The Inca Trail
The Inca road system, or Capac Nan, was the most extensive road system in ancient South America.
In times past, dozens of routes connected the limits of the Inca Empire. Today, the most famous section extends from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu.
That route is strictly controlled, and advance purchase tickets are required.
LANDED has been arranging privately guided Inca Trail hikes and treks since 2006.
The classic route is a four-day, three-night camping trek, accompanied by local guides and supported by porters.
Although the trek is challenging, it’s non-technical and can be accomplished by young hikers.
Custom Hiking Treks
Hiking the Inca Trail no hardship—our custom packages can include goose-down comforters, hot water bottles, portable showers, and champagne toasts.
Although the locations of campsites and distances traveled vary seasonally, a representative schedule for the four-day / three-night Inca Trail hike would be:
Transfer to the trailhead near Chilca, north of the Sacred Valley, to begin the trek.
Much of today’s hike follows the Urubamba River over fairly even terrain. Later in the day, the semi-arid landscape transitions to a more humid pampas zone.
Clear weather will permit distant views of Mt. Veronica. Camp near the terraces of Llactapata.
The trail climbs into the mountains, past the uninhabited Inca town of Huayllabamba.
Rise through polylepsis woodland and into the puna grasslands, camping below cliffs that open up toward the Huayanay massif.
Majestic, cloud-shrouded views reward the day’s efforts.
Hike over the highest pass on the trail, Warmiwanusca—the “Dead Woman’s Pass” at 13,776 feet above sea level—then descend to the forested Pacamayo Valley.
Next, ascend an Inca staircase past the lookout post of Runkuracay. At the top of the second pass, the view widens to the snowcapped Pumasillo range.
Down the trail, explore the ruins of Sayamarca before passing through the Inca Tunnel. Make camp on a third pass, overlooking the complex of Phuyupatamarca—the “Cloud-level Town.”
Explore the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, before starting a long, knee-testing descent down Inca stairs to the site of Winay Wayna—or “Forever Young.”
Along the way, enjoy beautiful views of the valleys surrounding Machu Picchu. In the afternoon, follow the last stretch of trail across a steep mountainside.
Finally, pass through the Intipunku—or “Sun Gate”—to reach the city of Machu Picchu.
Prime hiking season is March to October, while November through January is wet and cloudy.
Inca Trail Reservations
The trail closes each February for maintenance. Reservations should be made months in advance, as authorities limit trail use.
Abbreviated treks—two days / one night, or day hikes—and February treks on other portions of the trail can also be arranged.
Longer treks pass the peaks and glaciers near Nevado Salcantay, before arriving in Machu Picchu.
LANDED delivers the finest in custom, private travel to Central America, South America, and Antarctica. These regions are our passion; we know them first-hand and by heart. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100. We’ll create the most exceptional trip of your life.
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What an amazing adventure we have had. Many thanks to you for putting it together. The whole rhythm of the trip was perfect, and leaving one place for the next worked perfectly. This trip definitely made me want to experience other great spots in South America as the people have been wonderful and the places incredible. Wish we had a month to really explore. Everybody in the family had a great life experience. Thanks again!
One of our best trips ever, made excellent by LANDED’s attention to detail. When planning the trip our travel planner listened to us carefully, asked the right questions, and customized the trip to have just the right balance of adventure and city sights for us. The guides, drivers, and “handlers” were superb. The hotels were top notch. We felt relaxed and pampered all the way. Will definitely look to LANDED to plan our next trip to South America.
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We returned yesterday from our trip and I wanted to let you know that it was absolutely amazing! There is not a single thing on the itinerary that we would change. The guides were knowledgeable, friendly, and prompt. The hotels were beautiful, the food delicious and the pace of the activities was perfect for us. Thank you so much for making our trip such a fantastic experience.
In short, our trip was amazing, and, as we had hoped, the Inca civilization was fascinating to us. Thanks so much for your constant assistance and thorough planning.
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