Home >> Destinations
>> Peru Tour
Machu Picchu Tours >> Inca
Trail To Machu Picchu Tours and Travel information
INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
TOURS AND TRAVEL INFORMATION
|1.- Main routes
2.- Inca trail to Machu Picchu
2.1.- The Classic Trail
3.- Inca Trail Tours
Among the many roads and trails constructed in pre-Columbian
South America, the Inca road system, or Qhapaq Ñan was the most
extensive. The network was based on two north-south roads. The
eastern route ran high in the puna and mountain valleys from Quito,
Ecuador to Mendoza, Argentina. The western route followed the
coastal plain except in coastal deserts where it hugged the
foothills. More than twenty routes ran over the western mountains,
while others traversed the eastern cordilla in the montana and
lowlands. Some of these roads reach heights of over 5,000 metres
(16,000 ft) above sea level.The trails connected the regions of the
Inca empire from the northern provincial capital in Quito, Ecuador
past the modern city of Santiago, Chile in the south. The Inca road
system linked together about 40,000 km of roadway and provided
access to over three million km² of territory.
The roads provided routes for rapid communication, personnel
movement, and logistical support. The prime users were soldiers,
porters and llama caravans, along with the nobility and individuals
on official duty. Permission was required before others could walk
along the roads, and tolls were charged at some bridges. Although
the Inca roads varied greatly in scale, construction and appearance,
for the most part they varied between about one and four meters in
Much of the system was the result of the Incas claiming exclusive
right over numerous traditional routes, some of which had been built
centuries earlier. Many new sections were built or upgraded
substantially: through Chile's Atacama desert, and along the western
margin of Lake Titicaca, as two examples.
Spanish chroniclers frequently described lengthy journeys made by
the Inca ruler, carried on a litter, and surrounded by thousands of
soldiers and retainers, to various parts of his empire.
Because the Incas did not make use of the wheel for transportation,
and did not have horses until the arrival of the Spanish in
Peru in the 16th century, the trails were used almost exclusively by people
walking, sometimes accompanied by pack animals, usually the llama.
Relay messengers, or chasqui, stationed at intervals of 6 to 9 km,
carried both messages and objects such as fresh marine fish for the
rulers in the sierra. Messages consisted of knotted-cord records
known as quipu along with a spoken message. Chaskis could cover an
estimated 240 km per day.
There were at least 1,000 and perhaps 2,000 way stations or tambos,
placed at even intervals along the trails. These structures were
intended to lodge and provision itinerant state personnel.
Various means were used to bridge water courses. Rafts were used to
cross wide meandering rivers. Bridges built of stone or floating
reeds were used in marshy highlands. Inca rope bridges provided
access across narrow valleys. A bridge across the Apurimac River,
west of Cusco, spanned a distance of 45 meters. Ravines were
sometimes crossed by hanging baskets, or oroya, which could span
distances of over 50 meters. Bridges were sometimes built in pairs.
| MAIN ROUTE:
The most important Inca road was the Camino Real, as it is known in
Spanish, with a length of 5,200 km (3,230 mi). It began in Quito,
Ecuador, passed through Cusco, and ended in what is now Tucumán,
Argentina. The Camino Real traversed the mountain ranges of the
Andes, with peak altitudes of more than 5,000 m (16,000 ft). El
Camino de la Costa, the coastal trail, with a length of 4,000 km
(2,420 mi), ran parallel to the sea and was linked with the Camino
Real by many smaller routes.
Machu Picchu itself was far off the beaten path, and served as a
royal estate populated by the ruling Inca and several hundred
servants. It required regular infusions of goods and sevices from
Cuzco and other parts of the empire. This is evidenced by the fact
that there are no large government storage facilities at the site. A
1997 study concluded that the site's argicultural potential would
not have been sufficient to support residents, even on a seasonal
|INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
Inca trail to
aka Camino Inca or
Camino Inka, consists of
three overlapping trails: Mollepata, Classic and One Day. Mollepata
is the longest of the three routes with the highest mountain pass
and intersects with the Classic route before crossing "Dead Woman's
Pass". Located in the Andes mountain range, the trail passes through
several types of Andean environments including cloud forest and
alpine tundra. Settlements, tunnels, and many Incan ruins are
located along the trail before ending the terminus at the Sun Gate
on Machu Picchu mountain.
The two longer routes require an ascent to beyond 3,660 metres
(12,000 ft) above sea level, which can result in altitude sickness.
Concern about overuse leading to erosion has led the Peruvian
government to place a limit on the number of people who may hike
this trail per season, and to sharply limit the companies that can
provide guides. As a result, advance booking is mandatory. A maximum
of 500 people, including guides and porters, are permitted to begin
the trail every day. As a result, the high season books out very
Note that the trail is closed every February for cleaning.
INCA TRAIL CLASSIC:
Trekkers normally take three or four days to complete the "Classic
It starts from one of two points: km 88 or km 82 from
Cusco on the
Urubamba River at approximately 2,800 m altitude.
Patallacta viewed from above. Both of these trail segments meet above
the Inca ruins of Patallacta (aka Llaqtapata), a site used for
religious and ceremonial functions, crop production, and housing for
soldiers from the nearby hilltop site of Willkaraqay, an ancient pre-Inca
site first inhabited around 500 BC. The trail undulates, but overall
ascends along Rio Cusichca (aka River Kusichca aka "happy river").
At the small village of Wayllabamba the trail intersects with the "Mollepata
Trail" at 3,000 metres (9,800 ft).
Small, permanent settlements are located adjacent to the trail, and
Wayllabamba has approximately 400 inhabitants (130 families) spread
along this portion of the trail, and pack animals—horses, mules,
donkeys, and llamas—are allowed.
At Wayllabamba the trail to
Machu Picchu turns west and begins
ascending along a tributary of the Cusichca. Because of previous
damage caused by hooves, pack animals are not allowed on the
remainder of the trail. For the same reason, metal-tipped trekking
poles are not allowed on the trail.
Inca Trail cloud forest.As the trail ascends toward, Warmiwañusca or
"Dead Woman's Pass", which resembles a supine woman, it passes
through differing habitats, one of which is a cloud forest
containing Polylepis trees. The campsite at Llulluchapampa is
located on this stretch of trail at 3,800 metres (12,000 ft). The
pass itself is located at 4,215 m above sea level, and is the
highest point on this, the "Classic" trail. After crossing the pass
the trail drops steeply into the Pacaymayu River drainage. At a
distance of 2.1 km and 600 m below the pass is the campground
The tambo Runkuraqay.After passing Pacaymayu the trail begins
steeply ascending the other side of the valley. One kilometer along
the trail, at an altitude of 3750m is the Incan tambo of Runkuraqay,
which overlooks the valley. The site was heavily restored in the
The trail continues to ascend, passing a small lake named Laguna
Cochapata in an area that is recognized as deer habitat. This
site had been used as a camp site. As with other sites that were
being degraded due to overuse, camping is no longer allowed. The
trail reaches the pass at an altitude of 3,950 m.
Once again the trail descends steeply, then more gently, passes
another small lake and soon affords a view of Sayaqmarka, perched
atop a sheer rocky spur. Sayaqmarka is at an altitude of 3,600
metres (12,000 ft). A steep, narrow staircase leads up to the
extensive, heavily restored ruins, which include many buildings
spread along approximately 80 m of ridge top. This site was named by
a 1940s expedition by Paul Fejos and Sayaqmarka can be translated as
"inaccesible town". Sayaqmarka overlooks both the "Classic Inca
Trail" and another uncleared trail that leads down into the Aobamba
River drainage, and was a signaling location. There are no
argicultrual terraces here, but the nearby site of Conchamarka (Shell
Town), a small group of Incan buildings standing on rounded terraces,
is clearly visible. After descending into a small drainage and
Conchamarke, the trail begins an accent and within 0.6 km passes a
campground at Chaquicocha.
The Trail continues through high cloud forest, undulating, sometimes
steeply while affording increasingly dramatic viewpoints of
mountains and dropoffs. A long Inca tunnel and a viewpoint
overlooking two valleys: the Urubamba and Aobamba, are passed.
Ruinas Phuyupatamarka.Another high point at altitude of 3,650 m is
crossed, followed by a campground, and then after a short descent, a
site with extensive ruins. The name Phuyupatmarka (Cloud-level Town)(poo-yoo-patta-marka)
is applied to both the campground, and the ruins. Howard
Bingham discovered the site, but left most of it covered with
vegetation. The Fejos team named the site, and uncovered the
remainder. Design of the site closely follows the natural contours,
and includes five fountains and an altar, which was probably used
for llama sacrifice.
The trail then descends approximately 1,000 meters including an
irregular staircase of from 1,300 to 1,500 steps, some of which were
carved into solid granite. Vegetation becomes more dense, lush, and
"jungle" like with an accompanying increase in butterfiles and birds.
A second Incan tunnel is along this section of trail.
Intipata.Even before passing through the tunnel there are views down
to the Urubamba River, the first since leaving the river at
Patallacta. The number of these views increases. After the tunnel
the town of Aguas Calientes can be seen, and trains running along
the river can be heard. As the trail nears Intipata, it affords
views of the "Two Day" Inca Trail (aka "Camino Real de los Inkas" or
"One Day Inca Trail"). A small spur of the trail leads
directly to Wiñay Wayna, while the main route continues to Intipata.
Intipata (sunny place aka Yunkapata) is a recently uncovered
extensive set of argicultural terraces which follow the convex shape
of the terrain. Potatoes, maize, fruit, and sweet potato were grown
Winaywayna, showing upper and lower structuresThe name Wiñay Wayna (forever
young) (win-yay-way-na) is used to refer to both a hostel–restaurant–camp
site and a set of Inca ruins. Two groups of major architectural
structures, a lower and upper, are set among multiple agricultural
terraces at this concave mountainside site. A long flight of
fountains or ritual baths utilizing as many as 19 springs runs
between the two groups of buildings.
From Wiñay Wayna the trail undulates along below the crest of the
east slope of the mountain named
Machu Picchu. The steep stairs
leading to Intipunku (sun gate) are reached after approximately 3
km. Reaching the crest of this ridge reveals the grandeur of the
ruins of Machu Picchu, which lie below. A short downhill walk is the
final section of the trail.
INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU TOURS
Inca a Trail 2 days
trip has some of the
same elements as our 4-day
Inca Trail with one
exception: We will start
our journey by train
Cusco at 06:20 hs we
will start our hike from
km 104, spending until
arrive to the ruins of
Inca Trail 4 days
up from your Hotel early
in the morning, we start
our journey in Chilca (km
82 in the Sacred Valley),
the start of the Inca
Trail. Here, we meet
with the porters and
cooks who will accompany
us during our journey.
Mon-Fri 9 Am - 6 Pm ET
please allow pop-ups
Wednesday, March 25th 2015
Hi Mr. YenSeng Yong
We wanted to thank you for the wonderful trip you organized for my
family, it was an excellent job, and as ...
Monday, February 9th 2015
We would like to thank you for organzing for us a great trip, we enjoyed
the tours, everyday was an adventure and it was more than ...
Saturday, January 17th 2015
We had a fantastic trip!!! We can't thank you enough, and because of you
we are inviting to others ...
Wednesday, December 03rd
Hi Yen Seng,
I just want to say how fantastic this trip was. All of the hotels
exceeded our expectations and every time we were to be picked up ...
Friday, November 21st
We want to thank you for the amazing experience we had in the tour
Date: Thursday, October 23rd 2014
We are home and we like to use the opportunity to thank you for
Throughout our planning...
Date: Sunday, October 05th 2014
Luis, I just wanted to
say thank you for a wonderful Peruvian experience. We all had an
amazing time through all the tours...
Date: Tuesday, September 30th 2014
Hi Yenseng. Just
wanted to let you know that we had a really awesome trip. Everything
was so well organized and scheduled that we were able ...
Date: Thursday, August 28th 2014
Hello Luis, I am
writting to you to share my opinion about our stay in your Country.
First of all, I want to thank you for your assistance in preparing
our beautiful trip...
Date: Saturday, July 12th 2014
Hi Luis, First of all
I want to thank you for putting together a great tour. We had a
Date: Tuesday, Jun 24th 2014
Dear Yenseng, we had a
wonderful trip to Peru. Thank you so much. Unforgettable time! ...
Date: Saturday, Jun 07th 2014
Thank you very much
for organizing our exciting trip to Peru. Everything was flawless
and we enjoyed our trip tremendously...
Date Thurday, May 28th 2014
Thank you for the
follow-up email. My friend and I enjoyed our trip immensely! The
various tours were well organized and nicely presented...
Date : Thurday, May 28th 2014
We had a great time in
Peru. And your staff and service was fantastic.
We really appreciated the personalised pick-ups from the hotels...
Date: Sunday, May 18th 2014
This is Alina- nice to
write to you again. Recently we came back from our long five
Date: Tuesday; May 13th 2014
Thank you for making
our trip so wonderful and accommodating. Our tour guide in Machu
Picchu was wonderfully entertaining and informative...
Margaret and Roy
Date: Monday, April 9th, 2014
We have returned to
Australia from our trip to Peru and Chile. We would like to thank
you very much...
Read More testimonials... »