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Where does the Inca Trail start?

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Where does the Inca Trail start?

The Incas encompassed much of the South American continent. To maintain communication in such a vast territory it was necessary to build a network of roads. Thus, the Inca ordered to build a network of roads called Qhapac Ñan (Inca Trail).


The Qhapac Ñan were able to cover up to 30 thousand kilometers from the current countries of Peru, Ecuador and part of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Colombia. The hiking route of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is only a small part of the extensive road network of the Qhapac Ñan.


The Inca Trail was revealed to the world in 1915 when it was being excavated in the Inca City. Three decades later, the route was traced by the Viking expedition in 1942. Today, thousands of visitors decide to travel the 43 kilometers to the 'Sungate' in Machu Picchu.


However, Machu Picchu Peru is not the only archaeological site you will see on the Inca Trail. In the tour you will also appreciate the ruins of Llactapata, the archaeological site of Runkurakay, Saycamarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñaywayna.


The 4 day Inca Trail is one of the most popular trails in Peru, linking Cusco with Machu Picchu Inca citadel. If you plan to stay in Cusco Peru for several days, do not miss the opportunity to walk this 43 kilometer road. The trip lasts four days and you will discover incredible forests, ancient villages and stone stairs that seem to go up to the sky. At the end of this trip the Puerta del Sol and the sacred city of the Incas await you.


To do this route you need to hire a tour, since special permits are required and can not be done by free. We recommend you to hire the excursion several months in advance (no less than 5 months), because the places are limited by the Peruvian government to 500 people per day.


The Inca trail permits can only be obtained by a tour operator. There are 255 tour operator autorizat in Peru.


Between April and October is when more tourists travel to Cusco Machu Picchu. Keep this in mind when planning your trip and excursion to the Inca Trail.


Versions of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Not all people have the necessary days to travel the Inca Trail (4 days and 3 nights). That is why there are 2 versions depending on the time that is counted:


Classic Inca Trail

Duration: 4 days and 3 nights

Distance: (43 kilometers of hiking).


Short Inca Trail 2 days hike

Duration: 2 days and 1 night

Distance: 16 kilometers of walk.


In the Classic Inca Trail it is possible to hike in less time or add an extra day. It is also possible to add the sacred mountain of Salkantay, 3 day more. For example:


Machu Picchu 3 day hike

5 Day Inca Trail

7 Day Inca Trail Trek


Where the Inca Trail begins? 


Classic Route

The first of the Inca Trail Peru begins at Km. 82, in the town of Patallaqta, at an altitude of 2,800 meters, from this place you walk around 8 hours, through Inca trails, and in permanent contact with nature, until reach the area of ​​the first camp, in the Andean village of Hauyllabamba, the same one that is 3000 meters above sea level. The experience of this first night is unique, after having had the first contact with the magic of the nature of the Peruvian Andes.


The itinerary of the second day is the most demanding. You will have a walk of 7 to 8 hours, and then climb up to 4215 meters to the highest point called Warmihuañusca. In the open sky, there is a prodigious high Andean landscape accompanied by snow-capped mountains and surrounded by a typical puna vegetation. 


The third day, the landscape changes remarkably. Little by little you will be able to appreciate the welcome to the jungle area. The climate is different and of course also the flora and fauna. In this 8-hour stretch, we continue traveling to Wiñayhuayna, where you can see several Inca archaeological sites, such as Runkuracay, or Phuyupatamarca (known as the city in the clouds because it is a very foggy area). Finally, you get to spend the night in the last camp.


Finally, the physical effort, will be rewarded, upon reaching Inti Punku (door of the sun). This Inca construction, allows to see the impressive sunrise, and appreciate the way it bathes and illuminates little by little, the magical city of Machu Picchu.


Short Inca Trail

We start at km. 104 and walk to the Wiñahuayna complex, then continue to Inti Punku (Puerta del Sol) at 2650 meters above sea level, from where we will see an impressive sunset of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, and then We continue to the town of Aguas Calientes where we will spend the night. The next day early we began the visit and the tour to Machu Picchu "The Lost City of the Incas", Optional we can make the Huayna Picchu Hike.


About tickets to enter the Inca Trail 

Due to the high demand for tickets, you must get entry tickets to the Inca Trail a long time in advance (6 months). The purchase is made only through the Internet through the website of an authorized tourism agency. In total 500 people enter the trails of the Inca Trail every day. Of them, only 200 are tourists. The rest is support personnel such as cooks, porters, guides. The ticket to enter the Inca Trail includes the support staff.  


Did not find availability to do the Inca Trail?

The only way to enter the Wonder of the World is by train through the Sacred Valley of the Incas or through the alternative route from Santa María to Machu Picchu. Booking Machu Picchu 2022 in advance.


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