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How to Hike the Inca Trail Day 1

Hiking the Inca Trail? Here is a recap of Day 1.

We recently dug up our photos from the Inca Trail and it brought back a lot of memories. It was our first multi-day hike and definitely tested our relationship early on. Regardless, it was well worth it!

If you plan on hiking the Inca Trail, be sure to check out our packing guide and 4-day overview.

How to Hike the Inca Trail Day 1 Photo Guide //

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Last Updated: March 8, 2024

Recap of Day 1 of the Inca Trail: Cusco – Wayllabamba

Distance: 7.45 miles / 12km
Estimated Time: 5-6 hours
Maximum Altitude: 9,850 feet / 3,000m
What You See: Llaqtapata Ruins, Unnamed Ruins

Day one started early! After a quick stop for breakfast, we got checked in and hit the trail. It was the easiest of the 4 days and was a nice “warm up”.

Going to Machu Picchu - Photo Guide to the Inca Trail Day 1 //
How to Hike the Inca Trail Peru //

We heard lots of stories of this flower that’s a hallucinogen. One of the side effects include going blind and many don’t try it a second time. In case you were curious, I looked it up and it’s jimsonweed!

Jimsonweed Growing in Peru South America //

Views of the snow-capped peak of Veronica (5860 m)

Inca Trail Day 1 Guide + View of Mount Veronica Peru //

An elevation chart of our four-day hike to Machu Picchu. Can you tell the second day is going to be a *****?!

Map of Inca Trail Elevation Gain //

It was a struggle for us, but the porters were carrying over double the weight we carried and were sprinting up and down the mountains. These guys were our heroes! I’m not sure how Matthew stayed so joyful while carrying a 50+ lb pack, but he was definitely an inspiration to us all.

Guided Tour to Machu Picchu - Inca Trail Day 1 //

The people who didn’t make it to Machu Picchu (at least that’s what they told us!).

Graves along the Machu Picchu Trail //

Our lunch spot! Llactapata:

Guide to Day 1 of the Inca Trek //

Our guided tour with Info Cusco had the best food. The most gourmet camp food we’ve ever had! I can’t believe they hauled all that stuff up and down the mountains.


We passed by random unnamed ruins, but this was our first ruins in clear view – Llactapata Ruins.

Llactapata Inca Ruins Peru - En Route to Machu Picchu //
Local Kids on the Inka Trail Peru //

If you think travel always changes you for the better and is the answer to all your problems, here is my newest favorite travel quote. “If an ass goes traveling, he does not come home a horse.” – Thomas Fuller haha

The third ruins we saw:

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Photo Guide //
How to Hike the Inca Trail Day 1 //
Inca Trail Pictures - How to Hike the Inca Trail Day 1 //

Day 1 and I’m already exhausted. Can you tell?

Inca Trail Photos //

Setting up for our first night of sleep in Wayllabamba. Put on all your layers, it’s gon get cold!

How to Hike the Inca Trail Day 1 //

Will we survive another day? We shall see!

Book Your Trip Here →

When you’re ready to go, book your trip here. We went to Patagonia with OneSeed as well and love what they are doing.

See More: How to Hike the Torres del Paine W Trek

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Amboseli Safaris

    This is a trip that everyone should take. What an amazing destination

  2. Brady and Shelly

    Such an amazing photo essay! We are not hikers, however if we were to do one, it would be this one. We hear however the price is pushing $1000 USD for the trip. Do you remember how much you paid? How difficult was the altitude on your breathing? Amazing post however!

    1. Esther JuLee

      Thanks, Brady and Shelly! We paid $520 for the guided hike, which did not include the additional porter, airfare, or lodging at Cusco. It can be pricey, but definitely a trip of a lifetime. We spent two days in Cusco to acclimate, and we could really feel our labored breathing the first two days, but it wasn’t bad on the hike at all. Neither of us considered ourselves as hikers either before this trip. It was really challenging, but we probably didn’t train nearly as hard as we should have.

  3. Great description of the trail to Machu Picchu or the Inca Trail. I have always wanted to visit Peru and its high elevation twons steeped in tradition and spanish influence on religion and yet manages to maintain its traditions and culture. Great pictures of the trail.

    1. Esther JuLee

      Thank you, Rob! I hope you get to go see it for yourself! :)

  4. Emily

    This trip is one of the highest priorities on my bucket list. I hope I make it there one day!

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