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Inca Trail Trekking Tours

Machu Picchu truly lives up to its name as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and one of the most exciting and rewarding ways to visit is by hiking the Inca Trail. Discover our walking and trekking tours that belong on everyone's bucket lists.
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Why hike the Inca Trail with Explore?

Walking the Inca Trail to the lost city of Machu Picchu is often at the top of travellers' bucket lists and it is little wonder why. Machu Picchu is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site - but words can't do justice to the unbelievable feeling of seeing the site for the first time.

Machu Picchu truly is one of the world's greatest feats of construction, perched on top of the spectacular peaks of the Andes mountains. You can visit Machu Picchu without trekking the Inca Trail, but most hikers would agree an Inca trail walking tour is the perfect way to reach the site, building anticipation as the goal approaches. Our popular Inca Trail Trek holiday includes Cusco and the Trail. We also offer 14 and 19 day trips that take in more of Peru including Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, the Sacred valley and Palccoyo. And why not make the most of your journey to Peru by adding a stay at an Amazon rainforest lodge? The Peruvian Amazon is full of wildlife, from vibrant birdlife to snakes and frogs - a must-visit for wildlife lovers.

FREE Inca Trail Permit

It's nearly time for the awaited release of the 2020 Inca Trail permits. Each day just 200 walkers are allowed on the trail and permits can sell out quickly for popular departure dates.

Book your 2020 Inca Trail tour before 30 September 2019 and we'll include your Inca Trail permit for FREE, saving you €140 per person on the cost of your trip.


Simply quote the discount code 'INCA TRAIL OFFER' when you book. 
Terms & Conditions
View all Inca Trail tours

Popular Trips

Inca Trail Trek

Peru Walking and Trekking Trip code PQ
Best seller
9 Days From €1286 without flights

Peru In Depth and the Inca Trail

Peru Walking and Trekking Trip code PE
19 Days From €2721 without flights

Heights of Peru and Machu Picchu

Peru Walking and Trekking Trip code PM
13 Days From €2276 without flights
13 Days From €1989 without flights

Inca Trail Trek + Amazon Extension

Peru Walking and Trekking Trip code PQA
12 Days From €2106 without flights

Heights of Machu Picchu + Amazon Extension

Peru Walking and Trekking Trip code PMA
16 Days From €2999 without flights

What to expect on an Inca Trail trek

The Inca Trail is one of the most scenic and well-known treks in the world. It's a challenging walk at times but our porters will help carry the load and will cook you delicious food each evening of the hike. Hike the trail with us and you'll be in a small group with other like-minded travellers who will share the exhilarating experiences and take in the breathtaking views with you. 

The rush of adrenaline you get as you near the Sun Gate on the last day will make the hike completely worth it. Then, when all the hard work is done, you descend down and the majestic Machu Picchu starts to appear through a layer of clouds - a truly magical experience. 

Our Inca Trail and Machu Picchu tours are small group tours, with average group sizes of 10-16. No matter if you're travelling solo or with a friend or partner, or even your family, you'll have other like-minded travellers in your group to share the experience with. You'll also have an Explore leader with expert local knowledge plus a team of porters and cooks to aid you on your hike. The porters will carry your main luggage so you only need to carry a daysack while you walk, and they will set up the campsites and cook your meals.

Where is the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail is in Peru, South America. Most travellers fly into Cusco, a city towards the south of Peru. Cusco sits at 3,400 metres above sea level so is a good place to spend some time to acclimatise. 

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is the ruins of a citadel (a fortified town or city) set high in the Andes Mountains. It was built by the Incas in the 15th century and later abandoned, possibly due to the Spanish colonisation of other Inca cities in Peru. It's believed that the huge stones and rocks used to build the site were pushed up the steep mountain side by hundreds of men. The city was largely forgotten to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911.

When is the best time to hike the Inca Trail?

Peru’s dry winter season runs from May to September, making this an ideal time to trek the Inca Trail. June to August is particularly cold at night, especially at altitude, and lots of layers are essential for taking you from day to night. March, April, October and November are warmer months but there may be some rain. Many people say that September and October are the best months to travel to Machu Picchu - there are fewer tourists, but the weather is warm and mild.

Do I need permit? How do I get one?

Only about 200 trekkers per day are given permits to walk on the trail, so popular dates such as the peak month of May sell out months in advance. The permits go on sale at the beginning of October each year. We recommend that people book the year preceding their preferred trip. When you book an Inca Trail tour with Explore we will sort your Inca Trail permit for you. 

How long does it take the trek the Inca Trail?

The classic Inca Trail takes four days to walk. The time and distance of walking each day varies, depending on the terrain and the speed you walk. 

Day 1 - 2.5 hours (6 kilometres (km))

Day 2 - 6 hours (10 km)

Day 3 - 8 hours (15 km)

Day 4 - 6 hours (14 km)

What is the best route to take?

There are different hiking routes to Machu Picchu but we offer tours that follow the most popular and well-known route, the 'classic' Inca Trail, also known as the Camino Inca. The trail is known for its finishing point, Machu Picchu, but you also get to see many other Incan ruins along the way. The trail starts at an altitude of about 2,800 metres and ends four days later at Machu Picchu, at 2,500 metres. The highest point of the trek is the notorious ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ at 4,200 metres. You'll follow rivers through the dramatic Andes Mountains, hiking past scenic hillside Inca ruins and through cloud forests.

What are the camping facilities like?

On our Inca Trail tours you'll camp for three nights. After each day's walking you will reach your campsite where our porters will have set up your tents. Two-man tents are provided with plenty of room for two people and your bags. It may be possible (depending on availability) to have your own tent as a solo traveller for an extra cost, check the trip page for the price. 

The tents are well cared for and after a day of fresh mountain air and walking they make for a comfy place to lay your head. The views when you pop your head out in the morning are hard to beat. As for toilets, there are now permanent toilets intermittently along the trail so you shouldn’t find yourself left short. At the campsites we provide portable bathrooms (toilet tents) with biodegradable bags, which are available for only our one small group to use.

Do I need to put up my own tent?
No, or break the tent down either. The porters do an incredible job – often behind the scenes – to help your Inca Trail run seamlessly and to take the strain. Pack animals are not permitted on the Classic Inca trail which is why porters are needed to carry all equipment.

What will I eat on the Inca Trail?
The porters will also cook your meals and you will dine as a group in a large communal tent. You can expect nourishing meals, usually with warming soup as a starter then a meal featuring local ingredients like quinoa and fish and often a pudding or cake for dessert. For drinks, they'll provide boiled water and tea and coffee. Before you start your walk each day you'll be provided with snacks to pack in your bag like fruit and chocolate.

How fit do I need to be to hike it?

Walking the Inca Trail requires a good level of fitness but with a little pre-tour training it should be well within the capabilities of anyone who leads an active and moderately healthy lifestyle. It isn’t a race, you have the whole day to cover the distance and take in all the marvellous views and Inca ruins.

Before your trip we recommend doing some endurance training - walking up hills and climbing stairs are both great ways to get your lower body in shape. As you will need to carry a daysack each day on the trail, we'd also recommend that you add weight to your hikes to get used to it. To get used to walking day after day, doing a multi-day walk is also a good idea. And don't forget to wear in your boots before your trip! Learn more in our how to prepare for a walking holiday blog.

Altitude sickness is something a lot of people worry about, however by walking steadily, keeping well hydrated and drinking coca tea, most people encounter no problems. Your Explore Leader will be instrumental in getting you to the Sun Gate, so make sure you listen to what they are saying, and be open about any symptoms that you are feeling.

What do I need to pack for the Inca Trail?

Whatever the season, the weather in the Andes can be unpredictable, and you will need waterproofs, sun cream and sturdy walking boots with you everyday. We also recommend walking poles (they must have rubber tips) to help you keep steady on the uneven terrain and for the ascents and descents through the steep Inca ruins. The Inca people may have been short but they built their steps very big! 

Responsible Travel on the Trail

All of the porters and cooks for our tours are local people, often farmers, employed from the Sacred Valley area. We ensure that they are all paid fairly - being a porter on the Inca Trail pays much better than a farming job and one trip can often mean that they can support their family for weeks.

In 2018 non-reusable plastic was banned and the porters are asked to weigh their rubbish before and after the hike, to meet regulations. We only use designated campsites on the trail and all water is boiled. The food served is sourced from the local area - you'll likely have fish from the rivers and vegetables from the surrounding farms.

Inca Trail permit offer - Terms & Conditions

1. The offer is available on all bookings made between 1 September and 30 September 2019 on Explore small group and private trips that include the full Inca Trail trek.  We regret the offer cannot be applied retrospectively to existing bookings.

2. The offer is available on any available departure date in 2020.

3. All customers, whether booking directly with Explore or through a travel agent, are eligible for this offer.

4. The free Inca Trail permit is available on our trips that cover the full Inca Trail: PQ, PQA, PM, PMA, PE, PEA, FPT, FPTA and PJPQ.

5. Please quote “Inca Trail Offer” at the time of booking to qualify for the offer, or if booking online type “Inca Trail Offer” when asked for a discount code.

6. The free Inca Trail permit will be shown on your confirmation as a €140 (or equivalent currency) per person discount. Note that for Inca Trail treks, passport details are required at time of booking and a €140 (or equivalent currency) permit deposit per person must be paid in addition to the trip deposit.

7. The offer can be used in conjunction with the Explore loyalty scheme, the group discount offer and ‘Recommend a Friend’, as well as the Low Deposit offer (available from 5 September 2019).

8. The offer is subject to availability and there is no cash alternative. Note that we cannot guarantee availability of Inca Trail permits: if permits for your preferred trip date are unavailable we will offer alternative dates or a full refund.

9. We reserve the right to withdraw the offer at any time

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