Classic Inca Trail 4 Days Trek Availability & Permits 2023

Once you’ve decided which tour suits you, you’ll want to pick a date and book in advance.

The great thing about booking through our website is that it does design to give you a user-friendly experience so that booking online is a breeze. Keep in contact.

Check the Availability of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Official Permits 2023

This Inca Trail availability calendar is the most reliable way to know how many spaces you have available to make this trek, which travelers from all over the world prefer.

Book your Inca Trail tours as far in advance as possible!!! The Peru government has strictly limited the number of hikers allowed on the Inca Trail expeditions “permits is issued to about 200 trekkers per day plus 300 Andean porters”.


Inca Trail Availability and Permits 2023

BOOK EARLY TO ENSURE YOUR #INCATRAIL2023 PERMIT. THESE ARE SOLD ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED BASIS, AND ONCE THEY ARE GONE, THEY ARE GONE…

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IMPORTANT NOTE: Inca Trail trek permits are limited, and we encourage you to hurry up with your bookings; we can never guarantee that we can obtain your trek permit, although Kondor Path Tours will do our very best for your groups.

Although it is only one of a multitude of paths through the Andes, the fabulous treasure of Machu Picchu at the end of its 43 km path makes the INCA TRAIL one of the most famous treks in the world. Most people visit the site on a day trip by train from Cusco, Ollantaytambo, or Urubamba or spend the night in Machu Picchu Pueblo. But if you are reasonably fit and can spare four days for the experience, arrive on the Inca Trail. Or one of the alternative routes – offers the most atmospheric and satisfying option.


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The Origins of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The world discovered this enigmatic road in 1915; in the times that Machu Picchu was being excavated, almost 30 years had to pass so that in 1942 this road was reconstructed; this road has a distance of 43 km until arriving at the famous door of the sun that is the first point where you can take a look at Machu Picchu.

On your trip, besides visiting Machu Picchu, you can also appreciate the ruins of Llacta Pata, the archaeological site of Runkuraqay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, and Wiñaywayna.

You can arrive by train or bus to Machu Picchu, but this hike has an incomparable richness, the same route the Incas did; now, you can do it on any of our tours.

The usual starting point of the Inca Trail is a small station in the town and bridge of Corihuayrachina, at Km. 82, where the trail stops. Once past the bridge, the main path leads to the left through a small eucalyptus forest. We reach the top of Patallacta for incredible views of the Inca ruins of Llactapata, well worth a visit for lovers of archeology – before crossing and following the Cusichaca River upstream.

It’s a good two hours of a steep climb to Huayllabamba, the only inhabited town on the route, before embarking on the most challenging climb of the entire trail, near Warmiwañusqa translates to the ominous-sounding Dead Woman’s Pass. This section of the valley is rich in Inca terraces, from which an ancient stone building occasionally rises.

Many groups spend their first night at the Huayllabamba camp. Still, others who want to gain distance and time for the second day generally use one of three commonly used camps at Llulluchayoc, also known as Tres Piedras Blanca’s, where the trail crosses the Huayruro river. ; another site a little higher, just below Llulluchapampa; or, a little higher again, on the pampas where there is much more room to camp, an excellent place to see rabbit-like vizcachas playing among the rocks. These camps are on the way to the first and highest pass, but only the top one is in sight.

The first Pass

It takes about five hours to get from Huayllabamba to the Abra de Huarmihuañusca, the first Pass (4,200 m) and the trail’s highest point. This section is the hardest part of the hike, though the views from the Pass itself are great, but if it takes you a while to savor them, sit away from the biting wind (many hikers have caught colds here). The trail descends steeply into the Pacaymayo valley, where, by the river, there is an attractive place to camp and where you may see playful spectacled bears if you are fortunate.

The second Pass

A winding and exhausting road from the Pacaymayo valley takes you to the second Pass, Abra de Runku Racay, just above the fascinating circular ruins of the same name. About an hour past the second Pass, a flight of stone steps leads to the Inca ruins of Sayacmarca. This Inca site is a fantastic place to camp, near the remains of a stone aqueduct that supplied the ancient settlement with water.

The third Pass

From Sayacmarca, descend gently into an increasingly dense cloud forest where delicate orchids with exotic flora begin to appear among the trees. By the time you reach the third Pass, there is a very slight slope, and you are following a path of thin and slightly worn flagstones that leads to an excavated tunnel that allows you to avoid a climb; otherwise, it would be impossible to cross it.

The trail descends to the impressive ruins of Phuyupatamarca, “Town above the clouds,” where there are five small stone baths and constant running water throughout the year. The views are impressive over the Urubamba Valley and, in the other direction, towards the snow-capped peaks of the Salkantay (Wild Mountain). Given the great weather, this is probably one of the most magical camps globally.

Tips for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Suppose you have already decided to make this trek. In that case, we can tell you that the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the best choices to live an unparalleled experience, even if you want to be in contact with nature and have direct contact with local communities. Follow these tips to have the best experience and enjoy the most.

The downside to the trail’s popularity is that you must book six to nine months in advance, as only 500 permits are issued daily, including porters, guides, and tourists. In addition, you can only go hiking with an authorized tour operator, usually in a group, although some agencies organize tailor-made tours, which are inevitably more expensive. Either way, hiking the Inca Trail is not cheap. It sometimes involves a challenging, high-altitude trek, but this does reward by spectacular scenery, deep valleys, glaciated mountain peaks, and remote Inca structures.

The Classic Inca Trail is four days and is the duration of the most common tour offered by tourism agencies. There are numerous campsites along the trail, although your trail guide ultimately decides where you’ll spend the night. Also, note that the path is closed in February, typically the wettest month, for annual maintenance and repair. A shorter two-day tour sometimes referred to as the Sacred Trail of the Incas, is offered, giving you a taste of the trail without camping.

INCA TRAIL WILDLIFE

Acting as a biological corridor between the Andes of Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and the lowland Amazon rainforest, the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary holds more than 370 species and 47 species of mammals, and seven hundred species of butterflies. Some of the more notable residents include the cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana, known as Tunkis in the Quechua-speaking Andes), the spectacled bear (Tremarctos Ornatus), and the condor (Vultur Gryphus). Also, about three hundred different species of orchids are hidden in the cloud forest trees.

Intipunku to Machu Picchu

A well-marked trail from Wiñay Wayna takes a right fork for two hours through sumptuous vegetation-covered slopes to the stone arch entrance called Intipunku (Sun Gate). From Intipunku, you get the first classic view of Machu Picchu, which is a great moment.

Wiñay Wayna

It is a very rough descent, two or three hours down a non-Inca Road to the next ruin, a citadel almost as impressive as Machu Picchu, Wiñay Wayna “Forever Young”– another place with fresh water. With only two main architectural structures, a lower sector and an upper sector, Wiñay Wayna’s most visible features are stone baths with as many as nineteen springs feeding them, all set amidst several layers of fine Inca terraces. Nearby there is also a small waterfall created by the streams that come down from the heights of Phuyupatamarca. Today, it does believe that the Incas used Wiñay Wayna for washing, cleaning, and rest points before reaching the great citadel of Machu Picchu.

Usually, this marks the spot for the last campsite, but with only 150 campsites available per night. Only a few hikers will stay here; otherwise, you may have to descend to Machu Picchu Pueblo for your last night, which would be a serious anti-climax.

To get to Machu Picchu at sunrise the next day from Wiñay Wayna, you will need to get up very early with a torch to avoid the rush.

When to go to Inca Trail

Choose your season to walk the Inca Trail carefully. May is the best month to venture out on a hike here, with clear views, great weather, and green surroundings. Between June and September, it’s usually a relatively cosmopolitan stretch of the mountainside, with travelers from all over the world converging on Machu Picchu the hard way. Still, the trail is hectic from mid-June to early August (and the campgrounds are noisy). Especially in the last section. There are fewer people in the rainy season from October to April and, naturally, a little more humidity.

Rules and Restrictions

The sanctuary authorities have imposed a limit of a maximum of five hundred people per day on the Inca Trail (between walkers, porters, cooks, and guides). Also, hikers must go with a licensed tour guide – the old days of going solo are long gone.

Acclimatization

It is essential to acclimatize to the altitude before embarking on the Inca Trail or any other high Andean trek, especially if you have flown directly from sea level.

What is the best time of the year to make the Inca Trail?

An essential detail before making the Inca Trail is to know what is the best time of the year to travel. We tell you that Peru is one of those megadiverse countries and has different geographies and, therefore, different climates, so determining an ideal travel time is tough.

Talking about the Inca Trail, the best time of the year to make the Inca Trail is from April to October, a season where there is no rain; we believe that for this type of trekking, it is more pleasant to do it on sunny and cold days than in days where the rain is persistent.

You should also know that this route is closed in February for maintenance work, but if we talk about Machu Picchu, this is open every month of the year.

You should always reserve your space well in advance.

This hike is considered one of the most beautiful hikes in the world; it is pretty crowded, so the spaces are sold out quickly; buying it many months in advance is the best. (we recommend about six months in advance).

Spaces are limited to 500 people, of which 300 rooms are assigned for support staff, such as guides, porters, cooks, etc. So it is easy to run out of space from one day to the next.

Our agency Kondor Path Tours, has the authorization to acquire these spaces for you; if you have already checked our calendar, write us at info@kondorpathtours.com to make your purchase.

Contract with a good travel agency.

Due to the conditions of this Inc trail, since it is a traditional route, it requires particular care that only authorized travel agencies can provide; also, since this trek is an adventure trek, it requires that passengers make the journey only through licensed and controlled areas, since being a rugged area, if the passenger gets out of the way they can suffer serious injuries; that is why it is necessary to hire an authorized travel agency, Kondor Path Tours is a travel agency that can provide you with all the information you need to make the trip.

Conditions of the Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu

We invite you to learn more about this beautiful hike, Kondor Path Tours; it explains concretely what it is like to hike the Inca Trail.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is considered the best hike in South America and is valued by many hikers worldwide; this hike is one of the most beautiful worldwide, and many travelers seek to make this hike that the Incas walked.

The most classic trek is the one that lasts four days, where you can hike up to 40 kilometers, all to reach the city of the Incas, Machu Picchu; along the way, you can experience fatigue and low temperatures, as well you can appreciate Inca constructions, fabulous landscapes and lots of vegetation.

Acclimatization for the Inca Trail

Acclimatization is an issue that you should give a lot of importance to, and the Inca Trail is a hike that involves physical effort and will demand action. Soroche and other ailments are common for travelers who do adventure treks; that is why previously, we recommend you to do acclimatization for 1 or 2 days; we also recommend you to rest properly, eat bland food, and drink plenty of water; coca tea relieves many ailments that visit Peru, that is why the coca leaf was highly valued at the time of the Incas; in this trek, you will ascend to an altitude of 4000 meters above sea level; that is why you must acclimatize adequately.

What to bring for the Inca Trail

An adventure trip implies that you only carry the necessary; you have to avoid incense weight that will prevent you from enjoying the hike as you will travel many kilometers to reach the Inca city of Machu Picchu; but do not worry if you want to carry additional accessories, such as cameras, or others, you can also take them, we will responsibly hire extra porters who will have this equipment, we will humanely seek your maximum comfort and respecting our porters; in addition, we recommend you only carry the following implements to make the Inca Trail.

  • Passport
  • Cash, preferably in small denominations of 10, 20, 50, and 100 soles.
  • Camera and video camera
  • Backpack cover
  • Windproof, waterproof jacket.
  • Small towel and bathing suit
  • Four shirts/t-shirts
  • Sun hat
  • One pair of shorts
  • Two pairs of long pants
  • Hiking boots / solid and comfortable shoes
  • Sport Sandals
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Toiletries (biodegradable)
  • Bottle of water
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit

How much does the Inca Trail cost?

The prices of the Inca Trail vary according to each tourist agency. The services included are the entrance to the Inca Trail, access to Machu Picchu, an official tour guide, transportation, food, and porters (one per person).

Frequently asked questions about the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is a stone Inca route built by the ancient Incas Empire more than 500 years ago to link their villages throughout Tahuantinsuyo (Empire of the Incas). This section is an Inka-protected archaeological site from km 82 to Machu Picchu.

The Inca Trail is not accessible, but you don’t have to be an athlete or hiking expert to hike it. Your physical condition is, of course, critical. The Inca Trail is the kind of trek anyone with a positive attitude and determination can do. However, the fitter you are, the more you will be able to admire and enjoy the scenery and Inca archaeological sites along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Children can make the Inca Trail,  although we believe they should be at least 12 years old to enjoy a route like this. But we have witnessed younger children completing the trek.

If you wish to make the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with your family, please get in touch with us to discuss your children’s physical condition in more detail.

This does not happen very often; however, if it does, our guides are very experienced and know how to take action in case of any emergency or unforeseen event; they will do everything possible to help you complete your trek. In addition, first aid kits and oxygen tanks are carried for emergencies. However, should you become seriously ill and need to return to Cusco, you will be treated promptly, and arrangements will be made for you.

Yes, but the toilets along the trail and the campsites are not in good condition. We recommend you bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer gel after using the restrooms.

Suppose you are coming from a country that is less than 500 masl. We recommend that you spend at least two days in Cusco to acclimatize to the altitude before starting the Inca Trail since the highest point of the trek is 4,200 meters above sea level.

You should book your Inca Trail permits at least three months in advance. Since there are only 500 spaces available per day: 200 are assigned to tourists and 300 to porters, cooks, and tour guides. If the number of rooms is exhausted, you will have to choose another date, for this reason.

Only hikers accompanied by an authorized travel company by the Ministry of Culture of Cusco are allowed access to the Inca Trail. Only 150 of the 35,000 travel agencies in Peru, including ours (Kondor Path Tours), are authorized to access the Inca Trail.

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