About the Trail

What is the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail is a trekking route built by the Empire of the Incas more than 500 years ago that ends in the famous citadel of Machu Picchu. Along the route you can find innumerable Inca archaeological remains, such as towers, water fountains, platforms, observatories, temples, houses and the Inca Trail itself, whose roads or paths are built with stone.

It is considered one of the best short walks or trekkings in the world.

How many kilometers does the Inca Trail have?

The total extension of the Inca Trail is approximately 43 kilometers. This route has stretches where you must climb extensive stairs, as well as descend steep hills, so the route is not linear or straight at almost any point.

How many hours do you walk per day?

The walking time during the Inca Trail depends on the distance between the points or campsites assigned by the INC (National Institute of Culture of Peru, body responsible for the care of this route) and the physical condition of the traveler . Normally you have between five to eight hours of walking the first three days and two to three hours of walking on the fourth day.

Do porters carry our luggage throughout the Inca Trail?

The porters carry the shared luggage of the trekking group, that is, they carry the tents, blankets, food, kitchens, utensils and other equipment that will probably be used during the tour by all participants.

Each traveler must carry their own backpack containing personal products, water, sunscreen, hats, walking sticks, ponchos or rain boots, etc., up to a maximum of five kilos. This will be verified at the start of the tour (backpacks will be weighed to verify that they do not exceed 5 kg.).

Is it dangerous to do the Inca Trail?

Most of the route is made on the road made by the Incas, which is a roadway or sidewalk 1.5 to 15 meters wide, so there are no great dangers if you have prudence; however, you don't have to get off the road because there are also deep chasms that are very likely deadly.

If you have heart problems or ills that may require immediate medical help, you should ask your doctor because one of the main features of the route is its inaccessibility.

Are there bathrooms on the Inca Trail?

Along the route bathrooms have been installed and many of them have water facilities, however, most of them are 'silo' type bathrooms that is basically a hole in the ground over which it has been installed a small room for the bathroom.

Where do you sleep on the Inca Trail?

The INC (National Institute of Culture of Peru) has assigned specific areas where tourism agencies and operators, through their official guides, set up their camps for the night. The traveler should only worry about his belongings.

Do I need to be fit to travel the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail does not require any special skills, that is, it is not necessary to know how to climb, know how to rappel and things like that, so that any traveler with good boots and a good team can do it, however , during the first day of the tour you walk from 2,000 meters to 4,000 meters So the physical challenge is considered moderate to intense and requires a regular to good physical condition.

Does the Inca Trail include a visit to Machu Picchu?

After four days of hiking through impressive and beautiful mountain ranges, valleys and plains, the Inca Trail ends at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the perfect closure for an unforgettable experience.

Where does the Inca Trail end?

The final stretch of the Inca Trail ends at the archaeological site known as Sun's door or ‘Inti Punku’ in Quechua, which is also part of the Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu.

How big are the groups on the Inca Trail?

The maximum number of tourists or travelers allowed per group is sixteen people, while the minimum allowed group size is four people.

Are there alternatives to the Inca Trail?

When there are no tickets or seats available to make the Inca Trail, you can choose several alternatives, among others:

  • The Salkantay snowy tour. - On this tour you start at the slopes of the impressive Salkantay snow, over 6,000 meters high and continue through valleys and countless streams until you reach the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu after five days.
  • The Choquequirao tour. - This tour lets you visit the Inca citadel of Choquequirao, discovered a little over 10 years ago, and which is located in a geographical area adjacent to Machu Picchu. The tour lasts from eight to nine days.
  • There is also the possibility of making the short version of the Inca Trail, and it lasts for two days.

Is it necessary to have travel insurance to do the Inca Trail?

The INC does not require the contracting of insurance to be able to make the trail, however, it would be a very important option if you want to reduce risks.

Is it possible to do the Inca Trail without the company of a tour guide?

Since 2001 it is not possible to make the Inca Trail without the company of an official tour guide.

Is it possible to do the Inca Trail without a travel agency?

The Inca Trail must be done in the company of a group of travelers in charge of an official tourist guide, who in turn is controlled by the tourism agency or operator.

Can I do the Inca Trail with children?

There are no restrictions as to the minimum age to do the Inca Trail; If the child is accustomed to walking, he can do this trekking route, however, it would be wise to communicate and coordinate his entry with the tourism agency.

If I walk too slow and my group leaves me behind?

It is recommended that walkers usually set their own pace, there will usually be groups that complete the route before others, as well as groups that advance others and then delay, so there is no reason to agitate in extreme.

Can I give up finishing the Inca Trail and going back?

The official tour guides are trained to handle all kinds of situations, from discomfort due to height through fatigue to falls, bumps and sprains. They will do everything possible so that you can conclude your trail without problems, but if necessary, they will be responsible for coordinating your return.

What water is drunk during the Inca Trail?

It is recommended to carry at least 2 liters of water per person per day, tourism agencies or operators are in charge of providing travelers with this liquid element; however, the water purification tablets must also be carried, in order to supply the canteens with water in one of the multiple sources present along the route.

Where do I leave my bags while doing the Inca Trail?

Most hotels and hostels in Cusco have places specifically enabled for travelers to leave their luggage while on tour.

How many kilos is it allowed to carry on the Inca Trail?

Up to five kilos of luggage and a small backpack can be carried to load the camera and other personal belongings.

Can I climb Huayna Picchu mountain at the end of the Inca Trail?

Yes, you can climb to the top of the Huayna Picchu mountain at the end of the Inca Trail, but you must keep in mind that tickets or entrance tickets to this mountain must be booked three or four months in advance.

About the Food

Are all meals included in the Inca Trail tour?

All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) as well as the transfer of the pots, ingredients and other items necessary for their preparation, are in charge of the operator or tourism agency.

Is it possible to request vegetarian food during the Inca Trail?

Yes, it is possible to request that a vegetarian option be included during the tour.

About payment and reservation

How long in advance should I book the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail is one of the most famous trekking routes in the world and tickets to enter are sold out many months in advance, besides there are only 200 tickets available per day. It is recommended to make the reservation as far in advance as possible, normally this time must be longer than six months.

Do I have to make a deposit to reserve the Inca Trail?

To make the reservation of the Inca Trail ticket effective, it is necessary to make the deposit of 60% of the cost.

Once the reservation is made, can I request a refund?

Entrance tickets to the Inca Trail are administered by the INC so there is no possibility of returning the money once the deposit has been made.

About the weather and different seasons

Is the Inca Trail open all year?

No, in February the Inca Trail is closed due to maintenance and prevention work, in addition to being the rainy season.

Should I fear altitude sickness on the Inca Trail?

During the first two days of the route you will cross plains and ascend to very high peaks, so you can suffer altitude sickness. It is advisable to take pills to counteract their effects.

What seasons exist on the Inca Trail?

From April to November is the summer season or dry season, during which no significant rainfall is recorded. From December to March it is the rainy season, accompanied by landslides, road closures and many other unforeseen events.

What is the best time to do the Inca Trail?

From May to August.

What clothes should I wear to make the Inca Trail?

Clothes must be worn for both cold and heat, as we have already mentioned before the first section of the route is done in cold climates and at high altitudes, while at the end of the journey we will find ourselves in the middle of hot jungle sub-tropical, full of vegetation, humidity and very hot.

What equipment do I need to make the Inca Trail?

You should bring a sleeping bag also called sleeping, a tent, a raincoat, a towel, a flashlight, a hat, toilet paper, among others. Most of the logistics of the trip is in charge of the tourism agency or operator.

What shoes should I wear to make the Inca Trail?

It is recommended to wear used hiking shoes or boots, the disadvantage is that, if the chosen footwear is new or recently purchased, this usually causes wounds or calluses on the foot after one or two days of walking.