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Inca Trail 2024

Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 16-11-2023

In the heart of the Peruvian Andes lies the trek of a lifetime, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. As you lace up your hiking boots and take that first step, you're not just embarking on a trek; you're stepping into the footprints of an ancient civilization. This adventure promises not only a physical challenge and scenic splendor but an immersion into the enigmatic history of the Incas, leading you to the crown jewel of their empire, Machu Picchu. Find out more about a trek along the Inca Trail part of your Peru tour package!

The Iconic Inca Trail

Why Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu beckons those seeking a profound connection with nature and history. It's a pilgrimage through landscapes that shift from alpine meadows to subtropical forests, all while tracing the steps of a people who carved a thriving civilization amidst these rugged peaks. The reward at the end, the sunrise over Machu Picchu, is more than a view; it's a glimpse into the past, a testament to human ingenuity. This bucket-list trek for many, is one of the most iconic treks in the world and the only trek that allows you to trek directly into Machu Picchu as the Incas once did. Read on for information about the All-Inclusive Inca Trail Trek 2024

Machu Picchu

Why is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Worth doing?

The trail offers not just physical challenges but is a test of mental and emotional resilience. The Inca ruins dotting the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the camaraderie among fellow trekkers, and the thrill of conquering mountain passes create a symphony of experiences that linger in your memory long after the journey ends. The trek along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu is amazing in so many ways that people from around the world to take part in this epic journey, which combines stunning scenery, awe-inspiring trekking, and the final destination the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. If you plan to hike the trail next year, contact Valencia Travel for Inca Trail 2024 Departures, Guaranteed. Some trips we take to reach a destination, others we take for the pleasure of the journey itself. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is both!

Start of the Classic Inca Trail

Different Itinerary Options for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (4 Days): The quintessential Inca Trail, allowing for a gradual acclimatization to altitude, encounters with Inca ruins, and the grand arrival at Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate. The classic version of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu involves 3 nights camping at allocated campsites along the way. The Classic Inca Trail involves 3 and a half days of trekking with a short hike on the 4th day and the Machu Picchu visit. You then take the bus down into Aguas Calientes for the train back to Cusco. This trek requires porters and cooks along the route who will carry your luggage along the way. Find out about the Classic Inca Trail Availability 2024 here.

Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (2 Days): A condensed yet exhilarating version of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, offering a glimpse into the trail's beauty is the 2-day Inca Trail. Upon arrival at kilometer 104, trekkers disembark and commence the trek. Shortly after, the trail leads to the archaeological site of Chachabamba. Trekkers continue to WiñayWayna and arrive at the sun gate, before descending for an overnight stay at Aguas Calientes in a hotel before the final visit to Machu Picchu on the second day. This version only requires a day pack as you will be staying at a hotel before you visit Machu Picchu, therefore a team of porters and cook is not required. Find out more about the Short Inca Trail 2024 Booking, here.

Extended Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (5 Days): For those seeking a more leisurely pace, this option allows additional time for exploration, cultural interaction, and a deeper connection with the surroundings along the Inca Trail. This 5-day version also uses the lesser-used campsites along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for a more remote and authentic experience. The 4th night is spent in Aguas Calientes and the 5th day we visit Machu Picchu before returning to Cusco by train. Check out Inca Trail Availability 2024 here.

Piscacucho KM 82

*Important note
All  Inca Trail hikes require a permit to hike the trail which needs to be purchased in advance by an authorized trekking agency such as Valencia Travel. Contact us at Valencia Travel for up-to-date Inca Trail Availability 2024.

There are options to climb 2 mountains inside Machu Picchu; The Huayna Picchu Mountain and the Machu Picchu Mountain. These climbs also require additional permits as numbers are restricted each day. If you would like to climb either of these mountains let us know on the Inca Trail 2024 Booking Form.

How Difficult is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

The Inca Trail demands physical fitness, but the pace is moderate, allowing time to savor the surroundings. Our expert guides will judge the pace of the trekking group and adjust times accordingly, which is why you choose a reputable Machu Picchu tour company. Altitude is a major factor on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, so acclimatization is key. The journey is challenging but accessible to those with determination, preparation, and most of all a positive attitude! The trek is of a middle to high range of difficulty so we recommend a few day treks at home prior to the trek and cardiovascular exercise (running, cycling, walking, aerobics) always helps with fitness levels in preparation for any of our Peru tour packages.

Ups and Downs!

Trip Advisor Comments about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

"An unparalleled adventure! The guide's historical insights added depth to the trek, and the sunrise at Machu Picchu was nothing short of magical." - Sarah, Australia.

"Worth every blister! The trail tested my limits, but the sense of achievement and the beauty of the Andes made it all worthwhile." - Javier, Mexico.

See more Inca Trail reviews here

Runkurakay

Best Time to Do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Choose wisely for your Inca Trail 2024; the dry season (April to October) promises clear skies and is the high season for the trek, while the rainy season (November to March) bathes the landscape in lush greenery and is the low season. Consider your tolerance for rain showers and your desire for solitude when deciding to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Also bear in mind that the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is completely closed in February for maintenance, which is also the wettest month of the year in The Andes. So if hiking the Inca Trail is top of your list for your Peru vacation package, avoid the month of February for travel to Peru.

Misty Inca Trail

Can You Do This Trip on Your Own?

Access to the Inca Trail is strictly regulated, and solo treks are not permitted. Booking through a licensed Machu Picchu Travel agency ensures a guided, safe, and enriching experience along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Trekking with a Guide

What to Consider When Choosing To Hike Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

  • Selecting the right Peru tour operator is paramount. Read reviews, inquire about group sizes, and ensure they adhere to responsible trekking practices and porter welfare. Consider your fitness level and the level of immersion you seek.

  • Whether you want a private trek or a group trek. Group treks are lower priced, however, restrict your access to the guide, and the trekking pace depends on the pace of the group. Private treks are for just your group, with personalized guide services, you can dictate the trekking pace, and the trek is catered to your needs, yet is higher in price.

  • The time of year you would like to trek.

  • Book in advance

  • If you also want to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain.

Porters on The Inca Trail

How to Get to the Inca Trail

Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, serves as the gateway to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. From Cusco, you will generally head to the trailhead by car, where you will meet up with your team of porters and begin your hike along the Inca Trail as part of your Peru vacation package.

Trekking the Trail

Essential Packing List

Packing for the Inca Trail 2024 on your all-inclusive Inca Trail trek 2024  requires careful consideration of various factors, including the climate, duration of the trek, and personal preferences. Here's a detailed packing list to ensure you're well-prepared for your Inca Trail 2024 adventure.

Clothing:

-T-Shirts (2-3) Lightweight, quick-drying shirts to manage sweat.
-Long-Sleeve Shirts (1-2): For sun protection and cooler evenings.
-Hiking Pants (2): Convertible pants are versatile for changing weather.
-Shorts (1): Comfortable for walking in warmer conditions.
-Fleece or Insulating Jacket: Provides warmth during chilly evenings.
-Lightweight Waterproof Jacket: Protects against rain or drizzle.
-Down Jacket or Vest (optional): For added warmth, especially at higher altitudes.
-Hiking Socks (3-4 pairs): Moisture-wicking and comfortable for long walks.
-Underwear (3-4 sets)
-Sun Hat or Cap: Shields from the sun during the day.
-Bandana or Scarf: Versatile for sun protection, dust, or as a headband.

Footwear:

Hiking Boots: Sturdy, well-broken-in, comfortable boots with ankle support.
Camp Shoes: Lightweight sandals or shoes for relaxing at camp.

Rain Gear

Rain Poncho or Jacket: Waterproof protection against rain.
Rain Cover for day pack: Keeps your gear dry during downpours.
A light day pack of 20l approx for essential items during the trek.

Duffel Bag (provided) For porters to carry, should not exceed weight limits (usually around 7 kg or 15 lbs).

Sleeping Gear

Sleeping Bag: Suitable for low temperatures; consider a compact and lightweight option.
Sleeping Bag Liner (optional): Adds warmth and can be used alone on warmer nights.

Trekking Gear

  • Trekking Poles: Offers stability and reduces strain on your knees.

  • Headlamp or Flashlight: Essential for navigating at night.

  • Water Bottle or Hydration System: Stay hydrated with at least a 2-liter capacity.

  • Water Purification Tablets or Filter: Ensure access to safe drinking water.

  • Snacks: Energy bars, trail mix, or your preferred high-energy snacks.

Personal Items

Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, and personal hygiene items.
Sunscreen: High SPF for protection against the strong mountain sun.
Lip Balm with Sunscreen: Prevents chapped lips in dry conditions.
Wet Wipes or Hand Sanitizer: Maintain hygiene during the trek.

Medical Kit
Basic First Aid Kit: Band-Aids, blister treatment, pain relievers, and any personal medications.
Altitude Sickness Medication (if needed): Consult with a healthcare professional.

Other Essentials

  • Passport and Permits: Carry originals and copies in a waterproof bag.

  • Camera or Smartphone: Capture the breathtaking scenery.

  • Chargers and Power Banks: Ensure your devices stay charged.

  • Travel Adapter: If you're carrying electronic devices with different plug types.

  • Money and Credit Cards: Some cash for tips and small purchases; notify your bank of your travel plans.

Optional Items

  • Binoculars: For bird watching or getting a closer look at scenic views.

  • Journal and Pen: Document your journey and thoughts.

  • Insect Repellent: Especially if you're sensitive to bug bites.

  • Travel Pillow: Compact for added comfort during rest stops.

  • Playing cards: to relax a little at the campsite.

  • Ziploc Bags. Keep things dry, keep wet clothes separate!

  • Coca Leaves to give you that extra energy and to share with the porters.

Trek Lightly

How to Prepare for The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

  • Train not just your body but also your mind for the challenges ahead.

  • Familiarize yourself with the history of the Incas, and let the mystique of Machu Picchu fuel your determination.

  • Acclimatize well spending at least 2 or 3 days in Cusco prior to the trek.

  • Have a medium level of fitness at least to tackle the big mountain passes
 

Inca Trail campsite


Tips on Altitude Sickness

  • Start hydrating well before the trek, and consider altitude medications such as Diamox.

  • Allow time for acclimatization, and listen to your body. 

  • The trek is as much a mental challenge as a physical one.

  • Eat small meals based on carbs and light protein.

  • Drink coca tea or coca leaf candies.

  • Sleep well prior to the trek.

Llama on The Trail

Pro Tips for The Inca Trail

  • Engage with the locals; their stories add layers to the journey.

  • Carry a lightweight, foldable daypack for exploring archaeological sites.

  • Take breaks to savor the vistas; the journey is as important as the destination.

  • Porters and cook will appreciate a small gift of coca leaves or energy bars

  • Porters and cooks expect a tip for their efforts, you will see how hard they work! Work out the tips and make sure you have the correct change as this is hard to find on the trail.

View from The Trail

How Much Does the Inca Trail Cost?

Costs vary based on the Peru tour operator, route, amenities and whether you prefer a private or group trek. At Valencia Travel, A mid-range 4-day Inca Trail 2024ntrek in a group, typically ranges from $900 to $1,200, including permits, guide fees, meals, transport and camping equipment. Tips are generally not included. A private Inca Trail 2024 trek will depend on how many people are in your group and will cost between $2000 and $2500 USD per person.

FAQs about the Inca Trail

Q: How do I secure a permit for the Inca Trail?
A: Permits are limited and sell out quickly. Book through a licensed Peru tour operator such as Valencia Travelwell in advance.

Q: Are there vegan or vegetarian meal options during the trek?
A: Most tour operators accommodate dietary restrictions with advance notice.

Q: Can I bring my own camping gear?
A: While some operators provide gear, if you have specific preferences, check with your operator or bring your essentials.

Q: Is it possible to extend the trek or spend extra time at Machu Picchu?
A: Some operators offer extended itineraries or additional time at Machu Picchu; discuss options when booking.

Q: How long is the Inca Trail?

A: The Classic Inca Trail is approximately 26 miles (43 kilometers) long and typically takes four days to complete. The Short Inca Trail, which is a shorter version, is around 10 miles (16 kilometers) and is usually completed in two days.

Q: What is the highest point on the Inca Trail?

A: The highest point on the Classic Inca Trail is Warmiwañusca, also known as Dead Woman's Pass, at an elevation of 13,828 feet (4,215 meters) above sea level.

Q: Is a permit required for the Inca Trail?

A: Yes, a permit is required to trek the Inca Trail. Permits are limited, and it's essential to book well in advance, especially for the Classic Inca Trail.

Q: How far in advance should I book the Inca Trail?

A: It's recommended to book the Inca Trail at least 6 months in advance, especially for the peak trekking season from April to October.

Q: Are there age restrictions for the Inca Trail?

A: There is no strict age limit for the Inca Trail, but participants should be in good physical condition. The trek is generally suitable for those aged 12 and above.

Q: Do I need to hire a guide for the Inca Trail?

A: Yes, hiring a licensed guide is mandatory for the Classic Inca Trail. For other trails, it's advisable for safety, cultural insights, and navigation.

Q: Are there bathrooms along the Inca Trail?

A: There are basic restroom facilities at some campsites and along the trail. However, be prepared for rustic conditions, and it's advisable to carry your own toilet paper.

Q: What is the weather like on the Inca Trail?

A: The weather varies, but generally, the dry season from April to October is the most popular for trekking. Daytime temperatures can range from 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 20°C), while nights can be cold, especially at higher altitudes.

Q: What is the best time of year to trek the Inca Trail?

A: The optimal time is during the dry season, from April to October when the weather is generally clear. The wet season (November to March) brings more rain, and the trail is closed in February for maintenance.

Q: Is altitude sickness a concern on the Inca Trail?

A: Yes, altitude sickness can be a concern, especially on the Classic Inca Trail, which reaches high elevations. It's essential to acclimatize in Cusco before starting the trek, stay hydrated, and inform your guide of any symptoms.

Q: Can I trek the Inca Trail on my own?

A: While it's possible to trek the Short Inca Trail independently, the Classic Inca Trail requires hiring a licensed tour operator, as independent trekking is not allowed.

Q: Are there vegetarian or special dietary options on the Inca Trail?

A: Most tour operators can accommodate dietary restrictions with advance notice. It's crucial to communicate any dietary preferences or restrictions when booking your trek.

Q: Can I visit Machu Picchu without trekking the Inca Trail?

A: Yes, there are alternative ways to reach Machu Picchu, such as taking a train from Ollantaytambo or Aguas Calientes. However, trekking the Inca Trail provides a unique and immersive experience.

Q: Can I combine the Inca Trail with other treks or activities?

A: Yes, some tour operators offer combination packages that include additional treks or cultural experiences along with the Inca Trail. This allows for a more comprehensive exploration of the region.

Q: Are there restrictions on photography on the Inca Trail?

A: While photography for personal use is generally allowed, the use of drones is prohibited. Commercial photography or filming requires special permits. Always be respectful of local customs and regulations.

View from The Tent


Embark on the Inca Trail 2024, not merely as a hiker but as a seeker of history, beauty, and personal triumph. With each step, you'll unravel the mysteries of the Andes, forging memories that resonate far beyond the trail's end.

Iconic Inca Trail

 

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