In this article we will answer all about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
The duration is according to the tour you do; the most famous is the tour of the Classic Inca Trail that lasts 4 days and 3 nights and you reach a maximum height of 4200 masl; The second is the Inca Trail Short tour of 2 days and 1 night and you reach a maximum height of 2650 meters. We also have other alternative adventure tours to the Inca Trail: the so-called “Inca Jungle” that consists of cycling and walking until you reach the Inca citadel and lasts 4 days and 3 nights; Finally there is the walking tour to Machu Picchu through the snowy Salkantay which lasts 5 days and 4 nights.
Inca Trail is the name that has been given to the road networks or roads that formed the road system of the Inca Empire, in this sense the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an Inca route through which one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World. Along the way, different archeological sites, beautiful landscapes, beautiful panoramic views are known and enjoyed.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is part of an extensive system of Inca roads, of more than 23,000 kilometers that integrated the Tahuantinsuyo Empire (which means “four parts of the world”) this road covered Colombia, western Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, and it reached central Chile and northern Argentina. These roads were usually on the coast or in the mountains but in some cases they are located on the edge of the rainforest.
It was built by the Empire of the Incas more than 500 years ago that ends in the famous citadel of Machu Picchu. Along the route you can find innumerable Inca archaeological remains, such as towers, water sources, platforms, observatories, temples, houses, whose roads or paths are built with stone.
It is considered one of the best short walks or trekkings in the world.
The total extension of the Inca Trail is approximately 43 kilometers. This route has sections in which you must climb extensive stairways, as well as descend steep hills, so the route is not linear or straight at almost any point.
The walking time during the Inca Trail depends on the distance between the points or campsites assigned by the INC (National Institute of Culture of Peru, body responsible for the care of this route) and the physical condition of the traveler. Normally you have between five to eight hours of walking the first three days and two to three hours of walking on the fourth day.
The Inca Trail begins at kilometer 82 of the railway that leads to Machu Picchu (2 hours and 30 minutes by bus from the city of Cusco). Then the ascent to the Cusichaca valley will begin. The visitor will cross the ruins of Llactapata (2,840 m.a.s.l.) until reaching the town of Huayllabamba (3,057 m.a.s.l.).
For lovers of nature and adventure, who like to change the noise of the city for the beautiful song of the birds and the most beautiful landscapes you can imagine. This trek to the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu will meet all your expectations.
However, doing this type of trekking is not something simple, especially for those who are not accustomed to exercising or physical exertion normally. That said, the route to Machu Picchu exceeds 4000 meters above sea level in some areas, so you should take some precautions.
The Classic Inca Trail 4 days is the most popular trekking to Machu Picchu, because it manages to combine several climates, impressive landscapes and centuries-old ruins. Due to its beauty, this walk is preferred by travelers, having to be requested 5 months in advance (a permit that has limited seats per day is required).
The Inca Trail travels 42 kilometers of jungle and mountains, visiting some archaeological complexes such as Patallacta, the ruins of Wiñay Wayna and, of course, the lost city of Machu Picchu. In addition, it delivers unforgettable landscapes of the Cordillera de Vilcabamba.
There are many roads that lead to the wonderful Inca city of Machu Picchu, and one of the routes is the Lares Walk, where you will find landscapes of Andean mountains, snowy peaks and tropical jungle, the end of the road is crowned with the imposing view of the modern wonder Machu Picchu.
• Attractions within this walk:
It is necessary to take into account that this walk is much more cultural than the others, because the walk from Lares to Machu Picchu is an excellent way to get to know the Andean landscape, with valleys, rivers, crystalline lagoons, waterfalls, forests of queuña and especially to know the way of life of the natives in the Andes, the walk through the Lares Valley takes you truly to know remote places, a destination still unknown to many, a trip to the very heart of the Andes where few tourists are They have ventured.
This wonderful path takes you to know beautiful natural landscapes adorned with impressive glaciers, a world totally different from ours, an Andean paradise where the inhabitants of small villages still use ancient ways of life.
The walk is physically challenging, but does not require any technical skills. The difficulty mostly comes from repeated ascending and descending steps, and height. The ascent to the first opening takes it to approximately 2000 to more than 4000 m.a.s.l. over a relatively short length followed by a decrease of approximately 1500 m.a.s.l.
After the second opening (3500 m.a.s.l.) generally the walk becomes easier.
• The Salkantay Trek 4 Days tour. – Salkantay is the second best option for those travelers who wish to go to Machu Picchu, offering a tour full of natural scenes, passing through the foothills of the majestic snow-capped mountain of Salkantay, colorful villages where Spanish is the second language and where Andean people still maintain traditions that date back to ancient times. Unlike the Classic Inca Trail, the Salkantay route will take less visited places and with very little tourist presence, which will really allow you to get in touch with the Andean world and interact with people.
• Lares Trek 4 Days tour. – One of the most spectacular walks in the Urubamba range takes us through the Andean landscape and home to the direct descendants of the Incas. One of the oldest cultures in South America, called Lares Culture, and given that people who preserve traditions and dresses and live in wildlife, still care about South American camels (llamas, alpacas) and some sheep , cows, horses and animal mules, when the conquerors took the imperial city of Cusco the entire population chose the Andes to take refuge from them. In these communities we can observe local customs and breeding methods unchanged from the Inca era. During this 4 day experience, see archaeological and cultural wonders, Machu Picchu and the spectacular Lares Valley with its waterfalls, crystal streams and abundance of plants and wildlife.
• The Ausangate Trek 4 Days tour. – Ausangate (6330 m) is a spectacular snow peak located in the south of Cusco. The Ausangate trip offers a fascinating route through the Andes of Peru. You can enjoy beautiful landscapes and spectacular views, stunning mountains and lakes, you can see the variety of animal and plant life on the road. On the Ausangate route we will see picturesque villages with very warm and friendly people who speak the language of the Incas (Quechua) and still maintain many ancient customs.
Yes, it is possible to request that a vegetarian option be included during the tour.
All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) as well as the transfer of the pots, ingredients and other items necessary for its preparation, are in charge of the operator or tourism agency.
The prices of the Inca route vary according to each tourist agency. It is estimated that, on average, the 4-day tour costs $ 600 per person.
How to get the best price for the Inca Trail?
• Most tourism agencies offer a $ 20 or $ 30 discount for university students with an ISIC card.
• Children under 18 also have an approximate discount when presenting a passport that certifies their age.
The Inca Trail is one of the most famous trekking routes in the world and tickets to enter are sold out many months in advance, besides there are only 200 tickets available per day. It is recommended to make the reservation as much in advance as possible, normally this time should be longer than six months.
Consider the following before booking the ticket for the Inca Trail:
• The income for the Inca Trail was exhausted 6 months before. Remember that only 500 people can do this route every day.
• Only 200 people enter Machu Picchu by this route, the rest belongs to the support team, chefs, porters and guides.
• The entrance to the Inca trail only includes the Inca city of Machu Picchu. If you want to explore the mountain Machu Picchu or the Huayna Picchu; Request it at the tourism agency.
• The purchase of income for the Inca Trail is through our website. We are an authorized tourism agency.
Peru is a very large country with many different climates, for that reason it would be very difficult to define a good time to visit different places. However, we consider that the best season is from June to September. For the Inca Trail, the hottest season is from November to March but it is also the rainy season. That’s why we think it is more pleasant to do a sunny but cold excursion than a warm but rainy excursion. For this reason, we advise you to do it preferably between May and October. It should be noted that the Inca Trail is open every day of the year except in February, maintenance month.
Cusco and the entire southern region of Peru are marked by two distinct climatic seasons: the rainy season (from November to March) and the dry season (from April to October). The best time to do the Inca Trail is the dry season. The weather in those months is warm and infrequently rainy.
• If you plan to visit the Machu Picchu during the dry season, it is advisable to wear a hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, sunglasses, light clothing during the day and heat at night.
• If you plan to visit the Inca Trail during the rainy season, it is recommended to bring a rain poncho, windbreaker, non-slip shoes and a cane.
Clothes should be worn for both cold and heat, as we have already mentioned before the first section of the route is done in cold climates and at high altitudes, while at the end of the journey we will find ourselves in the middle of hot sub-tropical jungle , full of vegetation, humidity and very hot. It is recommended to wear used hiking shoes or boots, the disadvantage is that, if the chosen footwear is new or recently purchased, this usually causes wounds or calluses on the foot after one or two days of walking.