The Inca Trail is the most popular trek in Peru, four-day trekking that will give you an incomparable experience, such as reaching Inti Punku (Sun Gate) or exploring Machu Picchu on the last day of the trail.
Although there are hundreds of beautiful trails in Peru, this one was a direct link between the former Inca capital of Cusco and Machu Picchu. Other alternative treks that run along authentic Inca "roads" are the Salkantay, Inca Jungle, Cachicata, Choquequirao, Vilcabamba and Lares.
In any case, if you want to experience a unique encounter with Machu Picchu, you must climb up and suffer a little.
In order not to protect this "Inca road", the Peruvian government has limited the number of people allowed to enter per day to only 500 persons! This includes Guides, Cooks and Porters too! For this reason, one must book the trail several months beforehand!
You can check about the Inca Trail permit availability here. This page also provides access to the list of agencies, guides and porters. In section quotas, you can see the agency that comes more often and with short stories. It is forbidden to enter on your own. You have to go through some of the agencies that have free seats.
Then: prepare yourself. Arriving a few days before to Cusco or the Sacred Valley, allows us to accustom our body to heights. There are short hikes near each village that help get you in shape. You have to carry your personal belongings yourself: a good sleeping bag, light things and do not forget the rain ponchos. In addition to walking as much as they can with their sneakers, if they are new, the foot has to get accustomed. I recommend spending a few nights in Urubamba or in Ollantaytambo. These two villages are the closest to the starting points.
During: breathing. The trek is hard. There are many hours of walking, between 5 and 10 hours according to the days and the physical of each one. Many ascents and descents with treads that seem endless. Eye: nothing is impossible. Everyone can try and achieve it. It will be easier if they have a good physique or if they get in shape a little before the crossing. Do not load in vain, agencies bring good food and snacks; And their tents are in good condition. Do not try to carry unnecessary luggage, so be sure to check with your agency.
The classic. It's the 4 days / 3 nights. It begins at the height of Km82, next to the railway.
Day 1: 13 km to the archaeological site of Patallacta. 5 hours. Camp in Huayllabamba.
Day 2: 11 km to the open of Wuarmihuañusca to 4,200 meters of height, a spectacular view and descent towards the valley of the Pacaymayo. 7 hours. Night in Pacaymayo.
Day 3: 16 km the day that requires more effort. You pass through the archaeological complexes of Runquracay, Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca. From the third day, the road is totally paved. 10 hours. Night in Wiñayhuayna, in the jungle eyebrow.
Day 4: 5 km to IntiPunku and Machu Picchu. The exit is made early in the morning, to reach the Puerta del Sol Inca at dawn and live a dreamed moment. The return is done the same day by bus and train. You could stay an extra night and enjoy the Citadel, which cost you so much to get.
The light one. 2 days / 1 night. Few know this but there is a smoother version of the Inca Trail. It is a one-day hike that starts at km104 and has limited spaces to preserve the path. It begins at the height of the ruins of Chachabamba and ascends the site of Choquesuysuy towards Wiñaywayna with impressive waterfalls. Also finishing in the Intipunku where you have to arrive before 4 pm, time in the last guardian leaves the site. As low late, you will spend a night in Machu Picchu Pueblo. Here also a better book.
The good time. Every year, the Inca trail is closed in February for maintenance. The ideal is to visit it from May to September, there is more probability of having a blue sky. In March and April, the rains can still be strong. From October to December the rains are more scarce, but the weather a little more gray.
One more tip: wait. Machu Picchu sometimes dawns cloudy, but the weather changes very fast. You should always wait. If you do not get to see the sun, you can enjoy the cloud dance over the Citadel and Huayna Picchu, however, you will feel all its magic and mystery.
Good price. They are varied according to the agencies, the comfort of the tents, or of the feeding. It also depends on how many people make up a group.
The best season is during 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 2020 Tour that takes place on June 24th and also hike the Palcoyo Mountain Tour, which is an incredible Rainbow Mountain located in the Andes.
Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 days