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5 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

 

Stay Tuned for 2018 Scheduled Departure Dates.

See for yourself why the Peru Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most popular hiking trail in the Andes! You’ll enjoy spellbinding mountain scenery, unforgettable Inca sites, abundant orchids and hummingbirds. We spend four full days walking to Machu Picchu, and a fifth day exploring in the famous ruins themselves. After more than 25 years operating this route, we know how important it is to give you adequate time to enjoy the sights at a comfortable pace. Stroll down the Royal Road into the famous Lost City of the Incas!

2018 Prices for Private Departures: (dependent on group size)
Begin any day of the year! As long as permits are available.
1 person $3110.00 US per person
2 people $1980.00 US per person
3 people $1655.00 US per person
4 people $1480.00 US per person
5 to 16 people $1365.00 US per person

Single supplement; $150 us. 3 nights in single tent, 1-night single room in Aguas Calientes.

Permits sell out 4-5 months in advance! So book early.

Optional day hike permit on Day 5 to Machu or Huaynu Picchu: $140

Optional winter-weight sleeping bag rental: $48

  • We provide mummy-style, winter-weight synthetic-fill sleeping bags, with sheet liners. We launder the liners between each trek. Please request rental sleeping bags well in advance of your departure, and preferably at the time you confirm your trek with us. If you are taller than 6 feet, please request an extra-long bag.
Reservation Information:

We will need a $600 US/pp non-refundable deposit for this trip. We purchase Inca Trail permits when we take your reservations and we are unable to replace anyone with your permit should you cancel. We will send you a trip cancellation insurance application for you so that you can insure your trip. We will also need a color scan or photo of your passport to be able to make the reservations. If you need to renew your passport, it is still important to give us your current passport details so that we can get your permit. Please read below.

Important: at the time we confirm your participation on this trek, we register your complete name and your passport number (as these appear on your trip application) with park authorities on the official trek permit. The trek permit is a legal document with specific restrictions limiting changes. You must bring this same passport with you on the trek. If for whatever reason you cannot bring the passport that is registered on the permit at the time of your original booking, or if you change your passport and cannot bring the original document, or if the information you originally supplied differs from what actually appears on your passport, park authorities may refuse access to the Inca Trail. Please make a photocopy of the ID page of your passport, and keep it with your important trip documents.

** Please understand that these prices may change without notice and are payable in cash in Peru.

Price Includes:
  • indicated meals
  • transport by train and bus
  • porterage of up to 10 kg personal gear
  • 1 night hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • communal camp gear including tables and camp chairs, dining tent, spacious sleeping tents, trail duffel, sleeping pad, water filter and other amenities.
Price does not include:

International and internal airfare, personal trekking gear and sleeping bag; tips to guide and trek staff; city services, flights to Cuzco.

Tour Difficulty

The trek consists of 5 days of moderate to strenuous hiking at elevations of 2,000-4,600m (6,600- 15,000 ft) on diverse types of trails ranging from flat and grassy to steep and rocky slopes.

  • Age Limits: The recommended minimum age of participants is 12 years old. However, we may consider exceptions depending on experience and physical conditions.

Tour Highlights

  • Breathtaking views of the Andes
  • Machu Picchu
  • The Inca Trail
  • Explore Cuzco!

Tour Overview

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a remarkable journey back through time. You’ll be traveling on foot through the Andes like the Incas did. The trail itself is an astonishing achievement, considering the Incas were around for only one hundred years. This ancient footpath, once known as the Royal Inca Highway, was carved through a thick cloud forest and the solid rock of the Andes. Spectacular pre-Columbian ruins line the entire route to Machu Picchu, which is unquestionably the most famous Inca ruin in South America.

The crown jewel of the trek is entering Machu Picchu though the Sun Gate. There, perched high on a ridge, lays the Lost City of the Incas, with Huayna Picchu in the background – a breathtaking sight! We spend that night in a comfortable hotel in Aguas Calientes, a lovely town on the river near Machu Picchu. The following morning we’ll return to Machu Picchu for a complete tour of the ruin with our Peruvian guide before returning to Cuzco by train. The Inca Trail Trek is truly an unforgettable tour through a region rich in early South American history and majestic mountain views.

Tour Map

Tour Video

** Meals included on the Tour Cost are indicated B, L, D

Pre-Trek Acclimation

So that you have sufficient time to acclimate prior to starting the trek, we strongly recommend that you arrive in Cuzco or similar elevation a minimum of two days prior to the trek. This is a 45-km/28-mile trek with a maximum elevation close to 4,200m/14,000 feet. Let us know if you would like us to make Cuzco hotel reservations for you.

At noon on the day prior to the trek, there is an important orientation meeting with your guide and other participants at our office in Cuzco. We review trek arrangements, trail gear and packing strategies, health and dietary matters, tipping and other cash needs, and trail documentation requirements. We collect the park fee from you at this time, in travelers’ checks or cash. If you pay in cash, bills must be in good condition – no rips, missing corners, or writing on the bills, please. We also distribute your trail duffel and sleeping pad. If you’ve rented a sleeping bag from us, we give it to you now so you can pack your duffel, ready for the departure early next morning.

Passengers who have not contacted the office by noon on the day prior to trek departure to reconfirm their arrangements will be considered no-shows and deleted from the roster. In these situations your tour prepayment is non-refundable.

Day 1 - Huayllabamba

We pick you up at your Cuzco hotel and transfer by van 3 hours west, to our trailhead at Piscacucho, on the Vilcanota River (km. 82 on the train route to Machu Picchu). Here we meet our porters, pass through the trailhead control point, and cross the river on a suspension bridge to enter the park. We hike along the left bank of the powerful Vilcanota River, beneath the impressive snowcapped Nevado Veronica. The valley is dry, with Opuntia and Cholla cactus common; where irrigation is possible, we walk adjacent to fields of corn. In the rapids below the trail, you can spot Torrent ducks swimming in the eddies as they graze the algae growing on the riverbed. We explore the enormous Inca ruins of Llactapata, then turn south and begin to gain altitude, climbing up the narrow side valley of the Cusichaca River. We camp on a quiet terrace belonging to a local family in the hamlet of Huayllabamba (2,954 m/9,690 ft). Distance 11.4 km/7.2 miles, elevation gain 300 m/984 ft. (L,D)

Day 2 - Pacaymayo

We climb steeply through fields and and intriguing forest of indigenous queuñal and chachacomo trees, then emerge above the treeline and reach Warmiwañusqa Pass (4,234 m/13,887’). Enjoy magnificent views from the pass to the Huaynay Range snowpeaks and distant Inca ruins. Descend to our camp at Pacaymayo in the valley bottom (3,613 m/11,850 ft. Distance 7.7 km/4.83 miles, elevation gain 1,280 m./4,200 ft (B,L,D)

Day 3 - Phuyopatamarka

We climb steeply to reach a second pass (3,975 m/13,038’), and follow a fine Inca highway down to the exquisite ridge-top ruins of Sayaqmarka. Further on, we pass through a tunnel amid luxuriant cloud forest vegetation. Camp at the superb Phuyopatamarka ruins (3,679m/12,067 ft) overlooking the Vilcanota River far below. Phuyopatamarka is Quechua for “City above the Clouds”. The views from our campsite toward the sacred peak of Salcantay are sublime. Distance 7 km/4.5 miles, elevation gain 362 m/1,190 feet (B,L,D)

Day 4 - Machu Picchu

We descend steeply, following the Royal Highway through orchid-rich cloud forest to Winya Wayna ruins. The final part of the trail on the east side of Machu Picchu Mountain is a stunningly beautiful traverse on finest Inca stonework through cloud forest, leading to the Gate of the Sun overlooking Machu Picchu. We reach this highlight in the golden sunshine of late afternoon, and descend into the Inca city when it is nearly empty of visitors. We board a shuttle bus to descend a switchbacking road to Puente Ruinas and our camp by the river beneath the ruins (2,000 m/6,560 ft). For an additional cost you can choose optional hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes. Distance 9 km/5.8 miles, elevation drop 1,150 m/3,772 ft (to Machu Picchu. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - Machu Picchu/Cuzco

We return to the site by shuttle bus. Those wishing to view sunrise over Machu Picchu can take the pre-dawn shuttle bus, which delivers you to the main gate of Machu Picchu at 6.00AM when the gates are opened to the public. An early start gives you more options to hike some of the peripheral trails, such as Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. We include an in-depth guided tour of the ridge-top city. We descend to the nearby village of Aguas Calientes for return in late afternoon by train, arriving into Cuzco around 9.30PM. Transfer to your hotel. (B)

IMPORTANT!

Under current park regulations, trek permits are sold on a first come/first served basis, and are limited to 500 persons per day, including passengers, guides, cooks and porters. Book early! Permits sell out on popular dates. In order to include you in the trek roster, we must receive from you: your full name as it appears on your passport, your nationality, passport number, age, occupation and gender. Permits are sold on a non-refundable, non-transferable basis. If you are unable to secure a place on our Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, please ask about our excellent alternative trekking programs in the Andes.

Who comes on a Nichols Expeditions Walking & Hiking Tour?

You can expect a spirited mixture of singles and couples in their 20′s to 70′s from all corners of the US and a few international locations as well. Many have accompanied us on numerous tours in the past. The experience range within most groups spans from novice through experienced recreational riders. All seem to share the common bond of an appreciation for the outdoors and an active lifestyle. We will gladly supply references and the make-up of any trip that you are interested in joining.

Can I charter this trip?

Yes! This tour can be chartered. Call us for information and availability, 800-648-8488.

Preparing for your adventure

We recommend that our guests spend at least 2 nights in Cusco prior to departure. This helps with acclimatization to the altitude and also provides an opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Cusco.

Travelers can feel the effects of higher altitudes as low as 6000 feet (2000 meters) above sea level. They differ in their tolerance for high altitude conditions and how their bodies react to the changes in air pressure and oxygen level. Therefore we encourage our guests to undergo appropriate preparation by regular cardio-vascular exercise, even if conducted at low elevation, and to adopt a healthy, balanced diet prior to the trip. The best type of training includes aerobic activities like walking, running, swimming or cycling. You need to start out slow and for short periods if you have not trained before. Eventually work your way up to doing one of these exercises 3-5 days a week for 30 minutes to an hour at 70-85% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate can be estimated by subtracting your age from 220. While doing this aerobic type of exercise you can throw in one minute intervals of higher intensity in order to push your limits.

Travel Insurance

To protect yourself against life’s uncertainties, we highly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy!

Learn more about the Travel Insurance.

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