The railway to the Nachu Picchu

The most common route to Machu Picchu is by train that leaves Cuzco daily from San Pedro Station (Telfi: 23-5200) next to the San Pedro market. Tourists should keep an eye on their bags in this area, as theft is common. There are several kinds of services: Vistadome (the most expensive and comfortable, formerly called […]

The most common route to Machu Picchu is by train that leaves Cuzco daily from San Pedro Station (Telfi: 23-5200) next to the San Pedro market. Tourists should keep an eye on their bags in this area, as theft is common. There are several kinds of services: Vistadome (the most expensive and comfortable, formerly called Autovagon), the tourist train (offering the Inca, Backpacker and Vistadome services) and the local train (with Tren Social and Cerrojo services). All of them stop briefly at Poroy, Ollantaytambo, Chillca, Qorihuayrachina (km 88, the start of the Inca Trail), km 104 (start of the short Inca Trail) and Aguas Calientes (km 112). From here, passengers need to take a tourist bus to Machu Picchu (25 minutes). The local train used to continue to Quillabamba, the end of the line, however, since 1998 this final stretch is out of order.

THE STAGES OF THE INCA TRAIL, A SUMMARY
Section Aprox. Time
Qorihuayrachina (kin 88) – Huayllabamba 3 h

Qorihuayrachina (kin 88) – Huayllabamba

3 h

Huayllabamba – Rio Llullucha

2 1/2

Rio Llullucha – Lluchapampa

2 h

Lluchapampa – First Pass

2 1/2 h

First Pass – Pacamayo

1 1/2 h

Pacamayo – Runcuracay

1 h

Runcuracay – Second Pass

1 h

Second Pass – Sayacmarca

1 h

Sacaymarca – Third Pass

2 h

Third Pass – Phuyupatamarca

1/2 h

Phuyupatamarca – Winay Wayna

2 h

Winay Wayna – Intipunko

2 1/2 h

Intipunko – Machu Picchu

1/4 h

Costs and recommendations

According to new regulations, the Inca Trail can only be hiked if one goes through a tourist agency or hires an official guide. These arrangements need to be done four or five days in advance.

The cost for hiking the Inca Trail beginning at km 82 is US$ 50. There is a 50% discount for students who have appropriate credentials. Access to the trail at km 104 costs US$ 25, regular fare and US$ 15, student fare. Tourist agencies charge approxi­mately US$ 160 to US$ 200 for the Long Trail hike of four days/three nights. This rate includes bus service to km 82, camp­ing equipment (except for sleeping bags), meals and porters, the ticket for entrance to the trail and to the Machu Picchu citadel, and the return train to Cuzco. For the Short Trail hike, which departs from km 104 and is two days/one night, the fares are: US$ 120 to US$ 150. Due to the increasing number of hikers, we suggest you make a reservation, in a tourist agency, four to five days in advance. There is only one spot along the trail that sells food and drinks (the visitors’ center at Winay Wayna), so trekkers are advised to bring everything they need with them for a three to four day hike.

The climate can vary as one climbs into the mountains (extreme cold) and descends to the cloud forest (damp and hot). Bring along plenty of warm clothing and at least two pairs of hiking boots.

Seasons and climate

The ideal time of year to hike the Inca Trail is from May-September (the dry season). April-October, the months during which the seasons are changing, are often good for hiking. Summer months.

Remember that the job of a carrier, although a demnding occupation, is looked upon as a dignified for a work. The prices these people charge for their services are an  important source of income for the entire community. Many carriers are excellent travel companions and incomparable storytellers.

(November to )


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