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Tips and Advice for Hiking the Inca Trail

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Home » Guía de Viajes » Tips and Advice for Hiking the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an ancient and world-famous hiking route. Undertaking this trek requires organization, from booking the entrance to choosing the season and physical preparation. Here we will present you with the information, tips, and advice for doing the Inca Trail.

When to go to the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail can be done throughout the year except for the month of February, due to the amount of rainfall, maintenance, and cleaning that is done.

If you want to travel in the available months, you must consider booking tickets through a tourist agency and the luggage you will take according to the climate of the chosen month.

Best time to do the Inca Trail

The best time to do the Inca Trail is in the months of April - May or September - October. These months experience low rainfall, offer a green landscape, varied flora and fauna, and also in these months the demand is not so high.

If you want to travel to enjoy the cultural festivities, it is recommended to plan between the months of May and October, in the dry season. However, with a high demand for visitors due to the number of parties and parades that are celebrated.

Booking Season and Climate

Reservations for the Inca Trail are only made through tourist agencies authorized by the Ministry of Culture, and it is recommended to do so with an anticipation of 4 to 6 months due to the high demand.

The climate along the Inca Trail varies according to the altitude where you are or camp, from cold and altitudinal sectors to warm and jungle parts; such as experiencing from 0°C at Abra Warmiwañusca to 22°C. at Machu Picchu.

It is important to note that during the year it is also possible to identify the rainy season from October to April and the dry season from May to September when many people prefer to travel.

Inca Trail
Inca Trail

Preparations and tips before doing the Inca Trail

Anticipation time to book the Inca Trail

If you want to travel the Inca Trail, it is necessary to make reservations 4 to 6 months in advance through an authorized tourist agency, which will be responsible for finding spaces for the desired date, fill out the forms with the data, and then make the payment.

This anticipation is important due to the existence of the maximum limit on the number of people who can enter per day, which must not exceed 500 people, including guides, porters, cooks, and visitors.

Choose an authorized travel agency

Travel agencies are essential in the reservation and purchase of Inca Trail tickets, so it is essential to evaluate among the wide variety of agencies that exist in the market and the services they offer.

If one of your evaluation indicators is the price, you should take into account the services they offer. If the price is very low, remember that in addition to guaranteeing the reservation and purchase of Inca Trail tickets, it must include services such as transportation, professional guide, advice before and during the trek, group size information, tent quality, campsite reservation, meals, porters, entrance to Machu Picchu, and train ticket.

In case the prices are very high, you should take into account that they do not always guarantee good service, some international agencies subcontract Cusco agencies. In any case, make a detailed evaluation of the service to be hired.

Acclimatization to altitude

For the Inca Trail, acclimatization to altitude is important. A natural challenge, due to the routes that are crossed throughout the journey, from hot valleys to high mountains that can represent difficulties for people who are not accustomed to altitude conditions. For this reason, acclimatization is fundamental, allowing the body to gradually adapt to the pressure experienced as it travels the highest paths, thus avoiding the discomfort that can occur.

Altitude of the Inca Trail
Altitude of the Inca Trail

Tips for Acclimatizing to Altitude

If you are not accustomed to the altitude, we recommend spending a few days in Cusco, drinking coca tea, and plenty of warm water. During the journey, you can go at your own pace with a slow and steady ascent. If you feel unwell, you should communicate it to your guide and be attended to immediately.

Physical Preparation

The Inca Trail involves effort for long stretches of hiking, so it is necessary to be in shape and have physical endurance. If you do not exercise much in your daily routine, it is recommended to take walks, do exercises, have a balanced diet, and stay well hydrated.

Days before the trip, you should have acclimated and prepared your stomach with local food to avoid discomfort at the time.

Build Your Aerobic Endurance

If you do not engage in physical activity regularly, you should participate in activities to elevate your heart rate for an extended period, such as running, cycling, or swimming, to properly oxygenate your body throughout the Inca Trail.

Strength Training

To work on strength, recommended exercises include squats and lunges to strengthen the legs, followed by exercising the back and arms with a weight according to your training. With hard work and consistency, you will be ready to hike and enjoy the Inca Trail.

Physical Preparation for the Inca Trail
Physical Preparation for the Inca Trail

Tips During the Journey

Prevent altitude sickness - You should spend a few days in Cusco before doing the Inca Trail, drinking coca tea.

Bring only what you need - Depending on the season of your trip, you should consider what you need for the different climates you will encounter, rainy season, dry season, and/or frost.

Respect the environment - It is important to be aware, respect the rules, and preserve the environment.

Enjoy to the fullest - The Inca Trail is a unique experience, so enjoy the archaeological sites, landscapes, flora, and fauna you find.

Inca trail
Inca trail

How to Book a Tour for the Inca Trail?

To book the Inca Trail, it is necessary to contact an authorized travel agency, which will reserve the Inca Trail tickets according to the desired date. The price varies according to the agency and the services it provides.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Inca Trail

Inca Trail
Inca Trail

When is the Best Time to Do the Inca Trail?

The best time to do the Inca Trail is in the months of April-May and September-October, which have fewer people, little rainfall, and beautiful landscapes. If you want to do the Inca Trail and enjoy the religious-cultural festivals in Cusco, it is advisable to travel throughout the dry season, between May and October.

Is the Inca Trail Open All Year?

No, the Inca Trail is open all year round, except for the month of February. This month has a large increase in rain and rivers. Another reason it is closed is for maintenance and cleaning services that are performed during this time.

Is the Inca Trail Allowed for People of All Ages?

There is no age restriction on the Inca Trail, however, it is important to emphasize that children will be solely the responsibility of their parents. For older adults, it is recommended to consult with their doctor before starting the Inca Trail.

How Many People Participate in an Inca Trail Group?

The groups heading to the Inca Trail should not exceed 14 people, and the guides are responsible for their group.

Can I Reserve the Inca Trail with a Private Group?

Yes, you can reserve the Inca Trail with a private group, but it should be noted that the cost is higher than the group hike.

Is It Difficult to Do the Inca Trail?

The difficulty level of the Inca Trail is between moderate and moderate, varying between peaks and valleys that are crossed to be rewarded with visits to archaeological sites and Machu Picchu.

Can I Reserve the Inca Trail Directly in Cusco?

The reservation of the Inca Trail entrance can only be made online through an authorized travel agency 4 to 6 months in advance.

How Long Does the Visit to Machu Picchu Last After the Inca Trail?

The visit to Machu Picchu after hiking the Inca Trail takes place from 6:00 am to 12:00 pm, through the Intipunku or Sun Gate.

What Are the Other Alternatives if I Cannot Find Availability for the Inca Trail?

If the Inca Trail is not available, you can take other hikes to Machu Picchu, such as the Salkantay route, the Lares trek, or you can opt for other routes in the.

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