What to expect on an Inca Trail trek
The Inca Trail starts at an altitude of about 2,800 metres and ends four days later at Machu Picchu, at 2,500 metres. You'll hike over the notorious ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’, which at 4,200 metres is the highest point of the trek. The Inca Trail trek is justifiably famous for its spectacular Andean scenery, with the mountain tops usually snow-capped between June and October. Altitude sickness is something a lot of people worry about, however by walking steadily, keeping well hydrated and drinking coca tea, most people encounter no problems. Your Explore Leader will be instrumental in getting you to the Sun Gate, so make sure you listen to what they are saying, and be open about any symptoms that you are feeling.
Walking the Inca Trail requires a good level of fitness but with a little pre-tour training it should be well within the capabilities of anyone who leads an active and moderately healthy lifestyle. Endurance training is essential - walking up hills and climbing stairs are both great ways to get your lower body in shape, and as you will need to carry a daysack each day on the trail, we'd also recommend that you add weight to your hikes to get used to it. Learn more in our how to prepare for a walking holiday blog.
Best time to hike the Inca Trail
’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.
Whatever the season, the weather in the Andes can be unpredictable, and you will need waterproofs, sun cream and sturdy walking boots with you everyday.
More about the Inca Trail on our blog...