Inca Trail Trek

The Inca Trail is perhaps the most iconic trekking route in South America, offering adventurers a historic and awe-inspiring journey through the Peruvian Andes. This legendary trail spans approximately 26 miles (42 kilometers) and typically takes four days to complete, starting from the Sacred Valley near Cusco and culminating at the breathtaking Machu Picchu. Along the way, trekkers traverse diverse landscapes ranging from high-altitude mountain passes to lush cloud forests, passing through ancient Inca ruins such as Wiñay Wayna and Sayacmarca.

The Inca Trail not only challenges hikers with its steep ascents and descents but also rewards them with spectacular vistas of snow-capped peaks and the opportunity to explore significant archaeological sites that are inaccessible by road. The final approach to Machu Picchu, often culminating with an early morning ascent to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), offers a dramatic and unforgettable view of the iconic citadel nestled among mist-shrouded mountains. Recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Inca Trail is not just a physical journey but a cultural and historical immersion into the legacy of the Inca civilization, making it a bucket-list experience for adventurers and history enthusiasts alike.

Inca Trail Tours

If trekking the Inca Trail is on your bucket list, you have a few options, ranging from just 1 days to 7 days long, which includes a part of the incredible Salkantay Trail as well. Bear in mind that the 4 day trail is the classic route and the one that most people want to take part in, so you need to book months in advance.


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Inca Trail Travel Guide

Before You Go, What You Should Know

The Inca Trail is a renowned trekking route in Peru that leads to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu. It combines stunning mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle, and fascinating Inca ruins.

The classic Inca Trail is approximately 42 kilometers (26 miles) long and typically takes 4 days to complete.

Yes, a permit is required to hike the Inca Trail, and they are limited to 500 per day, including guides and porters. It’s essential to book your permit several months in advance.

The best time to hike the Inca Trail is during the dry season, from May to September. The trail is closed for maintenance in February.

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Layered clothing
  • Rain jacket
  • Hat and gloves
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Reusable water bottle and purification tablets
  • Snacks and personal medication

The Inca Trail is considered moderate to difficult. It involves steep ascents and descents, high altitudes, and long days of hiking.

To acclimatize, spend a few days in Cusco or another high-altitude location before starting the trek. Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, and consider medication for altitude sickness.

Basic toilet facilities are available at some campsites and rest stops. However, they may not be very clean, so be prepared with toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

No, the Peruvian government requires all hikers to be accompanied by a licensed guide.

Meals typically include a mix of Peruvian and international cuisine, with dishes such as soups, rice, vegetables, chicken, and pasta. Special dietary requirements can usually be accommodated with advance notice.

Accommodation on the trail is camping. You will sleep in tents provided by your trekking company.

  • Salkantay Trek
  • Lares Trek
  • Choquequirao Trek
  • Inca Jungle Trek

How do I prepare physically for the Inca Trail?

  • Regular hiking or walking
  • Cardiovascular exercises (running, cycling)
  • Strength training (leg and core exercises)
  • Dry season (May to September): Cool and dry
  • Wet season (October to April): Warm and rainy
  • Nights can be very cold year-round.

No, there are no charging facilities on the trail. Bring extra batteries or a portable power bank.

Guides are trained in first aid and can handle most minor injuries and illnesses. For serious emergencies, evacuation to the nearest medical facility is arranged.

Yes, tipping is customary. The amount varies, but a general guideline is:

  • $10-15 per day for guides
  • $5-10 per day for porters

Common sightings include:

  • Birds: Hummingbirds, Andean condors
  • Mammals: Llamas, alpacas
  • Reptiles: Lizards
  • Follow Leave No Trace principles
  • Pack out all trash
  • Use biodegradable toiletries
  • Stay on designated paths

The ultimate highlight is reaching Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) at sunrise, offering a breathtaking view of the ancient city.