Hiker's Journey to Machu Picchu

Best Trails in Peru’s Sacred Valley, Plus a Machu Picchu Hike with Jhon Elguera


Machu Picchu is the crown jewel of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, but you don’t have to hike the famous Inca Trail to be surrounded by the sheer wonder of this fabled realm. Our hiking adventure brings to you breathtaking vistas in the mountain-ringed Urubamba Valley (the “Sacred Valley”) on exhilarating trails to hidden Inca sites surrounded by a landscape of sky-piercing Andean peaks. We’ll even have llamas to carry our picnic lunch supplies on one hike, and on our final hike, we head up the trail to Machu Picchu itself, entering the “lost city” on foot through the Gate of the Sun, as the Incas once did. As we enjoy the world of the Incas, we’ll explore the mighty stone fortresses of Ollantaytambo and Pisac, meet Quechua families in remote mountaintop villages, sample Peru’s “Novoandino” cuisine made with traditional Andean ingredients, and stay in gorgeous hacienda-style accommodations, with two overnights at a beautiful hotel right below the ruins. This is the way to experience the world of the Incas!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Cusco / Sacred Valley / Pisac / Huchuy Qosqo

Enjoy Cusco, the ancient Inca capital, then head to the Sacred Valley to explore the vast Inca fortress of Pisac, hiking down from the ruins into the market town of Pisac below, famous for its original Inca street plan. Our next hike is to the off-the-beaten-path ruin of Huchuy Qosqo (“Little Cusco”) at 11,980 feet, once the refuge of the Inca Viracocha and offering panoramic views of the Cordillera Vilcanota. We’ll enjoy our hacienda-style hotel set on 100 acres of countryside in the heart of the Sacred Valley.

Casa Andina Premium Cusco
Cusco, Peru
Day 1 (1 night), Day 8 (1 night)
Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
Urubamba, Peru
Days 2 to 3 (2 nights)
Days 4-5
Kinsacocha / Patacancha / Ollantaytamb

On our hike to the high alpine lake of Kinsacocha (13,215’), a group of tasseled llamas will walk with us, carrying our picnic lunch (it will be picturesque!). We visit the high Quechua village of Patacancha, home to generations of Wilderness Travel’s Inca Trail crew, cooks, and porters, then hike to Pucamarca, an Inca ruin where we’ll have our lunch en route to the superb village of Ollantaytambo, continuously inhabited since Inca times. Our eco-resort in the Urubamba Valley offers a wonderful “glamping” experience, with tented rooms complete with en suite bathrooms, woodstoves, private deck, and panoramic views of the Sacred Valley.

Las Qolqas Eco Resort
Ollantaytambo, Peru
Days 4 to 5 (2 nights)
Days 6-9
WT Inca Trail Camp / Machu Picchu / Cusco

After exploring the major Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo, we hike to Wilderness Travel’s own private permanent camp on Kilometer 82 on the Inca Trail, with its panoramic views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcanota. Our camp comes with thatch-roofed tented chalets, en suite bathrooms, and even a wood-fired sauna. The next day, we take the train to Machu Picchu for the classic hike up to Intipunku, the “Gate of the Sun,” the traditional entrance to Machu Picchu, with two nights at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. We return for more exploration at the ruins the next day, then head back to Cusco on Day 8 and depart on Day 9.



Hike through the Gate of the Sun to Machu Picchu from Kilometer 104 on the Inca Trail
Hike to the lesser-known Inca site of Huchuy Qosqo overlooking the Sacred Valley
Walk amid traditional Quechua villages and herds of grazing llamas and alpacas at the top of the Sacred Valley
Enjoy a special pachamanca dinner at WT's private camp at Kilometer 82 on the Inca Trail
Explore and hike at Pisac and Ollantaytambo, two massive Inca fortresses
Stay in hacienda-style retreats in the heart of the Sacred Valley


Length: 9 days
Cost From: $6295  
Arrive: Cusco, Peru
Depart: Cusco, Peru
Lodging: 7 nights hotels, 1 night full-service WT permanent tented camp
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Moderate to steep trails, 3-6 hours a day, altitudes between 8,000-13,200 feet