Best Time To Visit Machu Picchu

Hiking The Inca Trail: The Complete Guide to Machu Picchu

Nov 16, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Complete Guide to Machu Picchu: Have you ever dreamed about hiking along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu? If so, it’s not surprising that this Magic Hike in Peru is one of my favorite adventure experiences in South America! There are very few trails where you can hike past 800-year-old archeological Inka sites among some incredible snow-cap mountain views.

But first things everyone must be prepared before to intent doing it. Here in this travel article, I will cover all aspects involved in preparing for your journey including historical, context as well route descriptions depending upon which variation works best based on what type of trekker you are. If you didn’t have a chance to get your Inca trail permit don’t worry I’ll put in the details of other alternative trails to Machu Picchu

How was My Experience Hiking The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu?

I’ll skip the preamble and get to the good stuff – the answer is, it was amazing! Seriously, if you love adventure, history, and culture, this is the perfect trip for you.

I was fortunate to be able to join Tour Leaders Peru – in my opinion, they’re one of the best trekking companies on the Inca Trail. Our guides on this expedition have over 15 years of experience between them and they’re the reason our trips are so successful of course the Inca trail porters are from another level. They know how to show you an amazing time whilst ensuring your safety at all times.

The scenery on the Inca Trail is incredible – you’ll be blown away by the views of mountains, valleys, rivers, and rainforests. And of course, no visit to Peru would be complete without seeing the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu hiking tours – one of the most iconic ancient sites in the world.

If you’re thinking about hiking on the Inca Trail, I would urge you to do it sooner rather than later. It’s an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever. And who knows – maybe you’ll even be as lucky as me and get to do it with your Tour Leaders Peru! and REI Camping Equipment.

Related: How Many Days Do You Need in Order to Hike In Peru

What You Need To Know About the Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

Is the Inca Trail worth it To Hike?

As I mentioned before Machu Picchu hike is an experience like no other. You will walk through awe-inspiring terrain while hiking an 800-year-old original paved stone trail from the Incas, you get rewarded with a breathtaking view of this ancient ruins site that has been hidden for centuries by lush jungle growths. Trekking around Peru’s highest mountain ranges offers visitors not only wonderful scenery but also firsthand knowledge about how locals live – from their clothing styles down below on farmlands or village streets up ahead near snowcapped peaks farther north than any other place in our hemisphere!

The Inca Trail is a journey through history and nature, where you can experience many-year-old ruins firsthand. This trek will take your breath away with its beauty as well as it should because this path was once used by the ancient Peruvian people Inca Leaders to worship their gods exactly where they still do today! At one point on top of towering mountains, there are Inca temples that seem almost heavenwardly elevated – truly an awe-inspiring sight if ever seen.

A unique aspect of The Camino del Los Inkas ( Spanish ) is not only all those fascinating sites left behind but also getting into some colonial-style culture too; especially when visiting villages like Ollantaytambo or Chincheros villages where women still wear the traditional pollera skirt (as seen in the photo gallery ) and men can be seen donning their chullo hats while farming terraces cut into the mountainsides.

Machu Picchu Hike is not to be missed by any adventure-seeker or history buff!

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what you need to know about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Historical Review Of The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Hike is a world-renowned trekking route that leads to the last Inka city of Machu Picchu in Peru. The ancient Inca people once used the trail as a sacred pilgrimage path to worship the sun god, Inti (Quechua word). Today, the Inca Trail is one of the most popular trekking routes in the world, cataloged by National Geographic as one of the best treks in the world- attracting thousands of visitors each year.

The Inca Trail back in the day used to be hiked in the Andes mountain range through different countries Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile. But one portion of the trail well recognized is the Peruvian Inca Trail. This trail begins at Kilometer 82 on the Cusco-Machu Picchu railway line and ends at the Sun Gate Machu Pichcu (Inti Punku) on the Machu Picchu mountain. The trail is 26 miles (42 kilometers) long and takes 4-5 days to complete.

Who and when was Discovered The Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail was rediscovered in 1915 by Hiram Bingham, an American explorer. Bingham was searching for the last refuge of the Inca located in the village of Vilcabamba. Instead, he found Machu Picchu, which was unknown to the outside world.

Today, the Inca Trail is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular trekking routes in the world. Every year, thousands of people from all over the globe come to Peru to hike the Inca Trail and experience the beauty of Machu Picchu Hike.

If you’re planning on hiking the Inca Trail, there are a few things you need to know. Here’s a complete guide to hiking the Inca Trail, including when to go, what to bring, and how to get permits.

How To Get the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The journey of the Machu Picchu hike has always been difficult for many factors.

  1. Acclimatization
  2. altitude sickness
  3. flight delays
  4. weather conditions
  5. etc

But with efficient transportation options like flights and bus transportation, it’s easier than ever before! You can fly into Lima (Peru’s capital city) and then take a short connecting flight or long bus ride that’ll bring you here to Cusco where most visitors enjoy their time exploring this extraordinary ancient citadel made up of incredible structural feats alongside its vast natural backdrop which enveloped all aspects of the site.

Cusco Days Tours For Acclimatization

  1. Cusco City Tour Half-Day
  2. Sacred Valley of Cusco
  3. Cusco South Valley
  4. Maras Moray Tours
  5. Walk With Llamas and Alpacas in Chincheros

How Long Does It Take To Hike To Machu Picchu?

There are several options for the Machu Picchu Hike. For example. The Classic Inca Trail Hike 4D/3N is the most popular and very competitive to book. The entire 4-day trail hike is only 25 miles (40 km). However, the altitude, which at its highest point is 13,776 ft or 4200m, can cause problems even for the strongest hikers.

For those in a hurry, there is a Short Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu With Hotel 2D/1N. The trip begins at Kilometer 104 along the Inca Trail hike and finishes with a one-day trek to Machu Picchu. Minimum Altitude: 2,100 m / 6,900 ft. Highest Altitude: 2,730 m / 8,792 ft. Walking Distance: 12 km / 7.46 miles.

Alternative Tours to Hike Machu Pichcu

The Inca Trail might be done in a single journey, or you may spread your trip out over several days. In this section, we’ll go over other alternative Inca Trail hiking excursions, like Lares Trek and Inca Trail 4 Days, and Salkantay Trek’s connection to the Inca Trail Hike 7 Days, which will be discussed later in this blog.

Machu Picchu By Train

However, if you just want to visit Machu Picchu and do not wish to complete an Inca Trail trek, a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes Town, located at the base of Machu Picchu, takes only about 6 hours.

Luxury Option Hiram Bingham

The truly peerless Hiram Bingham train takes you down the Urubamba River, through spectacular mountain forests and cloud-covered woods, among exquisite vegetation.

You will find yourself unable to get off the Peru Rail train at its end! It’s like stepping back in time as you travel through historic stations and enjoy plush leather seats with large windows that offer unparalleled views of (and above!) this elegant mode of transportation.

Vistadome Train

The Vistadome option allows for smoother riding while still providing an authentic experience; however, it costs significantly more than other options such as Expeditions Train which provide students/budget travelers great value due to their affordability.

From Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes) You can choose between taking a 20-minute bus ride (Bus Tickets $24 round trip ) or walking up to the main gate of the Inca city (approximate distance 2 Hours) – whichever route best suits yourself; don’t forget to buy your Machu Pichu Entrance Tickets.

Note: After the tour of Machu Picchu, visitors have two options to get back to Aguas Calientes town: either go by foot or by Bus.

Where is Your First Stop in Peru ( Lima Capital of Peru )

The first stop for many Travelers will be Lima, the capital of Peru and one of the largest cities in South America. Many trekkers often spend a few days in Lima before heading to Cusco. If you have the opportunity, it is well worth the detour! The city of kings is known as Lima, located on Peru’s Pacific coast.

The history of Lima is one that has seen many significant moments. One such moment was the proclamation of Peru’s independence from Spain by General José de San Martín in 1821, which made it an important city not just for itself but also as headquarters to some major Spanish.

Visitors to Lima will be overwhelmed by its rich culture and history. One of the best ways to get an understanding of this city that is both modern yet traditional, hikers to have access along one side while tourists can explore another section with many attractions such as restaurants or museums depending on their taste in Peru.

Recconeded Lima Hotels and Accommodations

Lima is a city that has something for everyone, whether you are looking to experience its rich history and culture or simply want to enjoy its modern amenities. When it comes to finding accommodation in Lima, there is no shortage of options to choose from.

For those on a budget, there are plenty of hostels and budget hotels available. For those looking for a more luxurious experience, there are plenty of 5-star hotels as well.

Some of the most popular areas to stay in Lima include Miraflores, Barranco, and San Isidro. These areas offer visitors easy access to all that Lima has to offer.

Here Are Some of The Best Hotels and Accommodations in Lima

Hostel Wasi: This hostel is located in Miraflores and is a great option for budget-minded travelers. The hostel offers dormitory-style rooms as well as private rooms.

Hotel B: This hotel is also located in Miraflores and is a great option for those looking for a more luxurious experience. The hotel offers 5-star accommodations and features a rooftop pool with views of the city.

San Isidro Inn: This inn is located in the San Isidro neighborhood and is a great option for those looking for a more traditional experience. The inn offers rooms with private balconies and is within walking distance of many restaurants and shops.

Lima Marriott Hotel: This hotel is located in the Miraflores district and is a great option for those looking for 5-star accommodations. The hotel features an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant.

Casa Andina Standard Miraflores Centr: This hotel is located in the Miraflores district and is a great option for those looking for comfortable accommodations. The hotel offers rooms with private balconies and is within walking distance of many shops and restaurants.

Recommended Tours in Lima

Some of the most popular tours in Lima include visits to the Historic Centre of Lima, the Larco Museum, and the San Francisco Monastery. Other popular tours include cooking classes, wine tastings, and city walking tours.

Dining and Restaurants in Lima

Lima is a city that has something for everyone, including many great restaurants. Whether you are looking for traditional Peruvian cuisine or something more modern, there is a restaurant for you.

Some of the most popular restaurants in Lima include Astrid & Gaston, Huaca Pucllana Restaurant, and Malabar. These restaurants offer a variety of different cuisines, so you are sure to find something to your taste.

Astrid & Gaston: This restaurant is located in the Miraflores district and offers a modern take on Peruvian cuisine.

Huaca Pucllana Restaurant: This restaurant is located in the Miraflores district and offers traditional Peruvian cuisine.

Malabar: This restaurant is located in the Barranco district and offers a fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine.

Traveling From Lima to Cusco Before to Embarque To the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu

The best way to get from Lima to Cusco is to fly. The flight takes about 1h 30m and there are multiple flights per day. Alternatively, you can take a bus, which takes about 22h.

Cusco is a popular tourist destination for its many Inca ruins, as well as its Spanish colonial architecture. On your first day of arrival to Cusco visit the main square( Plaza De Armas). If you feel dizzy better just stay at your hotel and wait for the next day.

Cusco City Location and Main Attractions

Cusco, also known as the Imperial City, is a city in southeastern Peru that was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru due to its many Inca ruins and Spanish colonial architecture.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Cusco include the Sacsayhuaman Fortress, the Qorikancha Temple, and the Plaza de Armas. Other popular attractions include the Cusco Cathedral, the Inca Museum, and the San Blas neighborhood.

History of Cusco – an Overview

Cusco is a city with a long and rich history. The first inhabitants of the area were the Quechua people, who settled in the valley around 1200 AD. In 1438, the Inca ruler Pachacuti conquered Cusco and made it the capital of the Inca Empire.

The Inca ruled over Cusco for the next 100 years until the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro arrived in 1533 and conquered the city. The Spanish ruled over Cusco for the next 300 years, during which time they built many of the city’s colonial-style buildings. In 1821, Peru gained independence from Spain and Cusco became the capital of the independent Republic of Peru.

Accommodations Cusco

There are many great hotels and accommodations in Cusco. Whether you are looking for a luxurious 5-star hotel or a more budget-friendly option, there is a place for you.

Some of the most popular hotels in Cusco include the Palacio Nazarenas, the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, and the Inkaterra La Casona. Other popular hotels include the Sonesta Hotel Cusco, the Marriott Cusco, and the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.

Palacio Nazarenas: This 5-star hotel is located in the heart of Cusco and offers luxurious accommodations and a spa.

JW Marriott El Convento Cusco: This 5-star hotel is located in a converted convent and offers views of the Plaza de Armas.

Inkaterra La Casona: This 5-star hotel is located in a colonial-style mansion and offers a restaurant and bar.

Sonesta Hotel Cusco: This 4-star hotel is located in the San Blas neighborhood and offers a restaurant and bar.

Marriott Cusco: This 4-star hotel is located near the Plaza de Armas and offers a fitness center and a spa.

Belmond Sanctuary Lodge: This 5-star hotel is located on the slopes of Machu Picchu and offers a restaurant and bar.

Cusco or Attractions You Must See

Some of the must-see sites in Cusco include the Sacsayhuaman Fortress, the Qorikancha Temple, and the Plaza de Armas. Other popular attractions include the Cusco Cathedral, the Inca Museum, and the San Blas neighborhood.

Sacsayhuaman Fortress: This fortress is located just outside of Cusco and was built by the Inkas. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cusco.

Qorikancha Temple: This temple was once the most important temple in the Inca Empire.

Plaza de Armas: This square is located in the center of Cusco and is surrounded by many of the city’s colonial-style buildings.

Cusco Cathedral: This cathedral was built by the Spanish in the 16th century.

Inca Museum: This museum is located in Cusco and houses many artifacts from the Inca Empire.

San Blas neighborhood: This neighborhood is located in the center of Cusco and is known for its Spanish colonial architecture.

Restaurants in Cusco

There are many great restaurants in Cusco, offering a variety of cuisines from Peruvian to Italian. Some of the most popular restaurants include the Limo Restaurant, the Cicciolina Restaurant, and the Maputo Restaurant.

Limo Restaurant: This restaurant is located in the San Blas neighborhood and offers Peruvian cuisine.

Cicciolina Restaurant: This restaurant is located in the Plaza de Armas and offers Italian cuisine.

Maputo Restaurant: This restaurant is located in the San Blas neighborhood and offers African cuisine.

Inkagrill: Central Plaza de Armas, which offers Peruvian cuisine fused with international influences.

Inti Raymi Restaurant: This is part of the 5-star Palacio del Inka hotel. It specializes in both Peruvian and world cuisine in a luxurious and romantic fine dining setting.

When it comes to dining, there is something for everyone in Cusco. Whether you are looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, you will find it here. There are many great restaurants to choose from, so you are sure to find one that suits your taste.

San Pedro Market and Entertainment In Cusco

One popular option for shoppers will be San Pedro Market, which has become slightly more tourist-oriented over recent years with stalls offering clothing and jewelry as well as other souvenirs but still good local food available too!

There are also evening activities in Cusco such as dance shows at Qosqo center for native art and Culture where you can enjoy live music from talented performers who were born or lived here too – it’s great if your goal isn’t just sightseeing all day because this city offers so much more than meets the eye!

Required, Permits in Order to Hike The Inka Trail

After you have experienced some of what Cusco offers, it’s time to turn your attention to the Classic Inca Trail Hike Tour. To hike this route to Machu Picchu, you are required by the government of Peru to hire a licensed guide service or tour company with the required permits to take trekkers on the journey. Don’t worry, we will discuss permitting in detail later in this Inca trail Hiking guide!

The company you choose will often arrange road transportation from Cusco to the start of the trek, with pickups that generally occur early in the day (around 5-6:00 AM local time). The most popular place to start the hike is known as Kilometer 82, which is the start of the Classic Inka Trail route (discussed below). The company you choose will provide you with meals for the entire 3 Days.

On day one of the hikes. You’ll need to bring some snacks and at least 2-3 liters of water per person. Depending on the season, they may also recommend bringing extra layers such as a windbreaker or rain jacket. Don’t Worry about any FAQs you can do in your pre-departure briefing at your Hotel. Later on, will talk about Inca trail Packing List,

How Many Inca Trails Exist in Cusco Region?

How long does it take to hike the Inca Trail?

There are a total of three Inka Trails that lead to Machu Picchu. The first and most popular is the Classic Inka Trail, which is 26 miles (42 kilometers) long and takes four days to complete.

One-Day Inka Trail Hike Including Machu Picchu (1-day hike)

Short on time but still want to trek to Machu Picchu? No problem! With an early start, you can hike the Short Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu in just one day. The trail begins at Kilometer 104, a short train ride from Cusco.

From there, it’s a ~15 km (9 miles) hike through the Sun Gate to the Machu Picchu sanctuary. This is a great option if you want to see Machu Picchu and experience a small section of the Inca Trail trek, all on the same day. So what are you waiting for? Book your ticket today!

The Lares Trek (3-day trek)

If you’re looking for a challenge, the Lares Trek is definitely for you. Hailed as the cultural alternative to the Inka Trail, the Lares Trek is a three-day hike through the long-forgotten weaver Andean communities that lie on the eastern side of Machu Picchu. But don’t go thinking it’s a walk in the park.

Access to the time-honored villages is hard-earned, in the form of passes that soar to over 15,000 feet and zigzag traverses over the peak of Pumahuanca. You can add on a visit to the ruins of Machu Picchu on day four of the Lares Trek, but be warned – it’s not for the faint of heart.

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 8 day.

If you’re looking for an alternative trek to see a spectacular Inca Ruin site, Choquequirao is the perfect spot. Located in the canyon of the Apurimac River at an altitude of 3,050 m/10,006 ft, the ruins are positioned in a strategic geographical area between Andean mountains and the edge of the jungle. The trek takes 8 days/7 nights, is 101km/63 miles, ascends to 4500m/14,764ft, and is far less touristy than other treks. Just like on the Ausangate trail you will run into a few other trekkers. We also offer just the Choquequirao Trek for 5d/4n without Machu Picchu if you prefer that trip.

Salkantay Trek and Inka Trail to Machu Picchu 7 Days

This is for those who want to combine the best of the two most popular treks. The Inka Trail or Salkantay Tour is a lot to comprehend, so you’ll need some overnight trekking expertise and good fitness.

Tour Location: Inca Trail Hike and Salkantay Trail are two different hiking trails to Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Trail is much longer, but also more scenic.

Tour Type: Hiking, camping, adventure, history, culture

Total Distance: 46.7 miles/75 km

Good For: Experienced hikers

Difficulty: Quite challenging

Considerations: Permit required

The Classic Inca Trail Route

The Classic Inka Trail Hike is the most popular trek among the four alternatives presented in this article. It begins at Piscacucho, a village near kilometer 82 on the route

How Long Does It Take To Walk The Inka Trail?

  1. Distance: 26 miles.
  2. The highest elevation the dead woman passed reached during the second day is 13,776 feet above sea level.

On this trek, travelers go across the Urubamba River and experience a number of tiny hamlets as well as spectacular environments. On the final day, you enter Machu Picchu via Inti Punku (the Sun Gate Machu Picchu), just as the Incas did. Following that, we delve into what to expect on each day of the 4-Day Classic Inca Trail Hike in greater detail.

OVERVIEW OF THE CLASSIC INCA TRAIL TRIP 4-DAY itinerary Our four-day Inka Trail trek to Machu Picchu can be a private adventure, or you may join one of our guided groups.

Pre-day Classic Tours in Cusco City

Spending a few days in Cusco before heading to the Inka Trail is recommended. This additional time will aid you in reaching your goal.

In Cuzco, you may go on walking excursions to see UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Sites Cusco City and other important sites in the Inca Empire’s ancient capital. At night, sample some of Peru’s 3,000 unique potato dishes, enjoy some of the greatest cuisines in the world, eat the area food from this agricultural region, and maybe try one of Peru’s 3,000 distinct potato dishes!

The Classic IncaTrail Itinerary 4 Days

Classic Inka Trail Trip Highlights

– Aboard the first bus to Km 82 and begins the journey on the original path of the Incas

– Hike through a variety of different terrains and ecosystems

– Be one of the first people to enter the Machu Picchu trail through the Sun Gate

– Spend a full day exploring Machu Picchu Trek with our expert guide

– Get a firsthand look at how the Incas lived by visiting different ruins along the way

Day 1: Cusco – Km 82 – Patallacta

Pick up from your hotels in Cusco at 4:00 am and drive for 3 hours to the starting point of the Inka Trail at Km 82. Here you will begin your hike by crossing the Urubamba River and walking through the town of Llactapata. Then continue hiking to your campsite in Wayllabamba where they will set up camp and have dinner.

Day 2: Patallacta – Dead Woman’s Pass – Pacaymayo

After breakfast, you will begin your hike to Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point of the Inka Trail at 13,776 feet. From here will have stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Then descend into the Pacaymayo Valley where will set up camp and have dinner.

Day 3: Pacaymayo – Chaquicocha – Wiñay Wayna

Continue your hike to the ruins of sayaqmarka, and the Toilets in Chaquicocha. Then descend into the Wiñay Wayna Valley where we will set up camp and have dinner.

Day 4: Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Wake up early and hike to the Sun Gate where you will be one of the first people to enter Machu Picchu. Then spend the day exploring the ruins with your expert Tour leaders. In the afternoon, You’ll take a bus to Aguas Calientes there will be your meeting point with your tour guide and crew for your last lunch.

Post-Trek in Aguas Calientes

The real adventure begins after you’ve completed the four-day Inka Trail trek. The picturesque but crowded hikers’ center of Aguas Calientes, which features a major railway station and a lively tourist industry with Hotels, restaurants, and stores, is at the foot of Machu Picchu. It’s a wonderful location to relax after your trek.

In the morning following a trek to Machu Picchu, many hikers head out on either Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Trek Mountain. We’ll go into further detail about each excursion in the section below titled “Difference between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu trail Mountain” Some tourists, on the other hand, choose to visit the ruins of Machu Picchu’s citadel rather than going on any hikes at the site.

If this is what you want, you may go straight to “Alertanive Inca Sites at Machu Picchu” after reading the remainder of this page. To view a fantastic little documentary film about the trip, check out the Tour Leaders videos.


This video highlights many of the most stunning aspects of the Inka Trail journey and Machu Picchu, and it’s one of the most effective visual representations of this once-in-a-lifetime trip!

Additional Hikes After The Tour In Machu Picchu

After your Inka Trail hike, there are a few other options for hikes in the area. The most popular option is to hike Huayna Picchu, which is the peak that you can see in most photos of Machu Picchu. This hike is strenuous and can be dangerous, so it is not recommended for everyone. If you are interested in hiking Huayna Picchu, you will need to obtain a permit in advance.

Another option is to hike Machu Picchu Mountain, which is the taller peak behind Huayna Picchu. This hike is also strenuous, but it is not as dangerous as Huayna Picchu. Again, you will need to obtain a permit in advance if you want to hike Machu Picchu Trek.

Finally, you can also Hike to the Inca Bridge. This is an easy hike that anyone can do. The Inca Bridge is a stone structure that was built by the Incas. It is believed to have been used as a ceremonial site or as a way to defend Machu Picchu from invaders.

regardless of which hike you choose, be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are no facilities along the way. Also, be sure to wear proper footwear and clothing, as the trails can be slippery and muddy.

Write about Key Sites at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu trek is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is a must-see for anyone visiting Peru.

Machu Picchu is made up of many different structures, each with its own purpose. The most well-known structure is the Intihuatana Stone, which is also known as the “Hitching Post of the Sun.” This stone is thought to have been used by the Incas to mark the winter and summer solstices.

Other notable structures at Machu Picchu Trek include:

– The Temple of the Sun

– The Temple of the Three Windows

– The Palace of the Virgins of the Sun

– The House of the Priest

– The Inca Bridge

– The Aqueducts

– The Cemetery

– The Guardhouse

– The Baths of Machu Picchu

There is also a museum at Machu Picchu, which houses many artifacts that were found at the site. This is a great place to learn more about the Inca civilization.

When visiting Machu Picchu, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore all of the different structures and sites. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will never forget.

In Case You Stay In Aguas Calientes Here is a list of Hotels

Some good options for Aguas Calientes Hotels and Accommodations are:

  1. – The Inti Punku Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
  2. – The Salkantay Lodge & Spa
  3. – The sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel
  4. – The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
  5. – The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
  6. – The Casa Andina Classic Machu Picchu
  7. – The Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa
  8. – The Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel
  9. – The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
  10. – The Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel & Spa
  11. – The Hilton Garden Inn Cusco
  12. – The Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
  13. – The Novotel Cusco
  14. – The Samay Hotel
  15. – The Casa San Blas Boutique Hotel & Spa
  16. – The Sonesta Posadas del Inca Yucay
  17. – The Picoaga Hotel
  18. – The El Pueblo Lodge & Spa

When deciding on which hotel or accommodation to choose, it is important to consider your budget as well as your desired amenities and location. Aguas Calientes is a small town, so most hotels and accommodations are within walking distance of the main attractions. However, some hotels and accommodations are located further away from the main attractions, so it is important to consider this when making your decision.

Aguas Calientes Restaurants

There are a variety of restaurants in Aguas Calientes, ranging from simple eateries to fine dining establishments. There is something for everyone’s taste and budget.

Some of the more popular restaurants include in Aguas Calientes include:

  1. – The Pueblo Café
  2. – The Inka Grill
  3. – The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge Restaurant
  4. – The Tinkuy Restaurant
  5. – Restaurant at the Inkaterra
  6. – The Mapi’s Restaurant
  7. – The Inkaterra La Casona Restaurant
  8. – The Cafe Mayu Restaurant
  9. – Indio Feliz
  10. – The Terra Cucina Restaurant

When deciding on which restaurant to choose, it is important to consider your budget as well as your desired cuisine. Aguas Calientes is a small town, so most restaurants are within walking distance of the main attractions. However, some restaurants are located further away from the main attractions, so it is important to consider this when making your decision.

Gear, Training, and Preparation for Hiking the Inca Trail

Our answer to the question, “How difficult is the Inca Trail?” is simple: the more you prepare, the easier it is. If you have committed to embarking on this adventure the planning process most likely started six or more months in advance. There are two critical areas of preparation that one needs to take into consideration if they wish to successfully complete this trek.

  1. Inca Trail Hiking Gear
  2. Fitness.

Gear and Equipment Hikers will need to add the Proper gear and Equipment To Their Inca Trail Packing List to Complete The Journey to Machu Picchu.

Hiking the Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu is an amazing experience, but it’s not something you can just show up and do it! You need to be prepared, both mentally and physically. That means adding the proper gear and equipment to your packing list.

First, you’ll need a good pair of hiking boots. They should be comfortable and provide good support. You’ll also need a few changes of clothes, including some that can be layered for different weather conditions. And don’t forget to pack a rain jacket! Other essential items include a water bottle, insect repellent, sunscreen, a hat, and snacks. If you’re planning to hike the lares Trek as well, you’ll need to add a few extra items to your lists, such as a sleeping bag and a tent. But with the right gear and equipment, you’ll be ready for anything the trail throws your way.

You can learn more about some recommended essential items to pack in a standard day pack in this blog post by Fidel Conde, the Founder, and CEO of Tour Leaders Peru. LINK: Inca Trail Gear to succeed in your Adventure

Meeting with your Inca Trail Tour Leaders

It’s also worth noting that the night before your Inca Trail Tours excursion begins, you’ll most likely meet with your guide to learn about what you need to know for the trip. You will also go over your packed belongings. Each hiker is required by law to have a specially made duffle bag that porters will transport on the trail every day.

Peru’s government has a set number of porters, guides, and other personnel (the numbers are there to help support the trekkers and to prevent the workers from being taken advantage of). The guide(s) will weigh your luggage at your Cusco hotel to ensure it stays under the maximum weight limits, which are generally about 17 pounds. Your daypack will contain the rest of your belongings.

You should only bring the essential things if you can, and your daypack’s weight should be less than 15 pounds. You may leave extra clothing behind at most hotels if you have more than what is required for your trek in your daypack and duffle bags.

Finally, a pair of trekking poles is also a great idea. Some people like trekking poles and others dislike them. There are numerous sections on the journey that require climbers to ascend steep steps.

While trekking poles are excellent for clearing snow, you can use them for much more. In some of the steepest and most difficult sections, they can dramatically lower your effort by providing a lot of assistance. They may also make your excursion considerably simpler and more pleasurable in these situations.

For the sake of simplicity, we do not provide a comprehensive packing list in this article. If you would like a copy of our itinerary and packing list for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu hike adventure trip with Tour Leader Peru, please contact us and we will be glad to send it to you by email!

How to Prepare For Hiking Inca Trail

Is the Inca Trail a difficult trek? It is not difficult to trek the Inca Trail, and it is critical that hikers are physically fit. Some sections of the journey are more challenging than others, including steep climbs, high altitudes, and long days on the trail. Though some people may find traveling each day a struggle, with preparation and training, almost anyone can complete the Inca Trail.

On the Classic Inca Trail, keep in mind that there are many elevations to consider. It’s crucial to remember that this trip is not for the faint of heart and definitely not one you can do without proper physical conditioning. You’ll be climbing up to 14,000 feet above sea level on some of your treks, with one of them taking you up to 12 hours.

What Kind Of Physical Condition Do I Need In Order Walk The Inca Trail?

Even the fittest person might have difficulties as a result of altitude (which will be discussed later in this guide) and its effects, so we highly advise you to complete a thorough three- to five-month training plan before traveling to Peru.

The exercises in this program should be done on day hikes of at least 8 to 10 miles, and they should include cardio training, knowledge of multi-day treks and camping, and uphill training on stairs or hills. This is a good idea even if you can’t train at higher elevations; however, depending on where you reside, it may not be accessible.

For perspective, our “Moderately Active” trips on the Classic Inca Trail include our four-day trek on the “Path of the Sun.” Our “moderate” excursions are defined as more active and need greater stamina than a typical holiday. Participants may anticipate walking between 4 and 8 miles each day, with some steep ascents and elevations up to 15,000 feet above sea level during the course of their journey.

The path is well-established and easy to follow, but the ground beneath can be uneven. While trekking, you’ll come across pebbles, gravel, and dirt with only a little grass.

Altitude Considerations On the Inca Trail?

Let’s talk a little more about height. The elevation of Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the surrounding towns vary considerably. To begin with, Cuzco is 11152 feet above sea level. Many trekkers spend 1 ½ to 2 days in Cusco before traveling on to all of the Inca Trail excursions and Machu Picchu because it is required for most visitors to pass through this city in order to reach all of the Inca Trail trips and Machu Picchu.

The highest elevation you can reach on a four-day trek is 13,776 feet if you follow the traditional 4-Day Classic Trek. However, please see this website for more important hiking altitude information.

At 7,972 feet, the Machu Picchu hike is high enough to be challenging for many people. As long as individuals had adequate rest and drank plenty of water on their journey, most people who have climbed the Inca Trail for several days will not feel the altitude when they reach Machu Picchu’s citadel. The two peaks that you may climb from Machu Picchu’s citadel are Huayna Picchu (8,920 feet) and Machu Picchu trail Mountain (10,007 feet).

Some hikers find it beneficial to take medicine for altitude sickness and potential headaches. We recommend that you consult with your doctor before taking this medication so that you can make an informed decision.

Logistical Needs For Food and Water On the Inca Trail.

Peru has some of the greatest cuisines on the planet. Lima and Cusco have some of the finest restaurants in Peru, but what surprises many Inca Trail tourists is the high quality of food provided by your Crew. The majority of Peruvian guides are excellent chefs with organic components, producing delectable and hearty meals.

Evening meals are generally eaten in a group dining tent, which has a canopy to protect you from the weather. Many tour operators will also provide snacks each day for you to take with you on your trip. You may expect coca leaves to chew on, which might aid in the reduction of altitude sickness symptoms.


There are multiple water sources along the Inca Trail, such as streams and rivers. Most tour companies utilize either a pump filtration system, boil water, or combine both methods in order to purify water during the trek. Typically, you will be provided with potable water three times per day: at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It is essential that you fill up your water containers each time you have the opportunity because the hike can be strenuous and temperatures can get hot during the day. In my experience, I have seen many other trekkers on the Trail run out of water prematurely because they underestimate how much water they will require.

It is important to have at least 2 liters of water for both the morning and afternoon treks. You may either use 32 fluid ounce Nalgene bottles or reservoir-type water systems (such as Camelbak). It’s also a good idea to bring salt tablets or electrolytes to enhance your water. The following goods are popular alternatives as personal backups if you want to be extra prepared:

Sleeping Tents and Pads

Tents will be provided by most tour operators and trekking guides you engage on an Inca Trail Hike excursion. For either one or two individuals, fou-person tents are generally used. We recommend that you inquire with the firm beforehand since being at ease each night on the trek may make a significant difference in your overall vacation enjoyment.

The porters may set up and take down your tents each day, depending on your service level. It is a wonderful touch when Tour leader Peru gives this, allowing you to focus on the trekking experience rather than on other hikers.

Many tour operators will provide a ground cushion for sleeping (such as a Thermarest pad) in addition to tents. The pads will give you added cushions beneath your sleeping bags as well as a softer barrier between you and the earth. We recommend bringing an extra sleeping pad since two can offer a better cushion than one.

Average Temperature On The Inca Trail Hike

Despite the crowds, there are spectacular views of the mountains from May to October. During the day, temperatures can range from 19 degrees Celsius to 36 degrees Fahrenheit, while at night it drops down to 3 degrees Celsius.

Sun Protections

Daypack: This is a small bag that can attach to your backpack and hold things like extra clothing, personal items, or snacks. On an Inca Trail trek, you will be out on the trail for between 7 and 12 hours per day. The majority of the route is exposed to direct sunlight, and it may get hot during the day. We suggest that you prepare for sun exposure by wearing sunscreen every day and carrying a bottle with you in your daypack to reapply as needed throughout the day.

A hat is also suggested since the back of the neck is one of the most vulnerable areas to burns. It’s also a good idea to consider donning hiking pants/trousers and long-sleeve shirts to protect your skin from the sun, especially if you burn quickly. You don’t want heat exposure to ruin your trip, and sunburns can impair your energy levels and health.

Electronics Items

In our constantly connected world, it’s worth noting that the Classic Inka Trail Route is passed through a very remote region, and there will be no opportunities to charge your phone or devices during the trek.

If you want to use your phone to take photos or listen to music, bring a portable battery backup and/or charger. It’s unlikely that you’ll find mobile phone service on the trek, so be prepared for no communication during the trip as well as let your family and friends know about it ahead of time.

During an emergency, some trekkers still want to stay in touch and so bring such devices as the Garmin InReach or a satellite phone. Finally, keeping your phone (or another gadget) switched off during the trip can save a lot of battery life as a power-saving suggestion or Plane mode.

Bathroom Situation in The Inca Trail

You may be wondering, “How do I use the bathroom on the Inca Trail?” Well, it’s a valid question. First, there are several locations along the route that have outhouse eco toilets. While these are serviced by trail maintenance personnel, trekkers often prefer the portable toilets that most tour operators bring on the trek. The portable toilets are set up during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also stay accessible throughout the evening.

During the daily trekking segments, there are also places in nature where you will be able to relieve yourself. Female participants can use urine funnels or similar products that facilitate “on-the-go” relief. It is essential that you practice using them before the trek so that you are comfortable with them and have gotten past the ‘learning curve’ associated with pee funnels!

Showers In The Inka Trail

There are no Hot showers along the Inca Trail hike; however, there are a few options to consider if you want to wash yourself each day. Many tour operators do provide bowls of warm water with soap that you can use to wash with in the mornings and after each day’s trek in the evenings. Some operators do bring a small shower tent on the trek as well.

If you’re looking to book a trek, be sure to inquire about whether it includes the shower. This service is typically not included in treks since it isn’t essential for safety reasons. If you want this facility, you may have to pay a little extra to include it in your journey. The guides bring buckets of water that are then heated and distributed through the shower. To simulate a standard shower, hot water is pumped via the showerhead. If you wish to take a bath, biodegradable “camp” soaps are recommended (as long as you don’t mind smelling like woodsmoke).

Mosquitoes and Biting Insects

Bug season on the Inca Trail Hike varies. You’ll want to pack some repellent or bug spray, as certain parts of this route pass through the rainforest and attract more pesky insects than others do! Sunburn would be a similar fate if you don’t take care–so prepare for both witchery AND bites by packing appropriately with plenty of water in tow (and sunscreen too).

The Inca Trail Permits and Availability

There are only 500 permits available per day for the Inca Trail, and these must be reserved in advance. The cost of a permit is $250, and this includes entrance to Machu Picchu. Most tour companies include the cost of the permit in their trip price.

If you’re planning on doing the Inca Trail, it’s best to book your tour at least six months in advance. This will give you the best chance of getting a permit. If you’re booking closer to the date, you may still be able to get a permit, but it will be more difficult and there is no guarantee.

There are also some alternative treks available that don’t require a permit, such as the Salkantay Trek and the Lares Trek. These treks are becoming more popular as it becomes harder to get a permit for the Inca Trail.

When you book your trek, your tour company will apply for your permit on your behalf. You will need to provide them with your passport information so that they can do this. Once your permit has been issued, you will need to carry it with you on the trek. You will also need to show it at the entrance to Machu Picchu.

If you’re planning on doing the Inca Trail, make sure to book your tour and apply for your permit well in advance! The earlier you do it, the better your chances will be of getting a permit.

Passports and Visas to Visit Peru

If you’re a citizen of the United States (you don’t need a visa you’ll need your Passport), Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, you will need a passport to enter Peru. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in Peru.

You will also need to get a visa before you travel to Peru. You can get a tourist visa from any Peruvian embassy or consulate. Tourist visas are valid for up to 90 days.

If you’re planning on staying in Peru for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a different type of visa. For more information about this, you can contact the Peruvian embassy or consulate nearest to you.

When you arrive in Peru, you will need to show your passport and visa at the airport. Make sure to keep your passport and visa safe while you’re in Peru!

Travel Insurance For Peru

When you’re planning a trip to Peru, it’s important to make sure you have travel insurance. This will protect you in case of any unforeseen circumstances, such as lost luggage, cancellations, or medical emergencies.

There are a few different types of travel insurance available, so be sure to choose the one that best suits your needs. Some travel insurance policies will cover you for everything, while others only cover specific types of events.

Make sure to read the fine print of your policy before you purchase it so that you know exactly what is and isn’t covered. And remember, even if you have travel insurance, it’s always best to take precautions to avoid any potential problems in the first place!

Some things to keep in mind when you’re choosing travel insurance for Peru:

– Make sure the policy covers medical emergencies and repatriation.

– Choose a policy with high limits for cancellations and lost luggage.

– Consider adding on cover for adventure activities, such as trekking and climbing.

– Make sure the policy covers you for the entire length of your trip.

When Is The Best Time To Hike up The Inca Trail? – When should you visit Machu Picchu?

The most popular time to hike the Inca Trail is between April and September. With rain in Peru over, these are likely your best bet for an enjoyable trip! The trail itself is open 11 months out of the year but will be closed in February because it needs environmental maintenance as well as archeological work that can only happen during this period when there isn’t any rainfall or snowfall (which means temperatures must remain above freezing).

Machu Picchu hike may have different opening/closing dates each year – in recent years they were opened at separate times: One was four weeks after New Year’s Day while another occurred just before Christmas Eve; so keep an eye on what date works best with yours and the Peruvian tourism website

Check with your tour operator beforehand to find out!).

Best Time to Hike Machu Picchu – Month by Month Comparison

January to March

The Inca Trail Hike is a great way to explore Machu Picchu in the quiet season. Not many people visit this site then, so you’ll have it all for yourself! You may even discover new insights into how ancient Peru functioned when there were no other settlements or cities nearby – think of your tour as an immersion into their culture and way of life.

The weather is also quite pleasant during these months. It’s cool but not cold, so you’ll be comfortable hiking during the day. At night, you may need a light jacket or blanket.


What’s not to love about April? The weather is usually much more commendable than in other months, making it an ideal time for hiking on the Inca Trail Hike or taking that photography class you’ve been thinking about signing up for.

A great advantage of going during this season would be how mild and sunny everything has been so far!


As there’s plenty of beautiful weather and it’s not too crowded yet. However, be aware that prices might increase during peak traveling season for university/college students starting in May – so if you want an affordable trip try booking early!

June, July, August

The Inca Trail can be busy in June, July, and August. If you want to avoid the crowds then it’s best not go during these months as there will always seem like too many people on any one day of hiking — even when compared with other high season periods such as springtime (when cold weather brings out everyone’s inner mountain climber).


This is an excellent month to visit Machu Picchu. The weather is still lovely and there are far fewer visitors than in June, July, or August. So you’ll have plenty of time to explore the archaeological site without feeling rushed. Plus, it’s a great time to catch some of the local festivals that occur throughout Peru!


Machu Picchu is open in October, but it’s getting colder by this time of year. So if you’re planning on hiking the Inca Trail, make sure to pack some warm clothes for the evenings and early mornings.

November to December

The Inca Trail is closed in November and December due to heavy rains. So if you’re planning on visiting Machu Picchu during these months, you’ll need to take another route.

What Is The Best Time Of Day To Visit Machu Picchu? – When is the best time of day to visit Machu Picchu?

There are two times of day that are particularly popular for visiting Machu Picchu: the early morning and late afternoon.

The early morning is ideal if you want to avoid the crowds. Not many people visit Machu Picchu first thing in the morning, so you’ll have the place almost to yourself! Plus, the light is perfect for photography.

If you want to catch the sunset, then the late afternoon is the best time to visit. The sun sets around 5:30 pm, so make sure you’re at the site in plenty of time to catch it!

Can I Visit Machu Picchu If It’s Cloudy? –

Yes, you can visit Machu Picchu if it’s cloudy. In fact, many people prefer to visit when it’s cloudy as the clouds can provide relief from the heat of the sun.

However, if you’re hoping to get some good photographs of Machu Picchu, then you’ll need to plan your visit around the weather. The best time to take photos is in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is at its best. If it’s cloudy, you may not get the same quality of light.

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Machu Picchu? –

The best time of year to visit Machu Picchu is from April to October. This is when the weather is at its best and there are fewer crowds than in the high season (June to August). However, prices will be higher during these months.

If you’re looking for a bargain, then November to March is the best time to visit. The weather isn’t as good during these months, but you’ll find that hotels and tours are much cheaper.


There you have it, an introduction to the essentials for hiking the Inca Trail and visiting Machu Picchu! We hope this guide has given you an informative and helpful idea of what to expect as you plan your one-of-a-kind adventure to Peru. If you have any additional questions on hiking to or visiting the iconic Machu Picchu citadel, please do not hesitate to contact us. Finally, if you would like to learn more about our Machu Picchu hiking adventure, click here, and don’t forget to add your comments below, please.

I’m looking forward to seeing you on the trail!

This Travel Guide The Complete Guide to Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a complete guide to trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.


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