Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Incas created the largest pre-Columbian empire in the Americas. Hike and learn about their grand achievements as you explore sacred ruins, the Inca Trail and iconic Machu Picchu.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19937RJ
13 days
Starts at
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17 Reviews
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5 Average

This was a fantastic trip, the trip of a lifetime. It is physically demanding and should be attempted only if physically fit, but very rewarding. Eliacín, our guide, was wonderful. Very knowledgeable and helpful. Great trip!


This was a fantastic experience! I chose this trip to hike and camp on the Inca Trail and to see Machu Picchu but it was so much more culturally enriching than those 5 days. I found the trail itself to be grueling, exhilarating, humbling, and profoundly memorable. The program description is very accurate and attention to the physical preparation vital.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

Amazing adventure! This was my first Road Scholar trip and certainly not the last. Perfect in every way. From the expert travel agents who helped with every detail of getting me there and back. They were quick to respond to all of my questions and requests. The lodges, hotels and tent camps were wonderful. The authentic food was some of the best Peru had to offer. Our guide presented an outstanding narrative of each location on and outside of our itinerary. He made each participant feel well taken care of. I genuinely felt like a member of his family . The program itinerary was perfect. Thank you Road Scholar, fellow participants, guides, speakers, porters, hotel staff and everyone who helped with this trip. ..."it is the journey, not the destination that matters"....

Linda S

The hiking was not easy, but the whole trip was magical and more than worth the effort.


Hiking and camping on the Inca Trail were the highlights, but this program was so much more. We saw and learned about many smaller Inca sites prior to arriving at Machu Picchu, so that we could truly appreciate how magnificant it was. Seeing the Palm Sunday festival in the Cusco cathedral and main square was another unforgettable experience. Through lectures and hands on experiences we learned about the cuisine, music, agriculture, art and culture of this region of Peru as well. Our group leader, Holger "Paco" Mayorca, was excellent and made the trip with his knowledge, sense of humor, and natural and confident leadership. The Andes mountains are gorgeous and if you like a physical challenge and being out in nature, you will enjoy this trip. Be sure to do the cardio exercise recommended to condition your body beforehand.


The Inca trail trip was very challenging and VERY worth it.


The Incan Trail trip was terrific. I have no complaints and the program exceeded my expectations in every way. Great logistics and high quality camping gear. I didn't regret not bringing my own very nice Marmot sleeping bag nor my own hiking poles. Acclimatization hikes were perfectly timed. Hotels and restaurants were very nice and educational programs were all interesting.


The INCA trail trip should not be taken by inexperienced hikers. It is not only strenuous, high altitude but is also 5 days completely outdoors. You need to be fit, mentally and physically. That said, Road Scholar did a fantastic job of caring for us during the entire tour. The porters and food were outstanding on the trail. The equipment provided (tents, pads, bags) were first class and made the trip much easier.


Loved this trip! It was my first Road Scholar experience and now I'm hooked! The food, hotels, programs, and the hike itself were all absolutely wonderful! Our guide, Holger "Paco" was fabulous as a guide and became a warm-hearted friend to all of us. I can highly recommend this trip if you love hiking and want an unforgettable experience in this amazing country.


My journey to Machu Picchu was a personally life changing experience. By completing this challenging hike, I proved to myself that I have the grit and motivation to accomplish anything I set my mind to. The scenery and Peruvian friendliness was worth the hiking struggles of altitude change and endless up and down steps of uneven terrain. For me, proving myself along the journey was more important than the destination. Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu were the frosting on the cake. I strongly recommend this experience to those who want to challenge themselves and are physically fit. You will not regret it.


This is the most challenging hike I have ever done. But every aspect of this trip was so thoroughly coordinated and handled so well, that I was able to be not only successful, but also have a great time!


This program is one of the most physically challenging hikes that Road Scholar offers. Luckily there are options if you find it beyond you.


This was an exhilarating program with excellent guides, facilities and food. I left with a new perspective of Peru and its wonderful people. It was also one of the most challenging things I have ever done, so I suggest people pay close attention to the physical requirements, and prepare themselves to succeed.


This was my first RS trip and the challenging rating was accurate but it wasn't so challenging I thought I was going to die. I did sort of think I would die being from 900 feet above sea level and thought that at 14,000 I would not be able to breathe. I didn't die. Our fabulous wonderful smart and endlessly capable guide Juan Carlos helped us acclimate with hikes and stays at 8,000, 9,000, and 10,000 feet. By the time we got to the high day we were mostly fine. I would do this trip again in half a heartbeat. Hiking the trail to Machu Picchu made seeing Machu Picchu more special than had I gotten there by train and bus. We learned history along the trail and saw other ruins and could learn about the wonders of an ancient culture while walking/hiking. There was time to let all history and sink in, step by step. The whole trip was well planned for us with GREAT lecturers/instructors along the way. Accommodations were comfortable and clean. Juan Carlos is an excellent teacher with great leadership skills and professional in every way. Yes, yes, yes. Go on this trip. Enjoy the hike, the incredible scenery, the challenge, the people, the biology/geography/botany, the mystery, and the magic.


Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu has been a dream of mine for a long time. Under the guidance of our wonderfully accommodating guide, Juan Carlos, I was able to do it. Several days of shorter hikes in the Sacred Valley allowed us to acclimate to the altitude before starting the Inca Trail. The hike was very challenging, with 4 days of steep ups and downs in high altitude. The views were stunning – cloud forests, glaciers, soaring mountains, flora against the Inca walls, and magical Machu Picchu as we came through the Sun Gate. SouthWild Inca Trail Explorer provided excellent service during the hike – the camping accommodations were clean and comfortable and the porters had everything ready when we entered camp. Food on the Inca Trail and in the restaurants was excellent, worthy of several Michelin Stars. The hotel accommodations were very comfortable and centrally located. The educational component added a lot of depth to the Program, with lectures on Inca history, agriculture, archaeology, music, and cuisine. Persistence and resilience are necessary to successfully hike the Inca Trail, but you will be greatly rewarded.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

Fabulous trip. Everyday was wonderful. Paco, our leader was always helpful and smiling. Be sure to train for this trip. We did a lot of hiking and step training to get ready. As a result, we did just fine. The 3 nights in the Sacred Valley at the monastery were beautiful. There were so many highlights.


Absolutely top notch trip. Paco is the consummate tour director - knowledgeable, patient and skilled. It was a pleasure to learn about Peru from him. The itinerary is well crafted. There are so many great experiences programmed into the trip. There is time to acclimate to altitude while visiting the many interesting sites in the Sacred Valley. The actual Inca Trail hike is strenuous and needs to be done at a measured pace. I highly recommend pre-trip physical training for enjoyment of the journey. The cooks, porters and support staff are super. The vistas and archaeological sites are spectacular. The serenity of hiking in the mountains and cloud forest is transcendent.

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