This exciting tour combines the world famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with tours of Cusco, the experimental Incan agricultural site of Moray, and the ancient salt mines of Salinas de Maras. In this tour, we will provide you with accommodation for your entire stay in Cusco.
For the Inca Trail, reservations should be made at least 4 months in advance because the Peruvian government has a strict limit on the number of people allowed on the Inca Trail. Permits are issued to about 200 trekkers and 300 porters per day.
If you have a group of 4 or more people, we can open a departure on any date
Day by day
Day 1: Arrival to Cusco
We will greet you in the Cusco airport and take you to a local hostal where they will welcome you with cups of coca leaf tea. Coca leaf tea is a traditional drink that naturally combats the efects of altitude. We reccommend that you spend your first day in Cusco relaxing,resting and acclimatizing to the altitude.(Oxygen containers available 24/7 if you should need them) We advise you to get an early flight because you are likely to spend your 2 hours in Cusco doing nothing but trying to breathe! If you are feeling fine in the afternoon, you can go to the Cusco Folk Dances and Music at Cusco Art Center in the main Ave el Sol. These attractions start at 6:30 p.m. and are included on your tourist ticket.
Accommodation: Ecopacker Hostel or similar hostel
Day 2: Free morning to explore Cusco with the City Tour in the Aftenoon
You will have the morning free to rest or explore the artisan area of San Blas, featuring many workshops of paintings and the popular scultures of Cusco. Visit the Inca Museum near the main Cathedral on Cusco´s main plaza, then you can visit the new Machu Picchu Museum just 2 blocks off the Plaza. At 1:30 p.m. we will meet in the Inka Trail office for a guided tour of Cusco. We will have 4 hours to explore the famous temple of the sun “Koricancha”, Cusco´s Cathedral, and the 4 Inca temples of Saqsawaman, Tambomachay, Qenqo and Pucapucara. The Tourist Ticket you will need to enter these sites is not included.
Accommodation: Ecopacker Hostel
Day 3: Tour of Moray and Salinas de Maras
We will pick you up from your hotel at 8:20 a.m. and travel for one hour to the salt mines of Maras. At Maras you will see the pans fed by saline spring water that are built on steep terraces along one side of a narrow valley. The water is sent throughout the pans by a network of channels where it slowly evaporates, leaving the salt behind. Salt has been collected from Maras since Pre-Incan times, and it is thought that a collective of salt ‘miners’ has maintained the terraces and channels for hundreds of years.
We will then countinue our journey to Moray in order to see the fascinating site used by the Incas for agricultural experiments and cultivating seeds. There you can learn how they cleverly designed a drainage system at the bottom to avoid flooding during the rainy season.
On our return to Cusco, we will stop in Chinceros, a town where the local people will give you a fascinating demonstration of how the wool is washed and dyed using native plants and minerals. You will have time in Chincheros for a quick visit to the famous church and archeological site before we leave return to Cusco at about 2:30-3:00 p.m.
Day 4: The Start of the Adventure! Km 82 – Ayapata
We will start our journey by picking you up early from your hotel between 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. We will travel by bus to a breakfast stop (not included in the price of this trek) in Ollataytambo to load up on energy. After breakfast, we will reload the bus and travel to Piskacucho (also referred to as kilometre 82) where we will begin our trek. Upon arrival at kilometre 82, you will need to present your entrance tickets, passports, and (if paying the student rate) student cards.
The start of the Inca Trail is at an elevation of (2,720 m/8,923 ft). From here, we will cross the Vilcanota River and follow its route to the right. The first day is relatively easy, a warm-up on the flat Inca terrain. We will have great views of the Incan fortress Huillca Raccay, the vast and incredible Inca site of Llactapata (officially called “Patallacta”), the Urubamba mountain range that divides the jungle, the Andes, and the beautiful snow-capped peak of W’akay Willca (5,860m/19,225ft), also known as Veronica. Our first campsite at Ayapata will be a 90 minute hike up to the small village of Wayllabamba, at an elevation of (3,000m/9,842ft) in the temperate green valley. The temperature at night here is usually around 10°C / 50°F.
- Walking distance: 8.7 miles / 14 km (6-7 hours)
- Campsite altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,842 feet above sea level.
- Difficulty: Moderate (warm up to the Inca trail)
- Weather : Warm and windy
Day 5: The most challenging and rewarding day of the Inca Trail
After an early wake up between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. for a hearty breakfast, we will start a steep ascent towards the highest pass of the trail, Abra de Huarmihuañusca, or “Dead Woman’s Pass”, at (4,200m/13,779ft). En route, we will be able to see hummingbirds and other wildlife. We will also have time to appreciate an incredible variety of native plants and trees such as the Polilepys or Q’ueuña, which grow in the astonishing cloud forest at (3,650m/11,972ft) above sea level. A true sense of achievement is felt when reaching the top of the mountain pass. After a break at the top of the pass, we will begin the descent to the lunch stop which is located at Pacamayu, at (3,550m/11,646ft). After lunch is another steep climb to the Runkuraqay Pass, at (4,000m/13,123ft). We will arrive at our campsite by 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. This will be a very long day, but filled with spectacular views. The temperature at this campsite will be around 6°C / 43°F at night.
- Walking distance: 9.94 miles/16 km (7-8 hours)
- Campsite altitude: 3600 meters / 11,811 feet above sea level (chilled weather)
- Difficulty: Challenging (we will summit two passes)
- Area : Andes and the cloud forest
- Weather : Cold and rainy
Day 6: Back to the Past in what most people consider to be the most impressive day of the Inca Trail.
We will wake up for breakfast at 6:00 a.m. and start the day with a gentle climb to visit the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca, meaning: “Town in the Clouds”. This will be the third highest point on the trail, at an elevation of (3,680m/12,073ft). The views of the mountains, canyons, and surrounding areas are spectacular. The Inca site Phuyupatamarca is located a few minutes walk from the third pass. After visiting this site, we will continue walking onwards through the cloud forest to the impressive agricultural Inca site of Intipata before reaching our final campsite, Wiñay Wayna, at (2,680m/8,792ft). Day 3 requires approximately only 5 hours of walking to reach Wiñay Wayna, meaning: “Forever Young”. An Inca site of the same name is located a short distance from this campsite. Even if you are tired after Day 3, don’t miss out on visiting the most impressive site on the trail.
- Walking distance: 6.2 miles/10km (5 hours)
- Campsite altitude: 2,600 meters / 8,530 feet above sea level. (Chilled weather)
- Difficulty: Easy (Down hill walking)
- Area : High cloud forest
- Weather : Warm and very humid
Day 7:Tour of Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes – Cusco
We will wake up very early for breakfast at 4:30 a.m. to hike to Inti Punku, the “Sun Gate” in time to witness the sunrise. This is where you will have your first dramatic view of Machu Picchu, at an elevation of (2,400m/7,873ft). After some time admiring the view from the Sun Gate, we will walk down the last part of the trail to the spot where you can take the classic photo (postcard shot) of this ancient city. Finally, we enter Machu Picchu itself!
Once you arrive in this modern wonder of the world, you will have a 2 hour walking tour of the ancient site. After the tour, you will have several hours of free time for your own exploration of the city.
At about 1:30 p.m. we’ll meet at a restaurant in Aguas Calientes to have our last lunch together. After lunch, you will be given your train tickets for your return journey to Cusco. We´ll arrange to meet 40 minutes before your train departs and then go together to the train station.
Overnight Bus from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado
Fresh off your visit to Machu Picchu, we tranfer you to the bus where you will take a bus to Puerto Maldonado, the . upon arrival in Puerto Maldonado, you will be greeted at bus station and taken to the Yakari Lodge, where you will receive a welcoming tropical fruit beverage. You will embark for a 3 1/2 to 4 hour motorboat trip up the Tambopata river to Yakari lodge Lodge & Research Center. During the trip we will be able to observe the local farms, while groups of birds pass over the boat. With any luck, you will see families of Ronsocos, the largest rodents in the world. When we reach the lodge, we will have lunch and you will settle in to your accomodations for the night. After a short rest we will have a brief introductory walk through the nearby jungle to learn the basic principles of ecology and some history of the natrual wildlife in the area. After our walk, we will return to the lodge for dinner, after which we will return to the jungle to observe the nocturnal life of insects, frogs, and the occasional encounter with nocturnal mammals. We will enjoy the diverse sounds of the jungle which will lull us to sleep on our first night in the lodge.
Macaw salt lick
We will wake up very early (4:00 a.m.) and have a light breakfast before departing for the “Collpa”. We will travel up the Tambopata river, or “Bahuaja” in the local dialect, for an hour and a half, to arrive and observe from a safe distance one of the greatest spectacles of wildlife: hundreds of parrots and macaws of various species enjoying their diet of mineral salts on the clay wall. It is an experience that never will be forgotten. We will make a stop on the river bank to have a fruit snack and we will return to the lodge to have breakfast and rest. After lunch we will enter the vibrant jungle on a special trail to observe wild life. We will then enter the territory of peccaries, deer, and others. We will have the possibility of spotting the tracks of these animals on the jungle floor, and we might even come across a troop of monkeys travelling through the forest in search of food. Time permitting, we will be able to return to enjoy a relaxing swim in the cascade of the cat. After dinner we can make another trip through the jungle, this time in search for caimans. You will also have the option to relax in our lodge surrounded by the exotic nocturnal sounds.
After breakfast, we will embard on a boat trip to the Yakaray Lodge, in Puerto Maldonado. Here we will relax in our bungalows and enjoy a tasty lunch. After lunch, we will leave and travel for twenty minutes on the Madre de Dios River to the access trail to Lake Sandoval, a beautiful rainforest lake. After a 5 km hike to the lake we will board a canoe to paddle around the lake while enjoying the beauty of the landscape and observing the wildlife, such as kingfishers, herons, hoatzins (unique pre historic looking birds) , monkeys, and other animals. If we are lucky we might see the family of giant otters which live at the lake. We will have the opportunity to fish for piranhas and to swim in the lake. Prepare yourself for a spectacular sunset over Lake Sandoval in the evening. After the sunset, we will start our return trip to Puerto Maldonado. We will stay overnight in a comfortable bungalow in the Yakari Maldonado Lodge. After dinner, we will be able to rest or explore the city on foot or on bicycle. You will have the rest of the night free to enjoy the night life of this city.
Puerto Maldonaldo – Cusco or Lima
In the morning you will board a plane to Cusco where you can spend the rest of the day exploring the city’s markets or relax after your trip to the jungle. This is where our tour ends and we wish you safe travels to wherever your journey takes you next!
Don´t need a personal porter? – US $30 discount.
Student Discount (with valid ISIC card) – US $20 discount.
For the Inca Trail, we will provide you with a small duffel bag at the briefing the night before the trek to put some of your belongings in. By using standardized bags, we will ensure that all of your belongings will fit properly in the porters carry bags. The duffel bags easily fit 7 Kilograms /14 pounds per person including your sleeping bags and mats
However, You will still need to carry your day pack with all of your essentials like water, sunscreen, passport, etc
- 3 nights of accomodation in Cusco at Ecopacker hostal or Similar
- Tourist bus for the City and the salt Mines of Maras
- Professional guide who is fluent in English for the Inca Trail
- Assistant Guide (for groups of 9 or more people)
- Private bus to the start of the trail
- Porters that will carry your personal belongings (up to 7kg) – no extra fee
- Entrance fee to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
- Huayna Picchu Entrance fee
- Two-person tents with plenty of room for your belongings
- Sleeping mattress
- Meals cooked by an experienced chef: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners, and snacks!
- Delicious food that is rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking
- Coca tea served each morning in your tent for a gentle start to the day
- Boiled water after breakfast, lunch and dinner to refill your water bottles.
- Happy hour including hot drinks such as mate de coca and locally grown coffee which is prepared by our cook.
- Snacks every morning.
- Porters to carry the tents, food, and cooking equipment Dining and kitchen tents
- First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Bus ticket from Machu Picchu down to the village of Aguas Calientes
- Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
- Tourist Tickets or Boleto Turistico (70 Soles)
- Meals while you are in Cusco
- Lunch in the Maras Salt mines
- Breakfast on the first morning of the Inca Trail
- Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day
- Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (optional: 10 Soles)
- Sleeping bags
- Tips for the guide, cook and porters
What you need to bring
- Tourist Ticket
- Original passport
- For students: original ISIC card
- Insurance card/certificate
- Hiking boots
- Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
- Warm jacket
- Hat and gloves
- 2-4 t-shirts
- 2 pants (1 for hiking, 1 for when you are relaxing)
- Thermal underwear for sleeping
- Hand sanitizer
- Comfortable trousers
- Sun hat or cap
- Insect repellent
- Water for the first day
- Toiletries/ Toilet paper
- Personal medication
- Cameraand Batteries
- Torch or headlamp
- Cash (in Peruvian nuevos soles)
Tips for the Staff: Tips for porters, cooks and guides are always welcome. The porters are also very grateful for small gifts, such as clothing and school equipment for their children. A normal amout for the group to tip is S/40-50 for each porter and S/80-90 for the chef. The group will pool money for the tip, this is not an individual amount.
Refunds: If InkaTrail.com fails to confirm the reservation, your payment will be refunded in full.
Health and Safety: A participant must declare if he/she has any sickness or medical disorder and must bring his/her own medication. We reccommend that you meet with a doctor before you book the trek if you have questionable health.
Huayna Picchu Climb: Only 400 people can climb this mountain per day. If you are interested in climbing Huayna Picchu, tickets need to be booked in advanced. The price for the ticket is US $65. It is recommended to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain at 10:00 a.m. Otherwise, you will miss out on the walking tour of Machu Picchu.
Food on the Inca Trail: Always fresh and featuring organic ingredients, the food on the Inca Trail is always something to look forward to. There is always plenty to eat and lots of options including vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and other sources of protein and carbohydrates. On our tours, everyone sits down to eat together and enjoy each others company. We go out of our way to accomodate all special dietary requirements, including vegetarian and vegan options and food allergies.
Return train for the end of the Inca Trail: Your return train to Cusco is the Expedition train which departs either at 6:35 or 9:45 p.m. We can also book an afternoon train departure time of 2:55 or 4:35 p.m. for you if you prefer, at an extra cost of US $25. The train we will book depends on availabilty and will be confirmed at your briefing. There is also an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train which is an extra US $65 per person. Please let us know your preference at the time of booking the tour. Unfortunately, none of the trains go straight to Cusco, they run either to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. In either case we will transfer you back by bus to your hotel in Cusco.
Storage during your Inca Trail: You can leave any of your belongings that you do not want to bring on the trek at your hotel or hostel you were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to securely store you belongings for you.