Frequently Asked Question about the Inca Trail?

1. How far in advance should I book my tour?

To reserve a spot on the Inca Trail, we recommend you book your tour at least eight months in advance during high season (May to October) and three months in advance during offseason November to April.


2. Is necessary arrive, one or two days before to start the Inca trail?

Yes, it is very important to be one or two days at least, that way can get used to the altitude. Cusco is located at 11.000ft, the highest point in the Inca trail is 4200m. If you are trained probably you will be the first who reaching Machu Picchu on the day fourth. Take a look the detailed itinerary.


3. Can I obtain my own Inca Trail permit?

Only Local tour operators like Machu Picchu USA can acquire permits. Tour operators are subject to thorough annual inspections by the government agencies that govern the Inca Trail.


4. How are permits secured?

We’ve been running trips here for several years, and as the world’s largest Inca Trail operator, we have an established set of protocols to best secure your permit. We have years of experience to book and collect your permit in person. This means that as soon as your permit is confirmed, your spot on the Trail is confirmed.


5. How long has Machu Picchu USA been trekking the Inca Trail?

We’ve been bringing travelers to the Inca Trail for several years. Because we run our own treks with our own staff and equipment, we can ensure our porters are treated fairly and that the quality of our food and gear is always top notch. Our groups enjoy the best adventure possible and are afforded plenty of time to bond before and after the trek. Each itinerary is planned to give you the best possible experience in Machu Picchu.


6.Why do I need a permit for the Inca trail?

Before permits were introduced, there were no regulations and many trekkers camped wherever they pleased, used the ruins as latrines, and generally made a mess of the place. In 2002, Inca Trail regulations were introduced to protect the site and the surrounding ecosystem. These regulations restrict the number of annual visitors and prevent undocumented trekkers from hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.


7. Is the Inca Trail difficult?

Great question! The Inca Trail is considered a moderate hike; however, there are many staircases to climb, and the altitude can affect the body. We recommend renting a wooden walking stick as it helps with your balance and reduces stress on the knees.


8. How many hours will I hike a day?

Make sure you pack your comfortable hiking boots because it is estimated you will be walking six to nine hours for each of the first three days and about two hours on the last day.


9. What are the requirements to hike the Inca Trail?

To trek the Inca Trail with Machu Picchu USA you must be over the age of 12, with a moderate level of fitness, and hold a passport that is valid for up to six months.


10. How high is the trail?

The trek begins at 2,800m (9,186 ft.). The highest point you will reach on the trek is approximately 4,200m (13,780ft).


11. How cold does it get?

It can get chilly due to the altitude. During the Andean winter (May – September) the temperature can drop below zero at night. It can be cool during the summer months too, so we suggest bringing thermal underwear and a warm sleeping bag.


12. Is altitude sickness common?

It’s impossible to predict who will be affected by the altitude as your ability to adapt can vary from person to person. (We do recommend you undertake the trek in a good state of physical fitness.) Most of our travelers have no problem, as long as they take the time to acclimatize properly. This might include spending a full day in Cuzco 3,249m [10,659 ft. above sea level) and drinking plenty of water.


13.When is the high season on the Inca Trail?

Hiking the Inca Trail is popular all year round, however, May to September is considered the high season. This means that permits can be sold out months in advance. However, if permits are not available, there is an option to walk the Salkantay Trek, which still takes you to Machu Picchu.


14.Do I need a permit to hike the Inca Trail?

Yes. We require the following information for the purchase of an Inca Trail permit: Full name (as it appears on your passport)…Date of birth….Nationality……Passport number…..another way just send us your passport copy scanned
Date of passport expiry (*Must be valid for the date of travel). Please note that any attempts to modify your personal information will result in the loss of the permit. A refund will not be possible so make sure you double-check your information. As well, there is a limited amount of permits in an effort to preserve the trail.


15.When do we reach Machu Picchu and how much time will we spend at the ruins?

Reaching Machu Picchu depends on the campsite assigned to your group on the third night. However, many groups will reach the Sun Gate at around 6:00 am. You will have plenty of time to soak in the ruins thanks to a two-hour guided tour and some free time to explore afterward.


16.How do we get back to Cusco?

After you’ve taken in all the beauty of Machu Picchu, your group will travel by bus to Aguas Calientes and then catch a train back to Ollantaytambo, where you meet you’ll take a bus back to Cusco.


17.What type of accommodation can I expect on the Inca Trail?

We use double tents to accommodate two same-sex travelers. There are a few places on the trail where permanent (but very rustic) toilet facilities exist, and when they’re not available, your crew will set up portable toilet tents.


18.Do porters carry our luggage on the Inca Trail?

Yes! We’ll provide you with a large stuff sack where you can place 6kg of your personal items (including your tent and sleeping bag). Our skilled porters will carry these bags while you hike the Inca Trail. Your other personal items will be stored safely at the hotel in Cusco. All you need to carry is a daypack containing the things you’ll need during the day like water, camera, sunscreen, or anything else that’s over the 6 kg allowance.


19.Will I be given a sleeping bag and mat?

Great question! Sleeping bags are not provided, so we recommend bringing a compact three-season sleeping bag. You can also rent a sleeping bag in Cuzco; just let us know when you book. We provide our travelers with foam mats, but please feel free to bring your own-self inflating mat if you’d like.


20.What type of food will be served on the Inca Trail?

Our cooks prepare excellent high-quality meals that are perfect for a day of trekking. The menu usually includes pasta, rice, chicken, fresh fruit and vegetables, oatmeal, and eggs. If you’re a vegetarian, no problem! We’re able to cater to your needs. If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, please let us know.


21. Is purified water available on the trail?

Bottled water can be purchased on day one and on the evening of day three of the trek. However, we discourage trekkers from purchasing bottles as it increases the amount of waste. Instead, we strongly recommend bringing a refillable water bottle, as boiled water will be provided with every meal.


22. Can I bring my own walking stick?

Yes, as long as it is not a metal-tipped walking stick, as they are not permitted on the trail. You can rent a wooden walking stick from us as well along with additional equipment like sleeping bags and air mattresses.


23.What is the suggested amount that I should tip the guides and porters?

Tipping is at your discretion but is always appreciated. If you enjoyed the service you enjoyed from your guides and porters, we suggest tipping between $15 dollars a day.