An iconic hike in South America, the Inca Trail Hike is one of those one-of-a-kind experiences for which we all set out on our travels. As you make your way through the Peruvian countryside and up into the Andean mountains, you’ll pass through the cloud forest and breathtaking valley views as you approach possibly the finest endpoint of any multi-day walk in the world: the mythical Machu Picchu.
If you’re a solo adventurer, the Inca Trail might feel like a fantastic choice for you. This is theoretically possible, but it’s never a good idea because you’ll almost certainly be breaking the law. Since 2001, it has been illegal to trek the Inca Trail on your own. According to official regulations, If you’re going to use the Inca Trail for tourism purposes, you must do so in a group with a tour guide or a travel or tourism firm.
Do I Need A Permit To Hike The Inca Trail?
If you’re planning a two-day journey on the Inca Trail, you’ll need one of these highly sought-after passes. The Inca Trail currently requires a permit for all visitors. These restrictions have been in place since 2002 when the Peruvian Ministry of Culture initially put limits on the number of visitors who might take this renowned trekking path on foot. Permits are required for all hikers, not only those attempting the four-day, three-night Classic Inca Trail Hike.
How Many Inca Trail Permits A Day?
The Inca Trail Hike has a maximum capacity of 500 permits per day as of 2005. A third of the 1,500 people and porters who hiked the trail before restrictions began in 2002 have done so since. Tour guides, porters, and chefs make up a large chunk of the 500 daily permits that are given out.
Fortunately, the number of permits for the two-day Inca Trail hike has been extended by the Peruvian government to 250. Hikers who are ready to commit to the Classic Inca Trail may now get their hands on the first round of permits.
Can You Shower On The Inca Trail?
There are no hot showers, or even showers at all, in the facility. Remember that Peru attempted to build showers and even a restaurant at the last campsite but it was forced to close owing to vandalism, so don’t get your expectations up just yet.
A cold shower is available at one or two of the campgrounds. Showering in this water is not advised because it is quite cold. You can carry a fast dry towel and wipe yourself down to be refreshed and comfortable.
How Much Does It Cost To Hike The Inca Trail?
Costs can range from $500 to $1,000 for a 4-day/3-night hike along the Inca Trail. An ideal budget for a luxury trip with all the trappings is between $500 and $600 per person. Be prepared to spend more than $800 if you want gourmet food, a lot of trekking crew, and self-inflating air mattresses.
Always make sure you know what’s included in the price. The majority of operators frequently include the following:
- An English-speaking guide
- Machu Picchu entrance and Inca trail permit fees
- The bus ride to the entrance of the Inca path
- Snacks (at least 3 breakfast, 3 lunch, and 3 dinners)
How Far In Advance Do You Need To Book The Inca Trail?
Purchase your ticket for the upcoming Inca Trail to Machu Picchu well in advance if you plan on visiting Machu Picchu. Booking the Inca Trail 8 months in advance is generally suggested. There will be a limited number of permits available for the 2022 Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. To secure a reservation, you’ll need to book early.
Limited bookings are available for the Inca path each day. Keep in mind, however, that this statistic includes individuals who are part of the trekking support crews, which often totals around 300 people Only 200 visitors are allowed into Machu Picchu Trek each day through the Inca Trail.
How Do You Prepare For The Inca Trail?
There are a few things you should do ahead of time to get the most out of your visit to this living monument:
1. Prepare Your Mind For Action
It is equally crucial to prepare your mind as much as your body for the Inca path. During these four days, it’s all about mental toughness, and this is all a matter of mindset. Some sections of the path are strenuous and will leave you gasping for air, while others are a breeze that will allow you to take in the breathtaking scenery.
2. Wearing Comfortable Shoes
As you’ll be doing a lot of walking, your footwear should be your top concern when it comes to your preparation. People should wear sneakers instead of walking boots because they’re lighter, easier to carry, and more breathable than walking boots, which can get hot. If you’re planning to travel on either side of the Inca Trail, you can use these shoes like a pair of trainers. Invest in a pair of water-resistant sneakers or a can of waterproofing spray.
3. Carry Your Mattress And Blankets
You’ll need to bring your sleeping bag for the journey, which includes tents. You can rent one if you don’t have one of your own. You may want to bring along a sleeping bag liner if this is the case, but this is completely subjective. Renting a sleeping pad is an option as well, which Is highly recommended if you want a good night’s sleep after a long day of hiking.
4. Ensure That All Of Your Gadgets Are Charged
The Inca Trail’s tents don’t have plug plugs, so make sure you have all of your gadgets charged and ready to go ahead of time. It’s also a good idea to carry power banks and memory cards for your phone and camera in case they run out while you’re hiking the Inca Trail.
5. Withdraw Enough Cash
With no ATMs or contactless tills on the Inca Trail, you’ll need to bring some money for snacks and the occasional beer. Tipping your Journey Manager and porters at the end of the trip is also required. They put in a lot of effort to make sure you have a great time and eat some fantastic food while you’re on the road.
During Which Season Is The Inca Trail Best To Hike?
According to most hikers, the popular Inca Trail is most enjoyable from April to September. That’s Peru’s official drier season. Clearer skies and less rainfall are common during this time of year. As a result, the routes and Machu Picchu itself both benefit from spectacular views.
The drawback is that permits for the Inca Trail are more difficult to get during the dry season. Most people advocate booking at least eight to ten months in advance to have the best chance of getting them. Even more so if you plan to visit during the peak tourist season, from June to September. Keep in mind that the Inca Trail is always closed for maintenance in February. A permit for the entire month of March is not available for booking at this time, however, trekking resumes at the beginning of March.
Conclusion: Final Thoughts!
Since 2019, visitors to the Machu Picchu hike had to be accompanied by a guide. Without an organised tour, you can’t go to the site on your own. It’s, therefore, necessary to book your guide when you arrive. Whether or not you’re physically fit is irrelevant if you truly desire of ascending the Inca trail. Moreover, before you can complete the Inca Trail trek, you must spend at least two days habituating to its altitude.
In terms of adventure experiences, the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is undeniably worth your time and money. This trek is one of the few that allows you to witness 500-year-old archaeological artifacts while going through some of the world’s most magnificent mountain ranges.
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Hey, I am the founder of Outside Origin! I love hiking in my spare time and have gone to various different hikes. You can check out our about us section to learn more about what our team and I do over at Outside Origin.