“It is not down in any map; true places never are.”
“There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it.”
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”


Ideal for photographers and families with younger kids, this version of the Inca Trail hike moves at a slightly slower pace.  While following the same trail as the classic 4-day trek, we will stop at alternative campsites to avoid crowds and have more time to enjoy the amazing scenery.   This version also gives you a night at a hotel in Aguas Calientes so you can shower and clean up for an additional entry to Machu Picchu on day 5.   

As with the classic Inca trail, access to this trek is strictly limited and requires a ticket to be purchased roughly 6 months in advance.  It is impossible to hike this trail without a licensed guide and the daily number of hikers allowed on the trail is limited to 500.   First Step Expeditions does NOT guarantee any Inca Trail hike availability.


  • We will pick you up from Cusco at 6:00 am from your hotel. After a stop in Ollantaytambo for breakfast and supplies, we will drive to the official beginning of the Inca Trail: Kilometer 82.
  • We will cross the Urubamba River to begin our trek. We will pass a few Inca sites during our first three-hour hike to get lunch.
  • After lunch, we will hike for another two hours until we reach the first night’s campsite at Huallabamba, a small community where you will have an opportunity to purchase drinks, snacks, or supplies and interact with our F.S.E staff and locals. Dinner will be prepared at the campsite.

Walking Distance: 11km/6.8miles (6 hours)
Elevation: 2750m/9022ft to 3,000m/9,900ft
Difficulty: Moderate (up and down hill)
Weather: Mild/warm while walking; cold at night


  • After breakfast, we will hike to Huayllababa village and continue on until the lunch stop.
  • After lunch, we continue walking for another 3 hours, passing the high Inca Jungle until we arrive to our campsite.

Walking Distance: 10k/7.94miles(7 hours)
Elevation: 3000m/10,925ft to 3800m/13,829ft to 
Difficulty: Challenging to Difficult (altitude and terrain)
Weather: Cold in the morning; warm while walking; cold at night. Always a chance of rain.


  • This day will be the most challenging day, but also the most gorgeous of the Inca Trail.  We will begin early with breakfast and coca tea before hiking  for two hours to the highest pass of the trek – Dead Woman pass. 
  • At the top of the pass, we will stop for a short break before setting off again to descend for an hour and a half to the next valley (Pacaymayu Valley).
  • After another quick break, we will begin ascending to the second pass. From there, we will walk downhill to the magnificent Inca site, Sayacmarca. We will take our time exploring before descending to our lunch spot.
  • After lunch, we will hike for about 2 hours on what we like to call the “Indiana Jones Path.” This path will take us to the last peak of Phuyupatamarka (Town in the Clouds) which is our last campsite.
  • From here, we will get our first views of Machu Picchu Mountain, but the site itself will still be hidden from view. 

Walking Distance: 14km/11.2miles (10 hours)
Elevation: 3800m/11,811ft to 4,215m/13,829 feet
Difficulty: Challenge, (mostly altitude, but many stairs)
Weather: Chilly morning; mild/warm while walking; cold at night


  • After breakfast, we will descend into the cloud forest for 3 hours passing by other amazing Inca sites along the way.
  • Once we arrive for lunch, we are going to say “hasta luego” to our incredible staff* before we continue with our journey to Machu Picchu. 
  • After seeing Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate, we will walk or take the bus to Aguas Calientes where we will spend our night at the hotel with hot shower.
  • We will meet for dinner together.

*Note: We like to enjoy our last lunch feast with the porters and chefs. It’s an Inca Trail tradition to organize a ceremony this day for the chefs and porters to thank them for their help during the trek (if you wish to provide tips for them, you can do so at this time. Please see our notes on tipping here.)

It is also advisable to go to bed fairly early this night to get up for the sunrise over Machu Picchu.

Walking Distance: 10 km/6.8miles (7 hours)
Elevation: 3800m/11,811ft to 2000 m /
Difficulty: Moderate (up and down hill)
Weather: Mild/warm while walking; cold at night


  • Today is a highlight of the trek. Waking up early, we will meet at the bus station to try to take the first bus up to Machu Picchu city. 
  • Once we enter the citadel, you will have a 2 hour guided walking tour.
  • After the tour, you will have the opportunity to climb Huayna Picchu mountain (must be reserved in advance for an additional fee) or explore the city at your own pace.
  • When you are finished, you will take the bus back to Aguas Calientes where you will take the train back to your hotel in Cusco. 

Walking Distance: Varied! You can see as much of Machu Picchu as you like.
Elevation: 2400m/7,847feet
Difficulty: Moderate – Machu Picchu is very large with a lot of stairs.
Weather: Warm/Humid – always a chance of rain.

  • Private transportation
  • Private, English speaking guide
  • All entrance fees and permits
  • Drop off at your hotel in Cusco
  • All meals as listed (can accommodate dietary restrictions with proper notice)
  • Bus ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
  • Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Clean water at every meal stop
  • Tents – 2 people/tent (single occupancy available for additional charge.)
  • Sleeping Mat
  • Duffel bags for items to be carried by porters (up to 15lbs/7kilos per person).
  • Accommodation at a 3 star hotel in Aguas Calientes.
  • Basic First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Breakfast – Day one
  • Lunch and Dinner – Day 5
  • Walking sticks (available for rent)
  • Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain climb (can be reserved in advance available for additional fee of $65 per person)
  • Sleeping Bag (can be rented for $30)
  • Alcoholic Beverages of any kind
  • Travel insurance
  • Tax
  • Tips for the guide, cook, and porters (please see our guide on tipping here)

Total Walking Distance: 45km/28miles
Elevation: Minimum: 2600m/8,530 feet Maximum: 4215m/13,829feet
Difficulty: Challenging/Difficult (high altitude, varied terrain)
Weather: Cold in the mornings and at night. Can be warm during the day while hiking. Always a chance of rain so please be prepared!



Price based on double occupancy at three star hotels. Requests for alternative accommodations will be honored for an additional fee.

Optional Extras:
Walking sticks: $12
Sleeping bag: $30
Huayna Picchu OR Machu Picchu Mountain Climb: $65

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