Trekking Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail

4 day Inca Trek 'Classic Inca Trail'

Walk the Inca Trail in Peru to Machu Picchu and experience 4 days of Mountains, Waterfalls, Cloud Forests and the majestic Machu Picchu and Sun Gate.

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"I had researched many companies and am really pleased that I went with Pachamama Explorers. They did a wonderful job and I highly recommend them." - see review on TripAdvisor

geoguy08 - Oklahoma07 - January 2010

"very professional and very well taken care of. Cooks were lovely and food was great transport also. Really enjoyed ourselves!"

Johanna - 21 July 2008

"I used Pachamama Explorers in May and loved them. They were very responsive as part of the booking process and helped with hotels, etc. The guide and porters were very good and I paid around the price that you're looking at. Another advantage was for just $15 more per person we were able to have a private service so that no other members were in our trekking group."

in-n-out - 03 July 2008

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Do you need to book ahead for the Inca Trail?

Yes, It is recommended that you make a reservation for the Inca Trail and pay for your entrance fee well in advance.

Bookings should be done :

Dec, Jan, Mar : 3-5 weeks in advance

April, Oct, Nov : 6-8 weeks in advance

May, Sep : 2-3 months in advance

Jun, Jul, Aug : 3-4 months in advance

In Feb, the trek is closed.

You can still visit Machu Picchu. The number of trek permits is limited to 500 per day (check inca trail availability) (about 200 tourists and 300 trekking staff) This includes the 2 day - short inca trail, and 4 day classic inca trail treks as well as the Salkantay 7 day trek.

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.

Check availability of permits from the official tourism board (note these are in PDF format and in Spanish)

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

July 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015


Is it possible to do 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 UGM (Unidad de Gestion Machu Picchu) is the regulatory body responsible for controlling access to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. Pachamama Explorers must meet these requirements proving professional guides and good camping equipment,radio communications and emergency first aid including oxygen.

View information about Pachamama Explorers.

Is it possible to enter the National Park with different name than what I gave when booking the Inca Trail?

No, you need to carry your valid ID (passport) to enter the national park.

Are there alternative routes to the 4 day Inca Trail?

Yes, there are alternative routes, here are a few.

Checkout our alternative inca trail treks.

Treks not requiring a permit

Are numbers of day visitors to Machu Picchu also limited, like those doing the Inca Trail hike? Or can just buy the bus / train and entrance ticket on the day we want to go?

No limit to Machu Picchu number of visitors,everyone can visit the ruins .You can stay overnight in Aquas Calientes and take the first bus up to the ruins, this way you see Machu Picchu before the 1500 visitors of the train arrive.

The trains are normally full so make your reservations in advance.

How is the weather on the Inca Trail?

  J F M A M J J A S O N D
Temp Max °C 19 19 19 20 20 20 19 20 20 21 21 21
Temp Min °C 7 7 6 5 3 0 0 2 4 6 6 6
Rain days 18 13 11 8 3 2 2 2 7 8 12 16

What should I bring when I'm on the trek?

  • Pair of trekking shoes and plenty socks
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun block
  • Dark glasses (shades)
  • Rain coat or rain poncho
  • Light clothing for the day and warm for the night.
  • Trekking pants (the ones you unzip for shorts)
  • Hat or sun cap
  • Water Bottle
  • Sleeping bag (unless you rent one from the company)

A more detailled suggested list of equipment can be found in the 4 day Inca Trail Itinerary.

How fit do you have to be to do the Inca Trail?

You have to be fit. It is a common misconception that because many people do the Inca Trail then it must be easy. but it isn't.

The trail is 45km (26 miles) long and involves great physical exertion to complete. On the second day you climb nearly 1200m (about 4000 ft) in the morning.

Combined with high altitude (lack of oxygen) and extreme weather (you can easily burn in the high altitude sun during the day and temperatures can drop to below freezing at night) the trek can be hard work.

However all this suffering can make the final arrival at Machu Picchu all the more enjoyable.

What about altitude sickness?

In general if you take regular exercise and spend a few days in Cusco, or better, in the Sacred Valley, acclimatizing to the altitude you shouldn't have to suffer too much.

We offer the Cusco City Tour which you can book whilst you acclimatize.

How many people in the groups?

The maximum group size is 16 persons. Usually our groups are between 2-10 persons. Pachamama Explorers operates small groups and offers a personalized itineraries service.

Is the trek difficult, do I need to be fit?

The Inca Trail is a 43km (26 mile) hike through mountainous regions. The maximum altitude reached is 4200m above sea level.

On the second day of the trek we climb 1200m. The Trail is a fairly difficult trek and you should be well prepared and healthy prior to starting it. You have to be moderately fit and take regular exercise.

In preparation : try walking 15km in a day or go to the gym in the months leading up to the trek. It is also important to be well acclimatized to the altitude.

Try to spend 2 or 3 days in Cusco (3400m) prior to starting the trek.

What does the trail look like in the peak season?

It could get a little bit crowded, but with the regulations in place, you have enough space for everyone.

Are there toilets on the 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 faeces 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 at Wiñay Wayna on day 3, although they are usually pretty unclean.


Should I hire an extra porter?

About 60% of the people hired the services of a porter to carry their personal items.

A personal porter can be hired for $70 for the 4 day trek (includes porters entrance fees, meals, transport and wages). If you hire the services of a porter you can give him a maximum of 7kg to carry which is usually sufficient for your personal clothes you are taking with and your sleeping bag which if you hire from us is about 1.5kg.

The porter will not walk at your side during the trek so you will still need to bring a day pack to carry essential items such as water, snacks, camera, warm sweater and rain jacket. We will give you a duffle bag so that you can put your items into. This you will give to the porter on the day of the trek and return to us after use. 


Are there any discounts for students?

There are discounts available to Students with valid ISIC Student Cards and to young persons under the age of 15 years old ($40).

When making your booking please send us a scanned in version of your Student Card or for young persons, a scanned in version of your front passport page, to entitle you the discount.


Are there any discounts for larger groups?

If you are travelling with a large group of more than 8 passengers please consult with us for discounted rates! contact us.


Need to ask us a question not answered on this page?

Contact us if you need further help with the Inca Trail.





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