This 8-day trip along the Inca Trail in Peru, plus time spent in magical Cusco and the Sacred Valley, is one of our most popular trips. And rightly so!
Duration10 Days Door to Door
Activity Level Moderate
Elevation2430m | 7972 ft.
Words cannot describe what it feels like to view The Lost City of the Incas (and one of the New 7 Wonders of The Ancient World) in person. Machu Picchu (meaning “Old Mountain”) is set high in the Andes Mountains above the Urubamba River Valley.
Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, Machu Picchu is renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls and fact that its exact former use remains a mystery. Additional add-on trips to Lake Titicaca, the floating islands and the Amazon Jungle are also available!
This is a fairly intense 4-day trek that sees us ascend 1400 metres and descend 800 metres on Day 2. We adopt a deliberately slow pace to conserve energy, allow you to acclimatize fully and also take in the magnificent scenery en route – let’s just say that the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy it. Factor in plenty of stair climbing prior to the trip to prepare you for Day 2!
- Four nights’ accommodation in Cusco in a boutique hotel close to the main town square
- All meals
- All admission tickets
- City tours
- Day trips
- Hiking permits and all Government taxes
- Transportation to and from the trailhead
- Western leader/facilitator who is fluent in Spanish
- Local guides and porters
- General first aid kit
- Satellite phone
- Tents and mattresses while on the trail
- Welcome Dinner and Celebration Dinner
- International airfares and departure taxes
- Transportation to and from Cusco
- Items of a personal nature ie personal gear, telephone calls, internet usage, laundry etc.
- Travel and medical insurance
- Staff gratuities
- Alcohol, soft drinks and mineral water
- Personal medical expenses, medical and evacuation insurance
- Any costs arising from flight cancellation/ delays, political disturbance or natural disasters.
Arrive in Cusco
We await our airport transfer to El Virrey Boutique Hotel, or equivalent. Depending on the size of the team, we expect to be located on the Plaza de Armas main square, in the heart of old town, Cusco. There are no planned activities today, so settle in, unwind, walk around the square and visit the many cathedrals, museums and other historic sights located alongside or within walking distance to the square. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner and general briefing of our exciting trip that evening.
Overnight: Hotel in Cusco
Visit the Koricancha temple, the Cathedral and Sacayhuaman and, if time permits, the Archeology museum.
Overnight: Hotel in Cusco
Travel through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and visit the Pisac ruins and the colourful artisan Indian market. The day trip finishes either back in Cusco, or alternatively in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, the site of another large Inca ruin. The town and fortress of Ollantaytambo are strategically situated overlooking the Urubamba River Valley.
Overnight: Hotel in Cusco
We drive 82 km to the trailhead and hike to Wayllambama.
Approximate distance: 11 km
Estimated hiking time: 5-6 hrs
Trek from Wayllabamba to Paqaymayo.
Approximate distance: 12 km
Estimated hiking time: 6-7 hrs
Trek from Paqaymayo to Wiñaywayna.
Approximate distance: 16 km
Estimated hiking time: 8 hrs
Intipunku (Sun Gate)
Trek from Wiñaywayna to Intipunku (Sun Gate).
Approximate distance: 4 km
Estimated hiking time: 1.5 hrs
Trek from Intipunku to Machu Picchu.
Approximate distance: 1.5 km
Estimated hiking time: 45 mins
We then descend to Aguas Calientes by bus, check into our hotel and have lunch. There will be lots of opportunity in the afternoon to once again go up to Machu Picchu and explore the ruins in more detail.
Overnight: Hotel in Aguas Calientes
We take the bus back to Cusco, settle into the same hotel we stayed in before and relax. In the evening, we have our final Celebration Dinner together.
Overnight: Hotel in Cusco
This list is designed to help you choose the right gear for the demands for this trek and is the minimum requirement. These items are mandatory for survival in the mountains, so ensure you have everything on the list.
The emphasis on equipment necessary for mountain travel follows two simple tenets: lightweight and functional. The items you choose to take should be lightweight, dependable, and adaptable to a variety of extreme conditions. The quality of the equipment you choose has a lot to do with how warm, dry, and safe you will remain, so be critical of quality and the proper fit of clothing. Comfort lends itself to a more enjoyable experience!
The layering system outlined below is usually sufficient for most people, but if you tend to be colder, bring one extra medium layer (such as a vest), which will be ideal for extra warmth around camp. When making the final decision as to what goes into your pack, remember that it’s a fine art of taking just enough clothes and accessories to do the job, while not over-burdening yourself with items you probably will not use.
Cotton clothing must be avoided because it dries very slowly and is a poor insulator when wet. Instead, choose wool or synthetic fabrics that “wick” the sweat and moisture away from your skin to keep you much warmer.
- 4 pairs sock liners
- 4 pairs trekking socks
- 1 pair hiking boots
- 1 pair running shoes
- 1 pair sandals
- 3 T-shirts
- 2 thermal long-sleeved shirts
- 1 fleece long-sleeved top
- 1 long-sleeved hiking shirt
- 2 women’s sports bras
- 1 fleece jacket
- 1 down jacket
- 1 waterproof jacket with hood
- 1 pair liner inner gloves
- 1 pair fleece windstopper gloves
- 1 pair waterproof shell gloves
- 1 beanie or balaclava
- 1 sun hat or peaked cap
- 1 pair 100% UV protection sunglasses with side shields
- Day pack (50 litres)
- Sleeping bag
- 1 large duffel bag for gear
- 1 pair trekking poles (optional)
- 1 headlamp
- 2 water bottles (wide-mouth Nalgene) with insulators
- 1 camp towel
- 1 medical kit
- 1 toiletry kit
- Lip balm
- Wet wipes
- Favourite snack foods (optional)
- Stuff sacks for food and gear storage – large Ziplock bags are also useful
- Water purification tablets (optional)
- Pee bottle (optional)
- Spare batteries and bulbs
PRE & POST TREK:
- Large waterproof duffel bag x1
- Shorts and t-shirts
- Mobile phone and charger
- Passport and travel documents
- Passport photos x4
- Certified copies of all travel documentation
- Currency / credit cards
- Pens and pencils
- Reading glasses (optional)
- Camera equipment
- Battery chargers
- International adaptors
- Binoculars (optional)
- Playing cards (optional)
- Clean clothes for travelling home
Our experience is that no visas are required for up to 90 days travel in Peru. However, please contact our offices or your local tourism authority to confirm.
- A yellow fever vaccination is not required for entry into Peru. Travelers who are limiting their itineraries to Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail do not need to have a yellow fever vaccination.
- Hepatitis A, typhoid and tetanus are optional – chat to your local Travel Clinic for details.
- Malaria tablets are not needed, however insect repellant is highly recommended.
This training information is intended as a guideline and should be used as such. If you are unsure about anything, please chat to us!
Most importantly, before you embark on any exercise program, please consult your doctor or exercise physiologist to make sure that you are ready for the increased workload.
A focused training program should begin 3 – 4 months before the trip, but working on your base fitness before that is important as it lays a good foundation for the harder work that will follow.
Climbing big mountains requires cardiovascular endurance (via aerobic training), strength endurance (through strength conditioning) and climbing-specific training (i.e. hiking with a pack).
Being in strong physical shape is one of the most important aspects for a successful climb of Machu Picchu. You should be planning to progressively increase your aerobic training and speed of weekly training hikes to give you climbing-specific conditioning that cannot be matched by any other sort of training.
Suggested activities include running, cycling, mountain biking, swimming, walking on an inclined treadmill, doing stair stepping or stepmill training, trail running, walking up and down hills, or participating in step aerobic classes.
When first beginning a cardiovascular training program, begin with three workouts (i.e. Monday, Wednesday and Friday) of 30 minutes of sustained activity at a moderate intensity, and build up to 4-5 aerobic sessions of sustained effort for at least 45 – 60 minutes (taking Wednesday and Sunday as rest days, for example).
Be sure to include a 5-10 minute gentle warm-up before working at your target heart rate for the day. For most workouts, choose a level of exertion that allows you to connect a few words together in a phrase, but leaves you feeling comfortably tired at the end of the workout.
Remember to cool down with 5-10 minutes of appropriate stretching of the muscles you used most in your activity, including lower back, calves, hamstrings, hips and quadriceps.
Training with weights, backpacks and gym machines will help you build overall strength, particularly in the lower back, abdominals, upper back, shoulders and legs. Developing strength in your upper back and shoulders will help with carrying a pack and using trekking poles.
The calves, hips, quads, hamstrings and glutes are all involved in ascending and descending steep sections and scree slopes, which will be encountered on our trek into Everest Base Camp.
Before embarking on any weight training, please consult with a qualified gym instructor so that you are well briefed in terms of using the equipment. Most important in strength training is to be sure that you maintain proper form at all times in order to prevent injury or strain.
This involves hiking steep outdoor trails, going up and down stairs or training on an inclined treadmill. In the months leading up to the expedition, it is important to do some long walks in the mountains.
Remember: All of your training is geared towards giving you the strength and endurance to trek into Machu Picchu, and enjoy every moment!
The Inca Trail is a 43km (27) mile trek to Machu Piicchu. Day 2 is notoriously challenging, as we ascend around 1200m in one day. Those that are less fit (or would like to have an easier climb) can hire porters to carry their belongings, leaving them with just a 5km day pack. Those with knee issues should not consider doing the trek.