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The Inca Trail is now a world famous route from the Urubamba River about 80km from Cusco, Peru, to the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu Mountain for fantastic views of the incredible Incan monument of Machu Picchu. Here we will go over some of the top Inca Trail options with some alternative treks to consider.

There are Inca Trail options to create different length itineraries, from simply taking the Short Inca Trail of 1 day without the camping, to the 5 day trek giving you a look into the lives of the Inca who walked this trail to their sacred monument. There are also 8 and 12 day Inca Trail options to combine the full Inca Trail with other fantastic routes in the area, but we will get to these a little later.

We recommend booking your Inca Trail tour far in advance, as to counter degradation along the trail only 200 tourists can complete the journey each day. As this is one of the most famous attractions in Peru, it means the required permits get quickly sold out. You can use one of the provided contact bubbles below each Inca Trail option to contact the tour for free information and advice about booking your Inca Trail trek.

The Short Inca Trail

The Short Inca Trail gives you a taste of hiking the famous trail where you spend your first day hiking and the second day exploring the incredible site of Machu Picchu itself. This guided hike begins from the start of the train station at kilometer 104 and takes around 6 hours.

Machu Picchu on the short Inca Trail, Cusco, Peru

After taking the train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo, we will enjoy the Inca site of Chachabamba to see fantastic waterways and fountains then hike the Inca Trail to a view of Machu Picchu from Inti Punku, the Sun Gate.

We will enjoy spectacular views, waterfalls, and Incan sites enroute. Enjoy the ritual baths and elegantly curved terracing, before joining the main Inca Trail for the final leg of the journey. After this, you will venture to the famous Lost City for a night in a comfortable hotel and spend the following morning exploring Machu Picchu.

The Short Inca Trail

The Short Inca Trail

South America, Cusco, Peru
Price per person from $
This trip allows a taste of the Inca Trail without days of hiking and camping. We begin the hike fro More info

Classic Inca Trail

Now we have the Classic Inca Trail trek. This is the most famous of Inka Trail options and involves 4 days of hiking, which can be up to 10 hours each day (with breaks). You won’t spend much of your time thinking about hiking as beautiful scenery and incredible history surround you for the entire journey. For the last morning of your tour, you will explore the ancient site of Machu Picchu.

This tour involves a drive through the picturesque Sacred Valley of the Incas to Km. 82 of the Machu Picchu railroad. We then hike down the Urubamba canyon to see Incan sites like the fantastic Incan terraces to our first campsite. The next day involves a hike to Warmiwañusca (4,200m/13,776ft) for incredible views of the Inca Trail ahead and surrounding valleys. The following day involves the wonderful Wiñay Wayna, ruins of Sayacmarca and views into Aobamba valley. Here the Inka Trail changes form, as we journey through lush Cloud Forest with its vegetation of orchids, bromeliads, mosses and ferns. On our final day we hike to the Sun Gate of Intipunku for views of Machu Picchu before walking down to the ancient structure itself for a morning of exploration.

Inca Trail Discovery and Deluxe

The next two tours are the Inca Trail Discovery and Inca Trail Deluxe. Both of these take 5 days and resemble the above tour, but at a slower and more manageable pace so you can fully absorb the breathtaking scenery. These tours are offered as a more relaxed Inca Trail experience and for deeper understanding of Inca culture.

Hikes will be around 6 to 5 hours each day and include time to explore the Incan sites and photograph the amazing scenery. The last night will be spent in a comfortable hotel and the following morning we return to Machu Picchu for some exploration of the site itself.

Enjoy a drive through the Sacred Valley to the trail at Km. 82 of the Machu Picchu railroad followed by a hike down Urubamba canyon to investigate the Incan terraces and settlement of Llaqtapata. We then camp at the last inhabited Inca Trail village, Huayllabamba. The next day we climb Warmiwañusca (4,200m/13,776ft) for incredible views then walk down to the stepped stone trail of the forested Pacamayo valley. After spending the night at our campsite in a forest clearing, we ascend again to the Incan site of Runkuracay, enjoy the snow peaks of the Pumasillo range, and the ruins of Sayacmarca. Here we have views into the Aobamba valley. Next we wind our way into the Cloud Forest following the now giant granite stones of the Inca Trail through orchids, ferns, bromeliads, and lush vegetation. We now camp at a viewing site down to the Cloud-level Town, Phuyupatamarca. After exploring Phuyupatamarca, we journey to Wiñay Wayna, the largest and most impressive of Inca sites, and to the Sun Gate for impressive views of Machu Picchu. We return the next morning for exploration of the site before boarding our train to Cusco.

Both the Inca Trail Discovery & Inca Trail Deluxe tours are similar, except the Inca Trail Deluxe is in private service with a few more elements of luxury, such as great meals, wine, and at the end of the day a masseuse will offer a relaxing massage.

Beyond The Inca Trail

The Beyond The Inca Trail option includes the Inca Trail and extends the tour into areas that show off the surrounding landscape and scenery. Enjoy Mt Salkantay’s snow-capped peaks, different forests, beautiful scenery, Andean farms, and then the famous Inca remains on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.

Choquequirao & Machu Picchu

Now we have one of the most in depth archaeological hikes in Peru. You have heard of Machu Picchu, but have you heard of its rival, Choquequirao, the Cradle of Gold, which was built by the Túpac Inca Yupanqui to challenge his father’s famous monument.

Cradle of Gold, Cusco, Peru

Combine both these incredible archaeological finds on the Choquequirao & Machu Picchu tour for a 12 day trek. On this fantastic adventure, hike through some of Peru’s most incredible mountain scenery for two of the most mysterious and breathtaking of all the Incan ruins: the last stronghold of the Inca before they were defeated by the Spanish invaders, Choquequirao, combined with Peru’s most famous landmark, Machu Picchu.

Peru Eco Adventure & Inca Trail

To make the most of your time in Peru, we recommend a visit to the Amazon Rainforest as this is the Earth’s largest tropical forest and the largest container of tropical life. The following package option combines Sandoval Lake Lodge, an Amazon lodge nestled on the bank of one of the most beautiful oxbow lakes in the Amazon, and the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. You will explore the lake with your naturalist guide to see the resident Giant Otters, numerous monkeys of several different species, caiman, giant arapaima fish, and fascinating colorful birds.

Giant Otters, Sandoval Lake & Machu Picchu, Peru

Ash - Author & Travel Advisor About the Author: Ash Card is a frequent visitor to the Tropics and has a passion for helping visitors get the best experiences from tropical locations. Ash is a contributor to both TourTheTropics.com and ThinkJungle.com writing about tropical destinations, rainforests and wildlife. Feel free to contact Ash for tour help in the tropics. When not helping tourists with tours and info, Ash can be found salsa-ing the night away or posing near waterfalls.
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