The Cheap Inca Trail has been created for all adventurers who would like to gain a new experience on this popular 4 day hike to Machu Picchu. This is an authentic track of the Incas, which differ from other Inca Trails only by campsites and services, so you need to carry your sleeping mattress, sleeping bag, and personal belonging while our porters carry just food and camping equipment.
Although it is undoubtedly a very nice hike, the 4 day Inca Trail is only one of a multitude of paths across remote areas of the Andes. What it offers, however, is a popular and fabulous treasure at the end of the road - the Lost Inca City of Machu Picchu, and at a good price.
The Cheap Inca Trail starts in the village of Piscacucho, at kilometre 82 of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and it takes 4 days of intensified hiking. This path involves an ambitious array of altitudes, climates, and ecosystems varying from so-called "Puna" (high Andean tundra) to cloud forest. A hiker passes through two high passes (the highest is Warmiwañuska at an altitude of 4,200 metres above sea level) and ends the ascent with a charming entrance to Machu Picchu through Inti Punku - the Sun Gate.
One of the main highlights along the trail is its ancient system of settlements made in granite rock by the Incas, such as Wiñay Wayna and Phuyu Patamarca, immersed in irresistible natural surroundings. A variety of orchid species, multicoloured birds, and dreamlike countryside provide the perfect scene for a path that all trekking fans would love to experience!
Day 01: Cusco - Km 82 (the Inca Trail trailhead) - Ayapata campsite
Day 02: Ayapata - Warmiwañuska Pass - Chaquicocha campsite
Day 03: Chaquicocha - Phuyu Patamarca or Wiñay Wayna campsite
Day 04: Machu Picchu - Cusco
Best Moment of the Trek
Our journey to Machu Picchu through the classic Inca track begins at your hotel, where you are picked up after breakfast between 6.00 and 6.30 am to set out a 2-hour ride to the trail's starting point, at so-called 'Km 82'. There, every trekker needs to present their Inca Trail permit along with their own original passport and ISIC card (if applicable) at the checkpoint. After passing the check, the Inca Trail begins with a 2-hour flat and beautiful walk while enjoying the incredible surrounding flora and landscape till we reach Miskay, a place where we are going to have a nice lunch.
After lunch, we keep hiking for another two hours to Wayllabamba (3,000 m) and then walk for 60 minutes until our campsite at Ayapata where we arrive at around 6 pm. At 6:30 pm, our professional chef prepares us a tasty dinner. Afterwards, we settle down in our tents and spend the night very well covered by a feather sleeping bag and a blanket.
Estimated trekking time: 7 hours
Trekking distance: 14 km
Max. elevation: 3, 250 m
Min. elevation: 2, 600 m
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
This is the most difficult and at the same time most rewarding day of this 4 day hike to Machu Picchu! We find spectacular Andean landscapes and vegetation all around us. We begin the day at 5 am and after a good breakfast, we start the ascent for 4 hours to the highest point of the trail - Abra de Warmiwañusca (Dead Woman Pass) reaching 4,200 metres. During the ascent, we can appreciate varied vegetation consisting of native plants and trees such as Polilepys or Q'euña, which grow in cloud forests at an altitude of 3,650 m. After this climb, we celebrate together having reached the highest point.
We have a short break there to get rest before descending for an hour and a half until the second point Pacamayo (3,550 m) where we have lunch. Afterwards, there is another 2-hour climb towards the Runkuraqay Pass at an altitude of 3,900 m. Once at the pass, we have a rest to be able to continue, this time just a descend awaits us so after 1 hour and a half we reach Cachicocha, our second campsite (3,600 m).
Estimated trekking time: 10 hours
Trekking distance: 16 Km
Max. elevation: 4, 200 m
Min. elevation: 3, 250 m
We get up at 6 am. Breakfast is served by the chef at 6.30 am. At 7 am, we start hiking. The third day takes us for only a 5-hour hike. Our first stop is at Phuyu Patamarca, the third-highest point on the way located at 3,680 m. The views from there of the mountains, canyons and the surroundings simply spectacular! After a short break, our guide shows us around the near archaeological site of Phuyu Patamarca which means "City of the Clouds". Then, we continue walking through a cloud forest until we get to the impressive Inca agricultural site of Intipata.
From this point, we have an easy 2-hour descend to Wiñay Wayna (2,680 m) that stands for "Forever Young" to receive a guided visit of this Inca archaeological site with lots of stepped terraces. We set a camp just 10 minutes away from the site and our chef prepares us a nice buffet dinner. Then, we go to sleep to be fresh for the last day.
Estimated trekking time: 4 - 5 hours
Trekking distance: 10 Km
Max. elevation: 3, 680 m
Min. elevation: 2, 700 m
On the last day, we get up very early at 3.30 am to eat breakfast at 4 am. Then we say good-bye to the chef and porters and begin hiking to be the first at the next checkpoint (5:30 am). After being checked, we have one hour of hiking to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) offering impressive views of Machu Picchu and all the surrounding mountains! Here, we have 20 minutes to rest. Then, we climb down for 10 minutes to reach the Lost City of the Incas. The Inca Trail ends there and we enter the wonder of Machu Picchu! Before that, we have to pass the second checkpoint to leave our bags there (we need to pay 3 soles for every back to be store). You also need to show your passport, Machu Picchu ticket, and ISIC card if you have one.
Afterwards, your guide gives you a guided visit of Machu Picchu and shows you various important sites, ruins and temples (between 8 to 10 am). Once the tour is over, you have some time to explore the citadel, its many roads and beautiful surroundings on your own. When you have enjoyed the magnificent Inca city, you can use a bus ticket to get down to Aguas Calientes, a town just below Machu Picchu. There, you can have a later lunch or visit its thermal baths (hot springs) to refresh yourself. Later on, we get on a train to get back to Cusco via Ollantaytambo. The train of “Expedition Class” leaves at 6:30 pm arriving at Ollantaytambo after 2 hours of the ride. There is our bus waiting for you at Ollantaytambo to bring you back to Cusco. At 10:30 pm, the journey is over. We tell you 'good night' at the entrance of your hotel and you go for your well-deserved rest experiencing the awesome feeling of beating the Inca Trail and seeing the overwhelming Inca city of Machu Picchu!
Single room: Please note that if you have booked the "Single room" option for this trek, you receive your own single tent for all nights, but you will need to pay an extra US$ 40.
Although this Inca Trail is cheap, it does not mean that we at Inca Trail Machu provide our customers with poor camping equipment. To the contrary! Our tents are of the top brand EUREKA MOUNTAIN PASS 3XTE designated for 4 seasons! We give our trekkers 3-person capacity tents; however, just 2 persons use it! Like this, we provide you more space and comfort. If you are a solo traveller, then we give you a 2-person capacity tent. After our Cheap Inca Trail tours, we always very carefully check the tents, clean them with an antibacterial agent as well as fix them if necessary. Inca Trail Machu also supplies a warm and clean sleeping bag, an inflatable pillow, and a blanket.