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Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu

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Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the world's premier treks that combines spectacular high Andean scenery & Inca ruins culminating at the glorious ruins of Machu Picchu. Planning your hike ahead of time is something you should consider, as permits to hike the full Inca Trail are extremely limited and require reserving months in advance starting in October of each year. Most Inca Trail tours have four days of hiking and are offered as either standard-class or luxury-class treks. For experienced hikers, the breathtaking Salkantay trek takes you even higher into the Andes. All treks require several days of acclimatization to high altitude and a good level of fitness. Hiking the Inca Trail can be very challenging, but Adventure Life's Peru experts are here to assure trip planning is seamless and that you're prepared for the hike. Contact us for expert advice or to book your Inca Trail hike.

Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 2023-2024

Guide to Trekking the Inca Trail

Is it currently safe to hike the Inca trail?

On January 19, 2023 the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu closed indefinitely due to civil unrest and as of January 30 is still closed until further notice.

The past couple of months Peru has experienced civil protests that have caused shutdowns in transportation. Demonstrations are currently taking place in Lima, Cusco, Puno, Arequipa, and Ayacucho

Contact one of our Peru trip planners for up-to-date advice on traveling to Peru during these challenging times. 
Inca Trail Availability

The number of people allowed to hike the Inca Trail is strictly limited by the Peruvian government and permits sell for much of the years months in advance. It is extremely important to plan as far in advance as possible due to limited availability. Tickets for the upcoming year go on sale in October and high demand periods can sell out quickly.

Contact us to reserve your spot!
When to Go - Best Times of Year to Trek The Inca Trail 

The high travel season is May through August, and you must reserve your trek several months in advance (preferably before October of the previous year) in order to secure one of the limited spaces during these dry months of sun and warmth where it only rains a few days per month on average. Nights temperatures are cool, averaging around 32 degrees F (0 degrees C).

Rain starts increasing in September, peaking in January. The average number of rainy days for this season are:
September: 8 days of rain
October: 9 days of rain
November: 13 days of rain
December: 16 days of rain
January: 18 days of rain
February: 13 days (Inca Trail is Closed all month) 
March: 11 days of rain, (reserve ahead, best to book before October)
April: 9 days of rain, (reserve ahead, best to book before October)
During the entire month of February the Inca Trail is closed for repairs. The rains can be cold, and you need adequate rain gear (ponchos are great!) but average high temperatures are a pleasant 68 degrees F (20 C). The evenings tend to be warmer with the low temp averaging around 40 degrees F (5 degrees C) during the rainy season.  
Preparing to Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Preparation is the key to enjoying the Inca Trail to its fullest. The 4-day trek is about 25 miles (40 km) long, and most importantly, at high altitude, so basic hiking fitness is required. Here's a day-by-day account to help you understand what to expect, what kinds of conditions, altitude and distances are involved.

Altitude. The classic Inca trail ranges in altitude from about 9,000 ft. to almost 14,000 ft. (3,000-4,800m) and the highest campsite is at 12,600 ft (3,850 m). Everyone is affected by altitude differently, so the best way to know how your body handles altitude is to hike at similar altitudes before your trip. Then, upon arriving to Cusco, spend several days acclimatizing. To acclimatize gradually, spend a few days in the Sacred Valley and then Cusco. Stay well hydrated and consider taking hikes up to ruins like Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo before starting the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.

What to bring. Be prepared for cold and heat, sun and rain. Dress in layers, and most importantly, wear comfortable, well broken-in walking shoes or hiking boots. You'll need a small-sized backpack to carry snacks, a water bottle, raincoat/shell, and of course, your camera while you are hiking during the day. Arrieros, the Andean sherpas that accompany us, will carry all of our camping gear, and cooks will serve you hot meals in the evenings and picnic lunches with spectacular views on the trail. See our Inca Trail FAQ for details of what you should bring on the trek and what you should leave in Cusco.

Adventure Life arranges and pays for your combined Inca Trail permit, Machu Picchu entrance fee, all transportation, a guide, porters, and basic camping equipment. Feel free to contact an Inca Trail expert with any questions or concerns you have about best preparing for the Inca Trail. We'd love to help!
Inca Trail Day-by-day + Campsites

The traditional Inca Trail hike begins as you disembark the Cusco to Machu Picchu train outside of Ollantaytambo at "kilometer 82".

Put on your hiking boots and start the mostly uphill hike to your first campsite at Huayllabamba.

You'll spend three nights camping and arrive to glorious Machu Picchu on the fourth day. 

Here's a summary of each days' hikes and camps.
Why Trek the Inca Trail With Adventure Life

We have been taking elated travelers on the Inca Trail for over 20 years, and have been refining and perfecting the itinerary to provide the ultimate Inca Trail experience.

Not all Inca Trail companies are created equal. Here's why you should go with Adventure Life:

1) Group Size - we organize treks for as few as 2 people. Average group size is 4-6 and our group size never exceeds 12. Many other trekking companies have groups with over 20 people. 

2) Best Guides - not only do you have fewer travelers per guide, but we've got the best guides hands down. Day in and day out, these guides are the unsung heroes whose efforts create amazing experiences for travelers. Read all about them here.

3) Improved Route - we use less crowded campsites than most operators that more evenly spread the distance each day, and on the last day, we avoid starting to hike in the dark. You get a better experience on the Inca Trail and at Machu Picchu. 
Map of the Inca Trail - Click to expand map.

Map of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Inca Trail Alternative Treks

The number of people allowed to hike the Inca Trail is limited to 500 people per day, and requires reserving months ahead of time in order to secure a spot. If you are unable to get a permit, or want to avoid the crowds on the main Inca Trail, there are excellent Inca Trail alternatives that highlight ruins, culture and spectacular high peaks of the Andes.

2 Short Single-Day Inca Trail Hiking Options for 2023-2024

4 Amazing Multi-Day Treks in the Machu Picchu Area

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