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Experience the Lost City of the Incas. Machu Picchu is a masterpiece of art, architecture and engineering and the most spectacular relic of the Incan Empire. Set at nearly 8,000 feet in the Andes Mountains above the Amazon Basin, it was built in AD 1430, but abandoned a hundred years later during the Spanish conquest. In 1911, the American historian Hiram Bingham traveled to Machu Picchu, which was then home to several farming families, and made it known to the outside world. Our full-service trek begins in Cusco, the ancient Incan capital, then follows the classic Inca Trail into the lush, emerald heights of the Andes.


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Machu Picchu and Classic Inca Trail • 8 Days

We begin our journey in the bustling city of Cusco, which was once the capital of the Incan Empire and is now known for its Spanish colonial architecture, lively markets and ancient ruins. Before setting out on the Inca Trail, we take a guided tour through Cusco’s history and culture. We also devote a day to beautiful Urubamba, the “Sacred Valley,” at 9,400 feet. Our guided tour of Urubamba helps us acclimatize for our trek to Machu Picchu while we explore the archaeological sites, markets and other attractions of this scenic valley just below the snow-capped peak of Ch’iqun.

The trek to Machu Picchu starts in the village of Piscacucho beside the rapids of the Urubamba River. For the next three days, we follow the classic Inca Trail as it winds past waterfalls and lakes, traverses spectacular ridges, and climbs into the cloud forest across two passes higher than 13,000 feet. With the support of mules, we are free to walk lightly and easily before relaxing each night with fresh, nutritious meals in our comfortable tented camps. Finally, we wake before sunrise and descend 1,500 stone steps through the Gateway of the Sun into Machu Picchu itself. Known in Quechua as “Old Peak,” Machu Picchu was never destroyed by Spanish conquistadors. Home to over 200 structures and an extensive networks of canals, roads, trails and farming terraces, the ancient city is still an explorer’s dream.

“The trip was great! This was my first experience with camping/hiking/trekking of any kind, and our guide from Inka Trail to Machu Picchu, made the experience so amazing and doable for a beginner like me! I can’t say enough great things about the porters and the cook, who worked so hard every night to make sure I was well fed, even with my dietary restrictions I’ll never forget the amazing things I saw in Peru and the other people I met on the trail. Thanks so much for all your help in making this happen for us! Machu Picchu has always been a dream of mine and this was such a rewarding way to experience it.” ~ Valerie L, June 2015

Trek Highlights

  • Explore the most famous ruins of the Incan Empire
  • 8 days exploring Peru
  • 4 days trekking to Machu Picchu
  • 4 nights in Cusco, including breakfast
  • Co-led by a Peruvian guide and an American guide
  • Ample time to acclimatize while trekking at your own pace
  • Fully supported trek with mule service
  • Cozy tent camps and excellent meals while trekking
  • Guided tours of Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
  • Land transportation and airport transfers
  • Friendly MG office staff will help you prepare for your adventure

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Cusco
Day 2 • Tour Sacred Valley
Day 3 • Tour Cusco
Day 4 • Huayllabamba
Day 5 • Dead Woman’s Pass • 13,828 ft
Day 6 • Cloud Level • Phuyupatamarka
Day 7 • Machu Picchu • 7,972 ft
Day 8 • Depart

Machu Picchu Inca Trail

Trek begins and ends in Cusco, Peru

Day 1 • Arrive Cusco • 11,200 feet

Arrive Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ), Peru. After checking into our hotel located a short walk from the Plaza De Armas, you’ll have time explore the center of Cusco on your own and visit the local Cathedrals and markets. We will meet for an orientation in the late afternoon.

Accommodations: Hotel in Cusco

Day 2 • Sacred Valley • 9,400 feet

Today we visit the Urubamba Valley, the “Sacred Valley,” below the snow-capped mountain Ch’iqun. Our day in the valley at 9,400 feet offers us a chance to begin acclimatizing for our approaching trek while we stroll through markets, enjoy local food, and explore ruins such as the ancient Incan palace Quispiguanca. Return to Cusco.

Accommodations: Hotel in Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Day 3 • Cusco

After breakfast, we offer a half-day city tour as well as a visit to the historical site of Sacsayhuaman. In the afternoon you’ll have time to organize your gear and explore Cusco on your own before we embark on our journey to Machu Picchu.

Accommodations: Hotel in Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Day 4 • Piscacucho • Huayllabamba

We depart from our hotel in Cusco early in the morning and drive to Piscacucho, where we begin our trek at 9,000 feet on the Urubamba River. We hike along the rivers and over hills with wonderful views of mountains and Incan ruins until we arrive at the village of Huayllabamba, just below 3,000 meters, or 9678 feet.

Altitude Ascent: 1,300 feet
Altitude Descent: 700 feet
Trekking Time: 4 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Huayllabamba • Dead Woman’s Pass • Pacaymayo

In the morning, our trail starts on the banks of the river and then gradually steepens as we make our way into high elevation forests. We enjoy excellent views of a beautiful waterfall along the way. The trail ascends through successive ecological zones, including a cloud forest of Polylepis trees, as we approach Warmiwañusca or “Dead Woman’s” Pass at 13,780 feet. The pass is the highest point on the Classic Inca Trail. We descend to our camp at Pacaymayo at 10,991 feet where we enjoy full facilities and a warm, tasty meal.

Altitude Ascent: 4,100 feet
Altitude Descent: 2,800 feet
Trekking Time: 6-7 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 6 • Chaquicocha • Phuyupatamarka

In the morning we begin another ascent, passing a small lake named Laguna Cochapata as we make our way toward a high pass at 13,035 feet. From the pass, the trail descends steeply until we pass another small lake and gain a spectacular view of the Sayaqmarka ruins perched on a sheer rocky spur. A steep, narrow staircase leads up to the ruins. We descend into a small drainage as we pass the glaciated mountain Chaquicocha (16,060’). Then we wind our way through cloud forest with dramatic mountain views through the trees. We pass a long Incan tunnel overlooking the valleys of Urubamba and Aobamba, then arrive in our camp at Ruinas Phuyupatamarka, or “Cloud Level.”

Altitude Ascent: 2,050 feet
Altitude Descent: 1,060 feet
Trekking Time: 5-6 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 7 • Machu Picchu • 7,972 feet

We wake before dawn to begin the final leg of our journey to Machu Picchu! We contour along a mountainside until the sun rises, revealing a panorama of peaks and cloud forest spread out around us. A steep stone staircase leads to our last pass of the trek and our first views of Machu Picchu. We descend through the Gateway of the Sun into the legendary city itself. We are able to dedicate the whole day to exploring this ancient Inca city with our local guide. In the late afternoon, we board a train back to Cusco and transfer to our hotel.

Altitude Descent: 4,600 feet
Trekking Time: 2-3 hours

Accommodations: Hotel in Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Day 8 • Depart Cusco

Transfer to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport for flights home.

Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Itinerary Notes
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic, one that covers the ears.
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Sunglasses: Essential eye protection at altitude.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic short-sleeve shirt.
  • Softshell Jacket: A breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof shell. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Light Insulated Jacket: Light synthetic insulated jacket
  • Poncho: Quick and handy protection for body and rucksack


  • Lightweight Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)

Lower Body

  • Quick Dry Hiking Shorts: One pair. Good for hiking at lower elevations in the mountains.
  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
  • Trekking Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated
  • Hardshell Pants: Bring a good pair of rain/wind pants.


  • Trekking Socks: Six pair synthetic medium weight
  • Hiking Boots or Trekking Shoes: One pair medium weight hiking boots/shoes large enough to be comfortable with your socks.


  • Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag rated to 20ᵒ Fahrenheit.
  • Sleeping Pad: A full-length closed-cell foam or inflatable pad

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 30-liter pack with good support, adequate to carry your personal gear.
  • Liner Bags: Four large plastic contractor bags.

Trekking Gear

  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible.


  • Water Bottle: Two, 1-liter, wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Casual travel clothes
  • Personal snacks: We recommend a mix of sweet and salty whole foods (nuts, dried fruit, dried meat) and energy foods such as Gu, Clif Bars and Shot Blocks
  • Small personal first-aid kit including painkillers, antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea, blister kit, bandaids and any personal prescription medications.
  • Toilet paper and blue bags or wag bags
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Small soap
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Toothbrush / paste
  • Nail trimmers
  • Baby wipes
  • Earplugs
  • Camera


Program Location:
Begins and ends in Cusco, Peru

Visa/Entry Information:
A valid passport is required for American citizens to enter Peru. American citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism.

Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Peru.

Flight Travel Information:
Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ), Cusco, Peru

International Departures:
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in-country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the country’s destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.

Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Machu Picchu Explorer Fitness & Training

Trekking Grade: Intermediate

For this trek, you must be able to hike for 6-8 hours with a 20-pound pack. Good physical fitness is recommended.

Prior to the expedition we recommend running, hiking local peaks, backpacking and trekking to build your strength and stamina for the climb.

Here’s a suggested progression of treks before attempting the Machu Picchu Trek:

  • Mount Fuji, Morocco High Atlas, Mustang Explorer, Everest Base Camp Trek
  • Northwest Climb (Mount Baker), optional

Things you should know about this trip

What can I expect on my Machu Picchu Trek?

We offer an all-inclusive journey to the most famous archaeological site in the Andes, and one of the most spectacular ancient cities in the world. We travel from the vibrant colonial city of Cusco to the scenic Urubamba Valley and then into the mountains for the 4-day trek to Machu Picchu. From the time you touch down in Cusco, all of your land transportation is included. All of your meals are included, except dinners and lunches in Cusco. Your trek will be led by a friendly, experienced Peruvian guide and, on some expeditions, an expert American mountain guide as well. All group trekking gear will be provided, including mule or porter assistance, leaving you free to enjoy the trek while carrying only a light day pack. During our three nights on the trail, we sleep in comfortable tented camps and enjoy warm, freshly prepared, nutritious meals. Your trip fee does not include international travel, your personal gear and some other expenses as listed in the “Details” section of this web page.

Why Mountain Gurus

Since 2008, we have offered world-class Seven Summits expeditions, high-altitude climbs, and specialized treks around the globe from the Himalayas to the Andes, and from the heights of Africa to the rainforests of the Amazon Basin. We make safety our foremost priority. We employ some of the most talented guides in the industry, and we maintain low client-to-guide ratios to ensure that you enjoy the best possible experience. Our business is rooted in environmental and social stewardship. We also offer a wide selection of mountaineering courses and climbs in the Pacific Northwest through our partner company, Northwest Alpine Guides. To learn more about our services, history and philosophy, please visit: Why Mountain Gurus.

How strenuous is this trek?

On the Inca Trail, you will walk for 6 to 8 hours per day with a small day pack. You will gain between 2,000 and 3,000 feet of elevation each day. To enjoy this trek, you should have strong hiking skills and excellent physical fitness.

Who will guide the trek?

Our Machu Picchu Expedition is led by a Peruvian guide who has extensive experience working with our trekking teams, plus several assistant local guides. Occasionally, we offer specialty treks led by an experienced American mountain guide.

Where will we stay?

The trip includes four nights in high quality hotels in Cusco – three at the beginning of the trip and one at the end. While trekking on the Inca Trail, we sleep three nights in cozy tented camps set up by our staff.

What is the best season to trek to Machu Picchu?

The season on the Inca Trail runs from May through September, with the driest weather in June, July and August. The Inca Trail is closed from December through February, when the rainy season brings a persistent downpour that often washes out the trail.

How much will my pack weigh?

During the trek you will carry only the gear you’ll need for each day. Porters or pack animals will carry all your extra clothing items and overnight gear. At no point will you carry camping gear or overnight equipment. For your comfort, your daypack should not weigh more than 15 to 20 pounds.