Inca Trail Peru is the most famous trek to Machu Picchu involves a professional guide, cook and porters.
One of the most remarkable achievements of the golden age of the Inca and Pre-Inca civilization and perphaps its greatest mystery is Machu Picchu. Each year it is the goal for an ever increasing numer of visitors but few make the journeys along the ancient Inca Trail which is a part of a network of at least 30,000 km of main paved highways the Inca built along the Empire. The roads were tremendous feats of engineering and so well construted that large sections still survive despide centuries of neglect.
One of the best-known stretches of this imperial highways system remaining today is the route known as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. A fascinating four day trek on foot with porters, experienced biligual guides, chef, quality camping gear and nutrious, high energy food.
The Classic Inca Trail begins at Kilometer 82 near Ollantaytambo in the Urubamba Valley and goes through small woods, bamboo forests, sub tropical vegetation and wild orchirds. When the trail reaches two high passes on day 2, the views are beyond spectacular.
The Inca trail runs about 43 kms, beginning at Qoriwayrachina, popularly known as km 88 on the Cusco route climbs steadily up to Huallabamba, there it continues to the Llullucha Pampa until it reaches the spectacular pass of Warmiwañusca at 4,200 ms. Then the trail drops into the Pacaymayo Valley and you go across two more high passes before finally reaching the ruin of Machu Picchu
The trail goes through several Inca ruins such as Llaqtapata, Runkuraqay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñay Wayna; traveler's camping areas, tunnels and winds through some of the most beautiful scenery.
The trek to Machu Picchu is completed when you arrive at Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. It is the high entrance from the Inca Trail and overlooks this ancient citadel. A chance to visit the most fomous lost city of them all, not in usual tourist fashion but along the trail trodden by the Incas when their civilization was at its zenith.
When to Go to Inca Trail
All the high-season/low-season-trade-off are here. Winter (June through August) means drier weather and easier traveling, but it's prime vacation time for those in the northern hemisphere. Don't forget that three major observances - Inti Raymi (June 24). Peru's Independence day (July 28) and Santa Rosa de Lima (August 30) - fall during this time, and translate into exceptionally heavy crowds of Peruvian traveler. The result is higher winter lodging prices and larger crowds. Prices and visitor numbers drop dramatically during the summer rainy season (October through April). For near-ideal weather and mangeable crowds, consider it a spring or fall trip.
The wet season from November to April has a tropical downpour feel to it. Heavy, but the rain showers don't usually last long or the rain is often at night. The Inca Trail is closed for maintanace all February. The low season can be a time when you can enjoy Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Salkantay Trek, Inka Jungle to Machu Picchu without the crowds. Mudslides are an occasional problem It's rare, but visitors have been stranded at Machu Picchu or between Aguas Calientes and Cusco if the slider blocks the way, usually the earth and mud is cleared away quickly and travel continues unimpeded.
Cusco’s climate is divided into two seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 degrees at night.
Along the Inca Trail, temperatures range from 15-20ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 05-10ºC during the day if not sunny or 0-05ºC at night in the first 2 campsites. At Wiñaywayna and Machupicchu, at lower altitude, temperatures are usually warmer though warm clothes are still recommended at night.
Daily departures Inca trail are available along the year. However, as previously stated the high season(June-September), bookings need to be 4-6 months ahead of your travel dates. The exception is one-month closing period of all Inca Trail routes in February. This is the month for total maintenance of the trail. Please contact us to check departures to alternative routes. All Inca Trail departures are subject to government space availability, please check the following website: Ministerio de Cultura > Consultas > Centro Arqueológico: please select Camino Inca > Please select year and month. The Inca Trail books up quickly, so when you decide on checking this adventure off your list, get online and reserve your place.
For a Inca Trail private trek either solo or small friends or family group, departure dates are adapted to your request.
Only 500 persons are allowed to hike the Inca Trail a day. This includes about 200 hikers and 300 trekking staff such as Tour Guides, Porters and Cooks.
Although, it is not much known, the Inca Trail is still possible to do without contracting a tour operator. You can hire a Tour Guide only, if your group is under 8 persons. Such a Tour Guide has to hold an official Inca Trail authorization, carry a first aid kit and oxygen bottle. The Guide will purchase your Inca Trail permits and accept responsibility for the entire group. The disadvantage of hiring a Tour Guide instead of a tour operator is that you are not allowed to hire additional hiking staff such as Cooks and Porters so that you need to carry all your camping equipment (e.g. tents, matts, sleeping bags, food, cooking equipment, etc.) as well as you need to cook for yourself. Also, to find an independent Tour Guide might be difficult since most of really good Tour Guides are contracted by tour operators that do not allow them to be hired independently.
Maximum size of a group is 16 participants. A group over 10 participants receives an Assistant Guide in addition to a Tour Guide.
The Inca Trail is a part of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, a protected area of 32,592 hectares that is controlled by INRENA (Natural Resources National Institute). Inca Trail hikers cannot camp wherever they want on the trail, only authorized campsites can be used. It is not permitted to litter, hikers must use plastic bags and carry rubbish until the end of the Inca Trail trek. It is prohibited to cut or damage trees, pick plants, remove or damage stones of Inca ruins or the Inca path, kill animals, light open fires or camp in archeological sites. Horses, donkeys, mules or llamas cannot be used either.
It is very important to book the trail well beforehand. In general, it is recommended to book 4-6 months in advance, if you like to hike during high season (May to October) and 2-3 months in advance if you like to trek during low season (November to March).
If the Inca Trail is still available for your requested date, we confirm you that and ask you to pay a deposit and provide us with these personal information:
Authorized Tour Operators
These are companies that have received official authorization and the only allowed to operate the Inca Trail. An authorization has to be renewed each year. The authorization is granted by three institutions: Ministerio de Cultura, DIRCETUR (Regional Direction on Exterior Commerce and Tourism of Cusco) and INRENA (Natural Resources National Institute). There are 195 operators approved for the 2017. We strongly recommend you to check your Inca Trail operator authorization prior to do a booking. Please note: the Tierras Vivas is fully authorized.