Day 1: Cusco – Sacred Valley – Pisac – Urubamba – Ollantaytambo
On the first morning of the tour, we will meet at the Inka Trail office at 8:30 a.m. or pick you up from your hotel at an earlier time. In a tourist bus, we will travel from Cusco past Saqsaywaman & Tambomachay, over the mountains toward the Sacred Valley. We will descend 1500 feet to the floor of the Urubamba river valley, arriving in the village of Pisac for a visit to its famous craft market. Located 33 kilometers from Cusco, the village of Pisac sits below one of the region’s most important archeological sites, where you will be able to explore an ancient Inca agricultural center and its stunning terraces. On the guided walk through the Pisac citadel, you will be able to observe temples, residences, altars, channels, carvings, tunnels/caves and the famous Intihuatana, which means “the hitching post of the sun.” For those who would prefer to spend more time in the market instead of visiting the ruins, let your guide know so he can organise a time and place to pick you up when returning through the market.
We will continue on to Urubamba where you can stop to buy a traditional lunch in the shadow of snow-capped Chicon Mountain and explore the lush, palm-filled Plaza de Armas before continuing with the afternoon portion of the tour. After another thirty minutes in the car, we will arrive in the town of Ollantaytambo, where villagers still live in ancient stone houses built by the Incas. In Ollantaytambo, you will see the amazing temple of the Sun, stone water fountains, stairs, terraces and the beauty of the local people in their traditional dress, all surrounded by the mountains and the valleys of Patacancha and Willoq. In the evening, you will check into your hotel in Ollantaytambo and have dinner on your own in one of the many great restaurants near the center of town.
Tour Start Time: Approximately 8:00 or 8:30 am
Arrival in Ollantaytambo: Approximately 6:30 pm
Weather: Warm and sunny, with cooler temperatures at night
Accommodation: Janakpata Hostel or comparable hostel
Day 2: Ollantaytambo – Km 104 – Aguas Calientes
We will pick you up early from your hotel at approximately 5:40 a.m. (depending on the train schedule) and take you to the train station. We will travel by train on a very picturesque route for an hour and a half to kilometer 104 – our starting point for the 2 Day Inca Trail Hike. From here, we will walk for approximately four hours up to the Inca site of Wiñay Wayna, which means “forever young” and is located at 2,680m/8,792ft. Many consider this to be the most impressive site on the Inca Trail.
We will then continue hiking to Inti Punku, the “Sun Gate”, at an elevation of 2,730m/8,956ft. From the Sun Gate, you will have your first dramatic, panoramic view of Machu Picchu below you at (2,400m/7,873ft). We will walk down the last part of the trail towards the ancient city. Before reaching Machu Picchu, we will be able to celebrate our accomplishment and take unforgettable pictures together.
We will descend to the main entrance, where you will take the bus to the town of Aguas Calientes where you will have dinner and spend the night. We will tour Machu Picchu early the next day.
Walking distance: Approximately 8 miles / 13 kilometers (six to seven hours)
Maximum altitude: 2,650 meters / 8,692 feet above sea level
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging
Weather : Warm and windy
Day 3: Machu Picchu Tour – Return to Cusco
We will wake up very early for breakfast at 4:30 a.m. to hike to Inti Punku, or “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 two-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.
Price for the Sacred Valley Tour & Short Inca Trail To Machu Picchu:
US $460 per person
After we have received your booking form and confirmation your deposit was made, we will send you an electronic receipt confirming your trek has been officially booked and the exact departure date of your trek.
Returning train Included in the cost of this tour/trek is the Expedition train, which departs either at 6:20 pm or 7:00 pm and 8:20 p.m. DEPENDING ON AVAILABILITY.
Can I get an early train ticket?
We can also book an afternoon train that departs 2:55 p.m. or 4:22 p.m. at an extra cost of US $35 per person the train we will book DEPENDS ON AVAILABILITY.
Please, notice that 35 dollars extra you will pay also will cover your private transportation to bring you back from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco
There is also an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train which is the extra US $75 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 Cusco.
Can I change my return train ticket by myself?
At the time of your tour, it may be possible to make changes to your return train ticket if you don’t want to take the 18:20 p.m train. You will have to take your train ticket personally to the train station in Aguas Calientes and ask them to change the return ticket for an early one. You will probably be asked to pay an extra administration fee, which will depend on the train service and departure time. Please notice that once you will change your returning train you will responsible to cover your own transportation back to Cusco
How long is the journey back to Cusco?
You will be traveling for approximately 3 hours before you arrive back in Cusco. First, you will travel for 1.5 hours by train to the Ollantaytambo train station. Then you will be picked up by your driver outside of the train station. The driver will be holding a sign with your name on it so that there will be no confusion. If you do not see the driver initially, wait for them outside of the train station. Once the driver has picked you up, you will travel for another 1.5 hours in a private van/car to your hotel/hostel in Cusco. Arrival time in Cusco will depend on train availability. You will receive your return train tickets once your guide has finished your walking tour of Machu Picchu.
- Student Discount $20
- Under 18 Discount $20
- Under 7 Discount $50
Important Notice Regarding Student Discount Eligibility
We offer a student discount (USD $20.00). However, due to several incidents of users falsifying personal data, the ISIC card is no longer valid for purchasing a discounted tour. As of July 1, 2017, the rules for purchasing student tickets to Machu Picchu have changed: discounts are only available with presentation of a student visa granted by the Peruvian embassy or consulate in the student’s country of origin and/or by the National Superintendent of Migrations. These documents must be provided at the time of purchase; discounts cannot be applied retroactively and refunds or reimbursements, in this case, are not available. Please send us a scan or photocopy of your passport, student visa, and university ID card or transcript so that we are able to secure your discount.
WE DO NOT RESERVE THE TICKETS FOR THE HUAYNA PICCHU MOUNTAIN
- Small day pack $10
- Walking poles (sticks) $10
what to bring
What you need to bring in the Sacred Valley Tour & Short Inca Trail To Machu Picchu:
- Original passport
- For students: ISIC card
- Hiking boots
- Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
- Two t-shirts
- Hand sanitizer
- Comfortable trousers
- Insect repellent
- We strongly recommend to bring your Camel Back and water canteen due to that government of Peru will not allow disposable plastic bottles anymore on the Inca trail and in Machu Picchu
- Toilet paper
- Camera, extra batteries, and extra memory cards
- Walking stick
- Extra money in small denominations of Peruvian soles
- Bathing suit for hot springs in Aguas Calientes town
Why does Inka Trail Backpacker charge less than other Inca Trail operators?
At Inka Trail Backpacker, we offer you the basic and essential version of the popular treks in the region. We are a 100% local company that wants to provide everything you will need at the real cost of operations—never unfair upcharging! That is why our slogan is “Fun, Not Fancy Trip.”
Are you a certified company?
Inka Trail Backpacker has been a Licensed Inca Trail Tour Operator since 2014. All companies managing the Inca Trail must be certified and have an Inca Trail operators license. This license is issued annually each December; Inka Trail Backpacker is licensed through the year of 2027.
Our license as an Official Travel Agency is under the name Inka Trail Backpacker E.I.R.L. Our license as an Inca Trail Operator is under the name of INKA TRAIL BACKPACKER E.I.R.L We also work with partner company licenses, such as QESWACHAKA PERU TOURS E.I.R.L and GRUPO CAMINOS DEL PERU E.I.R.L. For tourists´protection, getting the permit for the Inca Trail from the government is a complicated and stringent process: in order to guarantee an Inca Trail Permit for all the tourists that have decided to book their adventure with us, we are registered to book using any of the above mentioned company licenses. We are all registered on the official Government web site: www.machupicchu.gob.pe.
Does Inka Trail Backpacker care for their porters?
Yes, we absolutely take care of our porters. We do not charge you less than other companies at the expense of our porters’ pay and wellbeing. Since the end of 2014, Inka Trail Backpacker has been paying our porters a wage of 400 soles for the 4 day trek, plus their transportation costs. That is nearly 20% above the legally required minimum wage agreed upon with the Porters Union. Following talks with our porters, they have told us that they know of only a few trekking companies that offer such competitive pay and benefits. Only two companies pay slightly more (and charge their clients almost US$100 more than us). Of the remaining 170 other licensed trekking operators, only about 60% pay the legal wage and 40% pay less than the legal wage. Some companies pay only 70% of the legal wage. Unfortunately, this is difficult to prove as their porters receive a low wage but are asked to sign receipts showing they received more!
However, improving porter welfare is not just about paying fair wages. It is important that the porters have adequate food, a warm and dry place to sleep, and access to medical attention, just the same as any other member of the group.
The wages that the porters get paid are by no means high by Western standards, but you have to look at wages relative to other professions in Peru. For example, a school teacher gets paid the equivalent of about US$400 per month and has trained for 5 years to become a professional. A porter, if he works 4 treks a month, receives about the same if you include his tips. Most porters are seasonal workers and have no formal qualifications. For just 16 days work per month, they receive wages similar to a teacher who works 22 days. Inka Trail Backpacker also tries to help the porters in additional ways, such as financial and educational support for their families.
Trek with Like-Minded Travellers
As a traveller, you know that one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of going to new places is meeting people along the way. When you book a tour with us, you can be confident that your group will be filled with similar travellers looking for adventure in the Peruvian Andes. Our groups provide a great opportunity to meet new people and bond with them in an exciting environment. You never know who you will meet!
We are really proud of the work we do for our community. This is a main focus for our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with needs, buy all our food from local farmers and markets, and serve the freshest ingredients.
100% Guaranteed Departures
At Inka Trail Backpacker, we like to think we do trekking a little differently than our competitors. We stand by our customers and guarantee that we meet 100% of our departure dates on our treks even if you are a solo traveler.
Our office is located at 392 Calle Triunfo (the street is also called Sunturwasi), inside the Centro Artesenal Arte Inka Building, which is on the corner across the street from the Museo Arzobispal and the Twelve-Angled Stone, by a small fountain. We are on the second floor, in Suite 209.
At Inka Trail Backpacker, providing a personal experience and ensuring you are thoroughly prepared for your trek is very important to us. Before you depart on the Inca Trail trek, you will receive a briefing in our office. At the briefing, you will get to meet our staff, receive maps and a detailed description of each day of your tour, be given duffel bags if you have hired a porter, and have the opportunity to ask questions.
Do the tour guides speak English?
Our team of guides are all local to the Cusco area and speak both Spanish and English fluently. Many of them also speak Quechua (the native language of Peru). With degrees in tourism and with two years minimum of experience under their belts, they are full of energy, information about the native flora and fauna, and the Inca sites, with a vast knowledge of Andean stories and legends.
How many people are there per group?
The size of your group depends on the day’s activity. Your tour of the Sacred Valley will be in a group of twenty to thirty people. The maximum size of our Inca Trail group service is sixteen people. For groups of over eight people, we also employ an assistant guide to help out (the assistant guide is a fully qualified guide but may lack some of the experience of the main guide or still need to improve his/her English skills.)
Is the 2 Day Inca Trail hike difficult?
The 2 Day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu features only 6 hours of walking, which makes it perfect for new hikers or active families. However, we still recommend that you be well prepared and healthy prior to starting the trek. You must be moderately fit to complete this hike. To prepare, try walking 10km a day or start going to the gym a month before the trek. Also try to spend a few days in Cusco adjusting to the high altitude before you will start the Inca Trail.
Renewal or change passport number?
If you plan to renew or change your name on your passport between making your trek booking and starting your trek, you can book your trek or tour with your current passport number or name, but you must send us a copy of your old passport and a copy of your new passport when you have them. We can then make the change with the government before you arrive. The extra cost to make the change is US$25 per person. (This will cover the change in number or name for your Inca Trail Permit, Machu Picchu Entrance, and train.)
If you do not advise us of the change or do not want to pay the fee, bring the original of both passports (the old and new one). You can enter Peru with your new passport but you must show the government authorities your old passport in order to enter the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu or train. If you cannot do so, you will not be allowed to start your trek by the government officials. All names and numbers must match!!
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 amount is S/60-80 for each porter and S/120 for the chef. The group will pool money for the tip, this is not an individual amount.
If Inka Trail Backpacker 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 recommend that you meet with a doctor before you book the trek if you have questionable health.
Can I have vegetarian, vegan, or special meals?
We offer standard meals as well as a vegetarian meal option. Just let us know if you want vegetarian meals when you book your trek.
Vegetarian meals have no red meat, chicken or fish. We will assume that eggs and dairy are OK. We are unable to cater specifically for vegans as it is too complicated for our cooks (remember they are cooking in a tent). Most of our main meals in the evening are served as a buffet service so you can always leave out what you don’t like. If there is a particular food that you don’t like (i.e. tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, etc) we will ask the cook to do his best to leave them out of the dish, but we cannot guarantee this. We can also cater to lactose-intolerant and gluten free diets (mild reactions only, no life threatening allergies accepted- see below). We reserve the right not to accept a trek booking based upon dietary requirements, this may be because we already have several people booked requiring special meals and don’t want to further inconvenience our cook. Thanks for your understanding.
Standard (no dietary requirements, will eat everything)
No red meat (chicken & fish ok)
No fish (red meat and chicken ok)
Lactose-free (mild reactions only)
Gluten free (mild reactions only)
Unfortunately, we don’t offer a combination of the above i.e we don’t accept vegetarian AND gluten-free.
Storage during your trek
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 your belongings for you.
Which part of the Inca Trail does the 2 Day hike go through?
This trail starts at the Km 104 train stop and ascends to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna before continuing on to Machu Picchu. Since we arrive later in the day to Machu Picchu, you will not have much time at Machu Picchu on the first day. We will spend the night in the town of Aguas Calientes and return to Machu Picchu for a tour and further exploration the following day.
How many Kilometers will we walk on the trek?
We will walk a total of 10 km / 6.3 miles.
At what altitude will the trek start and finish?
We will start the trek at km 104, located at (2,200m/7,2600ft) above sea level. The highest point of the trek is the Sun Gate, located at (2,700m/8,858ft). Aguas Calientes, where we will stay overnight, is located at an elevation of (2,040m/6,690ft).
Can I spend an extra in Aguas Calientes?
Of course. If you are ok with taking the same train out of Aguas Calientes that is part of your original itinerary, which is typically at 6:20 pm or 7:00.p.m that evening, than there is no additional charge to merely move the train back a day.
Will we have porters on this trek? How much should I carry on the trek?
For the 2 Day Inca Trail hike we do not employ the services of porters. You should bring with you only the essentials: passport, rain poncho, camera, water, and a change of clothes. Your pack should not weigh more than 6 kg. Please also remember that you need to have enough room to pack your box lunch in your day pack This box lunch is provided by us on the morning of the first day.
When do I need to pay the balance for my tour?
We require everyone to be in Cusco at least two nights prior to starting the trek, although three nights is even better. You must pay your trek balance at least two days before the trek departure. For example, if your trek departs on a Monday you must come to our office before 7:30 pm on Saturday to pay the trek balance. This ensures that everyone in the group is well acclimatized to the high altitude before starting the trek.
How many days will I need to acclimate to the altitude before the Inca Trail Trek?
It is very important to be well acclimated before exerting yourself on a trek. This is why we require everyone to be in Cusco for a minimum of two days prior to regular treks like the Inca Trail. However, if you are doing one of our longer treks like the 6 day Combined Salkantay/Inca Trail Trek, you will need at least four days to acclimatize because these treks occur at much higher altitudes than Cusco. You can use this time spent acclimatizing to visit the city of Cusco, nearby Inca ruins, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Can I wear sneakers on my trek? Why do I need hiking boots?
No, sneakers are not recommended for the Inca Trail! The terrain is very steep, with loose gravel, puddles, mud, and other obstacles. You must have sturdy, waterproof footwear designed for this type of terrain, with good traction and ankle support. Be sure to break in your hiking boots before your trek! Wear them on several shorter walks or hikes before your trip, so that your feet can get used to them.
If you do not have hiking boots, or they are too bulky for your suitcase, you can rent them in Cusco for under one hundred soles.
Is there an oxygen bottle available during the trek, just in case?
Yes, all our tour guides take an oxygen bottle with them along the trail and will provide oxygen as needed.
Where will I be dropped off at the end of the trek?
Upon your return from Aguas Calientes, you will be dropped off in the city center. Traffic regulations prohibit large buses/van from entering the main square but usually after 10pm we don´t have a problem and will be able to drop you off in the main square upon your return. You can then take a taxi back to your hotel (between US$2 to US$4 for a taxi).
If we have to drop you off in Plaza San Francisco, you may be a bit disoriented (some people may need to be woken up!!) but we recommend that you ask for directions to the Plaza de Armas and our guide or driver will be happy to help. It’s only two blocks away, but usually it’ll be quite late at night so it is best to walk together as a group back to the Plaza before taking a taxi or walking back to your hotel.
Is there a minimum group size and what happens if Inka Trail Backpacker does not meet the minimum size?
We require a minimum group size of just four people. During the last few years, Inka trail Backpacker has always managed to meet the minimum group size for ALL of our departure dates and have never had to cancel any group departures due to group size.
In the unlikely event that we do not reach the minimum required number of persons we reserve the right to combine our clients with another trekking company of similar cost.
How far in advance should I book my tour?
We recommend that you book your tour approximately two months in advance. This allows you maximum choice in selecting the details of your day at Machu Picchu; morning entrances to the site are extremely popular and sell out quickly. Although it is possible to book your tour closer to your expected travel date, your options will be more limited.
Is transportation to and from the Cusco airport included?
No, transportation to and from the airport is not included in your tour. Please plan accordingly.
What is the difference between the three circuits at Machu Picchu?
As of July 1, 2017, visitors to Machu Picchu must follow one of three circuits through the site with their guide. Circuit 1 is the most physically demanding, and follows the classic route through the upper portion of the site before curving down to the lower portion. Circuits 2 and 3 will take you through the middle and lower portions of the site. You must choose which circuit you want when you buy your ticket.
Is there a direct train from Cusco to Machu Picchu?
The train travels between the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley and Aguas Calientes, a small town located fifteen minutes below the Machu Picchu complex. The journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is an hour and forty minutes. (The return journey will be about three and a half hours, because the drive from Ollantaytambo station to Cusco is about an hour and forty minutes.) From Aguas Calientes, it is either a fifteen minute bus ride or hour hike up to Machu Picchu. There is no direct train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Although there is an additional station located at Poroy, about 25 minutes from Cusco, it is not always open. Train service from Ollantaytambo, meanwhile, is constant and reliable. Furthermore, taking the train from the Poroy station extends the total length of your journey between Cusco and Aguas Calientes to more than four hours, instead of three and a half.
What type of hostel does Inka Trail Backpacker use for this trek?
We always book through the Continental, El Tambo or Machu Picchu hostels in Aguas Calientes, which offer private double rooms. These hostels offer comfortable beds, hot showers, WiFi, and breakfast.
However, we can only guarantee these hostels will be reserved for you if you book your trek 2 months in advance. Otherwise, we may be forced to offer you an alternative hostel to stay in.
Can I upgrade the hostels to hotels?
Every traveller has their own expectations for accommodation and that is why we offer you the option to book your own hostel independently. The three hostels that Inka Trail Backpacker books are considered basic and if you wish to upgrade to a hotel you need to either do this yourself or ask us to book the new hotel for you.
If you wish to book a hostel independently, a US $10 discount is given per person off the tour price. You can use this money to pay for an alternative hostel.
What is the Tourist Ticket? Is it included?
The Tourist Ticket (or Boleto Turistico) will be necessary to enter the many of the tourist attractions on your City Tour and Sacred Valley Tour. The full ticket costs 130 soles and can be used for entry to fourteen historic and archeological sites in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. It can be purchased at most major sites and is valid for ten days. There is also a partial ticket available for 70 soles, which can be used for entry to a limited selection of sites and is valid for only two days. If you do not want to pay for the Tourist Ticket, you can skip entering these sites; however, we at Inka Trail Backpacker feel that exploring the ruins is worth the money!
What vaccines do I need for my trip? Will I need malaria pills?
Before traveling to Peru, you should consult your doctor. Routine vaccines, Hepatitis A, and typhoid vaccines are recommended for most travelers by the CDC. Some travelers may also need vaccines for Hepatitis B, rabies, and yellow fever. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should also be advised that the Zika virus is present in Peru.
Malaria pills are not necessary for these treks.
Do you recommend a rain poncho, or is a rain jacket okay?
The rainy season in Cusco is generally from November to April, when there are near-daily showers and the ground—especially in trekking areas—is wet and muddy. However, there are occasional showers throughout the rest of the year; you should always pack a rain jacket, regardless of when you plan to visit. For treks, a rain poncho is highly recommended—since you will be walking through rain for potentially several hours without shelter, a poncho will be much more effective at keeping all of your belongings and your base layers warm and dry. Waterproof shoes are also strongly recommended.
What if I get sick on the trail during my tour?
In the event of illness or injury, we will offer all of the support and care we are able; however, you should carry any medications you expect to need with you (ask your doctor for specific recommendations or prescriptions for altitude sickness, traveler´s diarrhea , colds and sore throats, and pain or inflammation). If you are not capable of completing the trek, we will transport you back to Cusco, where you can seek medical treatment. However, the cost of this transportation is not included in your tour and you will be expected to pay the additional expense—for this reason, we highly recommend travel insurance for your trek.
Will I have a private bathroom in the hostel?
Yes, in all of the hostels that we book for you, you will have a private room and bathroom.
Do I need walking poles?
Although not required, walking poles are recommended for any trekkers worried about joint stress or balance. They also are quite helpful in providing stability and leverage on especially steep climbs and descents. If you do not have poles or are unsure how to use them, we are able to rent them to you and provide instruction.
What documents do I need to bring to Machu Picchu?
As of July 1, 2017, you must have your original passport to enter Machu Picchu. You also need to have your entrance ticket, which your guide will give to you at the appropriate time. The passport that you bring to Machu Picchu must be the same one that you used to book your tour and entrance; if you change or renew your passport between booking and your trip, please be sure to bring the originals of both.