You need to keep two things in mind when deciding how long you need to trek to Machu Picchu: time for acclimatisation and time for extensions.
At 3,400m above sea level, Cuzco (the start point of all treks to Machu Picchu) is already situated at high altitude. It is likely you will feel the altitude fairly soon after arriving in the town, particularly if you have flown in from Lima (which is at sea level).
It is important you do not exert yourself in Cuzco. Stay well rested and enjoy the town by taking casual strolls through the main sites and markets.
To account for the high altitude start point we provide two rest days in Cuzco before all of our Machu Picchu treks. This gives you time to acclimatise to the higher altitudes you will experience on your trek, whilst giving you that added boost for the first day of trekking which actually starts at a lower altitude than Cuzco.
All our itineraries have been tested to ensure that healthy people of average fitness can complete our treks within the listed times.
If you are quite confident of your fitness and ability to acclimatise quickly, we can arrange a private trek with a substantially shortened itinerary. Alternatively, we can arrange private treks which include extra rest days if you are new to long-distance trekking or are less certain of your overall fitness.
For most of our clients, visiting Machu Picchu is a life-long dream. But flying all the way to Peru just for Machu Picchu can seem like a bit of a shame, especially because there are just so many wonderful places to visit in Peru. We run a wide variety of extensions to some of the most iconic sites in Peru, including Nazca Lines, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon Jungle.
We recommend you check out our extension options and talk with one of our destination experts to see what the best itinerary is for you.