inca trail machu picchu peru

Porter at Machu Picchu

The hidden mountain citadel of Machu Picchu was never found by the Conquistadors. We hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu on the classic 4-day route, finishing with an overnight at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, right at the Machu Picchu ruins.

Photo by Dan Heller

display information about this photo

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Ultimate Hiking Adventure to a Legendary Lost City

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4695  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: Lima, Peru
Depart: Lima, Peru
Lodging: 4 nights beautiful hotels, 4 nights full-service camping
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: 5-day trek on moderate to steep trails, 5-6 hours a day, altitudes between 8,000-13,650 feet
5

Highlights

  • Hike in the footsteps of the Incas and enter the citadel of Machu Picchu on foot
  • Discover Peru’s vibrant traditional culture and renowned archaeological treasures
  • Enjoy the comforts of our legendary Inca Trail camping services—the best on the trail!
  • An overnight at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, with its extraordinary access to the ruins


WT certainly set the bar high. It was the trip of a lifetime!Suzanne J.—Cheyenne, WY

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Hike to the Incas' "Lost City" , Fred and Laura Jolly

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Early Sign-up Discount!

$350 discount per person
All 2015 departures

Limited to the first six sign-ups per departure. Please note that these special offers cannot be combined with other discounts.

Machu Picchu, Peru’s glorious city of stone perched high above the Urubamba River, is the most magical of all the Inca sites, and its exquisite setting makes it one of the most unforgettable. Our perfectly paced trek to this storied citadel follows in the footsteps of the ancient Incas, and brings you through the legendary “Gate of the Sun” right into Machu Picchu itself. We’ve honed this journey to perfection with spectacular campsites, superb camp amenities, and an extraordinary team of Trip Leaders. If you’ve ever dreamed of hiking the Inca Trail, this is the way to do it!

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Cusco / Urubamba Valley

In Cusco, the Incas’ imperial city, stroll cobbled streets and explore Saqsayhuaman, the monumental Inca fortress overlooking the city. Heading to the mountain-ringed Sacred Valley, hike to Pisac, which has some of the finest examples of Inca terracing in existence.

Days 3-6
Inca Trail

After exploring the traditional village of Ollantaytambo and the stunning ruin above it, you’ll set off on the “royal highway” to Machu Picchu. Crossing two high passes, we bring you to fascinating Inca ruins accessible only by trail and to campsites where you’ll feel like you’re at the top of the world. Our special route includes a section off the main Inca Trail—with two special private campsites—and we give you an extra day to savor its beauty, foster better acclimatization, and enjoy shorter hiking days. And WT camping style? It’s easy to get used to, with fresh Peruvian and American cuisine (and even a traditional pachamanca), a special dining tent, and views stretching to forever.

Days 7-9
Machu Picchu / Cusco

Hiking up to Intipunku, the stone-built “Gate of the Sun” and the original entrance to the city, you’ll see the dazzling ruins of Machu Picchu spread out before you in a mystical, unearthly setting. With our specialist guide, explore its intriguing altars, terraces, fountains, and mysterious chambers with intricate stonework. Our overnight at the Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel right at the ruins, allows unparalleled access to this renowned site (and a fantastic sunset view!). Return to Cusco and depart on Day 9.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 5, Moderate to Strenuous. Most hiking is between 8,000 and 12,000 feet, the maximum elevation reached is 13,800 feet, and the total miles hiked is about 25. Trails can be rough, not the well-maintained switchbacks you may be accustomed to in the United States, and the altitudes are high. In addition, the Inca Trail has quite a few long portions of steep “staircases.” For the most part, you can hike at your own speed. The group will spread out along the trail to cover about 6 to 8 miles per day (6-7 hours of hiking each day). Trail conditions can be primitive, and there is a good bit of up-and-down (often 2,000 to 3,000 feet of elevation gain and subsequent loss per day). Everyone should be prepared for five days of hardy outdoor living. We expect each participant be in excellent health and physical condition. We recommend that you make a special effort to get in top physical condition for the trip.

Getting in Shape
You must make a concerted effort to get in top physical condition for the trip by engaging in regular exercise well beyond your normal routine. We recommend you do aerobic exercise that causes you to break a sweat for at least 30 minutes, at least three times a week, over the course of a couple of months prior to the trip.

To accelerate your conditioning, try walking faster than 1.5 miles per hour, walking on steeper inclines, and using your gym’s stair-climbing machines. As you progress, practice these walks with your loaded daypack (full water bottle, camera gear, jacket). Walks are also a great way to break in your hiking boots. The object is to improve your overall level of fitness and aerobic capacity and get your legs and lungs in shape for the Andes.

A Typical Trekking Day
Hiking distances on trek are normally measured in hours, not miles, since maps aren’t really accurate enough to assess how far we walk up and down winding mountain trails. An average day’s walk is seven or eight hours. With rest stops and photo stops, few people walk faster than one mile an hour in a mountainous region. Some hiking days are shorter than others, and some days are more difficult than others due to altitude gain and loss.

On a typical trek day, wake-up is around 7 am, when a cup of hot tea or coffee and a basin of warm washing water are brought to your tent by one of the camp crew. After packing up our duffels and having breakfast (often pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, or something similar), we set off on the trail while the crew strikes camp and the porters shoulder their loads. The crew passes us by midmorning to get ahead and prepare our lunch.

There is always a guide in the lead, usually the Trip Leader or the camp manager, who supervises the crew, and a “sweeper” who trails behind the slowest hiker to ensure that no one becomes lost on the trail. Most groups tend to spread out over the trail, taking photos, stopping to rest, and enjoying the scenery. We ask you not to hike ahead of the leader because trails are often not well-marked. If you feel breathless during a long ascent or wobbly during a long descent, by all means stop until you feel restored.

We typically walk for three or four hours in the morning, then stop for a leisurely lunch of an hour or more at a scenic spot on the trail. Lunch is a picnic, perhaps chicken salad, potato salad, guacamole salad, or macaroni salad, along with fruit, cheese, bread, and chocolate bars for extra energy. After lunch, we walk for another three hours or so until we reach our next night’s camp. The porters and crew pass us in mid-afternoon and usually have camp set up by the time we arrive. At camp, we have late afternoon tea (or coffee or cocoa) and a snack such as popcorn, cookies, or crackers, which hit the spot after a long day on the trail. Before dinner, there’s free time to read or relax. Temperatures drop quickly as the sun drops behind the peaks, and it’s easy to get chilled after exerting yourself for several hours, so have a few extra layers of clothing ready. It gets dark fairly early (around 6:30 pm). Dinner, served to us in a dining tent with table and chairs, is delicious hot soup followed by a substantial main course and a dessert. After dinner, we can chat away the evening in the dining tent or read by flashlight until bedtime.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
Sep 2-10, 2014  Full Moon

Oct 6-14, 2014  Peter Boehm
Oct 17-25, 2014  Miguel Pacsi
Nov 21-29, 2014  Thanksgiving
Dec 26, 2014-Jan 3, 2015  New Years
2015
Apr 8-16, 2015
Apr 30-May 8, 2015
May 22-30, 2015
Jun 11-19, 2015
Jun 26-Jul 4, 2015  Andrea Heckman
Jul 25-Aug 2, 2015
Aug 22-30, 2015
Sep 4-12, 2015
Sep 22-30, 2015
Oct 5-13, 2015
Oct 23-31, 2015
Nov 20-28, 2015
Dec 26, 2015-Jan 3, 2016

**IMPORTANT NOTE: New Peruvian park regulations strictly limit the number of hiking permits issued for the Inca Trail, and all permits are on a first-come first-serve basis! PLEASE PLAN AHEAD if you want to trek the Inca Trail, because trail permits are often reserved many months in advance (especially for summer high-season departures).

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$4695 (11-15 members)
$4995 (6-10 members)
Single supplement: $1195
Forced single supplement: $995
Internal airfare: $475 (subject to change)
Inca Trail permit: $110 (subject to change)
Holiday surcharge (Dec): $550
Extra overnight at Machu Picchu from: $740
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Arequipa and Colca Canyon Extension
   from: $995
Amazon Rainforest Extension: Reserva Amazonica
   from: $765
Sipan and Chan Chan Extension
   from: $980
Lake Titicaca Extension
   from: $965

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • All accommodations in hotels, including the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, and top quality tents on trek
  • All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • Camp staff
  • Group camping and cooking equipment

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International or internal airfare, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee (Inca Trail permit fee): $100 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of tour cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Hotel Monasterio

Hotel Monasterio

Day 1 (1 night),
Day 8 (1 night), Cusco, Peru

A 16th century monastery that is now an elegant hotel, the Monasterio has a stunning historic ambiance, with several inner courtyards, a chapel, ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Hotel Pakaritampu

Hotel Pakaritampu

Day 2 (1 night), Ollantaytambo, Peru

A cozy hotel with a countryside feeling, the Pakaritampu is just a few blocks from the main plaza in the traditional village of Ollantaytambo. The ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Inca Trail Trek Camps

Inca Trail Trek Camps

Days 3 to 6 (4 nights), Inca Trail, Peru

We make hiking and camping in the Andes as comfortable as it can get! On the trail, you are accompanied by our experienced team of trail guides, and ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Day 7 (1 night), Machu Picchu Ruins, Peru

You can’t get closer to the Machu Picchu ruins than this! With only 31 rooms, this Orient Express property is famously set right at the gate ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Peter Boehm

Departure Dates: September 2-10, 2014, October 6-14, 2014, December 26, 2014-January 3, 2015

Peter Boehm is one of the most experienced trekking guides in the Peruvian Andes. He has a fascination with Andean culture and an astounding knowledge of the remote trails and hidden ruins of the ancient Inca Empire. Peter is an avid hiker and a wonderful traveling companion with a gift for ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Pepe Lucho Corpancho

Departure Dates: November 21-29, 2014

Pepe Lucho Corpancho, of Cusco, Peru, is an experienced trekking guide who has been leading groups in Peru and the Amazon since 1985. His specialties are star-gazing, botany, and Peruvian cultures, and he loves to cook. Pepe Lucho speaks English and basic Quechua, the language of the Andes, along ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Andrea Heckman

Departure Dates: June 26-July 4, 2015

Andrea Heckman has a PhD in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico, with a focus on Anthropology and Art History. She is one of our most beloved leaders and has traveled and guided in Peru since 1978. In 1996, Andrea spent a year in Peru on a Fulbright Fellowship. “My ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Miguel Pacsi

Departure Dates: October 17-25, 2014

Miguel Pacsi was born in the highlands southeast of Cusco, not far from snow-capped Ausangate, the most sacred mountain to the Inca people. Born into the WT family, with his father being one of our original camp managers, Miguel is a now a second-generation member of our Peru team! He has hiked ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Peru

Amazon Rainforest Extension: Reserva Amazonica

Exploring Waterways and Nature Trails

Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 1

Arequipa and Colca Canyon Extension

Colonial Splendor and Natural Wonders

Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History
4 days  -  Level 2

Lake Titicaca Extension

Mystical Birthplace of the Incas

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 2

Frieze at the Temple of the Moon, near Trujillo

Sipan and Chan Chan Extension

Ancient Wonders of Northern Peru

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 1

Client Comments

WT certainly set the bar high. It was the trip of a lifetime! Suzanne J., Cheyenne, WY It was an outstanding trip! I am sold on Wilderness Travel. I am very hard pressed to think of ways to improve it. Mark A., Novato, CA An amazing, never-to-be-forgotten trip. The almost-full moon over our high elevation campsites, with the snow-capped Andes spread out around us, was unbelievably magical. The whole trip was well planned, well paced, and well executed. Sue C., Healdsburg, CA ‘Perfect’ is the only way to describe my experience with your company. Our Trip Leader was a real gem, and the hotels, porters, tents, food—wow! Thanks for a great trip. Byron D., Mission Viejo, CA The Inca Trail was better than I could have imagined. The trip was organized flawlessly and was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. My first big trek and I loved every minute of it. Brynna P., Washington, DC Thank you for making an unforgettable, unbelievable, wonderful trip. Your organization is outstanding. Gerald B., Fayetteville, NY Thanks for giving me the opportunity to see the Inca Trail the way it should be seen! Mary H., Golf, IL Kudos to everyone at Wilderness Travel! Thank you for planning such a wonderful vacation for us! We can’t wait to start dreaming about our next WT adventure! Mary F. and Andrew R., Tualitin, OR Staying at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge was fantastic—a highlight of the trip. Patricia A., Vancouver, BC What a fantastic trip! I can’t wait to do another WT adventure! Anne B., Brigham City, UT Probably the most thrilling trip I have ever taken! A peak experience in my life! Peter H., New York, NY We would highly recommend this trip. It’s a special treat to stay at that last campsite—we felt like we were on top of the world. And staying at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge at Machu Picchu is a must! Jill M., San Francisco, CA This trip had it all—cultural, hiking, history, food—it's a great program. Everything worked very well. Keep up the good work! Kathleen W., Pittsburgh, PA A five-star hiking trip. I will likely never experience the outdoors in such a plush respect ever again. Brent F., Athens, GA I don't know how our Trip Leader did it, but while we were hiking the Inca Trail, he somehow timed everything  so that it seemed we were the only ones there! He avoided all the crowds, making the trip all the more amazing. Kim M., Phoenix, AZ We were so lucky to have Peter as our guide. He was so knowledgeable and had great stories to share along the way. I really enjoyed our visit with the Shaman before the trip. It was interesting to get the glimpse of that piece of the culture as well as the GREAT weather he brought us the whole trip. Carolyn M., Golden Valley, MN
The trip was well-executed, and did not disappoint in any respect. The Monasterio is heaven on earth! Stephen H., Denver, CO This was an exceptionally well coordinated trip. Great locations, great support crew, excellent trip leaders. Bob M., Johnston, IA A great experience from start to finish! Madge T., Orlando, FL This trip is perfection. Every detail is thought out and executed completely. Each day was a little more than expected and always fantastic. Anne V., Amherst, MA WOW! The trip of a lifetime. It was so well planned, and WT thought of every little detail to make it a memorable and stress free trip. Christina Q., Red Lodge, MT This was a trip of a lifetime for my husband and me. We were celebrating our 10th anniversary and wanted something special and memorable. This trip surpassed all our dreams. We have both traveled for much of our lives, but never experienced something like this. It was amazing to truly be off the grid, in the middle of nowhere—and in the middle of tremendous beauty. Everything was superb—the guides, the camping sites, the organization, the porters, the FOOD (better than any restaurant)! Thank you. Margot M., Miami Beach, FL It was one of our best adventure holidays yet, from our fabulous guide, the 5-star hotels, the camping sites, and food on the trail...everything was perfect and well thought out! Also, the hiking on the Inca Trail and being in Machu Picchu were an incredible highlight for both my husband and I. What a way to celebrate a 50th birthday! Pascale M., Newmarket, Ontario Hotels were amazing, outfitters were excellent, food was beyond belief. Karen B., Santa Cruz, CA Our trip was amazing! We loved it—the guides, the itinerary, the sights, and even the food (unexpectedly good!). We have recommended the trip to everyone who has asked about it. Karin R., Hinsdale, IL Exceeded our expectations. Unique, well thought out itinerary and camping locations. I am convinced this is the very best tour incorporating the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Michael S., Aptos, CA Above all expectations! Leatrice F., West Stockbridge, MA We have climbed Kilimanjaro, trekked in the Himalayas, Uganda, and the Tour du Mont Blanc, but nothing competes with the historical beauty of this trek. 5 stars is an understatement! Robert K., Mc Lean, VA This was the best vacation my husband and I ever took together. The pace was just right, and the organization was wonderful. I felt lucky to learn so much! Janice C., Sao Paulo, Brazil A truly wonderful, memorable, and unique experience. Miguel and his team handled all sorts of special requests without a hiccup. It could not have been better! Kate S., San Francisco, CA So glad we did a 5-day itinerary—nice to avoid the 'crowds.' WT really has this trip figured out! Sue F., Minneapolis, MN

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Hike to the Incas' "Lost City" , Fred and Laura Jolly