The most famous hike in South America, consider one of the best hike routes in the world, the Inca Trail is walked by many thousands of backpackers every year. Although the total distance is only 33km (20.5mi), the ancient trail laid by the Incas from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu winds its way up and down and around the mountains, snaking over three high Andean passes.
The views of snowy mountain peaks, rural hamlets where llamas graze and cloud forests flush with orchids can be stupendous, and walking from one cliff-hugging pre-Columbian ruin to the next is a magic, mystical and unforgettable experience…
Day 1 | Cusco - Piskacuchu - Wayllabamba
We depart from Cusco and travel to Urubamba where we stop briefly at Ollantaytambo, where you can buy last minute gear and personal care products. Then, we move on to Piskacuchu (Km 82) and start of the Inca Trail. Along the way we visit the Llactapata archeological site.
Day 2 | Wayllabamba - Warmiwanusca - Pacaymayo
We start the day, early in the morning, climb up to the highest point of the Inca Trail. Here, we can see different ecological zones and microclimates, which make up the area, mapped out in front of us. We cross the Warmiwañusqa pass at 4,200 meters/13,780 feet above sea level.
Days 3 | Pacaymayo - Chaq’icocha - Winaywayna
We continue climbing up to the second pass on the Trail (3,900 meters/12,795 feet above sea level), and along the way we visit Runcuracay archeological site. During the day walk, we also visit Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca archeological remains.
Day 4 | Winaywayna - Machu Picchu - Cusco
We begin the final leg of the trek to the lost city of Machu Picchu. First, we walk to Inti Punku ("Sun Gate"), where we take in a panoramic view of Machu Picchu. After this we come down to Machu Picchu and we have a tour of the sanctuary-city. After the tour of Machu Picchu, we take the bus down to Aguas Calientes where we have some free time afterward to enjoy the town.