The Inca trail
is North West of Cusco city and ends in
Picchu. The path is 42 Kms (25 miles)
long and the starting point can be reach
by road or train.
The temperature along the Inca trail changes
a lot, during the day it is very sunny and
warm; but in the night it is cold. From
June to September, temperature drops close
or below 0°C on the first two nights;
but the last night is cool. It rains from
December to March, but you should expect
light rains the rest of the year, specially
on the 2nd and 3rd night.
The sceneries change a lot along the trail.
The first two days, you will see snow-capped
mountains, valleys, forests and rivers.
The third day is more tropical with lagoons
and lush vegetation. It's amazing how fast
it changes. Along the path you will see
llamas, hawks, lizards, and more rarely
The Inca trail is the remains of one of
the paths to Machu
Picchu. This path wasn't for the transportation
of products, people or animals, it was used
for religious purposes as a pilgrimage done
by the Inca king, the royalty and the priests.
Along the path, they built many ceremonial
sites to worship the snow-capped mountains
as Veronica Peak. They considered the mountains
as gods and protectors of the Inca people
and their towns and cities as Machu Picchu.
Inca Trail (4 days / 3
Many hikers from the whole
world come to Peru, not only to visit Machu
Picchu, but also to hike the Inca trail,
one of the most interesting treks in the
world, not only because the challenge, also
because the beauty of the sceneries, the
ruins along the trail and the mystery at
the end of the path.
There are 3 alternatives
to get in Machu Picchu by the Inca Trail.
They are the Long Inca trail (7 days), the
Classic Inca trail (4 days) and the Short
Inca trail (2 days). The most popular is
the 4 days and 3 nights trek. The 7 days
hike is not only very long but very high,
and it connects to the 4 days trek on the
5th day, so the last 3 days are the same
on both trails. On the Short Inca trail
you only hike the first day and don't camp
but stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes town
to tour Machu Picchu on the second day.
The following is the description
day by day of the 4 days and 3 nights Inca
trail that is the most popular.
The 1st day: You
leave the city of Cusco early in the morning,
with your backpack and full of excitement.
In the bus are other hikers like you, and
also porters who will help you to succeed
in this challenge. After 3 hours of bus
ride, you will get at Piscacucho (a.k.a.
Km. 82), the beginning of the trail. There
you have to register yourself at the check
point, and then, the only obstacle between
you and Machu
Picchu is 42 kilometers of mountains,
valleys, rivers and forests.
mandatory to present your original passport
at the check point at the beginning of the
trail, so don't leave it in the hotel. If
you have booked a student ticket, you have
to bring also your International Student
Identity Card (ISIC).
It takes 2 hours to reach
the lunch site, on the way you will see
the first Inca ruins on the trail, Llaqtapata
("The town above the terraces").
From the lunch spot the path goes through
a smaller valley shaped by the Kusichaca
river. It takes 2 more hours to reach the
Wayllabamba campsite at 3,000 meters above
sea level (9,840 ft.). There you will dinner
and sleep in tents. My advice is to watch
the stars in the night, it's amazing, you
can see the milky way and different constellations,
including the Southern cross.
will wake you up at 6 am to pack your
stuffs and breakfast. Then you have
the whole morning to reach the highest
point of the whole trail, the Warmiwanusca
pass ("Dead woman's pass").
The name is due to the shape of the
mountain that looks like the face
of a woman who is laid down. It takes
4 to 5 hours to reach the pass, the
whole way is uphill and in some parts
there are steps. You will ascend 1,200
meters (3,960 feet) that is the altitude
difference between the campsite from
where you start the hike this day
and the pass at 4,200 meters (13,860
ft.). But it is worthwhile, the sceneries
are beautiful, and once you have conquest
it, you will forget about the rest,
you will be proud of yourself too.
can hire a porter to carry your backpack
to the top of the pass or to the campsite,
I suggest to do this if you don't
feel prepare to deal with the extra
weight and the altitude. Pay him well,
at least 15 US dollars. You can arrange
it with your tour guide but pay the
porter directly to avoid misunderstandings.
the pass you can rest for a while,
usually the groups gather again there.
It's usually very cold and windy,
so bring some warm clothing with you
if you give your backpack to a porter.
After a short rest, you will continue
downhill for one hour and an half
more until the Pacaymayo campsite.
There you will eat and rest until
3rd day: The
porters will wake you up at 6 am again.
After breakfast, you will hike to
the second pass, it's lower but steeper
than the one the day before. On the
way up you will stop at the Runkurakay
site, there is an Inca ceremonial
site. Then you will continue for another
half hour to the top that is at 3,950
meters (13,000 ft.) above sea level.
The whole climb takes one hour with
a half hour stop at the Inca site.
On the way up you will see two lagoons.
Sometimes deers come to the lagoons
to drink water, but it rarely happens.
the Runkurakay pass (2nd pass), the
path is downhill to the lunch site.
On the way you will tour the Sayacmarca
Inca site. After lunch the trail goes
up and down, the hardest part is a
long section of steps down. This part
of the hike is the most beautiful
though. You will tour other 3 Inca
sites, Phuyupatamarca, Intipata and
Winaywayna next to the final campsite.
You will also pass through two tunnels
done by the Incas on the rocky slopes
of the mountains. Also, the path takes
you through the cloud forest, there
the sceneries and the forest are totally
different than the days before. The
views are breathtaking.
you will reach the Winaywayna campsite
in the late afternoon, don't get too
late there because it gets dark at
5:30 pm. There are showers with warm
water (never hot) and you can also
buy a cold beer at the campsite, but
don't celebrate too much, remember
that it's still one day left and you
have to wake up very early next day.
4th day: The
porters will wake you up at 4 am,
when the sky is still dark and the
sun hasn't raised yet. Once pack and
breakfast, you will start to walk
when it is still dark, so don't forget
to carry your flashlight. After 1
hour and an half, you will reach Inti
Punku (Sun's gate), from there you
are able to see for first time Machu
Picchu, like in a dream, among
clouds, like a mysterious treasure.
My advice is to wait there if it's
still cloudy, and wait for the sun.
It will rise behind the mountains
and you will see how the sunbeams
light Machu Picchu up. It's only half
hour more to the Inca's citadel, leave
your backpack in the luggage storage
and discover all the secrets of this
it is available in all our Private
Inca Trail Regulations:
First of all,
it's compulsive to take a tour or
hire a professional guide to hike
the Inca trail. Also, no more than
500 people per day are allowed to
start the Inca Trail. This number
includes all support staff (ie. porters,
cooks and guides) and it applies to
the Long (7 days), Classic (4 days)
and Short Inca trail (2 days) all
together. Once this limit of 500 people
is reached, the trail is effectively
closed off for the day and no further
bookings can be made.
are not held on the trail and all
permits to trek must be bought as
far as possible in advance with complete
and correct passport information,
to which no modifications can be made.
This passport information will be
used to identify yourself as you enter
the check point at the start of the
trail and throughout the hike. If
this information does not match the
information you have submitted at
time of booking, then you will be
subject to delay, fine, and/or cancellation
of admission to the Inca Trail.
do you need to bring?
you take a tour, it includes everything
except sleeping bags, backpacks and
personal items as clothing. But if
you will do it by yourself with a
guide, you will need also tents, mattress,
burners, propane gas, a kitchen set,
a first aid kit, and food for 3 days.
important to bring a raincoat or rain-jacket
for the rainy season (November to
March). In regard to clothing, we
suggest hiking shoes or boots, long
pants, t-shirts, a cap or hat, a fleece
and a jacket for the cold.
items you should bring are flashlight,
batteries, toilet paper, tooth paste,
tooth brush, your personal medicines,
and a medium size towel, remember
you can shower at the 3rd campsite.
Also, bring sun-block and insects
regards water, you can buy bottles
of water on the first two days, on
the third day you have to purify water
from streams. You can use purification
pills or iodine.
liked just about everything. In general,
the whole trip was perfect and exceeded
my expectations." Kevin
Baly (USA, Connecticut)