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Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


Duration 5 Days
Difficulty Moderate to Hard
Range of Altitude 2,380m to 4,200m / 7,800ft to 13,780ft
Distance Covered Approximately 43km

One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu needs no further introduction. Visit Peru’s most renowned attraction and one of the most important archaeological sites in the world on the famous Inca Trail.

This 43km trek takes you through famous archaeological sites such as Runkuraqay, Puyupatamarca and Winaywayna, luscious Andean scenery with dramatic sights of the mountainous backdrop, ending with a visit to the sacred Inca City of Machu Picchu, no doubt the highlight of the trip.

This extended version of the Classic Inca Trail (normally 4 days: see here) allows one to travel to quieter, more pristine and beautiful campsites. It also spaces out the schedule so that the pace is more relaxing on a daily basis.


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*Note that this map is not for navigational purposes.


  • We depart Cusco in the morning by private transportation to the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco-Machu Picchu railroad, the starting point of the Inca Trail

  • Following the trail along flat terrain, we arrive in Miskay (2,800m/9,184ft) from which we can see the Inca city of Llactapata (2,750m/9,020ft)

  • We descend to the ruins where we set up camp for the 1st night. Spend the afternoon exploring and visting this archaeological site

  • Total hiking is about 5km or two and a half to three hours
  • We begin the day by trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca River, gradually climbing for approximately five hours until we reach the farming community of Wayllabamba (3,000m/9,840ft). Along the way we are treated to spectacular views of the Vilcanota mountain range, with Mount Veronica (5,832m/19,134ft) looming in the distance

  • We next embark on the most difficult part of the trek, which is a steep ascent that stretches for 9 km to the 1st mountain pass called Abra Warmihuanusca or Dead Woman’s pass (4,200m/13,776ft). We only climb half way up the pass to stop at Llulluchapampa (3,800m/12,467ft) to set up our campsite for the night

  • Total hiking is about 12km or five to six hours
  • After breakfast, we continue our hike up towards Abra Warmihuanusca (4,200m/13,776ft), reaching after approximately 2 hours

  • We then descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3,600m/11,808ft), from which we then start to climb to the 2nd pass, Abra Runkurakay (3,970m/13,022ft). Halfway up, we visit an archaeological complex (of the same name), which consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower

  • After the pass, we descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3,624m/11,887ft). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals

  • Continuing up an easy climb, we arrive at the 3rd and final pass, Abra Phuyupatamarca (3,700m/12,136ft). We go through an Inca tunnel to arrive at this pass and down to the complex of the same name. This is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. From above, one can observe a sophisticated sacred complex made up of water fountains with solid foundations, with impressive views of the Urubamba River valley

  • We set our camp in Phuyupatamarca for the 3rd night

  • Total hiking is about 15km or eight hours
  • If the sky is clear, we may get to see one of the most spectacular sunrises at Phuyupatamarca due to its vantage point

  • We begin with a long descent to Winaywayna (2,650m/8,692ft), which is the biggest archaeological site in the Inca Trail apart from Machu Picchu, and consists of an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector, with spectacular views of the Urubamba River valley

  • We hike for another hour to Inti Punku (Sun Gate), from where you will enjoy panoramic views of the sacred Inca City of Machu Picchu

  • From Inti Punku, a short walk brings us down to Puente Ruinas, a campsite located just at the base of the Machu Picchu mountain (you can choose to stay at a hotel in Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu for day 4, as an alternative to the campsite at Puente Ruinas, subject to applicable charges)

  • Total hiking is 11km or about five hours
  • We board a bus in the morning to take us up to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of Machu Picchu that will take approximately two hours

  • You will have free time to walk around, climb up the Huaynapicchu Mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machu Picchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it (note that there are only 400 visitors allowed per day), visit the Temple of the Moon or the impressive Inca Bridge

  • In the afternoon, we reconvene in the town of Aguas Calientes where you can visit and relax in its hot springs if you like. We then take the train back to Cusco, where we arrive after nightfall


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