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Routes of the Inca Trail and what you need to know about Machu Picchu and its surroundings

Routes of the Inca Trail.- In its epoch of maximum splendor, the Inca Empire extended its power over several countries of the region and for that reason established a gigantic network of roads known as Qhapac Ñan (the Inca or Quechua), which came together Quito (Ecuador) with Tucumán (Argentina) through the Cordillera de los Andes. Our Inca Trail is only a small part of this extensive circuit, which stands out for its incredible landscapes, important archaeological complexes, as well as for its great diversity of flora and fauna.


The Inca Trail has different routes. The most requested is the 45 km (most operators do it in 4 days / 3 nights) that starts in Piscacucho (km 82), near Ollantaytambo, which is reached by train or bus. From this point begins the trek through the creek of the Cusichaca River to the heights of the town of Huayllambamba.

Then it ascends to the Huarmihuañusca (at 4,200 meters above sea level), considered the highest point of the entire road. In this section we will also visit the circular ruins of Runkuracay, as well as an impressive Inca tunnel carved in rock up to a step where you can see snowfalls like Salkantay and Veronica until you reach Puyupatamarca (city of clouds), the Inca ruin Most impressive of the trip. Finally, you will cross a cloud forest with a diversity of flora and fauna until you reach the 50 steps that end in Intipunku (Puerta del Sol or entrance to Machu Picchu).

For those who have less time, there is a 2-day stretch and a night known as the Camino Real de los Incas, which starts at km 104 (Chachabamba) and consists of a four-hour hike to Wiñay Wayna (2,700 masl) and Then pass through the cloud forest before entering Machu Picchu.

Another route demanded by visitors is the one that leaves Qoriwayrachina (km 88), as well as the one that starts at Salkantay.


Because only 500 people per day are allowed, it is advisable to make a reservation 4 or 5 months in advance with an authorized agency. Visit also the web www.machupicchu.gob.pe to know the availability day by day.

The ideal month to visit the Inca Trail is May, since there is little rain and the vegetation is exuberant.

Although the Inca Trail is considered a moderate difficulty hike, there are routes that exceed 4,000 m.s., so it is important to consider a previous acclimatization


The visit to the splendid Machu Picchu is one of those trips that one must make at least once in a lifetime. And in its ruins, considered masterpieces of architecture and engineering, until today the high degree of perfection achieved by its creators is perceived.

Proof of this is the structure that presents this Inca citadel, in which two differentiated zones are distinguished: one agricultural and the other urban, in which temples stand out, such as the three windows, the sun and the condor, as well as a Plaza Mayor, the Intihuatana, the ceremonial rock and the main residence of the Inca.


The fastest and recommended way to get to Machu Picchu Pueblo (or Aguas Calientes) is by train from the stations of Poroy and Ollantaytambo. If you are in Cusco, it is better to take a taxi to Poroy (30 minutes from the city). The cost is approximately S /.30. From here, the trains of the Peru Rail company take about three and a half hours to reach Machu Picchu Pueblo.

It should be noted that Peru Rail has three services: the ultra luxurious Hiram Bingham, as well as the Vistadome (intermediate) and the Expedition (economic). For itineraries and prices visit: www.perurail.com or call: 51-84-581414.

If you decide to take the train from Ollantaytambo (two hours from Cusco and one hour and a half from Machu Picchu Pueblo), in addition to the services of Peru Rail you can choose the Inca Rail company or call: 613-5272.

Peru Rail also offers a car that leaves from Urubamba to Machu Picchu.

Once you get to Machu Picchu Pueblo you have two options to get to the citadel: one is to walk the 8 km to the entrance or take a bus (leave every 15 minutes) from 5:30 am to 3:30 pm.

The prices for the ascent and descent to the sanctuary are US $ 17 for foreign adults and US $ 12 for national adults. Please note that you must present your identity document or passport when buying the ticket.

To enter the sanctuary of Machu Picchu it is recommended to buy the entrance ticket in advance, since the fees are limited.

Once the reservation is made you have six hours to pay at the offices of Banco de la Nación or the Regional Office of Culture of Cusco (cash only)

Become a cultural heritage

On February 2 the request of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru was signed before Unesco so that the route that forms the Qhapac Ñan, of which our Inca Trail forms part, will be considered a Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The application marks a milestone, since it is the first time that six countries in the region have come together in a purpose of this kind, which could become a global symbol by integrating history with a common space that will continue to unite these nations.

It is estimated that Unesco will take a year to respond to this request.

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