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Inca Trail 4 days travel guide
The best way to known the Inca Trail 4 days
Cusco - Perú
Nicole Maxdeo
April 23, 2024

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You’ll traverse the Andes to the cloud forest, walking along a marvelous stone-paved path. Discover unique archaeological sites that showcase the Inca’s masterful construction skills, and fall in love with the flora and fauna that transforms as you descend from the high puna at over 4,000 meters to green valleys at 2,600 meters. Ready to fully experience the Inca Trail?

Table of Contents

What is the Inca Trail?

The Incas used the Inca Trail many years ago as a sacred route. In fact, through this trail, the Incas walked for days to reach one archaeological center from another. Additionally, this network of roads traversed several countries such as Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, etc.

Part of

these territories were locations where guides were located and had a presence. Of all these places, Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire, where the great rulers lived. Thanks to the interconnectedness of these roads, various trades, communication between rulers, transportation, etc., were possible.

Where is the Inca Trail located?

This route is located in Ollantaytambo-Cusco and this trail has 2 starting points: The first at kilometer 82 of the train line between Ollantaytambo, which is the 4 days one and the other at kilometer 104, which is the 2 days one.

Climate on the Inca Trail

In most hikes and places located in the mountains, the weather tends to be unpredictable. If it's sunny now, it's very likely to cloud up later. Experts generally recommend always being ready for some rain.

Being in the middle of the forest and cloud forest, the Inca Trail tends to have humid climates; it may be hot during the day but also windy at night.

 

What we can see on the Inca Trail

Salapunku

This is the first archaeological site within the trail. It is generally not a place of much interest, so tourists only stop to take photos.

K'anabamba

This archaeological site, designed for travelers to rest, is located after crossing the bridge beyond the Inca Trail checkpoint.

Willkarakay

It focuses on the upper part of Llaqtapata and has a circular construction.

Runkurakay

As one advances on the Inca Trail, one encounters this archaeological site. It is believed that messengers traveling used these ruins as a resting place.

Sayakmarca

Experts believe that this archaeological center served military purposes and is located amidst cloud forests.

Phuyupatamarca

On the third day of trekking, it earns the moniker "The city above the clouds" for its position atop the mountain.

Wiñaywayna

This is the most famous site and the most requested camp as it is very close to the Sun Gate that leads to Machu Picchu. It has water sources and cultivation terraces.

Intipunku

Known as the Sun Gate, a checkpoint to enter Machu Picchu.

Flora of the Inca Trail

In Machu Picchu and on the Inca Trail, the native flora of humid places is very popular. Among these species are orchids, ferns, shrubs, and vascular flora. There are approximately 50 species of trees per hectare.

Fauna of the Inca Trail

Researchers have detected species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds in this area. There are animals such as llamas, giant hummingbirds, Andean cock-of-the-rocks, and occasionally the famous Andean bear.

Is it possible to do the Inca Trail on your own?

However, the answer is NO. The network of Inca roads is in the process of preservation, so the Ministry of Culture regulates access to this sacred center. Moreover, experts generally recommend being always ready for some rain.

Is hiking the Inca Trail difficult?

The truth is that it depends on factors such as acclimatization, physical preparation, among others. Additionally, many consider it challenging due to numerous climbs, such as the stretch to Dead Woman's Pass on the second day of trekking or the viewpoint of Phuyupatamarca. While there are no extreme altitudes causing breathing difficulties or altitude sickness, the climbs remain challenging for those not accustomed to them.

 

Ideal 4-day Inca Trail Tour

  • Day 1 | Ollantaytambo - Piscacucho (km-82) - Tarayoc - Wayllabamba
    Start of the route, here we begin with a slight ascent towards Cusichaca, we visit Willkarakay, Llactapata, and spend the night in Wayllabamba.
  • Day 2 | Wayllabamba - Abra Warmi Huañusca - Pacaymayo
    Day of challenges, we ascend to the Dead Woman's Pass. We descend to sleep in Pacaymayo.
  • Day 3 | Pacaymayo - Runcuracay - Phuyupatamarca - Wiñay Wayna
    We will reach 2 passes today: Runcuracay and Phuyupatamarca. We will visit the Wiñaywayna complex; place of our camp.
  • Day 4 | Wiñay Wayna - Inti Punku - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes - Cusco
    Final day of the trek! We wake up and embark early to the Sun Gate or Inti Punku. Finally, we will visit the Machu Picchu citadel.

What to pack for the Inca Trail?

  • Original passport, as only with that document can you enter.
  • Hiking shoes or boots with high ankles.
  • A good quality backpack
  • A reusable water bottle since plastic bottles are prohibited on the Inca Trail.
  • Trekking poles to help with uphill or downhill sections.
  • Hats and sunglasses
  • Internal warmers to prevent us from getting very cold at night.
  • Sunscreen</li>
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper
  • Personal medications
  • Camera and extra batteries
  • Snacks
  • Warm jacket
  • Shirts, pants, and underwear

Why will you enjoy the route?

  • You'll have the excitement of visiting the ancient path of the Incas. This hike has a lot of history and living culture.
  • You will visit various archaeological sites along the way, such as Llactapata, Wiñay Wayna, and Inti Punku.
  • You will enjoy a varied flora and fauna
  • You will be able to see Machu Picchu at sunrise.

Get excited and discover the best of history, culture, and scenic beauty with this incredible route. Are you ready?

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