The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most famous and popular trek in South America. It is a spectacular trek through the high Andes on original Inca highway with a chance to visit extraordinary ruins, enjoy beautiful mountain views, walk through the strikingly different climatic zones and finally experience the unique feeling of arriving at Machu Picchu by foot.
Trekking it at a relaxed five days / four nights is the best way to thoroughly appreciate this amazing trail whist avoiding the busiest campsites. It also gives us a whole day at Machu Picchu to have it (at times) totally to yourselves. However, there are other great ways to hike the trail as well, especially if you have to fit it into a quicker trip.
It is recommended to arrive at least one day earlier in Cusco to allow for acclimatization and to enjoy some of the amazing history and culture that Cusco has to offer.
For the most up to date information, please read the Center for Disease Control’s page on Traveler’s Health in Peru. Please consult your health provider before traveling.
The Andean weather can be unpredictable, despite the sharp divide between dry and wet seasons. The dry season runs from May to October or November (the best time for this amazing trek); the rainy season goes from December through April. Nevertheless, in the forested fringes of the Amazon basin where Machu Picchu lies, showers are not uncommon at any time of year. Therefore rain pants and jacket are essential gear that should always be in your daypack.
Daytime temperatures can vary greatly, from about 10ºC/50ºF to 28ºC/82ºF with nighttime temperatures from 10ºC/50ºF down to around 0ºC/32ºF, though seldom much lower.
On this expedition we will be experiencing all extremes of Peruvian climate, from freezing Altiplano to extremely hot sunshine. During the day hopefully it will be generally sunny enough for shorts and t-shirts though having a fleece and rain gear handy is advisable. It will get cold (as low as -5’C whilst camping) especially in the evenings so bring a warm fleece jacket, a good waterproof and some warm clothes – including thermal underwear, gloves, scarf and woolly hat as well as one set of smarter clothes for Cusco. Good quality Alpaca jumpers are available in Cusco. A good quality sleeping bag is essential for your enjoyment of this trip.
* For most trips the porters carry all you heavy camping gear but this is inaccessible during the day so please bring a small day-pack to carry your personal day gear in (i.e. water bottle, camera, sun block, insect repellent, light fleece and rain jacket).
* Due to Inca Trail rules limiting the numbers of porters and the weight they carry, you will have to limit your heavy gear to 8kg (17.6 lbs). This is usually more than adequate. Kit bags are supplied for these porter carried items.
* Any excess gear can usually be stored in Cusco at your hotel whilst on the Inca Trail.
* New rules at Machu Picchu limit the number of visitors to Huayna Picchu to the first 400 people before 10 am. Please let your guide know early if you wish to climb this peak so they can plan ahead.
* Inca Trail regulations stipulate ski poles are only allowed with plastic protecting covers. This is to prevent trail damage. ‘Native’ tree walking sticks are also banned on the trail. This is to prevent de-forestation.
* We recommend trekkers take around 600 soles in local currency for any emergencies and expenses in Machu Picchu.
* We implement a ‘porter protection policy’ that ensures all porters are well treated, paid, insured, fed and looked after.
* Most good quality sporting equipment is unavailable in Peru so if anyone wishes to donate any outdoor clothes, sleeping bags, etc they will be gratefully received by any of the travel company staff.
Once in a lifetime experience
David acted as our guide during our 4 day Inca Trail adventure in April. David went above and beyond for everyone and really made the trip a “once in a lifetime” experience.
No question was a stupid question and we learnt so much during the hike itself and when we eventually reached Machu Picchu. When we struggled up those Incan steps David was there offering support and never made anyone feel they were lagging behind or causing an inconvenience. I can’t recommend David or the Inca Trail enough and I will definitely be back!!
Machu Picchu would not have been the same without doing the 5-day comfort tour of the Inca Trail first, and entering through the Sun Gate. David and his crew did a phenomenal job taking care of us, with patient hiking tips, amazing meals and exceptional service every step of the way. My husband and I are both in our 50’s, and we went with our 24 year old son. The altitude was definitely noticeable the first two days, and when they say the hike is challenging – they mean it! However, the physical exertion is well worth the effort for the breathtaking views! David timed our day so that we had plenty of time to comfortably hike, and still enjoy all of the scenery. He chose the best camping spots so we could relax in the evenings with a cup of coca tea and watch the sunsets! This was definitely a once-in-a-life-time experience! Put this on your bucket list!
Once in a lifetime” Experience
When i did the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in June a dream came true and i had the trip of my lifetime.
I coud not wish for a better guide than David. He is a fantastic guide and made this trip to something special.
Although the hike was very hard at some points, David was very supportive and helped every member of my group keep ging. He was very funny and we had always a good laugh together. Besides he had an awesome cultural and historical knowledge and told us a lot of interesting things about the trail itself and every ruin we visited, especially about Machu Picchu.
David made our four day hike to an amazing and unforgettable experience and i highly recommend him as a tour guide to everyone i know.
If i ever come back to Peru, i will definitely join one of Davids tours again!
Lovely greetings from Germany
Thank you David!
Thank you for an incredible outdoore experience. 4 days Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu july31- aug4 was amazing. With our guide David and his stuff we had excellent food, breathtaking views, knowledgement of local culture and history and support of all kind when needed.
I can higly recommend David and his stuff!
I was fortunate enough to have David as a guide whilst doing the inca trail trek. David was knowledgeable, kind, engaging, fun and respectful. He took time to get to know each member of our group and allowed us to go at our own pace. I would highly recommend David as a guide for future travellers. 🙂