The most famous hike to Machu Picchu in South America, this 4-day trail to Machu Picchu is walked by thousands of backpackers every year. Although the total distanceis only 33 km, the ancient trail laid by the Incas winds its way up, down and around the mountains, snaking over three high passes en route. The views of snowy peaks and cloud forest can be stupendous, and walking from once cliff-hugging ruin to the next is a mystical and unforgettable experience-except that you'll rarely have a moment of peace to enjoy it. You should think about taking an alternative trek instead.
You cannot hike the Inca Trail independently. All trekkers must go with a guide in an organized group. You must also carry your passport (not a photocopy) and ISIC card to present at checkpoints. Don't litter or defecte in the ruins or pick plants in the national park. It is ilegal to graffiti any treees or stones en toute.
All trekking gear can be rented from outfitters in Cusco. The trail gets extremely cold at night, so make sure sleeping bags are warm enough. Also remember sturfy shoes, rain gear, insect repellent, suncreen, a flashinght (with fresh batteries), water-purification tablets, high calorie snacks and a basic first-aid kit. Take a stash of small Peruvian currency for buying bottled water and snacks along the way, as well as for tipping the guide, cook and porters.
Guided tours depart year-round, except during February when the trail is closed for maintenance. However, in the wettest months (December to April), trails can be slippery, campsites muddy and obscured views behind a thick bank of clouds. The dry season from May to September is the most popular and crowded time to go.
The goverment has introduced a string of reforms in an attempt to prevent further damage to the trail. Registered Inca Trail Tour Operator now have to pay huge annual fees and taxes, and their prices have consequently shotup.
When choosing a Tour Operator Company, realize taht the cheapes agencies may care less about ecologically sensitive camping and porter welfare.
You should reserve your spot on the Inca Trail at least sixweeks in advance. Booking several months ahead and reconfirming in advance will avoid delays caused by bottlenecks during high season. Because campsites are alloted in advance, late comers are more likely to spend the last night several hours short of the final stretch.
Most Tour Operator run minibuses to the start of the trail past the village of Chilca at Piscacucho (km 82). After crossing the Río Urubamba and taking care of trail fees and registration formalities, the trail climbs gently along side the river to the first archaeological site of Llactapata before heading south down a side valley of the Río Kusichaca. The trail south leads 7km to the hamlet of Wayllabamba (3100 m), where you can take a breather to appreciate views of snowy, Veronica (5750 m). You'll cross the rio Llullucha, the climb steeply up along the river. This area is known as Tres Piedras (Three Wihile Stones), and from here it is a long, very steep 3km climb. At some points, the trail and stream bed become one, but stonestairs keep hikers above the water. The trail eventually emerges on the high, bare mountainside of Llulluchapampa, where the flats are dotted with campsite. From Llulluchapampa, a good path upthe left-hand side of the two-hour ascent to Warmiwañusca (4198m), colorfully known as Dead Woman's Pass.This is the highest point to the trek, which leaves many a backpacker gasping. From Warmiwañusca, the trail continues down a jong. Knee-jarringly steep descent to the river, where there are large campsites at Pacaymayu (3500m) The trail crosses the river over a small footbridge and climbs right toward Runkurakay, a round ruin with superb views about an hou's walk above the river.
Above Runkurakay, the trail climbs to a false summit before continuing past two small lakes to the top of the second pass at (3900 m), which has views of the snowcapped Cordillera Vilcabamba. The trail descends to the ruin of Sayaqmarka, a tightly constructed complex perched ona small mountain spur with in credible views, then continues downward crossing a tributary of the Río Aobamba. The trail leads on across an Inca causeway and up again through cloud fores and an Inca tunnel carved into the rock to the third pass (3670 m). Soon afterward, you'll reach the beautiful, well-restored ruinof Phuyupatamarca (3600 m), above sea level). The site contains a beautiful series ofceremonial baths water running through them. From Puyupatamarca, the trail takes a dizzying dive into the could forest below, following an incredibly well-engineeredflight of mani hundreds of Inca steps.
After passing through a tunnel, the trail eventually zigzags its way down to Wiñay Wayna, where atrekker's lodge sells hot showers,hot meals and cold, for those who want to pay a bit extra.
From the Wiñay Wayna guard post, the trail contours around through cliff-hanging cloud forest for about two hours to reach Intipinku (Sun Gate), where you may get lucky enough to catch your first glimpse of magestic Machu Picchu as you wait for the sun rise over the mountain tops.
The final triumphant descent takes almost an hour. Backpacks are not allowed into the ruins, and guards will pounce upon you to check your pack and to stamp your trail morning trainloads of tourists, so you can enjoy the exhilarated exhaustion of reachong your goal without having to push through as many crushing crowds.
The best travel time for trekking around Machu Picchu is dry season from May to September is the best travel time for this trekking experience. However, the months of June to August are quite cold at night. March, April, October and November are warmer and rainy. The Inca Trail tours are completely closed in February for maintenance work.
If the Inca Trail was not booked early enough to reserve a place in time, there are alternative trekking routes that offer a similar experience.
The Salkantay Trek tours, Lares Trek, Inca Quarry Trail and Inca Jungle Trek are recommended. All these tours end with a visit to Machu Picchu. Even last-minute hikers can find their tour on old Inca trails such as Choquequirao to Machu Picchu.
Both trails close in February
Whether you are doing the Inca Trail in 2023, it is recommended to reserve/secure permits as soon as possible. It is important not to wait! – BOOK NOW to avoid disappointments!
The Inca Trail is CLOSED every year in FEBRUARY for maintenance, allowing conservation projects, and because of the rain, so both the Short 2-Day and the Classic 4-Day aren’t available anytime this month.
Cancelled tickets are not transferable No travel agency or tour operator will be able to offer you a space for the Inca Trail, unless there are available permits shown on the calendar for the date you want to start the trek. Also it is important to say that NO matter how many clients cancel their Inca Trail reservations, NOBODY else can use these spaces. Trek dates and previously selected routes aren’t transferable in any case either.
This trail is a part of the Inca Trail 4 days and you will visit the following Inca sites:
Here some information you should take into account to book your Short Inca Trail:
We strongly recommend that:
Tierras Vivas is Tour Operator and our trip is 100% guaranteed departure,This meaning that spaces are available on the Inca Trail for the requested information at the moment of the booking. The full passenger data have been provided and the required deposit has been paid for
Before your book, it is very important you know the Inca Trail policy.
If it is fully booked. If not, no worries as you can still hike one of so called Alternative Treks!
When the Inca Trail is fully booked, it means no travel agency can booked it. This is because the booking system of the Inca Trail is managed by the Ministry of Culture of Peru! You can do the follow Inca Trail alternatives treks during your Machu Picchu Vacation:
The best season is to do it in the dry season, which covers the months April to the end of September. In October the rains begin and you can find Machu Picchu covered by clouds. If you travel in June, we recommend you to book the Inti Raymi 2023 Tour that takes place in June 24th, and also hike the Rainbow Mountain, which is an incredible Rainbow Mountain located in the Andes.