This Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is by far the most popular trek in South America, very well known in the world and it is Peru’s number one trek. The amazing 4 day Inca Trail combines spectacular mountain scenery and lush sub-tropical forest rich in Andean flora and fauna.
This spectacular Inca Trail in the high Andes is located on an original Inca route. Hiking the Classic Inca Trail you will have the chance to enjoy the extraordinary Inca ruins along the way, amazing mountain views, high mountain passes, sensational valleys and finally the magical feeling of arriving at the sun gate and the Legendary lost city of the Incas “Machu Picchu”.
The first day is relatively easy and serves as training for the days to follow. Travelers are picked up from their hotels (5:30am) and travel by bus, past the picturesque villages of Chinchero, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. Buses usually stop at the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley for about 30 minutes to give people the opportunity to have breakfast.
At km 82 we will cross the Urubamba River and follow the trek to the right as it climbs steeply upward. We will pass through a small village, as ruins of the Inca hill fort of Huillca Raccay come into view high above the mouth of the river Cusichaca (‘happy bridge’).
You will be able to view over the extensive Inca ruins of Llactapata (also known as Patallacta on some maps). Llactapata means ‘upper town’ in Quechua and was first discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and was primarily an agricultural station used to supply Machu Picchu with maize, the staple crop of the Incas.
We will continue the Inca Trail on a path that follows the left bank of the river up to the small village of Wayllabamba (3,000m). We will spend the night here depending on the speed of the group. (This is the last place along the trek that you can buy snacks and drinks).
Overnight at the campsite
After breakfast we will keep hiking the Classic Inca Trail as we climbing up from Wayllabamba following the left bank of the Llulluchayoc River, we arrive in ‘Tres Piedras’ (three stones). There is stream named after the Huayruro, which is an ornamental tree that has red and black seeds. Many of the porters from Ollantaytambo district are also known as Huayruros because of their traditional red and black ponchos.
As we trek further up the trail, we will begin to see spectacular terrain known as Llulluchapampa. We will walk another 2 hours uphill to the first and highest pass of the trail (Abra de Warmiwañusca or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass) at 4,215m. During this part of the Inca Trail, hikers are exposed to the Andean elements: first scorching sun and then, closer to the pass, freezing winds. Once at the top hikers can celebrate having completed the most difficult section of the hike.
The down hill from the pass is steep but not difficult. We will follow the trail on the left side of the valley floor and spend our 2nd evening at the Pacaymayo campsite.
Overnight at the campsite
The third day of the Inca Trail hike leaves from Pacaymayo, it takes about an hour uphill hike to the ruins of Runkurakay. These small circular ruins occupy a commanding position overlooking the Pacaymayo valley below.
Another 45 minute hike will bring you to the top of the second pass: Abra de Runkurakay (4,000m). At last you’ll feel that you are walking along the pilgrimage trail of the Incas. An hour from the 2nd pass you’ll arrive at Sayacmarca Inca site by way of a superbly designed stone staircase. The name Sayacmarca means ‘Inaccessible Town’ and describes the position of the ruins perfectly protected on three sides by sheer cliffs.
After to visit Sayacmarca we will rejoin the trail as it passes Conchamarca, a small Inca dwelling situated in the shadows of Sayacmarca. From here, the path descends into the magnificent cloud-forest full of orchids.
The trail goes up to the 3rd pass (3,670m). This pass offers excellent views of several snow-capped peaks including Salcantay (6,300m) and Veronica (5,900m). Phuyupatamarca, the most impressive Inca ruin, is located a few minutes away from the pass. The name Phuyupatamarca means ¨’Town in the Clouds¨.
After walking through cloud-forest you may just be able to see the tin roof of the park rangers house (Wiñay Wayna), although it will be 3 hours until we arrive at Wiñay Wayna, which is the last official campsite before Machu Picchu. There is a short Inca Trail located in the southern end of the campsite that leads to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna.
Overnight at the campsite
The Inca Trail from the last campsite to Machu Picchu is clearly marked and takes about 2 hours to finish this last section of the trail. We will awake early at 4.00 am, have breakfast and set off on the trail by 5.30 am to get to Machu Picchu before sunrise.The Classic Inca Trail contours a mountainside and drops into cloud forest before coming to an almost vertical flight of 50 steps leading up to the final pass at Intipunku (Sun Gate). Suddenly the whole of Machu Picchu is spread out before you in all its glory – a fantastic sight for all.
When you arrive at the ruins you’ll have plenty of time to take photos of Machu Picchu from the classic view point’. When the group is back together again we descend to the main entrance where you can safely leave your large backpacks. The group will re-enter the ruins with the same guide for a complete tour of the major sectors. The tour takes aproximately 2 hours. Afterwards, you will have free time to explore the ruins alone (not included in the price):
In the afternoon take the bus down to Aguas Calientes for the lunch, and then take the Train back to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival to the Train Station, reception and transfer to your Hotel in Cusco, the journey by train takes approximately 3 Hours.
US $30.00 discount on the above prices to students with a valid International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and to children under the age of 16. (Scans of your ISIC card or child’s passport must be provided at the time of paying the trek deposit in order to qualify for the discount). International Youth Travel Cards (IYTC) or other forms of student identity are not acceptable for the Classic Inca Trail or any other hike
Important Note: We will book your Hike permits using the names & passport numbers, nationality, date of birth, and sex. That you send us with your trek departure date.
You must bring the same passports with you to Cusco and take them on the trek. If you plan to renew your passport between making the trek booking and actually starting the trek please visit our web page. At www.topperutrips.com
If you book the Classic Inca Trail at the student price, you must send us a copy of your ISIC card at the time you pay the trek deposit.
If you fail to bring your ISIC card on the trek the government authorities will not allow you to start the trek and you will not have chance to pay the extra and finish the trek.