Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and Titicaca Lake
9 Days / 8 Nights
Join us in visiting the Sacred Valley of the Incas including the Pisac Market and Ollantaytambo. Then hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu before taking a touristic bus to Puno where we’ll visit the Floating Islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca!.
Availability for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and Titicaca Lake 9 Days/8 Nights
The Peruvian government has strict limitations on how many people are permitted to use the Inca Trail (permits are issued to about 200 trekkers per day and about 300 porters/guides with a total of 500 permits issued daily). We recommend booking the Inca Trail as early as possible, sometimes even 6 months in advance!.
We also recommend booking the Inca Trail trek before booking your hotels, flights, etc., since Inca Trail permits are limited!.
Daily departures are available throughout the year (March through January-February the Inca Trail is closed), even though the recommended period for this trek is April to October because it is the dry season.
All private service departure dates are adapted to your request any day you choose. Also contact us for group departure date availability.
Day 1: Arrival Cusco – Transfer to Hotel
Today, when you arrive in Cusco, we’ll be waiting for you at the airport or bus terminal. From here we’ll bring you to your hotel and you’ll have the rest of the day free to roam around Cusco and shop if you would like. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2: Sacred Valley of the Incas Tour
Today we’ll visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas! We’ll start our day trip by leaving Cusco and traveling to Pisac to visit the P’isaq Archaeological Park and Pisac Market. When you visit the Pisac Market, you’ll notice that it is full with artisans selling their products like handmade textiles typical of the area, jewelry, pottery, and much more. If you don’t want to shop, you can also sit in one of the cafes and people watch while having coffee. You’ll have especially good views from the balconies overlooking the market. After we leave Pisac, we’ll have a buffet lunch together in Urubamba. After our lunch, we’ll keep traveling to Ollantaytambo. In Ollantaytambo we’ll notice many examples of Inca Architecture that still remains throughout the town.
Historians believe that Ollantaytambo may have been a fortress pointing at the strategic location, the heavy walls and guard posts. After we’ve visited Ollantaytambo, we’ll drive on to visit Chinchero which means ‘Rainbow City’ where you’ll see the local people in their traditional clothing and following a lifestyle generations old. From this area you’ll also have a great view of the area around it because of the town’s location. Many people also come to see the colonial church which has painted murals and the traditional market. From here we’ll return to Cusco around 7:00pm. Overnight in hotel.
Day 3: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Day 1)
Today is when we’ll start our Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu! We’ll start by picking everyone up from their hotels and then driving outside of Cusco to KM82. The drive is about 2 ½ hours so you’ll have a short time to rest before the trek and have a snack if you haven’t had breakfast.
KM82 is where we’ll start our Inca Trail trek and is our first control point where your documents will be checked. Make sure to bring your passport and ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you booked your trip with a student discount. We’ll start trekking from here to Miskay where we’ll have lunch together. After we’ve had lunch we’ll hike for about 2 hours to Wayllabamba.
We’ll camp in Wayllbamba tonight and if we hiked quickly today, we’ll have a lot of time to have tea and relax a little before our dinner. During dinner we can get to know the other people in our group, but make sure to give yourself enough time to have a good night’s sleep to be able to keep hiking tomorrow.
Day 4: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Day 2)
On the second day of our Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, we’ll be woken up with a hot cup of coca tea! Most people will consider today to be their toughest part of the Inca Trail! After breakfast we’ll hike up to Dead Woman Pass which is at 4600 meters and the highest part on the Inca Trail trek.
We’ll hike uphill for about 5 hours and when we reach the top, we’ll have a well-deserved short rest, time to take pictures and enjoy the view before continuing our hike to our camp at Paccaymayu. The hike downhill should take about 2 hours and when we get to camp we’ll have some tea and time to rest before dinner. Make sure to bring a warm sleeping bag and clothing because tonight will be the coldest part of our trek since our camp is at 3600 meters.
Day 5: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Day 3)
We’ll start the day off with another hot cup of coca tea before breakfast! After breakfast we’ll continue the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu and leave our camp at Paccaymayu. We’ll hike uphill for about an hour to the ruins of Runkuraqhay and then on to the Runkuraqhay Pass which is 4000 meters. Afterwards, we’ll hike downhill for 45 minutes to reach the Sayacmarka ruins and then on to Chakiccocha.
In Chakiccocha we’ll have lunch and rest for a little while before hiking on to the ruins of Phuyupatamarka and then the Phuyupatamarka Pass which is at 3600 meters. After we’ve climbed over the Phuyupatamarka Pass we’ll hike downhill for another 2 hours before we reach Wiñayhuayna.
Wiñayhuayna will be the last stop today and we’ll camp here tonight. Today during dinner, we’ll have a sort of ‘goodbye dinner’ since the porters and cook will be leaving very early in the morning, after breakfast. If you would like to give them a tip, this would be a good time. Make sure to have another good night’s sleep since tomorrow we’ll be visiting Machu Picchu!.
Day 6: Machu Picchu Sunrise Tour – Return Cusco
Today we’ll wake up around 3:30am with our last hot cup of coca tea to wake us up! We’ll have breakfast and wait in line for the checkpoint to open. They will check our documents again, so remember to have your passport and ISIC (if it applies to you) ready. When they let us pass, we’ll hike to the Sun Gate. At the Sun Gate we’ll take some time to celebrate, take pictures and enjoy our first view of Machu Picchu! After this short break we’ll keep hiking to the checkpoint outside of Machu Picchu where they’ll heck your documents again before letting you enter. Beforehand, you can take a bathroom break outside of the city and store your large backpack which will cost 3 Peruvian Nueva Soles. When we’re all inside, we’ll take a guided tour of this magical city of Machu Picchu!
The guide will teach you about the history of Machu Picchu and show you some of the most important sites within the city. After about 2 hours of the tour, you’ll have time to wander around Machu Picchu on your own, soaking in the mysterious atmosphere of this enigmatic city. When you’ve roamed around the city and taken your pictures, you can take a bus down to Aguas Calientes.
Depending on how much time you’ve given yourself before your train leaves, you can have lunch (not included) and go souvenir shopping and buy snacks before you board your train. You’ll take the Expedition train to Ollantaytambo. In Ollantaytambo we’ll be waiting to bring you to Cusco. You should be in Cusco at about 10:30pm. Overnight in hotel.
Day 7: Bus Cusco to Puno – Puno Guided Tour
Today we’ll leave Cusco behind and head out to Puno. We’ll take a touristic bus to Puno and along the way we’ll visit a few interesting archaeological sites like Pukara, Andahuaylillas and Raqchi as well as enjoy the beautiful landscapes. We’ll have drinks throughout the day and a buffet lunch. When we arrive in Puno we’ll bring you to your hotel. Overnight in hotel.
Day 8: Titicaca Lake Full Day Tour
Today we’ll go to the Titicaca Lake for a tour of the Floating Islands of Uros and Taquile Island! We’ll begin the day by picking you up from your hotel and bringing you to the harbor on Titicaca Lake. We’ll board a touristic boat and visit the Floating Islands of Uros first. The floating Islands were first constructed centuries ago by the Uros people to help keep them safe from other tribes. They gather reeds which can be found in the shallow parts of the lake, bundle them together tightly and use these to make the floating platforms on which they build their reed houses. Here they live together as a community and we’ll learn a little more about their culture while we visit them. After some time with the Uros people, we’ll board our boat and travel to Taquile Island which is about 2 hours away.
The local community which has lived on Taquile Island for many generations still speaks Quechua and is known for their weaving tradition. They are well known for their "Chullos", knitted hats earflaps, and "The Calendar Waistband", showing the annual cycles connected to rituals and agricultural activities. While you are walking on Taquile Island, you’ll have a great view of Titicaca Lake. You’ll also see the traditional houses on the island which are inhabited by people who are direct descendants of the Incas. When we’re at the top of the island, we’ll have lunch together. After lunch we’ll walk back down to Taquile Island’s small harbor and board our boat to travel back to the harbor in Puno. From here we’ll bring you back to your hotel. Overnight in hotel.
Day 9: Departure Puno
This will be the last day of your trip and according to your schedule, we’ll pick you up from your hotel and bring you to the airport or to the bus terminal. This will be the end of our services.
- Transfer Airport/Station to hotel to Airport/Station – Cusco and Puno.
- 3 nights hotel in Cusco.
- 2 nights hotel in Puno.
- Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu (see what is included for trek below).
- Tourist bus from Cusco to Puno (includes lunch and drinks during trip).
- Lake Titicaca guided tour (visit Uros Floating Islands and Taquile Island).
- Lunch on Taquile Island.
- Tourist motorized boat for Titicaca Lake tour.
- Transfers from/to hotel and Lake Titicaca harbor.
- Briefing (usually scheduled one or two days before your trek).
- Tourist bus to beginning of trek.
- Inca Trail entrance ticket.
- Machu Picchu entrance ticket.
- First Aid basic equipment and oxygen for emergencies.
- Professional bilingual (Spanish/English) guide (guides who speak other languages upon request).
- Meals: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners (vegetarian, vegan, etc. dietary requirements available if requested during time of booking at no extra charge).
- 1 Bus ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Expedition Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (see note about train availability, changes in times, etc.)
- Transportation from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
- Breakfast Day 1 of trek, Lunch and dinner on the last day of trek.
- Entrance fees for Thermal Baths in Aguas Calientes ($4).
- Porter to carry your personal belongings.
- Water for your water bottles. You can buy water along the way or bring water purification tablets.
- Activities and items not included in the itinerary.
Extras for your Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
- Walking sticks (10 $ for a pair of sticks)
- Extra porter for personal items (60$ for 7 Kilos – max. 7 Kilos)
- Upgrade to Single room in Aguas Calientes (35$)
- Upgrade to Vistadome train (80$ )
- Entrance ticket to Huayna Picchu (65$) – There is only a limited space at Huayna Picchu (400 persons per day), so it is a good idea to book in advance.
- We can help you to book hotels (standard and luxury) in whole Peru.
What You Need on your inca trail Hiking to Machu Picchu:
- You should bring your original passport (International Student card (ISIC) if applicable)
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain jacket
- Warm jacket, hat and gloves
- Comfortable trousers
- Sun hat
- Sun protection cream (factor 35 recommended)
- Re-usable plastic or metal water container or camel bags
- Water for the first day, but on the way it is possible to buy bottles of water from local families.
- Insect repellent
- Personal medication
- Camera and films
Optional items to bring:
- Walking stick (with rubber tip)
- Plasters and bandages
- Baiting suit for the hot springs
- Extra money for personal expensive, tips and entrance fees for hot springs (entrance fee for the hot spring is: 4 US $ / 10 Soles), (recommended 200 Peruvian nuevos soles for extra money)
Discounts: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu 3 Days 2 Nights
- With an ISIC card you can get a discount (20$) of the Inca Trail; you need to scan and send it to us at the time of your booking.
- If you are under 17 years old, you can get a discount (20 $) of the Inca trail; you have to scan and send you passport to us at the time of your booking.
- The Itinerary can change according to the Peruvian government, climate and health status of the trekkers.
- The train schedule can change according to availability of the train company.
- The train that we provide is the expedition train to Ollantaytambo – if someone books a train ticket in the last minute it is not sure that they can come in the same train as the other group.
- If you would like to change your train schedule or tickets, you have to pay more for the transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco and for the price change of the train.
Altitudes Distances / Walking hours:
Cusco – Huayllabamba:
- Meals: L D
- Accommodation: Camping
- Maximum Altitude: 2954m/9694ft
- Minimum Altitude: 2670m/8761ft
- Distance Travelled: 9 km approx.
- Approximate Walking Time: 5 Hours
Huayllabamba – Pacaymayo:
- Meals : B L D
- Accommodation: Camping
- Maximum Altitude: 4226m/13866ft
- Minimum Altitude: 2954m/9694ft
- Distance Travelled: 12 km approx.
- Approximate Walking Time: 5 Hours
Paqaymayo – Phuyupatamarka:
- Meals : B L D
- Accommodation: Camping
- Maximum Altitude: 3974m/13039ft
- Minimum Altitude: 3627m/11900ft
- Distance Travelled: 16 km approx.
- Approximate Walking Time: 6 Hours
Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes:
- Meals : B
- Maximum Altitude: 3688m/12100ft
- Minimum Altitude: 2088m/6850ft
- Distance Travelled: 6 km approx.
- Approximate Walking Time: 4 Hours
Preparation prior the trekking:
- due to the altitude we recommend a period of at least 2 days for acclimatization in Cusco at 3350m/9840ft
- We advise you to practice walking longer distances before doing the Inca Trail