This is a general plan of which routes you walk each day so an Inca trail Walkthrough if you like. Some of the accommodation places may change but in general, the same sites and distances apply. This refers to the most popular hike, three nights and four days. There is also a faster and a slower version but as I said … four days is the standard!
Regarding what gear you need when hiking the Inca trail and general information will be in a separate post!
Table of Contents
Know this before you decide to walk the Inca Trail
You can do it! If you are healthy and can walk – you can do this! There are several things that are important to know before you start. Read our post on how to survive the Inca Trail. You must also know that it’s all worth it! When you have reached Machu Picchu you will know what we are talking about. Sure you can take the train direct to the wonder but that is somewhat cheating. If you are healthy and fit enough to walk on high altitude you should do this!
Day 1 at the Inca trail – Cusco – Piskakucho – Wallabamba
The morning starts very early with pickup from the hotel in Cusco. You are taken to a place where you can purchase supplies (if you are missing something). After this, you repack in order to give up your backpacks (for those who have signed up for the porters). You are now waiting for everyone to get finished with their bags. And now the walk starts of the mighty Inca trail. The walk starts as soon as you pass the passport control and get your permission to walk the Inca trail (This must be prearranged before the hike starts).
You are walking on a pretty flat ground for two hours overviewing the Urubamba River and the old Inca Terraces.
Your first stop is Wayllabamba and this is also the last village that is inhabited along the trail.
Overnight is spent in a tent!
Day 2 at the Inca trail – Wayllabamba – Pacymayo
This day is known to be the toughest with a long climb ahead. Your day starts by climbing stairs in different heights for about five hours. You pass the Llullucha Valley and continue to Puna where it is green but no trees. You reach the highest point, Warmiwanusca. On a clear day you can see this big snow-covered mountain peaks and a beautiful view of the Inca trail.
The environment you walk changes from rocky to green and “jungle-like”.
After having passed the peak it’s walking down for a few hours until reaching Pacaymayo Valley.
This is your stay for the night! So many nice views you will enjoy today.
This is the highest point of the trail and also the greatest risk of altitude sickness. And yep we got it… and it is bad with headake and nausea.
Day 3 at the Inca trail – Pacaymayo – Winay Wayna
This is the longest day and also the day when you pass the most archaeological sites from the Inca period. You pass the archaeological site Runkuracay and Sayacmarca. Then you end up in the rain forest with small waterfalls and orchids embellishing the walk.
Overnight is spent in tents in Winay Wayna that means “forever young”. The body feels beaten and worn out after so many hours of walking!
Day 4 at the Inca trail – Winay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Cuzco
You have to wake up very early this morning to stand in the queue to the last passage. As soon as daylight breaks, the gates open and you continue the walk. This will take you to Sun gate and later to Machu Picchu. No matter how tired and worn out you are it’s to the Sun Gate we all want to reach as soon as possible – the place where you can see Machu Picchu with an awesome skyline behind it. Everyone is moving fast but be sure to be safe. Always walk by the mountain side and be careful because the path is narrow and steep.
If you’re lucky, there are no clouds so you can stop to see the miracle. This is when its all worth it. All the sweat and headaches and tired limbs – all for this! Then the hike continues to see Machu Picchu and get the information and stories from your guide.
This here is probably the Best view point on the trail. You can see this sacred town for the first time. You know that you are only about two hours from being at the bottom and life is great!
It is now that you actually see the wonder of the world close up for every step you take. This is what we been walking for, This and the awesome views.
After having visited Machu Picchu and walked around you have time in the town of Aguas Calientes to explore and then it is time to go back by train to Cusco. Make sure to visit the hot springs and take your first bath in warm water. Your limbs will thank you and you will feel refreshed.
The train takes a while and the idea is that you should enjoy the view and rest after the walk! In all honesty, we were way too tired to enjoy the views back. We just wanted to get back and to sleep in a bed. You made it!
We did it and we are extremely proud of this performance and that we were able to do this.