About the Inca Trail
Trekking the Inca Trail in Peru is one of South America’s greatest trekking adventures. The trail starts at an altitude of about 2,800 metres and traverses the Andes, crossing ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’, which at 4,200 metres is the highest point of the trek, before descending towards the ultimate goal of Machu Picchu (2,500 m).
It takes four days to reach the Inca city of Machu Picchu and, with the exception of crossing Dead Woman’s Pass, much of the trekking is not too demanding.
The Inca Trail is justifiably famous for its spectacular Andean scenery, with snow-capped mountains between June and October, as well as the fascinating Inca ruins you’ll pass along the way. The history of Peru is brought to life by our guides as we walk in the footsteps of the Incas in the company of their modern day descendants, our porters from the Sacred Valley.
Explore offers four different trekking options on the Inca Trail, with trips ranging from one to three weeks long. You can combine the trek with some or all the other highlights of Peru.
The Fitness tips
Trekking 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 is reasonably fit. Starting at least a few weeks before your trip you should aim to do at least one long, preferably hilly, walk per week. In the month running up to your tour try to fit in at least two consecutive days of long, hilly walks to build up your fitness and stamina. Altitude sickness is something a lot of people worry about, however if you take things at a slow pace, keep well hydrated and consider local remedies such as cocoa tea, the vast majority of people encounter no problems whatsoever.
Trek the Inca Trail with Explore
Experienced, professional and friendly trekking crew
Highly respected and award winning local partner
Fully complying with International Porter Protection Group guidelines
Private campsites and carefully staged walks to avoid other trekkers
Top quality tents, self inflating mattresses and private portable toilets
Three freshly prepared, nutritious meals every day, plus snacks
The little extras - a hot cup of tea in the morning, a hot water bottle at night
Inca Trail Trek
With just a week off work, you can trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, enjoy the bustling town of Cusco and explore the Sacred Valley. This short trip will allow you to gain a real understanding of the Andean way of life - past and present!
View Inca Trail Trek trip details
Life on Trek
Our day normally starts at sunrise, when you’ll be woken by the camp crew with a bowl of warm water (for washing) placed outside your tent. Hot drinks will be on the go and shortly afterwards you’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast.
Once you’ve packed your bags we start trekking, leaving the crew to take down the tents. We trek at a steady pace, but within no time the crew will have overtaken us to start getting lunch ready further along the trail.
After lunch we continue towards our night stop, where the crew will already have your tent set up, drinks ready and a delicious hot dinner cooking.
Trekking permits - book early
Only about 200 trekkers per day are given permits to walk on the trail, so popular dates (especially June, July and August) sell out many months in advance. We recommend you book early to get on the tour date you want. Permits are normally allocated in January each year, so it's best to book before then, however spaces are often available after January - please contact us to enquire which departures are still available to book during the season.
Trekking routes - three variants of the Inca Trail
Inca Trail Trek
This is the classic Inca Trail Trek. Following in the footsteps of the Incas we trek to Machu Picchu, fully supported by our guides and porters. At sunrise on the last day you arrive at the Sun Gate entrance to Machu Picchu and after visiting the site, take the train back to Cusco.
Heights of Machu Picchu and Peru Inca Trail
These tours follow slightly different timings and stay at different (private) camps to other trekkers on the route, making your experience of the classic Inca Trail trek all the more enjoyable. You reach Machu Picchu in the afternoon and explore the site before staying in Aguas Calientes overnight. We then rise early the next day to re-visit the site before the tour groups arrive.
High Trail of the Incas
We trek an extended route past Salkantay (6271m), one of the world's most beautiful mountains, to join the Classic Inca Trail and descend the staircase to the Gate of the Sun and finally reach Machu Picchu. We revisit Machu Picchu at sun-rise the next morning before catching the train and bus to Cusco.
When to go
Peru’s dry winter season runs from May to September making it an ideal time to trek the Inca Trail. You can expect fairly dry, sunny days with low rainfall. June to August are particularly cold at night – especially at altitude – so bring plenty of warm clothes and a good quality 4-season sleeping bag. If you prefer to go at a slightly quieter but warmer time of year, then choose March, April, October or November but be prepared for some rain. The trail is closed every February for cleaning and maintenance.
“Wow, absolutely wow!”
You can also read the blog of Explore's James Adkin, who has trekked the Inca Trail over 20 times. Share his experience and see why he has so much love for Peru.
If you want to try something different, why not take a look at the Alternative Inca Trail
One of the highlights of our Inca Trail treks is the chance to spend time with our porters and guides. They come from the small village of Misminay, overlooking the Sacred Valley.
We have supported numerous development projects in the village and over the years built strong bonds with the porters and their families.
In line with our responsible tourism commitment we follow Tourism Concern’s guidelines on porter welfare www.tourismconcern.org.uk.
Amongst other things the guidelines guarantee the porters a fair wage and stipulate the maximum loads they can carry.