CLASSIC INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU 4 DAYS
The 4 days and 3 nights trek of the Inca Trail is the most popular to go to Machu Picchu. It passes through the original Inca steps and ends at the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), the entrance to the city of Machu Picchu.
The Inca Trail 4D/3N has 7 archaeological sites along the way, has a variety of flora and fauna, and the area is rich in history. The 4 day hike is 42 km/26 miles and reaches 4,215 m/13,828 ft and is classified as a moderate hike. If you like the idea of doing the classic trek to Machu Picchu and don’t mind the crowded trails and camping, then the Inca Trail is the right one for you.
This trail requires a permit and a limited number of people can walk it per day. These places fill up quickly, so it is essential to book well in advance (at least 7 months recommended). The minimum number of passengers needed for the trekking trip: 2 people (1 person or private or personalized walks possible for an extra charge). Maximum number of walkers per group: 10 people (special, private groups may exceed the maximum)
DAY 1: CUSCO – PISCACUCHO KM 82 – WAYLLABAMBA
Very early in the morning your private transport will pick you up at your hotel for the 3 hour journey to the beginning of the Inca Trail (known as km 82). On the way we will stop for breakfast in Ollantaytambo, which is a small town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Here you can buy different things for your hike if necessary, such as coca leaves, sunscreen, plastic rain ponchos, etc. When we arrive at KM 82 we show our original permits and passports (make sure you have the same passport number as the one in the reserve) at the checkpoint.
Then we walk 3 1/2 hours for lunch and another 2 1/2 hours to reach our first campsite Wayllabamba (3,000 m/9,843 ft). On the way we have the opportunity to see the third highest snow-capped mountain in the Cusco region, called Wacaywillca or Veronica (5,800 m/19,028 ft).
The walking distance is approximately 10 km (6 hours)
DAY 2: WAYLLABAMBA – PACAYMAYU
A call to get up early to continue the walk on the Sacred Way. Today we climb to the Paso de la Mujer Muerta, the highest pass of the walk, at 4,215 m/13,828 ft. It will take us approximately 5 hours to reach the top of the pass. The views from the Paso de la Mujer Muerta are spectacular and you can see glaciers, valleys and endless mountains.
After the pass we continue down for 2 hours to our second camp called Pacaymayu 3,600 m/11,810 ft. At the camp we will have lunch and the rest of the afternoon free until happy hour and dinner.
The walking distance is approximately 14 km/8.6 miles (7 hours walking)
DAY 3: PACAYMAYU – WIÑAYWAYNA
The early awakening calls again to climb two steps today (Runkurakay and Phuyupatamarca). We will walk along a semi-steep trail for 1 1/2 hours to reach the first Runkurakay pass 3,950 m/12,959 ft. On the way we will visit the archaeological site called Runkurakay.
After the first pass we will continue down for 1 1/2 hours to our lunch spot Chakicocha (3,500 m/11,482 ft) visiting another archaeological site, Sayacmarca, along the way. After lunch we walk for 1 1/2 hours to the Phuyupatamarca pass (3,650 m/11,975 ft).
This trail is particularly beautiful and from the pass we will see the Machu Picchu mountain, the Vilcabamba mountain range and the Urubamba river. After the second pass we will continue to descend for 2 more hours to our third camp Wiñaywayna (2,700 m/8,858 ft).
The walking distance is approximately 16 km (7 hours)
DAY 4: WIÑAYWAYNA – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
The wake-up call is very early, at 4:00 a.m., to reach the entrance of Machu Picchu at dawn. After breakfast we go to the checkpoint to show our permits and tickets again.
Then we walk 1 1/2 hours to the Sun Gate, the entrance to Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail and then another 1/2 hour to get to the agricultural area south of the city of Machu Picchu (where the most famous pictures of the site are taken). Your guide will provide you with your entrance to Machu Picchu. Please have your passport because without it you will not be able to enter the park.
If you are a student you must bring your ISIC card to the entrance or you will not be allowed to enter. You will show your entrance ticket and your passport/ISIC card, and you will continue back to Machu Picchu to start the tour, where your guide will reveal the mysteries of this magical place. After the tour you will have free time to explore the city on your own. After you have finished exploring the site of the ruins you will take the bus (25 minutes) to Aguas Calientes.
There are many restaurants to choose from and your guide can also help you find a good place to have lunch. After lunch you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo where your private transport will pick you up and take you back to your hotel in Cusco.
NOTE: There are no restrooms at the ruins site. There are toilets just outside the entrance, they cost 1 sol per entrance, and they provide some toilet paper.
What to bring
For Explorape, the best time or month to visit Cusco is June, around the 24th of June, the main reason is that Cusco is on a holiday, so you can enjoy shows in the streets like: typical dances, folkloric parades, etc. This is without any additional cost.
You also have the option to see Inti Raymi, one of the most important festivities of the Incas.
But, you will see many tourists, and if you don’t like them much, you can visit Cusco in its low season, which is from November to April, although it rains in Cusco at this time, but something that is spectacular is that the mountains are green.
This hike is classified as intermediate to advanced considering the high altitudes, the number/length of stone steps up and down, the multiple steps and the length of the hike. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco at least 2 or 3 days before the hike.
For the Inca Trail you have to buy tickets well in advance, it is advisable to buy them together with the Machu Picchu Trail. But, don’t worry, this tour includes all the tickets, you just have to book it well in advance.
The availability of the Inca Trail is all year round except in February. The best time for trekking is from March to November. The Inca Trail is closed in February for repair/cleaning.
If you wish to volunteer or donate, we can put you in touch with various communities in Cusco, who need help in various aspects, our main contact is:
Cristo Rey Tikari School: Located in Ocongate distric, close to Ausangate Mountain. They need some basic things like: clothes, toys, books, pens, pencils, brushes, etc.
All our private tours include our Travel & Join program, you can take this option and get to know the other non-tourist side of Cusco.