The Inca Trail is one of the most famous treks in the entire world, and is the best route in South America. It leads to one of the New Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu and follows along the trail that the Incas created all those hundreds of years ago.
Along the route you’ll get to see some fascinating archaeological sites that can only be accessed by foot. You’ll hike the trail accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who’ll inform you of all the important facts from history, as well as with tourists from across the globe. It’s a great chance to make new friends, too.
The trail is tough in parts, but it’s well worth the challenge. Let’s take a look in more detail.
Here are the top highlights that you’ll enjoy on the excursion:
To help you prepare as best as possible for this trip, it’s a good idea to know what to expect in advance. We’ve created a list to help you.
When booking this trek, you need to be aware that it is at a high altitude. You will reach up to 4,200 masl. This can mean you may feel tired more easily or want to eat or drink more. Altitude can cause headaches, nausea, and tiredness, so to make sure you avoid feeling like this on the trail, we recommend 2-3 days in the city of Cusco.
That’s right. Along the way there are no showers at all, so you will need to go however many days you opt to trek for without a shower. Bringing a change of clothes for each day and some body wipes is a good way to keep on top of hygiene.
It isn’t the most difficult trek in the world, but it’s not easy either. Along with the altitude, a lot of the way you’ll be walking along the treasured Inca path, but that means a lot of cobbled walkways that can take their toll on your knees, ankles, and feet. Use the right footwear to aid you as much as possible.
Due to the trail being one of the most popular in the world, you’ll meet a lot of people along the way from across the globe. It can be exciting to make new friends and experience this journey with many others. If you’re expecting to enjoy a peaceful walk by yourself in the mountains, this isn’t the trek to do it on.
Along the trail you’ll visit some incredible archaeological sites where your knowledgeable guide will teach you all about the area. They’ll also give you plenty of information as you walk, so be prepared to learn a lot about our ancestors.
Walking through the incredible Andean mountain range along an ancient path means you’re going to see some fantastic landscapes and get some wonderful views. The flora and fauna in the area is spectacular, so make sure you bring a good camera.
As you’ll be heading high into the mountain, you’ll be feeling the cold. However, you also head down into the jungle where it gets very warm. Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are also humid. You can expect bugs at this altitude so take plenty of insect repellent. Make sure you pack for the changes in weather.
The Inca Trail is in Peru in South America. It’s located in the Andean mountain range in the department of Cusco. It ends at Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
As far as treks go around the world, the Inca Trail is considered relatively difficult by most people. The overall distance of the trail is 26 miles, which is broken up over a few days. You also get porters to carry our backpacks, which makes things a little easier.
What makes the trek harder is the altitude, the elevation changes, and the difficult terrain of the paths. A lot of steps can also cause a strain on your knees and ankles. As an overall trek we have rated it as moderate, with challenging and easy parts as well.
Now to share our top facts about the Inca Trail.
Below are some useful tips to help you with preparation for your trip.
Finally, to make your trip go as smoothly as possible, here are a few final recommendations.
Remember that the Inca Trail will sell out months in advance, so to avoid disappointment, you need to book as far in advance as you can.
You’ll find recommendations of what to pack online, and it’s a good idea to use them to your advantage. You don’t have a lot of space and need to make sure you take all the right things.
The Inca Trail is its busiest from May to October. This is the dry season and days are warm and sunny, whereas nights are cold. From November to April it’s the wet season, which can make things a little tougher, but there may be less hikers. Remember that the Inca Trail is closed in February.
There are no official age restrictions on the trail, but most companies will only allow trekkers aged 12 and up.
Most travellers invest in travel insurance before they come to Peru, and it’s wise to do so. Look for one that includes adventure activities to make sure everything is covered. Most agencies won’t let you go with them if you aren’t insured.
There are no shops along the route, so stock up on a few lightweight items to help you keep up your energy levels along the way. We recommend nuts and dried fruits.
This is not obligatory, but most will expect a little something. The amount is at your discretion.