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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 9D/8N


«Join Alternative Inca Trails and enjoy unforgetable experience in the andes.»

Experience the same shiver of wonder Hiram Bingham did when, in 1911, he beheld the «Lost City of the Incas» for the first time. As modern-day adventurers we follow lush Peruvian paths to Machu Picchu, one of the world’s great archaeological sites. We begin our trip in the bustling colonial city of Cusco where we browse the colorful markets and visit the nearby archaeological sites. From here, we follow our Quechua Indian porters as they guide us on an ancient track up through mountain valleys where wild orchids and rainbow-colored mosses grow. At last, we descend 2,000 cut-stone steps to approach the Gateway of the Sun, beyond which lies the glories of Machu Picchu. Our unforgettable adventure includes three nights camping along the Inca Trail with full porter support (carry only your daypack) and the remainder of the nights in comfortable hotel lodging.

Limited trekking permits-reserve your trip early

The Peruvian Government has restricted the number of Inca Trail trekking permits to 500 per day. With many individuals and groups for an opportunity to trek this spectacular route, obtaining permits has become a bigger challenge than ever. All of our 2012 peak season departures sold out months in advance and long waitlists were not uncommon. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience this unforgettable, world-class hike… reserve your spot early for the best selection of date options and leave the rest to Alternative Inca Trails. Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.


Day 1

Welcome to Peru! Meet your guide in Cusco. Afternoon at leisure to relax and acclimatize.

Your trip begins today in Cusco, Peru (11,150′). Upon arrival in Cusco, we will be met by our local guide at our centrally-located hotel where a brief orientation meeting will be held. We have the remainder of the day at leisure to acclimatize and explore this beautiful Andean city that was once the center of the Inca Empire. All meals on your own.

Day 2

Explore Cusco on a guided city tour including the Plaza de Armas, the ruins of the Inca temple Koricancha, and Sacsayhuaman Temple.

After breakfast, we depart on a city tour that includes a visit to a different Cusco’s notable and historic places. Our guide leads us through the bustling Plaza de Armas, and enlightens us on the history and significance of the Inca temple Koricancha now Santo Domingo Church. We’ll also explore the imposing archaeological site or the monolithic Sacsayhuaman Temple that offers panoramic views of the entire red-roofed city far below. Breakfast included.

Day 3

Visit the traditional Andean towns of Chinchero and Pisac. Hike to ancient Inca salt mines and shop for local crafts at Pisac market.

This morning, we stop briefly in the town of Chinchero to enjoy the traditional food and crafts market before continuing on to Maras and Moray where we begin a two-hour warm-up hike to the scenic salt mines. Originally used by the Inca, villagers from surrounding communities still mine salt by hand from the spring-fed terraced pools. After the hike and some lunch, we’ll visit the lively little village of Pisac on market day to do some shopping and bargaining and finish our afternoon adventure with an exploration of the nearby archaeological site. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 5 miles.

Day 4

The Inca Trail trek begins! Hike from the trailhead at Piscacucho to our first campsite at Huayllabamba.

Our excitement mounts as we board our private bus for 3 hours long drive to the trailhead at Piscacucho (km marker #82). Here, we meet our Quechua Indian porters and begin trekking the amazing Inca Trail. With snow-capped Mount Veronica (19,188′) and the rest of the Urubamba range as a backdrop, we follow a well-marked path past the Llactapata Inca site and through some small Indian villages on the way to our campsite near Huayllabamba. All meals included.

Hiking: 5.7 miles/5.5 hours, between 7,900′ – 9,678′.

Day 5

Spectacular mountain views await on the hike from Huayllabamba to Pacaymayo, crossing the high pass of Warmiwanusca (13,780′).

A nutritious camp breakfast prepares us for today’s challenging trek along the narrow Llullucha gorge and over the first pass on the trail. We hike through dense forest encountering abundant birdlife and flowering plants before reaching the open meadows of Llulluchapampa. The final approach to the high pass begins here with a long, steep ramp leading to Warmiwanusca (13,780′). At the top, the views of the surrounding peaks and verdant forest canopy are spectacular. The trail then descends steeply and passes through a meadow rife with lakes, waterfalls and Andean wildflowers. Tonight we make camp in the upper meadows of Pacaymayo. All meals included.

Hiking: 7 miles/7 hours, final elevation 10,991′.

Day 6

Our trail leads us past impressive Inca sites and over high Andean passes to our final campsite at Phuyupatamarca.

We cross the Runkurakay Pass (12,631′) in the morning, enjoying excellent views of the glacier-clad peaks of the Pumasillo Mountains and deep gorges of the eastern Andes. We then descend gradually through a unique ecological zone – a high jungle transition area rich in plant and animal and bird life. After entering the cloud forest, our route takes us past the archaeological Village of Sayacmarca and through a natural tunnel elaborated on by the Incas. This portion of the trail is well-paved with Inca stonework and leads us to the spectacular campsite at Phuyupatamarca. The campsite offers superb sunrise views over the Urubamba and Aobamba River Valleys and of glacier-covered Mount Salcantay (20,575′). All meals included.

Hiking: 6.1 miles/5.5 hours, final elevation 11,975′.

Day 7

Arrive at Intipunku (Sun Gate) this afternoon and enjoy the first views of Machu Picchu. Overnight at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.

As we leave Phuyupatamarca, we begin a steep stone staircase descent (approximately 2,000 steps cut into indigenous rock), followed by a series of additional descents varying in grade, to the Wiñay Wayna ruins where we stop for lunch. During the afternoon, our anticipation rises as we make our way to Intipunku (the Sun’s Gateway). We arrive at Intipunku in mid-afternoon and are rewarded with our first breathtaking views of Machu Picchu. After spending time at the lookout point, we descend to the ruins and briefly explore some areas close to the trail. This evening, we stay at the charming Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in the nearby village of Aguas Calientes, on the valley floor. All meals included.

Hiking: 6.2 miles/5-6 hours, Machu Picchu’s elevation is 7,874′.

Day 8

Early morning shuttle to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the Sacred City. Free time to explore independently or hike Huayna Picchu.

We have an early breakfast and head up to the ruins to experience the peace and solitude of this magical place. Our knowledgeable guide leads us through, explaining the significance of the various structures and the theories behind Machu Picchu’s purpose and construction methods. We have the rest of the morning and early afternoon to attempt the optional hike up Huayna Picchu (to do Huayna Picchu Hike you must buy separate ticket). We catch the afternoon tourist train to Ollantaytambo and from there take the bus to Cusco, arriving at approximately 7 p.m. The day concludes with our guide joining us for a final celebration dinner at a traditional local restaurant. Overnight in Cusco. Breakfast&dinner included.

Day 9

Depart Cusco for home with wonderful memories of your Inca adventure.

After breakfast, one group transfer back to the Cusco airport will be arranged for travelers departing this morning. Trip members can opt to return to Lima for connecting flights home or extend their travels in Peru. Breakfast included.Note on Itinerary
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions.


Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Single Travelers

If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted on the trip itinerary. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee, which is half of the full single supplement. A maximum of two single rooms are available on each departure and are reserved on a first come, first served basis.

Price Includes

Accommodations in hotels (5 nights) and tents (3 nights); meals as noted in the daily itinerary (including all meals during trek); English-speaking local guides; Inca Trail trekking permit; full porter support during trek; all group camping gear (except sleeping bags) and cooking equipment; ground transportation within Peru including airport transfers upon arrival/departure; all sightseeing excursions as noted including entry to |.

Not Included

Air transportation to Cusco/from; 1 breakfast, 3 lunches, 3 dinners; sleeping bag; Guide gratuities; excess baggage charges; airport taxes and items of a personal nature such as souvenirs, soft drinks or liquor; laundry fees; immunizations or insurance of any kind.

Important Info

Payment and Special Cancellation Policy

As trekking permits for the Inca Trail continue to become more difficult to obtain, Alternative Inca Trails has made the decision make financial commitments to our Peruvian guides and suppliers further in advance than ever before. By making these commitments to our local partners several months prior to each departure, we are taking a step towards ensuring the same high level of customer service and organizational efficiency that we have been delivering on Inca Trail treks for almost two decades. In conjunction with these changes, your initial $400 deposit is completely non refundable at time of sign up. The remaining trip cost is completely non-refundable within 60 days of departure. All other standard cancellation/transfer fees will also apply as noted in our booking guidelines. Please take note of this special policy when planning your trip and feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

Passport Information for Inca Trail Trips – URGENT

In order to secure your Inca Trail trekking permit and Machu Picchu entrance ticket, you must provide us with your updated passport information including your name as it appears on the passport, passport number, expiration date and country of citizenship. This information should be provided at time of sign up. It is important to note that we can not guarantee your trekking permit or entrance ticket until your current passport information is provided (expired passport numbers are not acceptable). Please contact us immediately if you anticipate any difficulties in obtaining the aforementioned information. Please also be aware that changes to your passport information after original submission will result in a $150 change fee as changes will necessitate a trekking permit reissue. Permits are now also required for the popular hike to the top of Huayna Picchu, the iconic peak that rises above the ruins of Machu Picchu. The number of daily permits issued for this hike is extremely limited. Please be advised that we will automatically obtain a Huayna Picchu hiking permit for all trip participants when we obtain your Machu Picchu entrance permit. While you will not be obligated to hike to the top of Huayna Picchu, those interested will have the opportunity to do so at some point during your visit to the Sacred City, based on the hiking time noted on the permit. If you should choose to participate in this hike, be advised that you may miss the included guided tour of Machu Picchu. Your trip leader will provide specific schedule details and options upon your arrival in Peru. Please note that the Huayna Picchu hike is challenging, steep (with some exposure) and unguided.


This trip is rated Vigorous [4]. Trip members need to be strong, experienced hikers in good physical condition. Most days are spent at moderately high altitude (8,000-13,700′) and the trek includes a number of steep ascents and descents. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we strongly encourage participants to begin a conditioning regimen at least three months prior to departure consisting of hiking, walking/running or cycling. If you live in an area conducive to hiking, try to get out on those hills if possible and work some elevation gain and loss into your regimen. The better shape you are in, the more you’ll enjoy all that this unforgettable adventure has to offer you.


Andean nights can get quite cold (between 25 and 40 degrees F) with daytime temperatures warming up to 60-80 degrees F. Much of the trip is in the mountains where weather can change very quickly. Typically, days are clear and pleasant, with afternoon clouds building in the spring and fall months. Cool and misty conditions are possible, but all-day rain is unlikely.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current Alternative Inca Trails Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance.

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

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Packing List


  • price per person: $ 3625
  • Single supplement: $ 999