Custom dates are available every month except February (when the trail closes for archaeological/ecological maintenance).
To inquire on a custom date, please contact us!
All 2022 & 2023 Group Trip Dates below:
- April 3, 2023
- April 21, 2023
- May 8, 2023
- May 19, 2023
- June 23, 2023
- July 7, 2023
- July 17, 2023
- August 11, 2023
- September 15, 2023
- October 6, 2023
- November 10, 2023
- December 8, 2023
To inquire on a custom date, please contact us!
6 Days / 5 Nights (hiking on the Inca Trail for 1 Day)
5 Nights in Hotels*
*choose between 3.5 Star, 5 Star, or 5+ Star hotel package options
MAX. GROUP SIZE
No Maximum Group Size
(Private Closed Groups: 24 people)
Average Guest-to-Guide Support Ratio: 8:1
Activities: Express route hike of the Inca Trail for a total of around 6 hours of trekking. (total trekking distance: ~7.3 miles / ~11.7 km)
Inca Trail Express Map
Day 1: Arrival in Cusco, Peru
Bienvenidos a Peru! Upon arrival at Cusco International Airport, you will be greeted by a member of our team. Experience the scenery and history in the beautiful capital city of Cusco as you are then transported to your hotel. This afternoon and evening, after settling in to your hotel, you will have free time to explore this extraordinary high-altitude city (~11,000 feet / ~3,350 meters above sea level). Later, you will enjoy dinner with a special VIP guest at one of our favorite restaurants in Cusco. Additionally, your guide will coordinate with you to provide a detailed pre-trek Inca Trail briefing on Day 1.
Day 2: Cusco Tour
Today is your first full day in Peru! Following a delicious breakfast, you will set out to explore Cusco on a private half-day van/walking tour. During this tour, you will be able to truly experience the sights, sounds, and main attractions of one of South America’s most impressive cities (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The tour will take you to visit the heart of this city and its emblematic highlights. You will travel by van to explore the archaeological sites at Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, and Q’enqo, and will travel by foot to the Cusco Cathedral and the incredible Qorikancha temple.
On your tour, you will undoubtedly be struck by the unlikely yet intriguing intersection of antiquity and modernity in this ancient capital city of the Inca Empire, as fashionable Cusqueñans share the sidewalk with rural campesinos on busy avenues and plazas, the latter often dressed in traditional garb and sometimes leading parcel-laden alpacas or donkeys.
Following this tour, you will have the afternoon and evening to explore the city on your own. Later, for lunch and dinner, you will be able to experience the gastronomy of the city at your leisure, at restaurants of your choosing.
Day 3: Sacred Valley Tour
After breakfast you will enjoy a full-day tour of Maras, Moray, and Ollantaytambo and enjoy a restaurant or picnic lunch. In the evening, you will have dinner and rest up before you embark on the Inca Express trail tomorrow. Join us as we ride to the Sacred Valley to begin our full-day guided tour at Moray, where you will have the privilege of exploring one of the earliest agricultural experimental “labs” in existence on the planet.
It is believed that the beautiful and elegantly constructed descending circular terraces were used to support a variety of microclimates, encouraging the growth of specific crops that are attuned to each climate. We’ll next enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. We’ll shortly arrive in Maras, famously known for its spectacular mountainside salt ponds. Here residents “mine” 3,000 bright white and multicolored salt ponds, which are divided among local families. You will be able to observe the saltpans from a viewpoint and taste the famous Maras salt, known for its beneficial health properties. You’ll get a glimpse into a lifestyle very different from your own, as you learn about the techniques used to extract this mineral-rich condiment. In the afternoon, we’ll head to Ollantaytambo, a town that still retains the original street planning set in place by the Incas centuries ago. Climb the ancient stone steps of the archeological Inca fortress, which is arranged as a series of terraces and platforms with amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
Day 4: Inca Trail Express Hike
After breakfast, we will meet our private transportation and head to the town of Ollantaytambo, where we’ll board the train. The train will chug alongside the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley; we’ll see a noticeable change in our surroundings as we enter the verdant and misty cloud forest of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary.
We’ll disembark at KM104 and cross a hanging bridge that spans the mighty river, and visit the ruins of Chachabamba, which is believed to have been a spiritual center dedicated to water deities. Now it’s a 3-hour ascent to a second important spiritual center, Wiñay Wayna. These ruins are built into a steep slope on the way up to the Sun Gate. After we explore for a bit, we’ll cut across the ridge above Machu Picchu to reach Inti Punku, Gate of the Sun. This is a dramatic moment, as we look down on the magnificent Machu Picchu ruins spread out far below, gaining a glimpse into a mystical, forgotten world. We’ll spend the night in a hotel in the village of Machu Picchu.
Daily trekking distance: approximately 7.3 miles / 11.7 kilometers (i.e. ~6 hours of hiking)
Day 5: Machu Picchu Tour
Now that you have experienced the beautiful Inca Trail, you will hike Huayna Picchu in the morning which will be followed by lunch. Then you will have time to explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu (7,972 feet / 2,430 meters above sea level) on a three-hour guided tour. As part of the enhanced experience, you will do the Circuit 2 tour route (the longer route through the citadel). Having the privilege of wandering the various sectors and entering some of the houses and temples will really bring this iconic site to life and leave you with a sense of reverence and awe for what the Inca were able to achieve so long ago. This will be followed by an option of either a standard scenic train ride or a luxury train ride on the Hiram Bingham to Ollantaytambo Station. From there, you will be transported by private vehicle to your hotel in Cusco.
Day 6: Final Day in Peru
Today you will enjoy your last morning in Peru before being transferred by private vehicle from your hotel to Cusco International Airport for your flight home.
Please contact us for a complete detailed itinerary.
Read what our clients are saying about this once-in-a-lifetime Machu Picchu tour:
For the nights before and after the trekking Inca Trail Express, you can relax in the comfort and luxury of 5+ Star premium accommodations – featuring some of the finest resorts in Peru. Alternatively, 5 Star and 3.5 Star hotel packages can be reserved instead (see below).
5+ Star Accommodations
Belmond Palacio Nazarenas | Cusco, Peru
Bedding down in a former convent isn’t necessarily what you might expect. Lovingly restored, 17th-century architecture gives each artistic room and suite a distinctly colonial feel. Recline on a four-poster bed splashed with hand-embroidered silk coverlets. Bathe beneath hand-painted frescos using soap perfumed by the Palacio’s own flowers. Some suites feature original Inca stonework; others boast balconies with hypnotic views of Cusco’s distant, mist-wrapped mountains. Hotel website
Sol y Luna | Urubamba, Peru
Each of their forty-three casitas is surrounded by gardens filled with flora native to the Sacred Valley and all face the Andes Mountains where the Incas believed their gods dwelled. Within each sanctuary, an outdoor terrace leads into the high ceilinged living space with terra cotta tile floors and some of our favorite Sacred Valley artifacts, Spanish colonial style furniture, a king size bed or two double beds made with goose feather duvets and Peruvian pima cotton sheets, and a spacious marble bathroom with deep soak bathtub. Hotel website
Belmond Sanctuary Lodge | Aguas Calientes, Peru
Sitting in the shadows of the Lost City, our lodge is an oasis of calm before or after a day exploring Machu Picchu. Unwind with a yoga session, take part in a traditional shaman ceremony in the garden, or sip muña tea in the Tampu Bar. Tranquility, wonder and beauty are at the heart of our unique experience. Cool botanical fabrics are offset by cherry-colored woods. King-sized beds provide space to unwind. Outside your windows, the mountains ripple into the distance.Signature dishes like a Jungle Landscape salad or Sacred Valley grilled trout evoke the Andean setting. Take a seat and let our authentic menu kickstart your Peruvian adventure. Hotel website
5 Star Accommodations
Palacio del Inka | Cusco, Peru
One of the finest hotels in Peru and part of Starwood Resorts’ Luxury Collection, the Palacio del Inka is a 16th century mansion once occupied by Gonzalo Pizarro, half-brother of Francisco Pizarro (the Spanish conquistador who conquered Peru).
Located in the heart of Cusco, Palacio del Inka is walking distance to shopping, restaurants, and museums. It is also located across from the Koricancha, the most sacred temple in the Inca Empire. The spacious rooms are exquisitely appointed, combining Peruvian art, handcrafted furnishings, as well as state-of-the-art technology. The on-site restaurant, Inti Raymi, serves particularly authentic Andean specialties, with ingredients organically grown in the Sacred Valley. Take advantage of the full service spa that draws on the ancient healing mysticism of the Andes. Hotel website
Tambo del Inka | Urubamba, Peru
Escape to a luxurious and mystical journey at Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa. This hotel in Peru is nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley and stands as a doorway to the vast cultural richness of this region. You’ll love lingering in your elegantly designed hotel room or suite with mesmerizing views of the Andes and the Vilcanota River from a private balcony. Savor the dining options available, with on-site restaurants featuring organic ingredients and local products. Hotel website
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo | Aguas Calientes, Peru
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is an intimate Andean village with terraced hills, waterfalls, stone pathways and 83 whitewashed adobe casitas tucked away in the cloud forest. The property has 12 acres of exquisite natural beauty, where 214 bird species – such as the golden-headed quetzal and the iconic Andean cock-of-the-rock – as well as the world’s largest native orchid collection (372 species) have been registered. The hotel also features an on-site restaurant overlooking the river, as well as a relaxing spa and sauna.
Additionally, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Resort was rated the #3 hotel in Central and South America in Travel and Leisure’s 2015 World’s Best Awards. Hotel website
★★★ – ★★★★
3.5 Star Accommodations
Novotel | Cusco, Peru
The centrally located Novotel Cusco hotel is the perfect base for exploring this historic city and the surrounding area. The colonial and modern architecture continues in the spacious rooms, which offer free wifi. Relax under the shade of the canopy on the patio of this old colonial house while sipping coca tea. Hotel website
Casa Andina Premium Valle Sagrado Hotel & Villas | Urubamba, Peru
The hotel is located in the Sacred Valley of Cusco. It’s only a 30-minute bus drive away from the City of Cusco. It’s a cozy environment in the middle of the Urubamba Valley. Ideal if you want to relax and be close to the main tourist attractions of the valley. Alma Restaurant & Bar offers a breakfast buffet and a wide range of dishes. The hotel has games for children and they can also feed the sheep. The hotel organizes “pachamancas” [traditional Peruvian dish made with the aid of hot stones, of lamb, mutton, pork, chicken or guinea pig, marinated in spices]. Hotel website
El Mapi | Aguas Calientes, Peru
Step into the smart, contemporary and cozy confines of El Mapi, amidst the picturesque Machu Picchu Pueblo. Discover an efficient, lively and friendly atmosphere, welcoming guests expecting an unfussy, down-to-earth break. The flowing lobby creates a sense of vitality. Lofty ceilings, panoramic windows and an open café allow natural light to filter between tall eucalyptus dried branches, creating an ambience of order and wellbeing. Relax in a pleasant and wholesome ambience after your enlightening visit to Peru’s most famous destination: the Machu Picchu archaeological site! Hotel website
Personal Attention Before Your Classic Machu Picchu Adventure
No other travel operator in the industry gives as much personalized attention to clients before their Inca Trail express tour as we do. We are deeply involved in the pre-planning process by offering multiple calls in the months leading up to the departure date. This allows you to directly communicate with us about trip preparation, experience, and training, as well as ask any questions you may have about the trip.
Additionally, our experienced support team handles all the details of your in-country transportation, lodging, meals, tours, permits, and other activities. We also provide a comprehensive pre-departure information package that includes trip details, necessary forms, and a packing list.
Extraordinary Hotel Options
At The Explorer’s Passage, we understand that a comfortable and relaxing stay is an essential aspect of any travel experience. That’s why we are proud to offer some of the best hotel options that Peru has to offer. Our hotels in Cusco, Sacred Valley, and Aguas Calientes boast some of the finest rooms, amenities, and services available, ensuring that our clients have a memorable and enjoyable stay. We take great care in selecting only the best hotels for our clients, with a focus on comfort, convenience, and exceptional service. With our three levels of hotel star packages, we guarantee that you will find the accommodation that best suits your needs and preferences. From luxurious and upscale hotels to charming and cozy lodges, we have something for everyone.
Sustainability and Responsible Trekking
The Explorer’s Passage is a proud member of Sustainable Travel International, a partner/supporter of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, as well as a supporter of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST). In addition to ‘Leave No Trace’ principles, the concepts of sustainability and responsible trekking are at the forefront of each Inca Trail tour. As part of this commitment, we take several actions such as reducing the usage of single-use plastic, carrying back all our waste, powering equipment with portable solar panels, and using biodegradable soaps. Additionally, we give priority to using organic, locally-sourced ingredients in our meals, composting food scraps, and minimizing disturbances to wildlife and the Sacred Valley communities. We also strictly prohibit the collection of plants, rocks, or other items along the trail, and only follow authorized paths to prevent any harm or damage to archaeological and cultural sites, thereby preserving them for future generations.