Our Classic Inca Trail Holidays
Follow in the footsteps of the Incas: 10 night Inca Trail holidays for £1495pp
Peru's famous Inca Trail has drawn people to it for decades. Perhaps it's the stunning mountain scenery and the fact that you can follow in the footsteps of the Incas. Perhaps it's seeing hummingbirds and condors flying through the pure Andean air. Or, just possibly, it's because after four days trekking you arrive at the mythic Inti Punku Sun Gate in time to watch the sun rise over the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu...
You'll need to acclimatise first, so as well as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu itself, this classic Peru holiday takes you to see some of the other amazing Inca sites in Cusco and the Urubamba valley. Even so, this holiday means you can fit everything into 10 days - although if you have a little longer to spend on your Inca Trail holidays then we can certainly make some suggestions!
We also have lots of other options for Inca Trail Holidays so why not have a look at these as well?
- Day One: Arrival in Lima
- Day Two: Travel to Cusco, the ancient Inca capital
- Day Three: City tour of Cusco
- Day Four: Free day exploring Cusco
- Day Five: Start the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
- Day Six: Trekking the Inca Trail
- Day Seven: Sayacmarca and Wiñay Wayna
- Day Eight: Complete the Inca Trail with a guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Day Nine: Return by train to Cusco
- Day Ten: Fly back to the UK
You should also be aware that special Inca Trail permits apply to the classic route and for busy times of year we need to secure them for you well in advance. However there are other Inca Trail treks available so even at busy times of year we can make sure you have a fantastic Inca trail holiday!
Day One – Arrival in Lima
Your Inca Trail holidays will begin today with your arrival in Lima. We will meet you at the airport and drive you to your hotel in the stylish Miraflores area of the city for you to check in. Depending on your arrival time, you may just want to rest, but if you’re feeling up to it then we’d highly recommend taking a walk around the lovely Parque Kennedy and perhaps to one of our recommended restaurants to sample some of Lima’s world-famous cuisine.
Day Two – Travel to Cusco: the Ancient Inca Capital
This morning we will take you back to the airport for a short flight up to Cusco, which was formerly the capital of the Incas. We take you to your hotel and then we have left the rest of the afternoon free for you to explore. Your hotel is centrally-located so although you will still be getting used to the altitude, you are perfectly placed to wander around this unique city, where Spanish colonial buildings stand right next to ancient Inca structures. In the evening it's worth trying out one of the restaurants around the buzzing Plaza de Armas as Cusco has some of the best food and nightlife in South America. (Breakfast included)
Day Three – Tour of Cusco
We’ve kept this morning free to give you chance for a leisurely breakfast and some time to introduce yourself to the city. In the afternoon, we’ll pick you up from your hotel and take you on a guided tour of Cusco and the Inca ruins just outside the city, such as Sacsayhuaman and Tambomachay. Your tour will be on foot to allow your guide to help you get your bearings and point out the more interesting quirky Inca features you pass by which you don’t get to see from the window of a coach. (B)
- Our walking tour allows you to stretch your legs ahead of the Inca Trail trek, but it does mean that we don’t visit absolutely everywhere. If you’d prefer to change to a more conventional guided tour by coach then just let us know.
Day Four – Free time in Cusco
We usually like to give people some time to explore on their own, so today is up to you. You could visit the bustling local market, walk up to the bohemian San Blas district with its galleries and jewellers, or perhaps just sit back with a cup of coca tea and get those postcards written... Of course, if you’d prefer something more active then we’d be delighted to make some suggestions. In the evening we will have a short briefing session before we start our trek tomorrow, and if we have arranged an extra porter for you, we will pick up the items they will carry at the same time. (B)
- Some of the best Inca sites are in the Urubamba valley, just outside Cusco, so you could visit them on a day-trip today.
- Or for something more adventurous, how about white-water rafting or mountain-biking?
Day Five - Start of the Inca Trail
Your Inca Trail holiday begins in earnest today, as we pick you up from the hotel after breakfast for a spectacular drive through the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba to our trailhead. We will meet our porters here, and then we will all set out on the Inca Trail trek itself, crossing a footbridge over the Urubamba to begin a gentle two-hour hike down the valley, before stopping for lunch under the imposing Inca terraces of Patallaqta, by the banks of the Cusichaca tributary. We will then climb a little way up the Cusichaca valley to Huayllabamba, the final inhabited village on the Inca Trail. Our campsite for the night will be just outside the village, and you will arrive to find all the sleeping, kitchen and dining tents ready and waiting for you, so you can just relax enjoy a well-earned and delicious dinner, prepared by our dedicated cook. (B/L/D)
- Why not hire an extra porter so you can trek the Inca Trail completely unencumbered?
Day Six - Trekking the Inca Trail
After breakfast this morning we will leave the campsite behind and climb the steep-sided Llullucha valley, past rushing streams and through enchanting sub-tropical forest. Crossing the edge of a small plateau, we find ourselves the treeless grasslands of the high Andes known as the puna. Here, the Inca Trail crosses an exposed slope across from mighty crags, as we climb up to our first mountain pass, Warmiwañusca, at 4,200m above sea-level. The name means “Dead Woman’s Pass” in Quechua, but don’t worry: we’ve not lost anyone yet! It’s a tough slog up to the pass, but you are rewarded with spectacular views of the trail ahead to the second pass, and back to the snow-topped peaks of Huayanay massif. We will stop for lunch just after the pass, and we then follow the trail down to the floor of the Pacaymayo valley, where we will camp tonight. (B/L/D)
Day Seven – Sayacmarca and Wiñay Wayna
We can enjoy one of the best-preserved sections of the Inca Trail this morning, as we climb an Inca stairway up past the small Inca village of Runkuracay on our way to the second high pass of the trek. At just below 4000m, this is a little easier than yesterday’s climb, and gives us the chance for some wonderful views of the Pumasillo mountains. From the pass, we descend into the cloud forest to the labyrinthine ruins of Sayacmarca (aptly meaning Inaccessible Town). From here the Inca Trail broadens and passes through the steep upper fringes of the cloud forest through a colourful riot of orchids, bromeliads, mosses and ferns. The air is perceptibly thicker and the atmosphere warmer and more humid, even as we approach the trek’s third pass, at 3,670m, where Inca viewing platforms overlook the archaeological complex of Phuyupatamarca (Cloud-level Town).
We will stop to explore the maze of Inca stone towers, fountains and stairways that cover the mountain-side here, before beginning a long descent through the ever-changing cloud forest. Finally, we reach an Inca stairway hewn from solid granite, which leads us down to our final campsite near the ruins of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young), generally considered to be the largest and most beautiful site on the Inca Trail. (B/L/D)
Day Eight – The Sun Gate and Machu Picchu
It will be an especially early start this morning but we can promise you it will be worth it! We will get up before dawn and set out on the final stages of the Inca Trail trek, which will take us around two hours through the lush, humid cloud-forest of giant ferns and broad-leaf vegetation. Suddenly we cross the stone threshold of the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) and see the sun rise over an unforgettable combination of human artistry and natural beauty as the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu is revealed below us.
From the Sun Gate, we head down into the heart of Machu Picchu, where our guide will take us around the site before leaving you with the rest of the day to do some individual exploring of these breathtakingly beautiful ruins. In the early afternoon a bus takes us down to the foot of the mountain to your hotel in the small town of Aguas Calientes, where you will be staying overnight. (B)
- If you’d like a bit of luxury after your trek, why not ask us about upgrading to the gorgeous Pueblo hotel, with its stunning gardens and private hot springs?
Day Nine – Back to Cusco
Aguas Calientes literally means ‘Hot Waters’ and many people enjoy spending the morning after their trek having a soak in the thermal springs that give the town its name. Alternatively, if you purchase an extra entrance ticket, you can head back up to Machu Picchu or climb up to the Inca watch-tower on neighbouring Huayna Picchu for a new perspective on the site. However you choose to spend today, you will return by train to Cusco in the evening, where we’ll meet you at the station and take you back to your hotel. (B)
Day Ten – Final Day of Your Inca Trail Holidays
We’re afraid to say that today marks the end of your Inca Trail holidays. Most international flights leave Peru in the evening, so after a final free morning to say goodbye to the Andes, we will take you to the airport in Cusco for the short flight back to Lima, where you’ll arrive in plenty of time to board your international flight home. (B)
The standard price for our Classic Inca Trail holidays is £1495 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels.
That price includes all your accommodation, internal transport, transfers, tours, guides, equipment and entrance fees. It also includes all your meals on the trek, and breakfast every day.
The price includes the use of the group porters, who will carry all the tents, food, water and cooking equipment. We provide top-quality sleeping bags and mats, but you would normally carry these items along with whatever personal items you want for those four days. However, we can arrange an extra porter for you (at a cost of £50pp) which would be sufficient to carry absolutely everything for two people, so you can trek entirely unencumbered!
We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2016.
So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.
We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.