Map of Incas
Essentially the Inca Trail is a mountainous jungle hike leading to the sacred Inca city of Machu Picchu. The 45km trek is usually covered in 4 days, arriving at Machu Picchu at daybreak on the final day before returning to Cusco by train in the afternoon.
The trek is rated moderate and any reasonably fit person should be able to cover the route. It is fairly challenging nevertheless, and altitudes of 4200m are reached, so ensuring that you are well acclimatized is important. If arriving from sea level, plan to spend at least 2 full days in Cusco (3 days is better) prior to commencing the trek. This should allow plenty of time for acclimatization and give you sufficient opportunity to visit the city of Cusco and nearby Inca ruins at Sacsayhuaman, Q'enko, Pucapucara and Tambomachay, as well as spending a day or two exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas visiting the tradition market town of Pisac and the fascinating Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo.
If you are searching the web for information about the Classic 4 day Inca Trail you'll probably be overwhelmed to find literally thousands of travel agencies offering this popular trek amongst their services. In fact in 2016 over 195 trekking companies in Cusco were awarded licenses to operate the Inca Trail. Licenses are awarded only to registered Peruvian tour operators who have offices in Cusco so even if you buy your trek with a company in your own country the trek won't actually be operated by them. The price of the 4 day Inca Trail trek with a mid-range trekking company should cost between US$620 and US$680 (2016). If you want extra porters to carry your personal items, very small group sizes, or return by luxury class train then expect to pay much more.
Inca Trail Prices 2016
In the last few years the price of the 4-day Inca Trail trek has risen a lot. The are several reasons for this:
1. The government authorities have introduced minimum standards for the trekking companies. All companies operating the Inca Trail now have to be licensed. The license is issued on a yearly basis in December. Click here for a full list of the 195 licensed Inca Trail tour operators in 2016. If a company's name isn't on the list it is because they don't actually operate the trek, they are probably just an agent (a middleman) taking a commission to send you on a trek with one of the licensed companies.
2. The maximum group size is now 16 persons and each company has to take basic equipment such as a kitchen tent, dining tent, first aid kit and oxygen, etc. More equipment means more porters per group. For groups of more than 8 trekkers an additional guide must accompany the group. All guides now have to be professionally qualified and licensed.
Inca Trail, Cusco & Machu Picchu: Includes Santa Teresa Trek, Choquequirao Trek, Vilcabamba Trail, Vilcabamba To Choquequirao, Choquequirao To Machu ... Inca Trail, Cusco & Machu Picchu)
Book (Trailblazer Publications)
Empire of the Incas. Peru - 1885 - old map - antique map - vintage map - Peru maps
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