How long is the hike to Machu Picchu?

The Inca Trail is one of the 5 best walks in the world and Machu Picchu is the end point of this amazing journey. This hiking trail is the most amazing way to have the first sight of the Wonder of the World, as the Incas did almost 600 years ago.So How long is the hike to Machu Picchu?

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Description of the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:

The total distance of the road is approximately 39.6 km and starts at Km. 82 in the place called Pisqacucho. To start the road you should cross a bridge, then go to the left side through a eucalyptus orchard and start the day calmly.

First Day

Almost immediately you will find the archaeological complexes of Q’ente, Pulpituyoc, Kusichaca and Patallaca. From that last point you will continue along the left bank of the Kusichaca River in the area with the same name where you will not only see the bridge but also find tombs, aqueducts, terraces, roads and a canyon. You will continue until you reach the small town of Wayllabamba and Inca aqueducts. It takes around 4 hours to reach 9 km from this point. One will camp there the first night.

Second Day

The second day is more difficult, because the walker will have to climb up to 4,200 meters, crossing the Warmiwañusqa pass, the first and the highest. If you suffer from “soroche” (altitude sickness) it is best not to stop or descend quickly to the valley of the Pakaymayu river, where you can camp. This place is 7 km away and it is approximately 8 hours away.

Third day

The third day is the longest but the most interesting. You will be ready to visit the most impressive complexes like Runkuraqay, the second step at 3,800 meters above sea level, its complex mocked with niches that perhaps were a small place to rest, guard posts and places dedicated to worship after crossing the Second step you descend to Yanacocha (The Black Lagoon) to then climb a path with stone steps until you reach another group of buildings which attract the attention of visitors.

This point is called Sayaqmarka a pre-Hispanic complex with narrow streets, buildings erected on different levels; sanctuaries, canals and an exterior protection wall. At the top of the buttresses one can observe many constructions which lead to suppose that once it was a temple and an astronomical observatory, which had a permanent supply of water and excellent food stores.

Sayaqmarka is a place full of mystery and charm the approximate distance to Runkuraqay is 5 Km. Which takes 2 hours. This complex extends to 3,600 meters above sea level. There is an excellent path and a tunnel through this complex. We recommend camping near the ruins of Phuyupatamarca or 3 km further on in the visitor center of Wiñay Wayna, where one can buy food and drinks or use hygienic services. The ruins of Phuyupatamarca are better preserved than we have seen before now.

Fourth day:

On the fourth day, which starts very early,  the walker arrives at Machupicchu. After 8 km of hiking through the jungle. Follow the designated route and drink some water at the Wiñay Wayna Visitor Center. The trail is clearly marked but try to avoid getting too close to the edge of the cliff.

It is forbidden to camp in Inti punku. You will leave your equipment at the control gate and enjoy the most important monument of this part of the continent. You will have time to visit Machupicchu until noon. Check the train schedule to return to Cusco.

If you plan to stay in the town of Machu Picchu (also called “Aguas Calientes“) The distance from the station to the bridge ruins to Machupicchu is 2 km . This takes about 20 minutes down a narrow path, which goes parallel to the line.

Now you now how long and what you will see during your visit at Inca Trail.

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