How much doest it cost to Hike the Inca Trail?

For many, going to Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime type of trip. If doing the 4-Day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu and visiting Peru is an adventure you have always wanted to take but you wonder how much does it cost to hike the Inca trail. This trip is within reach and can be customized based on how you prefer to travel! Find out how you can plan your trip based on my one week costs for the 4-day Inca Trail trek and Peru.

The conversion rate at this time was approximately 3.35 soles to $1.00 USD

Peru Costs

$1,263 Airfare

  • If you go to Peru in the off-season you will get much cheaper airfare. This was based on traveling the last weekend of March 2014 through the first week of April from SFO to CUZ. During my flight search, it seemed that most fares in April were similar and then increasing significantly in May. Just note that this will be half your expense for the entire trip.

$340 Accommodation*

  • *This is based on double occupancy. You can significantly reduce this expense based on your preference of accommodation. We stayed in a private room with a bathroom for 1 night at Pariwana Hostel Cusco. The hostel was nice and centrally located to the local markets and the main plaza. The evening we arrived they were hosting a free BBQ for guests. Then we stayed 3.5 nights at Casa Andina Classic – Cusco San Blas. Why the extra .5 night? I was exhausted and feeling ill on our last day, so we rented a hotel room for half the day. Both places also provided free buffet breakfast, which I highly suggest as it will also save you money.

$21 Transportation

  • No matter how much I tried to negotiate the cab fare, we still were over charged. It was 20 soles one-way to the hotel/airport, 8 soles to Saksaywaman and another 5 soles to/from our hotel.

$153 Food & Dining

  • We ate out at some nicer restaurants during our stay in Cusco, like: Pachapapa Marcelo Batata. Food is certainly affordable here and there are smaller restaurants you can try out to reduce your costs.

$11 Tours

  • This was the fee to visit two museums and one church. Our Inca trail friends gave us the remainder of their Cusco Tourist Pass which got us free entry into Sacsayhuaman

Inca Trail Costs

$610 4-Day Inca Trail

  • Find out all the inclusions on the Best Andes Travel website – the only thing I thought would be included is being picked up from our hotels but instead there was a meeting point. Not sure if you can handle 4 days or are you limited on time? They also offer 2-day Inca Trail tours.

$15 Inca Trail Snacks/Drinks

$25 Tip – Inca Trail Guide

$45 Tips – Inca Trail Porters & Chef

$69 Travel Insurance

  • Our Inca Trail tour company required us to purchase travel insurance. I purchased a two week plan for two people from World Nomads.

Total Cost: $2,552

With only 500 people allowed to hike on the Inca Trail each day and 2,500 to enter Machu Picchu per day, it is important to plan far in advance. If you are flexible with your travel dates, it can also help you secure your trip. Originally I wanted to go to Peru at the end of April, but the dates I wanted were booked. The tour company replied with their only available dates, so I was flexible and changed it to end of March – early April. Remember to book with a licensed Inca Trail tour company.

Other ways to save:

  • Purchase a pass for $43 (130 soles) to see a majority of the Sacred Valley sites and museums in Cusco
  • Choose cheaper accommodation and restaurants depending on your preference

Machu Picchu tourism

Touring Machu Picchu, A Once in a Lifetime Trip

Outline

As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is an archeological gem whose beauty and uniqueness makes it one of the most impressive structures in the world. The archeological site offers individuals who have an interest in history and buildings an opportunity to have a glimpse of one of the most complex cultures in Peru’s ancient history. Potential visitors considering Machu Picchu tourism should at least learn some of the interesting history and stories associated with the archeological unicorn.

Location

Machu Picchu is located in Peru in hidden in the Cusco region several thousand meters above sea level and above the Sacred Valley. The hidden location of this Inca city has led to its discovery and lose several times through the years. In fact, Machu Picchu was discovered and then reclaimed by the jungle leading it to be dubbed the ‘lost’ city. In fact, its remote location is linked with the preservation of the beautiful structures from damage by Spanish conquerors in Peru.

History of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is historically significant from the analyses conducted by archeologists and historical experts. It is thought to be an ancient Incan city which features the most complete structures among the numerous ruins all over South America. The Incans or the Inca Empire was the strongest and largest empire in South America. They were technologically advanced and politically developed to the extent that they could build and govern large cities such as Machu Picchu. The complex waterways and architectural design illustrate the sophistication of these people in designing their cities. Machu Picchu is the epitome of ancient South American culture and history. The Inca civilization illustrate that South America had its own political, social and economic structure before the entry of Spaniards into the region. The position that the ancient city holds both in history and architecture are the main factors that have led to the designation of the city as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Thought to be the seat of power for an Incan leader, Machu Picchu is one of the most important historical finds of the 20th century.

Machu Picchu Tourism

While the archeological find has attracted its share of visitors in the past, the recent designation as a world wonder and as a UNESCO heritage site has increased Machu Picchu tourism significantly. Thousands of visitors flock to Peru only to view the grandeur and beauty of the lost city. The obvious economic benefits for the country are an important consideration but more efforts are being considered in order to protect the pristine archeological site. Tourism is great but it can affect the site negatively so that even the Peruvian government is taking measures to limit the number and amount of trips possible to the beautiful tourist site. Tourists are named as the culprits in terms of taking away rocks as souvenirs and climbing rocks for the perfect Instagram photo. Furthermore, there are increased conservation activities given the effect of weather on the structures at Machu Picchu. Despite the negative effects of bad behavior from tourists, Machu Picchu remains a worthwhile place to visit. For Peruvians, Machu Picchu tourism is a great source of income for locals who benefit from tourist dollars. The structures are also a source of national pride and joy given that there is no other comparable structure on earth.

The Perfect Trip

So how do you make your trip to Machu Picchu the perfect, once in a lifetime experience?

  • Book early! With thousands of visitors from all over the world clamoring for an opportunity to visit the site, booking early can eliminate the anxiety of foreign travel. If you are using a travel agency, ensure that they understand that you are interested in visiting Machu Picchu and should therefore make hotel provisions in the towns near the site to ensure that you are able to access the site.
  • Buy your tickets! There are new provisions for ticket purchasing in visiting Machu Picchu. Visitors can only purchase tickets for two time periods. Therefore, you must ensure that you purchase the right ticket for yourself as you are only able to visit during this period. It is also necessary to book these tickets early to ensure that you are not excluded when the number of people is limited.
  • Be on your best behavior! Having the opportunity to view this stunning city should imbue you with the need to preserve this historical structure. Do not deface or take anything away from the site in order to preserve it for future generations. You never know if your great grandchildren will want to view this beautiful city.
  • Plan other activities! Aside from visiting Machu Picchu, there are numerous tourist activities available in Peru. To truly maximize your trip to this beautiful country, you should participate in other activities such as climbing the beautiful Andes mountain ranges, paragliding and even hiking. Machu Picchu can function as the highlight of your trip but you should definitely take advantage of the tourism activities in Peru.

Conclusion

Machu Picchu tourism will only continue to grow in the next few years. The stunning view of this city has to be preserved for future generations to view and appreciated the accomplishments of the ancient Incan society.

Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu has been a great tourist destination for a long time now. Being a UNESCO world heritage site, it features a lot of attraction sites for people from all walks of life. Machu Picchu is the only intact surviving city of Inca in Peru. Being situated at 2360 meters above the sea level, it surely takes you closer to the beauty of nature. We all would naturally want to be in such a place but the question that begs for answers is how to get there. There is no road between Cusco and Machu Picchu. The road exists only up to a point between the two places and that is Ollantaytambo, it is somewhat midpoint and after this, the train is the only mode of transport between the two places.

There are two train companies that provide the train service between Cusco and Machu Picchu. The first one is PeruRail and the second one is Inca Rail. There once existed the third rail company that got merged with the Inca rails, the Machu Picchu Trains. These two companies provide a wide variety of options to choose from for those traveling to Machu Picchu:

PeruRail Trains To Machu Picchu:

Thes trains provide the customers with three departure points – Cusco, at Urubamba, and at Ollantaytambo. And, all have different travel time before you can reach Machu Picchu station in AguasCalientes.

In Cusco, it’s basically Poroy station from where you get the train and the travel time is 3-4 hours. From Urubamba, the time is 3 hours and from Ollantaytambo, it is 1.5 hours. There are three trains classes that are available these are

  1. Expedition.
  2. Vistadome.
  3. Hiram Bingham.

The Expedition is the most economic train and has various facilities like AC and heating in the cabin, large panoramic windows for a clear view of outside scenes, as well as a highly spacious and a separate luggage area. It costs you around $65 one way and has 6.50 as departure time from Cusco and 10.51 arrival time. From Ollantaytambo, it has various departure times starting from 5.37 to 20.35 and arrival time from 7.44 till 22.58.

The Vistadome is the upgraded version of The Expedition and is a little costlier than it. It costs you around $100 one way, but with this huge amount, you get to enjoy lots of services such as comfortable, air-conditioned, plush leather seats, fitted with panoramic windows, and most importantly it has a wide variety of snacks and beverages (Non-Alcoholic) and all this included in your ticket price. From Cusco, its departure time is 6.05 and arrival time is 9.52. From Ollantaytambo it has different departure and arrival time, 6.40 -16.03 being the departure time and 8.01 – 17.42 the arrival time.

PeruRail_Trains to Machu Picchu

Hiram Bingham, being the most luxurious among all the three trains of PeruRail, it costs you around $400 and only runs from Poroy station with the departure time being 9.00 and arrival being 12.25. It has a very well furnished interior and also has an in-house bar and kitchen. Hiram Bingham is named after the man who gave Machu Picchu the real recognition. It has services like a Welcome cocktail as well as an onboard gourmet lunch, and a spectacular observatory car, which makes it different from all. It is indeed one of the best trains from Cusco to Machu Picchu.

Train to Machu Picchu Hiram-Bingham

Inca Rail trains to Machu Picchu:

Inca rail provides you with 3 class of travel: Machu Picchu train class; executive class; the first-class; and the presidential service. The trains of Inca rail operate from Ollantaytambo three times a day in high season (April through October). The Machu Picchu class is also known as the tourist class.

Inca Rail train to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu train class/ tourist class are like the economy class among all the four. It is quite cheap in comparison to the other three. It will cost you around $75 per person one way and has a very comfortable structure and seating arrangement. Snacks and refreshment will be served on board.

They operate from Ollantaytambo station. With different time slot of travel:

  1. 06. 40 departure – 8.01 arrival
  2. 11.15 departure – 12.45 arrival
  3. 16.36 departure – 18.09 arrival
  4. 11.30 departure – 13.06 arrival
  5. 19.27 departure – 21.09 arrival

The first class is the luxury train. It has plus-sized seats for extra comfort and costs you around $200 per person one way. But if you are paying $200, it is worth it because they provide you with so many onboard facilities like expansive panoramic windows for a better view and thirst quenching welcome cocktail. Also, you can choose between gourmet lunch or dinner as well as background music and much more. The departure time is 19.00 and the arrival time is 20.41.

The Executive is the lower version of the tourist class which costs you only $60 per person one way but it is not as spacious as the other trains. It is a quick and economical option to choose. They provide you with onboard snacks and drinks with music in the background. This option has different departure and arrival time. The first set being the departure at 10.32 and arrival at 12.12 and the other being the departure at 16.12 and arrival at 17.50.

The Presidential-class is the Inca Rail’s high-end option being the most expensive and the luxurious option. The cost of booking is $5000 and you’ll have to make a prior booking for the entire car. The train is well decorated with wood interior which gives it a luxury touch. Also,the food that they provide you is prepared by the best chefs of the region and after the meal, they provide wine or cocktail which is also the best in the region. It has an onboard stocked open bar with a variety of drinks.

The presidential class has three slots of travel:

  1. 6.40 departure – 8.01 arrival
  2. 11.15 departure – 12.45 arrival
  3. 16.36 departure- 18.09 arrival

Other than these train networks, there are different trail and trek routes to travel Machu Picchu.

Some of the options are:

  1. Inca trail is an alternate route; time taken to reach Machu Picchu is 4-5 days covering 82 kilometers.
  2. Salkantay trek is another alternative. It is a 7-day long trek and then joins Inca trail in the end.
  3. Lares trek is the most popular trek route, which takes 2 to 3 day to complete the trek.

There are many more options available but the safest mode is train travel to reach Machu Picchu. If you want a better deal than others to travel to Machu Picchu come to us, we also provide exciting offers. Machu Picchu is the dream of a traveler and we make that dream true.