Classic Inca Trail
Take on one of South America's, and even the world's most famous trekking routes – the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Witness breathtaking Andean landscapes on this three night itinerary and camp under the stars as you get ever closer to the 'Lost City of the Incas'.
Suggested route & duration
- Huayllabamba: 1 night
- Pacaymayo: 1 night
- Wiñay Wayna: 1 night
Day 1: Cuzco to Huayllabamba Rise early to travel by bus (approx. 3½ hours) from Cuzco to Kilometre 82, the start of the trail. Hike to Llactapata, known as the ‘Town on the Hillside’ and enjoy lunch overlooking the agricultural terraces and picturesque valley. Continue into the side valley, gaining altitude on the way to the village of Huayllabamba where you will camp for the night. (Minimum/ maximum altitude: 8461/9694ft; distance travelled: 7.4 miles; approx. walking time: 5-6 hours). L, D.
Day 2: Huayllabamba to Pacaymayo Climb through steepening woodland up to Warmiwañusca Pass, known as ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’. This part of the trail is the most challenging as it is uphill all of the way but you will be rewarded with incredible views over the wind-swept valley and surrounding mountains. Descend to the next camp at Pacamayo. (Minimum/maximum altitude: 9694/13866ft; distance travelled: 6.8 miles; approx. walking time: 6-7 hours). B, L, D.
Day 3: Pacaymayo to Wiñay/Phuyupatamarca Ascend Runcuracay Pass before descending to the archaeological site of Sayacmarca, known as the ‘Inaccessible Town’ due to its setting on a promontory protected by cliffs on three sides. Enjoy spectacular views of the valley before descending through semi-tropical cloud forest via a rock-carved Inca tunnel to the third pass, Phuyupatamarca, which offers spellbinding views of snow-capped mountains including Salkantay. Continue downhill to Wiñay Wayna or Phuyupatamarca (depending on availability) to camp overnight. (Minimum/maximum altitude: 8954/13039ft; distance travelled: 9.9 miles; approx. walking time: 8 hours). B, L, D.
Day 4: Wiñay/Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu Hike through cloud forest to the sun gate, Intipunku for the highlight of your journey, breathtaking panoramic views of the legendary citadel of Machu Picchu. Descend to the mysterious ruins for a guided tour before returning by the Vistadome train and bus to Cuzco. (Minimum/maximum altitude: 7872/8964ft; distance travelled: 2.5 miles; approx. walking time: 2 hours). B, L.
Tailor your tour
A luxury, private version of the Inca Trail is available at a supplement.
Good to know
- For passengers over the age of 16
- The best time to go is between April and November when the weather is generally dry and sunny
- We recommend spending the night in Machu Picchu at the end of your trek so that you can visit the ruins in the morning before returning to Cuzco
- Luggage allowance of 7 kilos
- The porters will carry your duffle bag which contains your sleeping bag and clothes but you will not have access to this during the day so you will need to a day bag for your water, sunblock, camera etc
- There aren’t any showers on the trail except on Day 3 if you stay at Wiñay Wayna (subject to available vacancies)
- There aren’t any electrical outlets available on the trail
- The Inca Trail is closed during February for conservation work.