Private Classic Inca Trail Trek

Peru is one of the hot spots of adventure travel and the combination of a Machu Picchu tour and the Inca Trail is the primary reason. The Classic Inca Trail is used by most trekkers in Peru and has been immortalized as a phenomenal adventure travel destination. We hike on this ancient trail of the Incan Emperors with only a daypack in which we carry snacks, water, and rain jacket while most of our gear is carried by our Quechua porters. Local guides tell us about the ruins and flora we pass, while our cooks prepare delicious hot meals to recharge us at lunch, in the evenings and in the mornings. This is tent camping, but a pretty nice way to vacation!  We make our way by foot all the way to the ruins at Machu Picchu and will be hiking on the very stones laid down by thousands of workers more than 500 years ago as part of the Inca's trail system (called the Cápac Ñan network, after the Emperor Cápac).  Our trek takes us up Dead Woman's Pass (almost 14,000 feet at the top), offers stunning views of the surrounding cloud forest, visits several isolated Incan ruins en route, and ends at the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu. Inca Trail passes are required for this trip, which means you need to book early.


Minimum of 2 people
Your choice of dates
$3100 per person / 8 days & 7 nights
Single Supplement: $800 (always optional)

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Moderate - Challenging

INCLUDED: double occupancy lodging, most meals, professional and knowledgable guides and porters, ground transportation in Peru, Inca Trail passes and permits, entrance fees to Machu Picchu and other attractions, all camping equipment (except sleeping bags), and Pre-Departure Information that we will email to you after we receive your deposit. This will include detailed arrival and departure information, suggestions for making travel arrangements, packing list, invoice, insurance information, information about the area we will be visiting and a liability waiver.

NOT INCLUDED: transportation to and from Cusco, gratuities to guides and porters, sleeping bag rental (optional $75), two meals on your own, alcoholic beverages, optional hike up Huayna Picchu when you are visiting Machu Picchu ($65 additional entrance fee, only suitable for those who are fit, have good balance, and are not afraid of heights), and personal expenses.

DAY 1 ::  We meet you this morning in Cusco, the gateway city to Machu Picchu, either at the airport (if you arrive this morning) or your hotel (if you arrived earlier). At over 11,000 feet you will feel the altitude. We shuttle directly to the town of Ollantaytambo, several thousand feet lower, where we will have a leisurely lunch followed by an afternoon hike through the nearby archeological ruins before checking into our hotel.

DAY 2 :: Today we explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas as we continue to adjust to the altitude. We start with a visit to Moray, ruins that served as the Incan agricultural laboratory, and hike downhill from there to Maras, a series of pools created by the Incas to harvest salt from a salt-laden natural spring. This is a unique hike where you will see no or few other travelers. We spend the night at a wonderful hotel in the town of Ollantaytambo.

DAY 3 :: We take a private motorcoach to Piscacucho (2750 m / 9075 feet, Kilometer 82 of the railway) and start our trek along the left bank of the Urubamba River with magnificent views of snow-capped mountains.  After two hours we arrive above the ruins of Llactapata (2650 m / 8745 feet). Here we leave the Urubamba Valley and set off up the Kusichaca River to our camp in the locality of Wayllabamba (3000 m / 9900 feet), our first camp site. Walking time from Piscacucho to Wayllabamba is 12 kilometers and 4-5 hours.

DAY 4 :: After breakfast we begin to walk uphill to the Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman) pass, which at 4200 m / 13860 feet is our highest point on the trek. From the pass it is possible to see the trail ahead. We descend 2000 feet on stone steps to Pacaymayo (3600 m / 11880 feet), our second camp spot. Note this is the most difficult of the four days and the hike up the pass will be very challenging for some people. The key is to go slowly and steadily. Walking time from Wayllabamba to Warmiwañusca Pass is 9 kilometers and 4-5 hours. Walking time from the pass down to the campsite is about two kilometers more and 1-2 hours.

DAY 5 :: From our campsite a steep but short ascent will take us to the Runkurakay circular ruins, probably a lookout point over the passes below but whose circular shape implies a religious significance. The uphill continues for a short while after the ruins and then we head down on a very well-preserved Inca Trail to the Sayacmarca ruins (3580 m / 11814 feet). These ruins are a short but steep climb off the main trail and are well worth visiting. After lunch the trail heads into jungle terrain and the cloud forest, is extremely well preserved, and seems to hang on the cliff face for stretches. Only another 60-90 minutes of relatively easy walking will take us to our third camp (3760 m / 12400 feet). This campsite provides incredible views of the nearby mountains. Walking distance for the day is 8 kilometers and 4 hours, so we have plenty of time at Runkurakay and Sayacmarka.

DAY 6 :: The entire morning will be downhill today on stone steps. We head down a short ways to the ruins below our campsite, Phuyupatamarka. After visiting these ruins, we continue down to the Wiñay Wayna ruins (2650 m. / 8745 feet), the most important ruins after Machu Picchu. After lunch, we continue on a mostly level trail with a final uphill to a last pass, which takes us to the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) at 2700 m / 8910 feet.  We emerge to the wondrous site below us of the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. We simply sit on our perch above the ruins and soak in the beauty of the area.  One more kilometer takes us down into Machu Picchu itself (2400 m / 7920 feet), before we are bused to our hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town directly below Machu Picchu.  Walking time from Phuyupatamarca to Wiñay Wayna is 7 kilometers and 3 hours and on to Machu Picchu is another 6 kilometers and 2-3 hours.

DAY 7 :: We arise early to enjoy a Machu Picchu tour in the crisp morning hours before the trainloads of tourists arrive. You'll have the option to climb a steep mountain to the temple on Huayna Picchu before taking the train back to Cusco, where we spend our final night. We celebrate our victory with a farewell dinner.

DAY 8 :: We spend the morning in Cusco, with the option to visit the important ruins of Sacsayhuaman and the Korikancha temple. Lunch is on your own and you'll have a few hours to explore this wonderful town before you either take a flight back to Lima where you can connect with your international flight home, or extend your vacation in Cusco.




Click here to see a map of the Classic Inca Trail.