The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most attractive tourist routes for trekking lovers worldwide. Also known as Inca Trails, they are an intricate network of routes that were built during the period of Inca expansion.
Their extension seems endless and has been a challenge for historians and archaeologists due to the immense amount of workers, materials and effort invested in their construction. Its layout covers vast plains, as well as steep mountain climbs and through lush forests. In some stretches, it borders cliffs and crosses rivers through suspension bridges.
For travelers who love adventure tourism, there is no more exciting experience than touring its trails, just as the Inca chasquis did centuries ago.
Different types of walks along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu have been established in Cusco, classified according to their difficulty, as well as their extension and the time it takes to travel them. With some variants depending on the operator, these are the most recommended routes.
Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (2 days / 1 night)
The tour begins in the city of Cusco, from where the group moves to Ollantaytambo and from there to kilometer 104, where the walk begins.
After crossing a bridge over the Urubamba River, we reach the settlements of Chachabamba and Choquesuysuy. Next, the Inca trail takes us to a semi-tropical spot, where tourists enjoy the view of the valley, as well as beautiful waterfalls and exotic orchids.
At an altitude of more than 2600 metres, the caravan meets Wiñaywayna, a complex made up of circular platform systems. Many of these terraces are still used for cultivation.
Here you can also see various Inca buildings, such as the temple of La Fertilidad. Two hours later, the second section leads the group of trekkers to the Inti Punku or Puerta del Sol, considered the official Inca entrance to Machu Picchu.
After a brief tour of the famous Inca citadel, we descend to the town of Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night. The next day, very early, we climb again to Machu Picchu. Then return to Ollantaytambo by train and finally to the city of Cusco.
Inca Trail Machu Picchu Complete Inca Trail (4 days / 3 nights)
This is a route that represents greater difficulty, but that discovers new natural wonders and Inca vestiges in the route.
It begins in the city of Cusco, from where the group of trekkers is led to Piscacucho, with a brief stop in Ollantaytambo. At kilometer 82, the trek begins, the first destination of which is the community of Miskay at 2800 meters above sea level.
From there, the trekking group will travel through the most beautiful landscapes of the Sacred Valley to Patallacta, where there are a large number of platforms next to an impressive Inca construction. The stretch ends in Huayabamba, where the first camp is established.
The second day brings with it the great challenge of ascending to the Warmihuañusca pass, but the effort will be rewarded with more than enough to appreciate a simply overwhelming landscape. Then the Inca Trail descends to the Pacaymayu River Valley, the location of the second camp.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
The stretch of the Inca Trail covered on the third day includes Pacaymayu to Wiñaywayna. It is the most difficult day, but the route is full of Inca archaeological wonders that captivate walkers. Among them are Runkuracay, Sayacmarca and Conchamarca.
The route reaches its highest point in Phuyupatamarca, at more than 3600 meters of altitude. Finally, Wiñaywayna is spotted and the last camp is established.
The next day, the group’s effort is rewarded with a visit to the citadel of Machu Picchu, after which it descends to the town of Aguas Calientes to return to Cusco by train.
As you can see, there are extraordinary surprises awaiting the traveler in every corner of the Inca Trail, a truly extraordinary experience worth living.