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Inca Trail Backpacker

Inca Trail Backpacker

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!

Quick Itinerary

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

 

Highlights of the Cheap Inca Trail:

  • 4 day hike to Machu Picchu with a professional guide, cook, and porters;
  • Exploration of hidden Inca ruins;
  • Enjoyment of the most beautiful landscapes of the surrounding world;
  • Discovery of the mystery "road" of the Incas;
  • Observation of beautiful sacred mountains like Salkantay;
  • The assistance of a guide during all the 4 day Inca Trail;
  • Guided visit of Machu Picchu;
  • Best price for the Inca Trai!

Best Moment of the Trek

  • Exploration of the authentic trail and listening to (hi-)stories about Inca constructions.

Fact Sheet

  • Service Class: Inca Trail on a budget.
  • Difficulty: 3 - Demanding (accessible to most healthy participants).
  • Age Requirements: 12+ (Participants under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult!).
  • Inca Trail Tour Operator: Local Cusco tour operator.
  • Personnel: A professional bilingual Tour Guide, a Cook, and Porters.
  • Accommodation: 3 campsites.
  • Meals: 3x breakfast, 3x lunch, 3x dinner, 3x afternoon tea.
  • Transportation: a private vehicle, a train (Expedition Class).
  • Group Size: from 8 to 25 participants.

Hiking the Inca Trail Site

Cusco | Sacred Valley of the Incas | Inca Trail | Llactapata | Wayllabamba | Pacaymayu | Chaquicocha | Phuyu Patamarca |  Wiñay Wayna | Machu Picchu.

 

Interesting Information:

 

Day 01: Cusco - Ollantaytambo - Km 82 - Ayapata

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

Day 02: Ayapata - Chaquicocha

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
Difficulty:  Challenging

Day 03: Chaquicocha - Phuyu Patamarca or Winay Wayna

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
Difficulty:  Moderate

 

Day 04: Winay Wayna - Machu Picchu

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!

 

What Is Included?

  • The pre-trek briefing (our guide visits you at your hotel a day before the trek);
  • Transfer by private transportation to the initial point of the Inca Trail at Km 82;
  • Accommodation: 3x camping;
  • Inca Trail permit and entrance fee to Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 3x breakfast, 3x lunch, 3x dinner, 3x afternoon hot beverages (If you are a vegetarian, please advise us in advance. A vegetarian meal option is for NO extra cost!);
  • Experienced bilingual Tour Guide (a group up to 8 participants has 1 Tour Guide, a group over 8 participants receives 2 Tour Guides);
  • A professional Cook;
  • Porters to carry food, camping, and cooking equipment;
  • Camping equipment: personal double tents, kitchen tent, kitchen utensils, dining tent, tables and chairs, gas bottle, toilet tent;
  • Sleeping mattress;
  • Water every day (excluding the first day of the trek when you need to bring your own);
  • Tourist train (Expedition Class) from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo;
  • Private bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco;
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.

Not Included

  • First breakfast;
  • Last lunch in Aguas Calientes Town;
  • Sleeping bag (US$ 20);
  • Therm-A-Rest mattress (inflatable mattress for more comfort on the trail);
  • Extra Porter to carry your personal belongings (US$ 130);
  • Shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes;
  • Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (US$ 80 per person);
  • Tips and extra expenses to buy souvenirs;
  • Local flights: No local flights are included in the trek’s price!

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.

Camping Equipment


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. 

 

Extras

  • Walking sticks or poles cost US$20 per pair to rent.
  • Daypack US$ 10.
  • Rain poncho US$ 10. 
  • Emergency Porter for US$ 80 (the porters will be available along the trail if you are not sure if you can complete it).

Packing List

  • Passport: the most important thing!
  • Immigration Card: you are given when crossing the borders/arrival at a Peruvian airport.
  • ISIC card: if you booked as a student.
  • Excellent hiking shoes: comfortable and useful for every surface.
  • Waterproof gear: especially during the rainy season.
  • Sunscreen: to get protected against the ultraviolet rays.
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body;
  • Hat or a peak as a protection against the rain, sun, or cold;
  • A backpack;
  • Warm clothes (alpaca wool sweaters, jackets, fleeces, thermal clothing for sleeping);
  • Sufficient supply of underwear;
  • Sandals (while at campsites);
  • Cash in Peruvian Soles (PEN);
  • Mobile phone/camera and batteries (please note: batteries consume quicker under cold conditions);
  • Flashlight/headlamp and batteries;
  • Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET (Please note: No malaria risk has been reported!);
  • Paper tissues;
  • Toilet paper;
  • Small towel;
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to visit the hot springs in Aguas Calientes);
  • Snacks (e.g. energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, biscuits, etc.);
  • Water container and water bottle for the first morning. (Important notice: plastic water bottles are no longer allowed in Machu Picchu!); 
  • Optional: water-sterilizing tablets in case you like to use water from streams or rivers along the trail (Anyway, we provide filtered boiled water which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem.);
  • Optional: walking sticks or poles (Please note! Rubber covers are required to prevent damage to the Inca Trail!).

Doubts and FAQ about the Cheap Inca Trail

Here is everything you need to know about Inca Trail Cheap to Machu Picchu.
 
Where Is Machu Picchu Situated?
Machu Picchu is located in southern Peru, belonging to the department of Cusco. Machu Picchu lays on 112.5 kilometre northeast of Cusco City, reaching an altitude of 2,350 m.a.s.l.
 
Altitudes of the Inca Trail?
During our Cheap Inca Trail tours to Machu Picchu, we will get over the following altitudes:
  • "Wayllabamba" at 3,000 m.a.s.l.
  • "Warmi Wañusca" (Dead Woman Pass) at 4,200 m.a.s.l.
  • "Pacaymayu" at 3,600 m.a.s.l.
  • "Runkurakay" at 3,900 m.a.s.l.
  • "Runku Pass" at 4,000 m.a.s.l.
  • "Sayacmarka" at 3,580 m.a.s.l.
  • "Chakicoccha" at 3,600 m.a.s.l.
  • "Phuyu Patamarka" at 3,600 m.a.s.l.
  • "Wiñay Wayna" at 2,600 m.a.s.l.
  • "Machu Picchu" at 2,430 m.a.s.l.
How Many Kilometres/Hours Is It Walked per Day?
  • Km 82 (the trailhead) to Ayapata: 14 km - 7 hours.
  • Ayapata to Chaquicocha: 16 km - 10 hours.
  • Chaquicocha to Wiñay Wayna: 10 km - 5 hours.
  • Wiñay Wayna - Machu Picchu: 4 km - 2 hours.
What Does "Machu Picchu" Stands for?
The name came from the native language of Quechua and it means 'Old Mountain'. The Inca Citadel was known to local people but it was never revealed to Spanish conquistadors since native people had a bad experience with them because they destroyed all Inca monuments and temples. In this way, the New Wonder of the Wonder has been preserved for our generation. When you visit it yourself, you will understand it would be an irreversible pity for this world to lose this gem.
 
How Difficult is the Cheap Inca Trail?
The Inca Trail is considered an intermediate difficulty trek. Some difficulty, however, might be added by carrying your personal belongings. Although there is no rock climbing, you need to get ready for the altitude of over 4,000 metres! If you get acclimatized in Cusco prior to the trek, then you do not need to have any previous experience. 
 
Is It Possible to Do the Inca Trail Myself?
NO, it is NOT possible! Peruvian government regulations do not allow this. Since 2001, hiking on the Inca Trail has been banned! The regulations stipulate that every tourist must be accompanied by a qualified professional guide. Each travel company must meet certain requirements in order to obtain an annual licence to operate this route. An updated list of authorized agencies and guides is available on the official website www.machupicchu.gob.pe.
 
Is There a Shorter Version of the Classic Inca Trail?
Yes, indeed. Whatever is your reason to not be able to hike the 4-day trail, you can still hike one of our cheapest 2 day Inca Trail!
 
Are There Any Inca Trail Alternatives?
Oh, yeah! Excepting our Cheap Inca Trail tours, there are also many other so-called Alternative Treks to Machu Picchu!
 
 - Inca Quarry, 4 days;
 
Moreover, you can do some alternatives that do not lead to the famous Inca citadel but take you to not less interesting places such as the 5-day Choquequirao Trek showing you the real lost city of the Incas and so-called "Sister of Machu Picchu"!
 
 
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responsible people foundationThe Responsible People Foundation is registered under Peru not-for- Profit Organization Act. With an annual contribution from Inca Trail Machu to support our operating costs as well as a significant portion of project development costs. If you would like to help us. You can bring clothes for the cold or school supplies and you can win a Rainbow Mountain free or other tour in Cusco. Do not worry if your gift is not new. Only help us to help the children and families.
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