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Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – 8 days

This is probably the most famous trek in the world! It’s certainly one of the best. Machu Picchu itself is actually slightly lower than the starting point of this trek – the trouble is, in between there are some serious ups and serious downs. The altitude can be a challenge and the many steps can be hard on your knees, but the reward that is waiting at the Sun Gate (Intipunku) at dawn makes it worthwhile.


DAY 1: Cusco

We’ll meet any flight arriving in Cusco (3,326m) and drive you to your hotel. In the afternoon we’ll organise a gentle orientation walk around town so that you can get your bearings and begin to acclimatise.

At a convenient time your guide will arrange a full briefing for the days ahead. (Room only)

Inca Trail

Trail’s end: Machu Picchu seen from Intipunku, “The Sun Gate”.

DAY 2:   Chilca to  Huayllamamba; begin the Inca Trail

After breakfast drive to the trailhead at Chilca and meet the support team of porters and set off on the trail. The first section is ideal for acclimatisation purposes because it follows the Urubamba River and the gradient is easy. Lunch at Llactapata (2,888m) beside some spectacular ruins and then ascend the Cusichaca valley to the small hamlet of Huallyabamba, the last inhabited village on the trail, where we will camp (3,000m).

We believe in camping and trekking in style: while walking all you need to carry is your daypack, the support team of porters carries all camping equipment and perform all camp chores. All food is prepared by the cook. (B, L, D)

DAY 3:   Huayllamamba to Pacasmayo

This is probably the toughest day of the trek: rise early and head to the highest point of the trail – the impressive Warmiwanusca (Dead woman’s Pass 4,200m) passing humming birds and dwarf cloud forest along the way. Outstanding views looking back down the valley from the top of the pass. Descend into the Pacasmayo Valley and camp for the night (3,650m).  (B, L, D)

Inca Steps

Inca Steps

DAY 4:   Pacasmayo to Winay Winay

The day begins with an ascent to the Inca ruins of Runcu Raccay and continue ascending to the pass (3,998m) which gives spectacular views of the Vilcabamba Mountain range. Walking on well-preserved Inca pathways passing the ruins of Sayacmarca with plenty of time to scramble around the site and explore. Follow the ridge, passing through tunnels carved by the Inca, and a slight ascent leads to Phuyupatamarca ruins – the ‘place above the clouds at 3,650m. A steep downhill on an old Inca staircase leads to the Cloud Forest and outstanding site of Winay-Winay (2,600m) full of orchids and swallows. (B, L, D)

DAY 5:   Arrive Machu Picchu; return to Cusco

A very early start and following the mountain’s contour through the cloud forest high above the Urubamba River to Inti Punku, the “Gateway of the Sun” which gives the first glimpse of Machu Picchu. Enter the citadel and the guide will conduct you around the religious, residential and agricultural sectors.

Catch the bus to the colourful town of Machu Picchu Pueblo and connect with the Vistadome train back along the Urubamba gorge. The last leg of the journey back to Cusco is by coach, and you’re returned to the hotel for the night. Hopefully you’ll still have enough energy to enjoy a night-out at Cusco’s famous restaurants and clubs! (B).

DAY 6: Cusco:

A free day in Cusco for some rest and recuperation. Whether your interest is exploring Inca ruins, visiting Colonial churches, bargain hunting in artisan markets, exploring the chocolate museum or just relaxing over a cappuccino on a terrace overlooking the Plaza de Armas, Cusco has it all. (B).

Inca Bird

The Caracara.

DAY 7: Depart Cusco

Transfer to Cusco airport for onward travel. (B)

This trip combines well with other ideas such as a trip to the Amazon rainforest, the Colca Canyon, white water rafting on the Apurimac River or a boat trip on Lake Titicaca.

Included in the price

All airport transfers

The orientation walk of Cusco

Transport to the Inca Trail in private vehicle

All camping and cooking equipment [includes Therm-a-rests, spacious two-person tents, dining tent and toilet tent.]

An emergency first-aid kit and oxygen is carried

Registered, English-speaking Inca Trail guide

Porters and cook team (Wages, food and all fees)

Guided tour of Machu Picchu

Inca Trail permit and entrance to Machu Picchu

Bus transfers Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes

Train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (Skydome or Vistadome plus bus transfer)

Accommodation in Cusco 3* x 2 nights. Twin share. Single supplement is available upon request

The meals included are indicated in the itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).

Not Included

National or International flights (Talk to Venture Co)

Sleeping bag (available for hire at $10 a night)

Airport taxes (if applicable)

Entrance to Huayna Picchu (approx. $65) or Machu Picchu mountain (approx. $60)

Travel insurance


Inca loz

Looking back down the Urabamba Valley.

Summary of accommodation:

Cusco; Inca Trail campsites at Llactapata, Llulluchupampa, Phuyupatamarca. 2 nights Machu Picchu village; Cusco

EQUIPMENT LIST: On this expedition you’ll experience extremes of the Peruvian climate, from freezing Altiplano to extremely hot sunshine. During the day hopefully it will be generally sunny enough for shorts and T-shirts though having a fleece and rain gear handy is advisable. It will get cold especially in the evenings (as low as -5°C whilst camping) so bring a warm fleece jacket, a good waterproof and some warm clothes including thermal underwear, gloves, scarf and woolly hat as well as one set of smarter clothes for Cusco. Good quality Alpaca jumpers are available in Cusco. A good quality sleeping bag is essential for your enjoyment of this trip.

Venture Co provides a Field Manual packed full of health guidelines, a packing list and preparation advice for this trek.


The purchase of Inca Trail permits is strictly controlled by the Peruvian Ministerio de Cultura and it is an expensive and inflexible system. There are only five hundred permits for guides, porters and trekkers per day. This has led to high demand and permits are often sold out four months in advance. We therefore need to adhere to the following specific booking conditions.

1: Space on the trip cannot be confirmed until we have received you full name, passport number, gender, nationality and date of birth (in writing) and a 200 US$ non-refundable, non-transferrable deposit . We require this before we can purchase your Inca trail permit.

2: The passport you eventually travel with must match the above. Inca Trail permits are non-transferable and must match your current passport. They are checked at the beginning and during the trek.

Speak to us at the earliest opportunity if you change or lose your passport or change your name.

Please note:

  • The porters carry all your heavy camping gear but this is inaccessible during the day so please bring a small day-pack to carry your personal day gear e.g. water-bottle, camera, sun-block, insect repellent, light fleece and rain jacket.
  • Due to Inca trail rules limiting the numbers of porters and the weight they carry, we have to limit your heavy gear to 8 kg per person – this is usually more than adequate.
  • Any excess gear may be stored in Cusco at your hotel whilst on the Inca trail.
  • Since 2011 the Huayna Picchu peak entrance is no longer included in your Inca Trail permit. If you wish to climb this peak it requires an extra, limited-availability permit. The cost is approximately US$65 and you should let us know at the time of booking.
  • Inca trail regulations stipulate trekking poles are only allowed with rubber tips. This is to prevent trail damage. ‘Native’ tree walking sticks are also banned on the trail, this is to prevent de-forestation.
  • We recommend trekkers take around six hundred soles in local currency for any emergencies and expenses in Machu Picchu.
  • At every hotel check-in and at your trip briefing you will be requested to provide your passport and Immigration card to be photocopied. This is required, by Peru law.
  • We implement a ‘porter protection policy’ that ensures all porters are well treated, paid, insured, fed and looked after
  • Most good quality sporting equipment is unavailable in Peru so if you wish to donate any outdoor clothes, sleeping bags etc after the trek, they will be warmly received.