9. From Cusco: Short or Classic Inca Trail Tour
Hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, considered to be one of the best walks in the world and perfect for visitors to Peru who are in search of a good adventure. Follow the ancient path that was traced by the Incas used to connect different cities and temple of the Inca Empire. Choose from 2 options of the tour depending on how much time you have.
Classic Option (4 Days, 3 Nights)
Get picked up from your hotel in Cusco very early in the morning and take a bus to the town of Chilca. Begin your hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. After approximately 3 hours of walking arrive at a beautiful Inca building known as Llactapata in the base of the mountains, where you will stop for lunch. In the afternoon, continue walking towards the first campsite at 3,000 meters, called Wayllabamba. Enjoy dinner at the camp.
Wake up in the early morning. After breakfast, begin the toughest and the most amazing part of the trail, walking towards the highest point of the Inca Trail. Take in the panoramic views and observe different types of microclimates at 4,250 meters. After a 5 hour walk, reach the first pass, called Warmiwañusca or Dead Woman's Pass. Then, continue your walk down to Pacaymayo to each lunch and spend the night at the campsite.
After breakfast, hike towards the second pass of the Inca Trail, at 3,950 meters above sea level. On the way, enjoy the archaeological complex of Runkurakay, Sayacmarca. Stop for lunch at Phuyupatamarca (also known as the Cloud-Level Town). Descend down to one of the most beautiful Inca sites along the trail, Wiñay Huayna (which means Forever Young). Stay overnight nearby and enjoy a small party with the trekking crew at camp.
After breakfast, get up early to watch the sunrise at Inti Punku. After 1.5-hours of walking through the cloud forest, reach the Gate of the Sun, for the most impressive panoramic view of Machu Picchu. Arrival at the citadel for a 2-hour guided tour around the magnificent complex, and then take a bus down to Aguas Calientes. From there, catch a train back, where your adventure will end.
Short Option (2 days, 1 night)
First, depart from Cusco to the train station in Ollantaytambo. Board the train that will take you to the starting point of the hike. Walk for approximately 3 hours until you reach the archaeological complex of Wiñay Wayna. After lunch, explore the houses and terraces, then visit the Inti Punku, the Inca Gate of the Sun. Admire your first views of Machu Picchu, then take the bus to Aguas Calientes, where you will spend the night in a 3-star hotel.
After breakfast, get picked up by your guide at the hotel. Visit Machu Picchu and spend a full day exploring the site. After this incredible visit, return to the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) and take the train bound for the Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival, hop into a car and transfer back to the main square in Cusco where your tour concludes.