Hike in the footsteps of the Incas to the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu
One glimpse of the morning light on Machu Picchu's exquisite stone ruins is enough to send shivers down your spine. Nestled below misty peaks and hidden from the outside world for centuries, this haunting citadel is perhaps the greatest mystery of the Inca Empire. Inexplicably abandoned by the Incas, then reclaimed for centuries by the jungle, it was rediscovered by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911.
Our trek along the legendary Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the world’s classic adventures, a four-day pilgrimage mirroring the ceremonial journeys of the ancient Incas. History unfolds before us as we hike up and down steep stone staircases past numerous Inca outposts, each ruin more impressive than the last. We’ll learn the facts and legends of the Incas and hear their echoes in villages, temples, and messengers’ rest stops that you can’t experience any other way except on foot. We’ll pass through three diverse climate zones as we conquer two high mountain passes (the highest at 13,776’), pausing to enjoy commanding views of the magnificent, snow-capped Andean peaks before dipping back down into fertile valleys and lush cloud forests.
On the fourth day we arrive at the portals of Intipunku, the “Gate of the Sun,” and are greeted by the sight of the breathtaking temples of Machu Picchu, seeming to float in the mists below us—an iconic image that, without a doubt, lives up to its famous reputation. We will spend up to two days at the ruins, ample time to absorb and appreciate the Incas’ sophisticated ideas and technology before returning by train to Cusco. Before the trek, we’ll tour the charming town of Cusco—with its intriguing mix of Inca and Spanish architecture—visit the famous fortresses and monuments near the city, and hike to out-of-the-way villages, markets, and ruins in the Urubamba Valley. If you are traveling on the June 24 departure, you’ll get to experience the colorful pageants and street dances of Inti Raymi (the Festival of the Sun), which was the most important festival of the Inca Empire, celebrating the return of the sun at winter solstice.
This classic trek remains one of our most popular trips (and rightfully so). On this comprehensive adventure, designed to include several days of exploring and acclimatizing before the trek, you’ll experience the very best of Peru, complemented by excellent regional food (especially while camping—you won’t believe what the camp cooks can whip up!) and the finest accommodations, including the five-star Hotel Libertador in Cusco. We’ve been operating treks and tours to Peru since 1969, with trip leaders—all natives of the region or long-standing residents—who are the best in the business. We also subscribe to the highest standards of environmental sensitivity and support the Instituto Machu Picchu (IMAPI), a Peruvian non-profit association dedicated to the conservation of natural and cultural resources in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary and Cusco region.
Remember, Inca Trail permits sell out quickly, so don’t wait too long to sign up! We can’t overemphasize the importance of booking your reservation early for this trip.
4 days moderate to strenuous hiking at medium elevation (max. 13,776')
- See the best of Peru with the Andean adventure experts since 1969!
- Make the classic 4-day hike on the famous Inca Trail, following in the footsteps of the Incas—one of the world’s great treks!
- Explore the enigmatic stone ruins of Machu Picchu, South America's most awe-inspiring archaeological site, and spend two nights at the footsteps of the famous citadel
- Visit the major Inca forts and monuments around Cusco, the charming, fascinating ancient capital of the Incas
Duration: 10 days Start Location: Lima End Location: LimaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Cusco, via Lima
Meet in Lima, Peru, and fly to Cuzco (11,200'). Afternoon tour of the city, a chance to acclimatize to the heady altitude. Overnight at Cusco's Palacio del Inka.
Day 2 : Inca ruins in the Cusco area
Visit the nearby Inca ruins: the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman, the zigzag channels of Kenko, and the water fountains of Tambo Machay.
Day 3 : Chinchero, Maras & Moray
Visit the market town of Chinchero and the ancient agricultural terraces of Moray. Warm-up hike from Maras to the floor of the Urubamba Valley past the evaporative salt pans of Salinas.
Day 4 : Visit Ollantaytambo and begin trek
After exploring the fortress-temple of Ollantaytambo, site of a spectacular Spanish defeat in 1537, we'll begin our Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu. We'll arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon of the fourth trekking day, and overnight at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.
Day 5 : Cross the Warmiwanusqa Pass
Continue trekking the Inca Trail over the Warmiwanusqa Pass (13,776'), then descending to Pacamayo (11,800').
Day 6 : Phuyupatamarca
Continue trek, crossing over Runkuraqay Pass (12,900') and then a third (and last!) pass to camp at Phuyupatamarca (11,906').
Day 7 : Arrive at mysterious Machu Picchu
Trek from Phuyupatamarca to the centerpiece of our adventure: Machu Picchu!
Day 8 : Machu Picchu
Early morning comprehensive tour of the ruins, followed by lunch at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Hotel. Afternoon to explore on your own in Machu Picchu or enjoy the amenities of our hotel (including its wonderful spa!).
Day 9 : Machu Picchu and return to Cusco
Free morning with possible local hikes. Afternoon return to Cuzco by train.
Day 10 : Fly home
Fly to Lima, afternoon free. Depart from Lima.
DATES: Best time to go: April - September Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.
$400 internal airfare (subject to change)
Palacio del Inka-CuscoCusco
Facing the Sun Temple "Koricancha," this romantic, personalized hotel is a traveler's favorite, reaching 11th place on Condé Nast Traveler's list of top South American hotels. Rooms furnished in a classic, traditional style ensure the hotel maintains its serene character despite its central location.
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
A luxury boutique hotel just steps from the train, but a secluded natural paradise. Located in the small town of Aguas Calientes on the banks of the Urubamba River, the Pueblo Hotel was rated by Travel + Leisure readers as a top 500 hotel of the world in 2006. Rustic elegance distinguishes the private bungalows, each with its own fireplace, and the lush gardens are home to orchids, exotic birds and other flora and fauna.
Casa Andina Private Collection—Miraflores
The Casa Andina Private Collection—Miraflores hotel is the top of its class in every aspect. Once the Miraflores César's, Lima’s fondly remembered, original five-star hotel, this modern icon was dramatically transformed in 2008 into the capital’s newest luxury hotel. Its quintessential Limeño flavor reverberates in the exquisite art collection of contemporary local artists and prized colonial-era antiques, in both public spaces and accommodations.
The 17-story hotel, with views over Miraflores and the Pacific coast, offers 148 sophisticated, contemporary luxury rooms and suites, with soundproofing and LCD flatscreen TVs in every room. First-class amenities include a heated, covered pool and breezy terrace, gymnasium with the latest exercise equipment, prestigious Joop salon & massage room, business center, and 5 multimedia-equipped corporate event & meeting rooms.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Manolo Lazo is one of Peru’s most experienced adventure travel guides, with more than 15 years of experience leading treks and whitewater rafting trips. A resident of Cusco, Manolo is well versed in the rich history of the Andes as well as the classic trekking routes that follow the ancient Inca trade paths. His knowledge of the country, its people, and traditions add immensely to your appreciation of the trip. Manolo is fluent in English as well as Spanish, and conversant in Quechua—the historic language of the Incas, and he has a gift for instilling confidence in every trekker.
Manuel started out as a field assistant with Mountain Travel Sobek more than 20 years ago, and is now considered one of the finest trek and tour leaders in Peru. Manuel graduated with a degree in agriculture and raises white corn on a farm in a valley near Cusco.