Information about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Information about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Information about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Information about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Travel the classic Inca Trail from Peru to Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail in Peru, one of the most popular excursions in South America, is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience. Built by the Incas more than 500 years ago, the Classic Inca Trail is the most famous stretch of the Inca road system, consisting of 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) of trail stretching north to south through Chile, Ecuador and Peru.

Where does the Classic Inca Trail hike start and end?

Start your trek: Your journey to Machu Picchu will begin in the Peruvian city of Cusco, and this impressive four-day trek begins at a place called Kilometer 82. As its name suggests, this famous trailhead is located 82 kilometers from the road. railway from Cuzco, on the way to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. You can board the train until Kilometer 82 at the Poroy station in Cusco, which is about 18 kilometers from the city center. On this route you will pass through the town of Ollantaytambo, and you will find Kilometer 82 located halfway between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes.

Finish your hike: You’ll complete your hike on day four by arriving at Machu Picchu’s Sun Gate in time to see the sunrise over the misty ruins, with plenty of precious time to explore the ruins before the tour buses arrive.

IMPORTANT: Before starting your hike, think about what you will do for transportation from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes and Cusco. A guided tour (like our “Jaguar” trip) will take care of all of this, but if you’re looking at other tour operators you’ll want to make sure all of this is included, as buses and trains will fill up, and accommodation in Aguas Calientes will sell out.

Is the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu difficult?

Most people say that you have to be in relatively good physical condition to hike the Inca Trail. It’s not that the hike itself is extremely difficult (although it is technically more difficult than the Lares Inca Trail), but rather it’s more about making sure you take all the necessary precautions to prepare for the altitude. At its highest point, the Classic Inca Trail ascends to 4,226 meters, a height high enough for most people to be affected by altitude sickness and/or lack of energy due to low oxygen levels.

Altitude sickness on the Classic Inca Trail should be taken very seriously and monitored closely. If you’re wondering what you can do to avoid altitude sickness while you’re on the trail, the most important thing is to communicate with your trip leader and fellow travelers to find out how you’re feeling at all times. As soon as you or anyone else feels bad, experience tells us that taking things easy, eating little and drinking plenty of water are elements that help remedy the discomfort. Our guides are very well trained in the subject, and will always be there to advise you when you need it.

If you’re wondering how to prevent altitude sickness on the Classic Inca Trail, we’ve found that the best thing you can do is take a couple of days to explore the city of Cusco and take a gentle bike ride through the Sacred Valley before you begin the trek. hike. This will get your body used to the thinner air, keeping you active but at a less strenuous pace. That’s why the best tour operators, who have been traveling through Peru for decades, offer a 7-day guided hike to Machu Picchu… instead of the shorter 4-day, 3-night option. Its cases of altitude sickness are much less than shorter trips, meaning everyone is more relaxed along the way, gaining a much greater connection with the local Peruvian culture and spending more time soaking up the stunning views of the mountains. Andean mountains. It’s a simple formula that works well.

Distances and daily elevations on the Classic Inca Trail

Day 1: From Cusco to Pisonay

Maximum altitude: 2954m / 9694ft
Minimum altitude: 2670m / 8761ft
Distance traveled: 10.89km / 6.77ml
Approximate walking time: 5 hours

Day 2: Wayllabamba to Pacamayo

Maximum altitude: 4226m / 13866ft
Minimum altitude: 2954m / 9694ft
Distance traveled: 7.10km / 4.40ml
Approximate walking time: 5.30 hours

Day 3: Pacamayo to Eternal Youth

Initial height: 3627 meters above sea level / 11900 ft.
Maximum height: 3974 meters above sea level / 13030 ft.
Approximate walking time: 8 to 9 hours
Day distance: 11 km / 7 ml

Day 4: Wiñay Huayna to Machu Picchu

Initial height: 3688 meters above sea level / 12100 feet.
Maximum height: 3688 meters above sea level / 12100 feet.
Approximate walking time: 4:30 hrs.
Day distance: 7.29km/4.53ml

What is the best time to travel the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

From a meteorological point of view, the most popular time to hike the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is during the dry season, which runs from May to October, when rainfall in the Amazon basin is minimal and you can make the most of the days of blue sky of Peru. However, April and November are also good options, as the weather is more favorable and there are fewer tourists, which is always a good thing.

Inca Trail closures for maintenance

The Classic Inca Trail closes every year during the month of February. The rainy season is at its peak between January and March, so with fewer hikers it’s a good time to keep the trail in world-class condition. During these months, you can still hike the Lares Inca Trail on your trip to Machu Picchu.

Can I walk the Classic Inca Trail alone?

>No. The fact that the Classic Inca Trail has survived hundreds of years through the seasons is a true testament to the quality of the workmanship that went into its construction. However, following the discovery of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham in 1911, the Classic Inca Trail’s reputation as a bucket-list hike grew, and with the throng of tourists came trash and eventually deterioration of the trail. This forced Peru’s Ministry of Culture to impose a daily restriction of 500 hikers per day on the trail, comprised of 200 hikers and 300 guides/porters. Part of the restriction stipulates that no person can hike the trail without being accompanied by a guide, and each hiker needs a hiking permit.

How do you acquire a hiking permit for the Classic Inca Trail?>

If you take part in a guided tour, your operator will simply ask for your passport details and arrange your excursion permit. Be sure to plan your trip well in advance, as hiking permits for the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu can sell out up to 3 or 4 months in advance.

If I don’t get hiking permits for the Inca Trail, what are my alternative options?

The best alternative to the Classic Inca Trail is the Lares Inca Trail. In fact, it is considered to be the best option of the two paths. Although the Lares Inca Trail does not take you to the Puerta del Sol in Machu Picchu, it is much less crowded and you will immerse yourself in a much more culturally rich experience. You will be welcomed in local villages along the way, dining and creating artefacts with locals, and your final night’s accommodation is a cozy local hotel in Aguas Callientes where you can enjoy a hot meal and a shower – unlike of a last night of camping on the Classic Inca Trail.

How should I prepare for the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu?

Prepare for your trek to Machu Picchu before arriving in Peru
>Guided tours along the Inca Trail are designed for real people, both hiking beginners and seasoned adventurers. Your guides will tailor your trip to your ability, letting you set the pace, regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on.

I am in Cusco, what should I do to prepare for the start of my walk?

If you are arriving in Cusco from a low land and are thinking about doing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, it is a great idea to take a couple of days to loosen your legs after your flight, gently adjusting to the altitude of the Andes. A great way to do this is to explore the history, sights and sounds of the beautiful city of Cusco, and join a group tour for a stunning bike ride through the Sacred Valley. While in the Sacred Valley, it is worth taking a short hike to explore the ruins of Pisac.

You will find that most tour operators will recommend this transition process, as you will see on trips like the “Jaguar”.

Accommodation on the Classic Inca Trail

“Luxury camping” is a term often referred to when asked about accommodation on the Classic Inca Trail. If you’re looking for high-class hostels along the way, you won’t find them. Everyone who travels the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu camps for 3 nights. That being said, it is one of the most comfortable camping trips you will ever experience.

During the journey, the tents are fully prepared before your arrival. You will sleep on comfortable camping mats and only the best tents are used. You’ll stay dry and out of the elements, setting yourself up for a great night’s sleep. Below are examples of the tents used on the Classic Inca Trail.

Food on the Classic Inca Trail

Every day you will enjoy delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Your guides will cater for any dietary requirements, and you will enjoy a range of homemade jams, dried fruits (pineapple, banana, berries, etc.), energy bars and chocolate brownies, and homemade bread.

The photo below was taken at lunch time, on our “Jaguar” excursion from the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:

Toilet on the Classic Inca Trail

Remember that you are high in the Peruvian Andes, so don’t expect too many comforts. But we will make sure your camping experience is the best it can be. In each camp we use private toilets with biodegradable detergents that do not contaminate the environment. We constantly try to ask other operators to make the same effort.

Highlights of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Wayllabamba – I’m Not Afraid (Official Music Video)

The end point of the first day of hiking the Inca Trail, Wayllabamba, which means “plain of grass” in Quechua, is the perfect place to watch the sun set behind the dramatic Andean peaks. This grassy plain dominates a stunning Andean landscape, with centuries-old Inca terraces winding down the slopes of the surrounding mountains. There is even a nearby town where travelers can mingle with locals.

The Valley of Llulluchapampa

Hikers will begin the first part of the second day of the trip by walking through the picturesque Llulluchapampa Valley. As you gradually ascend in altitude, you will even be able to get perfect views of impressive snow-capped cliffs.


This unique oval structure, sometimes known colloquially as the “Egg Cabin,” is believed to have been a kind of rest stop for Inca travelers, called a tambo, providing them with a place to spend the night and rest their animals. It is the perfect place to enjoy a break midway and marvel at the beauty of Inca architecture.


First discovered by the famous Hiram Bingham when he was walking a trail that extended from Machu Picchu, dramatic Sayacmarca is situated at a fork of an ancient Inca trail in a dense subtropical forest teeming with butterflies and hummingbirds. In Quechua, these unique ruins have an almost mystical air and are possibly the most impressive on the Inca Trail (except for Machu Picchu itself, of course). It is believed that Sayacmarca was built by the Colla, an important enemy of the Incas, and that they took over the place after the group’s conquest.


Nicknamed “The City in the Fog”, this important archaeological site is located at a whopping 3,200 meters above sea level. Regarding the nickname, Phuyupatamarca is usually surrounded by dense white clouds. The ruins, spectacularly built into a steep cliff, contain five stone baths that fill with fresh water during the rainy season. It is believed that these baths were used for religious ceremonies. Visitors can also check out the site’s elaborate hydraulic system, a true testament to the impressive capabilities of Inca engineering. Of all the Inca ruins in the region, Phuyupatamarca is possibly the most intact and, therefore, a truly spectacular site for passing hikers.

Entrance to Machu Picchu, through the Amazon access, will be through private travel and tourism agencies.

These agencies must be registered in the virtual platform of the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State.

he National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (Sernanp) and the Decentralized Directorate of Culture of Cusco informed users and the general public that with the reopening of tourism activity in the Machu Picchu llaqta, the entrance of tourists to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, through the Amazon access, will be done through private travel and tourism agencies.
These private agencies must be registered in Sernanp’s virtual platform; this is within the framework of the «Guide/Sanitary Protocol before covid-19 for the attention of visitors to the Historic Sanctuary of Machupicchu – Machupicchu National Archeological Park through the Amazon Access», approved by Resolution No. 020-2020-SERNANP-SHM-J.

Registration of private agencies

In this regard, the following considerations should be taken into account: In the first point, the registration and registration of travel and tourism agencies, will be carried out virtually through the platform «Tourist Service in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu», in which the requested information must be consigned and the required documents in PDF format must be attached.

While on the second point, the documents required for the registration and registration of travel and tourism agencies are the proof of the Regional Directorate of Foreign Trade and Tourism Cusco (Dircetur) in force, as well as the plan for the monitoring, prevention and control of covid-19 at work (authorized by the competent authority).

Likewise, for further information and guidance, private agencies may contact the following telephone numbers +51 939 420 650 and +51 975 451 429, Monday through Friday during double shift hours, the first from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm and the second from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Open its doors

It is important to point out that the Ministry of Culture (Mincul), through the Decentralized Direction of Culture of Cusco, informed that starting today, Monday, March 1st, visits to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu will resume, with a 40% capacity allowed, with a maximum of 897 people per day.

Likewise, visitors must strictly comply with the sanitary protocol, which means the permanent and correct use of the mask, keeping the corresponding physical distance, in addition to the security measures dictated by the site staff.

Huiñay Huayna (The Eternal Youth)

Huiñay Huayna (traditionally spelled Wiñay Wayna in Quechua, the language of the Incas) was built on a steep hillside overlooking the Urubamba River. In addition to the site’s ancient houses and temples, it also features an incredibly complex system of Inca terraces, formerly used for agriculture. The name of the site roughly translates to «Forever Young,» and many hikers claim that these ruins are the most beautiful to be found on the trail.

In our travel guide, you will be able to know everything you need to know this country that awaits you with many emotions and memories that you will carry with you for a lifetime, we are travelers like you, and we know each route and the beauty that we can share with you;, only Sit back and enjoy reading these contents, you will learn a lot; And if you want to continue reading just come back soon as we are always updating this section with news and new information

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