Inca Trail 4 days to Machu Picchu
- Tour TypeTrek & Adventure
- Duration4 Days
- LanguagesEs, En,
- Best TimeMarch - January
- Group Size12 people
The famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the world’s most popular trek and Peru’s number one trek. It is one of the most booked routes for hundreds of tourists, offering 4 days of hiking along original paved Inca trails, a variety of fascinating Inca archaeological sites, and the breathtaking scenery of Machu Picchu National Park that can only be accessed by those who can get a ticket many months in advance. The classic Inca Trail is part of the once in a lifetime bucket list of many travelers.
One of the first things we are going to know about this place is that in order to enter we need a special permit that can only be purchased through a local travel agency in Cusco, and Lorenzo Expeditions has such authorization, so learn more about this adventure below.
Cusco – Piscacucho (KM 82) – Huayllabamba
Begin your adventure by taking the train to KM 82, then hike along ancient trails and explore Inca archaeological sites while surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery of towering mountains and snow-capped glaciers.
Huayllabamba – Dead Woman’s Pass – Chaquicocha
The second day will be challenging but worthwhile, visiting archaeological sites and enjoying the Andean sky at night.
Chaquicocha | Phuyupatamarca – Intipata – Wiñay Wayna
Your surroundings will change as you enter the dense jungle and visit the archaeological site of Wiñay Wayna. Enjoy an overnight stay with your trekking team to celebrate the time you have spent together.
Wiñay Wayna | Sun Gate – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes – Cusco
The day! Hike to the Sun Gate and get your first glimpse of the Inca citadel. Explore Machu Picchu and discover all its mysteries and secrets.
Whats Included / Not Included
Tour with Professional guide (08 people maximum).
Mobility from Cusco to Kilometer 82 beginning of the Inca Trail.
3 nights camping in double tent.
Tents: EUREKA K2-XT.
A Duffle bag
Porter in charge of carrying 8kl of the equipment.
Dining tent. Kitchen tent. Bathroom tent.
Chairs and tables.
Entrance ticket to the Inca Trail.
Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.
Return bus from Machupicchu to Aguas Calientes.
Return train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and bus to Cusco.
First aid kit.
04 Breakfasts, 03 Lunches, 03 Tea time and 03 Dinners
Huayna Picchu tickets (extra cost $60).
Sleeping bag (extra cost $25 USD).
Hiking sticks (extra cost $15 USD).
Air Mattress (extra cost $15 USD).
Travel health insurance (obligatory)
The classic Inca Trail 4 days trek is only about 42 km long, but it climbs, descends and skirts Andean mountains and generally takes a route that has several curves through the complicated terrain of this part of the Peruvian Andes. This makes the 42 km more strenuous than most, but also with spectacular scenery, passing through various Andean environments, such as cloud forest and alpine tundra.
This route offers all travelers to Machu Picchu an area of great biodiversity and exclusive access. At any given time you may encounter orchids, foxes, cock-of-the-rock (Peru’s national bird), spectacled bears, deer and many more species of flora and fauna. While hiking the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you will also pass by other impressive Inca ruins, such as Wiñay Wayña and Phuyupatamarca that only you and those who hike the classic 4-day Inca Trail can see. It’s an incredibly rich hiking experience, and that’s even before you reach your destination: the sublime Inca citadel atop the mountain of Machu Picchu.
Photos and videos are not able to explain and show the great beauty of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, from its incredible architecture to the surrounding mountains and mist-filled gorges. But we won’t describe it all here. Much better if you come with us on the classic guided hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, with our professional guides, porters and talented local cooks, and discover this magical trek for yourself.
DAY 1: CUSCO – WAYLLABAMBA: Trekking.
The trek begins when our Lorenzo Expeditions driver picks you up from your hotel or accommodation very early in the morning. We will then travel until we reach the village of Ollantaytambo.
At this point we will stop to check our equipment one last time, as well as to purchase any extra personal items we may need in the village stores.
After that, we take transportation to Piskacucho (Km 82), the starting point for the 4-day Inca Trail. The group will hike for about 3 hours before arriving at the ancient Inca site of Patallaqta.
After taking some pictures of this beautiful area, we will continue walking for another 30 minutes to reach our lunch spot at Tarayoc.
After finishing lunch and a short rest, we will continue ascending through the valley until we reach our first campsite in the village of Huayllabamba.
Day 1 Outline
- DISTANCE PISKACUCHO – WAYLLABAMBA: 6.8 Mile or 11 km
- ESTIMATED TRAIL TIME: 6 hours
- PISKACUCHO: 8,500 feet or 2600 meters above sea level.
- PATALLAQTA: 9,000 feet or 2750 m.a.s.l.
- HUAYLLABAMBA: 9842 ft. or 3000 m.a.s.l.
Meals included:Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
DAY 2: WAYLLABAMBA – WARMIWAÑUSCA – PACAYMAYO: Trekking
After a delicious and healthy breakfast, as well as some snacks to carry along the hike (provided by the chef) we will head down the trail for about 5 hours until we reach the highest point of the entire Inca Trail, Warmihuañusca Pass (14,000 ft. or 4215 m.a.s.l.).
After taking some time to look at the beautiful view, we will continue and start descending for about 1.5 hours until we reach Paqaymayu camp, where we will have lunch, dinner and a well-deserved rest.
Day 2 seems short in the description, however, it is by far the most challenging day of the entire trek due to the high elevation of the Warmihuañusca pass.
Day 2 Outline
- DISTANCE HUAYLLABAMBA – WARMIHUAÑUSCA : 5.6 Miles or 9 km
- ESTIMATED TRAIL TIME : 7 hours WARMIHUAÑUSCA: 13,828 ft. or 4,215 m.a.s.l.
- PAQAYMAYU: 11,811 feet or 3600 meters above sea level.
Meals included:Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
DAY 3: PACAYMAYO – PUYU PATAMARKA – WIÑAY HUAYNA : Trekking
After a delicious breakfast prepared by our chef, we will walk for about 45 minutes until we reach the fascinating archaeological site of Runkuraqay, a truly impressive place.
Once we have passed through this area we will head towards the Runruraqay pass, we will continue descending for approximately 1 hour to visit the archaeological site of Sayaqmarka which contains extraordinary Inca ruins.
These are beautifully preserved and have withstood the test of time to this day, so be sure to take lots of photos.
Once we have finished at the archaeological site we will continue walking the 4-day Inca Trail for 30 minutes before arriving at the Chaquiqocha camp where we will take a much needed lunch break.
After that short break, we will hike for approximately 1.5 hours until we reach the Inca site of Phuyupatamarka.
After a brief presentation of the site by your guides, we will descend for another 3 hours until we reach the Inca site of Wiñaywayna, where we will spend our last night on the classic Inca Trail 4 days to Machu Picchu by Lorenzo Expeditions.
Day 3 Outline
- DISTANCE PAQAYMAYU – WIÑAYWAYNA: 10 miles or 16 km.
- ESTIMATED TRAIL TIME: 7 hours.
- RUNRURAQAY: 12,336 feet or 3,760 meters above sea level.
- SAYAQMARKA: 3,620 m.a.s.l. or 11,876 feet.
- CHAQUICOCHA: 3,500 m.a.s.l. or 11,482 ft.
- PHUYUPATAMARKA: 3,650 m.a.s.l. or 1,1975 ft.
- WIÑAYWAYNA: 2,650 m.a.s.l. or 8,694 ft.
Meals included:Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
DAY 4: WIÑAY HUAYNA – INTIPUNKU – MACHUPICCHU
This day we will start very early with a hike of one hour and thirty minutes to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), where we will appreciate the sunrise and our first view of Machu Picchu and then we will begin our two-hour guided tour.
The tour will take us throughout the Inca City, visiting the main sites, such as enclosures, plazas, sacred fountains, temples, the agricultural and urban sectors.
Afterwards, you will have free time to explore Machu Picchu and take more pictures for the memory, we will take the bus to the town of Aguas Calientes, here the last lunch. Later we will return by train to Cusco City.
Day 4 Outline
- DISTANCE PAQAYMAYU – WIÑAYWAYNA: 3.7 Miles or 6 km.
- ESTIMATED TRAIL TIME: 2.5 hours.
- AGUAS CALIENTES: 6,700 Feet or 2040 meters above sea level.
- MACHUPICCHU: 7,900 Feet or 2400 meters above sea level.
What to Bring? - Packing List
We recommend carrying only the necessary luggage for the four days of the tour. Large backpacks with equipment that are not needed for the expedition should be left in the city of Cusco (at your hotel or in our main office).
This are the main things you have to bring to your inca trail 4 days adventure:
A small backpack of 30 to 60 liters capacity, remember that a large part of your belongings (08 kg) will go with the porters.
02 or 03 trekking pants (fast drying).
Pants and thermal pole (first layer).
A light sweater.
Warm jacket (of feather or fiber).
Hiking boots. Read our full guide about: Inca trail hiking boots.
Hat or cap.
Repellent for mosquitoes (30% Deet or more).
Personal hygiene items: Wet wipes, toothpaste and toothbrush.
The most friendly and positive attitude possible.
Additional Items to upgrade your experience
These are the different options how you can improve your experience in Machu Picchu after doing our inca trail trek.
1. Huayna Picchu
The cost of the ticket is $70 dollars per person.
Huayna Picchu is a mountain within the archaeological complex of Machu Picchu, it is a 45 minute hike to the top.
To purchase this additional you have to let us know at least 2 months in advance due to high demand, schedules and details of your visit to this site will be confirmed in the previous meeting that we will have.
2. Machu Picchu Mountain
The cost of the ticket is $70 dollars per person.
Machu Picchu Mountain is another place that many travelers want to climb to have a spectacular view of Machu Picchu, and of course we help you with all this.
3. Vistadome Train
This train costs $70 dollars per person.
All our tours include the Expeditions train if you want an additional one we can offer you the Vistadome train which gives you more comfortable seats, large panoramic windows and we will include transportation back to your hotel.
Do you want to know more about the Inca Trail? Read our useful information section and learn more about availability, campsites, food, tents, porters, entrance fees and more.
Availability of the Inca Trail 4 days
A maximum of 500 people per day can access the the classic Inca Trail 4 days to Machu Picchu at km 82; this number includes all support staff, such as authorized porters, cooks and tour guides, this mean that only left like 200 spaces for travelers, and is closely monitored; when the Inca Trail reaches its limit of 500 visitors, the Trail is closed for the day and no further reservations can be made; no reservations are taken on the Trail and all permits must be purchased a year in advance if possible.
What you need to know about the Classic Inca Trail 4 days
This 4-day trek to Machu Picchu is not recommended for travelers with back problems.
You will have a guide during your Inca Trail trek and your visit to Machu Picchu.
Daily departures with a group of 2 or more people.
No departures in February due to trail maintenance.
No wheelchair access.
DO NOT FORGET ESSENTIALS: original passport, insurance card, personal medications.
This hike will be composed of a maximum of 8 travelers.
A travel bag will be given to you at our office at the end of your briefing. Your porters will carry them and you will only have access to them at the campsites. Pack your clothes and other personal items that you will not need during the trek. Your day pack should include items such as water, snacks, first aid kit and rain gear.
The pack should weigh 7 kg. Remember that only 4 kg will be for your personal belongings. The remaining 3 kg will be for the sleeping bag and mat.
Strikes and road blockades are common in Peru and can disrupt our Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu and train service to and from Machu Picchu. We will make every effort to ensure that your trip to Machu Picchu continues as planned, with some changes.
If the strike occurs on the first day of your 4-day Machu Picchu tour, we will take you to the trailhead the night before your departure date.
If the strike occurs on the last day of your 4-day Inca Trail tour. We will send our vans to Hidroelectrica. This means you will have to walk 2 hours more from Aguas Calientes to Hidroelectrica. Then we will drive 7 hours to Cusco. We will drop you off at your hotel around 11:00 pm.
Return from Machu Picchu to Cusco
The return from Machu Picchu to Cusco requires a lot of logistics. But we have already organized it.
Bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes, you will take a bus to Aguas Calientes for about 30 minutes. Buses run every 15 minutes. Then train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo or Poroy station. Our guide will give you train tickets. Be sure to arrive at the station 30 minutes before.
Estimated time by train is 1.5 hours from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
Estimated time by train is 3.5 hours from Aguas Calientes to Poroy.
Once at the station, our transporter will be waiting for you. He will transfer you to Cusco and then to your hotel.
The estimated time from Ollantaytambo to Cusco is 1.5 hours.
The estimated time from Poroy to Cusco is 40 minutes.
Weather on the classic Inca Trail 4 days
Weather is unpredictable in the Andes. The dry season on the Inca Trail runs from April to October and the rainy season from November to March, but this does not mean no rain in the dry season or no sun in the rainy season, so be prepared. Whichever season you do the 4-day trek to Machu Picchu, make sure you have rain gear, such as raincoat, rain pants, poncho and waterproof gloves.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu involves several microclimates. You can also experience all four seasons in a single day. So be prepared. Layers are essential, as they easily adapt to different temperature changes. Bring a down jacket, as it will be cold in the morning and evening.
The best time to hike the Inca Trail
The best time to hike the Inca Trail is from May to October, as these months are sunny, with clear skies that allow us to see the stars at night and not suffer the road wet by rain.
The rainy season starts at the end of October and ends at the end of April. The rains are so intense that in February the Inca Trail, which lasts four days, is closed for maintenance and precautionary reasons.
We recommend that you take out travel insurance because, in the event of a last minute cancellation of your 4-day Inca Trail trip, your prepaid, non-refundable Inca Trail travel permit can be reimbursed. Similarly, if you become ill or injured while away from home, you can be reimbursed for treatment provided as a result of a covered medical emergency during your trip.
This is a demanding hike, so good physical condition is strongly recommended. The classic altitude differences on the Inca Trail make the trek difficult, as there are three stages during the hike.
Restrooms and showers on the Inca Trail
There are no luxury bathrooms or showers along the Inca Trail, our team carries specialized tents for showering or using the bathroom.
During the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, single travelers will be paired to share a tent with another traveler of the same sex and couples will have a tent to themselves.
The day before departure for the 4-day Inca Trail, a mandatory pre-trip briefing is scheduled for 6 pm at our office in Cusco. You will meet with your guide, who will provide you with detailed information about your trek, a list of what you need to bring, rental equipment or general questions.
All about tipping on the Inca Trail
Tipping is customary on 4-day Inca Trail treks. On the third day, in the afternoon, we say goodbye to our wonderful porters and professional cooks. This is the time to leave a tip, please. Anything extra is always appreciated. Please note that tipping is not mandatory and you should never feel obligated to leave a tip.
In general, our guests collect tips for the cook and porters. For the tour guide, the tip is given after the guided tour of Machu Picchu. You decide the amount depending on your experience with them. Soles are preferred by our porters and cooks. The guides can receive dollars or soles without any problem.
Tips can be for our porters: 50-90 soles per porter.
Tips can be for our cooks: 120-150 soles per cook.
Food on the Inca Trail
Our cooks are adventure lovers, they train month after month to provide you with the best experience along the Inca Trail. At the end of the trek you will see that you have made a beautiful friendship with them, many of those friendships will last a lifetime.
*Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and other options are available upon request (please advise at time of booking).
Here are some options we have for food on the Inca Trail Machu Picchu 4 Days.
Breakfast: Hot porridge, quinoa or oatmeal, fried eggs, omelet or pancake with fresh bread, fried banana, thick porridge with chunks of fresh sweet apples and boiled water for hot tea, cola tea, coffee, chocolate and milk.
Lunch and dinner: First course: quinoa, corn, noodles, asparagus, mushroom or vegetable soup, stuffed avocado or potatoes.
Main course: chicken breast, beef stew, quinoa, fried rice, hamburger, fried chicken, spaghetti bolognese, typical dishes: aji de gallina, escabeche de Pollo or ajiaco de ulluco.
Desserts: Fried plantain, chocolate pudding, chocolate or vanilla cake, peach.
Snacks: Sweets, cookies, fruit juices, biscuits and a variety of Peruvian fruits such as: banana, custard apple, passion fruit, passion fruit, granadilla, apple, orange, tangerine.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of backpack is necessary for the trip?
For this trip, we recommend a 30-40 liter backpack with clothes that are only necessary for the 3 days of the trip. The rest of your luggage will be left in storage at your hotel in Cusco or at the Lorenzo Expeditions office.
How can I access Huaynapicchu or Machupicchu Mountain?
To climb one of the two mountains, you must purchase the entrance ticket in advance. Huaynapicchu has an extra cost of $60 USD per person and it is recommended to book tickets at least 3 months in advance. If you wish to book the entrance ticket for Huaynapicchu, please contact our reservations team.
Will there be accommodations or will we be camping?
The two nights will be in accommodations. (hotel in Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes)
Is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu hard?
Altitude is the most difficult aspect of the Inca Trail for many people. If you have spent two or three days acclimatizing in Cusco beforehand, the altitude on most hikes will not cause you any problems.
How long is Inca Trail 3 days to Machu Picchu?
The classic 3 days Inca Trail is 15 km.
Does the Inca Trail lead to Machu Picchu?
Yes, the Incas used the Inca roads to connect all their territories with Cusco, we can find Inca roads throughout Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Today it is called Qapaq Ñan, which is translated as Imperial Road.
How to book Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
To reserve you have to hire an authorized tour operator (required by the Peruvian Government). Lorenzo Expeditions is one of the best options with high quality and personalized service.
Where is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu located?
Your trip to Machu Picchu will begin in the city of Cusco and this impressive three-days trek begins at a place called Chincheros.
How difficult is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
Talking in days would be:
Day 01: Easy, bus and small treks.
Day 2: Moderate to a bit difficult as there are several steep sections.
Day 3: Easy, on this day you visit Machu Picchu.
How to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
First of all, look for a licensed agency, Lorenzo Expeditions is a licensed tour operator. Then book in advance, especially in high season.