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Before You Go

Getting to Machu Picchu

Tierras Vivas Travel > Before Travelling to Peru > Getting to Machu Picchu

Getting to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is included in the following tours. When booking, you must decide whether you are going to choose the Inca Trail, Lares Trek, or Salkantay Trek. If you choose not to trek, a discount will be deducted from the tour price and a train trip to Machu Picchu will be included instead. Please note that a discount does not apply in case you do not complete the trek after its confirmation!

Please note: Solo supplements apply to the Lares Trek, Salkantay Trek, Inca Quarry trek and Machu Picchu tours.


Inca Trail

There are many original Inca Trails in the Andes, but the most famous section, simply known as the Inca Trail, is the original route to the breathtaking citadel of Machu Picchu. It spreads over 4 days. The 44-km long trail passes through three stunning high passes of the Andes and interweaves many ancient archaeological sites, culminating in the famous Lost City of the Incas. There are not many treks in the world that combine natural beauty, history, and mystery with such an awe-inspiring final destination.

The Inca Trail is led by a local bilingual Tour Guide and supported by a team of Porters and Cooks, leaving you with only a small daypack to carry. The trail can be challenging, but it can be done by anyone who leads a reasonably active life – you definitely do not need to be an expert! The trail is not in a hurry and everyone is able to walk at their own pace. If you have any doubts or if you have any condition that could affect your ability to trek, we recommend that you consult a doctor.

Machu Picchu trek permit

Lares Trek

This track is hidden within the magnificent snow-capped Andes which are a part of Peru. There you can experience magical mountain scenery and the legacy of the Incas without crowds of trekkers. An exceptional alternative to the busy Inca Trail, the Lares Trek is so far off the beaten tracks that it has changed just a little over the last 500 years. Thanks to the magnificent and diverse scenery, it is a wonder that the area has remained largely untouched by tourism and retains its authenticity and offers a view of life that used to be typical in Peru for centuries There, you meet traditionally dressed Andean farmers, wander local markets, see thatched stone and adobe houses as well as watch herds of llamas and alpacas roaming free.

Lares Trek is a trek of a similar level of difficulty to the Inca Trail trek (it has one challenging mountain pass) and is fully guided. It includes 2 nights of camping and 1 night in a hotel at Aguas Calientes town the night before an early climb-up to Machu Picchu. We can guarantee your spot on the Lares Trek, but you will be required to pay a single supplement in case you are the only trekker on the same day. This amount is payable to your travel agent at the time of booking and will be refunded in Cusco if another trekker joins you.

 Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

Salkantay Trek

Salkantay Trek is one of the most interesting and important alternative treks to do, due to its wide range diversity in flora, various ecosystems, and a special Inca site laid on top of a mountain just in front of the backside of the Machu Picchu Mountain. This trail finally gets to Aguas Calientes located at the foot of the historical and archeological site of Machu Picchu, from where you take an early bus uphill to see the sunrise and avoid crowds whilst touring Machu Picchu with one of our English speaking and knowledgeable guides.

The first day starts early in the morning by a ride from Cusco through La Pampa de Anta (the breadbasket of Cusco) to Mollepata for 2 and half an hour. There, we have breakfast before continuing to the trailhead at Soraypampa (3,800 m). From there, we ascend gently Salkantay Pampa and then hike up 7 switchbacks to get much closer to the small lake of Soyrococha where we eat lunch. Afterwards, we ascend to the highest pass of the trek at 4,550 metres. Then, we descend to our first campsite at Huayracmachay (3,700 m). The next day, we keep descending to 2,100 metres at La Playa. On the 4th day, we descend to 1,986 metres at Aguas Calientes. Each day of the hike, we go through different landscapes. Basically, only the first day is a kind of difficult in terms of the altitude and the temperature is also colder, but with thermal clothing, it is easy to handle. For full details of the trek, please click on Salkantay Trail

 Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

How to book a trek to Machu Picchu

Every tour to Machu Picchu, which includes the Inca Trail, is clearly marked. There is also an option of trekking the alternative 4-day Lares Trek, or a 5-day Salkantay Trek. Both of them culminates by a visit to Machu Picchu.

Inca Trail Permits

Book well in advance!!

In 2003, the Peruvian Government proposed many changes to the administration of the Inca Trail in a bid to protect its fragile eco-structure from over-use. The government started to enforce the majority of the regulations more strictly in 2005. Most of these proposals have been aimed at reducing the number of trekkers on the trail, improving the quality of the tour operators, and offering a reservation system whereby trekkers will be forced to make their reservations many weeks (even months) in advance. The maximum number of Inca Trail permits per day is 500 (including Porters, Cooks, and Guides)! Permits often sell out several months in advance and we recommend you to book 6 – 4 months ahead (particularly if trekking during the peak season from June to September)!

We cannot guarantee the availability of the permit. Anyway, an Inca Trail booking will be valid after confirmation by our Cusco office. If you decide to book the Inca Trail within 60 days before the expected start date (90 days in peak season), we will try to secure a permit, but limited availability is likely to significantly reduce your chances of success, especially in peak season! Once the Inca Trail is confirmed, we will not be able to make any amendments to your permit!

Passport Details and Expiry Date

You must provide us with your passport details at the time of requesting an Inca Trail. We can not book or confirm your trekking permit without this. Your permit is linked with your name, passport number, nationality, age, and sex. If you change your passport after booking the Inca Trail or you plan to travel with a different passport, you MUST also bring the passport used for booking with you!! Otherwise, you will not be allowed to trek the Inca Trail!! Before applying, it is extremely important that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the tour!

Inca Trail Tour Operator

Tierras Vivas is a licensed Inca Trail Tour operator since 2006! We run our Inca Trails! However, if you book the Inca Trail from our ‘Short Hikes & Tours‘ section you may be trekking in a pooled service (in a group with other single travelers).

Inca Trail Closure

The Inca Trail is closed once a year, in February, due to its maintenance. During this time, you can undertake an alternative trek to Machu Picchu, which may be easier, usually along the Urubamba River before culminating, commonly at Machu Picchu’s Sun Gate. The booking rules mentioned above also apply to this trek.

Please note: the Lares Trek as well as Salkantay Trek are available all year round and are not affected by the annual closure of the Inca Trail!

Machu Picchu Trek Cancellation

Once your trail to Machu Picchu has been confirmed we cannot make any amendments related to the date, name, or the Inca Trail permit. Cancellation by you is subject to our standard booking. conditions.

Trek Price Changes

Please note that the quoted price change every year since all routes to Machu Picchu are subject to local regulations. For this reason, permit prices, porter costs, and transportation may change without notice. Although we endeavor to keep to the excursion fees listed, it may become necessary to increase our prices accordingly. Therefore, the price of each option is based on the date of the trek, not the date of the booking. Any changes in the prices of these tours will be published on our website. All current prices are listed in the relevant trek fact sheets and are recommended when booking. Any price increase will be paid locally in Cusco in cash in USD. 

Booking & Deposit Payment

  • When booking a tour, you will pay a deposit plus a non-refundable Inca Trail deposit. This “extra” payment will be deducted from your outstanding balance. If no Inca Trail permits are available and you do not choose to hike the Lares Trek or Salkantay Trek instead, the Inca Trail deposit will be refunded and the balance of your tour reduced.
  • If Inca Trail permits are not available but would like to do Lares Trek or Salkantay Trek instead, your Inca Trail deposit will be deducted from your due balance. 


Excursion by train to Machu Picchu is the best alternative if you do not like to hike. This alternative is cheaper than hiking. The following options are available:

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