Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an incredible experience that gives you excitement, fright and joy all in one!
It is one of the best hikes in the world; Going through the ancient Inca ruins, and untrodden pathways while passing the beautiful views of the Andean mountains, only to reach the glorious Inca city of Machu Picchu at the end is not to be missed.
So if you are already planning to take the Inca trail to Machu Picchu but don’t know what it includes, or what to see or pack, this is the perfect post for you!
The most popular way to hike Machu Picchu is through the Classic Inca Trail which goes on for 4 days and 3 nights. The four-day Inca Trail is 43 kilometres long; It begins at the 82-kilometer post, which is located in the Piscacucho and ends at the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu.
There is an alternative shorter route for those who don’t have much time to explore everything, it is only for 2 days and 3 nights, and with only 12 kilometres long.
However, only 500 hikers are allowed to Machu Picchu per day so that the environment is not affected by human activities. That means you have to get a permit through a well-recognized tour operator to hike Machu Picchu and also get a tour guide, but keep in mind that you should book in advance (preferably a year before) because they sell out very quickly!
The cost of the hike to Machu Picchu usually depends on your tour operator, the type of hike you take, the number of people in your group and many other factors.
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is of moderate difficulty so if you have a good level of physical fitness you can easily do this.
However, the paths can be uneven and steep as you have to climb more than 4200 meters above sea level. So it might not be suitable for those who have breathing issues, or hip or knee problems.
There are no age restrictions when it comes to hiking Machu Picchu but it is best to avoid taking very small kids on this trek because of the unpredictable climatic conditions.
The best time to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is during the dry peak season of Peru, which usually falls from June to August. The skies will be clear with less rainfall and there will be plenty of sunshine so the paths will be firm and not slippery.
But if you are not a fan of high crowds, you can still hike the Inca trail during the months of September to early November.
You also need to acclimate by staying in Cusco for 2-3 days before hiking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu because of the higher altitude of 4200 meters above sea level. Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat/sleep well before your hike. You can also take altitude sickness medications if symptoms are too much for you.