Inca trail frequently asked questions

inca trail frecuently asked questions

Facts and FAQs about length the Inca trail

The mysterious and legendary Inca trail. If you are planning to visit Machu Picchu, you have likely heard about this ancient trekking route that thousands of tourists traverse every year to reach the lost city of the Incas, here you will find some details about the distance of the Inca Trail. In fact, while Machu Picchu is unarguably a natural and archeological wonder in itself, it is not common to hear tourists talking about the Inca trail as the true highlight of their trip to Peru. And who can blame them? As a small part of the extended system of paths that the Incas developed to connect their empire, hiking along the Inca trail will take you across spectacular nature ranging from misty mountains to humid jungle and allow you to experience the rich archeological history of Peru in a way that is simply not possible by other means. However, attempting the Inca trail is not for everyone. As a several-day hike exposing you to the rough climate and altitude of the Andes, you should carefully research whether this trek is something for you or whether you prefer to visit Machu Picchu using the more comfortable, but less adventurous, day trips by train. In this post we attempt to answer some frequently asked questions that travelers have about the Inca trail with the aim of making you well equipped to decide whether you are up for the challenge that it poses. 

What is the distance of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu in the morning

Length and altitude of the Inca trail

The distance of Inca trail to Machu Picchu is about 45kms. It starts out at the point KM82, which is 2200m in altitude and can be reached by a 3-hour drive from Cusco. The trek terminates at Machu Picchu and you will reach a maximum altitude of 4200m during the hike. 

Hiking Inca Trail

How many days does it take to hike the Inca trail?

The most common way to complete the Inca trail is on a 4-day itinerary, where you spend 3 nights camping and reach Machu Picchu on the final day. There are however other options, most notably a shortened 2-day version as well as an extended version, where you also walk parts of the less-famous Salkantay trek.

luxury inca trail tour

Do I need to hire a guide?

Yes. In 2001, the Peruvian government passed legislation that prohibits you from hiking the Inca trail without a professional guide. The good news is that there is a large number of certified tour operators offering the Inca trail so booking a guide is very easy.

Peru Luxury Travel

Can everyone hike the Inca trail?

The Inca trail is moderately difficult. This means that it should be doable for most fit people, who do not suffer from serious medical conditions. There is however a risk of high altitude sickness, so if you are known to suffer particularly from this, this might not be the trail for you. 

What will be provided during the hike? 

It’s essential to check with your chosen tour operator for specific details. However, rest assured that most tours include basic necessities such as tents, food, and water. Additionally, some tour operators provide the option of having your baggage carried for you, which can make your trek more enjoyable. If you decide to choose us as your tour operator, you can expect a comfortable and unforgettable experience on the Inca Trail.

Inca Trail Glamping Campsite

How much does it cost to hike the Inca trail?

The price of the Inca trail, as of 2022, is 500$-1000$ depending on the exact tour chosen. Due to the relatively high price, budget travelers might want to consider other, cheaper hikes such as the Salkantay or the Lares trek.

When should I book the Inca trail?

Due to the immense popularity of the Inca trail, as well as the fact that the government has put a quota on the daily number of people allowed to hike it, the trek sells out very fast – especially during peak seasons. Because of this, you should book the trail well in advance (ideally up to 1-2 months before).   

Inca Trail view

At what time of the day will I reach Machu Picchu?

You will typically reach the entrance to Machu Picchu at sunrise in the morning on day 4, which is well before the big day tours arrive by bus.  

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