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Trek the iconic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The most famous trek in Peru
Cusco  → Inca Trail  → Machu Picchu  → Cusco

Trek the Inca Trail away from the crowds

A journey to Cusco and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a captivating adventure, offering a tapestry of ancient wonders and breathtaking landscapes

In Cusco, the heart of the Inca Empire, visitors are welcomed by cobblestone streets, original Inca walls, and a fascinating blend of ancient and modern life. The city's historic sites, including the Plaza de Armas and the captivating Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun), provide glimpses into its storied past.

The highlight of the expedition is undoubtedly the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu. The trek begins amid the stunning scenery of the Andes, and then passes through ancient ruins like Runkuraqay and Sayacmarca, revealing the mysteries of the Inca civilization.

Reaching the renowned Dead Woman's Pass (Warmiwanusqa in Quechua) at 4215 metres, trekkers are rewarded with panoramic views and a profound sense of accomplishment. Descending through cloud forests and exploring Wiñay Wayna's well-preserved ruins, the journey culminates at the Sun Gate (Intipunku), unveiling the iconic Machu Picchu below.

Exploring the enigmatic citadel, with its stone terraces and temples, is a surreal experience. The intricate engineering and cultural significance of Machu Picchu come to life as knowledgeable guides share the stories behind this UNESCO World Heritage site. The trip concludes with a leisurely day in Cusco, allowing for final explorations before departing from this enchanting corner of Peru, leaving indelible memories of an awe-inspiring journey through history and nature.

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The itinerary…

Day 1: Peru awaits

Depart for your overnight flight to Cusco, Peru.

Day 2: Arrival to Cusco

Beautiful Cusco

Beautiful Cusco

Upon your arrival in Cusco, a warm reception awaits from a Far & Wild representative, ready to transfer you to the Quinta San Blas hotel in the charming San Blas neighbourhood. Nestled on a picturesque cobblestone street, the remainder of the day is yours to explore and acclimatise. Quinta San Blas, ideally situated, provides a haven for relaxation and adjustment to the altitude. The surrounding area offers a range of restaurants and cafes, inviting you to immerse yourself in the local culinary delights and ambiance.

Day 3: Walking tour of Cusco

Qoricancha

Qoricancha, Temple of the Sun

Enjoy a captivating morning in Cusco, a city which blends the ancient and modern amidst cobblestone streets with original Inca walls. Witness the intriguing coexistence of modern Cusqueñans and traditional country folk leading alpacas. This urban wonderland, rich in history, beautifully juxtaposes the old and the new.

Explore key sites during the half-day tour, including the ancient Inca Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha) within the Church of Santo Domingo, once adorned in gold and holding a significant historical narrative. Uncover the dramatic history of the Plaza de Armas, the former Inca city centre, featuring the Cusco Cathedral dating back to 1654. Here you can admire artworks from the Cusco School of Painting depicting Mary, the infant Jesus, and saints, with the notable "Last Supper" by Quechua artist Marcos Zapata, featuring a guinea pig as the main course. The Plaza de Armas, adorned with gardens and statuary, serves as a gathering spot for locals and tourists.

Day 4: Inca Trail, Cusco to Chamana

Learning

Learn Inca history along the trail

Embark on an unforgettable 5-day trek, commencing with a scenic journey from Cusco. The adventure kicks off at a secluded section of the Inca Trail, rarely visited by others as unlike most groups crossing the Urubamba River at Km 82, we opt for a unique route, traversing downstream and crossing at Km 88, ensuring an exclusive experience away from the crowds.

Upon reaching Chamana, a quaint village within the Llaqtapata Community, a delightful picnic awaits at our private campsite. As the day progresses, you have the option to explore the captivating archaeological sites of Wayna Q’ente and Llaqtapata, featuring mesmerising Incan stone walls, stairs, and other ancient monuments. The evening promises a hot shower and a satisfying dinner, allowing you to relish the day's outdoor trekking adventures.

Driving distance: 87.6 km (54.4 mi) – Time: 2:30 hours;

Trekking distance: 10.1 km (6.3 mi) – Time: 4:30 hours

Day 5: Inca Trail, Chamana – Llulluchapampa

Steps

Lots of steps - up and down!

The journey unfolds as we ascend the narrow Cusichaca Valley, passing the humble abodes of farmers and herdsmen. Our path leads us to the Andean community of Huayllabamba, marking a pivotal point in our adventure. Embarking on the cobble-stoned Inca Trail, we navigate steep ascents through an ancient native forest alive with the harmonious melody of birdsong.

As we reach our campsite at Llulluchapampa, nestled just below the first pass, a spectacle awaits. Breathtaking views of Mt. Huayanay unfold, offering a first glimpse of the rare Andean cloud forest adorned with Quenua, or Polyepis trees. These distinctive trees, with their reddish bark peeling into paper-like sheets, are aptly named "Paper Trees." The scene is nothing short of captivating, setting the stage for further exploration along the remarkable Inca Trail.

Trekking distance: 11.7 km (7.3 mi) – Time: 7-8 hours

Day 6: Inca Trail, Llulluchapampa – Phuyupatamarca

Clouds

Camping above the clouds

The day commences with a steady ascent to Warmiwanusqa (Dead Woman’s) Pass (4215m), providing panoramic views of the conquered terrain and a sense of accomplishment. The pass, resembling a reclined woman, sits nearly 1800m higher than Machu Picchu. A gratifying descent to the Pacaymayo River follows, leading to a hearty lunch.

After ascending to the ruins of Runkuraqay and the second pass (3968m), we venture down the original Inca Trail to Sayacmarca. Signs of the mist-filled Andean cloud forest emerge, home to endemic species. The trek along the ridge offers respite, showcasing brilliant orchids, hummingbirds, and butterflies. As we catch our breath, stunning views of the Aobamba Valley and snow-capped Mt. Salkantay unfold, culminating in our campsite at Phuyupatamarca, translating to "village at the edge of the clouds" in Quechua.

Trekking distance: 12 km (7.5 mi) – Time: 8 hours

Day 7: Inca Trail, Phuyupatamarca – Machu Picchu

Ma Pi 2

Arrive to Machu Picchu

The highly anticipated day unfolds as we finally catch sight of the majestic Machu Picchu citadel. Rising early, we embark on a short hike from our campsite for a splendid sunrise, accompanied by steaming tea from our dedicated porters. This location is renowned for its radiant sunrise views within the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Following breakfast, our trek continues along a buttress, passing the ancient ruins of Phuyupatamarca with its functioning irrigation system built over five centuries ago. The flag-stoned trail descends sharply into the cloud forest, leading to the well-preserved ruins of Wiñay Wayna (“Forever Young”) below the ridge.

Traversing the Inca's historic trail for two hours through misty cloud forest, we reach Machu Picchu via Intipunku (Sun Gate), marvelling at the citadel spread below. After absorbing the breathtaking view, a bus transports us to the village of Machu Picchu. There, we spend the night at El Mapi by Inkaterra hotel with dinner included, concluding our remarkable journey.

Trekking distance: 10.9 km (6.8 m) – Time: 7-8 hours

Bus ride: 6.2 km (3.9 mi) – Time: 30 min

Day 8: Machu Picchu – Cusco

Tren a Machu Picchu

Train journey returning to Cusco

A half-hour bus journey transports us to the gates of Machu Picchu, setting the stage for a captivating three-hour guided tour of this ancient hilltop citadel. The exploration encompasses various sectors, allowing us to enter houses and temples, breathing life into these iconic ruins. Amidst the mystical ambiance, it feels as though we've stepped into a dream of ancient times. Wandering among the Inca's seamlessly integrated manmade structures in the lush natural surroundings leaves us with a profound sense of wonder and reverence, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

In the afternoon, we return to the village, where the Vistadome train awaits to transport us back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy, concluding our unforgettable journey through the remarkable Machu Picchu.

Trekking distance: visit Machu Picchu – Time: 3 hours

Bus ride to Machu Picchu (RT): 12.4 km (7.7 mi) – Time: 1 hour

Day 9: Depart Cusco

Cusco market

Typical market in Cusco

Enjoy a day at leisure for some final souvenir shopping and sightseeing, immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Cusco. Explore the local markets, discover hidden gems, or revisit favourite spots in this charming city. Later, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.

We can also arrange onward travel within Peru or to other captivating destinations in Latin America. Feel free to ask for inspiration and let us enhance your journey with seamless connections and exciting adventures beyond Cusco.


Duration: 9 days

Location: Peru Holidays, South and Central America Holidays

Price: £2140pp

From £2,140 pp based on two people sharing, excluding international flights to / from Cusco.

The Inca Trail group departure starts on Wednesdays and Sundays.

The trip includes all accommodations, and trek in shared basis specified above. Rooms and meals are as follows:

  • 3 nights at Quinta San Blas – Deluxe room with breakfast
  • 1 night at El Mapi by Inkaterra – Superior deluxe room with breakfast & dinner
  • 3 nights fully serviced camping on the Inca Trail with all meals

Also includes

  • All transfers, private guide in Cusco, group guide on the Inca Trail and fees where stated as included.

This trip excludes:

  • Single Supplements.
  • International flights to/ from Cusco
  • Meals not mentioned as included.
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When to go to Peru

Peru is a country that can be visited year-round, as it has a diverse climate and a range of activities to suit every season. Here's a short month-by-month guide to help you decide when to visit:

  • Best
  • Good
  • Mixed
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

January

January is a great time to visit the coastal regions of Peru, including Lima, Paracas, and Mancora. The weather is warm and sunny along the coast, making it perfect for beach activities and water sports.

Coastal Areas (Lima, Paracas, Nazca): Warm and humid with temperatures around 25-30°C (77-86°F).

Highlands (Cusco, Machu Picchu): Rainy season, so expect occasional showers and some trekking routes may be closed.

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February

In February, you can experience the vibrant Carnival celebrations in various cities like Cajamarca and Puno. The festivities feature colorful parades, music, and dancing, offering a unique cultural experience.

Coastal Areas: Remains warm and humid with temperatures similar to January.

Highlands: Still the rainy season, but rainfall starts to decrease towards the end of the month. Some trekking routes may be accessible again.

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March

March is an excellent time for outdoor activities in the Andes as the rainy season starts to wind down. It's a good month for trekking and exploring the natural beauty of the mountains.

Coastal Areas: The weather remains warm, but humidity starts to decrease.

Highlands: The rainy season is ending, and the landscape is lush and green.

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April

It's an ideal time to visit the jungle regions, where you can witness lush vegetation and a variety of wildlife.

Coastal Areas: Autumn sets in, temperatures begin to drop, and fog becomes more common in Lima.

Highlands: The start of the dry season, making it an excellent time to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu.

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May

May is a shoulder season with generally mild weather and fewer tourists. It's a good time to explore popular destinations like Machu Picchu and Cusco before the peak tourist season begins.

Coastal Areas: Foggy mornings in Lima, but the sun usually breaks through later in the day.

Highlands: The dry season continues, with pleasant and sunny days.

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June

June is an excellent month to visit Cusco and attend the Inti Raymi festival, which celebrates the Incan sun god Inti. This festival features colourful processions and ancient rituals, adding to the cultural richness of the experience.

Coastal Areas: Cool temperatures in Lima due to the influence of the cold Humboldt Current.

Highlands: One of the best months to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu, with minimal rainfall and comfortable temperatures during the day.

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July

July is the peak tourist season in Peru, especially around Independence Day (July 28th). It's a great time to visit all regions of the country, including the coast, mountains, and rainforest.

Coastal Areas: Lima's winter, cool and misty.

Highlands: Dry season continues, but July also marks the beginning of the high tourist season. Plan ahead and expect crowds

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August

August is a good time to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but make sure to book in advance, as permits can sell out quickly during this popular time of year.

Coastal Areas: Similar to July, cool and misty in Lima.

Highlands: High tourist season continues. It's essential to book treks and accommodations in advance.

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September

September is a transition month when the crowds start to thin out, and the weather remains pleasant in most regions. It's a good time for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

Coastal Areas: Springtime starts, and temperatures begin to rise in Lima.

Highlands: Crowds start to thin out, but the weather remains favourable.

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October

October is another shoulder season with fewer tourists. The weather is still favourable, making it an ideal time for exploring different parts of the country.

Coastal Areas: Pleasant spring weather in Lima.

Highlands: The dry season continues, and this month is still a good time to visit.

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November

November marks the beginning of the rainy season on the coast, so it's best to focus on the Andes and the Amazon during this month.

Coastal Areas: Springtime in Lima, with warmer temperatures.

Highlands: The dry season ends, and the rainy season begins, so expect occasional showers.

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December

It is festive time in Peru, with various Christmas and New Year celebrations taking place throughout the country. Coastal regions are popular for holiday getaways, with warm weather and beach activities.

Coastal Areas: Warm and comfortable temperatures in Lima, ideal for beach activities.

Highlands: The rainy season continues, but it's still possible to visit. Just be prepared for wet conditions.

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