Inca Trail to Machu Picchu - Private Service
Inca Trail to Machupicchu | Take a Private Service Hiking the Inca Trail in a Private Group! Experience the famous Inca Trail along the amazing days, and pass through the Sun Gate at sunrise for that first magical sighting of Machu Picchu… with your group, and your group only!
Make your Inca Trail Treks private: enjoy everything that our group Inca Trail trek offers, with your own dedicated trail team.
- Tour Type: Hiking, camping, adventure, history
- Total Distance: 43km/26 miles
- Difficulty: Challenging
- Considerations: Permit required.
Day 01: Cusco to Wayllabamba (12km)
The first day of the trek is relatively easy and serves as training for the days to follow. Travellers are collected early from their hotels (5:30 – 6:00am) and travel by bus, past the picturesque villages of Chinchero, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, for the 2 hours scenic trip to kilometre 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 km82 Having 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 02: 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 Piedras’ (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. It’s 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 decent 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 03: Pacamayo to Wiñay Wayna (16km)
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.
SayacmarcaAnother 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 travellers 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 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 hostal 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 centre 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 04: 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 5.30am to get to Machu Picchu before sunrise. The sky starts getting light by 5:30am and the first rays of the sun reach Machu Picchu at about 7am. 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 view point’. 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 2 hours so after the tour you’ll have free time to explore the ruins alone. For information about climbing Huayna Picchu (optional)
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 30 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$5, allow 2 hours to really enjoy them.
The train departs from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (time can vary subject to ticket availability) and you’ll arrive back in Cusco , 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.
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 are 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 4 hours from Machu Picchu). These matters are the same for all trekking companies and are outside of our direct control.
- Professional Guides: All of our guides studied English and tourism at Cusco National University. They grew up in the Cusco region, and have a passion for teaching others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional and will ensure you are safe and happy.
- Permits: As soon as we receive your details and a deposit, we will purchase your permits (Let us know the date and we will check our Inca Trail Availability ). These permits are for a specific date and in your name. They can’t be changed, once confirmed. Only your passport number is allowed to be updated. The permit includes an entrance to Machu Picchu.
- Briefing: The night before your Inca trail hike, we will come to your hotel for your briefing. You will receive your duffel bag that will stay with your porters, while you hike. This bag should not exceed 7kg/14 lbs and does need to include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
- Porters: We include a personal porter, who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag. There is no additional fee for this. You will not have access to your duffel bag until your evening campsite.
- Transportation: All of your transportation will be included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 5:30 a.m. (unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo) and brought to KM 82 to begin your trek. The Expedition Class Train back from Aguas Calientes is included but can be upgraded to the Vistadome Train for $60 per person. Once you arrive at the train station, you will be brought back to your hotel in Cusco. Also, included is your round-trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.
- Equipment: PeruTreks has a good equipment. We use 4 tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
- Food: The PeruTreks chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have loved. We honor all food restrictions, so be sure to add any that you have on your booking form and let your guide know at your briefing. Food is typically all served family-style.
- You will enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day for the trek along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. A snack will be provided each morning for you to enjoy along the hike.
- Water: from the day 2 until your last breakfast, PeruTreks will supply all the water needed. This water is boiled, filtered, and then cooled before distributing. You must bring your own water bottles and or camelback. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. You will be able to refill your water at each meal.
- First Aid: Your tour guide from Perutreks will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical situations (traveler´s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen.
- Extras: We believe it´s the attention to small details that separates us from other tour companies. Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mattress for insulation and a rain poncho. We will work hard to create your best vacation.
- Rentals: Every trekker needs a sleeping bag when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:
- Sleeping Bag: FREE ON THE PRIVATE TREKS
Inflatable Air Mattress: $20
Walking Sticks (Pair): FREE ON PRIVATE TREK
- Huayna Picchu
Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45-minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep if you are scared of heights. You would do this after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $60. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Please understand that the weather is out of our control.
We can depart any day of the week, as long as permits are available. Please remember, permits are only needed for your start date. Our season runs from March through January. Private treks are based on the number of people in a group.
Prices per person
Two trekkers: $850 per person
Three trekkers: $830 per person
Four trekkers or more trekkers: $800 per person
$30 off per person
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid UNIVERSITY STUDENT CARD at the time of the trek or who is 17-years-old or younger. For those using a University Student Card our under 17-years-old, we need to see a copy of their card or passport at the time of booking to receive the discount.
Please send all to firstname.lastname@example.org
More Information about STUDENT CARD
As you see in our Additional Options, there are several optional upgrades you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices.
Huayna Picchu: $60 per person
Vistadome Train (one way): $75 per person
Sleeping Bag Rentals: INCLUDED FOR FREE
Air Matts (Inflatable matts): $20 per person
Set of Walking Sticks: INCLUDED FOR FREE
WHAT YOU HAVE TO TAKE WITH YOU
- Original Passport (the same used for booking your trek)
- Valid student card (if you booked as a student)
- Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
- Water storage: 2-3 L (Camelbaks are encouraged).
- Comfortable hiking boots with ankle support
- Sleeping bag (can be rented from PT)
- Headlamp: essential
- Toilet paper
WHAT TO PUT IN THE DUFFEL BAG
As a Direct Local Tour operator, we provide you with a duffel bag at your briefing and INCLUDE an extra porter, who will carry up to 7 kgs or 14 pounds including your 2.5kg sleeping bag, mattress and extra clothing.
- 2 t-shirts
- 2 hiking pants at least
- 4 sets of undergarments
- 3 sets of hiking socks
- Couple Fleece/ Thermals
- Warm clothes, down jacket — 2nd campsite temp around 3º C.
- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
- Comfortable shoes for camp
- Quickdry towel. We provide small ones, you might prefer something larger.
- Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to wash.
- Battery Charger: No electricity along the trek
- Large plastic bags will be provided at the office — Please ask for them.
- Sleeping bag: It has to be at least -15ºC – This can be rented from us for $20 USD.
- Face moisturizer
- Hand Sanitizer
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Personal medications
- First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc.
WHAT TO PUT IN THE DAY BACKPACK
- We highly recommend a small backpack 30 to 40L for hiking in the day. A big backpack will not be allowed into Machu Picchu. The remainder of your belongings will be in your duffel bag at camp.
- Water: Please supply your own water until the first lunch spot, then we will provide you with cold boiled water at every meal time. Please bring your canteens.
- Sun Hat
- Headlamp: essential
- Wool Hat
- Rain gear
- Snacks like chocolate bars, cereal bars or any dry fruits
- Coca leaves
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips