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The complete guide to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most popular hiking routes in South America.
Every year, thousands of people from around the world come to Peru to hike the trail and see the ruins of the ancient Inca citadel. If you are thinking of embarking on this adventure, you will need to know some things.
This article will provide you with a general description of what you can expect on the Inca Trail, from the difficulty of the hike to the best time of year to do it.
Summary of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
This legendary trek to the Lost City of the Incas needs no introduction. The Inca Trail is considered one of the best hikes in the world. It is a pilgrimage towards a holy city and a journey that can change your outlook on life. During the Inca Trail, not only are you hiking to see Machu Picchu, but wherever you stop to rest, you will have breathtaking views; you will also find several Inca sites full of history and mystery.
The journey to Machu Picchu begins in the cool, dry Andes, crosses the last mountains and plunges into the cloud forest, which is the beginning of the Amazon. This tour through different ecosystems allows the traveler to enjoy diverse landscapes, Inca ruins hidden in the dense jungle, paved trails, a huge variety of birds and endemic flowers.
What is the Inca Trail?
The Inca Trails are an extensive network of trails built by the Incas. These roads, known as the Qhapaq Nan or Inca Trail, were created to connect the vast territory of the empire and allow trade, communication, transportation of food and the movement of the Inca army.
The Inca empire, called Tawantinsuyo or “4 provinces of the sun,” originated in the Peruvian sierra in the early 13th century and extended until the arrival of the Spaniards in 1532. At its height, the empire included regions that today correspond to Colombia , Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The capital of the empire was Cusco, an important city where the Inca kings resided.
From Cusco, the Inca Trails stretched in all directions: south, north, east and west. These roads were fundamental to the connectivity and logistics of the empire. In addition to facilitating trade and communication between the different regions, they also allowed for the transportation of food and the displacement of the Inca army.
The total length of the Inca Trails network is approximately 40,000 km (25,000 miles). This impressive network of trails has been recognized and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its historical and cultural importance.
The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is just one small part of this vast network of trails in the Tawantinsuyo. With a length of 26 miles (42 kilometres), this trail was rediscovered in 1915 by American explorer Hiram Bingham. Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca city located in the mountains of the Peruvian Andes, became one of the most famous and visited destinations along the Inca Trail.
Why is the Classic Inca Trail so famous?
The Inca Trail is one of the most stunning hikes in the world. It takes you through amazing scenery in Peru and culminates with a visit to the famous Machu Picchu.
During the height of the Inca Empire, the Classic Inca Trail was built. Inca engineers used advanced techniques and thousands of men to transport rocks and build paved roads and sacred archaeological sites. They even sculpted mountains to create trails and cities.
After the Spanish invasion in 1532, Manco Inca II, the rebellious Inca king, fled to Vilcabamba and destroyed all roads and bridges. There are many reasons why the Spaniards never found Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.
For centuries, the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu remained lost, but they have been wonderfully preserved and now travelers can admire them.
In 1911, Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu, and in 1915, he found the Inca Trail. These discoveries contributed to the Inca Trail trek becoming very popular.
The Inca Trail is only accessible on foot. It is a hike reserved for the porters of Peru, who are descendants of the ancient Chaskis, messengers who transmitted information. These porters are part of the hike experience.
The History of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
During the height of the Inca Empire in the 15th century:
- The great Inca emperor, Pachacuti, built Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.
- The Spanish conquerors arrived in Peru and captured King Atahualpa in Cajamarca. The Inca king was executed.
- The conqueror Francisco Pizarro arrived in Cusco and founded the city as a Spanish city on March 23,
- On April 25, 1534, Pizarro founded the city of Jauja as the first capital of the new colony.
- On Jan. 18, 1535, Pizarro founded the city of Lima on the central coast of Peru, known as “the city of kings.”
- On May 6, the army of Manco Inca II began the siege of Cuzco against the Spanish conquerors led by Hernando Pizarro. The siege lasted nearly 10 months but was unsuccessful.
In January 1537:
- Battle of Ollantaytambo between the troops of King Manco Inca and the Spanish expedition led by Hernando Pizarro. The Inca army defeats the Spaniards. However, Manco Inca’s forces abandoned Ollantaytambo and sought refuge in the jungles of Vilcabamba, where they established a small independent New Inca state until 1572. During the retreat, Manco Inca ordered the destruction of trails, bridges and villages to prevent the Spanish they would follow them.
- Hiram Bingham, in search of Vilcabamba, accidentally discovered Machu Picchu. Until his death, he believed that Machu Picchu was Vilcabamba, the last capital of the Incas.
- Hiram Bingham discovered the Inca Trail and conducted excavations at all Inca sites. He walked the Inca Trail in the opposite direction, starting at Machu Picchu and ending at the beginning of the Inca Trail.
- Machu Picchu was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
- In 2007, it was chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
In January 2020:
- The Inca Trail was closed due to a landslide caused by excessive rains.
In March 2021:
- After closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Inca Trail reopened operating at 50% of its capacity.
- The Inca Trail was completely open.
- The Inca Trail is expected to be as busy as before the pandemic.
Archaeological Sites within the Inca Trail
- Salapunku: The first archaeological site after Km 82 is only visible from the other side of the river; Inca Trail hikers will not visit this site. Travelers can only take photographs from the other side of the river. The site has huge walls and a huge gate which is believed to be the entrance to Machu Picchu from the Sacred Valley.
- K’anabamba: Also, Located on the opposite side of the Inca Trail River, this second archaeological site was a resting place for travelers.
- Llaqtapata: “We found evidence that some Inca chief had built his house here and included ten or dozen buildings in the plan. They were made of coarse stones set in clay with the usual symmetrical arrangement of doors and niches. It may have been built by one.” of the Manco captains” – Hiram Bingham, The Lost City of the Incas, 1912.
- Willkarakay: Located in the upper part of Llaqtapata , of circular construction and excellent location, it is noted that it was used and uninhabited by religious priests.
- Runkurakay: Located at the heart of the Inca Trail, the semi-circular shaped ruins were once used as a rest stop for more messengers and a religious site for the moon.
- Sayakmarca: It is an incredible archaeological site with a strategic location that controls all the valleys of the cloud forest below. This place was used for religious and military purposes.
- Conchamarka: Located just below Sayacmarka , it was probably the home of an important person or a high priest.
- Phuyupatamarca : “The city on the clouds” is located on top of a mountain above Mount Machu Picchu. This place was an important religious place because of the water and mountains.
- Intipata: Located in the thick cloud forest, this site was an important agricultural center. The terraces adapt perfectly to the shape of the mountain.
- Wiñayhuayna: This is one of the most beautiful and important Inca sites within the Inca Trail. A religious place with temples, water fountains and cultivation terraces.
- Intipunku: Sungate , this incredible place, is a checkpoint and an astronomical observatory. The first and best view of Machu Picchu.
- Machu Picchu: There is no greater joy than reaching Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail.
The best tips for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
If you are planning to trek to Machu Picchu and it has been on your wish list, you should prepare adequately so as not to be surprised by the sudden changes in climate and different altitude zones. If you are a big hiking enthusiast, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the best options; if it is exhausted, you can take the Salkantay Trek , Lares Trek , or any other alternative trek that will appeal to you. Not only will you enjoy the view, but the experience will be unforgettable. Below are some tips to make your hike a success.
Prevention of altitude sickness
If you’re one of the lucky few, you won’t feel anything. There are those whose hearts will beat harder while others may experience breathing difficulties. He may also have nausea or headache. Don’t take risks; you must prepare yourself for that if its your first time in this place.
The best thing you can do is give yourself at least two days to acclimate before trekking the Inca Trail. Take some medicine, drink coke mate and sleep a lot. It would be best if you buy Diamox to use before you start walking.
No prescription needed to buy Diamox in Peru; you can find it in all pharmacies in Cusco; must order ACETAZOLAMIDE – Acetazolamide (brand name: Diamox), of course, is expected to feel some common side effects like dizziness, stupor, tingling sensation. It is best taken during the night before going to bed or early in the morning before your activities.
If you prefer something more natural, we recommend Sorojchi Pills, Altivital and coca mate, and drink plenty of water.
Physical preparation before the hike
Although it’s a lot of fun, it’s not that easy. You have to prepare physically and psychologically. It needs stamina and stamina, so if I could exercise to improve strength and breathing, it would be pretty easy. Consider running or other cardiovascular exercise. Other important tips include breathing deeply, taking small steps, staying positive and renting hiking poles.
Almost all hikes on the Cusco to Machu Picchu trips will include passing through places of great altitude of at least more than 4000 meters (13123 feet) before arriving in Peru, performing short hikes regularly once a week plus.
Packing for your trip to Machu Picchu
This is an important aspect of all trips. Take your time to decide what you will need to hike. The experience could be worse if you forget essential items. I guess he forgot to bring extra batteries for his camera. It means you won’t capture memorable moments. Always have portable chargers for electronic devices. Other important things to take are documents (insurance, passport and diary), dresser items, medications and enough footwear. The climate also keeps changing, so it is important to have several outfits for different weather conditions.
Are there short hikes near Hot Waters?
There are a couple of additional hikes in Machu Picchu Village or Agua Calientes; if you stay in the village before or after Machu Picchu, you can visit the following Places.
Local Museum of Machu Picchu
Located near the Puente Ruinas (The bridge to Machu Picchu), you can access this place by walking 20 minutes from Aguas Calientes, or if you finish Machu Picchu, you can ask the bus driver to drop you off. by the bridge There is a fee (7 $) to enter the museum.
The station of the Butterflies
Located on the way to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. The butterfly station is located just 10 minutes from the village. Will be able to learn a lot of interesting data about the local butterflies and take photographs. There is a fee of 10 soles to enter this place.
The Gardens of Mandor
This beautiful place is located 1 hour walk from Aguas Calientes; you can see birds, orchids, waterfalls and Machu Picchu from below. To visit Mandor, you need at least 3 hours, which is best with a tour guide.
In addition to Huayna Picchu and Mount Machu Picchu, there is a third and steepest mountain called Putucusi. You do not need an entrance ticket to walk to Putucusi, but we recommend you go with a tour guide. You need at least 3 hours to complete this mountain and enjoy the incredible view of Machu Picchu from another mountain.
Climate on the Inca Trail
The climate in the Andes is unpredictable. It can be enjoying a sunny day and in a matter of time it can turn rainy. The Inca Trail lies in the Nuboso Forest, a warm, humid mountainous area that divides the frigid Andes with the dense Amazon. No matter the travel season, you should always be prepared for all seasons (sun, rain, wind, cold and even snow on Dead Women’s Pass).
When is the best time to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
The best time to hike the Inca Trail: many travelers ask this question frequently before deciding a final date: Peru has 2 seasons, wet and dry, you can hike the Inca Trail throughout the year except February, which is closed for maintenance.
The wet or rainy season runs from November to April. The average temperature during the day is 18 °C (64 °F), while the night temperature can round the 9 °C (48 °F).
The dry or winter season runs from May to October; the average temperature during the day is 16 °C (61 °F), while nights are much cooler, sometimes below 0 °C (32 °F).
Inca Trail in January
On average, January is the month with the most rainy days; however, touring the Inca Trail can be a beautiful experience. After the Christmas and New Year celebrations, the Inca Trail receives some visitors during January each year; this will make your trip memorable, as you will be hiking with some people.
Pros: Showers usually occur in the afternoon or for a couple of hours, and then the sun appears. This is the season of orchids, rainbows and spectacular prints with haze and clouds. The minimum temperature variation between day and night is from 19°C (66°F) during the day to 7°C (45°F) during the night.
Cons: landslides can affect the trail, delays on trains and flights.
Inca Trail in February
Inca Trail is closed all of February for maintenance; this month is the apogee of the rainy season. Machu Picchu is still open during February, and it is possible to do alternative treks such as Lares Trek, Quarry Trek and Huchuy Qosqo Trek. Other tours like Salkantay Trek are available. However, we strongly recommend not going to the Salkantay area during February due to the risk of heavy rains and landslides.
- Inca Trail tours : Closed for maintenance
- Salkantay Trek Tours : Not recommended
- Choquequirao Tours : Not Recommended
Tours available during February: Lares Trek , Huchuy Qosqo Trek , Quarry Trek and Train Tour to Machu Picchu
Inca Trail in March
The Inca trails reopen this month and many travelers will go on excursion to Machu Picchu. March is still within the rainy season, but the weather will improve as the rains start to subside. It is also important to consider that the entire February Inca Trail has been closed for maintenance, and all campgrounds, trails, bridges and restrooms have been repaired and cleaned.
Pros: Clean campsites, bathrooms and new bridges. Semana Santa, or Semana Santa, is celebrated throughout Peru and Cusco with various celebrations. Temperature variations range between 17 ̊C/64 ̊ F during the day and 6° C/ 42° F during the night.
Disadvantages: landslides are still at risk, wet trails and campsites.
Inca Trail in April
The rainy season is over and there are even less crowds at Machu Picchu compared to the high season. During April, the trails are not as busy and the vegetation is still dense due to the rainy season, which offers excellent views. Before heading into winter, April is the best time to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Pros: Warmer temperatures during the day, longer sunny hours, clear skies nights and night temperatures are not too cold. Temperature variations range between 19 ̊C/66 ̊ F during the day and 5° C/ 41° F during the night.
Cons: During Easter in Peru there can be a lot of people, and prices can increase in hotels and other places. We recommend booking in advance.
Inca Trail in May
May is the beginning of the dry season and also the high season for tourism in Machu Picchu. This means long queues for the buses at Machu Picchu and more people on the way. Despite the crowds, Mayo offers incredible views of the mountains during the hikes.
Pros: sunny days with clear sky nights offer excellent daytime and nighttime views. Temperature variations range between 19 ̊C/66 ̊ F during the day and 3° C/ 37° F during the night.
Disadvantages: Long queues for the buses to Machu Picchu, and it is necessary to book tours and hotels well in advance. The nights get colder.
Inca Trail in June
June is possibly one of the best months to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu. This peak of the high season comes accompanied by the biggest festival in Cusco, ” The fiesta del Inti Raymi Showers are sparse this month. However, you had better be prepared for rain and sun while hiking the Inca Trail.
- Pros: sunny days with blue and clear skies offer gorgeous views of the hike. Temperature variations range between 19 ̊C/66 ̊ F during the day and 1° C/ 34° F during the night.
- Cons: The crowds approach the maximum allowed per day, and the queue to enter the sites and buses is usually long. It would be best if you had sunscreen for the day times and good layers for the night.
Inca Trail in July
During the month of July the whole attraction in Cusco is massified, and in Machu Picchu we reach the maximum number of people allowed per day. The Inca Trail is dry and sunny and offers wonderful views of the scenery. The climate is very similar to June, with cooler nights.
- Pros: sunny days with blue and clear skies offer gorgeous views of the hike. Temperature variations range between 19 ̊C/66 ̊ F during the day and 0° C/ 32° F during the night.
- Disadvantages: The attractions are crowded. It is necessary to book hotels and excursions well in advance.
Inca Trail in August
August is the end of the high season; however, this is the vacation season in the northern hemisphere, and most Inca trails and sites will still have plenty of visitors. July, this month will bring many European and American travelers.
- Pros: Sunny days with clear nights; however, unannounced showers can occur at any time during the Inca Trail. Showers can occur at any time, even during the driest months. August offers magnificent views during the hikes. Temperature variations range between 20 ̊C/68 ̊ F during the day and 3° C/ 37° F during the night.
- Cons: crowds are still considered on all tours and Machu Picchu. Due to high demand, most hotels and tours remain the same as at the peak of the high season. Book your tours in advance.
Inca Trail in September
Although most days remain sunny and clear at the end of the dry season, rain chances increase and it is necessary to use a good rain gear. During September as well, temperatures will increase significantly, becoming warmer during the day and night.
Pros: the crowds have dwindled on the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, and it’s the last month of the year to enjoy the hikes before the rainy season begins. The temperatures you will experience are 21 °C/69 °F and minimums of around 5 °C/41 °F.
Cons: rains can occur at any time and at night, and you should always be prepared with a good rain gear.
Inca Trail in October
However, with the onset of the rainy season, it will still enjoy sunny days with fewer visitors in October, making this month a perfect time to visit and enjoy the solitude of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. October is the best time to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu before the rainy season.
- Pros: Good month to do the Inca Trail before the rains, less visitors on the Inca Trail. The temperatures you will experience are 21 °C/69 °F and minimums of around 5 °C/41 °F.
- Cons: showers usually occur in the afternoon, so you should always wear a good rain gear.
Inca Trail in November
Hiking the Inca Trail in November can be wet and embarrassing, since it’s officially the rainy season; however, the showers do not last all day and there can be weeks without rain. In addition, there has been an increase in the climate from highs of 22° C/71° F and lows of around 7° C/44° F. Travelers will be able to enjoy the green landscapes of the blooming flora.
- Pros: Less visitors and spectacular views of the mountains, the temperature is warmer, especially at night, with a significant variation comparing months like June or July.
- Cons: hiking the Inca Trail can be rainy, which means wet and stuffy trails and campsites.
Inca Trail in December
Due to the holidays, December started with fewer visitors at the beginning of the month and ended with a lot of people at the end of the year. The Inca Trail offers excellent views while the vegetation flourishes: mist, rain, clouds and rainbows give this iconic hike a mysterious touch.
Pros: excellent views from the lush landscapes, warm climate of 22 °C/71 °F and minimum temperatures of around 6 °C/42 °F.
Cons: the campground and trails can be bumpy and wet, and the chances of landslides increase as we enter the heavy rain season.
How difficult is the hike to Huayna Picchu?
There are some differences in difficulty between the short trail and the long trail. A reasonable level of moderate physical fitness is required if you are going to do the short trail and a higher level of physical fitness if you are doing the long trail. Both trails involve a considerable gain in elevation.
The short trail will require the use of hands and feet, as there is approximately a 60-degree elevation angle at its steepest point. The long trail will require a higher level of physical fitness than the short trail, as you will be hiking for a much longer period and the trail may be steeper in many parts. In addition, the long trail will require you to cross a wooden staircase to continue the tour.
What is the Elevation of Huayna Picchu?
The top of the Huayna Picchu trek is located at 8,924 feet or 2,720 meters above sea level. From the ruins of Machu Picchu, it climbs just over 1,000 feet. Huayna Picchu is located at an altitude higher than Machu Picchu. As mentioned earlier, it is a very steep climb. If you have a fear of heights or any condition that makes you lose your balance, such as vertigo, do not attempt this climb.
Altitude makes physical activity more difficult. The oxygen in the air is thinner, which requires you to breathe more intensely. This adds difficulty to this hike. As with any higher altitude trekking, it is important to make sure you are in good physical shape. This helps keep you properly oriented for the hike. Here you have a full breakdown of the altitude of Machu Picchu, or there are also some comparisons below.
- Huayna Picchu: 8,924 feet (2,720 meters)
- Machu Picchu: 7,971 feet (2,430 meters)
- City of Cusco: 11,152 feet (3,339 meters)
What is the difference between Huayna Picchu and Mount Machu Picchu?
There is another lesser-known mountain to hike if you can’t get tickets for Huayna Picchu. The Machu Picchu Mountain, also known as Machu Picchu Hill, allows 400 people a day to make the ascent. The Machu Picchu Mountain is a slippery and more challenging trek, with a view that some say is much better than Huayna Picchu. Once at the top of the mountain, you have a panoramic view of many snow-covered mountains, as well as the citadel of Machu Picchu. The path to Mount Machu Picchu is composed mainly of granite steps.
The Machu Picchu Mountain is where the Incas discovered water, specifically underground springs. This was another important decision to build the citadel where they did. Huayna Picchu offers an aerial view of the mountain, and the Machu Picchu Mountain gave life to the resort.
What is the Temple of the Moon?
If you have time, we strongly recommend taking the longer trail at Huayna Picchu, as this will give you the opportunity to see the Temple of the Moon. The Moon Temple was discovered in 1936, 25 years after Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu. The Moon Temple is an Inca ceremonial temple located in a cave.
In the center of the cave is a rock carved throne. No one is sure what the Temple of the Moon was used for. Some believe it was a royal tomb.
Another theory is that it was a place of worship for the gods, as the caves were thought to be an entrance for the gods towards a temple. Finally, another theory is that it was the center of a ceremonial bath complex.
Tickets for Mount Machu Picchu 2023
The alternative Mount Machu Picchu route will have 400 spaces per day, spread over 2 hours:
- Check-in from 06:00 to 07:00 hrs.
- Check-in from 07:00 to 08:00 hrs.
- Check-in from 08:00 to 09:00 hrs.
Visitors with this type of entrance should directly enter the Machu Picchu Mountain route and leave the monument the same way. This type of entry will have the possibility to re-enter the city to perform circuit 3 (low short – yellow color).
The Huchuypicchu Mountain alternative route will have 200 spaces per day, distributed over 9 hours:
- Check-in from 06:00 to 07:00 hrs.
- Check-in from 07:00 to 08:00 hrs.
- Check-in from 08:00 to 09:00 hrs.
- Check-in from 09:00 to 10:00 hrs.
- Admission from 10:00 to 11:00 hrs.
- Check-in from 12:00 to 1:00 hrs.
- Check-in from 1:00 to 2:00 hrs.
- Check-in from 2:00 to 3:00 hrs.
Visitors accessing this alternate route must complete circuit 4 (low long – celestial color) and will not be able to re-enter the monument.
Tickets for Huchuy Picchu Mountain 2023 – New hiking route in Machu Picchu
Huchuy Picchu is the smallest peak of Machu Picchu and is located right next to Huayna Picchu. You can only climb this mountain with valid tickets to enter Huayna Picchu Mountain. The difference is that it is very small, the walk is much shorter and does not represent a particular challenge.
Here you have detailed information about Mount Machu Picchu:
- Restrictions: Suitable for tourists of any age.
- Elevation: 3,082 meters above sea level.
- Distance of the tour: 2 kilometers, where you will ascend approximately 300 meters of altitude.
- Location: In front of Huayna Picchu and on the left of the traditional road.
- Trail description: Abundant vegetation, highlighting wild orchids. The wide trails will allow you to walk leisurely.
- Access: From the Machu Picchu Complex, climb up to the lookout (Guardian’s House), continue to the turnoff indicated by a sign.
- Number of visitors: 400 spaces per day.
- Hiking time: 3 and a half hours (round trip).
- Difficulty level: Moderate/high.
- Archaeological attractions: None.
- Flora and fauna: You will find a variety of orchids, butterflies and birds.
- Advantages: Less steep trails, panoramic views of the Inca City and Mount Huayna Picchu.
- Disadvantages: No archaeological remains. It’s hard to get to the top.
Frequently Asked Questions Inca Trail
When should I make reservations for the Inca Trail in 2023?
Be sure to make reservations for the Inca Trail as far in advance as possible. The government has strictly limited the number of people allowed on the Inca Trail (permits are issued for approximately 200 hikers per day, plus 300 porters). Permits can run out 6 to 9 months early.
How fit should I be to participate in the Inca Trail guided tour?
The Inca Trail is a grueling 43 km (26 mile) trek through mountainous regions that involves walking for 5 to 7 hours at great altitude and over rugged terrain. The maximum altitude is 4200 m above sea level. The Inca Trail is a tough hike and you must be well prepared and healthy before you start it. Try to spend 2 or 3 days in Cusco (3400 m) before starting the trek. If you do not exercise regularly or have heart, respiratory, knee or back problems, do NOT consider doing the walk.
Are there any age restrictions for the Machu Picchu and Inca Trail tour?
Cachi Life, Inc does not accept reservations for children under 8 years of age and adults over 67 years of age. All under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. The additional half carrier service (6 kg) is included with the purchase. Hikers older than 64 should consult their doctor before doing the Inca Trail to verify they are fit to participate in the trek.
We request proof of medical consultation if you are over 64 years of age. We recommend that clients older than 64 years arrive in Cusco at least 3 days before starting the trek. We recommend that all clients over the age of 59 talk to their doctor in advance about the best way to plan the trek and also to make sure their travel insurance covers such adventure activities.
We do not accept bookings from hikers over 60 years of age traveling solo or group bookings in which all members of the group are over 64 years of age.
What type of meals do they offer?
We offer standard meals, as well as a vegetarian meal option. Be sure to indicate your food preferences to us when booking your tour. We do not offer vegan meals. Keep in mind that all meals are prepared using the same pots. We will do our best to wash utensils and kitchen utensils, but there may be contamination.
- Dining options:
- Standard (no dietary requirements, eat everything).
- No red meat.
- Without fish.
- Gluten free.
Can I climb Huayna Picchu?
Huayna Picchu is the large mountain located in front of Machu Picchu. There is a narrow and steep trail that leads up to the top of the mountain, where there are also some interesting Inca ruins.
What is the cancellation policy for Inca Trail bookings?
Unfortunately, no refunds are offered within the 30 days prior to departure. The payment is used to acquire the trekking permit for the Inca Trail and reserve a space in the group. After acquiring the permit, we cannot change the trekking departure date or modify the name or passport number on the permit.
If you decide to cancel, we are unable to transfer your Inca Trail reservations to another client. Government regulations prevent us from filling your canceled space with another traveler, and the government will not reimburse or credit us for the cost of the permit.
What happens if trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu closes?
During the month of February, the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance, so reservations are not accepted at that time. During the rainy season, heavy rains can trigger landslides which can block part of the road or close some of the campsites. Typically, these partial road closures last only a few days, but can extend over several weeks or even months. In the event of such closures, Cachi Life, Inc will make every effort to find an alternative route to reach Machu Picchu. If we cannot offer a suitable alternative, we will have to cancel the trek and refund any payment less the costs already spent or committed to operate the trek. You will have to claim the remaining part through your travel insurance.
Do I need a passport for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu tour?
A passport is required to book the Inca Trail. Make sure the passport number matches the number that was used to book the trek. You will not be allowed to make the booking if your passport expires in the next 6 months.
You must carry your passport on the trek or you will not be able to start. The government will not allow you to enter the road if you do not have your permit. If you lose your passport, you should get a replacement before the trek. This requires filing an application with a $25 processing fee to the Peruvian government.
You will have to submit photocopies of your old and new passport, along with the police report of the lost passport. However, the government may not accept the transfer to the new passport. As such, this is considered a last resort. If this happens, it will be considered a cancellation by the hiker and no refund will be made. Peru will not allow entry to any person whose passport expires within 6 months following the date of entry.
Can I do the Inca Trail tour with my friends/family?
Yes, and we encourage it! However, if your friends book later, it’s possible they won’t be guaranteed a permit with your group. Permits are issued in order of arrival. We recommend everyone in your group book the trek at the same time.
Can I have my own campaign store?
Yes. We charge $85 for this. If this is a request, check with your travel expert prior to departure.
What can I expect from my tour guide on the Machu Picchu and Inca Trail tour?
Our tour guides speak excellent English. We guarantee that your guide will be with you during the Inca Trail trekking. All our guides provide the highest level of service. Ask all you want and ask to see what you want. Our guides will tailor your experience on the Inca Trail to your needs! This is your journey!
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