Inca Trail 4 day Trek – Services & Prices
VERY IMPORTANT TO BOOK IN ADVANCE FOR 2020!! 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.
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)|
Trekking and Sightseeing
|MAX ELEVATION||13,800 ft – 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 2019 & 2020: 345 Peruvian Soles (S/.292 + S/.53 sales tax) which is about US$108
English speaking professional guide (two guides for groups over 9 persons),
Northface Mountain Tents
Therm-a-rest sleeping pad
Cooking equipment, dining table, chairs, all plates, cups, cutlery
Meals (3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners)
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)
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
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.
|CLOTHING & GEAR TO BRING||
Once the expedition is purchase you will be provided with a recommended clothing and gear list.
***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
September 2020: US$900.00 (minimum 6 persons)
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.
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 2019 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).
- Private bus to Piscacucho 50.9 miles – 82 km the start of the trail.
- Return transport Ollantaytambo to the hotel in the Sacred Valley or hotel in Cusco. (4th day), Bus down Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes (4th Day) Backpacker train back to Ollantaytambo (4th day).
- Inca Trail & Machu Picchu entrance fees 2020.
- English speaking professional guide (two guides for groups over 9 persons),
- North Face Tents Mountain Model.
- Therma-a-rest inflatable sleeping pads.
- Cooking equipment, dining table, chairs, all plates, cups, cutlery
- Experienced cook
- Meals (3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 snacks, 3 tea’s, 3 dinners) – Filtered and boiled water.
- 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
- Sleeping bag – 22 degree bag maximum
- Shortwave radios
- Telecommunication equipment
Excludes: International or Domestic Flights, Hotel accommodations in Cusco. 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.
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)2019 & 2020: Tourists 345 Peruvian Soles (S/.292 + S/.53 sales tax) which is about US$108
2019 & 2020: 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: 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 2019
We will contact you via email to provide you with a confirmation that permits for everyone in your specific group have been successfully purchased.
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.
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.
Cusco to Huayllabamba (50.9 miles - 82 km)
Early morning bus drive tot the head of our trail where we continue along Urubamba River to the first archaeological site “Llaqtapata”. Here we enjoy lunch in a beautiful setting. After a rest we continue into the side valley starting to gain altitude until we get to the last village Huayllabamba where we camp for today.
The steep climb up to the first pass (2.6 miles – 4200m). Climbing up from Huayllabamba 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 (2.2 miles – 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 2.6 miles – 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 (2,2 miles – 3,600m). There are toilet facilities here.
Pacamayo to Wiñay Wayna (9.3 miles - 15km) - (13,600 ft)
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 (2,4 miles – 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 (2,2 miles – 3,700m). The view from the pass offers excellent views of several snow-capped peaks including Salkantay (3.8 miles – 6,180m) and Veronica (3.5 miles – 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.
Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu (3.1 miles - 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.
September 2020 BOOK NOW
7TH: Minimum 6 persons (16 SPACES)
14TH: Minimum 6 persons (16 SPACES)
21ST: Minimum 6 persons (16 SPACES)
28TH: Minimum 6 persons (16 SPACES)