Your day-by-day itinerary
Before we begin...
You’ll need to spend at least one evening before your trek in Cusco (although to acclimatise we’d usually recommend more). We can arrange your hotel for you, and your guide will visit to give you a briefing on what to expect over the next few days. You’ll also have plenty of time to pick up any last-minute supplies, and maybe treat yourself to a posh meal in one of Cusco’s many lovely restaurants.
Cusco - Wayllabamba
You’ll be picked up early this morning to join your guide and meet your group for the next few days. After a short bus ride and a little bit of admin, you’re ready to set off on the Inca Trail! You’ll walk for about 6 hours (12km) today, starting along a level trail alongside the Urubamba River, passing a few small communities and Inca ruins, before you begin to ascend to higher ground.
You’ll stop for a picnic lunch at a spot overlooking the valley, before continuing up to your campsite at Wayllabamba, near the ruins of Llactapata. It’s a relatively tiring first day, but your porters will have pitched tents before your arrival, so you can help prepare the dinner or find a quiet spot to watch the sunset. There’s no electricity, hot water or shower, but there is a toilet block.
Wayllabamba - Pacaymayo
This is the toughest day of the Inca Trail – around 8 hours of trekking with plenty of uphill sections – but you’ll have some amazing views to make up for it! After breakfast, you’ll climb stone steps carved into the mountains to Dead Woman’s Pass, perched at 4,200 metres above sea level and affording a jaw-dropping view of the Andean landscape. The afternoon is easier, and after lunch you’ll descend slightly, passing by streams and the occasional llama, until you reach your campsite where you’ll have a hearty dinner and some very well-earned sleep.
Pacaymayo - Winay Wayna
There’s lots to see today, as the trail leads past five Inca sites, still lagoons and through the cloud forest. The trek is also a little gentler, so this is most people’s favourite day! You’ll start with another ascent (sorry!) to Runkurakay Pass, before the trail continues downhill for much of the day, passing through lush vegetation and Andean wildlife.
You’ll make stops at ancient Inca checkpoints, as well the impressive terraces of Intipata, before setting up camp at the citadel of Winay Wayna. Here you can take a shower and perhaps treat yourself to a cold beer. With so many miles behind you, you’ll feel a real excitement amongst your fellow trekkers as you enjoy a final dinner together, especially considering what lies in store tomorrow…
Winay Wayna - Machu Picchu - Cusco
This morning, you’ll wake at twilight and walk for 2 hours before reaching Sun Gate. Here you’ll catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu at dawn. It’s something that’s hard to put into words. When the sun creeps over the mountains and the mist drifts away to reveal the Lost City in all its glory, it’s a memory you’ll keep forever.
You’ll have some time to explore the pathways, buildings and important sections of the site, before heading down to the town of Aguas Calientes where you can relax and maybe enjoy the hot springs nearby. In the afternoon you’ll take the scenic train ride back to Cusco, arriving at around 7pm. At the station, a taxi will be waiting to take you to your hotel, and the welcome sight of a clean, comfortable bed!
Combine this trip with...
Where to next? This trip goes together perfectly with these: