Porters carry most of your gear so you can just enjoy the trek!
You can carry a daypack and anything you want to bring that doesn’t fit in your duffel. We recommend having a layer or two in your day pack (rain gear), any medications you might need, snacks, sunscreen, and water.
To make it easy on you, we provide so many camping essentials to make the trek even more enjoyable (and your packing much easier).
Included in the cost of the trip, we provide the following during the trek:
-Foam sleeping pad
-All kitchen equipment
There is an option to add an additional inflatable pad for a one time fee of $15 USD.
There is also an option to rent trekking poles if you don’t bring your own.
Each traveler will be provided with a 40 liter duffel bag for use while on the trail. The duffels can be filled up to 3.5 kilos (just under 8 pounds). This is a strict weight limit.
The porters will carry these for you. This should be packed with any gear you want on the trek but don’t want to have on you during the day on the trek since you’ll only have access to it at camp (i.e. camp shoes, extra socks and underwear, change of clothes, etc.)
You’ll have the opportunity to “repack” before you go on the trail. Your trail guide will go over what’s essential and what you can leave, and you’ll be able to pack and weigh your duffel the night before the hike.
Anything that you cannot fit in the duffel, but want to bring with you on on the trail is something you’ll have to carry yourself in your day pack.
No, but you’re welcome to. If you have your own sleeping bag or sleeping pad that you’d prefer to use then feel free to bring it.
This will not count towards your allotted 3.5kg while on the trail. You can also bring your own trekking poles, but be sure to bring the rubber tips. Those are mandatory to preserve the trail.
Between April and September, the average highs are around 70°F while average lows can drop to the upper 30s°F at night. You should anticipate a wide range of temperatures so be sure to bring multiple layers you can mix and match.
The end of the trail, and Machu Picchu itself, is located in the cloud forest. Even in the dry season, don’t be surprised to encounter clouds and maybe some rain toward the end of the journey.
High. This trip is for those who enjoy being physically challenged and reaping the rewards. It includes intense physical activities and participants should expect to be active 6-8 hours most days.
Participants should have an active lifestyle, and may want to consider training for high altitude.
The Inca Trail hike is very exclusive and the Peruvian government only allows a limited amount of people to hike the trail each day.
Permits have to be purchased through the Peruvian government, so once they sell out, we’re sold out as well. This means that even if someone cancels from a sold-out trip, it might be impossible for us to get another permit.
These permits are also non-transferable, so if you switch your trip you will need to pay an additional $250 for the permit. If you cancel, your friend cannot take your spot because the permit is connected to your passport.
The trail is approximately 26.1 miles (42km) long. You can expect to hike around 7-9 miles over 6-8 hours on each of the first 3 days, and about 4 miles over 3 hours on the final morning.
Visitors from the US do not need a visa for stays shorter than 3 months.
Check out the Peruvian Travel Website for more details.
We recommend using a large backpack/duffel bag. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for carrying this from place to place, on different modes of transportation, and up and down stairs if necessary. Pack as light as possible!
You’ll also need a daypack for the trail to carry your personal gear, snacks, drinks, and other items needed for the day. We recommend a pack with a waist belt, and around 35-45L. The size of the backpack depends on how much stuff you want to take with you every day.
Anything that you don't need for the trail can be left behind at the hotel in a locked room.
The official language of Peru is Spanish. In the mountains you’ll also hear people speaking the indigenous Quechua language, and in the rainforest you’ll hear people speaking the indigenous Aymara language. In Cusco and other high tourism areas, many people speak English.
Travelers do not need to know a second language to enjoy this trip.
Water will be provided after the first day of hiking. For the first day, you will need to bring your own water. We recommend carrying around 2 or 2.5 liters. This can be in reusable bottles or a camelback style bladder, whichever you are more comfortable with.
There will be an opportunity to purchase water on day 1 of the hike. If you’d like to take advantage of this, please bring Peruvian Soles with you.
Anything you do not take with you on the trail will be left in the storage closet of the hotel in Ollantaytambo. We’ll return to the hotel after visiting Machu Picchu to pick up your belongings before we head back to Cusco. Although we trust the people we work with, it’s not a bad idea to bring a lock, just in case.
All breakfasts and most dinners are included. On the trail, all meals are included.
The average price of a lunch with drink is $10-$20 USD. Only you know your spending habits. There will be plenty of opportunities to purchase some local, hand-made souvenirs. So plan accordingly.
Keep in mind that most restaurants will accept credit cards.
We recommend having around $300 USD in cash (just in case). Although many places will accept US Dollars, we recommend exchanging into the local currency for a better exchange rate.
Tipping is customary in Peru, and is based on how you feel about the quality of service and what you’re comfortable with paying. The amount you decide to leave them should be up to you and how well you feel they took care of you.
The porters are the ones who will be carrying all of your extra gear, food, tents, and kitchen supplies. They will also be setting up camp for you and helping prepare all of your meals. If you feel appreciative of what they do for you (and we think you will), it would be very nice to leave them a tip at the end of the journey.
We recommend including an extra $50-$100 USD (or more if you feel strongly) in your budget to leave as a tip at the end of the trail. Keep in mind that whatever you give will be split amongst the entire trail crew. A group of 15 hikers will have at least 25 porters and kitchen staff. For example: If you tipped a total of $50, that would come out to about $2 per porter for the 4 days of the hike.
This trip has a pretty set itinerary, especially once we get to the trail.
However, while we’re in Cusco and Ollantaytambo you’re free to explore on your own. You can check out museums, markets, or ruins.
If you’re arriving early or staying later, our local trip leaders would be happy to help you arrange some other activities.
We will stay in shared boutique hotel rooms close to the historic center of Cusco (3 nights).
We will sleep in two-person tents shared with one other person of the same gender (3 nights).
Solo travelers are paired with someone of the same gender. You can request a friend to be your roommate upon checkout. You can also email email@example.com with your roommate request.
There is plenty of nightlife within walking distance to the hotel in Cusco.
On the trail, you will experience an entirely different kind of nightlife. There won't be live music or bars but you'll experience some of the best stargazing in the world!
There are squat toilets and pit toilets along the trail. You’ll need to bring your own toilet paper (which can be purchased in Peru). It’s a good idea to bring hand sanitizer with you as well.
There is a shower available on the third evening of the hike. The shower is cold and most travelers opt out.
No. If that is something you would like to do, we recommend bringing a fully charged portable battery or a solar powered portable charger.
Check out this Waterproof Solar Charger recommended by one of our alumni.
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My Hike the Inca Trail trip was beyond amazing, and I couldn't have asked for anything more from a trip. Our leaders made us all feel instantly comfortable, and the group was fantastic. The trip was well planned and the hike was unforgettable. Memories to last a lifetime.