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Inca Trail Trek & Tours FAQs

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Inca Trail trek & Tours FAQs - The Inca trail is the most legendary hike in South America, often rated in the top 5 treks in the world and a life changing experience. Trekking the Inca Trail through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu can be difficult though magnificent. In 26 miles (43km)it integrates charming mountain surroundings, profuse and delightful cloud forests, semitropical jungle, and naturally, a beautiful combination of Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels and of course the final destination, the cryptic Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas”.

 

Usually before to book, there are different question about the trek

 

 

 

Do I need to book the Inca Trail in advance?

YES! It is recommended that you make a reservation and pay for your entrance fee well in advance. Bookings should be done: 

  • Hiking in December, January, March: 1 month in advance
  • Hiking in May, June, July: 5 month in advance
  • Hiking in August, September, October: 6 month in advance
  • Hiking in November: 5 month in advance

In February, the Inca Trail trek is closed but you can do the alternative treks or visit by train. The number of Inca Trail permits is limited to 500 per day (about 200 tourists 100 Guides and 200 Porter trekking staff). This includes the 2 and 4 day Inca Trail treks as well as the Salkantay Trek 7 day.

 

You can find the availabilty of Inca Trail permits on Ministerio de Cultura or contact with staff..

 

It is possible to do it without a travel agency

Since June 2002 trekking independently on the Inca Trail has been prohibited. The regulations state that each trekker must be accompanied by a professionally qualified guide. The Sernarp and Ministerio de Cultura Decentralizada is the regulatory body responsible for controlling access to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. The Inca Trail Trekking Companies must meet certain basic requirements proving that they have professional guides, cook, porters, camping equipment, radio communications and emergency first aid including oxygen. Their license is renewed each year and the list of authorized guides and agencies appears in the official website Ministerio de Cultura

 

It is possible to enter with different name?

No, you need to carry a original passpot with the name you used during your booking to enter the Inca Trail.    

 

When Is The Best Time To Hike The Inca Trail?

The best time to hike the Inca trail is between May and September when the weather is adequately dry and mainly sunny, though June, July and August (the high season) are very cold. No matter what time of year the nights get very cold so bring a good quality warm sleeping bag (we provide one) Thermarest mattress and layer your clothes.

 

The classic Inca trail, though there are alternative options as well.

 

Over 250 species of orchids have been recorded in the Machu Picchu historic sanctuary, as well as many rare birds, animals, reptiles, along with various species that are on the edge of extinction.

 

To successfully complete the trek, a moderate level of physical condition is needed regardless of age. It is vital that you have adjusted to the altitude before attempting the Inca trail. The maximum height along sea level on the way is at 4200m; we strongly advise you to spend 2 days in Cusco beforehand; it would be an ideal time to check out the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

 

How long is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

The Inca Trail is 42 kms (26 miles) long. Campsites along the trek are assigned by the Ministerio de Cultura Descentralizada and for this reason it is difficult to determine the distance to be covered in a day but expect to walk 6 to 9 hours per day. 

 

How difficult is the Inca Trail?

The trek is considered a moderate. 

The First day, there are a lot of Inca staircases to walk up and down, 

The Second day, it is difficult day, you will up from 3700 m to 4220 m. (Warmiwañusca high pass) 

The Third day, it is easy day, you will walk down to the Subtropical zone

The Last day, you will require to wake up early, and you will walk up and down to Machu Picchu

 

We recommend the rental of a wooden walking stick locally from our office in Cuzco as it will help with your balance and reduce the load on your knees.

 

When do we reach Machu Picchu and How much time do we spend there?

Yes! If you do not want to hike, please advise us at the time of booking. If you choose wouldn't  like to hike the trail you can spend two nights in Cuzco and then you can take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes for the third night.  On the fouth day, you will meet with your group at Machu Picchu. 

 

What type of accommodation is used on the Inca Trail?

Our tents are of the brand Doite designated for 4 seasons. We provide with 3 person capacity tents; however, just 2 trek participants use it! In this way, we provide you more space and comfort. In case of a single traveller, we provide with a 2 person capacity tent. After each trek, we carefully check our tents and fix them if necessary

 

Is is sleeping bag and mat included in the Inca Trail?

Yes, it is included the sleeping bag and Thermarest mattress

 

When is the high season on the Inca Trail?

Only 500 people per day are allowed to enter to the Inca trail Trek so during the High Season you will see the same amount of people than during the low season unless all 500 permits have not been sold out.

 

Do I need to book my Inca Trail Tours?

Yes, It is popular all year and we recommend to book in advance. 

 

Appropriate clothing along this hike to Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the third day (if sunny) and in Machupicchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Machupicchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.

 

What to bring to Inca Trail and Machu Picchu?

  • Passport original
  • Original International Student Identity Card (in case you have applied for a student discount)
  • Cash in soles
  • A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
  • Sandals or jogging shoes for a higher comfort while at camp
  • Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for Sleeping
  • Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
  • Camera and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
  • Sun block
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
  • Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – no malaria risk has been reported
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Toilet paper
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc. Please note that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. This recommendation applies for all clients being used to a specific snack, as it may happen that it is not included in our selection
  • Water container and water for the first morning. Important notice: plastic water bottles are no longer allowed into Machu Picchu. Plastic water containers (ie. Nalgene) or metal ones are recommended
  • Optionally: water- sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem so far
  • Small towel
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
  • Optional: walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage the Inca Trail)

 

What is the cost of an extra porter? How much should I tip?

The Porters to carry all camping equipement and meas during 4 days hike to Machu Picchu, if you would like the extra porter to carry your personal belonging, you  can be hired separately for between $130 for the 4 day trek to Machu Picchu. Porters, cooks and guides also need an Inca Trail permit in order to enter to the Inca trail. Generally speaking if all the group have been pleased with the service then try to ensure that:

 

The guide $20 

The cook $10

Assistant guide about $15

Each porter takes home an extra $6


A typical group of 4 persons with 7 porters (7 x 9 = $72), 1 cook ($10), 1 guide ($25), and 1 assistant ($15), which works out at a tip of about $9 per person. If you have employed a personal porter then you will have to pay his tip yourself. Remember the above figures are just a guide line. If the food that the cook served up was inedible and you couldn't understand what the guide was talking about then don't tip them. They'll soon get the message and hopefully improve their services. Don't, however, take you dissatisfaction out on the porters who were probably working hard throughout the trek.

 

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