Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Tours & Tickets

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Stages of the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is obligatory for any visitor to Peru. Its 26-mile span is a microcosm of the country's historical and natural diversity! Here are the main places you'll stop during the course of the trail.

Photo: funkz@flickr (CC BY 2.0)


This is where the story starts! Meet your guides in the village of Mollepata, a beautiful, snow-capped setting.

Photo: Felipe Ernesto@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Salkantay Pass

The highest point of the Willkapampa range in the Andes, this is a comparatively peaceful route on the Inca Trail.

Photo: Esme Vos@flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Relax and enjoy Andean biodiversity, with plants used by the Inca for medicinal and nutritional purposes. There may also be time to indulge in the hot springs at Santa Teresa!

Photo: G M@flickr (CC BY 2.0)


The "hummingbird village" is the first ancient archeological site you'll see on the trail. It includes a military hill fort and a religious shrine.

Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu

It's what you've all been waiting for - the most iconic part of the Inca Trail. Climb the mounds and prepare to be astonished!

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Our Tips

When is it open?

You can access the trail at all times of the year except February, when routine maintenance is being done.

When is the best time to go?

High season is from April to November - since it's in the southern hemisphere, Peruvian winter falls from around May to August. Temperatures during this time can go below 32 degrees.

What should I wear?

It goes without saying that decent walking boots are a must. You should dress in light layers. Since the trek takes place over five days, you will want to keep what you're carrying to a minimum. Snowfall can also occur at high altitudes during winter, so make sure you have a good coat, hat, gloves, and other winter-appropriate attire if you choose to go during this season.

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    The trail is open all year, except February.
  • What is the price?
    The entrance fee is about $45, tour guides vary in price.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Absolutely, hikers are prohibited from trekking without one. Might be worth it to check out our great tours.
  • How to get there
    You'll need to take the bus to kilometer 82, along the railway from Cusco to Aguas Calientes.
  • Additional tips
    ** Make sure to do your research and plan ahead, only 500 permits are issued per day. | You need to be fit to hike the trail. | Don't forget extra shoes, bug repellent, sunscreen, and a poncho, among other things!*

What People Are Saying About Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Hard work but beautiful scenery all the way through

This was tough work, but really worthwhile. The mountain scenery was spectacular, and the highlights were the lake at the end of day one, and reaching the high point of the pass at 4600m on day two. A word of warning: you do need a reasonable level of fitness, and ideally to have spent a few days at altitude to acclimatise. I´m pretty fit and I´d been in Cusco for three days, but it was still really hard work at times. The last 11km on Day 4 was less interesting, as we walked along train tracks for most of it, so the scenery was worse, and the walking was more difficult. And Machu Picchu was one of the highlights of the trip. One disappointment was that we almost left without two of our group on the last day as the guides hadn´t checked who was in which group. Another annoyance was that there were a lot of small costs along the way - for a shower, toilet paper, the cooks, etc. It would have been a lot easier to combine everything.

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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
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Cover photo: Martin Lang, CC BY 2.0