Travel Rankings & Advice

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Cusco-Aguas Calientes Railway | Aguas Calientes, Peru
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Photo info
Lee Coursey/Flickr
  • Type: Hiking, Sightseeing
  • Time to Spend: More than Full Day
Overall Rating: 4.0 (3.9)
Value: 3.0 (3.0)
Facilities: 2.5 (2.5)
Atmosphere: 4.5 (4.5)
About these ratings

Winding through Peru's verdant landscape toward Machu Picchu, this famous four-day  hike is not for the faint of heart. That said, recent travelers say the laborious trek pays off with gorgeous scenery. One recent TripAdvisor user raves, "There are not enough positive words that can describe the scenery, the food, the porters, the wildlife, the cultural highlight, the historic feeling and the challenge!"

You'll likely start your journey between KM 82 and KM 88 along the Cusco-Aguas Calientes railway and then follow the trail's zigzagging path towards the "lost city." Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for Phuyupatamarca (Cloud Level Place), a presumed ritual spot. Luckily, only 500 people are permitted on the trail at a time. That said, you should expect to run into fellow hikers throughout your journey, especially if you're tackling the trail during peak tourist season.

The Peruvian government requires trekkers to acquire permits (through a licensed tour operator approved by the Unidad de Gestión Santuario Histórico de Machu Picchu) before hiking the trail. If you embark on the trail from Cusco, you'll need to hire a tour guide and map out your route and accommodations with a licensed agency several months in advance, particularly if you visit during the high season. A reputable service is Aventours, which offers a variety of Inca Trail expeditions accompanied by experienced guides and porters. All AvenTours expeditions provide tents, three meals per day, and the Machu Picchu entrance fee in their tour costs. Prices vary depending on the adventure package.  For more information, check out AvenTours' official website.

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