicchu Inca City with luggages.
- Professional Trekking Chef: A professional chef specialized in cooking on the trail, with an assistant, will prepare all of your delicious meals along our journey on the Trail to replenish your energy every day. You will never go hungry!
- Meals: 3Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners (Vegetarian, vegan, or special menus are available at no extra cost) Please be in mind (1st breakfast and last lunch is not included”
- Boiled Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, Inka Trail Expeditions will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal.
- Wake up tea: Every morning at the campsite, you will wake up with a cup of coca tea! Our staff will bring the tea to your tent so that you will be warmed from inside out before you start your day.
- Tea time daily during the Trek: Every afternoon before dinner, the cooks will provide our tea time with popcorn, biscuits, coffee, hot chocolate, teas, hot water, etc. After a long day of hiking, you will not have to wait until dinner to relax, warm up, and enjoy a bite to eat!
- Products for hygiene: You will be provided with a small towel before each meal to clean your hands and every morning will be also a bucket with warm water for washes your personal hygiene.
- Medical kit and Oxygen bottle: Our crew will bring a first-aid kit, including emergency oxygen bottle.
- Train tickets: From Aguas Calientes “Machupicchu village” to Ollantaytambo train station (departure time is confirmed the day of briefing and it´s subject to availability)
- Transfer back to Cusco: Private touristic transport from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco (Day 4)
- 24-hour guest service: We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for ease of communication and preparation with the agency leading up to your trek.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
- Sleeping Bags: You can rent one from our company if you do not have your own. Our sleeping bags are effective and durable to protect from temperatures as low as -18ºC (0ºF). They are mummy form and include a sleeping liner. The bags are cleaned after every use.
- Bus Concetur to Machupicchu inca City: Most of the times the wait to board the bus to Machupicchu is from 1 hour to 1:30 min, So we prefer that you decide a day before your visit to the Inca city of Machupicchu. If you wish to take the bus considering the waiting time. Or if you prefer to do the last stretch of ascent walking up 45 to 1 hour "everything will depend on your physical state, after the trekking done".
- Walking Sticks: You can rent a set from our company if you would like.
- Day 1: Breakfast: Approx. Usd5 to usd 10.00, Price can vary according your selection.
- Last Day: Lunch and Dinner in Aguas Calientes. Approx. Usd 20 to 25.00, Price can vary according your selection.
- Personal clothing and gear
- Travel Insurance
- Tips for our staff: Please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish “Recommendation usd 6 to usd 8 per day per traveler for all the trek staff”- Once again it is optional and can vary according your satisfaction.
- Additional costs or delays out of control of the management (landscape, bad weather condition, itinerary modification due to a safety concern, illness, change of government policy, political instability/strike, etc.)