The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful and sought-after Treks in the world. But what is the Inca Trail? The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or Tahuantinsuyo to Machu Picchu Trail consists of three superimposed trails: Mollepata, classic, and one day. Mollepata is the longest of the three routes with the highest mountain pass and crosses the classic route before crossing Warmiwañusqa (“dead woman”).
Located in the Andes Mountains, the trail passes through various types of Andean environments including cloud forest and alpine tundra. Settlements, tunnels and many Inca ruins are found along the trail before ending at Puerta del Sol on the Machu Picchu mountain. The two longest routes require an ascent beyond 4,600 meters (15,091 feet) above sea level, which can result in altitude sickness.
Now that we have a clearer vision of what the Inca Trail is, let’s clear up some of your doubts so that you are prepared for the best Trek of your life. Let’s get started!
How difficult is the Inca Trail trek?
It goes from easy, to intermediate-high. Doing some cardio activities before starting the trek is quite important, it will help your body a lot.
What is the maximum height we reach during the hike?
Heights range from 2720 meters (8923 ft.) to 4650 meters (15,200 ft.) approximately.
When should I book my place on the Inca Trail?
The Inca trail is one of the most popular treks in the world. There are only 500 permits a day released worldwide, it is worth noting this includes permits for the guides and porters, this means at best there could be 300 places available for the general public. With the popularity of travel within Peru it is best to book at least 6 months in advance to not be disappointed.
What happens if someone gets sick during the hike?
The guides are trained for these cases. They even always carry oxygen bottles with them in case someone requires it. In case someone cannot continue with the tour, you have the option to return to Cusco and meet your group in Aguas Calientes so as not to miss your visit to Machu Picchu. This may have additional charges.
When is the best time to do the Inca Trail?
In the months from January and March the rains are persistent mostly at night and the days are cloudy, however, there are nice sunny days, if you are lucky enough.
In April the rainy season ends, and little by little the days become warmer and more pleasant. The rains in this season are sporadic.
From May to October the weather is warm and cool, with little rain and sunny days.
From June to September is undoubtedly the best time to do the Inca Trail, during the day is completely clear and you can see all the landscapes clearly. However, the nights are quite cold in the highlands, so you should be prepared.
During November and December, the rainy season begins, the days are partially sunny, but could become cloudy at any time.
How long will we walk during the 4 days of the Classic Inca Trail?
It is a 45km (26 miles) hike.
Now that we understand what the Inca Trail is and we have clarified some of your doubts, it is time to decide in which season you will travel and with whom. Remember that incomes to the Inca Trail are quite limited and you must schedule them ahead of time.
Let’s become an Adventurer!
Written by: Alejandro Mena | Peru Full Adventure CMO