Many countries have similar walking routes to the Inca Trail in Peru, however, very few can match the epicism of this trip in which the ecosystem is intermingled with an abundance of truly amazing species and on the other the remains or vestiges of civilization Inca, scattered along the route.
What is the best time of the year to book the Inca Trail?
The dry season or summer season begins in the month of May and usually ends in September or October and it is during these months that the Inca Trail is the best alternative, since it has good weather that allows you to appreciate the majestic valleys and beautiful mountains along the road without clouds or fog that prevents it.
During the months of December, January, February and March the rains are constant and copious in this part of the Peruvian territory while the dense fog hides everything under its gray mantle.
In the month of June the festivities of the city of Cusco are celebrated which attracts many national and foreign visitors, eager to explore the land of the Incas and it is for this reason that reserving during this month is quite difficult.
How long in advance should I book the tour to the Inca Trail?
If you want to travel the Inca Trail in the month of June or July, you must reserve a ticket at least twelve months before, because due to its great popularity, the tickets to this incredible hike are sold out months in advance.
If you want to do the Inca Trail in any other month of the year, you should usually do it at least six months in advance.
The National Institute of Culture of Peru (INC) is the agency in charge of the care and conservation of this world heritage site as well as managing the sale of tickets. The INC has arranged for 500 entrance tickets to the Inca Trail to be sold per day, distributed as follows:
- 300 entrance tickets are reserved for agency staff (porters, cooks, helpers, and other staff)
- 200 entrance tickets are ready for sale to the general public.
Is the Inca Trail open all year?
It is important to know that the Inca Trail remains closed in February of each year due to maintenance work in various sectors of the route. The maintenance work has the objective of preventing the massive influx of visitors to the Inca Trail from having a significant impact on the integrity and beauty of this route.
What is the difficulty level of the Inca Trail?
According to the international classification on the level of difficulty of a walk we have the following:
- Grade 1.- It is the walk with the lowest difficulty level. Usually on this type of trekking route you can reach the highest point of the route through a path with little slope. A fall does not usually result in any serious personal injury.
- Grade 2.- In this type of walk the traveler must eventually leave the route and make occasional use of his hands to continue the route. However, the time walking is greater than the time climbing or using the hands. The level of care required is definitely higher than in grade 1.
- Grade 3.- In this degree of walking the traveler must use their hands more frequently but despite this, most of the journey is done walking. Usually this degree of difficulty has different travel alternatives. A fall in these types of walks can result in considerable injuries.
- Grade 4.- This is the first degree of what is usually considered climbing. The route is crossed with clearly upwards, making frequent use of the hands. Some sections in this degree of climbing are made with safety ropes. A fall can prove fatal.
- Grade 5.- This grade is considered as pure climbing, professional training, experience and the use of safety ropes are required on most of the route.
The Inca Trail for its part, is considered by travelers and experienced walkers with a degree of difficulty 3. Because the route of the Inca Trail passes through various types of climates and different altitudes.
However, every year you can see that among the travelers who come to Cusco to do the Inca Trail, there are many times children or elderly people with an enviable physical state, that is, anyone can do this trek with proper preparation and over everything, with a positive emotional state and eager to have fun.
What things do I need to take to the Inca Trail?
The maximum weight that the traveler is allowed to carry during their journey on the Inca Trail is 5 kilograms. Given this weight restriction, the following should be considered for this route:
- The most important thing: the original ID or passport, valid and that is the document with which we made our reservation, otherwise we will not be allowed to enter.
- Sleeping or sleeping bag.
- A medium backpack of approximately 30 or 40 liters.
- Personal toiletries, including toilet paper and wet wipes, it should be taken in mind that there are no toilets during the route.
- Underwear, especially microfiber socks or some material that is specific for this type of use.
- Insect repellent.
- 40+ degree sunscreen.
- Bottle or canteen to recharge water and water purification tablets.
- Flashlight with battery replacements.
- Emergency cash in Peruvian soles because there are no ATMs or places to pay by credit card during the route.
- Wide-brimmed hat that protects the entire face and also the neck and ears.
What kind of shoes should I take to the Inca Trail?
Boots are one of the most important elements to consider, because when a person makes a trip of these characteristics using their feet continuously, it is normal that on the second or third day there may be some swelling or numbness. That is why it is highly recommended to wear boots with a size larger than usual, that are not new or that have had some use, because using new boots can generate scratches on the ankles or on the heel of the foot, which will mean in the long run a great discomfort when walking.
Can I do the Inca Trail on my own?
As of the year 2000, the Peruvian government ordered that the entrance of the travelers to the Inca Trail route is necessarily through a tourism agency, so that a traveler can NOT make this route on their own.
What is the highest point of the Inca Trail?
The highest point on the Inca Trail route is the so-called 'pass of the dead woman' or Warmihuañuska in Quechua, located at 4 200 m.a.s.l. It is good to know that the citadel of Machu Picchu, the end point of this unforgettable experience, is located at a much lower elevation (2 400 m.a.s.l.).
Is the Inca Trail dangerous?
We must be honest about it, because if there is a danger of falling down or falling down the side of the mountain. The entire Inca Trail is properly signposted and the tour guides and operators are the first responsible for the care of the traveler during their journey, however this does not guarantee that travelers always follow the indications and in some cases accidents have occurred due to the imprudence of visitors.
It is important to consider that the physical condition of the traveler must be adequate, as well as having previously performed two or three days of acclimatization in Cusco. A traveler little used to walking or physical efforts can find the Inca Trail route very difficult or even impossible.