School Trek - Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

A 4-day trek, mountain biking, rafting and sightseeing






From $2,900 Land only

Book this holiday

Holiday Overview


  • Learn about the fascinating Inca ruins of Machu Piccu
  • Looking down on Machu Picchu from Inti Punku, the Sun Gate
  • Browsing in the craft market at Pisac in the Sacred Valley
  • The most popular Peru trek

Hidden in the remote Andes, north-west of the city of Cusco, the 15th Century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is arguably the outstanding highlight amongst both the natural and man-made wonders of the entire South American continent. Starting out from the Sacred Valley of the Incas and traversing the foothills of Peru's Cordillera Vilcabamba, the classic approach to Machu Picchu takes 4 days, with an average of 10 kilometres of walking per day. Known as the Inca Trail, this is recognised to be one of the world's great short treks. Crossing 3 high passes, this long-established route follows sections of stone pathway created by the Incas 4 centuries ago and provides tremendous views of spectacular forested valleys and of the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba. Airy campsites and a wealth of historical interest add to the appeal of this great trek. This school-specific Peruvian itinerary begins in the old inca capital of Cusco, high in the Andes. We start out with some time for exploration in and around this charming and cosmopolitan city, which is famous for the wealth of its Inca stonework, as well as for its extravagant Spanish Colonial architecture. Dropping down into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the trip continues with a day's whitewater rafting on the Urubamba River, followed by a day of mountain biking, before setting off on trek. Of course, for many people the highlight of this trip will be Machu Picchu itself, which is unquestionably the most important and most spectacular archaeological site in South America. At the end of our trek, we have a day for sightseeing at Machu Picchu, with a guided tour and also time for independent exploration. In conclusion, this school trip offers an almost unbelievable variety of experiences - from snow-capped peaks, blue glacial lakes, cloud forest, orchids and hummingbirds to magnificent Inca remains and fascinating South American cities. This tried and tested KE Schools itinerary can be adjusted to better fit the needs of your group - please call and speak to a KE School Groups Coordinator or email

Is this holiday for you?

This multi-activity schools adventure in Peru includes horse riding, rafting, mountain biking and a hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The classic Inca Trail offers a variety of trekking conditions. Most of the walking is on well-defined tracks, including some sections of ancient Inca highways, which are paved with stone in places. There are occasional river crossings and some steeper sections of trail on the first 2 days of the trek. There are a couple of quite tough days - but, overall the trekking is straightforward and not sustained or committing. We have allowed four nights at an altitude of a little over 3000 metres, before we start trekking which should mean that the group is well acclimatised before setting off. During the optional biking part of the trip we will be following jeep roads, with some sections of paved road and some sections of footpath and singletrack. The biking is principally downhill or on the level. It is not strenuous or technically difficult. There is always the option of taking the support vehicle if you don't fancy any part of the riding. The Urubamba River, on the stretches that we will encounter, involves whitewater rafting which varies between River Grade 1 and River Grade 3 plus. The most challenging rapids that we run will be quite exciting enough for beginners to the sport. Comprehensive instruction is given by our professional river guides prior to setting off and full safety equipment is used. We recommend a minimum age of 14 years. 

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
  • Day 11

Land Only

The price of our trips does not include international air travel to the start location in the destination city and country. The start location for joining the trip is identified for each trip. It's usually a centrally located hotel. KE can easily arrange all airport transfers for you.

International Air Travel

Please contact us at KE for air travel advice. We will be happy to discuss the flight arrangement which best suits your group.

2 teachers FREE

The Guide Price assumes that 2 teachers will accompany the group. Their Land Only costs are covered by the group's payment.

Guide Price $2,900*
Park Fees/permits N/A
Other Charges N/A

* We give a price estimate for all of our school trips. This is based on 12-16 pupils and includes two free teacher places. If you are interested in a specific trip, we will send you a quote letter. You may wish to take extra teachers or add on additional days and this can all be included into your quote, on request.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • pass
  • trip direction
  • trek
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Day 1

    On arrival in Cusco (3326m), we are met by our KE School Group leader or a KE representative who will arrange the transfer to our centrally located hotel. In the afternoon we will have a walking tour of this fascinating ancient city.

  • Day 2

    Today, is a day of sightseeing, visiting the major Inca sites of the Cusco Valley, by vehicle, on horseback and on foot. We will take a picnic lunch and visit the impressive fort of Sacsayhuaman, before returning to our hotel in Cusco.

  • Day 3

    We start the day with rafting on the Urubamba River. The accent is on fun and full instruction is provided. After our session on the river, we take a rarely used road along the Urubamba Valley to Pisac, where we will check in at our hotel and then visit the local artisan market.

  • Day 4

    Today, we transfer to Chinchero for a session of mountain biking. This is a mostly downhill ride on old Inca trails and through Maras village to the spectacular salt pans. Later, we transfer through the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo, where we check in at our hotel.

  • Day 5

    We drive to 'Kilometre 82' where we start the trek on the Inca Trail, following the Urubamba River to our first camping place at Llactapata (2288m). We arrive here in good time to explore these fascinating ruins.

  • Day 6

    We continue our trek via the small hamlet of Huayllabamba and then ascend through the cloud forest of the Chaupihuayjo Valley to our camping place at Llulluchapampa (3680m).

  • Day 7

    Today, we trek to cross the high point of our route at the Warmiwanusca Pass (4200m). En route, we visit Inca ruins at Runccuracay and Sayacmarca. We set up our final camp of the holiday at Phuyupatamarca.

  • Day 8

    Our last day on trek follows a series of Inca stairways down to Winay Wayna. Passing through the Sun Gate, we enter Machu Picchu (2400m) and transfer by bus to Aguas Calientes, where we check in at a hotel.

  • Day 9

    We are up early and return to Machu Picchu for a guided tour and optional ascent of Huayna Picchu. In the afternoon, we take the train to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and then transfer by bus to the hotel in Cusco.

  • Day 10

    Well acclimatized now, we can make the most of a free day in Cusco. We can take it easy or set out to make a further exploration of this beautiful city.

  • Day 11

    We have a transfer to Cusco Airport, coordinated with the departure of the homeward flight.

Holiday Information

  • A qualified UK KE Schools leader
  • A professional English-speaking local guide
  • Cusco Airport transfers
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • Guided sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as detailed in the trip dossier
  • All meals
  • A full service trek including all equipment (excluding personal equipment)
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for porters and other trek staff
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.
On trek and during the rafting, the food is a mixture of local and European-style, all purchased in Peru and cooked for us by highly trained staff cooks. Breakfast includes fresh fruit, porridge, pancakes or omelette with plenty of toast and home-made jam. Lunch is usually a picnic - fresh fruit, salad and bread, cheeses, cold meats, avocado and plenty to drink. Dinner is served in the mess tent and is a delicious three-course meal. In Cusco and Aguas Calientes there is a wide range of restaurants cafes and bars serving excellent and varied cuisine.
All meals are included from lunch on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary to breakfast on Day 11.
Cusco Airport transfers are included on arrival and departure. The KE School Group Leader or KE representative will meet you on arrival and assist with the transfers to the group hotel. Full joining instructions along with hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with the booking confirmation.
The group will have a total of four nights in a comfortable centrally located hotel in Cusco. We will also have a total of 3 nights hotel accommodation in Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes). Whilst trekking the Inca Trail, there will be a total of 3 nights camping. All accommodation is allocated on a twin-sharing basis.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

A typical day on trek starts with an early morning brew and a bowl of hot washing water brought to your tent at about 6.30 a.m. After a hot breakfast (which includes fresh fruit, porridge, pancakes or omelette with plenty of toast and home-made jam) during which camp will be struck and the porters will be given their loads, we start walking in the pleasant cool of the morning. You are free to walk at your own pace, enjoying the scenery and stopping to take as many pictures as you wish. We usually walk for about 3 hours in the morning. Lunch is usually a picnic - and a chance for more excellent food from our cook team - fresh fruit, salad and bread, cheeses, cold meats, avocado and plenty to drink. Lunch takes about an hour or so and offers a chance for a little siesta! We aim to pitch camp for the night by 3 or 4 p.m., ie. well before dusk. Dinner is served in the mess tent at around 7.00 p.m. and is a delicious three course meal. The cooks never fail to impress! During dinner is a good time to socialise and to talk over the events of the day. We are usually in bed by 9.00 pm - plenty of time to re-charge the batteries before the next day's walk.
As well as having an experienced KE Schools Leader, the group will be accompanied throughout by a first-rate, English-speaking local guide. Whilst trekking, the group will be supported by a full crew of camp staff and porters. During the rafting the group will be led by expert river guides and will be accompanied by safety kayakers.
We estimate that $200 will be sufficient to cover your spending requirements, including paying tips for drivers, trek crew and local guides. There is no need to purchase local currency (Peruvian Soles) prior to travelling. It is possible to withdraw your money in local currency from ATMs in Cusco. If you are bringing your travel money with you we recommend you bring it in the form of US dollars in cash as this provides for the easiest exchange and in emergency can even be used to purchase goods. Credit cards can be used to purchase goods and to pay for meals in Cusco and Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes).
Tipping is the accepted way of saying thank you for good service. Tips do not form part of the wages of your local guides, porters and trek crew but they are very much appreciated. Most groups will want to show their appreciation to the local staff who work so hard to make the trip a success. Normally, tips are given at the end of the trek and this is best done as a group. Most groups will give the tips with a bit of ceremony (or sometimes a party) on the last evening, to mark the end of the trip. As a guide, we recommend that each pupil contributes $50 (in Peruvian Soles) to these tips. Your KE School Adventure leader will help you make arrangements for a fair distribution of tips among the trek crew.
Your baggage whilst trekking on the Inca Trail will be carried by porters. Whilst trekking, the packed weight of your trek bag including your sleeping bag, should be no more than 10 kgs. Please note that this baggage limit is considerably less than on the majority of our treks. The limit is imposed by the Peruvian National Park Authorities and is designed to minimise the impact on the Inca Trail from the many visitors it receives. Pack animals are not allowed on the Inca Trail and all baggage will be carried by local porters. Each group using the trail is restricted to a maximum number of porters designated by the park authority. It is possible to leave clothes and other items not required on trek at the group hotel in Cusco or in the group’s support vehicle while rafting.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This School Adventure involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

  • Note: For conservation reasons the packed weight of your trek bag (including your sleeping bag and camping mattress) when trekking on the Inca Trail is limited to a maximum of 10 kgs – 22lbs. Items not required on trek can be stored at the group hotel in Cusco.
  • You must bring the following items:

    • Daypack c. 30 litres *.
    • Sleeping bag (comfort rating – minus 10 degrees centigrade)
    • Water bottles 1 Litre / 2 pint (x2)
    • Headtorch / headlamp with spare batteries
    • Hiking boots
    • Sports sandals or ‘wet shoes’ for the rafting
    • Trainers / sneakers or similar for traveling and camp use
    • Socks
    • Trekking trousers / trekking pants
    • Waterproof over-trousers / rain-pants
    • Underwear
    • Padded biking shorts
    • Thermal baselayer shirts (2 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve)
    • Casual shirts and/or T-shirts
    • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Sunhat
    • Warm hat
    • Eyewear – Sunglasses
    • Lightweight thermal gloves
    • Warmer over gloves or mittens
    • Washbag and toiletries
    • Small towel
    • Swimwear
    • First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters (band-aids) and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea.

    The following items are optional:

    • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
    • Warm jacket (down) – recommended for June - September
    • Trekking poles **
    • Travel clothes
    • Antibacterial handwash
    • Sleeping bag liner
    • Long johns (thermal underwear)
    • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
    • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
    • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)
    • Camera, film / memory cards, batteries

    Equipment provided locally

    • All rafting equipment, including wet suits, splash jackets and buoyancy aids.
    • Bikes, bike gloves, bike helmet.
    • A ‘Thermarest’ or similar sleeping mat.


    • * Perurail has a strict policy on hand baggage on the train to the Inca Trail and from Machu Picchu. The weight of your hand baggage on the train must not exceed 5kg and the sum of its dimensions (length + width + height) must not exceed 157 cm or 62 inches. If your daypack exceeds these dimensions it must be placed inside your trek bag for transportation on the train.
    • ** For conservation reasons, trekking poles cannot be used on the Inca Trail unless they have rubber tips. Please make sure that when flying, sharp objects such as trekking poles and knives are packed into your check-in luggage.

    For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

    A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

    We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

    KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

    The Southern Hemisphere winter season of March through to November is the optimum period for trekking in this part of Peru. We can expect the days to be warm and generally sunny, with temperatures between 12 and 20 degrees centigrade. Above 3500 metres, during this season, the night-time temperatures will fall below freezing. At our highest camps we might experience night-time temperatures as low as minus 5 degrees centigrade.
    Trekking and Climbing in the Andes. Val Pitkethly and Kate Harper Exploring Cusco. Peter Frost The Inca Trail. Richard Danbury Field guide to birds of Machu Picchu. Barry Walker The White Rock or Cochineal Red - Hugh Thomson Neo-tropical Companion - John C Kricher The last days of the Incas - Kim MacQuarrie The bridge of San Luis Rey - Thorton Wilder Touching the Void - Joe Simson Inca Kola – Matthew Paris Inca Gold - Clive Cussler
    Cuzco Region - ITMB Publishing. 1:110,000 Scale

    A detailed road map of the region around Cusco including Machu Picchu, Includes a street plan of central Cusco. Elevation tinting and contours at 100m intervals represent the general relief, with spot heights for many peaks. The Inca Trail region is shown in an inset at 1:50,000, highlighting the trail. There is also a small, street plan of Aguas Calientes and an annotated plan of the Machu Picchu ruins.

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