“Winding your way across mountain passes & cloud forests on this classic trek, you’ll arrive in Machu Picchu before the day-trippers for a rare glimpse of its full dawn majesty.”
| Cuzco | Inca Trail Trek | Machu Picchu | Tour of Machu Picchu at dawn | Cuzco train | Optional: walking tour of Cuzco, Sacred Valley tour, biking or paddle boarding excursions & Lima
Description of Hiking the Inca trail holiday
The chance to spend four days hiking the Inca Trail is definitely not to be missed with an all-consuming blend of historical sites and stunning mountain scenery adding to the excitement of treading on the fabled stones as they wind their way alongside the banks of the Urubamba en-route to Machu Picchu.
Hiking the Inca Trail takes you past numerous ruined monuments and former Inca strongholds by way of breathtaking stone stairways and ancient stone paths and misty forests draped in clouds, with a couple of early starts ensuring travellers get to see the lost city of the Incas in all its glory and without the crowds.
During the trek we use the campsite overlooking the Phuyupatamarca ruins which is located on a rocky crag surrounded by terraces which has given it the moniker ‘the campsite in the clouds’. Also, as part of the Inca Trail hiking itinerary, we've sourced an excellent team of local trekking guides and porters to head up the hike and get the best pitches for tents and prepare some amazing food at the end of each day as well as waking us up with a hot bed tea each morning.
Offering an unrivalled combination of history and dramatic scenery, the ancient Inca Trail winds its way from the powerful Urubamba River, across mountain passes and through cloud forests, passing several crumbling fortresses before reaching the lost city of Machu Picchu.
As you'd hope from an Inca Trail holiday, maximum safety is given to crossing legendary passes such as Dead Woman's Pass and the Runcuray Pass, with only the very best Inca Trail guides and experienced local tour operators helping to ensure each and every experience is completed with respect for the land and the local people.
Optional activities in Lima, and walking tours around Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, provide excellent additions to hiking the Inca Trail with an alternative Moonstone trekking trail available if all classic Inca Trail permits have been allocated.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
If Inca Trail permits are sold out, consider taking the Moonstone Trek as an alternative - with unexplored ruins & spectacular scenery it's no less breathtaking.
Small group (min age 16)
4 nights in hotel, 4 nights full-service camping
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available at a supplement.
Accommodation, transport, (minibus & plane), local tour guides, Machu Picchu permit & listed activities, listed meals
All breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
Small group holiday
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Hiking the Inca trail holiday
Activity: Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a trekking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. Permits are limited on the Inca Trail in order to reduce overcrowding and damage due to footfall, but our guides and porters are still very mindful of how we treat the environment. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints, although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants and to purchase traditional crafts. Our entry fees also go towards maintenance of these significant cultural sites, therefore leaving a positive impact.
Water: Water is a really important issue with walking trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle. In order to make this easier, we provide treated water throughout the Inca Trail trek. We also recycle waste along the trail with organic and non-organic containers and we do not dispose of it until there is an appropriate place to do so.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation and meals: We will spend half of the nights in small, locally owned hotels and the remaining four nights on the trek in full service campsites. We prefer to use small businesses for our accommodation, activities and services as these are the companies which have most direct benefit to the communities which we visit. All of our hotel managers have signed a sustainability contract which ensures they employ locals and endeavour to reduce waste, whilst our campsites are very eco-friendly in terms of energy reduction. We buy all of our food to cook on the trail from local supermarkets or even indigenous groups where possible despite this sometimes being more expensive. Where meals are not included, clients are encouraged to eat at authentic restaurants or to try snacks at markets e.g. San Pedro market in Cuzco.
Local Craft & Culture: We walk through the Huayllabamba village on the first day, which is the only community inside the trail. They sell produce and various homemade snacks, so by stopping and buying something we are providing an avenue of income for these people. There is also an optional opportunity in the Sacred Valley where clients can eat a traditional meal in the village and buy handicrafts. Our local guides are able to advise clients on which products to buy and which to avoid- for example, walking sticks made of wood are one to avoid as they are potentially a product of deforestation.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.