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Start of the Inca Trail

The four-day Inca Trail is one of the most beautiful adventures that Peru has. Compared to other hiking routes such as those in Arequipa or Ancash, the Inca Trail offers a tour of ancient routes. These routes were used during the Tawantinsuyo to connect different citadels or llaqtas. Right, there lies the greatness of this route, it is that you can see different archaeological sites that surely had a close relationship with Machu Picchu and even with Choquequirao. In this article, we will explore the details before the walk, specifically the transportation that you must follow to guarantee the start of your route.

The Inca Trail of 4 days

It is one of the best hiking alternatives in Peru and even in South America and worldwide. This is thanks to the different attractions that it has, such as the impressive landscapes that have to be traveled, the historical legacy of the road itself, and the archaeological sites arranged along the way. It can be considered a trip to the past due to the different adventures and experiences that can be had on this hiking trail. However, there will be some details to take into account before starting such a long-awaited trip, such as taking into account that approximately 43 kilometers will be walked throughout these 4 days.

Piscacucho train stop. In this place, the trains from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes or vice versa make a brief stop to accommodate the train tracks and they can continue with their respective journey without problems. So the first step will be to get to this point, there are two options, Piscacucho can be reached by bus or train. In either case, you must start your trip from Cusco early to start the walk at the appropriate time. Remember that you will not be able to do this hiking route if you do not contact an authorized tourism agency to purchase your ticket for the Inca Trail. This statute was designated by the Ministry of Culture so that exclusive care is taken of all this path that is unique in the world.

An important detail to take into account before starting this trip is that the route can only be done with the purchase of the complete ticket that includes the Inca Trail and the entrance to Machu Picchu. This ticket is in great demand and it is difficult to have a reservation if you do not make it in advance. In this sense, it is also important to point out that the entire route is guarded by workers from the Ministry of Culture of Peru, therefore only people who have managed to acquire this ticket can do the hiking route. This is the best way to maintain adequate care throughout the path and also to control the people who enter to do this route. Now let’s learn more about the transportation services that tourism agencies will probably offer you and if they don’t, you will already know how to cope with this service and get to Piscacucho without problems.

Vista del inicio del Camino Inca desde Piscacucho
View of the beginning of the Inca Trail from Piscacucho

Transport necessary to start the 4-day Inca Trail

The necessary transportation to get from Cusco to Piscacucho is a bus, car, or train. Both ways to get to this point are relatively easy to acquire, as we will see later. Now we believe that it will be necessary to talk about whether by chance, it occurs to you to do all this first section walking, that is, walking from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Piscacucho. Although this idea can considerably increase travel experiences, it is not highly recommended to do this long route, because no agency can help you do this route safely.

Most likely, you will do it alone and on your own, which would not be safe, much less advisable. For example, the trip from Cusco to Piscacucho by bus or car is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes and, on the route, the travel time from Ollantaytambo is 50 minutes, in some cases reaching the full hour of travel. In both cases, they are considerably long distances and if you want to visit Machu Picchu without the extreme need to arrive tired, it is best to take the buses or trains that can be found in the city of Cusco and Ollantaytambo.

About the buses to Piscacucho

The starting point to start the trek through the Inca Trails is the small station of Piscacucho. The trains make a brief stop at this station to continue their journey. This point can still be reached by bus or any car. In this sense, if you will do the trekking route along the Inca Trail, you will not necessarily have to take a train to get to this place. The buses or transportation you need can be found in Cusco. But, the best option will be and it is always recommended to hire a service from the different tourist agencies that can provide transportation for the entire travel team. This would make the trip much easier. However, if you do not find an agency you trust, you will need to get transportation to Ollantaytambo and there hire a transportation service to Piscacucho.

EThere are two ways to get to Ollantaytambo by road from Cusco. The first one is along the Pisac route, which can be a little longer because you have to take two cars. The first transport service to take will be the vehicles that make the Cusco – Calca route, on Puputi Street. The trip can take 1 hour and 30 minutes. After that, take a trip from Urubamba to Ollantaytambo. In some cases, you will first have to get from Calca to Urubamba, a lot will depend on the car you take in Cusco. The second option is taking a trip from Cusco along the Chinchero route. This trip will be more direct and you will have to take the bus or car on Pavitos Street. The trip only lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes. A brief stop will be made in Urubamba and then the trip continues to Ollantaytambo. This trip culminates in the central square of Ollantaytambo. Whatever the case, the important thing is to leave early, because as we saw the first section is to reach Ollantaytambo. From this place, it will be possible to find or request transportation from local drivers to Piscacucho. As we saw, the trip will only take 30 minutes. Once in Piscacucho, you will have to register your data and at the same time validate your identity to make use of your entrance ticket to the Inca Trails. The price in both cases can reach 25 soles.

About the trains to Piscacucho

Trains are a more expensive option to get to the starting point of the trek. However, the most important point in favor is that you will have a comfortable trip by train (which offers a whole new experience) to Piscacucho, different train services can better satisfy the demands of all types of public. The train services are various. The most frequent stations with departures to Aguas Calientes from Cusco are the Wanchaq and San Pedro stations. In case you want to make the trip by train, it is advisable to do it from one of the mentioned stations or Poroy. Only in this way will you enjoy a train trip of at least two hours until you reach the starting point of the Inca Trail.

However, you can purchase the round-trip train transportation service. Under this premise, you can find some offers that allow you to travel from Ollantaytambo, knowing that the route will be short, but with the condition that the return train will be waiting for you. Traveling by train is always special. In addition, both companies, both PeruRail and Inca Rail, have suitable services to satisfy the needs of any type of person, especially those who are more demanding with the quality of service. As we have seen, there is a previous route before reaching Piscacucho and starting the trek to Machu Picchu along the Inca Trail. The option to follow will depend on each one, although we believe that the most feasible and least oppressive is to hire the services of a travel agency.


By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 12-06-2023

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