Peru Inca Trail

From £800, 7 days, Peru Trip code: PEIT

  • Adventure 5 out of 5
  • Relaxation 3 out of 5
  • Culture 4 out of 5
Peru Inca Trail- 7 daysPeru Inca Trail- 7 daysPeru Inca Trail- 7 days

Trip Highlights

• Trek the trail of the once magnificent Inca Empire

• Watch the sun rise over the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu
• Explore Cusco’s historic past
• Witness Peru’s colonial and Inca architecture

Trip Summary

See full itinerary

Retrace the steps of one of the most fascinating civilisations in history. Follow Inca traditions and history from Cusco, through the fertile Sacred Valley and then hike to the ultimate Peruvian icon, magnificent Machu Picchu. Get a taste for Peru stunning natural beauty and discover colourful traditions that still remain during this action filled active adventure.



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What will I be doing?

  • Cusco (Day 1)

  • Sacred Valley/ Ollantaytambo (Day 2)

  • Inca Trail/ Machu Picchu/ Cusco (Days 3 to 6)

  • Alternative Itinerary: Inca Quarry Trail/ Machu Picchu/ Cusco (Days 3 to 6)

  • Cusco (Day 7)

Cusco: Day 1

Next Leg

Destination info

Peru is one of the most fascinating places on earth to visit. Learn about its complex history from the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu and the mysterious Nazca Lines and witness its breathtaking scenery whilst exploring coastal plains and the mighty Amazon rainforest. 

  • Location: Cusco

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru. For the perfect introduction to Peru, enjoy a guided walking tour of the city and find yourself immersed in the unique blend of Inca and Spanish culture.


The Cusco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today, Cusco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Incan foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for outdoor activities and optional explorations into the Incan world. Get a real taste for this fascinating city and try the unique mate de coca (coca tea).


Spend the night in a hotel in the heart of Cusco, only a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas.

Sacred Valley/ Ollantaytambo: Day 2

Next Leg

Destination info

Peru is one of the most fascinating places on earth to visit. Learn about its complex history from the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu and the mysterious Nazca Lines and witness its breathtaking scenery whilst exploring coastal plains and the mighty Amazon rainforest. 

  • Location: Sacred Valley/ Ollantaytambo

Journey through the Sacred Valley and visit a local community – take the opportunity to learn about their traditional lifestyle and speak the Quechua language with the locals. If you're lucky to visit during Market Day, take the time to admire their handicrafts from hand-painted beads to warm ponchos.


Check out the unique landscape of this land – be sure to look out for the maize crops alongside the river and covering the terraces that stretch high up the valley walls. Spend the night in Ollantaytambo - a magnificent example of Inca urban planning. It is especially admired for the huge terraces that guard the great temple-fortress that clings to cliffs. This is one of the few places the Incas defeated the Spanish.

Inca Trail/ Machu Picchu/ Cusco: Days 3 to 6

Next Leg

Destination info

Peru is one of the most fascinating places on earth to visit. Learn about its complex history from the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu and the mysterious Nazca Lines and witness its breathtaking scenery whilst exploring coastal plains and the mighty Amazon rainforest. 

  • Location: Inca Trail/ Machu Picchu/ Cusco

Hiking across the Andes before Machu Picchu is a demanding but incredibly rewarding trek. Trek across high plateaus, past ancient ruins and through cloud forests on the incredible journey to South America’s most iconic archaeological site. Conquer rocky, mountain peaks - including the challenging 4,198 m-high Warmiwanusca (Dead Woman’s Pass) - and camp out overnight. On the final morning, climb the steep steps to Intipunku, the Sun Gate, and see magnificent Machu Picchu suddenly appear through the mist. Rest for a moment to take it all in before descending to the famous site to spend the day uncovering the mystery of these fascinating Inca ruins.


Take advantage during the 4 days of the trek to get to know your porters. You will realise they work the hardest on the team and are gentle people willing to share with you their culture, language and trek experiences. Accommodation on the trek is camping (3 nights). Double tents (twin share) and foam camping mats will be provided. Tents are set up by the porters and your meals are prepared by the trek cook. The trail is part of a series of Inca highways that linked the Empire, all the way from Quito in Ecuador to Santiago in Chile. As we hike along from high plateau to dense forest you will see the ruins of ancient villages, temples and inns.


Inca Trail Itinerary

Day 3 - Catch an early bus (approx. 1.5 hrs) to the 82km marker - the starting point of the trek to be joined by a crew of local porters, cook and guide. Day one is fairly relaxed trek which includes short sections of uphill trekking. The campsite is located at about 3,000m above sea level.

Day 4 - The second day is the most challenging of the trek as we ascend a long steep path (approx. 4 hours) to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwanusca, or Dead Woman's Pass, at a height of 4,200 m (13,779 ft), before descending to the Pacaymayo Valley (3650m above sea level/2 hours downhill). Depending upon what has been established by the Government, you might camp here today, or may need to continue across the second pass. From the second pass, Runkuracay (3,980m above sea level) we can enjoy views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending to the ruins of Sayacmarca (1.5-3 hours downhill). From here it is only a few more minutes to the Chaquicocha campsite (3,620m above sea level).

Day 5 - We continue over the third pass and soon reach the beautiful ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the 'Town above the Clouds' (3,850m above sea level/90 minutes uphill). Start descending Inca Steps (2 hours) to reach our final night's camp by the Winay Wayna, or 'Forever Young' ruins (2,750m above sea level), with panoramic views of the valley below.

Day 6 - The fourth day on the trek consists of a short hike (1.5-2 hours) to Machu Picchu as we climb the steps to the Sun Gate to watch the ruins emerge from the mist below.

Please note: The trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but do come prepared: the trail is 45km (28 miles) long and often steep. Generally the days consist of 7 hours walking on average (both uphill and downhill), plus stops for snacks and lunch. Normally trekking starts at 7am (except for the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 4-5pm. There is always the possibility of rain, even in the dry season and temperatures may fall below freezing at night. The trail traverses three passes, the highest being 4,200m (13,779ft).

You require an Inca Trail permit to be able to access the Inca Trail on Days 3 to 5. Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once you have provided us with your deposit and passport details, we will endeavour to secure a permit for you. If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead (please see 'Alternative Itinerary: Inca Quarry Trail/ Machu Picchu/ Cusco').


Please note that all Inca Trail permits have now been sold for hikes starting before October 2012, therefore if you wish to travel before this you will be hiking the Quarry Trail Instead.


The Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works, therefore we do not offer the Inca Trail during this time period. 

Alternative Itinerary: Inca Quarry Trail/ Machu Picchu/ Cusco: Days 3 to 6

Next Leg

Destination info

Peru is one of the most fascinating places on earth to visit. Learn about its complex history from the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu and the mysterious Nazca Lines and witness its breathtaking scenery whilst exploring coastal plains and the mighty Amazon rainforest. 

  • Location: Inca Quarry Trail/ Machu Picchu/ Cusco

If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead. With spectacular and diverse sceneries the Quarry Trail is an exceptional alternative to the very busy Inca Trail. This trek is also within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. It is 23km long in total. The trail's highest pass is at almost 4,500 m which is higher than the Classic Inca Trail's highest pass.


Inca Quarry Trail Itinerary

Day 3 - We leave Ollantaytambo early in the morning and drive approximately 30 min. to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place were Incas used to venerate the moon. A further 30 min. drive takes us to the community of Socma, the starting point of our trek and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the hike.

After approximately one hour hike we reach the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect photo stop and a great excuse to stop and grab a snack. From here we continue walking to our campsite, located at 3700 metres, where we arrive right in time for lunch. After lunch we set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which used to serve as a check point during the times of the Incas.

Day 4 - This is the most challenging but most rewarding day of the hike. A 4 hour hike takes us to the top of the first pass known as Chancachuco (4400 metres). After a well deserved rest we descend about 100 metres for a light lunch. After lunch we continue walking up hill to Kuychiccasa, at 4500 metres, the second and last mountain pass of this trek.


From this point we walk mostly downhill to the small archaeological site of Inti Punku or Sun Gate. This site offers spectacular view of the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo underneath and the always imposing "Veronica" mountain in the background. We finally reach our campsite, near the Inca quarry of Kachiqta, at 3750 metres.

Day 5 - After breakfast we visit the quarry, its tombs, storage rooms and the locally called 'tired rocks' which are rocks the Incas didn't finish carving and transporting due to the Spanish conquest.

Day three is all downhill hiking. The first stop is at the Kachiqata quarry, where we witness the work the Incas could not complete due to the Spanish conquest. From here we walk to Ollantaytambo train station where the expedition's cook will provide box lunches for our train journey to Aguas Calientes.
Once in Aguas Calientes we meet our fellow travellers who opted to take the "Train Option" of this trip. The natural hot springs in town are an unbeatable way to spend a late afternoon/early evening. Tonight we overnight at a simple but comfortable hotel.

Day 6 - Today we take a very early bus (5:30am depending on weather conditions) along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approx. 30 minutes). While it is thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Inca nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. After a visit with the trekking guide (approx. 1.5 hours) there is plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it is time to return to Cuzco (approx. 3.5 hours) for a well deserved shower and a glass of Pisco Sour.

(For those travellers not interested or unable to hike the trail it is possible to spend an extra 2 extra days in Cuzco then travel by train to Aguas Calientes. The following morning we take a bus to Machu Picchu where we join the rest of the group for a guided tour. This option must be arranged at time of booking or local fees will apply. )

Cusco: Day 7

Destination info

Peru is one of the most fascinating places on earth to visit. Learn about its complex history from the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu and the mysterious Nazca Lines and witness its breathtaking scenery whilst exploring coastal plains and the mighty Amazon rainforest. 

  • Location: Cusco

As the saying goes, all good things have to come to an end, though fear not - for those still seeking adventure an optional trip from Cusco to the Urubamba River provides white-water rafting or mountain-biking thrills. For those with weary legs, have lunch at the Aldea Yanapay Cafe, part of a self-sustainable organisation that provides the underprivileged kids of Cusco with health and education facilities.

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Trip Notes include a full itinerary, country guides and travel advice on visas, money, insurance and the local weather. By filling in your details you'll also be kept updated on all the latest news, offers and stories on this particular trip. Happy reading!

What's included?

  • Services of a trip leader
  • Inca Trail
  • Machu Picchu
  • Accommodation – 3 hotel nights and 3 nights camping
  • Some meals - 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Tour transport – train and local bus
  • 24 hr support

What's not included?

  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport Taxes
  • Optional activities

Additional Information & FAQs

Minimum age

Minimum age 18 years, maximum decided upon health and fitness of participant. These trips can and do attract a variety of ages and customers will be of different nationalities too. It's all about having a passion for travel which is age-less!



You will spend 3 nights in hotels and 3 nights camping (during the Inca trek) in shared accommodation.


Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we are arriving prior to normal check in time. However this is not always possible which means we will not be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. Please note that due to energy supply and timing provisions being limited in some places, be prepared to get back to basics and expect a limited supply of hot water which may result in a few cold showers – the ultimate way to experience the true Peruvian lifestyle!



While travelling with us you will experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. On our camping trips the trek cook often cooks the region's specialties so you don't miss out.

To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat not all meals are included in the trip price except 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners. We recommend that you allow approximately USD$90 for meals not included. Groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company.


Is this trip for you?

Travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in this group travel experience. Please note that this trip spends time above 2800 metres/9200 feet where it is possible to experience some adverse effects on your health due to the altitude, potentially including Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). It is therefore very important that you make yourself aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude and monitor your health during this trip. Your leader will also hand you a copy of the AMS information sheet during your trip as well as holding a short meeting prior to travelling to altitudes above 2800m/9200ft for the first time.


Tour Operator

This tour is operated by Intrepid Travel.


What is a Real Gap Experience Tour?

Our Real Gap Experience Tours are guided tours that are run through our (other) favourite travel companies. Typically, most of your travel will be on a bus/coach and you will stop off at a number of different destinations in your chosen country. We won’t be able to offer you a buddy list for these trips as people will book through different companies.


Advice & Safety

Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay.


You will be assigned a personal travel advisor who will co-ordinate your programme with you. Feel free to contact them at any time before you go, or when you are on your travels.


In addition, you will have access to a 24 hour emergency contact number so you can contact one of our UK staff at any time should you need to.




1. Do I have to be active to take part in this trip?

Travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in this group travel experience.


2. When is the best time to go?

As a multi-geographical country, Peru can have very diverse weather. The wet season (approx November to March) is characterised by rain and average temperatures in the highlands; heat and humidity in the central coast; and rain, heat and humidity in the jungle. The dry season (April to September) can be freezing in the highlands, cold in the coastal zone, and could present some cold fronts in the jungle. It is recommended that you bring thermals, scarf, gloves, and a warm jacket for travel in the dry season. Most guesthouse accommodation do not have heating, as this would be a major financial and environmental strain on our hotels and local towns.


3. Do I need a tent and sleeping bag?

Tents are provided to you during the Inca Trek when you are camping. You will require a sleeping bag for temperatures of at least -5 degrees (this can also be hired locally for approximately US$16). The evening before you start the Inca Trail, you will receive a small duffle bag to pack clothes for the next 4 days (6 kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group so make sure you take a day back pack with you.


What will I see whilst trekking the Inca Trail?

12 photos

What other travellers thought

I've done this trip

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Overall rating: (9/10) (1 review)
Peru Inca Trail

Amy Greenhough - May 2015

How would you rate your overall experience?
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

Trip of a lifetime which I'll never forget, utterly amazing!

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
Please rate the accuracy of your pre-departure information
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
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What were the highlights of your trip?

Amazing guides Ali-Jei (our in country guide), Elias (Inca Trail head guide) and Jo (our jungle guide), seeing a rainbow at the sungate at Machu Picchu, seeing caymen crocodiles on the way to the jungle and visiting my new joint-favourite city, Cusco.

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

Only 4kg are allowed in your duffle bag for the trek! Drink salts and not just water on the hike, as water isn't enough to keep you hydrated in the heat. Try all of the food, I didn't have one bad meal in the entire time I was in Peru and I tried everything I could!

Peru Inca Trail2015-05-31


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