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Cheap Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu

Cheap Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu

There is nothing more extraordinary than after 4 days of climbing and descending mountains, inter-Andean valleys, forests of impressive clouds, finding these incredible constructions of beauty and perfection, walking on ancient stones, this unique eternal Inca road and finally reaching the last path, last watchtower last dwelling, the "Sun Gate" or Inti Punku, and see in front of you, Machu Picchu, beautiful, enigmatic, unique, the lost city of the Incas. The city of eternal tranquility and reaching on foot, walking as the Inkas did, is like stepping back in time and feeling a strong magical and mystical sensation of connection with the Inkas. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a classic excursion, you have to do it once in your life. There are few places in the world where one finds a mixture of peace, joy, strength, natural beauty, tranquility for the spirit, a place of symbiosis of jungle, landscapes, mountains, archeology, fine architecture, etc. There are still many exquisite isolated ruins to explore on the route to Machupicchu. The Inka trail offers wonderful views of mountains, snow-capped peaks, jungle around, offering a unique sensation of ending this wonderful trek in the most famous place on the continent Machu Picchu. Many reasons not to miss ... !!! "Machupicchu a spiritual connection that will last your whole life !!! Inca Trail is a very famous excursion worldwide. It is considered one of the 10 most famous walks in the world. Before 2001 any tourist could enter and do the tour on their own, however due to the great demand that was having this route, the Peruvian government decided to regulate this route and it is so since 2001 they can only enter the road network Inca either the 4 days as well as the 2 days through an authorized guide and / or an authorized travel operator agency. Now a very important detail to keep in mind is that for each day there are only 500 places, 200 for tourists and 300 for support staff (guides, porters, cooks, assistants, etc). The high season for this tour is from April to September, so if you want to do the tour in April, May and June we recommend you book up to one year in advance.

Before you go

Quick Itinerary:

Day 01: Cusco - Starts Inca Trail to Km82 (Head trail)- Wayllabamba Campsite

Day 02: Wayllabamba - Chaquicocha campsite

Day 03: Chaquicocha - Phuyupatamarca or Wiñaywayna campsite

Day 04: Machu Picchu - Cusco


Inca Trail tours to Machu Picchu:

Although the regulations of Expeditions to the Inca Trail, says that you must make reservations 5 days before, the most advisable thing is to make the reservation well in advance, the average in high season indicates that 90 days before departure there is no space, this because there can only be 500 people per day, only this way it will be possible to conserve the erosion and contamination of the road network and the Machupicchu Sanctuary. Therefore, it is necessary to pay the permits in advance. Enjoy the classic cheap Inca Trail , an arduous but infinitely rewarding journey, it is the most famous road in the world. This route offers access to approximately six of the most important Inca archaeological sites, including Runkuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñayhuayna. At dawn you will reach Inti Punku, or "Sun Gate", for an unforgettable view of Machu Picchu.The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, has been divided into several routes and several sections, most of them depart from: Km 82, and Km 104 of the Cusco - Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu Pueblo railroad route. The most important sections of the Inca trail, cross slopes, summits and banks of the basin of the Vilcanota River.



Do I really need to book the Inca Trail in advance? 

The permits for the Inca Trail are very limited, there are only 500 income per day of which 300 will be used by trekking teams, cooks, porters and guides, this means that you must reserve many months in advance if you want to secure a place; we recommend doing it six months before. However, if you want to come during the high season (from May to September) you must make your reservation 8 or 10 months before.


When is the best time to travel the Inca Trail? 

The high season on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is from May to September, because this time coincides with vacations in the Western Hemisphere. These months probably offer the best trekking conditions with a dry and sunny climate. However, as we said before, you should reserve the permits many months before. April, October and November are also great months to make the Inca Trail; There are fewer hikers, although it is likely that at least one day it rains during the trek. It is also easier to find available permits, although they must still be booked months in advance. The rainy season goes from January to March, and if you decide to come during this time, expect some frequent rains. However, it is perfectly safe to do the walk, with the equipment of waterproof that are adequate. Again, it is much easier to get permits to travel the Inca Trail at this time of year. 

  • Please take note: The Inca Trail closes the month of February of each year, due to the fact that it is the rainiest month, and it is used for maintenance for the conservation of the paths of the road. However, all alternative routes are open during this month.

Can children do the Inca Trail? 

Children accustomed to walking can do the Inca Trail, although personally we believe that to enjoy a route like this they should be at least 12 years old. But we have witnessed smaller children who complete the walk. If you want to make the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu as a family, contact us to discuss the physical status of your children in more detail.


Do I need a great physicist to travel the Inca Trail? 

It is recommended that you have a good level of fitness, however, you do not have to be a fan of exercise. If you are not in shape, it would be a good idea to start a regular walking workout (uphill) a few months before your adventure. Altitude is one of the biggest challenges about trekking in Peru; the highest step of the Inca trail is at 4.125, at the pass of the dead woman. To help you acclimatize and avoid the symptoms of altitude sickness, we recommend the following:  

  • Avoid alcohol and smoking. 
  • Drink a lot of liquid. 
  • Coca tea is an ancient ancestral remedy.
  • Avoid agitation and strenuous exercise upon arrival in Cusco. 
  • Avoid sleeping pills. 
  • Spend between 2 and 3 days to acclimatize before starting your walk.

Who administers the Inca Trail? 

The Inca Trail is part of the National Heritage of Peru and its access and the conditions of the excursions are managed and regulated by the Ministry of Culture Cusco. Only they can give access authorizations. 


What is the duration of the excursion? 

The start of the excursion can be from the outskirts of the city (Treks of 4 days) or, for the most hurried or less athletic, from an intermediate point (2 day trek). It is worth mentioning that the Inca Trail can only be done in one direction: from Cusco to Machu Picchu; the return is always done in a motorized way (usually by train but it is also possible to return by bus).


What happens if I get sick and need to go back? 

This does not happen very often; However, if it happens, our guides are very experienced and know how to act in case of any emergency or unexpected occurrence; They will do everything possible to help you complete your walk. In addition, first aid kits and oxygen tanks are brought for emergencies. However, if you become seriously ill and need to return to Cusco, you will be treated quickly and arrangements will be made for you. 

What do we do with the water in the walk?

Boiled water is provided from the second day of walking. You should bring reusable water bottles with you, since the water is sterilized by the cook every morning and evening. The first day you can buy bottles of water on the road.

Climate and Environment  

The climate is relatively mild around the whole year, with heavy rains from November to March, dry and hot weather from April to October, which is a recommended time to visit. The minimum annual temperature ranges from 8 ° to 11.2 °C. In the months of June, July and August the temperature can often fall below zero. The annual maximum temperature varies from 20.4 ° to 26.6 °. The terrain is quite irregular, with several ravines and streams fed by the glaciers that eventually pour into the Urubamba River, which crosses the area forming a deep valley that crosses the granite base of Vilcabamba for more than 40 km through a variety of ecosystems.


The surroundings are impressive and the balance achieved between nature and Inca architecture is amazing. The mountains of Vilcabamba have wide and high peaks that reach up to 6,000 meters as well as Salkantay and Humantay among others. The mixture of mountains, jungles and valleys create a fantastic world where dawn and sunset are shrouded in mystery.


Alternative Tours:

day 1: Km82 – Llactapata – Huayllabamba

This first day we will pick up from your hotel early in the morning and transfer to kilometer 82. Place where we will take our breakfast before starting our walk, then we start with our tour: the first part is quite simple around two hours there we will visit the archaeological center of Patallacta from where we will appreciate an impressive landscape of flora, fauna, indigenous peoples with Inca traditions and archaeological centers that show the importance of this valley in the first section, after lunch we will continue ascending slightly through the semi-tropical valley for two more hours until we reach our camp Wayllabamba (3000m.a.s.l) where we will spend the night.

Day 2: Wayllabamba - Chaquicocha campsite

This day is considered the most exhausting as we will reach the highest point of our route known as the Warmiwañusca pass at 4200 meters above sea level. After breakfast we will start our ascent, the first two hours we will walk among abundant vegetation with trees of jungle origin, for this reason known by many as the highest forest in the world because of its landscapes and flora at 3800 m.a.s.l, from there to the high point is typical andean mountain covered with ichu or straw, mountains with perpetual snow between the mountains, after an arduous walk of 5 hours approximately we will reach the high point, from there we will observe the majesty of the andes the deep valleys and the distance the third day road with luck the over flight of the condors and we will feel between us the thick clouds and close to us the sky. After a deserved rest we will descend to our second camp Chaquicocha.

Day 3: Chaquicocha - Phuyupatamarca or Wiñaywayna campsite

After the very special and delicious breakfast, the walk starts again to the second step, only an hour and a half walk away, this place arrives very early and it is simple, before we will arrive at the archaeological center of Runkuracay interesting for its construction where we will do our visit to know its importance, 30 minutes later we will reach the second step from there we descend to the archaeological center of Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñayhuayna. This day, for the most part, is an original Inca trail that challenges time, a path that is perfectly guarded by time. We will pass Inca tunnels, viewpoints, within the jungle, with abundant flora and fauna, especially a variety of orchids and hummingbirds and many others. We will arrive at our third  Wiñayhuayna camp at 2650 meters above sea level.

Day 4: Machu Picchu - Cusco

This is the most important day of our journey, that day we will wake up at 4:00 AM, after breakfast we will go to our final destination in the freshness of dawn to 40 minutes more we will arrive at the door of the sun the famous "Sun Gate " or Inti Punku in quechua where we will have the first view very impressive of the enigmatic citadel of MACHU PICCHU surrounded by mountains covered with vegetation, valleys, rivers. After a break we will descend to the same citadel to visit the most important places, after the visit we will have a free time to explore ourselves, in the afternoon we will take our train back to Cusco.


  • Briefing (Our guide will visit your hotel a day before the trek for your briefing)
  • Transfer by Tourist private transportation to the initial point of the Inca Trail at Km 82
  • Accommodation: camping (3 nights)
  • Inca Trail Permit and entrance fee to Machu Picchu
  • Meals: 3x breakfast, 3x lunch, 3x dinner, 3x afternoon´s hot beverages (If you are a vegetarian, please advise us in advance. A vegetarian meal option is for NO extra cost!);
  • Experienced bilingual Tour Guide (a groups over 8 participants receives 2 Tour Guides)
  • A professional Cook
  • Porters to carry food, camping and cooking equipment 
  • Camping equipment
  • Sleeping Mattress
  • Water every day (excluding the first day of the trek when you need to bring your own)
  • Tables and chairs, cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas
  • Tourist train (Expedition Class) from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.


  • First breakfast and last lunch in Aguas Calientes town.
  • Sleeping bag (U$ 20)
  • Thermarest mattress (inflatable mattress for more comfort in the trail)
  • Extra porter for carry your personal beloging (U$ 130)
  • Bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes town.
  • Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (U$ 80 per person)
  • Tips and extra expenses to souvenir.


  • Your passport and (ISIC student card if applicable). 
  • A backpack to carry your personal things. 
  • Trekking boots with wide support for your ankle. 
  • Trekking sticks with metal tips are not allowed on the trail. 
  • Warm clothes, with layers by variable temperatures especially during the night. 
  • Thermal underpants can be worn in the sleeping bag or in cold conditions. 
  • Gloves or mittens, scarves, wool socks, wool hats for cold nights. 
  • T-shirts and pants for trekking as zip-off shorts for more comfort. 
  • Flash light, headlight, extra batteries 
  • Cameras and extra - binocular batteries. 
  • Wear a hat with a wide visor to keep the sun out of your face 
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses 
  • Personal medical team, insect repellent 
  • Rain gear, a rain jacket, rain poncho 
  • Toiletries, toilet paper, small towel 2 liter water bottle, plastic bottles are forbidden in Machu Picchu. 
  • Tablets to purify the water are optional, because we provide boiled water. 
  • Swimsuit for use in the hot waters by hikers with one more night in Aguas Calientes . 
  • More money for tips. 
  • Money for emergencies.


Walking techniques:

  • When starting to walk keep a single gentle rhythm. 
  • Little by little, you can increase the rhythm once your organism has become accustomed to its own rhythm. 
  • The rest stops according to the walker are recommended, every hour and take the opportunity to adjust the backpack. 
  • When climbing a mountain, the steps must be short. 
  • It is good to climb in a zigzag. 
  • When going down you have to bend your knees. 
  • It is recommended to go down sideways, not in front to avoid falling.



During the hike to the Inca Trail, you should not miss a good hydration. It is necessary to always carry water with one, either in bottle or canteen. You should drink before starting the walk, and a few sips during this, during the day we should have taken 2 liters of water. Likewise, to avoid dehydration it is advisable to rest in the shade, wet your head and forearms, this practice is usually very comforting.

Body care:

Special attention must be paid to the care of certain parts of the body, which are the most affected on the Inca Trail. 

  • First of all, you should protect the face as much, with sunscreen as with a hat or a cap. 
  • Secondly, it is necessary to protect the shoulders, the use of the blocker is indispensable, preferably do not wear them uncovered, this way it will be protected from the friction of the straps of the rucksack and the inclemency of the weather. 
  • Third, protect the back of the knees, with the work of walking and sweating, this part of the body, perspires and tends to crack, and if you wear shorts, it will burn, producing wounds, for this, it is recommended, put on sunscreen, and permanently dry the sweat. 
  • Fourth, take care of your knees, this part of the body is the most risky, if we take a long walk. It is necessary to distribute the weight well in the backpack, so as not to load badly and make the knees work more. The use of canes is very necessary, this way the corporal weight rests in the canes, especially when we climb very steep paths. At the end of the day walk, it is advisable to put ice on the knees for a few minutes. The use of some anti-inflammatory gel also helps. 
  • Fifth, watch your feet. They deserve a lot of attention, the use of suitable shoes is not enough; these should have good anatomical insoles; Likewise, you must use artificial wool socks, with the toe and heel reinforced, they must be padded on the inside, to avoid friction, you must not have excess seams. Are recommended, sports socks. 
  • After the walk, you have to take off your boots, wash your feet, if possible with salt water, dry your feet well and put on, immediately dry socks and finally put your feet up. To avoid corns, it is necessary that the shoe allows to move the fingers inside it. The pins should be tight but loose at the ankles for the ups and downs, adjust the ankles. 
  • The eyes; The intensity of sunlight directly affects the eyes and may even produce temporary blindness. So it is very necessary to use lenses with protection and will also serve to protect from the wind. If at night your eyes are irritated, it is highly recommended to wash yourself with chamomile tea. The filter bags can be purchased at any supermarket in Cusco. 


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