The Inca Trail
What is the Inca Trail?
The total distance of the main Classic Inca Trail is 43 km and normally takes 4 days to complete, on a route starting from km 82 on the railway line between Cusco and Aguas Calientes and finishing at the citadel of Machu Picchu at sunrise on the 4th day of the walk.
The Inca Trail route leads through spectacular scenery and passes the Inca ruins of Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Winay Wayna.
The Sacred Trail a Two Day Inca Trail Trek
For those who don’t have the time or inclination for 4 days of walking, the final stretch of The Inca Trail is a great option and is less strenuous and at a lower altitude.
Fitness & Walking the Inca Trail
The Classic 4-day Inca Trail is classified as ‘moderate’ in terms of difficulty, meaning that it’s a fairly challenging hike, but if you’re reasonably fit and active then you should have little difficulty in completing the walk.
There is nothing technically challenging, nothing overly worrying for those with a fear of heights and no terribly strenuous sections, although there is plenty of uphill (including 1,200 metres on day two) and the terrain is uneven.
Just take it easy, remember the altitude, drink plenty of water and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Andes.
Best Time of Year to do the Inca Trail
In general May to September is the best time of year to Walk The Inca Trail as conditions are drier and the days usually sunny.
June to August can see very cold conditions at night and early morning however, so it’s necessary to be well-prepared for conditions.
December and January are the wettest months, with rain seen on about half the days of the months.
What about the Altitude?
Being acclimatised for walking the Inca Trail is essential. Cusco is 3,400 m above sea level and spending 2 or 3 full days in Cusco before walking the Inca Trail is highly recommended and normally something we factor in to all of our trips. The maximum altitude on the Inca Trail is 4,200 metres.
On the trek, taking things easy, drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding smoking and alcohol are all great ways to pay respect to the altitude. A glass or two of Mate de Coca can also help to relieve symptoms of adapting to the altitude.
What to Take on the Trek?
The key is to try keeping the weight down whilst ensuring you have clothing for all weather conditions. In other words, dress for equatorial heat and cold mountain nights!
Savvy trekkers will dress in layers, which can be discarded during the heat of the day when shorts, t-shirt and sun-hat are often the only trekking gear required.
Good walking boots or shoes are essential. Strong ankle support is very useful as conditions on the trail can be uneven and no-one wants a twisted ankle halfway through the trek.
What's Included on the Inca Trail Trek?
The Inca Trail Trek is normally done as part of a group, with a maximum of 16 people and includes all transport, meals, overnight camping and all permits.
Do I need to Book in Advance?
In a word, yes. About 200 trekking permits per day are issued and booking as far in advance as possible is highly recommended.
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