Faqs About Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


No, you cannot hike the Short Inca Trail without a guide. According to Peruvian law, all treks on the Inca Trail, whether the short or long version, must be done with an authorized tour guide. This is done to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the area, ensure the safety of visitors, and provide educational information about the history and culture of the region.

So, if you are thinking of doing the Short Inca Trail, you will need to book the trek with a travel agency that has authorized guides. The guides will provide you with valuable information during the trek and help you have a safe and educational experience.

Tour guide and your hikers on the Short Inca Trail

A tour guide plays an essential role in the safety, education and experience of hikers on the Short Inca Trail.


During the Short Inca Trail trek, you can leave your main luggage at our office free of charge. To arrange this, simply inform us during the pre-trip briefing or via email.

Another option is to leave your luggage at your hotel, although it is important to mention that some hotels may charge an additional cost for this service. Therefore, we recommend that you check the rates and conditions of your hotel in this regard.

Storing your luggage at the hotel

Most hotels offer a free luggage storage service.


Yes, it is essential that you carry your original passport with you, and it is of utmost importance that it matches the one you provided when you booked your permit for the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The authenticity of the passports will be verified upon entering Machu Picchu, accessing the Inca Trail at KM 104 and boarding the train.

In case you are in the process of renewing your passport, go ahead and send us a copy of your previous passport to secure your permits and you will be able to update it when you get the new passport.

Please send the copy of the new passport as soon as possible. Don’t forget that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months.

Note: At the checkpoint before starting the Short Inca Trail, you will be asked to present your identity document (passport, foreigner’s card or ID card), so don’t forget to bring them with you!

Is it possible to do the short Inca Trail with children?

If you have the desire to experience the Short Inca Trail with your family, including the little ones, it is important to take into account what has been mentioned throughout this blog. This version of the classic Inca Trail lasts only 2 days, so it is less demanding in terms of physical effort. Therefore, it is an accessible option for children, especially those who are not used to long hikes on uneven terrain.

The maximum altitude reached on the Short Inca Trail is 2,730 meters (Inti Punku), compared to the maximum altitude of the Classic Inca Trail, which climbs to 4,200 meters at the Dead Woman’s Pass. So concerns related to altitude sickness or “soroche” are less significant on the Short Inca Trail.

Walk the Short Inca Trail with your family and create unforgettable memories.


Although there is no specific age restriction for hiking the Short Inca Trail, it is recommended that children be in good physical shape to complete the trek comfortably. Generally, the minimum suggested age is 8 years old. If you have a child under the age of 8 and wish to have them participate in the Short Inca Trail, please note that you will need to provide additional support, such as carrying or assisting them on certain parts of the trek.

In summary, the Short Inca Trail is a recommended option for people between the ages of 8 and 60, and offers an accessible and enriching experience for families wishing to explore this route.

Short Inca Trail with children

The minimum recommended age for the Short Inca Trail is 8 years old.


Definitely! The Short Inca Trail is a worthwhile experience. This version offers you a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty, history and culture of the region.

This shorter trek is ideal for those who wish to enjoy the Inca Trail, but have time constraints or prefer a less strenuous hike. The reward of reaching Machu Picchu AND exploring this impressive Inca city.

In addition, along the way, you will have the opportunity to visit archaeological sites such as Chachabamba, Wiñay Huayna and Inti Punku, making the experience unforgettable. You will not regret undertaking this exciting adventure!

Classic Inca trail vs Short Inca Trail

  • The Classic Inca Trail, in contrast, is longer and more challenging, scoring a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. It requires better physical condition and a more complete acclimatization.
  • The Short Inca Trail is characterized by its shorter duration and lower altitude. On the same scale, it is rated 2.5, which places it at a level between “Light to moderate“, suitable for people with less hiking experience or limited acclimatization time.
  • The Short Inca Trail offers a more accessible experience in terms of distance and altitude, while the Classic is a more rigorous trek.
  • The choice between the two depends on the physical condition, hiking experience and preferences of each hiker. Both trails offer spectacular views and access to the wonders of Machu Picchu.
  Classic Inca Trail Short Inca Trail
Duration 4 days and 3 nights 2 days and 1 night
Distances 43 KM 10 KM
Difficulty Challenging Slight to Moderate
Minimum height 2, 720 meters/ 8924 feet 2, 200 meters/7, 218 feet
Maximum height 4,200 meters/13,779 feet 2,730 meters/8,957 feet
Attractions to be visited •        Piscacucho

•        Patallacta

•        Wayllabamba Archaeological Site

•        Runncuraka Archaeological Site

•        Ruins of Sayaqmarca

•        Archaeological center of Wiñaywayna

•        Sun Gate or Inti Punku

•       Machu Picchu

•        Chachabamba

•        Archaeological center of Wiñaywayna

•        Sun Gate or Inti Punku

•       Machu Picchu

The highest point on the Classic Inca Trail is the Paso de la Mujer Muerta, while on the Short Inca Trail, the Inti Punku, which serves as the entrance to Machu Picchu, stands out.


To make sure you are prepared and enjoy your adventure on the 2-day Short Inca Trail to the fullest, it is essential to pack the right equipment. Unlike the 4-day trek, on this short version you will spend the night in Aguas Calientes, so you will not need camping equipment. Below is a list of items to include in your luggage:


  • Original passport (in physical format)
  • ISIC card (students)
  • Extra money (soles)
  • Water bottle
  • Personal medication
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Mosquito repellent


  • Waterproof and windproof jacket
  • T-shirt
  • Trekking boots
  • Lightweight shoes
  • Trekking socks
  • Trekking pants
  • Rain poncho


  • Trekking poles (you can rent them with us)
  • Small trekking backpack

Carrying a small backpack will allow you to enjoy the experience more without carrying a heavy and bulky backpack.


  • Camera
  • Bathing suit (if you wish to visit the hot springs).
  • Sandals
  • Small towel.
  • Wet wipes.
  • Snacks

A small towel allows you to wipe sweat, dust and moisture from your skin, which helps prevent irritation and discomfort.

Short Inca Trail Availability

The Short Inca Trail has limited availability, as only 250 entries are granted per day. This restriction emphasizes the importance of making your reservation in advance.


If you’re eager to embark on the Short Inca Trail, it’s recommended to book at least 1 month in advance. Given its high level of popularity and the limitation on the number of permits available, securing your spot well in advance is crucial. This will provide you with the flexibility to choose dates that best fit your travel plans and ensure your participation in this unique experience.


To book your experience on the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose your service type:
    • Private Service
    • Group Service
  2. Fill out the contact form with the required information and make the corresponding deposit payment.
  3. Our sales associates will confirm your reservation through the email you provided.

Once you have completed these steps, you will receive a confirmation email with all the necessary details to successfully finalize your reservation. Booking in advance ensures a seamless process and guarantees your spot on this incredible journey.

What to see on the Short Inca Trail


The name comes from Quechua, where “chacha” refers to mosquito bites, and “bamba” means “valley.” Therefore, “Chachabamba” would translate to the “valley of mosquito bites.” Located at an altitude of approximately 2,200 meters/7,217 feet above sea level, this site was used as a military fortress to control the area and regulate entry to Machu Picchu. Additionally, it is believed to have been a religious complex, where water worship took place.


The name Wiñay Wayna comes from Quechua and means “Eternally Young” or “Forever Young.” This name is due to the abundance of orchids in the area. Situated at an altitude of 2,650 meters/8,694 feet above sea level, it played a significant role in the religious practices of the Inca civilization. Wiñay Wayna is considered one of the main highlights on the way to Machu Picchu, adding an additional element of beauty and meaning to this historic journey.


Known as the “Sun Gate” in Spanish and “Inti Punku” in Quechua, this site holds great historical and astronomical importance. During the height of the Inca Empire, Inti Punku served as a checkpoint and an astronomical observatory. Here, people following the Inca Trail had their first view of Machu Picchu, the majestic Inca city. Currently, access through this gate is only allowed if you have hiked the Inca Trail. Inti Punku is located at an altitude of 2,730 meters (8,957 feet) above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the archaeological wonder that is Machu Picchu.


The undisputed reward at the end of this hike is reaching Machu Picchu, one of Peru’s most precious treasures. This impressive citadel was built during the 15th century under the orders of the ninth Inca of Tawantinsuyo, Pachacutec. The name “Machu Picchu” comes from Quechua, where “Machu” means “old” and “Picchu” translates to “mountain,” interpreted as “old mountain.” This archaeological gem is located at an altitude of 2,400 meters/7,873 feet above sea level and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Its history and natural beauty make it an absolutely must-visit destination for any traveler.


Huayna Picchu, derived from two Quechua terms, means “New Mountain” and is located north of the Machu Picchu citadel at an altitude of approximately 2,667 meters/8,750 feet above sea level. Historians believe that Huayna Picchu served as a surveillance point for the Inca citadel. From this strategic location, the Incas maintained a constant state of alert against potential external threats.


Machu Picchu Mountain rises to 3,061 meters/10,042 feet and is located in front of Huayna Picchu Mountain. This mountain, frequently traversed by the Incas, played a strategic role, especially for military purposes. From its summit, you can enjoy a panoramic 360-degree view of the entire valley, allowing for alerts to possible threats or invasions. For visitors, Machu Picchu Mountain offers one of the most stunning views of the Machu Picchu citadel and the Vilcanota River, also known as “Wilcamayu.”


Along the Inca Trail, bromeliads can be observed, a plant family that adds beauty to the passages of Machu Picchu. Among the approximately 30 species present in the region, the most common is the one with spiny leaves arranged in a rosette.


During the Inca Trail, travelers can marvel at a variety of orchid species, some of which are endemic to the Andean region. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, orchids play a crucial ecological role by providing shelter and food to various insect and bird species. Notable orchids include Darwin’s orchids, named in honor of naturalist Charles Darwin, and fragrant Cattleya orchids.


These plants play a significant role in the ecosystem, contributing to biodiversity, conserving soil moisture, and preventing erosion. Some ferns reach impressive heights, forming dense foliage that serves as shelter and food for local wildlife. In addition to their ecological relevance, these ferns have cultural connotations in the region, adding an additional dimension to the natural and cultural richness of this iconic area in Peru.


The Cantuta, also known as Peru’s national flower, goes by various names in the region. During your journey, you may encounter names such as the “Sacred Flower of the Incas,” “Cantu,” “Cantuta,” “Ccelmo,” “Flower of the Inca,” “Jinilla,” or “Ccantuta.” According to Spanish conquest chronicles and historical narratives, the petals of this beautiful flower were used to decorate the paths where the Inca passed during various ceremonies. This special meaning earned it the title of the “Sacred Flower of the Inca.”


Queuñas, also known as queñuas, are small trees that grow in the high mountain regions of the Andes. Although they do not reach large sizes compared to other trees, their twisted appearance makes them distinctive. These trees play a crucial role in high mountain ecosystems by regulating the climate, preventing soil erosion, and storing large amounts of water, which later feeds springs and water sources. Additionally, they are known for their resilience to the harsh climatic conditions of these regions, thanks to their peeling bark.


lamas are relatives of camels known for their woolly fur and long necks. They are herbivores that adapt well to the altitude of the Andes. In Inca times, these creatures played an essential role as pack animals, transporting supplies, goods, and even providing wool and meat. Their adaptability and strength made them valuable allies of the Incas. During your visit to the Inca citadel, you will have the opportunity to admire llamas freely roaming the area.


Hummingbirds are small, colorful birds known for their striking plumage and rapid flight. They have a fast metabolism and need to constantly feed on nectar. They are key pollinators in the Andean region, helping maintain plant diversity, including flowers along the Inca Trail, by transporting pollen from one flower to another.


Cock-of-the-rocks are vibrant and brightly colored birds with orange and blue plumage. Males have flashy feathers and crests. They are famous for their striking mating rituals, where males perform courtship displays to attract females. These birds are emblematic of the Peruvian Andes and are considered a national symbol. Although not always easy to spot along the Inca Trail, if you’re lucky, you might witness their dazzling beauty in certain areas.


The Andean condor is known as the “King of the Andes of Cusco.” These magnificent birds are true symbols of this region. Not only are they impressive to behold, but they also play a vital role in the ecosystem by cleaning carrion from dead animals, helping maintain ecological balance. When you see these giants in the sky, it will become clear why they are called the “kings.” You won’t want to miss this thrilling encounter with the king of the Andean skies!


The Andean bear, also known as the spectacled bear, is the only bear species found in South America. It is characterized by facial markings that resemble glasses. Although rarely seen, Andean bears are part of the rich biodiversity of the Andean region. Their presence highlights the importance of conserving these ecosystems and protecting the fauna that inhabits them.

Climate on the Short Inca Trail

CLIMATE ON THE SHORT INCA TRAIL The Andean climate is diverse. You can be enjoying a sunny day, and in a matter of seconds, it can turn into rain. To plan your trip, it’s important to consider the two main climatic seasons in the region: DRY SEASON (APRIL TO OCTOBER) During these months, the Short Inca Trail benefits from sunny days and pleasant temperatures. Rain is less common, providing ideal conditions for trekking. RAINY SEASON (NOVEMBER TO MARCH) In this period, rain is more frequent, and trails can become slippery. While the hike remains possible, hikers should be prepared for humid and unpredictable conditions.



Pros: In this season, you can appreciate beautiful rainbows and flourishing vegetation, including exquisite orchids. Temperatures range between 19°C (66°F) during the day and 7°C (45°F) at night. Cons: Paths may be slippery, and landslides can occur, occasionally causing delays in trains and flights. One of the rainiest months of the year.


February is the rainiest month of the year, and the Short Inca Trail is closed throughout this period for maintenance. However, Machu Picchu remains open. Explore alternative hikes like Lares Trek, Huchuy Qosqo Trek, Inca Quarry Trek, and Salkantay Trek. Exercise caution with Salkantay due to the risk of heavy rains and landslides.

Festival: In February, Cusco celebrates “Carnival,” one of the most colorful and joyful festivities in the region, filling the streets with music, dances, parades, and water balloon competitions, creating a festive atmosphere combining tradition with fun.


Pros: The Short Inca Trail reopens to visitors after a month of maintenance. Daytime temperatures around 17°C (64°F) and nighttime temperatures of 6°C (42°F). Cons: Slippery trails due to rains. Festival: Holy Week is a significant religious and cultural event celebrated in Cusco with masses, processions, dances, and songs, culminating on Easter Sunday.


Pros: The rainy season has ended, fewer crowds, and lush vegetation provide spectacular views. Daytime temperatures around 19°C (66°F) and nighttime temperatures of 5°C (41°F). Cons: Possible crowds due to Holy Week. Higher prices in hotels and services.

Festival: Holy Week is a religious and cultural event of great importance in Cusco, celebrated fervently with masses, processions, dances, and songs, culminating on Easter Sunday.


Pros: The dry season begins, sunny days with breathtaking views. Daytime temperatures around 19°C (66°F) and nighttime temperatures of 3°C (37°F). Cons: Crowds start, and advance reservations are necessary.

Festival: In May, the Crosses Festival is celebrated, combining Catholic elements with ancestral traditions, featuring adorned crosses carried in processions, folk dances, live music, and cultural events showcasing Peru’s rich heritage.


Pros: Sunny and clear days. Daytime temperatures around 19°C (66°F) and nighttime temperatures of 1°C (34°F). Cons: Maximum crowds, long lines, and the need for sunscreen during the day.

Festival: On June 24, Cusco enthusiastically celebrates “Inti Raymi” or the Festival of the Sun, an ancient event honoring the sun and representing Inca traditions.


Pros: Dry and sunny days with dreamy views. Daytime temperatures around 19°C (66°F) and nighttime temperatures of 0°C (32°F). Cons: Maximum visitor capacity, long lines, and the need for advance reservations.

Festival: Peru’s Independence Day celebrations on July 28 include parades, concerts, festivals, and other activities commemorating the country’s declaration of independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821.


Pros: Clear and sunny days. Starry nights. Daytime temperatures around 20°C (68°F) and nighttime temperatures of 3°C (37°F). Cons: Crowds and the need for advance reservations. Possible drizzles in the afternoon.

Festival: On August 15, Cusco celebrates the “Virgin of the Assumption” festival with colorful parades, traditional dances, and cultural events attracting both locals and tourists.


Pros: Fewer crowds. Daytime temperatures around 21°C (69°F) and lows of around 5°C (41°F). Cons: Unpredictable rains, recommended rain gear.

Festival: The “Mamacha Naty” festival, a religious celebration honoring the Virgin Mary, includes a solemn mass, a procession, and colorful dances performed by devotees in traditional attire.


Pros: Sunny days with fewer visitors. Daytime temperatures around 21°C (69°F) and nighttime temperatures of 5°C (41°F). Cons: Afternoon drizzles, recommended rain gear.

Festival: Cusco turns purple to celebrate the “Lord of Miracles,” a religious festival featuring processions through the city’s historic center carrying an image of the crucified Christ.


Pros: Fewer visitors, spectacular views, and warmer temperatures. Daytime temperatures around 22°C (71°F) and nighttime temperatures of 7°C (44°F). Cons: Start of the rainy season, muddy trails, and landslide risk.

Festival: All Saints’ Day, a celebration where families gather to honor the deceased with visits to cemeteries and the placement of offerings (flowers, candles, bread, and sweets).


Pros: Flourishing landscapes, rainbows, and mist. Daytime temperatures around 22°C (71°F) and nighttime temperatures of 6°C (42°F). Cons: Rains, muddy trails, and landslide risk.

Festival: A special advantage of traveling in December is the opportunity to experience Christmas festivities in a truly unique setting.


The best time to hike the Short Inca Trail is during the dry season, from April to October. During these months, the weather is pleasant with sunny days and less rain, making the hike more comfortable and safe. However, note that between June and July, the peak season occurs, and prices for accommodations and tours increase. Therefore, my recommendation is to plan and book in advance if you intend to hike the Short Inca Trail during those months.

How to Visit The Short Inca Trail

Have you ever dreamed of exploring Machu Picchu in a unique and challenging way? Well, you’ve come to the right place. If you have heard about the famous Inca Trail, but are worried about time or prefer a shorter hike, we have the perfect solution for you!

Imagine enjoying the majesty of Machu Picchu in just 2 days, without compromising your energy on long treks. The Short Inca Trail is the ideal alternative to the traditional 4-day Inca Trail.


The Incas ruled one of the largest empires in the South American region, known as Tawantinsuyo, a Quechua term that refers to the “Four Suyos of the Sun.” This impressive civilization originated in the Peruvian highlands in the early 15th century and flourished until the arrival of the Spanish in 1532. During their heyday, the Incas exercised dominion over vast territories that included Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

To connect such an extensive empire, the Incas built a network of trails, known as the Qhapaq Ñan or Inca Trail. At that time, Cusco, named Qosqo, which in Quechua means “Navel of the World,” was the central and most significant city where the Incas resided.
All the roads of the empire started from Cusco, extending to the south, north, east and west.

These roads were of vital importance, as they facilitated trade, communication, food transportation and the movement of the Inca army. The total length of the Inca Trail is staggering, exceeding 30,000 kilometers/ 18,641 miles in its total length. This monumental network of trails is a lasting testament to Inca engineering and the strategic vision of the Incas.

Today the most famous stretch of the Inca trail network or Qhapac Ñan is known as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and is one of the most challenging treks in the world.


  • The Short Inca Trail is a shorter option, with only 10 km compared to the 44 km of the Classic Trail.
  • It is a scenic trail with a less challenging hiking experience.
  • It traverses beautiful archaeological sites along the way.
  • It allows hikers to experience the richness of the Inca culture.
  • Combines breathtaking natural scenery with historical heritage.
  • It is one of the most popular trekking routes in the world.


  • Enjoy a less challenging hiking experience.
  • Walk through Chachabamba, an ancient Inca site.
  • Be part of history at Wiñay Huayna, an archaeological gem.
  • Access Machu Picchu exclusively through the Sun Gate.
  • Rest in comfortable accommodations in Aguas Calientes.
  • Learn more about the flora and fauna of the Cusco Andes.


The 2-day Short Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu represents a unique opportunity for those with time constraints who wish to experience the highlights of the 4-day Classic Inca Trail.

This tour combines the wonders of the dense cloud forest landscape with some of the most impressive Inca ruins. Entering Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) in the late afternoon, you will enjoy the rare opportunity to see Machu Picchu with fewer crowds.

The 2-day Inca Trail Short Trek is perfect for a wide range of travelers, whether they are individuals, couples, groups of friends or families with children. With only one day of hiking and exploration of Machu Picchu the following day, this option is ideal for those looking for a more condensed and accessible experience.


The start of the 2-day Short Inca Trail takes place at kilometer 104 of the Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu railway, which is known as Chachabamba. Along this exciting route, you will encounter outstanding archaeological sites, such as Chachabamba, Wiñay Huayna and Inti Punku.


The Short Inca Trail is highlighted by several important points and presents an average altitude along the trek.

  • Chachabamba: This ancient archeological site is located at an altitude of approximately 2,200 meters (7,218 feet).
  • Wiñay Huayna: Located at about 2,680 meters (8,792 feet) above sea level,
  • Inti Punku (Sun Gate): Approximately 2,730 meters (8,956 feet) above sea level.
  • The average altitude along the Short Inca Trail ranges from 2,500 to 2,600 meters (8,202 to 8,530 feet).

Note: In case you have purchased the entrance ticket for any of the additional treks such as Huayna Picchu, Huchuy Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will be able to visit these iconic attractions. Remember that these are optional activities with an extra cost, and must be booked in advance because spaces are limited.

After the tour, we return to Aguas Calientes and then take the train back to Ollantaytambo. From there, we continue in our private transportation back to Cusco, marking the exciting end of our tour along the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

  • Starting altitude: 2,050 meters/ 6,561 ft.
  • Maximum altitude: 2,400 meters/ 7,873 ft.
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Meals: Breakfast

Short Inca Trail Complete Guide

What is the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

To begin, on the Short Inca Trail, The first day we will hike, and on the second day, we will visit Machu Picchu.

The tour from Cusco to Ollantaytambo by car and from there to km104 by train. The two-day Inca Trail begins with a 6 to 8-hour hike to the Inca site of Wiñay Wayna. After exploring this archaeological complex, the journey concludes by passing through the Sun Gate (also known as Inti Punku), the gateway to Machu Picchu.

From here, you will descend on a side trail, skirting the ruins, to take a bus to Aguas Calientes. Rest, relax, and enjoy the evening in a hotel, and on the second day of your short Inca Trail journey, get ready to explore the ruins of Machu Picchu.


The main difference between the 2-day Inca Trail and the Classic Inca Trail lies in the duration and distance of the trek. The Short Inca Trail is a shorter version, usually completed in two days, allowing you to explore the best parts of the Inca Trail in less time, while the Classic Inca Trail lasts four days. The Short Inca Trail covers a distance of approximately 10 kilometers, whereas the Classic Inca Trail extends over about 42 kilometers.

Moreover, the Short Inca Trail is less physically demanding, making it a popular choice for those with limited time or seeking a less strenuous hiking experience. With fewer tourists compared to the Classic Trail, you’ll also have a more intimate experience. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about camping, personal porters, or a sleeping bag for the 2-day Inca Trail. You’ll stay in a hotel along the way, making the trek comfortable and hassle-free. Enjoy stunning landscapes, incredible views of Machu Picchu, and explore captivating Inca ruins, all without extra gear or logistical concerns.


Yes. The one-day hike on the Inca Trail starts at KM 104, ascends to the Inca site of Wiñay Wayna, where it joins the classic Inca Trail hike, and then continues to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) towards Machu Picchu. This is a one-day hike to Machu Picchu, with the option to return the next day for a full tour of the ruins.


The only difference between the 1-day Inca Trail hike and the 2-day Inca Trail is that on the 2-day Inca Trail, hikers return to Machu Picchu on the second day for a guided tour of the Citadel after spending a night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes. The actual hiking itinerary is the same: it starts at KM 104, passes through Wiñay Wayna and the Sun Gate, and arrives at Machu Picchu in the afternoon. This is a one-day hike on the Inca Trail; it is not possible to split this hike into two days.


Since the Short Inca Trail is a one-day hike, camping is not possible along the trail. Campsites at Wiñay Wayna are reserved for Classic Inca Trail hikers and are not available for those undertaking the Short Inca Trail. Camping in Aguas Calientes is possible, but the campsite there does not provide a pleasant experience due to its location and the abundance of biting insects. It’s much better to stay in a hotel (included in the price of our 2-day Inca Trail hike) and get a good night’s sleep before visiting Machu Picchu.




The 2-day, 1-night Short Inca Trail hike begins with a journey from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, where you’ll take the train to the start of the Short Inca Trail at KM104. On the train, passengers can enjoy breathtaking views of the Urubamba River and the changing Andean landscapes before the train reaches the stop at KM104, where everyone must disembark and start walking.

Upon getting off the train at KM104 and crossing the hanging bridge over the Urubamba River, explorers find themselves walking amidst the dense cloud forest with its warmth, humidity, and many different shades of green. With each breath comes the fresh scent of dew. That fragrance and the roar of the river accompany walkers for most of the day.

In addition to the green color of the forest, it’s easy to admire yellow, red, and pink orchids, as well as white, brown, yellow, and black butterflies.

Passing through Chachabamba, the route visits an administrative checkpoint located near the starting point, close to the river. From there, it is possible to observe in the distance the Choquesuysuy sites, also by the river, and Intipata, perched on a hill, while walking 7 hours to Wiñay Wayna.

Hikers can also enter an alternative route at KM106. Instead of visiting the archaeological site of Chachabamba, visitors on this alternative hike will see the archaeological site of Choquesuysuy. The KM104 route is always uphill but with a relatively gentle slope. The KM106 route is uphill in zigzag and steeper, and it takes only about 3 hours to reach the archaeological site of Wiñay Wayna. From Wiñay Wayna, the route follows the standard trail to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate.


After passing through some streams and a couple of waterfalls, walkers reach one of the most impressive Inca archaeological sites in the area known as Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young), named after the orchid of the same name found in this area. Wiñay Wayna features a ceremonial section with a double door and a room with 7 windows, as well as several finely carved water fountains. (Read more about Wiñay Wayna on our blog).

On this 2-day Inca Trail hike, it is very common to observe different species of fauna such as quetzals and hummingbirds playing cheerfully in the trees. Another famous endemic bird in the area that can be observed is the Cock-of-the-Rock, the national bird of Peru.

After lunch and a tour of Wiñay Wayna, walkers will reach a stretch of stairs: the last stretch before reaching the Sun Gate or Inti Punku. It’s only an hour’s walk from Wiñay Wayna to Inti Punku, from where it is possible to get a spectacular first view of Machu Picchu, the most important and magnificent archaeological site in America.


After taking those classic photos, you continue walking downhill, passing through the ancient city, to take a bus to Aguas Calientes.

At this time of day

Discover the Rainbow Mountain in Cusco

In the Cusco region, Ausangate is the fifth-highest mountain in Peru and is considered the most significant in Andean cosmology.

The journey to Ausangate (Rainbow Mountain) is one of the most astonishing experiences you can have. Enjoy the landscape accompanied by native birds and animals along the way.

It’s a five-day and four-night expedition where you can truly connect with yourself. You will receive the protection and wisdom of what was once sacred in our culture. These five days and four nights will undoubtedly change your life.

Since the first Italian expedition, led by Piero Ghiglione, set eyes on “Apu Ausangate” in 1950, we can now enjoy “The Path of Apu Ausangate,” where our lives will be completely transformed. It provides a new perspective on everything around us that we often take for granted. Are you ready for the adventure?

Exploring these areas constitutes a special experience, combining the challenge of high altitudes with the enjoyment of outdoor activities and the marvel of a visual spectacle.

Additional Information:

Altitude and Landscape:

Ausangate stands at an impressive elevation, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. The diverse ecosystems along the route showcase the unique flora and fauna native to the region.

Cultural Significance:

Ausangate holds deep cultural significance in Andean cosmology. The journey is not only a physical adventure but also a spiritual one, allowing participants to immerse themselves in the rich cultural tapestry of the Andean people.

Local Communities:

The trek often involves interactions with local indigenous communities, providing an opportunity to learn about their traditional ways of life, customs, and beliefs. This cultural exchange adds a meaningful dimension to the overall experience.

Weather and Preparation:

Given the high altitude, participants should be prepared for varying weather conditions. Proper acclimatization and physical fitness are crucial for a safe and enjoyable trek. It’s advisable to pack accordingly, including essentials like layers, sunscreen, and a reliable pair of hiking boots.

The Ausangate trek is not just an outdoor adventure but a holistic journey encompassing nature, culture, and personal growth.

Coca Leaf Tea to Prevent the Altitude Sickness in Cusco

If you are thinking about embarking on high-altitude trips in Peru and want to explore fascinating destinations like Cusco and Puno, it’s good to know about the benefits offered by “mate de coca.”

This famous ancient beverage has properties to alleviate “Soroche” or altitude sickness. Coca leaves contain globulin, which regulates the lack of oxygen in the environment.

Other benefits of Mate de Coca include:

  1. Regulates blood pressure.
  2. Improves body temperature.
  3. Acts as a great antidepressant.
  4. Aids in fat burning.

It is advisable to have a cup in the mornings or a few minutes before meals to avoid inhibiting calcium absorption. On the other hand, anyone from the age of 4 can consume this infusion; however, if a person is hyperactive or has severe heart problems, it is preferable to avoid it.

A final recommendation is that whenever you arrive at any high-altitude location, take at least a day to rest and eat lightly before starting your high-altitude trips in Peru.

Machu Picchu the Best Destiny in the World

Machu Picchu has been declared the best tourist attraction in the world; and for the 7th consecutive year, it has also placed Peru as the best culinary destination on the planet. All of this took place in the 25th edition of the World Travel Awards.

The event is often compared to the “Oscars of Tourism,” and this year it was held in Portugal, where Peru was mentioned as the best tourist and culinary destination.

Unforgettable moments at the international gala of the World Travel Awards

The judges included expert critics, international tourists, and highly recognized opinion leaders worldwide. They consider various aspects to choose the best tourist destinations in the world.

The winners are selected through online voting, where entrepreneurs, professionals, and tourism experts voted for Machu Picchu and Peru, surpassing multiple destinations on all 5 continents.

Thus, Machu Picchu Cusco was in the spotlight of the world and the most prestigious media outlets.

Machu Picchu will continue to be the best tourist destination in the world

The citadel of Machu Picchu was declared a wonder of the world on July 7, 2007, and since then, it has remained one of the most impressive tourist destinations globally.

Machu Picchu is located above the Sacred Valley of the Incas at 2430 meters above sea level. It is a place where worship to the Sun god took place, and astronomical events were observed.

The citadel features beautiful terraces and walls, accompanied by a stunning view of the Andes. A masterpiece of architecture!

Its imposing construction has left millions of tourists amazed, considering it an energetic place.

Currently, Peru is also recognized for its countless archaeological heritage sites, museums, natural reserves, Andean landscapes, and other tourist attractions.

Moreover, there are still more wonders of Peru to discover. Among them are Waqrapukara, Espinar, and the Suykutambo canyon (a place that could become the capital of adventure sports in Peru).

If you want to travel to Cusco or trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, we invite you to get to know Peru through the best personalized tours. Write to us now, and we will be happy to assist you.

4 Reasons to Visit Cusco

Trips to Cusco are the most requested in Peruvian agencies, mainly because it has one of the wonders of the world: Machu Picchu (currently The Best Tourist Attraction in the World 2019).

Cusco is one of the most representative cities in Peru, as it has a diversity of natural landscapes, majestic monuments and fabulous customs. But what other reasons do you have to visit the Inca Empire? We detail it below.

Recharge yourself with positive energies

Many times work and daily routine can stress us out so much that we don’t know what to do to relax. In that sense, vacations become an opportunity to enjoy and live moments of tranquility.

Therefore, Cusco is a good option to relax, since it is one of the most energetic tourist places in Peru. Starting with Machu Picchu, a gigantic fortress located above the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Also, you can visit the Sacsayhuamán fortress, a spectacular building where the festival of the Sun is celebrated. Likewise, there is Choquequirao, the sister city of Machu Picchu, the Puca Pucara Campus and Kenko (Inca shrine).

Cusco is a place that transmits vigorous energies that generate renewing sensations!

Learn about Inca customs first-hand

Thanks to our personalized tours you will have the opportunity to learn about the customs and culture of Cusco through various Inca families and/or communities.

You can even participate in traditional festivals and sacred rituals. For example, visit the ruins of Sacsayhuaman to see the “Apu Ausangate”, a fabulous sacred mountain.

Enjoy the delicious Cusco gastronomy

Cusco invites you to taste its typical dishes, which are made with a series of natural ingredients that transcend from generation to generation. It will give you an idea of how the Incas ate.

Among the most popular typical dishes of Cusco are the following:

  • Chicharrón Cusqueño: Representative of the town of Saya.
  • Chuño cola or Lawa de chuño: Stew of Inca origin.
  • Chiri uchu: The typical flag dish of Cusco.
  • Corn with cheese: Traditional snack.
  • Chairo: Ideal soup in cold weather.
  • Mushroom kapchi: Typical snack.

Do Experiential Tourism in Cusco

Other important reasons to travel to Cusco is that you can do various tourist activities, such as: Experiential Tourism, Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism (For example: trekking on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, rafting, etc.). It even offers you nightlife in the best themed bars and clubs.

We offer you the best personalized tours. Contact us now and we will gladly help you organize your travel itinerary to Cusco.

The Best Traditional Markets to Visit in Peru

Whenever someone visits a new place, it’s normal to feel a bit lost and not know where to find everything you need while traveling. In Peru, you can find everything from department stores, supermarkets, fairs, and markets. Perhaps the latter is not familiar, but we’ll explain what it’s all about.

Peru’s markets are among the best places to find good quality items at affordable prices. There, you can find everything from food, fruits, medicinal plants, crafts, and more. That’s why TripPeru has compiled a list of the top 4 markets in Peru that you should visit—you won’t regret it.

Surquillo Market, Lima: A Place to Taste Food and Drinks

The first stop for many tourists is Lima, as it houses the international airport. Sometimes, the stay in the capital of Peru is brief, with plans already made for the following days, causing visitors to miss out on some attractive places in the City of Kings.

However, if you want to try the best Peruvian cuisine at a good price, with excellent service and vibrant colors, Surquillo Market is the place to make the most of your day in Lima. It is located near Miraflores, the preferred location for thousands of tourists to stay.

You’ll find a wide variety of food stalls there. You’ll also encounter ingredients you may have never seen before. This market is very colorful, full of friendly people, and offers the best prices. It’s ideal for those seeking to capture everyday life and the best Peruvian cuisine in one space.

Note that it’s open to the public during the following hours:

  • – Monday to Friday: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
  • – Saturdays: 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • – Sundays: 7:00 am to 4:00 pm

Belén Market, Iquitos: A Truly Exotic Place

To give you an idea, the Peruvian Amazon is also known for its exotic places, animals, and spaces. Belén Market is one of those sites where you’ll find things you never thought existed in the world. This space is entirely different from the more sophisticated places in Europe, where glamour and elegance stand out.

If you’re a tourist who wants to see the weirdest things in the world, this is the place. In this market, you’ll see turtle meat, piranhas, enormous fish like paiche (the largest fish in the Amazon), medicinal plants, various potions to treat diseases, and much more.

So, if you’re planning a trip to the Peruvian Amazon, take some time to visit this truly original market. Consider the following hours to visit:

  • – Monday to Saturday: 6:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • – Closed on Sundays

San Pedro Central Market, Cusco: The Most Andean Corner for Tourists

Compared to the previous places, this market has a more Andean appearance because it is located in Cusco, which allows it to have this particularity. This space is a bit more touristy, and you can find bars, restaurants, and various local food stalls. Additionally, there is a great variety of fruits, vegetables, natural plants, and many products made from coca leaves, which is very traditional in the area.

You can also find stalls where you can buy Peruvian crafts, as it is located in a central point for tourism. Best of all, you can find everything at an affordable price. You can visit this Andean market from Monday to Sunday, from morning until 5:00 pm.

Pisac Market, Cusco: The Ideal Place to Buy Peruvian Handicrafts

Cusco is one of the most visited cities in Peru due to its great tourist attraction called Machu Picchu. So, if you’re heading to this place, you should take a stroll through the Sacred Valley and buy the best of Peruvian handicrafts. You’ll find everything in one place, and you can also take a short walk to get to know our country better.

Many tourists love to buy traditional chullos, jewelry, local crafts, decorative items such as alpaca rugs, and all the best of Peru. Consider the following hours for your next visit:

  • – Monday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Now, you have more reasons to travel to Peru.

The Best Time to Travel to Peru

The Best Time to Travel to Peru: A Look at Regions and Climates

When planning a trip to Peru, staying informed is crucial to avoid any setbacks. The country boasts a great diversity of climates, with over 90 microclimates across its territory. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the weather conditions in each region, as the climate in Cusco, for instance, may differ significantly from that in Lima. Peru is divided into three regions: Coast, Sierra, and Selva. Here’s a detailed overview of the climates in each region to help you pack with confidence.

Coast: Warm temperatures throughout the year

The coast is an appealing destination with warm weather all year round, without a sense of stifling heat or extreme cold.

  • Winter on the coast: During winter, the climate is somewhat humid, so wearing clothes that protect against humidity is recommended to avoid a slightly cold thermal sensation.
  • Summer on the coast: In this season, temperatures on the coast can reach up to 35°C, with intense heat from noon until the evening. There might be morning fog during summer, but it dissipates as the day progresses.
  • Spring on the coast (November and December): During these months, there are rains on the coast, with few precipitations. However, intense rains can lead to river overflows, so it’s essential to be aware of this.

Some recommended places to visit on the Peruvian coast include Piura, Colán Beach, Lima, Huanchaco Beach, Punta Sal, and the Nazca Lines.

Sierra: Known for the Andean chill

The Peruvian Sierra, with destinations like Machu Picchu, attracts thousands of tourists annually. Although the region has varied climates, it is mostly cold. Two seasons predominate:

  • Summer in the Sierra (April to October): During these months, days are sunny, but nights are cold with little rain. This is an ideal season to visit Peru’s most famous places.
  • Winter in the Sierra (November to March): Intense rains occur during this season. Daytime temperatures can reach up to 24°C, while nights can drop to -3°C. Taking precautions and wearing appropriate clothing is necessary.

Highlighted places in the Andean region of Peru include Machu Picchu (Cusco), Colca Canyon (Arequipa), Lake Titicaca (Puno), Baños del Inca (Cajamarca), and the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Cusco).

Selva: Enjoy the best tropical climate

The Peruvian jungle, located in the Amazon, attracts many tourists with its natural charm. However, it’s important to take precautions based on the following seasons:

  • November to March: During these months, there are abundant rains that can lead to river overflows and complications on roads.
  • April to October: In these months, tropical rains are less intense, making it easier to explore the Amazonian region without issues.
  • May and August: Although the weather is good between April and October, May and August may experience cold spells with temperatures dropping to 8°C and even -12°C.

Recommended places to explore the Peruvian Amazon include Tambopata (Madre de Dios), Manu National Park, Pucallpa, Iquitos, and Tarapoto.

Plan your trip in advance and consider weather conditions. You can rely on us as one of the best travel agencies to help you organize your next tour through Peru.

How to take Photos in your Tour to Peru

When planning our next trip, we’re always mindful of many things, but most importantly, our faithful companion: the camera. There are many tourist places that can be captured in images of natural landscapes, serving as the best memory of our journey. Therefore, we must consider the destination we are heading to. To make the best decision for our next destination, a great idea would be to hire a travel agency to have better tour packages, allowing us to explore beautiful landscapes and the wonders of nature. Here are 10 tips to ensure that those tourist spot photos stay with you forever in your memories.

Know Your Camera Perfectly to Capture the Best Travel Photos:

If there’s one thing you must know, it’s how to handle your camera perfectly. If you don’t already know how, research and learn. Also, take the time to set up your equipment, or even your smartphone camera. Proper camera settings will allow you to capture more stunning travel photos and capture details more quickly. For example, if you want to take photos of tourist spots in the jungle, you’ll need to be quick to capture animals.

Rise Early for Cinematic Images:

If you love watching a sunrise, this tip is for you. Some countries offer marvelous sunrises, like tourist spots on the Peruvian coast or even witnessing the sunrise at Machu Picchu. It might seem like an odd idea, but it will be worthwhile when you see the sunrise images.

Capture Original Photos:

It’s common to see photos at the Eiffel Tower in Paris or pictures of tourists at Machu Picchu, as they are quite traditional. What we recommend is to be more original and creative. Consider elements that can accompany your photo, such as light, people, visually appealing objects, etc. This way, you can have original photos and better capture the moment of your trip.

Strive for Portrait Photography:

One of the best ways to remember your trip is by capturing photos of local people. To do this, try to interact with them, discussing their culture, customs, or, if language is a barrier, try to smile and make gestures to make yourself understood. To have a good portrait photograph, you must gain the person’s trust so that you can approach your camera and capture even the smallest detail.

Take Photos That Are Meaningful to You:

The important thing about your trip is that you can remember objects, landscapes, and places that hold meaning for you. Often, we opt to capture images to portray natural landscapes, but what is more appealing to us might be a street, the local people, a restaurant, etc. So, take photos of details that are significant to you, as it will make a difference.

Discover New Hidden Places for Great Photos:

Sometimes, when we have a tourist offer, our day is scheduled to visit each place, limiting us from discovering new places or hidden corners for our eyes. Therefore, if you have a tourist tour, you can ask the travel agent if you can explore new places or hidden corners, as there you can find details for great photos.

Tell Stories with Your Photos:

Photographs can tell many stories, and this can be your opportunity to tell the story of your trip. Additionally, you can add a narrative line if you want people to understand the story. The most important thing is not to stop capturing photos of details that catch your attention.

Forget About Selfies:

While it’s good that you want to tell people that you were in a certain place, a selfie may not be the best option to showcase your trip. This type of photo is very traditional, and what we recommend is that you be original and unleash your creativity. You can take advantage of reflections on any metallic surface and capture excellent images.

Have Patience to Take a Good Photograph:

When you want to take a photograph, you must have a lot of patience to capture sunrises or sunsets, as these moments will provide better light for your photos.

Don’t Delete Any Photos Until You Get Home:

When we are on a trip, we want to take as many photos as possible to record the best moments. Sometimes, this can fill up the camera’s memory. Therefore, we recommend having external storage to save your photos.

Also, you should not delete any photos before returning home, as in the moment, you may notice that a photo seems ordinary, but later you may realize that it has good light, angle, etc., and you would want it in your photo album.

The best thing is to enjoy your trip and explore the best places. If you want to know about tour packages, feel free to contact us, as we are one of the best travel agencies.

10 Curiosities About your Peru Trip

Peru is one of the best countries, replete with nature, delicious food, and many attractions that draw millions of tourists to travel through this country. Additionally, it boasts numerous traditions and somewhat unique customs compared to other places in the world. If you are planning to travel to Peru, familiarize yourself with these 10 curiosities that capture the attention of millions of people.

More than 90 Microclimates:

When contemplating your trip to Peru, asking people about the weather will yield varied responses: “it depends.” Peru has over 90 microclimates, meaning the climate varies depending on the location. You might encounter rain in Cusco or experience both rain and intense heat in the Peruvian jungle. Take necessary precautions to understand the climate of your chosen destination, and feel free to consult with us for assistance.

Everyone Drinks a Yellow Beverage:

In Peru, there’s something intriguing—almost everyone drinks a yellow beverage called Inka Kola. Coca Cola is not as popular here as in the United States or other countries. For many tourists, Inka Kola may taste like bubblegum the first time, but they often acquire a liking for it. So, if you spot Inka Kola anywhere in Peru, give it a try!

Home to the Oldest University in America:

Perhaps a piece of general knowledge, but one that you should be aware of as part of Peru’s history. The country is home to the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos, the oldest educational institution in America. Established on May 12, 1551, it continues to operate to this day.

Ranked Sixth in Gold Production:

Affordable trips to Peru attract millions of tourists for various reasons, and one of them is that Peru is the sixth-largest gold producer globally. Visitors can find relatively inexpensive gold prices here, with China, Australia, Russia, and the United States surpassing Peru. Another reason to consider a trip to Peru!

A Peruvian Nationality Dog:

For dog lovers, Peru has its own breed known to locals as the ‘perro calato’ or ‘Peruvian dog’ because it has no fur. It is one of the oldest dog breeds globally and has been part of Peru’s National Heritage since 2001. These dogs have even been found buried in the tombs of Inca royalty, as they are considered ideal pets for those with allergies. So, if you spot a ‘perro calato,’ don’t hesitate to take a photo—it has quite a history.

Most Streets are Called ‘Jirón’:

To avoid getting lost in Peru, here’s a tip: learn that almost all streets are called ‘Jirón.’ You’ll see many signs with ‘Jr. de la Unión, Jr. Cusco,’ which can be confusing for many tourists, especially Americans who might mistake it for the abbreviation of junior. Don’t be confused; Peruvians have the habit of calling all small streets ‘Jirón.’ So, if you see a sign with Jr., you’ll know it’s a street or alley.

Second Country with the Amazon Rainforest:

For those seeking a place filled with nature, fresh and clean air, a love for the sounds of animals, and a penchant for the green world, Peru has a corner for you. The Amazon Rainforest can offer all of nature in a serene setting. Nearly 60% of the country is covered by the rainforest, contributing to purer air.

Boasts the Deepest Canyon in America:

If you thought the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA, was immense, you should visit the Colca Canyon, located in Arequipa, Peru. This place has a depth of over 4160 meters, surpassing the Grand Canyon’s 800 meters. So, if you find yourself in Arequipa, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this marvelous place teeming with nature.

Guinea Pig is a Common Dish:

In many countries, guinea pigs are kept as pets, much like cats or dogs. However, Peru has a different custom. Don’t be alarmed if you pass by a Peruvian restaurant, peruse the menu, and see ‘Cuy’—Peruvians commonly consume this animal. Over 65 million guinea pigs are consumed here each year, and the taste is pleasing to the palates of thousands of tourists.

Home to One of the Oldest Incan Cities:

When you tell your friends or family that you are traveling to Peru, they undoubtedly ask you to visit Machu Picchu. And there are many reasons that will convince you. This is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, visited by millions of tourists each year. However, few people know that it is one of the oldest cities in the world. Here’s an interesting fact: while everyone sees the typical image of green mountains, if you turn it to the left, you can see the profile of a man, believed to have been made for an Inca royal.

Don’t wait any longer to explore the best of Peru. We are a travel agency offering the best experience and prices. Contact us for more information.

FAQS about Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Essential Information to Know Before the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

No other trail in the world can compare to the Inca Trail in Peru, given its diverse geography, spectacular landscapes, and the abundance of archaeological sites along the route. Below, our travel experts for Peru offer their advice:

Best Time of Year to Reserve the Inca Trail:

The dry season, from May to September or October, offers pleasant weather and the opportunity to fully appreciate the fabulous scenery along the route. The rainy season, with the most intense rainfall in January and February, sees the Inca Trail closed for maintenance every February.

How Far in Advance Should I Book the Inca Trail?

For those planning to hike the Inca Trail in June or July, it’s advisable to secure your spot at least twelve months in advance. The Inca Trail is incredibly popular, and the limited ticket availability often sells out months ahead. For other times of the year, try to book at least six months before your chosen travel date to Peru.

Difficulty Level of the Inca Trail:

Hiking the Inca Trail involves navigating ascents and descents, with the highest point reaching 4200 meters (13775 feet) above sea level. Apart from being prepared for the altitude, expect changing weather conditions. Nonetheless, with good preparation, most people, including families with children and older travelers, can enjoy the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

What to Pack for the Inca Trail:

The maximum weight travelers can carry during the Inca Trail is 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds). Porters will handle the rest of your equipment and all camping gear and supplies. Consult your Inca Trail operator for a list of essential items to pack.

Footwear for the Inca Trail:

Footwear is crucial when preparing for your adventure. Ensure you choose a pair of high-quality hiking boots that fit well. Most importantly, wear your boots before embarking on the Inca Trail – don’t use new boots for the Machu Picchu hike!

Can I Hike the Inca Trail on My Own?

Since 2000, Peruvian authorities have limited the number of people allowed to enter the Inca Trail to protect the route and the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Regulations stipulate that the Inca Trail must be undertaken with an official Inca Trail operator.

Is the Inca Trail Dangerous?

The Inca Trail is well-marked, and guides take care of the walkers. However, when hiking in wilderness areas, there’s always a potential for accidents. To enjoy the hike, follow the advice provided by your Cusco tour operator, ensure you start the trek in good physical condition, and acclimate before beginning.

How to Visit Machu Picchu in 2024

Machu Picchu 2024: How to Purchase Tickets to Experience the Wonder of the World?

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) has announced that the virtual and ongoing sale of tickets for entry to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu will commence starting Thursday, January 12.

The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is gearing up to celebrate its 43rd anniversary of being designated as a protected natural area by the State on January 8. Additionally, Mincetur has revealed that virtual tickets to visit the citadel will be available for purchase from Thursday, January 12. To visit our world wonder and primary tourist attraction, it’s important to consider the steps for both virtual and physical ticket purchases, as well as passenger rail transport services. Follow our guide and get to know this wonder of the world.

How to Purchase Tickets to Explore Machu Picchu in 2024:

Tickets for visiting Machu Picchu exclusively from January 6 to 12, 2024, are already available on the virtual platform through the website www.machupicchu.gob.pe and the extranet of the Decentralized Culture Directorate (DDC) Cusco.

To buy tickets to Machu Picchu, you must select whether you are visiting from abroad, are a Peruvian, or a resident of Cusco. Next, you can choose your desired route, the visit date, and the number of tourists entering. The available time slots will automatically appear. Prices vary based on the route and time. Due to capacity restrictions, don’t forget to book your trip in advance.

For purchasing tickets for the following months of the year, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) announced that the virtual and ongoing sale of tickets will start from Thursday, January 12, through the website tuboleto.cultura.pe.

Moreover, the Ministry of Culture has also enabled the in-person sale of 1,000 daily tickets to visit Machu Picchu the next day. To acquire them, you must present your identification document, foreigner’s card, or passport at the Cultural Center of DDC Cusco in the Machu Picchu Pueblo district, from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

How to Reach Machu Picchu in 2024:

Currently, there are two railway transport companies, Peru Rail and Inca Rail, providing services for passenger transportation from Cusco to the Machu Picchu Pueblo district, where the magnificent Inca citadel is situated atop a mountain.

Both companies have virtual ticket sales platforms where you can choose the type of train, travel date, and destination. Peru Rail offers various train types such as PeruRail Expedition, PeruRail Vistadome, PeruRail Vistadome Observatory, and Hiram Bingham. In the case of Inca Rail, the process is similar, and several train services are also offered: The Private, The First Class, The 360°, The Premium & Lounge, and The Voyager.

Both companies also provide a bimodal service, involving the transfer of passengers by private bus from the city of Cusco to the Ollantaytambo train station. From there, passengers board the selected train ticket to reach the Aguas Calientes station located in the Machu Picchu Pueblo district, where the mountain holding the Inca citadel or llaqta of Machu Picchu is situated.

What is the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail stands as one of the most spectacular trekking routes globally, earning accolades such as a life-changing adventure and one of the best things to do in the world. Recognizing its popularity, the travel supplement “El Viajero” from the Spanish newspaper “El País” compiled a guide for those intrigued by the Inca Trail, labeling it an “initiatory rite for the traveler” and a unique adventure with the ultimate reward being the “famous Sun Gate and its breathtaking views of the Machu Picchu ruins.”

Describing the journey as covering “43 kilometers of path through forests and dense mists, ancient stone steps, and majestic vistas,” the article advises potential trekkers to analyze the optimal time for the journey and be mindful of peak months to avoid crowds. It also emphasizes the importance of physical preparation, recommending exercises to get in shape for the hike, preparing a backpack with essential items, and booking well in advance due to the high demand for this iconic trail.

What is the Inca Trail
What is the Inca Trail

In conclusion, the article provides a list of recommended tour operators for this adventure and underscores the need for travelers to choose the type of route they wish to undertake.

Recommendations for Those Interested in Exploring the Inca Trail:

  • Timing is Key: Analyze the best time to embark on the trek, considering factors like weather and peak tourist seasons to ensure a more enjoyable experience with fewer crowds.
  • Physical Preparation: Undertake exercises and fitness routines to prepare for the challenging 43-kilometer journey, encompassing diverse terrains and elevations.
  • Pack Wisely: Prepare a backpack with essential items, including but not limited to a first aid kit, waterproof gear, insect repellent, purification tablets, navigation tools, and sufficient water.
  • Early Reservations: Due to the high demand for Inca Trail permits, make reservations well in advance to secure a spot and avoid disappointment.
  • Tour Operator Selection: Choose a reputable tour operator that aligns with your preferences and offers the type of experience you desire.

The Inca Trail is not just a trek; it’s an initiation into a transformative adventure, culminating in the iconic Sun Gate and the awe-inspiring views of Machu Picchu.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Exploring the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu requires meticulous preparation and the proper arrangement of all essential elements. Before embarking on this exciting journey, we will share valuable tips with you to make the most of this wonderful experience.

What makes the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu so special?

Machu Picchu is currently hailed as the best tourist attraction in the world. To reach this wonder, there are two main options. The first involves a train journey to the charming town of Aguas Calientes, followed by a short bus ride to the entrance of Machu Picchu. The second, more adventurous and steeped in history, is the legendary Inca Trail, with over five centuries of history. This route covers approximately 42 kilometers and takes 18 to 24 hours, depending on your pace.

Throughout the journey, you will be delighted by imposing mountains, monuments, snow-capped peaks, Andean landscapes, and even the possibility of encountering local fauna.

Crucial Recommendations for Trekking on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, in Cusco

Prepare your backpack wisely and carry only the essentials

The key is to keep your luggage light and carry only what is necessary for the trek. The choice of the trek duration also influences your load. Opt for an ergonomic backpack to ensure comfort during the journey.

Essential accessories for your backpack:

  • A basic first aid kit.
  • Waterproof cover for the backpack.
  • Mosquito repellent.
  • Purification tablets.
  • Map, compass, or GPS.
  • Thermos and utensils.
  • Bottled water.
  • Sunglasses, among others.

Dress appropriately and choose the right footwear

Select suitable clothing and footwear for trekking, and don’t forget to wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun. The choice of clothing depends on the weather, but synthetic layers are recommended. Avoid cotton clothing as it takes a long time to dry. Ensure you wear shoes with good grip and comfort to prevent blisters. Pack several T-shirts and sweaters to change when needed.

Opt for compact and packaged food

Regarding food, choose canned or packaged options. Include energy bars, snacks, nuts, or chocolates. Always remember to have an extra supply, depending on the trek’s duration.

Gradually acclimate to the altitude

The Inca Trail reaches an altitude of approximately 4200 meters above sea level. It is essential to acclimate gradually to avoid discomfort. Pre-acclimatization in the city of Cusco before the trek is recommended.

Keep in mind that you will face various challenges on the Inca Trail, such as crossing streams, snow-covered sections, and winding paths. Take it easy and follow the instructions of your guide or travel specialist in Peru.

One last piece of advice: be responsible with nature and take care of it.

If you’re thinking of trekking on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or exploring tourist spots in Cusco, we offer the best personalized tours tailored to your preferences. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Inca Trail Oficial Permits 2024

Permits for the Inca Trail in 2024 will be available in October. However, trekking companies are already accepting reservations. If you want to hike the Inca Trail in 2024, you can book a date of your preference and inform your trekking company about a second option.

Trekking companies will always try to secure permits for the preferred date, but as there is only a limited number of permits available, it’s good to have a second option in mind. There are 500 permits available per day for the four-day Inca Trail. Since this number is divided between tourists and staff (guides, porters, and cooks), there are only 200 permits available for tourists, as the remaining 300 are for the staff.

Inca Trails

There is a shortage of permits, especially in the months from May to September. As the summer approaches in the northern hemisphere, thousands of people prepare to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Are you one of them, or do you prefer the Short Inca Trail? For the Short Inca Trail (two days), there are 250 permits available per day. Generally, they are available for a longer time, but they also sell out quickly. In this case, we also advise you to make the reservation as early as possible.

What if none are available? Don’t be sad because there are alternatives such as the Salkantay trek and the Inca Jungle trek. As you can read in this blog post, alternatives are often even better than the classic Inca Trail.

Tips for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – FAQs

For the more adventurous travelers, trekking to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu is the highlight of their journey. There are different trekking options to reach this historical sanctuary, but the Inca Trail is undoubtedly the most sought-after experience through the Peruvian Andes and high jungle.

The Inca Trail was a network of paths connecting the Inca Empire during the Inca period, along which the Incas built resting places, administrative, military, and religious centers. It extended over 30,000 km, crossing regions in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Today, the best-preserved part of this ancient trail is the route to Machu Picchu, starting from kilometer 82 of the Inca Trail. Completing this adventure takes 4 days and is considered a challenging hike.

As mentioned earlier, the Incas built structures to secure access to these places, and most remained hidden until their rediscovery in 1911. Fortunately, as the Incas escaped the Spanish conquistadors, they managed to mislead pursuit to protect their people and sacred sites.

Today, the Inca Trail remains one of the most sought-after activities in the Cusco region. Therefore, if you’re up for this adventure, we’ve listed some recommendations and answered some frequently asked questions to help you organize your trip.

What to pack for the Inca Trail trek?

The excitement of finally booking the Inca Trail trek is unparalleled, but planning the packing list is not as entertaining. However, this trek will be much smoother if you know what to bring and what to leave behind.

All companies include porter services, but you still need to carry a small backpack throughout the journey to store essential items for the day’s route. Packing smart is not about overpacking but knowing what you’ll definitely need for this hike.

  • Rain Poncho / Waterproof Jacket with Hood: Whether you’re traveling during the rainy or dry season, be aware that you’ll be immersed in the cloud forest, and the weather here can be quite drastic. Therefore, bringing a waterproof jacket with you would be the most suitable option for this hike.
  • Trekking Shirts: They are better than regular cotton shirts that accumulate moisture and dirt. Consider bringing at least 3 of them.
  • A pair of lightweight hiking pants or leggings.
  • Lightweight shorts for the hike.
  • Lightweight fleece jacket.
  • Hats for chilly mornings and evenings and sun hats for the afternoon.
  • Thermal layers for nights. Remember that temperatures are lower during the dry winter in the Andes.
  • Mountain socks.
  • Waterproof hiking boots.
  • A pair of lightweight sneakers to give your feet a break once at the camp.

Regarding camping equipment, most companies include almost everything. However, sleeping bags are usually not included in the package prices, but you can rent them from a store in Cusco or from the same company you are traveling with. Also, you might want to get a headlamp for night walks.

Are there showers and toilets on the trail?

Yes, there are bathrooms and showers at each campsite. However, the bathrooms are somewhat rudimentary, if not somewhat precarious, and the showers are really cold, although some campsites offer hot water for an extra cost.

How to prepare for the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail is not a very challenging hike, but it makes itself felt with its steep ascents and descents. However, the key to successfully preparing for this hike is to acclimatize your body before undertaking it.

Even if you’re an experienced hiker, we recommend spending 2-3 days in the city of Cusco to acclimate to the altitude. Additionally, this ancient trail will take you through places higher than 4,200 meters above sea level.

If you want to be in your best physical condition, it’s best to exercise before coming to Peru. Keep in mind that in your group, there will be many walkers with different fitness levels, so don’t see it as a competition and take your time to enjoy.

How to prevent altitude sickness?

Due to the high altitude of this place, some travelers may experience dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and difficulty breathing. These are symptoms of the so-called Soroche or Altitude Sickness.

This condition affects most travelers above 2,500 meters in altitude, regardless of whether they have lived in higher areas or at sea level all their lives. However, we’re not here to scare you but to clarify and make things easier for you:

  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is the key to avoiding sickness.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco at all costs. Alcohol is a dehydrator, and smoking can cause or worsen shortness of breath.
  • Take it easy for the first few days. If you’re traveling to high-altitude places, make sure not to engage in physically demanding activities during the first two days.
  • Drink coca tea or chew coca leaves. This medicinal plant is known for its healing properties and for aiding acclimatization.

There are some medications that help relieve altitude sickness symptoms; you can find Diamox or Soroche Pills in almost any pharmacy in Peru. However, it is highly recommended to consult with a doctor before taking any of them.

How long does it take to complete the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

It takes up to 4 days to complete this historic trail to the citadel. Along the way, you will pass through the remotest Inca settlements, offering a glimpse into life during the Inca era.

How difficult is the Inca Trail?

As mentioned earlier, a high level of fitness or being an experienced walker is not required to complete it. However, the key to avoiding any inconvenience is to acclimate a few days before starting this journey.

Short Inca Trails

Can you do the Inca Trail on your own?

Unfortunately, you cannot do the Inca Trail on your own, as the permit for the Inca Trail can only be obtained through a certified tourism company. The smallest allowed group is with a minimum of two passengers in addition to the guides and possibly the porters.

How far in advance do you have to book the Inca Trail?

To reduce human impact on the trail, the Peruvian government has limited entry to 500 people per day, including hikers, porters, cooks, and guides. Therefore, if you’re up for this adventure, we recommend booking the tour at least 6 months in advance.

It’s worth mentioning that the Inca Trail permit is not transferable, and during the rainiest month of the year (February), it is closed for maintenance.

What is the best time to hike the Inca Trail?

The climate in this region is characteristic of the Peruvian Andean region, with a dry winter and a rainy summer. However, due to its geographical position, small rains are expected even during the dry season.

  • Rainy Season: It starts in December and ends around April. However, heavy showers are expected between January and March. Temperatures range from 15°C to 5°C.
  • Dry Season: Considered the coldest season of the year, although it is much warmer during the day. However, temperatures are significantly colder in the early morning and at night.

We would like to mention that the cloud forest has a different climatic condition, and even if you’re traveling during the dry season, you may experience occasional rains

. Check this guide and learn all about the weather in Peru.

What is the difference between the Short Inca Trail and the Classic one?

The Short Inca Trail lasts only 2 days and 1 night. It starts at kilometer 104 of the Ollantaytambo railway and passes through the archaeological sites of Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna. The trail continues to Intipunku (Sun Gate) for an exceptional view of the Inca Citadel, then descends to Aguas Calientes to rest. The visit to Machu Picchu takes place the next day.

On the other hand, the Classic Inca Trail has a duration of 4 days and 3 nights, passing through different archaeological sites and the most impressive natural scenarios. Keep in mind that this is a somewhat challenging hike, passing through points above 4,000 meters in altitude.

How much does the Inca Trail cost

Most tour companies cost around $700 USD per person for a group rate (meaning you can be placed with other hikers, a great opportunity to make friends).

You can also opt for a private tour, which means that no other people can be placed in your group, from $800 USD and $1,800 USD, depending on the size of your private group.

All companies operating the Inca Trail must be registered and have a special operators license, which is renewed annually. A large number of these companies are only set up to provide specific private tours in high season, and the rest offer expeditions throughout the year.

Note that an advance deposit is required to secure your Inca Trail permit, so if you choose a new, unestablished or cheaper provider, make sure you have done enough research before paying.

Please also note that permits are only issued with the tourist’s name and passport number and, once booked, cannot be changed or transferred. If you change your passport between booking and arrival at the entry checkpoint at Km. 82 (where they check passports), contact your travel company for advice.

It is not possible to hike the Inca Trail without an authorized guide, and it is unwise to hike without guides. Even if you are used to long-distance treks, the high altitude coupled with the steep climbs and endless 500-year-old stone steps are a recipe for disaster for non-locals.

Tips to Visit Inca Trail

A continuación, se proporcionan más consejos útiles para hacer tu visita a Machu Picchu más cómoda y disfrutable:

  1. Ropa adecuada: El clima en Machu Picchu puede variar, desde sol radiante hasta lluvias repentinas. Lleva ropa cómoda y capas, y asegúrate de tener una chaqueta impermeable por si acaso. Un sombrero y protector solar también son recomendables debido a la alta radiación solar en la región.
  2. Calzado apropiado: Dado que la visita a Machu Picchu implica caminar por terrenos variados, se recomienda llevar zapatos cómodos y resistentes. Un par de zapatos para caminar con buen agarre será esencial para explorar las terrazas y senderos de manera segura.
  3. Entradas y reservas: Compra tus entradas con anticipación y verifica las regulaciones locales para asegurarte de cumplir con los requisitos de ingreso. Ten en cuenta que el número de visitantes diarios puede estar limitado, así que reserva con anticipación para garantizar tu acceso a este sitio arqueológico.
  4. Guías locales: Contratar a un guía local puede enriquecer tu experiencia al proporcionar información detallada sobre la historia y la cultura de Machu Picchu. Además, los guías conocen los mejores puntos de vista y pueden ayudarte a evitar las multitudes en ciertos momentos del día.
  5. Respeto por el sitio: Machu Picchu es un lugar histórico y sagrado. Respeta las reglas del parque, como no tocar las estructuras antiguas, no alimentar a la fauna local y no dejar basura. Ayuda a preservar este patrimonio cultural para las generaciones futuras.
  6. Hora de visita: Considera visitar Machu Picchu temprano en la mañana o al final del día para evitar las multitudes. Además, la iluminación en estas horas proporciona oportunidades fotográficas espectaculares.
  7. Empaque ligero: Lleva una mochila ligera con lo esencial, como agua, bocadillos, protector solar, repelente de insectos y una cámara. Evita llevar objetos innecesarios que puedan dificultar tu movilidad.
  8. Tiempo suficiente: Dedica tiempo suficiente para explorar Machu Picchu sin prisas. La entrada suele permitir una visita de medio día, pero si tienes la oportunidad, considera adquirir un boleto que te permita permanecer más tiempo para disfrutar plenamente de este sitio histórico.

Siguiendo estos consejos, tu visita a Machu Picchu será más agradable y memorable. ¡Disfruta de la experiencia!

What to do in Machu Picchu

Guided Tour to Machu PIcchu

Hiring a local tour guide can be an excellent way to learn about the rich Inca history and culture.

The guides can explain the purpose of the different buildings and tell fascinating stories and legends about the site.

Hiking to Machu Picchu

In addition to exploring the ruins, there are several notable hiking trails around Machu Picchu, such as the hike to Inti Punku or “Sun Gate,” the ancient entrance to the citadel for those walking the Inca Trail.

Posing on the way to Machu Picchu

M achu Picchu is a photographers dream, with its stunning Inca architecture, lush green mountains and spectacular sunrise if you arrive early.

Meditation or Yoga

With its tranquil atmosphere and stunning natural beauty, Machu Picchu can be a perfect place for meditation or a yoga session.

Observation of Local Flora and Fauna

Machu Picchu is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. Try to spot the emblematic Andean spectacled bear, the cock of the rock, the orchid and other species endemic to the region.

What to See in Machu Picchu

Once you arrive in Machu Picchu, you’ll be met with a variety of exciting activities and fascinating sites to explore.

From admiring the imposing ruins to hiking the breathtaking Andean trails, there is something for every type of traveler in this ancient Inca city.

Machu Picchu is an Inca architectural complex composed of numerous buildings, plazas, terraces, paths and stairways that connect and adapt to the mountainous topography of the area.

Some highlights not to be missed:

The Temple of the Sun

This semicircular temple is one of the best preserved in Machu Picchu.

It is believed to have been a place of worship to the Sun, a vital deity for the Incas.

Panoramic view of Machu Picchu Ruins


This ancient sundial is one of the few that survives in its original state.

It is believed that the Incas used it to predict the solstices.

Temple of the Three Windows

This structure is famous for its three trapezoidal windows overlooking the main plaza.

They represent the three levels of the Inca world:

  • The sky (Hanan Pacha)
  • The terrestrial world (Kay Pacha)
  • The subway world (Uku Pacha).
  • The Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain

Both are excellent hiking options if you are looking for spectacular panoramic views of the Inca city and the surrounding area.

Physical Preparation for the Inca Trail

Preparation for the Inca Trail: fitness and health

Preparing physically and ensuring good health before embarking on the Inca Trail is essential to guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some important guidelines:

1. Consult a physician:

Before starting any training program or planning the trip, it is important to consult a doctor, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions. Make sure you are in good health to cope with the physical demands of the route and the altitude.

2. Physical training:

The Inca Trail can be challenging, with long hikes, steep ascents and descents, and high altitudes. It is highly recommended to be in good physical shape before starting the trek. Here are some tips for physical preparation:

  • Train regularly by walking, running, climbing stairs and doing cardiovascular exercises to increase your endurance.
  • Do strength exercises to strengthen your legs, back and core muscles.
  • Hike with a heavy backpack to get used to the weight you will be carrying on the trail.
  • Hike on uneven terrain whenever possible to adapt to trail conditions.

3. Get used to the altitude:

The Inca Trail reaches high altitudes, with the highest point at about 4,200 meters above sea level. Acclimatization is essential to avoid altitude sickness. We recommend spending at least two days in Cuzco before starting the trek to get used to the altitude. During this time, avoid alcohol, eat light meals and drink plenty of water.

4. Food and hydration:

Follow a balanced diet before and during the trek. Eat carbohydrate-rich foods for sustainable energy. Stay well hydrated by drinking water regularly and avoiding alcoholic beverages. Bring light snacks, such as cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, to eat during the walk.

5. Appropriate clothing and equipment:

Be sure to wear appropriate clothing for different weather conditions, including layers of clothing to cope with temperature changes throughout the day. Wear comfortable shoes that you have tried and tested on long hikes. Don’t forget a good pair of socks and hiking boots.

6. Training in long treks:

Before setting out on the Inca Trail, do some longer hikes to get used to standing for several hours at a time. This will also help you test your equipment.

Remember that fitness and health are crucial to get the most out of the Inca Trail and minimize the risk of health problems during the trek. Be sure to follow the above guidelines and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime as you explore this fascinating trail.

Inca Trail Camping

In our route we include camping and the porters do it for you since they are in charge of transporting the tents and it is one of their main roles (this service should be consulted with your tour operator).

The camping equipment you need

You are responsible for bringing your own sleeping bag, you can also rent them in the same travel agency, of course, this will have a separate cost. On the other hand it is advisable to bring a thin mattress that will give you more comfort to sleep outdoors.

Regardless of the equipment you bring, you may not always get the best night’s sleep, and it may be very cold at night, but it’s all part of the experience! Just remember to keep your boots, bags and hiking poles inside in case it rains during the night or a curious dog starts sniffing around….

If you’re going to invest in a high quality travel sleeping bag, read this post on the essentials to look for before you trek.

Are there showers and toilets on the Inca Trail?

The worst part of hiking the Inca Trail is not the altitude, nor the steep climbs, but the restroom options available along the route.

Each camp has restroom facilities available, but they are often rudimentary stunted toilets and with the campsites so remote and over-subscribed, cleanliness understandably isn’t the highest.

Be sure to bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and just hold your nose (and maybe close your eyes too) when you need to go. On the first two days of the Trail, there are also local people who have set up restrooms for hikers (charging S /.1) … and there is also the bush. Just remember that the 2 soles you will pay to enter the modern clean toilets at the Machu Picchu site will be money very, very well spent.

In terms of showers, we have found on our various multi-day group treks that people can be divided into two camps:

Those who will take a cold shower rather than be a bit smelly.

Those who will feel bad about taking a cold shower.

If you decide to take a shower be prepared to better receive the water coming down from the mountains, as it will be very cold.

Will we have internet during the Inca Trail?

Let’s be honest. No, and this is one of the best things about it.Instead, you and your group will spend the night chatting over plastic cups of hot tea, playing card games, or relaxing together in nature. Your last chance to use the Internet or have a reliable phone signal will be in Ollantaytambo, and your first chance will be outside Machu Picchu or in Aguas Calientes.

Best Season to Visit Inca Trail

What is the best time of the year to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

Cusco has one of the most variable climates, but we tell you two in particular the dry and wet season, and yes, it is possible to do the Inca Trail in either of them. However, each comes with its pros and cons.

(May – October) is the dry season

Pros: Enjoying the scenery at its best is priceless and this season offers you sunny mornings and dry afternoons perfect for this trek.
Cons: It could be considered a disadvantage if you do not like to socialize because this season falls in the highest season from June to August, the routes will be more crowded, the campsites will be full and you will probably have to book a year in advance because the entrance quotas are gone in the blink of an eye. And finally, the nights will be colder.

(November – April) is the wet season.

You should be ready for some rainy days. But as we said before the weather in Cusco is very unpredictable, it may rain one day during the tour and the rest are sunny, that’s good luck.

Pros: There will be less crowds both on the road and in the lost city of Machu Picchu, some agencies reduce their normal price, you will have the possibility to book a month in advance or even a week in advance and the nights will be less cold.

Cons: The worst will be the rains, but if you don’t have any problems because of that, it will be 4 or super fun days, make sure you bring good trekking shoes or you will have unpleasant times because of the slippery routes.

Please note that the Inca Trail is closed in February for everyone to allow for replenishment.

Inca Trail Routes

The Inca Trail route

You may ask how long it takes to walk the Inca Trail. The answer will depend on your preference. There are several route options to take, allowing you to choose your preferred experience. Several trekking options are described below, followed by more detailed information about the Classic Inca Trail trek. Each of these routes, ranging in length from one to several days, caters to different audiences depending on their duration, popularity and availability of accommodation on the trail. All four are one-way treks. Depending on the tour operator with whom you make your travel reservations, you will normally use a combination of public and private transportation to return to Cusco from Aguas Calientes.

The Lares Route

Often hailed as the cultural alternative to the Inca Trail, the Lares Trek is a three-day odyssey through the forgotten weaving communities found on the eastern side of Machu Picchu. But don’t think of it as a museum visit. Access to the traditional villages is hard-won, in the form of passes that rise to over 15,000 feet (4,570 meters) and zigzag across the peak of Pumahuanca. You can add a visit to the ruins of Machu Picchu on the fourth day of Lares.

The Salkantay Route

The Salkantay trek is one of the many treks that can be found in the Cusco region of Peru. It is about 75 km (46 miles) in distance and about 3000 m (10 000 ft) in altitude, so it is considered to be a tough trek, compared to the other trekking options in the area. A typical Salkantay trek starts in Cusco, where you are picked up at your hotel to take you to Mollepata or Soraypampa. A great attraction of the Salkantay trek is that not only can you see Machu Picchu, but you can also see Llaqtapata. Pronounced as “Yakhta-Pata”, Llaqtapata is an archaeological site about 5 km from Machu Picchu. It is believed that in Inca times, it was a resting place on the way to Machu Picchu. Still today, on some treks, Llaqtapata is used as a resting place. Be sure to choose the right itinerary if you wish to spend the night here.

The Classic Inca Trail Route (3 to 5 day trek)

The Classic Inca Trail Trek is the most popular route to Machu Picchu. The time it takes to hike the Inca Trail will depend on your preference and hiking itinerary, but hiking this route can take anywhere from three to five days.

The Classic Inca Trail Trek begins at a point on the trail known as KM 82, in the town of Piscacucho. During the hike, adventurers travel 42 kilometers (26 miles) in total and reach a maximum altitude of 4,200 meters (13,776 feet) above sea level.

The itinerary for the Classic Inca Trail is four days, the most optimal option. On this trip to Machu Picchu, hikers cross the Urubamba River and pass through many small villages and incredible landscapes. On the last day you enter Machu Picchu the same way the Incas did, through Inti Punku (the Sun Gate).

Sites to Visit in Cusco

Cusco has several attractions worth exploring before starting your trip to the Inca Trail and/or visiting Machu Picchu. A city tour of Cusco upon arrival is an excellent way to start, to help you get a feel for the sites you may wish to explore further.

The Plaza de Armas, which is also a central meeting and gathering point, is an excellent place to start.

In this picturesque plaza you will find a tourist information office, as well as bars and stores, and it is within walking distance of many of the attractions you will want to see during your stay. In the center of the square is a fountain with a statue of an Inca pointing toward the ancient citadel of Sacsayhuaman (also known as Saqsaywaman). To the northeast is one of Cusco’s most emblematic buildings: its cathedral.

The Cathedral of Cuzco was built by the Spanish over a century, starting in 1559, and is imposing in Gothic-Renaissance style.

Made of stones taken from Sacsayhuaman, the cathedral houses several important pieces of colonial art, notably Marcos Zapata’s Last Supper, which features a guinea pig as part of the meal. The cathedral is framed on the left by the Church of Jesus Maria, and on the right by El Triunfo, which was the first church established in Cusco.

A few steps from the Plaza de Armas is the neighborhood of San Blas. Reserved for centuries for artists and artisans, strolling through its narrow (and sometimes very steep) streets is like stepping back in time. This area has artists’ studios, galleries, cafes, restaurants and also features the small church of San Blas with its intricately carved wooden pulpit.

Moving on to historical sites, one must see Coricancha, the Temple of the Sun. A few steps from the Plaza de Armas, this was an important place for Inca worshippers of the deities of the sun and moon. At that time, it would have been majestic, covered with gold leaf and filled with silver and gold statues.

Shortly after the Spanish colonization, all of Coricancha’s valuable metals were extracted and melted down: irreplaceable treasures lost forever. A little further, about 2.5 kilometers north of Cusco, lies Sacsayhuaman.

The Incas established this site as a fortress and temple, using large stones to build impressive walls that still stand proudly to this day. Explorers who want to learn more about the history of the area before embarking on the Inca Trail will not be disappointed with these sites.