Inca Trail 11 articles
Guide to book tickets to the Inca Trail
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Complete guide to book tickets to the Inca Trail

Do you want to visit Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail? Book your tickets online 6 months in advance. Decide what type of food, tent, tour guide and accessories to have during the trekking route. Pay with credit or debit cards and enjoy one of the best 5 hiking trails in the world.

Tourist in Machu Picchu after traveling the Inca Trail
Tourist in Machu Picchu after having traveled the Inca Trail

The only way to carry out the Inca Trail is to hire the services of a tour through a tourism agency. The purchase of the tour is online and with an anticipated period of 4 or 5 months. Otherwise you will not find availability. Therefore, it is not possible to do that route on your own.

What is the Inca Trail?

  • The Inca Trail is the most famous hiking route to Machu Picchu. In total it travels 43 kilometers in 4 days and 3 nights through an ancient network of trails made by the Incas hundreds of years ago.
  • The start of the journey is in Pisqacucho (kilometer 82), near the town of Ollantaytambo in Cusco. The end is at the Intipunku (Puerta del Sol) in the Inca City of Machu Picchu.
  • The Inca Trail is considered among the 5 best hiking trails in the world. Daily they only allow a maximum of 500 people to enter their roads. Of them, approximately 200 are tourists.
  • The others are support staff: guides, porters, cooks. This route is the way the Incas formerly arrived at Machu Picchu.

The Incas built an average of 23 thousand kilometers of roads throughout their territory. Currently, the most famous of these Inca roads ( Qhapac Ñan ), is the route that leads to Machu Picchu.

Inca Trail with tour or on your own?

  • Currently, you can not do the Inca Trail on your own. The only way to do this is to hire the services of a tour with an authorized tourism agency.
  • The Peruvian authorities set a daily income limit for the Inca Trail. What is the objetive? To prevent the excessive number of people and thus protect and control the network of roads built by the Incas many centuries ago.
  • While it is not possible to do the Inca Trail on your own, it is possible to do other walks without a tour. The most famous of all is the hiking trail ‘Salkantay Trek’.

How to make the Inca Trail cheap?

  • Unfortunately the costs of the Inca Trail are high. Tours include entrance to Machu Picchu, 3 days of lunch, breakfast and dinner as well as shuttle service by bus, train, tour guide and much more.
  • The prices offered by tourist agencies vary according to the quality of their services. It is recommended to hire the tour through a serious tourism agency that has all the benefits for tourists.

How much does it cost to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

  • The only way to do the Inca Trail is to hire the services of a tourism agency authorized by the Ministry of Culture of Peru.
  • The reservation is only possible with the internet. These companies organize and offer their services in different qualities. It is for this reason that the prices vary according to each travel agency.

Prices Inca Trail

Prices Inca TrailPrice in american dollars
Adult prices600 U$D
University student prices580 U$D
Prices under 18 years580 U$D

* Rates are approximate. Each tourism agency has its own prices.

The price of the Inca Trail includes guides, train and tickets to Machu Picchu?

  • The price includes the entrance to Machu Picchu, transportation by bus, train, food, professional guide, cooks, porters (carry luggage) and camping equipment.
  • If you want additional equipment (tents, mats, sleeping bag, cane), a better train service or an extra carrier, you must pay an additional price.
  • Do you want to visit Huayna Picchu after the Inca Trail?. The additional cost is approximately $ 65 per person.

How much does the Inca Trail cost short to Machu Picchu?

  • Four days of walking on the Inca Trail are too many? The Inca Trail of 2 days and 1 night is an option for people with little time to visit.
  • This route starts the walk from the middle of the classic route. Prices vary according to each tourist agency.

Prices Short Inca Trail

Prices Short Inca TrailPrice in american dollars
Adult prices500 U$D
University student prices480 U$D
Prices under 18 years480 U$D

* Each tourism agency manages its own rate. These are approximate prices.

What does the price of the short Inca Trail include?

  • The price includes tickets to Machu Picchu, equipment to spend the night in the camp, transportation (round trip train) and porter.
  • The entrance to Huayna Picchu is not included. You can request it by paying an extra amount of money.
  • If you want an extra porter or some other service during the short Inca Trail, you must request it with the tourism agency. These services have an additional cost.

With which travel agency to buy the Inca Trail tour?

  • On the internet there are many tourist agencies that offer tour services to the Inca Trail.
  • Tourists must choose a tourism agency authorized by the Ministry of Culture of Peru.
  • To verify that the tourism agency is authorized, you should only find out the authorization code to operate the Machu Picchu Inca Trail.
  • On the website of the Ministry of Culture of Peru, tourists can find out if this code is valid. You just need to enter it in the ‘Queries’ section.
  • Tourism agencies must offer quality services and good organization. For greater security, we suggest checking the comments about the travel agency in online travel forums such as TripAdvisor.

How long before I must book the entrance to the Inca Trail?

  • Entrance tickets to the Inca Trail must be reserved with a minimum of 5 or 6 months before. However, if you plan to visit during May, June or July; You must get your ticket 7 or 8 months in advance.
  • Short Inca Trail tickets are not that hard to get. It is recommended to make the reservation weeks in advance. In the months of May, June or July; try to book a month before.

How to buy the ticket to the Inca Trail step by step?

Booking an entrance to the Inca Trail is easy and safe. You should only look for availability in an online travel agency. Payment is by credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard).

  • Search for an authorized agency online

    In the network there are several agencies dedicated to offering entry tickets to the Inca Trail. Choose the one that seems most reliable. The website must have an Internet security system that protects your personal information. All agencies must be authorized by the Ministry of Culture of Peru.

  • Find free spaces

    After choosing the web page (tourism agency) go to the section ‘availability’. Remember that the reservation is made approximately 6 months before. Find the day and month in which you want to do the Inca Trail. If you found availability, click on ‘Reserve’.

  • Complete the data and special requirements

    To buy your tickets to the Inca Trail you must provide personal information such as names, identity document number (passport), email, among others. In addition, you must indicate some extra special requirement as a carrier, vegetarian food, canes, etc.

  • Make the payment

    Payment is through various payment methods. The most accepted are Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club or more. Some agencies ask for an advance payment and then complete the transaction in the city of Cusco. Finally, you will obtain the permits to do the Inca Trail.

Conversation before making the trekking route

  • One day before starting the Inca Trail, the group of tourists who will make this adventure together will receive an informative talk about everything related to trekking.
  • This meeting is in a hotel or the premises of the agency. The guide participates and serves to organize everything related to the walk.

What is the Inca Trail like?

  • The next day, the tourists agree on a meeting place and leave by bus very early to Pisqacucho (kilometer 82), near the town of Ollantaytambo.
  • It is at this point where the trekking route begins. The short Inca Trail starts several kilometers further on (height km 104 of the railway).
  • From that point the ascent by the mountains begins. The highest point is on day 2, exactly in a place called Abra Warmihuañusca (4,200 masl).
  • The lowest point is in Machu Picchu town (2,160 masl). The Inca Trail crosses other archaeological sites through high mountains and tropical landscapes of the Peruvian jungle.
Landscape of the Inca Trail
Landscape that can be seen when traveling the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail was the main communication route to Machu Picchu during the Incas. On the way, archeological sites such as Patallacta, Runkuracay and Wiñaywayna are crossed.

Frequently asked questions about the Inca Trail

  • 1. When is the best time to do the Inca Trail?

    The dry season (from April to October) has good climatic conditions to make the Inca Trail. Simply, to make the trek in those months should be booked well in advance. During the rainy season (from November to March) there is more fluvial rainfall, so you should go with a rain poncho and non-slip slippers.

  • 2. Does the Inca Trail remain open all year?

    No. The Inca Trail closes only all of February. This is due to the maintenance work that takes place in that month.

  • 3. Is the Inca Trail allowed to people of any age?

    The Inca Trail is allowed to people of any age. Parents are responsible for the integrity of the little ones. Older adults should consult the doctor before trekking.

  • 4. How many people participate in a group of the Inca Trail?

    Each group of tourists on the Inca Trail must not exceed 16 people. The tour guides are responsible for each group.

  • 5. Can I book the Inca Trail with a private group?

    Yes. Tourists who travel together can book the Inca Trail with a private group. The cost is higher than the normal ticket. However, this decreases the more the number of tourists in the group.

  • 6. Is it difficult to do the Inca Trail?

    The Inca Trail is considered to be medium moderate difficulty. The 4 days and 3 nights of walking are intense the first days but decrease as the end approaches. The jackpot is to see Machu Picchu from a unique place at the end of the trekking.

  • 7. Can I book the Inca Trail once in Cusco?

    Due to the high demand for tickets, it is only possible to book the Inca Trail online and in advance. Once in Cusco it is only possible to book the short Inca Trail.

  • 8. What to take to the Inca Trail?

    The maximum weight of luggage allowed on the Inca Trail is 5 kilos per person. It is recommended to bring water, extra clothes, sunscreen, sunglasses, toilet paper, sleeping bag, toiletries, rain poncho, water purifier, extra money and everything in a backpack for trekking.

  • 9. How long is the visit to Machu Picchu after the Inca Trail?

    The visit to Machu Picchu at the end of the Inca Trail is on the morning shift (from 6 am to 12 pm). Unlike other visitors, access is through the Puerta del Sol (Intipunku), ancient entrance to the Wonder of the World used by the Incas.

  • 10. What alternatives are there if I do not find availability for the Inca Trail?

    If there is no longer availability for the Inca Trail on the desired day, you can take the trek to Machu Picchu on the Salkantay route. Another option is the Lares trekking route, the Inca Jungle or, simply, the short Inca Trail (2 days).


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, October 4, 2019