As one of the most well-known treks in the world, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a multi-day hiking and camping trip that takes you through the Andes mountains as if you were Incas yourselves. Considering the trek just to make it to the Inca Trail in the first place (international flight to Peru and domestic flight from Lima to Cusco, not to mention dealing with the high altitude), it’s worth being as prepared as possible for your Inca Trail Hike, whether you choose the 2-Day Inca Trail Trek or 4-Day Inca Trail Trek.
Here are our top tips to streamline your Inca Trail experience:
- Book 6-12 Months in Advance – Being globally popular has it’s downside. The Peruvian government restricts the daily number of people who enter the Inca Trail, so you need to make sure you get a spot.
- Wear Tons of Layers – Wondering what to wear on the Inca Trail? Being so high up in the mountains, the weather can be unpredictable. You’ll have the hot Andean sun beating down on you one minute but feel freezing when you’re walking in the shade, then a potential rain shower could come out of nowhere if you’re here during the wet season. Make sure you can layer up and de-layer when needed.
- Leave Time to Acclimatize – From Cusco, Peru and throughout the Inca Trail, you’ll be at very high altitude. A lot of people underestimate the effects of altitude sickness, including headaches and nausea. Make sure you plan in time at the beginning of your trip to acclimatize to the altitude before you even start the Inca Trail tour.
- Stay Hydrated During the Day – Drink lots of water as you go so that you don’t get dehydrated while you hike. The Andean sun at high altitude is super strong and can dry you out even when you’re not moving around, making the experience a bit more challenging.
For our older travelers, we always recommend getting your doctor’s approval before embarking on this kind of intense hiking journey. And for our younger travelers, we recommend ensuring that they’re already accustomed to and/or enjoy hiking or outdoor physical activity.
Most of all, we recommend that you take your time along the way to fully enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience!
How long is the Inca Trail?
We offer 2-Day and 4-Day Inca Trail tours. On the 2-Day Inca Trail Hike, you'll trek for around 6-7 hours on the first day, then see Machu Picchu on the second day. On the 4-Day Inca Hike, you'll trek for a combined time of around 20-26 hours over a span of various days, depending on your pace. Along the way, you'll see various archeological sites, including the Runkurakay Archeological Site, the Sayacmarca Archeological Site, the Intipata Archeological Site, and the Wiñay Wayna Archeological Site. All of your hard work will culminate with a tour of Machu Picchu on the final day.
Is the Inca Trail dangerous?
The Inca Trail isn't dangerous at all. Its paths are wide and well marked, and you'll often encounter various other hiking groups along the way. Just make sure you follow the expert tour guide's instructions at all times and stay with your group.