Jump to Navigation
0808 250 7442
Freephone

Inca Trail Express

Trip type: 
Walking & Trekking
Trekking level: 
4. Demanding
Max group size: 
12
Avg user rating: 
Awaiting reviews
Americas, Peru | 9 days
Trip code: 
GGTA
New
What's included: 

Transport - Minibus, in country flight, on foot, bus.

Accommodation - Hotel (3 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts)

Meals - 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 3 dinners.

Trip Highlights: 
Walk the classic four-day Inca Trail
Camp high in the Andes above the cloudforest
Discover the Inca ruins at Cusco and Machu Picchu
Explore the Inca heartland
see full itinerary >>

Holidays in Peru
You'll follow an itinerary which has been researched and planned by our experts, saving you all the hassle of organising the trip. The itineraries are designed to minimise the time spent travelling and maximise the variety of experiences.
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Itinerary options
Itinery Map

Itinerary for Inca Trail Express

(Departures in 2013-15)
  • Day 1-2 - Cuzco
  • Day 3 - Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo
  • Day 4 - Cuzco/Machu Picchu
  • Day 4-6 - Option - Inca Trail
  • Day 4-6 - Option - Quarry Trail
  • Day 4-6 - Option - Train
  • Day 7 - Machu Picchu/Cuzco
  • Day 8-9 - Tour ends
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »
Day
1-2

Cuzco

Fly overnight to Peru. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru.

There is a welcome meeting this evening on Day 2. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for explorations into the Inca world or to enjoy a range of outdoor activities.

Take the time to acclimatise to the city's 3,450 m (11,150 ft) altitude and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city.

Your leader will take you on a walking tour including a visit to the Coca Musuem - where you can learn more about this infamous plant which has been an essential part of life in the Andes for centuries - and the local San Pedro market.

The cathedral, built on top of an Inca palace, dominates the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco's picturesque heart. The cathedral is one of the city's greatest repositories of art and houses an elegantly carved choir stall and a silver-covered Neoclassic altar.

There are several impressive Inca ruins within the city. The most easily accessible is Coricancha, which was the Inca empire's richest temple. Once plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its sturdy walls.

The Boleto Turistico (Tourism Ticket) is a good option if you to visit the many musems in Cuzco. This ticket also includes the archaeological around Cuzco such as Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Some museums in town, like Contemporary Art Meseum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum can only be accessed by purchasing the Boleto Turistico. 

ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!

Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.

During your trip: While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. 

Included Activities

  • Coca Museum
  • Leader-led walking tour

Optional Activities

  • Boleto turistico (general) - PEN135
  • Cathedral - PEN26
  • City tour - USD15
  • Coricancha - PEN10

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

 

Day
3

Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo

Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley (approx 2 hours total drive), on the outskirts of Cuzco. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the lush, fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Maize crops can be seen surrounding the river and covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls.

You will head to a community in the Valley to learn about local lifestyle and activities and if our visit coincides with market day you can spend time browsing the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos and maybe practicing some of the local language, Quechua.

The town of Ollantaytambo has been built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning. This is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish.

Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.

Included Activities

  • Sacred Valley community visit

Optional Activities

  • Ollantaytambo Ruins - PEN70

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

 

Day
4

Cuzco/Machu Picchu

Proceed with your choice from three options for days 4-6

 

Day
4-6
Option - Inca Trail

Option - Inca Trail

INCA TRAIL: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but do come prepared: the trail is 45 km (28 miles) long and often steep. Generally each day's journey consists of 7 hours walking on average (both uphill and downhill), plus stops for snacks and lunch. Normally trekking starts at 7am (except for the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 4-5pm.

Accommodation on the trek is camping (3 nights). Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. Tents are set up by the porters. Meals are prepared by the trek cook.

Day 1: Today you travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and join our crew of local porters, cook and guide. The starting point of the trek is located at 2,850m. Our first day includes some uphill trekking to the campsite - at over 3,300 m above sea level. Today you will see the ruins of Llactapata, burnt to the ground by the last Inca emperor to discourage Spanish pursuit down the trail.

Day 2: This is the most challenging day of the trek as you ascend a long steep path (approx 4 hours) to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwanusca ('Dead Woman's Pass'), at a height of 4,200 m (13,779 ft), before descending to the Pacaymayo Valley at 3650 m. Next is a climb up to the second pass known as Runkuracay at 3,980 m - approximately 90 minutes uphill from the Pacaymayo Valley. From here you can enjoy views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending to the ruins of Sayacmarca (2-3 hours). From here it's only a short walk to the Chaquicocha campsite at 3,620 m.

Day 3: Continue over the third pass and soon reach the beautiful ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the 'Town above the Clouds', at 3,850 m (approx 90 mins walk). From here you start our descent along Inca steps (2 hours) to reach our final night's camp by the Winay Wayna ('Forever Young') archaeological site at 2,750 m. Grab a drink and enjoy the panoramic views of the valley below.

Day 4: Take a short final hike (approx 2 hrs) to the Sun Gate where you can watch the ruins of Machu Picchu emerge from the mist below. The feeling you get as you see the ruins for the first time is indescribable.

Included Activities

  • 4-day Inca Trail trek and Machu Picchu guided tour

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts)

 

Day
4-6
Option - Quarry Trail

Option - Quarry Trail

QUARRY TRAIL: The Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. This hike is 26km long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level.

Throughout the trek your gear (and camping gear) will be carried by horses (as opposed to porter).

The first two nights of the trek are spent camping and the third one at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. Tents are set up by the porters. Meals are prepared by the trek cook.

Day 1 - Today is an early start as you drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas used to venerate the moon. A short drive from here takes you to Rafq'a, the starting point of your trek and where you meet the horsemen that will join you during the hike. After an approx. 1hr walk you reach the small community of Socma.

A further 60min walk takes to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect opportunity to stop for photos and a snack.

From here you continue on to our campsite, at 3700 meters above sea level. All going well, you should reach your campsite by lunch time. After lunch you set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which used to serve as a check point during the times of the Incas.

Day 2 - This is the most challenging but most rewarding day of the hike. A 3hr walk takes you to the top of the first pass, known as Puccaqasa (approx 4370 meters). After enjoying the views of the valley below you walk down for 30min to our lunch spot.

Rested and full of energy again you take on a 2hr hike to the highest pass of the trek: Kuychicassa (4450 meters).

From here you head down for 2hr to a site the Incas called Inti Punku, (meaning Sun Gate) with imposing views over the valley bellow and the Veronica mountain raising over the horizon.

Your campsites is a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo (3600 metres)

Day 3 - Day three is all downhill hiking. The first stop is at the Kachiqata quarry, where you witness the work the Incas could not complete due to the Spanish conquest.

Approximately at midday you finally arrive to the town of Kachiqata - the end of this challenging and fascinating trek.

From here you visit Ollantaytambo. In the afternoon you travel by train to Aguas Calientes where you meet with fellow travellers who didn't hike. The natural hot springs in town are an unbeatable way to spend a late afternoon/early evening. Tonight you overnight at a simple but comfortable hotel.

Day 4 - Today you take a very early bus (5:30am depending on weather conditions) along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approx. 30 minutes). In Machu Picchu you join the travellers who opted to hike the Classic Inca Trail option of this trip before taking on a guided walk of Machu Picchu.

Included Activities

  • 4-day Quarry Trail trek and Machu Picchu guided tour

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)

Hotel (1nt)

Day
4-6

Option - Train

TRAIN OPTION: For those travellers not interested or unable to hike the trail, it's possible to spend two extra nights Cuzco before travelling by bus to Ollantaytambo (approx. 90 minutes) and train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (1.5 hrs approx.) where you spend a third night.

Aguas Calientes is nestled in the cloud forest in the hills at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want a sneak peak, there is time to visit Machu Picchu independently before a guided tour the following day. Otherwise, you can while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs that give the town its name.

This option must be arranged at the time of booking or local fees will apply.

Accommodation

Cusco - Hotel (2 nts)

Aguas Calientes - Hotel (1 nt)

Day
7

Machu Picchu/Cuzco

MACHU PICCHU: While it's thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There's plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters. You will have a guided visit (approx 1.5-2 hrs) with plenty of free time afterwards.

After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour.

WAYNA PICCHU: Due to internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

Accommodation

Hotel (1nt)

Day
8-9

Tour ends

Your tour ends today and you will be transferred to the airport for your overnight flight home.