Inca Trail 4 day Trek – Services & Prices 

VERY IMPORTANT TO BOOK IN ADVANCE FOR 2019!! Trek permits for the Inca Trail are limited to just 500 persons per day and this includes all support staff such as guides, porters, and cooks. Inca Trail trek permits are now on sale so book now to avoid disappointment. Trek permits are already sold out from the last week of March 2018 right up until mid-August 2018.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The appeal of this particular trek is the stunning combination of Inca ruins, magnificent mountains, exotic vegetation and extraordinary ecological variety. The trail goes over high passes with unforgettable views, through cloud forest, and finally into subtropical vegetation.

Over 250 species of orchid have been counted in the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, as well as numerous rare birds, animals, reptiles, including several species considered to be in danger of extinction. In order to complete the Inca Trail you need to have a reasonable level of fitness, age shouldn’t be a barrier. The most important thing is to be well acclimatized to the altitude. The maximum height above sea level along the way is 4200m / 13,800 ft so we require anyone coming from lower elevations to spend at least 2 days in Cusco before attempting the trek. In order to confirm that everyone has spent at least two days at this elevation you will be required stop by our office two days in advance of the trek to provide final payment for the trek. This period is also ideal for visiting the city of Cusco, the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman and the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Cusco, Peru
DURATION DAYS 4 Days (plus 2-3 days acclimation period)
DIFFICULTY
PRIMARY ACTIVITIES
Easy
Trekking and Sightseeing
MAX ELEVATION 4200m
TRIP ROUTE Cusco to Wayllabamba (12km)
Wayllabamba to Pacamayo (12km)
Pacamayo to Wiñay Wayna (15km)
Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu (5km), Return to Cusco
INCLUDED Private bus to the start of the trail
Inca Trail & Machu Picchu entrance fees 2017 & 2018: 345 Peruvian Soles (S/.292 + S/.53 sales tax) which is about US$108
English speaking professional guide (two guides for groups over 8 persons),
4 Person dome igloo tents – 2 persons per tent with plenty of space for your backpacks
Double thickness foam sleeping mattress & mattress cover (weighs just under 1kg, we provide but you have to carry)
Cooking equipment, dining table, chairs, all plates, cups, cutlery
Experienced cook
Meals (3 breakfasts, 3 hot lunches, 3 hot dinners) – food includes pancakes, omelettes, soups, fresh fruit, avocado, pasta, chicken, fish, meat, rice, all rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking, hot drinks including coca leaf tea which is excellent for the altitude. Teatime every day (tea, coffee, biscuits, popcorn)
Porters (to carry the tents, food, and cooking equipment) & Porters trek permits
Dining tent, Kitchen tent, & accommodation for our porters and cooks
First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
Bus from Machu Picchu ruins down to the village of Aguas Calientes US$12 (many companies don’t include this),
Tourist train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (Peru Rail Expedition service 84 or similar US$82)
Private bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
The price of the trek includes all local sales taxes.
NOT INCLUDED international flights
hotel accommodations in Cusco
extra porters (“half porters”)
Breakfast on the first morning. Some hotels offer an early morning breakfast service. If not, we stop near the town of Ollantaytambo on the way to the start of the trek where you’ll have the opportunity to buy breakfast, Meal (lunch) in a restaurant in Aguas Calientes on the final day.
Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (optional) US$6
Sleeping bags can be hired in our office for the 4-day trek (every sleeping bag is washed prior to each use)
Tips for the guide, cook and porters.
The optional night in Aguas Calientes, along with the associated accommodation, meals, entrance fees, bus tickets etc are not included. This can be arranged easily, independently (We can change the date of your train ticket if you advise us before paying the deposit).
Entrance fee to climb Huayna Picchu (optional) – Huayna Picchu is the tall mountain behind Machu Picchu – entrance tickets to Huayna Picchu should be purchased well in advance online.
OPTIONAL 

Personal porters can be hired to help carry your personal items such as clothes, sleeping bag etc. The services of a half porter (maximum 6kg or 13lb per person) can be hired for US$85 (2017). If you hire the services of a half porter we will provide you with a lockable porter bag to safeguard your equipment (you will need to supply the small padlock). However, even with this service, you will still need to take a day-pack to carry your essential items such as rain poncho, warm fleece, camera and water bottle. Please note that due to new government regulations the maximum number of porters that we can use in each group has now been capped. This is why we have had to limit the maximum amount of personal equipment that you can give to a porter to carry for you to 6kg or 13lb per person. (The maximum amount that each porter can carry on the Inca Trail has also been limited to 18kg or 40lb per porter, i.e. 12kg of items for tourists and 6kg for their own equipment). Approximately 35% of our clients hire the services of an extra half porter.)
An extra night in Aguas Calientes can easily be arranged independently. Hotels costs and costs associated with returning to Machu Picchu the following day are additional to trek costs. For more information see our frequently asked questions. Please note that if you spend an extra night in Aguas Calientes we will purchase your train tickets from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, for the following day. Obviously, we won’t be able to send a bus especially to collect you from Ollantaytambo so you will have to catch one of the many buses waiting for the train to take you back to Cusco (approx additional cost of these buses is US$5pp). You will not receive a refund for the unused bus ride back to Cusco on the 4th day of the trek.
We can also provide vegetarian meals or cater for special diets at no extra cost but we need to know when you make the trek reservation.
You can rent sleeping bags in our office. All sleeping bags are synthetic (easy to wash). They are washed after every use and are guaranteed to be clean. After we have rented out our standard sleeping bags just 15 times, we donate it to a porter to use. We have now issued sleeping bags (free of charge) to all of our porters (over a 230 in total) although they are constantly being replaced as they become old and worn out. Cost: US$25 per person for the 4 day/3 night trek. Weight 2.5 kg and are rated to 10 degrees below freezing (nice and warm even during the coldest of nights experienced on the Inca Trail).

***IT4G Inca Trail 4 day Group Service *** 

Our standard 4-day group service trek is the most popular of the Inca Trail treks. With this service, you join one of our groups so you will find yourself trekking with a variety of like-minded people from all over the world. This service is perfect for individuals, couples and small groups of friends.

Inca Trail Prices 

January – December 2019: US$1,300.00 

The price INCLUDES the combined Inca Trail trek permit and Machu Picchu entrance fee, bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes, return on tourist train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo Expedition Service 84, Bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco and all local sales taxes (18%). There are no hidden charges in our trek prices. For full details of what’s included see below. The price also includes all credit card & PayPal transfer fees within the cost of the trek.

 We have made every effort to keep our prices very competitive while providing an excellent service and paying our porters 20% above the legal minimum wage agreed with the Porters unions (one of the best rates of pay for porters on the Inca Trail). Our trekking staff are some of the best paid in Cusco which allows us to attract only the best guides, cooks and porters. Please do not ask us to price-match cheaper companies. We feel that the Inca Trail service that we provide is second to none and other trekking companies can only provide a cheaper price by providing an far inferior service and saving on staff costs, porter welfare and taxes.

Discounts:

US$40* discount on the above prices for children/youths under the age of 18 years old (scans of your child’s passport must be forwarded to info@atadventuresintl.com attn: Keith Black at the time of booking in order to qualify for the youth discount).

We offer a US$10 per person discount for group bookings of 4 persons or more, provided just one person in the group is responsible for making the booking and sending the trek deposit. 

We offer a US$40 per agent travel agent discount for our trips to Peru (scan of your business card must be forwarded to info@atadventuresintl.com attn: Keith Black at the time of booking in order to qualify for the travel agent discount) 

Trek Permits & Campsites:

The government has strictly limited the number of people permitted on the Inca Trail during 2019 (permits are issued to about 175 trekkers per day plus 325 porters & guides). We recommend that you make a trek booking as early as possible. In 2018 trek permits for some dates sold out more than 7 months in advance !! However don’t make a booking until you have all the group details (names, passport numbers, ages etc) and you are sure about your trek departure date since these details cannot be changed after we have bought your trek permit.

In 2018 we managed to obtain trek permits for ALL of our clients and were lucky to obtain the campsite Wiñay Wayna on the 3rd night of the trek (the campsite nearest to Machu Picchu) for ALL groups. Camping at Wiñay Wayna allows you to arrive at Machu Picchu for sunrise.

During 2018 the government has decided not to allocate the campsites at the time of buying the trek permits as it has done in previous years. At the moment we understand that the campsites will be allocated just a few days before trek departure and the campsite Winay Wayna will be allocated to the largest sized groups rather than on a first come first served basis. This means it is possible that some of our groups may have to camp at Phuyuptamarca on the 3rd night of the trek (arriving at Machu Picchu for around 10 am).

Inca Trail Trek Departure Dates 

For all available departure dates please see the “DATES” Tab above.

Important Note: We will buy your Inca Trail trek permit using the names & passport numbers that you send us with your trek booking application. You must bring these same passports with you to Cusco and take them on the Inca Trail. If the name or number in your passport is different from the name and number on the trek permit, the government authorities WILL NOT allow you to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund. If you plan to renew your passport between making the trek booking and actually starting the trek please visit our web page Frequently Asked Questions relating to passport numbers. 

Group Size: Typical group size 08-12 persons, Maximum 16 persons (minimum group size just 4 persons).

Includes:

  • Private bus to the start of the trail
  • Inca Trail & Machu Picchu entrance fees 2019.
  • English speaking professional guide (two guides for groups over 8 persons),
  • 4 Person dome igloo tents – 2 persons per tent with plenty of space for your backpacks
  • Double thickness foam sleeping mattress & mattress cover (weighs just under 1kg, we provide but you have to carry)
  • Cooking equipment, dining table, chairs, all plates, cups, cutlery
  • Experienced cook
  • Meals (3 breakfasts, 3 hot lunches, 3 hot dinners) – food includes pancakes, omelets, soups, fresh fruit, avocado, pasta, chicken, fish, meat, rice, all rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking, hot drinks including coca leaf tea which is excellent for the altitude. Teatime every day (tea, coffee, biscuits, popcorn)
  • Porters (to carry the tents, food, and cooking equipment) & Porters trek permits
  • Dining tent, Kitchen tent, & accommodation for our porters and cooks
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Bus from Machu Picchu ruins down to the village of Aguas Calientes (many companies don’t include this).
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • Private bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
  • The price of the trek includes all local sales taxes.

Excludes: Breakfast on the first morning. Some hotels offer an early morning breakfast service. If not, we stop near the town of Ollantaytambo on the way to the start of the trek where you’ll have the opportunity to buy breakfast, Meal (lunch) in a restaurant in Aguas Calientes on the final day. Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (optional) US$6, Sleeping bags can be hired in our office for the 4-day trek (every sleeping bag is washed prior to each use), Tips for the guide, cook, and porters. The optional night in Aguas Calientes, along with the associated accommodation, meals, entrance fees, bus tickets etc are not included. This can be arranged easily, independently (We can change the date of your train ticket if you advise us before paying the deposit). Entrance fee to climb Huayna Picchu (optional) – Huayna Picchu is the tall mountain behind Machu Picchu – entrance tickets to Huayna Picchu should be purchased well in advance online. See our frequently asked questions page for further details.

Trek Options:

1. Personal porters can be hired to help carry your personal items such as clothes, sleeping bag etc. The services of a half porter (maximum 6kg or 13lb per person) can be hired for US$85. If you hire the services of a half porter we will provide you with a lockable porter bag to safeguard your equipment (you will need to supply the small padlock). However, even with this service, you will still need to take a day-pack to carry your essential items such as rain poncho, warm fleece, camera and water bottle. Please note that due to new government regulations the maximum number of porters that we can use in each group has now been capped. This is why we have had to limit the maximum amount of personal equipment that you can give to a porter to carry for you to 6kg or 13lb per person. (The maximum amount that each porter can carry on the Inca Trail has also been limited to 18kg or 40lb per porter, i.e. 12kg of items for tourists and 6kg for their own equipment). Approximately 35% of our clients hire the services of an extra half porter.)

2. An extra night in Aguas Calientes can easily be arranged independently. Hotels costs and costs associated with returning to Machu Picchu the following day are additional to trek costs. For more information see our frequently asked questions. Please note that if you spend an extra night in Aguas Calientes we will purchase your train tickets from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, for the following day. Obviously, we won’t be able to send a bus especially to collect you from Ollantaytambo so you will have to catch one of the many buses waiting for the train to take you back to Cusco (approx additional cost of these buses is US$5pp). You will not receive a refund for the unused bus ride back to Cusco on the 4th day of the trek.

3. We can also provide vegetarian meals or cater for special diets at no extra cost but we need to know when you make the trek reservation.

4. You can rent bags in our office. All sleeping bags are synthetic (easy to wash). They are washed after every use and are guaranteed to be clean. After we have hired out our standard sleeping bags just 15 times, we donate it to a porter to use. We have now issued sleeping bags free of charge to all of our porters (over a 230 in total) although they are constantly being replaced as they become old and worn out.

Cost: US$25 per person for the 4 day/3 night trek. Weight 2.5 kg and are rated to 10 degrees below freezing (nice and warm even during the coldest of nights experienced on the Inca Trail).

Important: Possible changes to Inca Trail trek price: 

The above Inca Trail prices are based on and subject to change based on the following third-party costs which are outside of our control: 

1: Inca Trail Permits (includes Machu Picchu entrance fee)2018 & 2019: Tourists 345 Peruvian Soles (S/.292 + S/.53 sales tax) which is about US$108 

2018 & 2019: Porters 59 Peruvian Soles (S/.50 + S/.9 sales tax) which is about US$18. The price paid for the entrance fee is clearly marked on the trek permit. This price includes entrance to Machu Picchu. The government reserves the right to increase the entrance fee at any time throughout the year and may only give us one or two weeks notice. 

2: Included in the price of the trek is the one-way journey on the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on the Peru Rail Expedition service or similar which currently costs US$82. Details of service and price can be checked on the Peru Rail website www.perurail.com. The ticket prices for 2019 have yet to be announced. The Peru Rail website states that they reserve the right to change the price at any time. There is also the possibility that Peru Rail will no longer sell a one-way ticket and will only sell return tickets i.e. Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo. If this is the case it is possible that the price of the ticket could double!! However, this is unlikely. We will try to do everything in our control to keep the price of the ticket to as low as possible but clients must be prepared for such increases in the price of the train ticket. Peru Rail currently runs a monopoly service so we don’t have an alternative (Peru Rail is 50% owned by Orient Express, a British company which is registered in Bermuda and listed in the NY stock exchange). The price paid for the train ticket is clearly marked on the ticket. 

3. Included in the price of the trek is the bus ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes which currently costs US$12 per person. It is not anticipated that these costs will increase during 2019. Prices for 2019 have yet to be announced. The price paid for the bus ticket is clearly marked on the ticket. 4. Local sales taxes known as IGV are included in the price of the Inca Trail trek. The current rate of IGV is 18%. It is not anticipated that this rate will increase during 2019. If any of the third party costs listed above change to increase the cost of the trek we will immediately update the trek price listed on our website (apart from the exchange rate which can continue to go up and down throughout the year so the website will not be updated to reflect these cost changes – see Trek Terms & Conditions for more details about change in exchange rate). Clients will be liable for paying any increased cost of the Inca Trail trek upon arrival in Cusco. *** Due to the new Inca Trail regulations that limit the number of trekkers on the Inca Trail it should be noted demand for spaces on the trek far outweighs the number of available trek permits. Unlike many trekking companies Peru Treks have not taken advantage of this situation and in real terms, we have not increased the price of our treks during the last 3 years. We feel that the service we provide is second to none, and the price that we offer is very competitive and offers the best value for our clients.

Inca Trail Trek Permit Status

Inca Trail Trek Permits
date updated 03 March 2018

We will contact you via email to provide you with a confirmation that permits for everyone in your specific group have been successfully purchased.

Porter Welfare

Looking out for our Porters

Without a doubt, for many visitors to Peru, the arrival at the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu after having completed the Inca Trail is the highpoint of their trip. For others, it is a fulfillment of a lifelong dream. No matter what your religious beliefs are, the Inca Trail really is a special pilgrimage passing through spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful cloud forests with orchids and hummingbirds dotted with Inca ruins, finally arriving at the mysterious ancient city of Machu Picchu for sunrise. Visitors cannot help but feel an inner satisfaction and a sense of personal achievement at having completed the trek. Some people say that this feeling is enhanced by the spiritual energy that is derived from the sacred stones at Machu Picchu. However you feel, it is certain that this positive feeling is greater in the knowledge that you haven’t contributed to the exploitation of the porters who have helped you achieve your goal by carrying the trekking equipment.

The majority of the porters on the Inca Trail are from the countryside, simple farmers who supplement their income by working on the Inca Trail during the busy months. Their first language is Quechua, the official language of the Incas, although many now speak Spanish. In fact, the majority of these people are still pure blooded Quechua, the people who were governed by the Incas almost 500 years ago. Many of their traditions and superstitions have remained unchanged since well before the Spanish arrived. However, most would agree that these people have remained a quiet and humble folk and easily manipulated by both governments and tour operators who have been quick to exploit this hardworking source of workers.

Porter Issues

1. Wages

As from July 2018, we have increased our porters pay from 215 to 230 Soles (57.50 Soles per day) which is 27% more than the porters legal minimum wage which most porters working for other companies earn on the Inca Trail. Peru Treks has always been in the top five companies paying their porters well.

By Western standards this wage obviously appears to be low, however, wages have to be seen in relation to what other people earn in Peru. Most of our porters depart on the Inca Trail at least 4 times a month (16 days work) earning about 1040 Soles ( 4 x 230 Soles plus tips of about 120 Soles). This is about the same wage of a professional school teacher in Cusco who earn between 1000 and 1200 Soles for working 22 days per month. Teachers in the villages earn much less than this, some as little as 900 Soles per month. It should be noted that teachers have to study for a minimum of 5 years at a university or institute and often have to work the first couple of years for wages between 600 and 800 Soles per month!! A master tradesman such as a carpenter may charge about 60 Soles per day for his services and a laborer will charge about 40 Soles. A farmer in the villages earns about 20 Soles per day so a porter can earn about the same as a village school teacher and has enough left over to pay a neighbor to work his fields while he is away on the trail. Most porters are landowners and do not pay rent, so their outgoings are fairly minimal. On the whole, if porters are paid the legal wage they are not badly off compared to other professions. Even though the Porter Law states trekking companies should pay their porters 45 Soles per day only about 70% of the trekking companies are actually complying with this requirement. Some trekking companies are still paying their porters as low as 35 Soles per day and getting their porters to sign receipts for 45 Soles per day!! Many Porters feel that they cannot complain or they will be fired and even put the jobs of their fellow workers in jeopardy.

2. Loads

The same “Porters Law” that requires a minimum wage to be paid to porters also states that the maximum weight that a porter can carry on the Inca Trail is 20kg. This comprises 15kg of equipment from the trekking company plus 5kg of personal items such as warm clothes and bedding. At the start of the Inca Trail, there is a checkpoint where all porters have their loads weighed. Companies that are found to be giving their porters over 20kg receive a notification and fine. Too many notifications can lead to having their trek license withdrawn although this hasn’t happened to any company to date. The list of companies that receive notifications is not made available publicly so it is difficult to identify those companies that regularly overload their porters. Most trekking companies state that since all the porters are weighed at the start of the trail, all the porters on the Inca Trail are carrying loads no more than 20kg. Just looking at the size of the load carried by the porter is no way to assess the weight. Some porters loaded high with sleeping bags and foam sleeping pads may only be carrying 15kg while porters carrying the stainless steel cutlery and gas bottle in a small pack may be carrying 35kg! Many companies have become expert at using the absolute minimum number of porters in the group. So how do they do this? Basically in a group of over 8 trekkers companies must use 2 guides. These guides are not weighed at the start of the trail. They carry 30kg each across the checkpoint and then drop the loads on the other side to be collected by the porters. Often trekkers who have paid extra to hire a personal porter to carry their bags are asked to carry their bags across the checkpoint and dropped the other side !! The cook and assistant cook also have their loads weighed, each carrying 20kg through the weigh station. However when they reach the other side they often “lighten” their load by 5 or 10kg which is distributed amongst the remaining porters. Porters are seriously worried that when their loads are weighed they will be overweight and receive a notification which may lead to them being sacked. Although they are allowed to carry 5kg of their own personal belongings many porters rarely use their full allowance meaning that they take little warm clothing or bedding. Peru Treks has calculated the exact loads required for our various group sizes and employs the correct number of porters required to carry this load. For example, the camping equipment, food, gas and porter personal items for a group of 12 persons weighs about 295kg. We, therefore, employ 14 porters (14 x 20kg) plus a cook (15kg). The guide and assistant guide do not carry any of the camping equipment of food. Instead, they carry just a daypack with first aid equipment and emergency oxygen.

Group sizes:

04 clients + 1 guide + 1 cook + 09 porters
05 clients + 1 guide + 1 cook + 10 porters
06 clients + 1 guide + 1 cook + 10 porters
07 clients + 1 guide + 1 cook + 11 porters
08 clients + 1 guide + 1 cook + 11 porters
09 clients + 1 guide + 1 assistant guide + 1 cook + 12 porters
10 clients + 1 guide + 1 assistant guide + 1 cook + 13 porters
11 clients + 1 guide + 1 assistant guide + 1 cook + 14 porters
12 clients + 1 guide + 1 assistant guide + 1 cook + 14 porters
13 clients + 1 guide + 1 assistant guide + 1 cook + 15 porters
14 clients + 1 guide + 1 assistant guide + 1 cook + 16 porters
15 clients + 1 guide + 1 assistant guide + 1 cook + 17 porters
16 clients + 1 guide + 1 assistant guide + 1 cook + 17 porters

The above numbers do NOT include extra personal porters hired by our clients to help carry their personal items. These extra porters are added to the numbers above.

It is the responsibility of our assistant guide to ensure that the loads are evenly distributed among our porters. He/she carries a spring balance to weigh the porters loads at several random locations along the trek itself. Although the porters start with the maximum weight this load obviously decreases along the trail as food is consumed. When clients hire the services of porters to help carry their personal items these porters are extra to the numbers calculated above.

3. Warm accommodation

All of our porters are issued with high-quality sleeping bags free of charge. These are the same bags that we hire to our clients. After the bags had been rented out to our clients just 15 times (effectively covering the cost of purchase and cleaning) we allocate them for porter use. It is our company policy that every porter is issued with a good quality sleeping bag. All the bags are collected at the end of the trek and returned to our stores. The porters take turns to clean the bags on a weekly basis. The bags are provided free of charge to our porters. Unlike many companies, we do not deduct the price for their sleeping bag from their wages. At night our porters sleep in the communal dining tent. After our clients have finished their meal we attach a waterproof floor to the tent (zipped or velcro) to provide accommodation that is both warm and waterproof. This sound like very basic measures but incredibly 50% of all trekking operators do not provide accommodation with a waterproof floor.

4. Sufficient food

Providing plentiful food to the porters on the Inca Trail is not usually very costly. Most porters, by request, prefer simple meals that include vegetable soups and a main course with plenty of carbohydrates such as rice, pasta and potatoes with meat. Although these meals are cheap to buy (well within the budgets of even the cheapest agency) the big problem is the weight. Plentiful food means added weight and added weight means extra porters, extra wages, extra trek permits and sufficient accommodation which obviously costs extra money. Being able to reduce the number of porters in your group by 2 or 3 can be the difference between profit and loss. Since very few trekkers actually get to see their porters eating their meals, cutting back on the amount of food provided to the porters rarely leads to complaints from the trekkers. We have included plentiful nutritious meals for everyone in our group and that includes the porters. If you don’t believe us we invite you to ask the guide on the trek to show you the portions being prepared by the cook or ask to read the trek reviews kept in our office from clients who have already witnessed the meals. Our porters do not rely on leftovers.

5. Adequate clothing

Rain ponchos – During the wet season (December – April) we issue heavy duty rain ponchos to all of our porters. The ponchos cost about US$23 each and are clearly marked with our associate’s company logo. From May to November the ponchos are issued only when asked for as there is less chance of rain. The ponchos issued free of charge and collected at the end of the trek. During the dry season, we recommend that the porters take cheap plastic ponchos which cost just US$1 which is well within the budget of each porter.

Walking boots – The Porters Law requires trekking companies to provide their porters with adequate footwear. This is a somewhat loose requirement as many companies have their own definition as to what “adequate” means. Every year since 2006 A.T. Adventures International has bought quality walking shoes for our porters, that’s over 200 pairs. The shoes are similar to sports shoes and have a strong flexible sole. After consulting with the porters this was the type of shoe that they wanted. The porters agreed to pay a 20% contribution towards the cost of the shoe rather than settle for a completely free cheaper design. We were in agreement with since if they paid some of costs themselves then they would more likely look after the shoes. Although we have issued all of our porters with shoes we have not insisted that they use them at all times on the Inca Trail. This is because after many years of working in their farms wearing just rubber sandals some of the porters’ feet are quite splayed and too wide to fit into a standard walking shoe. Due to the thick skin on their feet, their is a high risk of fungal infections if they use enclosed boots all the time where their feet become humid.

Backpacks – For the last 10 years backpacks have been provided to ALL of our porters, either the metal-framed type more suitable for heavy loads such as gas bottles or cutlery or a standard backpack similar to those used by most trekkers. Backpacks are renewed as necessary and at least every 2 years.

6. Payment on time

Having decided to pay a porter a fair wage it is important that a porter receives his payment on time. Our porters are paid on a weekly basis. Sometimes a porter is too busy on the Inca Trail to come to the office so we pay the porter’s wife providing he has left us written instructions to do so. All porters must provide us with a proper receipt for the full amount paid. These receipts are kept in our office and are freely available to trekkers who want to check on the wages that we are paying.

7. Life / Accident Insurance

ALL of our porters have life & accident insurance. The insurance coverage is 24 hrs all year round not just while on the Inca Trail itself. This has been something that we have been wanting to do for many years but a suitable insurance policy did not exist until the end of 2005. A new law came into effect in March 2006 that requires all trekking companies to provide such insurance coverage and we are pleased to see that most trekking companies are now complying with this.

The information provided above is specific to A.T. Adventures International and is original material. The work is subject to copyright and cannot be reproduced in part or in whole by any other company without specific written permission from A.T. Adventures International.

Responsible Tourism

Introduction to Responsible Travel

Responsible travel is about respecting and benefiting local people and the environment. This can only be done by learning a little bit about the country, the culture and even a few words of the local language before you arrive. Responsible travel is more adventurous than “mass tourism” as it requires interaction with local people, staying in small locally owned hotels and sampling some of the delicious local cuisines. Things may not always go to plan but they will certainly be more exciting and at the end of your visit you will feel more fulfilled and informed about the places and people you have visited have experienced a deeper and more real travel experience.

We fully support the principles of responsible travel and sustainable tourism and has been working hard to show that it is possible to provide an excellent quality service while being culturally sensitive, looking after our trekking staff and helping to conserve the environment. In our opinion the only way to improve trekking standards and reduce the impact of tourism on the environment is to provide good quality information, charge a price that is fair and reasonable for the services provided (with no hidden extras) and demonstrate that our company is working towards conservation of the environment and looking after the well-being of those persons who work for and with us and those communities that we visit as part of our tours.

Our Mission Statement

We recognize the fact that if tourism is not correctly managed it can have a very negative effect on the local people and culture, the environment and the local and national economy. This is particularly true for a country such as Peru whose economy depends so much on tourism.

It is obviously important to us that you have a great time when you visit Peru, but this must not be at the expense of our national treasures: our environment and our people. As a professional company, we have a duty to act responsibly and to encourage and promote responsible tourism. The emphasis must be on actions right now rather than just a list of things we would like to achieve in the future. We have many economic, environmental and social responsibilities and our goal is to become Peru’s foremost responsible tour operator, an achievement which in our opinion is very achievable with our determination. However, visitors must also accept their role in helping us to realize this goal. With tourists and travel companies working together we will ensure that tourism will benefit local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchange, and a financial incentive to protect the natural environment.


Day 1

Cusco to Wayllabamba (12km)

The first day of the trek is relatively easy and serves as training for the days to follow. Travelers are collected early from their hotels (5:30 – 6:00 am) and travel by bus, past the picturesque villages of Chinchero, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo, for the 2.5-hour scenic trip to kilometer 82 (the start of the trail). Buses normally stop at the town of Urubamba or Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley for about an hour to give people the opportunity to have breakfast.

The start of the Inca Trail at km82Having arrived at km 82 hikers cross the Vilcanota River and follow the trail to the right as it climbs steeply up from the river. After passing through a small village, the ruins of the Inca hillfort of Huillca Raccay come into view high above the mouth of the river Cusichaca (‘happy bridge’). The Incas, when they conquered the area, built a fort here since the site commanded an excellent view up and down the Urubamba valley and controlled the entrance to the Cusichaca valley. It is a simple descent down to the Cusichaca river. From parts of this trail, there are great views of the Cordillera Urubamba (Urubamba mountain range) and the snow-capped peak of Veronica 5860m.

You’ll also get a good view over the extensive Inca ruins of Llactapata (also known as Patallacta on some maps). Llactapata means ‘upper town’ in Quechua and was first discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and was primarily an agricultural station used to supply Machu Picchu with maize, the staple crop of the Incas. The settlement comprised over one hundred buildings, houses for the workers and soldiers, including five baths.

For a further 7 km, the path follows the left bank of the river up to the small village of Wayllabamba (3,000m). The name in Quechua means ‘grassy plain’. We will probably spend the night here depending on the speed of the group. This is the last place along the trek that you can buy snacks and drinks.

Day 2

Wayllabamba to Pacamayo (12km)

The steep climb up to the first pass (4200m). Climbing up from Wayllabamba following the left bank of the Llulluchayoc river for about 1 hour brings you to ‘Tres Piedres’ (three stones) and a small bridge over the Huayruro river. There is a small campsite here toilet facilities. The stream is named after the Huayruro which is an ornamental tree. Its seeds are red and black. Many of the porters from the Ollantaytambo district are also known as Huayruros because of their traditional red and black ponchos! A little further on you’ll enter a beautiful cloud forest passing a waterfall.

A further three hours trek through steepening woods and increasingly spectacular terrain brings you to the treeline and a meadow known as Llulluchapampa (3,680m). It is another 1.5 hours climb to the first and highest pass of the trail (Abra de Huarmihuañusca or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass) at 4,200m. During this part of the trail, hikers are exposed to the Andean elements: first scorching sun and then, closer to the pass, freezing winds. Once at the top hikers can celebrate having completed the most difficult section of the trail.

The descent from the pass is steep although not difficult, following the trail on the left side of the valley to the valley floor and to the 2nd night’s campsite at Pacamayo (3,600m). There are toilet facilities here.

Day 3

Pacamayo to Wiñay Wayna (15km)

From Pacamayo it takes about an hour to climb up to the ruins of Runkuracay. These small circular ruins occupy a commanding position overlooking the Pacamayo valley below.

Sayacmarca – Another 45-minute hike will bring you to the top of the second pass: Abra de Runkuracay (4,000m). At last, you’ll feel that you are walking along the trail of the Incas with paving, for the most part, being original. The descent down the steps from the pass is steep so take care. This section of the trail, up until the 3rd pass, is particularly beautiful as the path crosses high stone embankments and skirts deep precipices. After about 1 hour from the 2nd pass, you’ll arrive at Sayacmarca by way of a superbly designed stone staircase. The name Sayacmarca means ‘Inaccessible Town’ and describes the position of the ruins perfectly, protected on three sides by sheer cliffs. No one knows the exact purpose of these ruins.

You have to backtrack a little to rejoin the trail as it passes Conchamarca, a small Inca dwelling situated in the shadows of Sayacmarca, which was probably a tambo for weary travelers on their way to Machu Picchu. From then on the path descends into magnificent cloud-forest full of orchids, hanging mosses, tree ferns and flowers, passing through an impressive Inca tunnel, carved into the rock, on the way.

The trail then climbs up to the 3rd pass (3,700m). The view from the pass offers excellent views of several snow-capped peaks including Salkantay (6,180m) and Veronica (5,750m). A few minutes after the pass is Phuyupatamarca, the most impressive Inca ruin so far. The name means ‘Town in the Clouds’. Access to the ruins is down a steep flight of stairs passing six ‘Inca Baths’ probably used for the ritual worship of water.

Leaving the site via an impressive Inca staircase leading from the west side of the ruins (the far end from the baths) you descend a thousand or so steps. Be careful with your knees which will feel the strain by the end of the day.

After about an hour of walking through a cloud-forest, you may just be able to see the tin roof of the Trekkers Hostal at Wiñay Wayna (no longer used), although it probably won’t be for another 2 hours until you arrive.

Wiñay Wayna is the last official campsite before Machu Picchu.

A short trail leaves from the southern end of the hostel to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna. The name in Quechua means ‘forever young’ and is named after a variety of pink orchid which grows here. The ruins comprise magnificent agricultural terraces set in an impressive location. There are also many buildings of good quality stonework and a sequence of 10 baths, suggesting that the site was probably a religious center associated with the worship of water. Ritual cleansing may have taken place here for pilgrims on the final leg of the trail to Machu Picchu.

Day 4

Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu (5km), Return to Cusco

The trail from the Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu is clearly marked and takes about 1.5 hours. We’ll wake early at 4.30am, have breakfast and set off on the trail again by 5:30 am to get to Machu Picchu before sunrise. The sky starts getting light by 5:30 am and the first rays of the sun reach Machu Picchu at about 7 am. The trail contours a mountainside and drops into cloud forest before coming to an almost vertical flight of 50 steps leading up to the final pass at Intipunku (Sun Gate). Suddenly the whole of Machu Picchu is spread out before you in all its glory – a fantastic sight for all.

When you arrive at the ruins you’ll have plenty of time to take photos of Machu Picchu from the ‘classic viewpoint’. When the group is back together again we descend to the main entrance where you can safely leave your large backpacks. You can also go to the toilet and have a quick coffee in the restaurant just outside the entrance. The group will re-enter the ruins with the same guide for a complete tour of the major sectors. The tour takes about 1.5 hours so after 11:00 am you’ll have free time to explore the ruins alone. For information about climbing Huayna Picchu (optional) please see our frequently asked questions page.

The group will then take the bus down to Aguas Calientes town for lunch (at the ruins there is only one restaurant and it’s very expensive). The bus journey takes about 20 minutes. There are several small restaurants in Aguas Calientes to satisfy all budgets. You may also wish to pay a visit to the town’s famous thermal springs which feel great after having completed the trail. Entrance to the springs costs US$7, allow 2 hours to really enjoy them.

The train departs from Aguas Calientes at approximately 6:20 pm (time can vary subject to ticket availability) and you’ll arrive back in Cusco at about 10:15 pm. Included in our standard service is the tourist bus from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes, return on the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo where you will be collected and taken by bus back to Cusco.

Important note: The above trek itinerary is typical of 98% majority of our Inca Trail 4-day groups. However, campsites used during the trek may be subject to change depending on availability of spaces as issued by the UGM (the government authorities that control access to the Inca Trail). The UGM is responsible for allocating the campsites to the various trekking companies. Although we try to make Wiñay Wayna our last campsite (since it is only a 2-hour trek to Machu Picchu) we cannot guarantee this to be the case and on occasions, we have been allocated space at Phuyupatamarca (nearly 5 hours from Machu Picchu). These matters are the same for all trekking companies and are outside of our direct control.

Binoculars, Flashlights/Headlamps, Insect Repellent, Swim Wear, Sun Hat, Sun Glasses, Sun Screen, Casual and Comfortable Clothing which are light in color, Quality Socks, Boots and Shoes.
The trek is suitable for all kinds of people, there is no specific physical condition required.
At least 3 months in advance is a good time frame for booking your space.

2019 

 

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