Discover the Great Inca Trail in Peru: 7 Authentic Hikes Offered by Impactful Travel

The Great Inca Trail, or Qhapaq Ñan, was the backbone of the Inca Empire, stretching over 24,000 miles across six countries in South America. This ancient network of roads, bridges, and staircases has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a testament to the incredible engineering abilities of the Inca people. One of the best ways to experience the magic of the Qhapaq Ñan is by hiking along its paths, and if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, Impactful Travel has got you covered. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at 7 authentic hikes on the Great Inca Road, offered by Impactful Travel, and that all include stretches of the Great Inca Trail network.

A beautiful and well visible part of the Inka Naani, a stretch of the Qhapaq Ñan in Peru | RESPONSible Travel Peru
A beautiful and well visible part of the Inka Naani

Some background information

Guido, the co-founder of Impactful Travel (formerly known as RESPONSible Travel Peru), has been working on tourism projects around the Qhapaq Ñan since 2004, when he was still a team member at The Mountain Institute. Through his extensive experience and deep interest in the history and culture of the Inca Empire, Guido has organized expeditions for the Smithsonian Institute for engineers from some of the world’s top universities to study the stretches of the Qhapaq Ñan in Ancash and Huánuco. He has even had the privilege of meeting two of the first modern-day humans to walk the entire Qhapaq Ñan – Megan Son and Ricardo Espinoza.

Guided by our expertise and passion for preserving the Qhapaq Ñan, Impactful Travel has gained a wealth of knowledge regarding the best-conserved stretches of the trail in Ancash and Huánuco, along with legends and stories that offer insight into Inca culture and history.

Man, llamas and the Great Inca Trail in a mountain landscape | Llama Trek Olleros - Chavin with RESPONSible Travel Peru | Photo by Bjorn Snelders
Royal Inca trails were always at least 3 meter wide. ©️ Bjorn Snelders

If you’re looking to explore the magic of the Inca Empire and their connection to nature through the Qhapaq Ñan, we invite you to browse our tour platform. It includes several authentic hiking experiences in destinations where stretches of the Qhapaq Ñan, or secondary roads that were part of the Inca trails network, are featured. 

Explore 7 authentic hikes on the Great Inca Trail in Peru:

1. Hike the Prettiest Stretch of Qhapaq Ñan

The first one of these 7 authentic hikes on the Great Inca Trail is a special one. If you’re interested in walking in the footsteps of the Incas, Impactful Travel has several options to choose from. The ultimate way to explore the history of the Inca Empire and the Qhapaq Ñan, is definitely with our tour Hike the Prettiest Stretch of Qhapaq Ñan. This five-day trek along the best stretch of the Qhapaq Ñan takes you through stunning Andean landscapes and past ancient ruins, culminating in a visit to the former capital of Chinchaysuyo: Huánuco Pampa. Led by expert guides, this trek provides a deep dive into the rich history and culture of the Inca Empire, and the incredible engineering prowess of the Inca people.

2. Traditional Inca Trail

While it may not be the main Qhapaq Ñan, the beautiful and busy 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is undoubtedly one of the most stunning hikes to explore Inca civilization. This route showcases remarkable Inca road engineering amidst breathtaking landscapes and guides visitors to exclusive Inca sites that aren’t accessible in any other way. 

3. Adventurous Coffee Route Hike to Machu Picchu

During our Adventurous Coffee Route Hike to Machu Picchu, you will come across two stretches of exquisite original Incan paths. On the first day, the steps will leave you in awe and serve as a perfect backdrop for stunning photos. On the third day, you’ll witness some stretches where the width of original Inca Trails is visible and pass by an Inca ruin of a Tambo boasting a breathtaking view of Machu Picchu.

(Remember, we also have a shorter version of our Coffee Route, and the popular Route of Goodies: less adventure, more local experiences!)

Hiking an Inca Road to Machu Picchu - Coffee Route - RESPONSible Travel Peru
Walking the Inca Road to Alejandro’s house and on to Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime experience

4. Llama Trek in the Cordillera Blanca: Olleros – Chavín

The Llama Trek from Chavín to Olleros is a three-day adventure that takes you through stunning Andean landscapes of the Cordillera Blanca, as well as ancient ruins, to reach the beautiful Chavín de Huantar complex. You’ll be hiking an ancient pre-Inca road, and learn about the area’s history and culture from expert guides. It may not be the real Qhapaq Ñan, but this route should be included in this list because it offers a glimpse into the foundations used by the Incas to rapidly extend their network of trails across South America.

5. Cusco Walking Tour

Yes, this is a city tour, between all these majestic trekkings! And rightly so: our Cusco Walking tour includes some of the finest original Inca Trails. For example, when our guide takes you down from Sacsayhuamán into Cusco’s historic center. The original Qhapaq Ñan isn’t well visible in town anymore; but from the main square it would once lead northbound through Plateros, and southbound by what today is Avenida Del Sol. See, definitely part of these 7 authentic hikes on the Great Inca Trail.

6. Inca Road to Huchuy Qosqo with Llamas

Our Inca Road to Huchuy Qosqo with Llamas tour is another great short option. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Peru’s Sacred Valley and travel with llamas along parts of ancient Inca Trails. Marvel at the spectacular engineering of the Incas as you traverse mountain passes and canyons, and explore ancient sites – a memorable journey full of history and unique landscapes!

7. Hosts of the Great Inca Trail, the Qhapaq Ñan, on Lake Titicaca

The last of these 7 authentic hikes on the Great Inca Trail. Step back in time to explore the incredible surroundings of Lake Titicaca and the ancient Inca Trail on our tour Hosts of the Great Inca Trail, the Qhapaq Ñan, on Lake Titicaca. Discover the fascinating history and culture of Peru’s Qhapaq Ñan with knowledgeable local hosts from the Jayujayuni community as your guides. Join them (and their music!) along a well-preserved section of this great engineering feat and learn about its significance to the region’s inhabitants that use the path until this day. A truly unique experience!

Señor Pedro Aquino, one of our local guides from Jayujayuni, is proud of the interest that his stretch of the Qhapaq Ñan is finally receiving. What are you waiting for? Go and visit Pedro and take a stroll with him along the Inca Road at Lake Titicaca! | RESPONSible Travel Peru
Señor Pedro Aquino, one of our local guides from Jayujayuni, is proud of the interest that his stretch of the Qhapaq Ñan is finally receiving. What are you waiting for? Go and visit Pedro and take a stroll with him along the Inca Road at Lake Titicaca!

Wrapping Up of the 7 authentic hikes on the Great Inca Trail

The Great Inca Trail network is a marvel of engineering and history, and Impactful Travel offers several authentic hiking experiences that allow you to explore this network of ancient roads and bridges. Whether you’re looking for a multi-day trek or a shorter day tour, you’ll be able to walk in the footsteps of the Inca people and experience the magic of the Qhapaq Ñan. With expert guides, stunning mountain scenery, and insights into local culture and history, Impactful Travel has something for everyone on this incredible journey through time. 

So come and explore the Great Inca Road with Impactful Travel, and experience an adventure of a lifetime. You can either directly book your excursion through the links provided, or customize your own trip with us, with as many Inca Trail experiences as your heart desires.

Explore all our tours that include ancient trails

Click on the tour you like most to find all the information and book directly!
  • Hummingbird in Jardines de Mandor - Machu Picchu
    The most varied!

    The Route of Goodies to Machu Picchu

    4 days, 3 nights
    Availability : April-December
    Enjoy the parallel attractions on the road to Machu Picchu. A slow travel proposal to stop at our favorite places and stay longer with the region's people.
    FromUSD$540
  • Woman standing on the Inca Trail among mountains, vegetation and clouds | RESPONSible Travel Peru
    Peru's most wanted trekking

    The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

    4 Days, 3 Nights
    Availability : March-January
    This world-famous trekking to Machu Picchu has to be done in the best way, and this is our Inca Trail of choice. Check it out!
    FromUSD$795
  • Man and llamas against the impressive backdrop of the Cordillera Blanca in Northern Peru. | Llama Trek Olleros to Chavin with RESPONSible Travel Peru | Photo by Bjorn Snelders
    A spiritual journey through the mountains

    Llama Trek in the Cordillera Blanca: Olleros – Chavín

    3 Days, 2 Nights
    Availability : April-November
    Like pre-Inca peoples you will hike on an ancient road of trade and knowledge-exchange route, accompanied by llamas,
    FromUSD$270
  • Hiking an Inca Road to Machu Picchu - Coffee Route - RESPONSible Travel Peru
    The most active version!

    Adventurous Coffee Route Hike to Machu Picchu

    4 days, 3 nights
    Availability : April-December
    Discover the upper jungle around Machu Picchu in a sporty way. Come with RESPONS on this extraordinary excursion where sport meets culture.
    FromUSD$500
  • Alternative to the Inca Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu - Coffee Route - RESPONSible Travel Peru
    Our most popular tour!

    Coffee Route to Machu Picchu

    3 days, 2 nights
    Availability : April-December
    Discover the coffee region behind Machu Picchu by the hand of welcoming families. Three days full of nature, culture, gastronomy and adventure.
    FromUSD$395
  • Another beautiful stretch where the original pavement can still be observed, whilst hiking up from Soledad de Tambo. Hike the Qhapaq Ñan - Great Inca Road | RESPONSible Travel Peru
    A unique trek back in time!

    Hike the Prettiest Stretch of Qhapaq Ñan in Huaraz

    5 Days, 4 Nights
    Availability : April through November
    Walk in the footsteps of the Incas by exploring part of the Great Inca Trail (Qhapaq Ñan). Few visitors have set foot here so far.
    FromUSD$1,120
  • Afternoon scene in Cusco - RESPONSible Travel Peru
    The City Tour - improved!

    Cusco Walking Tour

    4-5 Hours
    Availability : All year round
    Discover Cusco on foot with a local guide! Descent from the incredible archaeological ruins through the San Blas neighborhood onto the famous Sun Temple.
    FromUSD$20
  • Local man from Jayujayuni playing the charango - RESPONSible Travel Peru
    A Unique Cultural Experience!

    Hosts of the Great Inca Trail, the Qhapaq Ñan, on Lake Titicaca

    4.5 Hours
    Availability : All Year Round
    A cultural visit led entirely by the local people. Enjoy walking in a beautiful natural environment and cultural landscape where families involve travelers in their daily activities.
    FromUSD$132
  • The Gocta falls (Chachapoyas) from a distance. Sustainable tourism in Peru with RESPONSible Travel Peru
    Meet the "other" Peru

    Exploring Northern Peru’s Spectacular Wonders

    25 Days, 24 Nights
    Availability : All year
    Embark on an extraordinary journey to discover the rarely seen wonders of Northern Peru with our impactful expedition
    FromUSD$2,700
  • It is impressive to walk along the Inca terraces | Responsible Travel Peru
    wow experience!

    Inca road to Huchuy Qosqo

    8-9 Hours
    Availability : All year round (Apr-Dec preferably)
    In this short tour, you will hike through a beautiful and biodiverse route, a diversity of landscapes, and an impressive archaeological center.
    FromUSD$100
  • Three llamas and hikers among cropfields in the Sacred Valley of Cusco
    a "furry" unique experience

    Inca Road to Huchuy Qosqo with Llamas

    8-9 Hours
    Availability : All year round (Apr-Dec preferably)
    Hiking with llamas through the beautiful landscapes will take you back to Inca times, especially when arriving at the beautiful and well-preserved archeaological site.
    FromUSD$145

Would you still like to learn much more about the Great Inca Road? Here’s a great source of information, beautifully arranged and presented on this website developed by the Smithsonian Institute: https://americanindian.si.edu/inkaroad/

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Impactful Travel's mission is to empower transformative journeys through sustainable and responsible experiences, we are committed to enriching lives - both for travelers and local communities in Latin America.

We seek to connect meaningful tourism experiences with a committed global audience, enhancing communities and encouraging sustainable choices.

Together with you, we improve day by day, on the always-demanding path towards sustainability.

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