Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru is the most famous trekking route in South America.
The 42 km hike encompasses a mix of Inca ruins, mountain landscapes, lush cloud forest and subtropical jungle that lead to the sacred Inca city of Machu Picchu.
While the terrain isn’t very difficult to hike, the high altitude will make it difficult for an unprepared hiker. Hikers need to spend a few days in Cusco before the hike to adjust to the altitude. Drinking plenty of water can help you get used to the altitude.
Only 500 Inca hiking permits are available per day, including support staff such as cooks, porters, and guides. So we recommend Book your Inca Trail tour at least 3 months in advance. However, during the midsummer months, you may want to book even further in advance.
Relatives read: Inca jungle trail to Machu Picchu – The less traveled hike
The best time to hike the Inca Trail
The dry season, which is the best time of year, is from May to October or November, and the rainy season is from December to April. The Inca Trail is closed in February due to heavy rainfall. Daytime temperatures can range between 50 and 82 ° F, and nighttime temperatures between 32 and 50 ° F.
What to pack for the Inca Trail
The tour operator you choose will help you determine exactly what you need for the hike. They usually provide the matching travel bag for packing and porters to carry, which can weigh up to 17.6 pounds. You will only have a light daypack with you. They usually also provide all of the camping gear, with the exception of the sleeping bags, which can be rented. We strongly recommend combining with water-soluble clothingor fabric that does not retain moisture and we advise against wearing cotton that absorbs water quickly and dries slowly, which can result in an uncomfortable hike.
We recommend that you bring the following:
- A small daypack with sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, camera, reusable water bottle, windbreaker and rain gear.
- One complete change of clothes per day.
- Sweater and jacket for cool days or nights, gloves and winter hat recommended.
- A down jacket is recommended in the evening as it can get very cold at night.
- Warm training pants for the evening in camp and in the tent.
- Comfortable high and waterproof walking shoes.
- Comfortable wool socks.
- A pair of sneakers to wear in camp and a pair of flip flops to shower.
- A flashlight and batteries.
- Personal toiletries and medication.
- Medium sized towel.
- Peruvian currency (soles) for tips and small purchases on the way.
- Sleeping bag (if you don’t want to rent one).
Check out our hiking gear guide.
What documents do you need to hike the Inca Trail?
You will need a passport that is valid for at least six months after your arrival. Citizens from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia traveling as tourists do not require a visa. Tourists can stay for a maximum of 90 days. If you are staying longer, you will need to apply to the Peruvian immigration authorities for an extension. All visitors are required to complete a copy of a tourist card that you will receive on your flight to Peru. Keep this on your passport and show it to the authorities when you leave the country.
Tip on the Inca Trail
We recommend giving your porters $ 10 per day and your guide $ 15-20 per day.
Your trip begins in Lima, where you spend the night and depart for Cusco the next day (read more about what to do in Cusco). On most hikes, you will hike an average of 4-7.5 miles per day. Once you reach Machu Picchu, spend the night and return to Cusco by train the next day. If you don’t want to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you can also get there by train.
Hiking the Inca Trail with GAdventures
GAdventures was called that Best Inca Tour Operator of the Regional Directorate of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Cusco (RDFTTC) in Peru. When you join this tour, over 569 local guides, porters, cooks, drivers, and staff will assist you.
Your four-day Inca hike combines the cultural highlights of the Sacred Valley with a hike through the region’s ruins, mountainous landscapes, and cloud forests.
Check out the tour here.