Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need to reserve the Inca Trail in advance?
Permits for the Inca Trail are very limited, there are only 500 entries per day of which 300 will be used by trekking teams, cooks, porters and guides, this means that you must book many months in advance if you want to secure a place; we recommend doing so six months in advance. However, if you want to come during the high season (from May to September) you must make your reservation 8 or 10 months in advance.
When is the best time to travel the Inca Trail?
The high season on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is from May to September, as this time coincides with the holidays in the Western Hemisphere. These months offer probably the best trekking conditions with a dry and sunny climate. However as we told you before you will need to reserve the permits many months in advance. April, October and November are also great months to make the Inca Trail; there are fewer hikers, although it is likely that at least one day it rains during the trek.
It is also easier to find available permits, although they should still be booked months in advance. The rainy season runs from January to March, and if you decide to come during this time, expect some frequent rains. However, it is perfectly safe to make the walk, with the right raincoat. Again, it is much easier to get permits to travel the Inca Trail at this time of year.
The Inca Trail closes in February each year, because it is the rainiest month, and is used for maintenance and conservation of the trails on the trail. However, all alternative routes are open during this month.
Can the children make the Inca Trail?
Children accustomed to walking can make the Inca Trail, although personally we believe that to enjoy a route like this they should be at least 12 years old. But we have witnessed younger children completing the walk. If you would like to take the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu as a family, please contact us to discuss the physical condition of your children in more detail.
Do I need a great physicist to travel the Inca Trail?
It is recommended that you have a good level of fitness, however, you don’t have to be an exercise fanatic. If you’re not in shape, it’s a good idea to start regular (uphill) walking training a few months before your adventure.
One of the biggest challenges about trekking in Peru is the altitude; the highest pass of the Inca Trail is 4,125, at the dead woman’s pass. To help you acclimatize and avoid the symptoms of altitude sickness, we recommend the following:
- Avoid alcohol and smoking.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Coca tea is an ancient remedy.
- Avoid agitation and strenuous exercise upon arrival in Cusco.
- Avoid sleeping pills.
- Spend between 2 and 3 days to acclimatize before starting your trek.
I’m worried about being too slow for my group.
The walk along the Inca Trail is considered among the best in the world and if you want to enjoy it, do not see it as a race. “Go at your own pace”, enjoy the views, take pictures and catch your breath. Even the most leisurely hikers reach the campgrounds before nightfall.
The guide will always go with the last person in the group, instructing the fastest walkers to know where the stop and meet points are along the route.