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Machu Picchu Route Recommendations Kandoo | Machu Picchu Salkantay
Machu Picchu Route Recommendations Kandoo | Machu Picchu Routes
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About the Classic Inca trail

Out of the thousands of miles of trails built by the Incas , this relatively short trek,  is by far the most famous trek in South America and was recently rated by National Geographic as the best destination trek in the world. In just 26 miles (43km), it manages to combine beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle and, of course, a stunning mix of Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels. Of course, the downside of  fame and publicity is that the trail is very popular. 

Dead Womans PassAs a result of this popularity, the Inca trail suffered a lot of erosion damage early this century and numbers of trekkers are now heavily restricted by a very tight permit system. Permits sell out very quickly and if you want to trek to Machu Picchu in 2017 there are no permits available now until well into the rainy season. We recommend  that, as an alternative, you consider either the Lares trail or the Salkantay trail.  If you are looking to book for 2018, permits were released at the beginning of October. Read our blog post here on getting your permits now.

The classic Inca Trail is believed to follow the original pilgrimage route from Cuzco, the capital of the Incan empire to Machu Picchu, their most sacred temple. The Incans main god was the sun and the temple at Machu Picchu is dedicated to Sun worship. The current day version of this pilgrimage starts at the somewhat banally named Kilometre 82 gate:  unsurprisingly it is 82 kilometres from Cuzco.

The Classic Inca trail is not particularly challenging  and most days only involve 5-6 hours of hiking. It does though, take you up and over a series of high passes, most notably Dead Woman's Pass at 4,215m,  and the effect of altitude at this height are very significant so you must ensure you train properly before you arrive. (Can you spot how Dead Woman's Pass got its name?)

View from Sun Gate at Machu PicchuFrom Km82, the path takes you up and down through diverse environments including cloud forest, jungle and alpine tundra. Of greatest interest though are the  Inca ruins, including Runcuracay, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñaywayna which line the trail becoming grander and more impressive as  you approach the big one - Machu Picchu.

The final approach to Machu Picchu on the Inca trail brings you out at the famous Sun Gate where you can stop for a well earned breather and admire the sheer brilliance and scale of the ruins. Even if you have seen this picture a thousand times before, it never fails to impress.

Classic Inca trail options

We offer the classic Inca trail trek either as a stand-alone trekking itinerary or as  part of a package including airport transfers, a cultural tour in Cuzco and hotel accommodation before and after your trek. The itinerary for the trek only option comprises days 3-6 inclusive of the itinerary below.

Please note if you wish to join a 4 day trek only trip, you must be in Cuzco the day before the trek starts in order to join the group briefing.  In the table of availability below, the "Arrival date" is the date you need to be in Cuzco. You will be notified of the location of the briefing before you arrive in Cuzco.

Book your Inca trail adventure now - pay only £100 deposit.

Inca Trail permits for all 2018 treks were released early, in October 2017, and popular dates are selling out fast. If you want to hike the Inca Trail in 2018 you can book before 20th December 2017 and pay only £100 deposit to secure your permit.

During Autumn 2017, we changed our standard itinerary for the Classic Inca trail slightly to include a day in Cuzco at the start of the trip rather than travelling to the Sacred Valley.  As we have a number of people booked onto the original itinerary we are continuing to offer this itinerary on a few dates. The trek  part of the itinerary has not changed at all. The last few remaining places on these itineraries are being sold at a discount of £100 ($125) to the new itinerary. You can see this alternative itinerary here.

FAQs about the Inca trail

Speak with an expert Start planning your next adventure by contacting one of our team.
Sarah BW

Sarah Orson

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499980

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Rachael Bode

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: + 44 (0) 1283 499982

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Sharon King

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499981

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