Independent Inca Trail information for visitors to Peru. This is a non-commercial site.
Inca Trail - Route Options
This is the most popular route trekked by hundreds of visitors each day. This beautiful trail starts at kilometre 82 (so called because it is 82 km along the railroad from Cusco) and takes in many of the Inca ruins including Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñay Wayna and of course Machu Picchu. Because this route is the most popular you can easily find a tour operator with groups leaving everyday that you can join. Joining a group works out much cheaper than a private service. Approximate price of a basic group service is between US$560 and US$640 per person. A group service is when a trekking company advertises a fixed departure date and pools all of their clients together. This means that you will be trekking with other people from different parts of the world which can be great fun. The maximum group size is limited to 16 persons. This offers the most economical way to do the Inca Trail. The price for a private service depends on how many people there are in your group but expect to pay around US$1000 per person for a very small group of between 2 and 4 persons. Prices may drop to around US$560 per person if you have a large group of friends. Trek permit necessary so book well in advance.
Inca Trail 5 day Trek Itinerary (Classic Inca Trail Trek - moderate)
This itinerary follows the same route as 4 day trek. However you have the opportunity to visit the ruins of Llactapata where you will probably camp on the first night. You'll also camp at different less crowded campsites during your trek. Although you will probably arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon of the fourth day of the trek you will usually camp down in the Urubamba valley (or possibly stay at a hotel in Aguas Calientes) before returning to Machu Picchu for sunrise on the fifth day. You'll still be walking 12-15 km per day on days 2, 3 & 4 of the trail so it is not to be regarded as an easy option. This itinerary is not as popular as the 4 day version so you will probably have to take a private trek which is fine if you have a group of friends but can be expensive if there are just the 2 of you. Price for a basic private group depends on how many people there are in your group but expect to pay around US$950 per person for a very small group of between 2 and 4 persons. Prices may drop to around US$600 per person if you have a large group of friends. Trek permit necessary so book well in advance.
Inca Trail 2 day Trek Itinerary (Sacred Trail - easy / moderate)
This is a less strenuous route and starts at kilometre 104 along the railroad from Cusco. The trail climbs up to Wiñay Wayna where you join the final stages of the Classic 4 day hike. From Wiñay Wayna the trek then descends to Machu Picchu. This is a good option for visitors with limited time or who are not fit enough to complete the 4 day version. The trek has the advantage of allowing you to visit the beautiful ruins at Wiñay Wayna and also to experience at least part of the Inca trail. Unlike the 4 day trek you do not need to be acclimatised to undertake the 2 day trek since the trail is at a lower altitude. Many tour operators have daily group departures on this trek. Approximate price of a basic group service is between US$320 and US$380 per person. Price for a basic private group of just 2 persons is about US$450-500 per person. Trek permit necessary so book well in advance.
Salkantay / Inca Trail 7 day Itinerary (moderate / difficult)
A spectacular 7 day trek that passes beneath the sacred snow-capped mountain of Salkantay. This mountain God (or Apu) was worshipped by the Incas and is still honoured by existing Quechua farmers. The trail starts in the warm citrus valley near Mollabamba and eventually joins the Classic Inca trail route at Wayllabamba on the fourth day. The route involves some high passes which can be bitterly cold during the months of June and July. However the trek combines the best of mountain scenery with the Inca ruins of Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna before arriving at the citadel of Machu Picchu for sunrise on the final day of the trek. You need to acclimatise in Cusco for a couple of days prior to starting this trek. Some tour operators have fixed departure dates for this trek. The approximate price of a group service is between US$750 and US$850 depending on the size of the group. Price for a basic private group of just 2 persons is between US$1500 and US$2000 per person (the price is a lot cheaper the more friends you have in your group). Trek permit necessary so book well in advance.
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This is a non-commercial website. Copyright Andean Travel Web 2000-2012. All material used within this web site is original work and is subject to international copyright law. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited without prior permission from the editor. This web page was last updated in August 2012.