FAQs About the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Written by: Sam Travel | 8 May, 2024
Faqs about inca trail

The Inca Trail is one of the world’s most iconic trek to Machu Picchu and is one of the world’s most famous trekking tours, a short but tough hike of 43 km/26.6 miles through the undulating Andes mountains.

The Inca Trail is a bucket list hike and one of Peru’s travel highlights. With its orchids, condors, cloud forest, and snow-capped peaks, this beautiful trail is open to all with training and determination.

Very Important Faqs for hiking the Inca Trail on 2024

What is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

The Inca Trail is a historic trekking route through the Andes Mountains in Peru that leads to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. The trail was originally built by the Incas over 500 years ago and includes a series of well-preserved stone pathways, staircases, tunnels, and terraces.

How long is the Inca Trail?

The classic Inca Trail trek is a four-day hike covering approximately 26 miles (43 kilometers) from start to finish. However, there are also shorter (The Short Inca Trail to machu Picchu) and longer versions of the trail available, depending on your preferences and physical fitness level.

When is the best time to hike the Inca Trail?

The best time to hike the Inca Trail is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During this time, the weather is generally clear and sunny, with little rain and cooler temperatures. However, it is also the busiest time of the year, and permits can sell out quickly. It’s important to book well in advance if you plan to hike during this time. The wet season, which runs from October to April, can also be a good time to hike, with fewer crowds and lush vegetation, but you should be prepared for rain and mud.

Do I need a permit to hike the Inca Trail?

Yes, a permit is required to hike the Inca Trail. The Peruvian government limits the number of hikers on the trail each day to help preserve the site and manage the impact on the environment. Permits are limited and must be purchased well in advance, so it’s important to plan ahead. It’s also important to note that the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance during the month of February each year.

How difficult is the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail is considered a moderate to strenuous hike, with steep inclines and declines, high altitude, and rough terrain. The highest point on the trail, known as Dead Woman’s Pass, is at an elevation of over 13,700 feet (4,200 meters). However, with proper preparation and acclimatization, most people with a reasonable level of fitness can complete the trek. It’s recommended to train and prepare for the hike at least a few months in advance.

Do I need a guide to hike the Inca Trail?

Yes, all hikers on the Inca Trail are required to be accompanied by a licensed guide. This is a safety measure to help ensure that hikers are properly prepared and equipped for the trek, and to help minimize the impact on the environment. Guides are also a great resource for learning about the history and culture of the area.

What should I pack for the Inca Trail?

Essential items to pack for the Inca Trail include sturdy hiking shoes, warm clothing for cold nights, a waterproof jacket, a good quality backpack, a sleeping bag, a hat and sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a refillable water bottle. You should also bring any personal medications or first aid supplies you may need, as well as snacks and energy bars for the trek. See the complete Inca Trail packing list

Can I visit Machu Picchu without hiking the Inca Trail?

Yes, Machu Picchu can be accessed by train or bus from nearby towns like Aguas Calientes, and there are also alternative hiking routes to reach the site. The most popular alternative trek is the Salkantay Trek, which takes hikers through stunning mountain scenery and remote villages before reaching Machu Picchu.

How much does it cost to hike the Inca Trail?

The cost of hiking the Inca Trail varies depending on the tour company, the length of the trek, and the level of comfort you choose. Generally, prices range from $700 to $1,500 per person. It’s important to choose a reputable tour operator and read reviews from previous hikers before booking.

Can I take photos on the Inca Trail and at Machu Picchu?

Yes, photography is allowed on the Inca Trail and at Machu Picchu. However, the use of drones is prohibited, and it’s important to respect the cultural and natural heritage of the site by not removing or damaging any artifacts or plants.

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Join the Thousands of Satisfied Customers who Rate us #1 on TripAdvisor

Bernie s 2023/03/02

Had a great trip with our guide Ray Herrera and driver Alfredo. Lots of good experiences in a short period of time 4 days. Learnt a lot not just about the main tourist destinations but Peru in general by Ray. Ray has a passion for Inca history and local produce. Ray knows all the good photo spots and we managed the sun out every day .. Good culture and if you want to get on a tour ask for Ray at Sams Travel = amazing

Tanya H 2023/03/02

Ray was our Tour Guide and Alfredo was our driver for a 4 day tour we did with SAM Travel Peru. Ray's knowledge of the history of Cusco and Machu Picchu was outstanding. Ray was very accommodating with all our needs. He stayed alongside us when trekking and helped where he could. His sense of humour was pleasant to be around. Ray spoke very good English. He is such a nice guy. I would strongly recommend Ray to be your tour guide to visit Machu Picchu. Ray explained everyday what the plans were for the next day, which was reassuring what we needed to take etc

Captanjack 2023/01/012

Our 1 day tour thru the Sacred Vally with Danny was wonderful. He was very knowledgeable and able to answer all our questions in detail. I would recommend asking for him personally if you are able.

Sherry 2022/12/26

We booked the Classic Cusco to Machu Picchu tour with SAM travel which we really had a good experience. SAM travel is very responsive during the communication and cater to our changes needed. Our guide is Ray who is also an very awesome guide. He is knowledgeable, patient, humorous as well reliable, he help us take many good photos and also go extra mile to help with our request. Thanks Ray! Thanks SAM travel that gave us good memories in Peru! Highly recommend if you consider booking any tour in Cusco.

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C Clark 2023/01/20

Wow. We had such an incredible experience in Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Our guide, Dayvit, is the most knowledgeable guide we have ever had. He has such an extensive knowledge of the history and is very friendly and helpful. If you are planning a trip to Peru, I highly recommend SAM travel and be sure to request Dayvit!

Emma Dinzebach Clark 2023/01/10

2 day tour sacred valley / Machu Picchu highly recommend! David was the best tour guide. He knows an incredible amount about Incan culture and is personable and funny. He also kept us up to date on a political situation happening when we were there and was informative. Overall, this tour checks all the boxes. Thank you!

Nupur Joshi 2023/01/02

We used SAM Travel for a 2D/1N trip from Cusco to Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu on Dec 25-26, 2022. The team was good with communication from the start - both Saul and Junior were very helpful and professional with answering any questions and clearing up any misunderstandings. Our guide, Miguel, was prompt, pleasant, and quite knowledgeable. We enjoyed his company and insight over the 2 day trip and recommend him to anyone booking with SAM Travel.

Xueying Chen 2022/12/20

We booked the Classic Cusco to Machu Picchu tour with SAM travel which we really had a good experience. SAM travel is very responsive during the communication and cater to our changes needed. Our guide is Ray who is also an very awesome guide. He is knowledgeable, patient, humorous as well reliable, he help us take many good photos and also go extra mile to help with our request. Thanks Ray! Thanks SAM travel that gave us good memories in Peru! Highly recommend if you consider booking any tour in Cusco.

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Cheri Buccino April 21, 2024

Powerful! This journey tests your humanity and leaves you in awe of yourself and the beauty that Pachamama provides. April 2024 We conquered the Inca trail and it was only made possible with the help and guidance from our expert guides Jean Pierre (JP) and Jimmy. The knowledge these gentlemen shared was admired by all of our group and the envy of other trail hikers who stopped to listen. The hike has many layers of challenges including language barriers, altitude sensitivities and food specifications. The team at Sam travel exceeded the needs and went above to ensure our comforts were met. A special mention must be made to Mario, the Chef who somehow performed magic with nutritious flavourful meals to satisfy even the pickiest consumers and Francesco who was our lead porter who orchestrated the harmony that happened behind the scenes to get everything done. Nothing less than marvellous from this team. Thank you to each of the group who made our trek a remarkable experience.

BL
Bhavana Lalwani April 18, 2024

Jose and Henry were great guides for our first time exploring machu pichu! They were very attentive and kept everything on a smooth schedule. Highly recommend!

RY
Ryan April 9, 2024

The whole experience was amazing. Ray, our guide answered all of our questions and definitely had our best interest in mind the whole time. Timothy the cook made fantastic food and somehow found a way to prepare a birthday cake with no notice! Boni our head porter and his whole crew were kind, accommodating, and had such upbeat attitudes which really made the experience great!

Isabel Batteria April 17, 2024

I spent two days with Sam Travel’s guide Raymier, who guided us through the one-day 12-km stretch of the Inca trail and then took us to Machu Picchu the next day. In my group, I was always the last one on the trail because I come from the coast and I’m not used to altitudes, and honestly I could also have prepared physically a little better. Raymier respected my pace, never rushed me, and supported me throughout the ardous trail. He had much knowledge to share. I speak Spanish, but ended up in an English tour, and Ray’s English was very good. He was funny, respectful, and versatile. He knew where to take all the best photos and patiently took photos of all of us. I would trust Sam Travel again especially if I was lucky enough to have Ray as a guide again.

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