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Conquer the Inca Trail: Your Ultimate 2024 Hiking Guide

Conquer the Inca Trail: Your Ultimate 2024 Hiking Guide


Are you ready to conquer the Inca Trail? This guide provides you with essential know-how for tackling the fabled 26-mile trek, navigating ancient footpaths up steep Andean slopes, and securing the coveted permits. All this leads to the sun-drenched glory of Machu Picchu, unveiled at the Sun Gate, which awaits hikers at the trail’s end. Dive into the heart of what you’ll need to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Key Takeaways

  • You will have an unparalleled experience, but also you will contribute to historical change and global impact on the lives of the Inca Trail porters.
  • Embark on a historic journey along the mystical Inca Trail, a 40 km trek full of breathtaking landscapes and ancient ruins, and an unforgettable experience leading up to Machu Picchu.
  • Planning is key: Book your Inca Trail permits 6-7 months in advance through licensed tour operators to secure your spot amongst the limited 500 daily entries and prepare for steep paths and high altitudes.
  • After conquering the Inca Trail, enjoy a well-earned relaxation in Aguas Calientes’ hot springs and indulge in diverse local cuisines, with convenient transport options to return to Cusco.

Discover the Ancient Inca Trail: A Path Steeped in History


The Famous Inca Trail, an astonishing 43 km (26 miles) pathway, has been a symbol of adventure and reverence for centuries. Meandering through the Andean Mountains, this trail offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the Inca Empire, marked by archaeological sites, cloud forests, and the first magical sighting of the lost city, Machu Picchu. Hiking the Inca Trail is more than just a trek; it’s an immersive, meaningful journey through history and nature’s marvels coupled with a noble mission, which is empowering women and the fair treatment of porters.

Apart from the well-known 4-Day Classic Inca Trail, there are shorter tours for those who might be constrained by time or would like a more comfortable experience. For instance, the 2-day Inca Trail offers the awe-inspiring arrival at Machu Picchu via the sun gate, allowing you to soak in the majesty of this ancient site.

Among the distinguishing features of the Inca Trail are:

  • Its ancient narrow paths snaking through the depths of the Andean mountains while exploring the most spectacular Incan sites.
  • The natural megadiversity will take your breath away as you discover the most spectacular endemic natural species.
  • A guided visit to Machu Picchu led by an expert English-speaking tour guide will crown your amazing adventure.

This amazing path, known as the historic Inca Trail, offers a thrilling hike and a doorway to the past, letting you experience the same roads that the Incas once tread. The trail’s historical significance and the unique experience it offers make the Inca Trail a must-do for any adventure enthusiast.

Essential Guide to Inca Trail Permits: Securing Your Spot

Securing permits is an essential step in planning your Inca Trail journey. The Peruvian government has implemented measures to prevent overcrowding, overuse, and erosion on this historic path. Therefore, Inca Trail permits are necessary for anyone wanting to experience this incredible hike. Interestingly, only licensed tour operators can secure these permits, so booking your hike through an authorized company is essential. Check our best Inca Trail tour operators here

The number of Inca Trail permits is capped at 500 daily, encompassing tourists, cooks, guides, and porters. This limit ensures that the trail is preserved for future generations. It’s advised to book the Inca Trail 4 to 6 months in advance, especially for May, June, and July, which sell out quickly as they are the most popular trekking months.

Permit availability can be checked using the new official Inca Trail permit sale website. While securing a permit may require planning and patience, the reward of doing it responsibly while making sure that looking after the people who will support your adventure (think porters) is as important as having an unforgettable experience.

Navigating the Classic Inca Trail: A Step-by-Step Journey


The Classic Inca Trail is a remarkable journey that unfolds over four days. This trail takes you from Piscacucho or km.82 to Machu Picchu through the iconic Sun Gate, traversing a total distance of 43 kilometers or 25 miles. This trail is the most popular route to Machu Picchu, taking hikers through breathtaking landscapes and past impressive historical ruins.

The trail’s difficulty varies depending on acclimatization, individual fitness, hiking experience, and weather conditions. The hike includes steep, narrow mountain paths, with the highest point being Warmiwausca or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ at 4,198 meters. Along the Classic Inca Trail, hikers can witness hidden archaeological sites like Llactapata and Sayacmarca, experience incredible landscapes, and potentially see unique Andean fauna such as the spectacled bear and the Andean condor.

Preparing for the Trek

Before setting off on this adventure, adequate physical preparation for the Inca Trail is paramount. A good level of physical fitness will make the hike easier and more enjoyable. You can use the Inca Trail as motivation to become physically fit through walking, weight loss, and making positive changes before going to Peru.

Acclimatization is another crucial aspect of preparation. It’s best to arrive in Cusco at least a day before the trek, but it’s even better to take several days to acclimatize and avoid altitude sickness properly. This will ensure a smoother journey on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

In terms of packing, essentials include:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Trekking pole
  • Spare batteries
  • Camera
  • Clothing
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Any necessary medicines

It’s also important to stay within the 6kg or 14lbs personal item weight limit for a comfortable trek. You can hire an extra porter for more convenience, they will take the load from you and add more fun to your trek.

On the Trail: Daily Breakdown

On the first day of the Inca Trail hike, trekkers embark on a relatively gentle yet scenic journey. The trail typically covers a distance of approximately 7 to 8 kilometers (4 to 5 miles), and the walking time can range from 5 to 7 hours, depending on the group’s pace and the specific itinerary.

This first leg of the Inca Trail introduces participants to the unique landscapes and archaeological wonders such as the Veronica mountain and the impressive Llaqtapata incan site which offer a taste of the adventure that awaits on this iconic trek to Machu Picchu.

Typically, the second day of the Classic Inca Trail spans for approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) and hikers necessite about seven to nine hours to traverse.

The highest point on the Classic Inca Trail is Warmiwausca, also known as Dead Woman’s Pass, reaching a whopping 4,200 meters above sea level. Conquering this thrilling challenge on the second day is an unforgettable experience, with a super steep incline to conquer, making it the day’s final destination.

Hikers end the second day of the Classic Inca Trail at the Pacasmayo campsite. The trail’s ancient narrow paths deep within the Peruvian landscape provide a unique and challenging experience for hikers and offer a rewarding journey through Peru’s natural and historical beauty.

On the third day of the Inca Trail hike, trekkers typically cover a distance of approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles). The day’s journey involves visiting exciting yet mysterious incan sites,such as Sayacmarka, RUnkurakay Phuyupatamarca and Winaywayna. In addition, the trail will be comprise a mix of terrains and ecological wonders such as the paramo and the cloud forest where exotic orchids, and bromeliads will adorn the trail. The walking time can vary, but it often takes around 7 to 8 hours to complete this section of the trail which is filled with challenging ascents and descents.

Arrival at the Sun Gate

On the final day of the Inca Trail hike, groups start by 4:00 am, using headlamps to navigate the path before dawn. This early start allows for stunning first views of Machu Picchu in the early morning light, making the final day hike a truly unforgettable experience.

Arriving at the Sun Gate (Intipunku) is absolutely unforgettable due to the magical first sighting of Machu Picchu as the sun rises. Trekkers can sit, relax, and take in the sunrise unveiling the majestic ruins below—an iconic moment reserved for those who journey along the Inca Trail.

The trail to the Sun Gate is relatively easy but will challenge tourists in the last mile when they have to climb the famous ‘gringo killer’ steps. Intipunku is the quechua word for Sun gate. Its walls, windows, and enclosures, further connect hikers with the history of the Incas before they arrive at Machu Picchu.

Conquer the Inca Trail: Your Ultimate 2024 Hiking Guide

The Highs and Lows: Altitude Sickness and How to Manage It

Altitude sickness is a potential risk when one’s body fails to adjust to high altitudes promptly. It’s characterized by symptoms such as:

  • headache

  • nausea

  • dizziness

  • fatigue

Proper acclimatization will help ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Machu Picchu.

Altitude sickness can be avoided by allowing enough time for acclimatization, which is why a gradual ascent is often recommended. Staying well hydrated is also crucial to help prevent the onset of altitude sickness symptoms.

Hiking the Inca Trail involves ascending to high altitudes, making it crucial to be aware of this condition. However, with the right precautions and acclimatization, it’s possible to enjoy the hike without falling prey to altitude sickness.

we strongly recommend our clients to arrive in Cusco a few days before the trek. There are many activities people can do in Cusco area while getting used to the 11K ft of Cusco’s altitude. A walk along Cusco streets and archaeological sites suchas Saqsaywaman and Qenqo will help a lot. Also, a hike to the Rainbow Mountain and a tour of the Sacred Valley are things people should consider doing while acclimating.

Beyond the Beaten Path: Alternative Routes to Machu Picchu

Beyond the well-trodden Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, alternative paths exist for those yearning for a distinct adventure. These include the Salkantay Trek, the Choquequirao Trail, and the Lares Trail, each offering a unique and thrilling adventure.

The Salkantay Trek is a whopping 72 kilometers long and reaches an altitude of 4,630 meters. Meanwhile, the Choquequirao Trail can be hiked on a four-day journey to the site itself and can be extended to include Machu Picchu over nine days. The Lares Trail offers a less crowded experience and does not require advanced booking.

When planning to hike these alternative trails, it’s important to consider the cost of entry and other logistics. For detailed planning, it’s best to consult specific guides like the article about hiking the Choquequirao hiking route.

After completing the Lares Trail, most tour companies include a day tour of Machu Picchu or the two-day short inca trail as part of the package. This allows hikers to experience the ancient ruins after their trek. This means that even if you choose an alternative route, you’ll still have the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu. These alternative treks showcase a hidden, yet beautiful side of the diverse hiking experiences available in Peru and South America.

Sleeping Under the Stars: Camping Essentials on the Inca Trail

Camping on the Inca Trail is an essential part of the hiking experience. Depending on the package you choose, tour companies on the Inca Trail provide top-of-the-line, high-quality camping equipment, including:

  • Tents

  • Sleeping bags

  • Sleeping pads

  • Cooking equipment

  • Dining utensils

  • Portable toilets

  • Hot showers, etc

This equipment is provided to ensure the safety and comfort of hikers.

The best tents for the Inca Trail are four-season camping tents such as Kelty, North face, Doite or Eureka tents. These tents are designed to withstand various weather conditions, making them ideal for the diverse climates of the trail.

The porters play a crucial role in the trek by:

  • Setting up and taking down the tents each day

  • Carrying heavy loads, including food and equipment,

  • Assisting hikers with their gear

  • Providing support and guidance throughout the trek

This allows hikers to focus on the trek and enjoy the breathtaking scenery without worrying about their accommodation.

It is extremely important for you to book with an ethical tour operator that treats porters with dignity and respect.

Remember that if something bad happens on the trail and people get injured, it will be the porters that will help you get out of the trail to a safe location. They will likely carry you on a stretcher to the nearest medical facility.

For camping on the Inca Trail, trekkers should bring their super cool daily essentials like snacks, water, suncream, and a rain jacket. They should also bring their passport, money for tipping guides and porters, and personal hygiene items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and lip balm.

Camping under the stars on the Inca Trail is a unique experience that brings you closer to nature. With the right equipment and preparation, it can be a comfortable and enjoyable part of your trek.

Navigating the Sacred Valley: A Gateway to the Inca Trail

The Sacred Valley is more than just a gateway to the Inca Trail—it’s a rich cultural landscape steeped in history. Before the Inca, the Wari Culture lived there from around 500 to 1100 AD. Then, the incredible Inca started inhabiting the valley around the 12th century, with Manco Capac as the first Inca king.

The Sacred Valley, nestled in the Andean mountains, boasts several archaeological sites, including:

  • Pisac

  • Chinchero

  • Huchuy Qosqo Ruins

  • Moray

  • Ollantaytambo

Each site offers a unique insight into the Inca civilization and its architectural prowess.

The valley is home to various indigenous communities, including 14 communities in the Ollantaytambo, Urubamba, and Huayrocondo districts, as well as the Patacancha & Willock communities near Ollantaytambo.

Visitors to the Sacred Valley can engage in various activities, such as:

  • Visiting a women’s weaving co-op

  • Exploring a local pottery-making community

  • Hiking to the Ollantaytambo storehouses

  • Wandering around the cobblestone streets

  • Visiting a local Chicheria

The Sacred Valley offers visitors:

  • It is a chance to step back in time and experience the Inca civilization

  • The rich history and vibrant culture

  • It is a unique destination in itself, not just a path to the Inca Trail.

Conquer the Inca Trail: Your Ultimate 2024 Hiking Guide

 Insights into the Lost City: Exploring Machu Picchu

 Machu Picchu, often referred to as the lost city of the Incas, is the jewel at the end of the Inca Trail. Hiking the Inca Trail provides a unique and unforgettable arrival to Machu Picchu, allowing visitors to approach this lost city through the Sun Gate away from the crowded buses that come up from Aguas Calientes in the morning.

Visitors can expect an exhilarating morning at Machu Picchu, starting around 7 a.m. and going until 11.30 a.m. This includes both personal exploration time and an exciting guided tour around the site’s major features.

At Machu Picchu, you’ll be amazed by the key architectural features such as:

  • The Temple of the Sun

  • Intihuatana stone

  • The Room of the Three Windows

  • Various water fountains or pools

  • The Royal Mausoleum

  • Inti Watana

  • The Temple of the Condor

  • The Principal Temple

  • The Guardhouse

All of these features highlight the city’s harmony with nature.

For those seeking panoramic views beyond traditional tours, you can embark on the Huayna Picchu hike or explore Machu Picchu Mountain, special permit-restricted hikes offering stunning vantage points from directly above Machu Picchu.

Exploring Machu Picchu offers:

  • A once-in-a-lifetime experience

  • An intimate glimpse into the ancient Inca civilization

  • Intricate architecture

  • A spectacular mountain backdrop

The lost city truly is a sight to behold.

The Role of Tour Companies: Choosing Your Guided Adventure

Selecting the right tour company for your Inca Trail journey is a crucial decision. Government regulations require that you hike the Inca Trail with a guide; tour companies ensure compliance and enhance the experience.

Tour companies loffer a range of services for Inca Trail trekkers, including:

  • Experienced guides to lead the hike, ensure safety, and manage any challenges faced by trekkers

  • 5D/4N private and even glamping Inca Trail tours Tours

  • Evolution Treks Peru is known for their ethical practices and sustainable treks.

Sustainability and discounts play a part in choosing an adventures tour operator for the Inca Trail. Prioritize ethical and sustainable practices to minimize the environmental impact and the abuse of porters.

Before committing to a tour company, it’s important to look into what the tour operator offers, ensure they’re legit, and double-check the inclusions like transportation and meals. This will help you avoid any problems with sketchy or low-quality providers.

Choosing the right tour company ensures a smooth and enjoyable trek and contributes towards preserving the trail and supporting the local communities.

Cheap tour companies and others that offer extra perks such as portable toilets, showers, cooking classes, and free extra porters are most likely engaging in exploitative practices towards their porters.

Packing Smart: Essentials for the Inca Trail Hike

When packing for the Inca Trail hike, strategic planning and thoughtful consideration are required. The duffel bag for the Inca Trail can hold up to a whopping 6kgs. Hiring an extra porter is highly recommended.

Essential clothing items for the Inca Trail hike include:

  • 3-4 short sleeve t-shirts

  • 1-2 long sleeve shirts

  • Hiking pants that can zip off into shorts

  • A light jacket or fleece for layering

These items, including hiking boots, ensure comfort and protection on the trail, regardless of the weather conditions.

The ideal backpack for hiking the Inca Trail is a small daypack, ideally 40 liters or less in volume. This will allow you to carry your essentials without getting weighed down on the trail.

Packing smart for the Inca Trail is not just about having the right gear but also about being prepared for the adventure that lies ahead. With the right preparation, you can focus on the experience rather than worrying about your belongings.

Cultural Etiquette and Preservation: Respecting the Inca Empire

As visitors of the Inca Trail, it’s essential to respect the cultural heritage of the Inca Empire and contribute towards preserving its archaeological treasures. To preserve the archaeological sites, visitors should follow the park regulations, which prohibit:

  • Littering

  • Cutting or damaging trees

  • Removing or damaging stones of ruins

  • Taking plants or killing animals.

Trekkers can minimize environmental impact by:

  • Reducing solid waste

  • Being super careful with residues

  • Following the Leave No Trace principles

  • Staying on established paths

  • Avoiding trampling vegetation

  • Camping in established campsites

  • Using durable equipment

Respecting cultural norms and etiquette is also an important aspect of trekking the Inca Trail. This includes:

  • Not bringing food into Machu Picchu

  • Staying on marked trails

  • Showing consideration for the porters

  • Avoiding inappropriate behaviors such as nudity or drug or alcohol use

  • Dressing respectfully in clean clothes rather than old or dirty attire.

To ensure utmost respect for the Inca Empire’s ruins, visitors should refrain from touching, moving, or damaging any ancient structures or artifacts and should especially avoid defacing, destroying, or disrespecting these extraordinary cultural sites.

Respecting the Inca Empire’s cultural heritage and preserving its archaeological sites is not just about following rules; it’s about showing appreciation for the rich history and culture the trail represents.

Post-Hike Relaxation: Aguas Calientes and Its Offerings

Following the invigorating hike, Aguas Calientes provides a well-deserved haven for relaxation. If you’re okay with taking the same train out of Aguas Calientes that is part of your original itinerary, then moving the train back a day is no additional charge.

Aguas Calientes is home to top-rated hot springs, just a short 15-minute walk from the main part of the town, up in the hills. These hot springs are open to visitors from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, offering a relaxing way to unwind after the hike.

As for dining, hikers can enjoy a variety of mouthwatering cuisines in Aguas Calientes. From exquisite french cuisine at Indio Feliz restaurant to local Peruvian specialties and craft beer at Mapachos, the town offers something for every palate.

Aguas Calientes is the perfect place to relax and reflect after the challenging Inca Trail hike. The town’s hot springs, diverse cuisine, and comfortable accommodations provide a well-deserved treat for hikers.

Transportation Logistics: From Private Transport to the Final Day

Private transport to the Inca Trail is offered by every tour operator. Transfers from Cusco and the Sacred Valley to the trail head can be arranged by your provider. These options offer convenience and comfort, allowing you to start your hike stress-free.

In addition, the trip back to Cusco from Machu Picchu is done by train. The trin service is provided by IncaRail or Peru Rail. These options offer convenience and comfort, allowing you to start your hike stress-free.

The train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco is a fabulous tourist service, providing a scenic and relaxing journey on the way back from the Inca Trail.

Transportation is an important part of the Inca Trail experience. Whether it’s the private transfer to the start of the trail or the train journey back to Cusco, each mode of transport adds to the overall adventure.


The Inca Trail is not just a hiking trail; it’s a journey through history, culture, and nature. From the moment you secure your permit to the moment you arrive at the Sun Gate, every step on the trail brings you closer to the heart of the Inca Empire.

Whether you opt for the Classic Inca Trail or choose an alternative route, the journey through the Andean mountains to the lost city of Machu Picchu is an unforgettable experience. With the right preparation, the right tour company, and respect for the Inca Empire’s cultural heritage, you can ensure that your Inca Trail adventure is as enriching as it is exhilarating.

The Inca Trail is more than just a path to Machu Picchu. It’s a testament to the enduring legacy of the Inca Empire, a marvel of ancient engineering, and a gateway to one of the world’s most awe-inspiring archaeological sites.


Conquer the Inca Trail: Your Ultimate 2024 Hiking Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to walk the Inca Trail?

It takes about 4 days to walk the Inca Trail, covering 26 miles and reaching elevations near 13,828 feet. The longest day of hiking can be around 10 hours.

Is the Inca Trail difficult?

Yes, the Inca Trail is considered to be a moderate-level hike, with steep terrain and altitude reaching nearly 13,828 feet. It’s tough but definitely doable with the right preparation!

Can a beginner hike the Inca Trail?

Yes, you can absolutely hike the Inca Trail as a beginner! If you’re in decent shape and comfortable with hiking up to 16 km daily, it’s a great option for those new to overnight hiking. Plus, you’ll have an experienced guide and porters that will help you carry your stuff. So, go for it and enjoy the adventure!

What is the highest point on the Inca Trail?

The highest point on the Inca Trail is Warmiwausca, or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass,’ reaching a whopping 13,828 ft to 4,200 meters above sea level. It offers an incredible challenge and breathtaking views!

What clothing items should I pack for the Inca Trail hike?

Pack 3-4 short-sleeved t-shirts, 1-2 long-sleeved shirts, hiking pants that can zip off into shorts, and a light jacket or fleece for layering for the Inca Trail hike. You’ll be all set for an amazing adventure!

What is the difference between the short Inca Trail treks and classic Inca Trail treks?

The short 2-day treks on the Inca Trail offer a unique experience compared to the classic full treks that last 4-7 days.

During the 2-day trip, you will enjoy one day of hiking and one day at Machu Picchu. Accommodation options include comfortable hotel stays or the opportunity to sleep under the stars at a private campsite at Machu Picchu’s foot. Unlike the classic treks, porters are not included on the 2-day trip, so you will be responsible for carrying all of your own items. This option is particularly suitable for those short on time but still want to witness the breathtaking sights of the Sun Gate, Machu Picchu, and the Inca Trail. It is also great for beginner hikers or families with younger children.

On the other hand, the 4-day, 5-day, and 7-day Inca Trail tours cover a larger distance and provide a more immersive experience. Throughout these longer treks, you will pass multiple archaeological sites and be treated to unforgettable mountain vistas as you make your way to the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu. Gourmet meals are included on the trail, and experienced porters can assist with carrying bags. Moreover, you will have the comfort of staying at private campsites. These longer tours are perfect for those seeking a challenge and a more in-depth exploration of the Andes.

In summary, the main differences between the short Inca Trail treks and the classic Inca Trail treks lie in the duration, accommodation options, porter assistance, and overall experience offered. The short treks are ideal for those with time constraints or for beginners, while the classic treks provide a more extensive journey with added amenities.


What is Huayna Picchu Mountain, and where is it?

Huayna Picchu Mountain is a stunningly beautiful peak located adjacent to the Machu Picchu ruins. It forms an integral part of the iconic imagery associated with Machu Picchu, often featured in photographs and postcards. Once you arrive at Machu Picchu, you can extend your exploration beyond the basic ruins tour and embark on a unique hiking experience up Huayna Picchu Mountain.

Ascending Huayna Picchu Mountain rewards you with awe-inspiring views of the surrounding forests and valleys, providing a glimpse into the natural splendor that envelops this ancient site. Moreover, from the summit, you will be treated to an unparalleled aerial perspective of the Machu Picchu ruins, allowing you to appreciate their grandeur in a way that cannot be replicated through any other means. Huayna Picchu Mountain thus offers a remarkable opportunity to immerse yourself in the captivating landscapes and the rich history of Machu Picchu.


Can I spend an extra night in Aguas Calientes, Peru?

Yes, you can spend an extra night in Aguas Calientes, Peru. If you choose to do so, there won’t be any additional charge to change your train schedule as long as you intend to take the same train out of Aguas Calientes as originally planned. The train typically departs at 4:22 in the evening. However, please note that if you require additional services, such as securing a hotel or arranging another visit to Machu Picchu, an extra cost may be involved. To ensure that your train ticket is purchased for the correct day, it is essential to inform the Alpaca Expeditions office at least one month in advance if you decide to spend an extra night in Aguas Calientes.


Can I stay in the Sacred Valley, Peru, instead of in Cusco?

Yes, you can stay in the Sacred Valley, specifically in Ollantaytambo, instead of in Cusco. Ollantaytambo is the best alternative to Cusco for accommodation. It is situated at an elevation of 9,160 feet, which is lower than Cusco’s elevation of 11,152 feet. This makes Ollantaytambo a great choice for acclimatizing to the high altitude.

Staying in Ollantaytambo also offers the advantage of allowing you to get a bit more sleep. If you choose to stay there, our pick-up time will be around 1.5 hours later than the pick-up time in Cusco. This gives you some additional rest before starting your expedition.

However, it’s important to note that while you can stay in Ollantaytambo, you will still need to have your briefing in Cusco. Therefore, please coordinate a convenient time for your briefing with our office team and your Alpaca Expeditions sales representative. They will ensure that the briefing in Cusco is scheduled to accommodate your needs and preferences.


How can I book an Inca Trail trek?

Booking an Inca Trail trek requires engaging the services of a licensed tour operator authorized to operate on the Inca Trail in Peru. To initiate the booking process, you must complete a booking form that includes comprehensive details about yourself and any fellow travelers if you are part of a group.

As part of the booking, you must submit a deposit of $200 per person. Payments can be made separately, but ensuring that all payments are tracked using a single booking form is crucial. Once you have provided all necessary deposits and information, the tour operator will proceed to reserve your trek dates and secure the essential Inca Trail Permits, which are mandatory to embark on the Inca Trail.

After successfully obtaining the permits, the tour operator will send you an invoice and a confirmation stating that your booking is complete and everything is set for your adventure. Rest assured, it is guaranteed once a start date has been confirmed. At Evolution Treks Peru, we strive to streamline the booking process for your convenience, making it as effortless as possible.


What is the difference between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain?

Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain are two hiking options at Machu Picchu that require permits. These permits/tickets should be arranged in advance, usually a few months prior to your trip. Both hikes offer stunning views of Machu Picchu from viewpoints directly above.

On the one hand, Machu Picchu Mountain is a relatively longer hike. It takes approximately 3 hours to reach the top. On a clear day, the views from Machu Picchu Mountain are breathtaking. However, it’s important to note that the visibility may be limited due to cloud cover.

On the other hand, Huayna Picchu is a shorter hike, taking around 45 minutes to reach the summit. Huayna Picchu is the most popular of the three options. Despite being a quicker hike, it still offers incredible views of Machu Picchu.

In summary, the main difference between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain lies in the hike’s duration and popularity. Machu Picchu Mountain takes about 3 hours and provides expansive views, while Huayna Picchu is a shorter hike at 45 minutes and is favored by many visitors.


What are the best peaks to hike for amazing views of Machu Picchu?

When finding the best peaks for incredible views of Machu Picchu, there are three notable options to consider: the Sun Gate, Huaynapicchu, and Machu Picchu Mountain.

Firstly, the Sun Gate offers a breathtaking vantage point and is the entry point for Inca Trail trekkers. Though it is located slightly further away from Machu Picchu, reaching the lookout point is a relatively easy hour-long hike from the ruins. While lower than the other two options, the views from the Sun Gate are still stunning and provide an excellent opportunity to capture picturesque moments.

Another popular choice is Huaynapicchu. This peak is well-known for offering panoramic views of Machu Picchu and its surrounding landscapes. However, it is important to note that hiking Huaynapicchu requires a separate entrance ticket, and availability is limited due to the preservation efforts that have been put in place. If you are fortunate enough to secure a ticket, the hike with steep ascending trails and narrow pathways can be quite challenging. Yet, the reward of reaching the summit is extraordinary as you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled vistas of Machu Picchu from a higher elevation.

Lastly, Machu Picchu Mountain is an alternative peak that guarantees breathtaking views. Although it may not be as famous as Huaynapicchu, its trails offer a less crowded experience while still providing awe-inspiring perspectives of the ancient citadel. Like Huaynapicchu, this hike requires a separate entrance ticket and has its own challenges, including steep ascents and possibly slippery terrain. But once you conquer the trail and reach the top, the vistas of Machu Picchu spread out before you, making the arduous journey undoubtedly worthwhile.

Ultimately, whether you choose the Sun Gate, Huaynapicchu, or Machu Picchu Mountain, each of these peaks offers a unique experience and unforgettable views of the magnificent Machu Picchu.


How can I get to Cusco, Peru?

There are several options available to travel to Cusco, Peru. The most common and convenient way is by air. The international airport in Cusco only caters to domestic flights, so if you are arriving from overseas, you must land in Lima first. Upon arriving in Lima, you must retrieve your luggage and check it in again for your flight to Cusco.

Four airline carriers operate roundtrip flights between Lima and Cusco: LATAM Airlines, AVIANCA Airlines, Star Peru, and Peruvian Airlines. These airlines offer similar schedules and in-flight services. However, if unexpected flight cancellations or delays occur, choosing either LATAM Airlines or AVIANCA Airlines is suggested, as they tend to provide more helpful assistance in such situations.

In summary, flying is the most common method to reach Cusco, Peru. If you are arriving from overseas, you must land in Lima and then take a connecting flight to Cusco. It is recommended to choose either LATAM Airlines or AVIANCA Airlines for their reliable service and assistance in case of any unexpected flight issues.


Are there available calendars for the Inca Trail?

Yes, there are availability calendars for the Inca Trail. These calendars inform you about the availability of permits for specific dates to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. A reservation through a licensed Inca Trail tour operator in Peru is required to hike this trail. The Inca Trail permits are limited, with a certain number released for each day of the year, excluding February when the trail is closed. It is important to note that popular trekking months may sell out up to six months in advance. You can refer to a guide on Inca Trail permits for more detailed information about how the permits work and why they are necessary.


How can I obtain Inca Trail permits?

To obtain Inca Trail permits, you must book your trek through a licensed tour operator authorized to operate on the Inca Trail in Peru. Begin by filling out a booking form that includes your personal details and the details of any fellow travelers in your group. A deposit of $200 per person is required, and if need be, individual deposits can be paid separately as long as there is one booking form to track the payments.

Once all the necessary deposits and information are received, the tour operator will proceed to secure the Inca Trail permits required for your hike. Once the permits are obtained, you will receive an invoice and confirmation stating that everything is set for your trek. Rest assured that the tour operator guarantees all confirmed start dates. At Alpaca Expeditions, they strive to make the booking process as easy as possible for you.


What is the personal porter allowance provided by Evolution Treks Peru?

Evolution Treks Peru does not offer a personal porter included in your tour as it adheres to the highest standards of treating porters as real human beings. When you embark on any of our tours, you can opt to hire an extra porter to carry up to 14 kg allowance for your personal belongings. We understand the importance of comfort and convenience during your adventure, so we recommend a personal porter.. Our dedicated porter will carry your duffel bag throughout the journey. Your duffel bag will not be accessible until you reach your evening campsite. To ensure a smooth experience, keeping your duffel bag within the weight limit of 14 kg is important. This weight allocation includes 4 kg for clothes and 3 kg for your sleeping bag and mat. Rest assured, Evolution Treks Peru is committed to providing a hassle-free and enjoyable trekking experience, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the stunning surroundings.


How does Evolution treks Peru ensure quality transportation services?

Evolution treks Peru is dedicated to providing high-quality transportation services to ensure a seamless experience for passengers. Our commitment to excellence begins with the careful coordination between our guides and representatives. We work closely with them to ensure that passengers are promptly picked up at the start of their tours and escorted back to their hotels after the tour concludes.

Our drivers undergo comprehensive customer service training to guarantee a comfortable and reliable journey. They are knowledgeable and courteous and professionally present themselves by wearing proper uniforms. Many of our drivers are fluent in English, enabling clear communication with passengers.

We understand the importance of including transportation in our services. For instance, if you book a trekking tour with us, we ensure you are picked up early, typically between 4 AM and 5 AM. It is crucial to note that in Cusco, traffic is generally moderate, but there are peak times, particularly between 7 AM and 8 AM and in the evening between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM, coinciding with school hours. If you have a flight during these times, we advise arriving at the airport at least 2 hours in advance to account for potential delays.

Our drivers demonstrate meticulous attention to detail by preparing their vehicles with all the necessary amenities before each service. They understand the significance of avoiding delays that could lead to missed trains, flights, or other connections. As a result, they always arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time of any service, acknowledging the responsibility they bear in executing their tasks.

By prioritizing efficient coordination, professionalism, and punctuality, Evolution Treks Peru ensures passengers experience smooth and enjoyable transportation.


Why is Evolution Treks Peru considered the most ethical tour operator in Peru? 

Evolution Treks Peru is considered Peru’s most ethical tour operator for several reasons. The company is known for its commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism practices. In late January 2024, Miguel Gongora, co-founder of Evolution Treks Peru, delivered a presentation at Johns Hopkins University. The presentation focused on the development of sustainable tourism content to support cross-cultural collaboration between Centrum PUCP Graduate Business School and Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Evolution Treks Peru is recognized for its commitment to fair trade tourism, empowering women, ethical travel, and sustainable and eco-friendly practices. As the only employee-owned company in Peru’s travel industry, it has established itself as a socially conscious and responsible tour operator. This reputation has made it a popular choice for travelers seeking ethical and sustainable travel experiences.


What recognition has Evolution Trek Peru received from the Travel and Hospitality Awards?

Evolution Treks Peru Has Won the Award for Adventure Tour Company for 2021 in Peru. Founded on the ancient Andean notion of Ainy, Evolution Treks Peru is an organization unlike any other. Ainy means reciprocity, relating mainly to the ability of people to recompensate each other for the betterment of the community.


Conquer the Inca Trail: Your Ultimate 2024 Hiking Guide