Nestled in the Andes mountain range in Peru, the Inca Trail is one of the world’s most legendary adventure travel experiences – and can be experienced via a wide number of organised tours.
It’s fair to say that there’s no “easy” way of hiking the Inca Trail. But the myriad of tours available include trips of varying lengths – some including additional activities – helping ensure there’s something to suit every taste, preference and budget. If you’re planning to embark on a magical Inca Trail trek to the 15th-century citadel of Machu Picchu, we’ve picked out a selection of 5 of the best guided group tours currently available.
Trekking the Inca Trail (4 days)
This 4 day, 3 night small-group adventure begins with a 82 kilometre minivan ride from central Cusco – the most popular jumping off point for Inca Trail excursions – to where the trail begins. Over the ensuing days, you’ll hike past rambling rivers, cloud forests, ancient ruins, and scenic mountain views with the guidance and support of porters, cooks, and guides hired from local communities. The terrain is rugged and steep but the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel is unparalleled once you reach Machu Picchu by sunrise. On reaching the iconic site, you’ll enjoy a guided tour before returning to Cusco in the evening where the tour comes to a close. From $688 per person.
Inca Jungle Trek Including Biking, Inca trail, Rafting, Zipline (7 days)
This 7-day tour combines two days of hiking the Inca trail with a range of all-action adventure sports activities including biking, rafting and ziplining. Additionally, it also includes cultural visits to archaeological sites, a tour of the city of Cusco, and a look around a traditional local market, all of which are located away from the trail itself. During the trail section of the trip, after reaching Machu Picchu you’ll be left to descend the site yourself, with the option to enjoy free time in the town of Aguas Calientes at the base of the Andes, home to enticing hot springs that provide the perfect remedy after your hiking exertions, before your return train to Cusco. From $894 per person.
The Lares Trek with One-Day Inca Trail (8 days)
Dedicated hikers can combine the Inca Trail with another of Peru’s most famous hikes, the Lares Trek. Spread over 8 days, you’ll start with a full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley before embarking on your first big hike of the tour on day 3. The high-altitude hike starts near the village of Lares, approximately 40 miles north of Cusco, taking you through the Lares Valley in the east of the Urubamba mountain range, and taking two days. Then, on day six, you’ll head off on a one-day hike of the Inca Trail, culminating with a guided tour of Machu Picchu before travelling back to Cusco by train to end your tour. From $1,027 per person.
Inca Trail & Amazon Adventure (12 days)
Ideal for those with a little more time (and budget), this captivating 12-day tour package takes in everything from vibrant cities to glorious natural wonders, including the Inca trail as well as several other destinations across Peru. You’ll travel from the heady heights of the Andes to the exotic lowlands of the Amazon, getting acquainted with the charm and grace of historic towns before hiking along the ancient pathways of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and discovering the heart and soul of the Inca Empire. Other tour highlights include the chance to see exotic plant and wildlife in the world’s most remarkable jungle, the Amazon. From $1,961 per person.
Lima to Rio: Coast to Coast (51 days)
Almost two months of travel make up this incredible coast to coast adventure for 18 to 30-somethings that takes you from the east to the west coast of South America, with a dazzling number of stop-offs at renowned attractions and places of interest along the way. Among them will be a guided hike of the famous Inca Trail, including a fascinating tour of the landmark’s crowning glory, Machu Picchu. Across the 51 days, you’ll experience so many amazing things, such as crossing the Bolivian Salt Flats, sipping wine in Argentina, and hitting the beach in Brazil, that the memories will last a lifetime – al in the company of other young and like-minded travellers to share it with. From $6,475 per person.