Inca Trail Hiking Tours

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Inca Trail FAQs

Inca Trail FAQs

Do you need to book in advance?

YES! It is recommended that you make a reservation for the Inca Trail, there are only 500 spaces available per day. This includes the four day treks as well as the Salkantay Inca Trail 7 day. The estimate is 160 trekkers per day on the 4 day trek, 25 on the 2 day trek and 15 on the 7 day trek. 


Contact with Inca Trail Hikng Tours, if you would like see the spots available for the Inca Trail


How to book?

If you would like to book the Inca Trail, we will require your personal details and 50% pre-payment, more information how to book the Inca Trail


How long is the Inca Trail

The Classic Inca Trail is 42 kms (26 miles) long. Campsites along the Inca Trail are assigned by the Ministerio Descentralizada de Cultura Cusco



Is it possible to do the Inca Trail without an agency?

Since June 2002 trekking independently on the Inca Trail has been prohibited. Regulations state that each trekker must be accompanied by a professionally qualified guide. The MINISTERIO DE CULTURA DESCENTRALIZADA is the regulatory body responsible for controlling access to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. Companies must meet certain basic requirements proving that they have professional guides and good camping equipment, radio communications and emergency first aid including oxygen.Their license is renewed each year in early March.

Inca Trail Hiking Tours and Tierras Vivas is a tour operator 



Is it possible to enter with different name?

No, you need to carry your valid ID (passport) to enter the trek park. Make sure you carry your passport with you


Are there alternative routes to the Inca Trail?

Yes, visit Alternative hikes


How is the 2 days Inca Trail?

The shorter Inca Trail is for those trekkers with limited time on their hands or who just want to take things a little bit easier. This trail starts at km 104 and ascends to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna before continuing on to Machu Picchu. Since you don’t have much time at Machu Picchu on the first day most people spend the night at the town of Aguas Calientes and return to Machu Picchu again the following day.


What is the best price of the Inca trail?

Prices for the 4 day group service Inca trail trek generally range between US$500 and US$650 per person including entrance fees to Inca Trail and Machu Picchu and return on train. This price includes Peruvian sales tax known as tax which is currently at 19%.


Inca Trail Private Group & Inca Trail Luxury travel

A Inca Trail private group or Inca Trail Luxury travel is generally similar to the group service but usually slightly more comfortable. Additional items such as porters to carry your personal items are usually included in this service. Typical costs per person provided by a medium range tour operator are: 


Inca Trail price

  • 1 person: US$1500, 
  • 2 persons: US$850, 
  • 3 persons: US$750, 
  • 4 persons: US$600, 
  • 5 persons: US$600, 
  • 6-9 persons: US$550, 
  • 10-12 persons: US$ 550, 
  • 13-16 persons: US$500

These costs include entrance fees and return on the basic EXPEDITION train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.


What is the cost of an extra porter an how much should you tip?

Porters to carry your personal items can be hired separately for between US$130 and US$150 for the 4 day trek.

Generally speaking if all the group have been pleased with the service then try to ensure that each porter takes home an extra US$ 10, the cook US$15, the guide US$25 and the assistant guide about US$15. 


A typical group of 14 persons with 18 porters (18 x 10 = $180), 1 cook ($15), 1 guide ($25) and 1 assistant $15) would receive a total of $122, which works out at a tip of about $9 per person.


Porter Working Conditions

Every year, thousands of people do the Inca Trail. They usually complete the 43-km trail in 4 days. For most of them, the trip is their lifetime experience and fulfillment of their personal ambitions. The satisfaction of having completed the trek and visiting the spectacular Incan city of Machu Picchu is hard to beat.


Inca Trail Hiking Tours DOES NOT permit this exploitation!! We guarantee that our porters carry only an amount given by the Peruvian law!! There is still a long way to go when it comes to a reserve of adequate meals, backpacks and warm dry sleeping accommodation. ITHT and Tierras Vivas works with porter´s laws, Tierras Vivas provides all equipment to the porter to hike to Inca Trail as you will see when you hike with us.


When is the best time to Hike the Inca Trail?

Climate in Cusco: The highland region of Cusco has well defined winter and summer seasons. Winter days (June - August) are very sunny and warm, but the temperature drops to near freezing at night. Rainy season is from January to March. December and January are two of the nicest months for trekking with only the occasional shower and blooming flowers.


What about Altitude sickness?

You definitely need to aclimatize before heading to your trek, there is a few things that can help you to handle better the altitude, for example, chewing coca leaves or drink “mate de coca”. A good recommendation is to rest when you just arrive in Cusco, no smoking, no drinking for a few hours. 


When going to mountain areas such as on the Inca Trail, acclimatization is necessary to avoid high altitude sickness!


Altitude sickness also called acute mountain sickness (AMS) or locally “soroche” — is a pathological effect of high altitude on people due to acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen access. It basically appears at altitude above 2,400 metres within 6-12 hours after reaching high altitude. It manifests itself as a set of nonspecific symptoms, acquired at high altitude or in low air pressure that are similar to flu, hangover or carbon monoxide poisoning. Being in excellent physical condition does not automatically mean immediate acclimatization and altitude sickness avoiding. There are no specific factors that correlate with a tendency to altitude illness. AMS can progress to high altitude cerebral oedema (HACE) or high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), which can be fatal, so immediate medical help is necessary!!


At high altitude, air density (oxygen and nitrogen molecules number per given volume) decreases as the altitude increases resulting in the fact that physical and mental alertness drops too. Dehydration caused by higher rate of water vapor lost from the lungs may contribute to the symptoms of altitude illness. The rate of ascent, altitude achieved, amount of physical activity at high altitude as well as individual susceptibility are contributing factors to the appearance and seriousness of high-altitude illness. Usually, the illness occurs following a rapid ascent (for example, by flying from sea-level to La Paz or Cusco) and can be mostly prevented by ascending slowly. The symptoms are mostly temporary and disappear within a couple of days (2-3) as a general rule.


Acclimatization to high altitude is a process of adapting to reduced oxygen amount in the atmosphere. This process differs for everybody individually.


Common symptoms of high altitude:

Headache, nausea or vomiting, lack of appetite, dizziness, tiredness or weakness, sleepiness or insomnia, shortness of breath upon physical effort, persistent rapid pulse, needles and pins, nosebleed, general malaise, excessive flatulence, peripheral oedema (swelling of feet, hands and face).


Severe symptoms:

Pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs), cerebral oedema (swelling of the brain), fever, symptoms similar to bronchitis, persistent dry cough, shortness of breath even during a rest, headache that does not react to analgesics, increased nausea, unsteady gait or gradual loss of consciousness.


How to prevent or reduce high altitude sickness:

You should drink lots of liquids, including the local remedy mate de coca (traditional tea made of coca leaves), eat plenty of sweet, avoid drinking alcohol, taking sedatives or any other mind-altering substances and heavy and hard to digest food (high-carbohydrate meals). Above all, you need to rest! Acclimatization is achieved when the heartbeat is normal at rest, you can eat and sleep well and have no headache.


Are there toilets on the Inca Trail?

Toilets have improved a lot in the last couple of years and all of the larger campsites have toilet blocks with flush toilets and running water. On the whole they are kept pretty clean. If you do need to go to the toilet between campsites then defecate well away from the trail and water supplies; dig a hole, or cover your faces with a rock, and take the paper with you in a bag to deposit in one of the several bins along the way. There are hot shower facilities are Wiñay Wayna on day 3, although they are usually pretty unclean.


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