Inca Trail 11 articles
income for the Inca Trail
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When to buy the tour to the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a protected route so only a limited number of visitors access each day. Daily permits to travel this route are released since October. It is recommended to buy this income as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will not find available permissions.

Machu Picchu was built during the fifteenth century. It has more than 150 stone structures. It is considered one of the greatest historical discoveries of mankind. The Incas arrived in this city through the route currently known as the Inca Trail. Permits to complete this route are released on October 5 of each year.

What is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu about?

  • The Inca Trail is one of the most famous walks in the world. Travel 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the Puerta del Sol (Intipunku) , this is the main gate to the sacred city where the Incas entered more than 500 years ago.
  • The Classic Inca Trail lasts only 4 days and travels through mountain passes and cloud forests until you reach the jungle eyebrow of Cusco where Machu Picchu is located. The highest point is the ‘Abra of the dead woman’, at 4,224 meters from sea level (13,860 ft) . The lowest point is in Machu Picchu, 2,430 meters from sea level (7,972 ft).
  • In addition to lush landscapes, this hike allows you to see Inca and pre-Inca places, such as: Huiñay Huayna, Phuyupatamarca, Sayacmarca and Runkurakay.
  • Currently, only the Inca Trail can be done by buying permits in advance from an authorized tourism agency . All agencies offer tourists: transportation, cooks (complete food during the walk), porters (carry visitor’s luggage), camping equipment, tour guide, entrance to Machu Picchu and transportation back to Cusco.
Inca Trail
Classic Inca Trail

When are revenues released to reserve the Inca Trail?

  • Income for the Inca Trail is released approximately October 5 of each year . However, the date may vary by a few days or weeks depending on the organization prepared by the Ministry of Culture of Peru.

How many people can travel the Inca Trail each day?

  • There are 500 permits available for the Inca Trail every day. However, that number is a bit far from the truth since only 200 tourists will be able to enter each day . The rest of the people make up the support team on the route (porters, guides and chefs).

And how to book the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

To obtain a permit to enter the Inca Trail you will need to enter the website of an authorized tourism agency and follow the steps below:

  • Search availability for the Inca Trail on the date of your preference .
  • If you found availability, click on reserve and start by filling in your personal information on the reservation form.
  • To obtain a permit to enter the Inca Trail you will need the complete information of your passport or that of your identity document.
  • Make the payment using different payment methods such as Visa, MasterCard or PayPal cards.
  • After making the payment you will get a payment receipt in your email.
  • Tourists will receive an informative talk from the tour guide in Cusco 1 night before the start of the Inca Trail.

Remember that the Inca Trail permits are not transferable and do not allow changes in the date. Also, before you can enter the Inca Trail trails, your passport will be verified with your reservation details, so there can be no mistakes.

When is the time to book the Inca Trail?

  • The famous 4-day hike can only be traveled in the company of an ‘authorized’ tourism agency. Tours must be purchased approximately 6 months in advance .
  • When availability is released (every October 5), permits begin to run out. This happens especially for the months of May to August (high tourist season).

What are the alternatives to the Inca Trail?

For those people who failed to reserve one of the permits for the Inca Trail, know that there are several alternative routes that lead to Machu Picchu.

  • Route through Salkantay – This hike lasts 5 days, 4 nights and travels high mountains such as the ‘Abra del Salkantay snowy’, 4,650 meters from the sea (15,255 ft). This adventure is more difficult than the Inca Trail since it covers almost 70 kilometers . It crosses the town of Aguas Calientes to reach Machu Picchu. It is famous for its beautiful landscapes of snow-capped mountains and lagoons.
  • Route through Lares This hike lasts 4 days, 3 nights and travels through the Andean mountains along with traditional villages such as Lares . The highest point on the route is the Ipsaycocha Pass, at 4,350 meters from the sea (14,271 ft). There are many variants of this walk. The most popular route through ‘Patacancha’ travels approximately 37 kilometers. It includes a section by train to Aguas Calientes, from where you climb to Machu Picchu. It is famous for its traditional villages.
  • Route through Choquequirao – The archaeological site of Choquequirao is considered the ‘Sacred Sister of Machu Picchu’ due to its resemblance to the Inca City. The route that takes there lasts 4 days, 3 nights and is considered one of the most difficult because it runs through the hot Apurimac canyon. Additionally, there is an 8-day hike that continues that route to Machu Picchu . This extreme hike covers 115 kilometers.
  • Inca Jungle Route – The Inca Jungle is the commercial name of an adventure tour to Machu Picchu that includes the practice of sports such as: cycling, walking, boating, zipline and more experiences. It lasts 4 days, 3 nights and includes the visit to Machu Picchu by the Hydroelectric route .

Frequently asked questions about the 4-day Inca Trail tour to Machu Picchu

  • 1) How much does the Inca Trail tour cost?

    The cost of the Inca Trail tour 4 days is approximately 600 dollars per tourist. This price varies according to each tourism agency.

  • 2) Where does the Inca Trail tour start and end?

    The tour begins with the pick up and departure from the city of Cusco. The walk begins at kilometer 82 of the railway that connects Ollantaytambo with Aguas Calientes. The tour ends with the return trip by train from Machu Picchu to Cusco.

  • 3) How to buy the Inca Trail tour?

    The Inca Trail tour is purchased online through a tourism agency. Due to low availability, the tour must be booked 6 months in advance on average.

  • 4) Can I do the Inca Trail without a tour?

    No, the Inca Trail can only be done with a tour. The reason is that this route is protected by the Peruvian State. No person without authorization can travel the route. The authorization for the tourist is processed by the tourism agency.

  • 5) Who cannot do the Inca Trail tour?

    The Inca Trail tour is suitable for all people. It is recommended that children like walks. Seniors must be in good physical condition.

  • 6) What does the Inca Trail tour include?

    All tours to the Inca Trail include: full transportation, permit for the Inca Trail, professional guide, camps, team of porters, team of cooks, entrance to Machu Picchu, bus and train return to Cusco.

  • 7) When to buy the Inca Trail tour?

    The tour must be purchased approximately 6 months in advance (online). Every year from October the availability for the following year is released.

  • 8) Is the Inca Trail tour dangerous?

    No, the tour is on well marked trails. Tourists who follow all the rules will have no problem completing their trek safely.

  • 9) What should I bring to the Inca Trail tour?

    During your visit, do not forget to bring with you: rain poncho, sunscreen, hat, sleeping bag, walking sticks, snacks, rehydrating drink, mosquito repellent and cash.

  • 10) What is the short Inca Trail tour of only 2 days?

    The 2-day Inca Trail tour covers only 12 kilometers (from kilometer 104 of the railway to the Inca city of Machu Picchu). The service includes: full transportation, permits, guide, entrance to Machu Picchu, food, lodging in Aguas Calientes and return to Cusco.


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, June 11, 2022