Are you trying hike the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu? If so, read our guide for more facts and information…
When making your plans note that the trail is closed in February every year for some conservation projects and trail maintenance.
Machu Picchu Inca Trail Permit
In order to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu you must get a permit as only 500 people (300 of which are porters) are allowed on the trail each day. If you are going on the two, four or seven day hikes then you need a permit. Those only doing the hike from Aguas Calientes do not need to get trail permits. It is important to purchase permits well in advance because once there are only 100 permits left over they can sell out in a day.
You can purchase your permit from www.machupicchu.gob.pe where you will also be able to see the availability of permits on the days you are interested in. However, due to the limited amount this number could change in just a few hours so purchase your permit as soon as possible, or do so through a tour company which usually include the cost of these things within their fees.
Machu Picchu Inca Trail Itinerary
The most common Inca Trail itinerary is four days long. The trip begins in Cusco and Kilometre 82 and part 1 is 12 kilometers long to the town of Wayllabamba. During this leg one will see the site of the hilfort of Huillca Raccay sa well as beautiful views of the Urubamba Mountains. Other ruins on this first leg include the ancient agricultural supplier to Machu Picchu, Llactapata.
The second day of the trip is another 12 kilometres from Wayllabamba to Pacamayo. During this leg of the trail one passes through a beautiful cloud forest and meadows.
Day 3 is 15 kilometres from Pacamayo to Winay Wayna. This leg of the trail includes the ruins of Phuyupatamarca.
Day 4 is 5 kilometres and here you will leave Winay Wayna and head to Machu Picchu. This is the shortest leg taking just about 1 hour.
Machu Picchu Inca Trail Tour Companies
There are about 177 local tour companies that provide hikes to Machu Picchu. The best of these include Peru Adventure Tours, Amazing Peru, and Machu Picchu Holidays. Websites for companies like Responsible Tours provide a long list of reputable and licensed tour companies.
Machu Picchu Inca Trail Elevation
If you follow the 4 day trail described above you will ascend about 7000 feet above sea level. Machu Picchu itself is located 8, 692 feet above sea level.
Machu Picchu Inca Trail Cost
The cost of the trip depends on numerous factors, including whether you are directly organising the trip yourself, or you are hiring a tour company to handle it all.
The cost of a four day trek through a tour company begins at USD$480 and upwards. This includes the entrance fee to the trail. The entrance fee is USD$95 per person, excluding tax. If doing a luxury tour expect to pay about USD$1000 per person and upwards.
Machu Picchu Inca Trail Tips
If you fail to secure permits for the required days it is not a total waste. There are alternative routes to Machu Picchu (off of the Inca Trail) that do not require permits because they are not as busy. One can book such a tour through tour sites such as Inka Natura, and Andean Travel Web.