Hiking the Inca Trail

“Perfect if you want to hike the Inca Trail as part of an independent vacation, this fully supported trek provides excellent guides and guarantees fair conditions for porters.”

Highlights

Llactapata ruins | Huayllabamba village | Hiking along Inca steps | Saycamarca ruins | Wiñay Wayna | Approaching Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate

Travel Team

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Departure information

Daily departures throughout the year (closed in February) Please note: Hiking the Inca Trail should be booked 2 to 3 months in advance and at least 4 months in advance if you wish to trek between June and September inclusive, due to high demand.
Our top tip:
This tour takes you straight up to the Inca Trail. The more days you can spend acclimatising at altitude before departure, the easier you
Trip type:
Small group, max. 16 people. Min. age 12.
Activity level:
Challenging.
Accomm:
2-person tent with sleeping mat.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Private tents available with surcharge.
Included:
Tents, guides, personal porter, Inca Trail permit, transfer from Cuzco. Sleeping bags not included but can be hired.
Meals:
All included. Vegetarian options available if booked in advance.
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Avoid disappointment - book your Inca Trail vacation in time

Over the last few years, the Peruvian government has imposed increasing restrictions on tourism on the Inca Trail in order to protect it from overuse.The aim is to minimise ecological impact and erosion, mainly by having limited access and improving the quality of the operators. There are now only a very limited number of trekking permits available - 500 per day (around 200 for travelers and the rest for staff) - and they are being issued on a first-come-first-served basis. In order to avoid disappointment we recommend booking well in advance (up to a minimum of 3 months in peak season), unless you are extremely flexible over your travel dates.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
For hiking the Inca Trail we buy fresh local produce. In preference we choose local over imported goods, encouraging the use of Andean products in our cooking. On our Inca Trail treks we minimize waste by using products with minimum packaging, leaving no litter and keeping all water sources clean, leaving camp-sites cleaner than we find them. Rubbish is carried out.

We are involved in the ongoing training of our trek staff. All our porters on hiking the Inca Trail carry a maximum 20kg load, and are provided with tents and food. We pay and treat our staff fairly. We support the Tourism Concern Porters Policy. We support Ninos childrens health care project in Cusco. We are happy to distribute your donations of much needed warm clothes and shoes to Peruvian children through this organization - please contact us for details of how you can help.

We actively support several community projects in Peru. We operate Hiking the Inca Trail together with a Cusco company, owned and managed locally. On the Inca Trail we employ local staff, who are paid fair wages. We provide insurance to all of our porters. Tented accommodation and meals are provided for trekking staff as well as foam mats and sleeping bags and rain ponchos. We have also provided them all with trekking shoes (although they may chose not to wear these). Our porters carry a maximum of 20kg.

Clean burning fuel is used to cook the meals on Hiking the Inca Trail and porters carry gas stoves and butane bottles. We use biodegradable detergents when washing the cooking and eating utensils. If any part of our tour or trek is operated by another company, we try to ensure that high standards are maintained.

And we are planting trees as part of a reforestation project in Peru.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

We are continuing to undertake community projects such as clothing and school equipment donations. Each year we donate some money to the communities our Inca Trail porters come from.

Currently we donate in the region of USD$1000 at the start of each school year. We ask the community what is most needed and usually we are asked to provide materials (books, pencils, paper etc.) for the children and the local school.

Most of the porters are farmers and cannot afford to pay for all of the materials their kids require for school. By hiking the Inca Trail you are directly helping the families and communities of your porters.

Also, since 2006 we have been able to support the Huchuy Yachaq community project in the marginalised neighbourhood of Hermanos Ayar, on the outskirts of Cusco, with the help of everybody who has travelled with us. We donate USD $3000 a year to this community project.

The project has been set up by volunteer social workers and teachers to provide much needed social and educational support to the children and families of this neighbourhood. Children are encouraged to attend study and games sessions held each afternoon and participate in vacation projects. Our contributions so far have paid for educational books and games, tables and chairs, improvements to the structure of the basic community owned building and the addition of functioning toilets, materials for the children to take to school, school books, vacation programmes.

Climate

8 Reviews of Hiking the Inca Trail

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 12 Apr 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


We walked the Inca trail and not knowing how we would do at altitude it was a pleasant surprise to feel fine.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The vacation provider really organised a good trip and the organisation was excellent.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes they are very careful to carry out all their garbage and we stayed and supported the locals along the way.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A great experience.

Reviewed on 04 Jun 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The staggering scenery throughout the trek, and the sense of achievement reaching the tops of passes, especially to look at Machu Picchu.


2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring hand sanitiser and wet-wipes. Don't try to bring too many luxuries with you
- embrace the experience!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Efforts seemed to be made to reduce environmental impacts. I am not sure about the other items, since there were a handful of "middle" companies involved before you got to the staff.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Superb!

Reviewed on 05 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Reaching the top of Dead Woman's Pass on the second day - that was the highest and most difficult point so it was a real feeling of achievement.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Slow down and enjoy the views! The hike was less challenging than we had anticipated and so we were able to take our time and not rush too much. I had considered using walking poles but in the end I was really glad that I didn't bring any along as I didn't need them at all. Also, you don't need to carry much water with you as you can buy it along the way and the porters can provide you with a refill every morning.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - for our group eight porters, a cook and a guide were all employed from the local area so it was helping local farmers to supplement their income. The porters were also very careful to make sure that everyone on the hike was respecting the local environment and leaving as little trace as possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Great fun and an amazing experience. Thank you to our brilliant guide, the incredibly athletic and dedicated porters and to the guys in the UK who organised the trip for us; everything was perfect.

Reviewed on 16 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The most memorable part of the trek was on Day 2 where we hit the highest point of the trail at 4,732m. We encountered a small hailstorm when we were heading down. Fortunately, the hailstorm subsided after we break for lunch. We were greeted by wonderful scenery throughout the trek.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Because of the high altitude, it is advisable for trekkers to give themselves at least 3 days to acclimatise. Having a basic level of fitness would be ideal to allow for better appreciation of the whole trekking experience.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Every trekker can do his/her part in protecting environment. We have amongst us in the group people who picked up plastic bottles that were thrown along the trail. And by supporting the local crafts and visiting the area (without destroying the natural beauty of the trail), we can provide livelihood to the locals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I'm generally happy with the vacation and would give it a 4/5 rating.

Reviewed on 27 Sep 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


A difficult question as the whole trip was memorable and exciting, but I think that the first view of Machu Picchu from the Sungate was probably the highlight!
However our homestead stay on Lake Titicaca was a really memorable part of the vacation. We stayed on Amantani Island and our hosts were extremely kind and welcoming to the 5 of us and as our guide was as useful as a statue, they looked after U.S. And had us to the right place at the right time! It was a humbling experience that we would not have missed.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Leave the Inca trail to the last part of your vacation and give yourself lots of time to acclimatise to the altitude! There is no way we could have managed the trail after a couple of days as we all suffered some symptoms from the altitude.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Local people definitely benefited from our trip, with the people on Uros, Amantani Islands and other guides and craft sellers getting business from us.
From the beginning, we were given advice from our guides about looking after the environment and generally most people respected these guidelines.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was the chance of a lifetime and we grabbed it with both hands! A fantastic experience and I cannot recommend it enough!

Reviewed on 05 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The view, it was breath taking from start to finish.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Warning about day one sleeping at -10 in front of Salkantay mountain.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?




4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Great! Great tour guide, great chef. Happy days!

Reviewed on 06 Oct 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


As well as the great trekking and superb scenery, the strong point of this trek is that it visits villages in the highlands of Peru and shows something of the way of life of local communities. One of our guides came from a village that we walked
through, and we saw people in traditional (but everyday) costume herding llamas and alpacas in the mountains.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


As a reasonably fit 68 year old, I found the passes at over 4000 metres quite tough going in spite of having spent a week at altitude before starting. I would advise anyone to be well acclimatised before doing this kind of trek.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. The partner company in Cusco uses local guides and helpers, and has a good reputation for supporting local communities. Camping in villages also brings them money and support.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very well organised, well supported, a tough walk at times but certainly well worthwhile. I would recommend it to any reasonably fit person who wants to see the scenery and the life in the mountains near Cusco, and/or wants an alternative to the oversubscribed Inca Trail.

Reviewed on 14 Sep 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Great experience. Lots of exercise! Beautiful views and sites throughout. The guide, camp chef, and porters work really hard to make the trip enjoyable.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


For this trip we purchased a Sawyer personal water filter, and can't imagine doing without for travel in the future. Healthier than purification tablets. Reusable for 100,000 gallons of water. Saves all of those wasteful plastic bottles.
Also bring a wide-brimmed hat, good suncream, bug repellent, 2 rolls of toilet paper, and a pack of wet wipes (good for daily deodorizing).
Rent two walking sticks unless you are in awesome shape. Saves the knees and catches any falls.
Tip your guide, chef, and porters well! An extra amount means little to us but a lot to them. At the end of the trip, donate any shoes or equipment that you may not need in the future.
Ideally spend 3+ nights in Cusco before the trip. I have a sulfa-allergy and didn't want to take the acetazolamide (altitude medication) in case of a reaction, and it took me 5 days in Cusco before I felt normal.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


All contact staff, guide and porters were local.
Camp food was locally sourced (and surprisingly delicious!).
Would have liked to see less plastic use (snack baggies could have been paper).
Would like to see local drink/snack vendors along the way have beverages in glass recyclable containers if possible. Or recycling barrels at these sites.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Great. Was a bit apprehensive that I could do the trek and manage the altitude, but so glad to have done it now!

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