When is the best time to hike the Inca Trail?
Peru’s dry winter season runs from May to September, making this an ideal time to trek the Inca Trail. June to August is particularly cold at night, especially at altitude, and lots of layers are essential for taking you from day to night. March, April, October and November are warmer months but there may be some rain. Many people say that September and October are the best months to travel to Machu Picchu - there are fewer tourists, but the weather is warm and mild.
Do I need permit? How do I get one?
Only about 200 trekkers per day are given permits to walk on the trail, so popular dates such as the peak month of May sell out months in advance. The permits go on sale at the beginning of October each year. We recommend that people book the year preceding their preferred trip. When you book an Inca Trail tour with Explore we will sort your Inca Trail permit for you.
How long does it take the trek the Inca Trail?
The classic Inca Trail takes four days to walk. The time and distance of walking each day varies, depending on the terrain and the speed you walk.
Day 1 - 2.5 hours (6 kilometres (km))
Day 2 - 6 hours (9 km)
Day 3 - 8 hours (10 km)
Day 4 - 6 hours (8 km)
What is the best route to take?
There are different hiking routes to Machu Picchu but we offer tours that follow the most popular and well-known route, the 'classic' Inca Trail, also known as the Camino Inca. The trail is known for it's finishing point, Machu Picchu, but you also get to see many other Incan ruins along the way. The trail starts at an altitude of about 2,800 metres and ends four days later at Machu Picchu, at 2,500 metres. The highest point of the trek is the notorious ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ at 4,200 metres. You'll follow rivers through the dramatic Andes Mountains, hiking past scenic hillside Inca ruins and through cloud forests.
What are the camping facilities like?
On our Inca Trail tours you'll camp for three nights. After each day's walking you will reach your campsite where our porters will have set up your tents. Two-man tents are provided with plenty of room for two people and your bags. It may be possible (depending on availability) to have your own tent as a solo traveller for an extra cost, check the trip page for the price.
The tents are well cared for and after a day of fresh mountain air and walking they make for a comfy place to lay your head. The views when you pop your head out in the morning are hard to beat. As for toilets, there are now permanent toilets intermittently along the trail so you shouldn’t find yourself left short. At the campsites we provide portable bathrooms (toilet tents) with biodegradable bags, which are available for only our one small group to use.