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9 Things you should know to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Find out everything you need to know about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, from the best time to book to the necessary equipment.

Portada » Useful information for travel to Peru » Data for traveler » 9 Things you should know to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Many countries have trekking routes similar to the Inca Trail in Peru, but very few can match the epicness of this trip in which, on the one hand, the ecosystem is intermingled with an abundance of truly amazing species and, on the other hand, the remains or vestiges of the Inca civilization, scattered along the route.


The dry season or summer season begins in the month of May and normally 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 way without clouds or fog.

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 for this reason it is quite difficult to reserve admission during this month.


If you want to hike the Inca Trail in the month of June or July, you should book an entrance ticket at least twelve months in advance because due to its great popularity, entrance tickets to this incredible trek are sold out months in advance.

If you wish to do the Inca Trail in any other month of the year, you should normally do so at least six months in advance.

The National Institute of Culture of Peru (INC) is the organization in charge of the care and conservation of this world heritage site as well as the administration of ticket sales. The INC has arranged for 500 entrance tickets to the Inca Trail to be sold per day, distributed as follows:

  • 300 admission tickets are reserved for agency personnel, i.e. porters, cooks, helpers, porters and other staff.
  • 200 admission tickets are available for sale to the general public.


It is important to know that the Inca Trail remains closed in February each year due to maintenance work in various sectors of the route. The purpose of the maintenance work is to prevent the massive influx of visitors to the Inca Trail from having a significant impact on the integrity and beauty of this stretch.


According to the international classification on the level of difficulty of a hike we have the following:

  • Grade 1.- This is the hike with the lowest level of difficulty. Usually in 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 serious personal injury.
  • Grade 2.-  In this type of trekking the traveler must eventually leave the route and make occasional use of his hands to continue the route. However, the time spent walking is longer than the time spent climbing or making use of the hands. The level of attention required is definitely higher than in grade 1.
  • Grade 3.-  In this grade of trekking, the traveler must use his hands more frequently, but in spite of this, most of the journey is done walking. Usually this degree of difficulty has several alternative routes. A fall on this type of hike can result in serious injury.
  • Grade 4.- This is the first grade of what is usually considered climbing. The route is clearly upward, making frequent use of the hands. Some sections in this grade of climbing are done with safety ropes. A fall can be fatal.
  • Grade 5.- This grade is considered pure climbing, requiring professional training, experience and the use of safety ropes on most of the route.

The Inca Trail, on the other hand, is considered by travelers and experienced hikers with a degree of difficulty 3. Because the Inca Trail route passes through various types of climates and different altitudes. 

However, every year it can be seen that among the travelers who come to Cusco to do the Inca Trail, there are often children or older people with an enviable physical condition, that is, anyone can do this hike with proper preparation and above all, with a positive emotional state and eager to have a good time.


The maximum weight that the traveler is allowed to carry during the Inca Trail is 5 kilograms. Taking into account this weight restriction, the following should be considered for this route: 

  • The most important thing: the original ID card or passport, valid and that it is the document with which we made our reservation, otherwise we will not be allowed to enter.Bolsa de dormir o sleeping. 
  • A medium backpack of approximately 30 or 40 liters.
  • Toiletries, including toilet paper and wet wipes, as there are no toilets along the route.
  • Underwear, especially microfiber socks or any material that is specific for this type of use.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Sunscreen grade 40+.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Bottle or canteen to refill water and water purification tablets.
  • Flashlight with spare batteries.
  • Cash in Peruvian soles because there are no ATMs or places to pay with credit cards along the route.
  • Wide-brimmed hat that protects the entire face as well as the neck and ears. 


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. This is why it is highly recommended to wear boots with a larger size than usual, that are not new or that have had some use, because using new boots can cause scrapes on the ankles or heel of the foot, which will mean a great discomfort for walking in the long run.

Can I do the Inca Trail on my own?

As of the year 2000, the Peruvian government made it mandatory for travelers to enter the Inca Trail route through a tourist agency, so that a traveler can NOT do this route on his own.

What is the highest point on 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 meters above sea level. It is good to know that the citadel of Machu Picchu, the final point of this unforgettable experience, is located at a much lower elevation (2,400 m.a.s.l.).

The Inca Trail is dangerous

We must be honest about this because there is a danger of falling down the mountainside. The entire Inca Trail is properly signposted and the guides and tour 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 the visitor. 

It is important to consider that the physical condition of the traveler must be adequate, as well as having previously done two or three days of acclimatization in Cusco. A traveler unaccustomed to walking or physical exertion may find the Inca Trail route very difficult or even impossible. 

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