Package Details – Planning Your Trip to Machu Picchu
The high tourist season is between June and September (winter) with July and August being the busiest months. This is because these months coincides with summer holidays in Europe, North America, Canada etc. Book in advance. This is also the dry season in the sierra and jungle regions (Cusco, Machu Picchu, Titicaca Lake, Puerto Maldonado, Amazon jungle) with days being typically sunny and warm with little chance of rain.
Because of the proximity to the equator and the high altitude, the sun is very intense, bring good sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses and a hat. Trekking in shorts and t-shirts is pretty comfortable, however the temperature can drastically drop when the sun goes down. Always have a sweater or jacket and long pants at hand. Temperature at nights can drop to below freezing (27°F/-3°C) in August.
The summer months in Cusco from December to March, offer daytime temperatures to 85°F/30°C, milder nights (typically to 45°F/8°C) and plenty of rain. Waterproof clothing is highly recommended for this time of the year. The Inca Trail will be closed throughout February for maintenance and conservation projects.
Peru Festivals you might want to attend
Peru celebrates some 3,000 festivals a year. Most of them are held in homage to a patron saint and are part of the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar adopted in colonial times, although they have blended with the magical beliefs of ancient forms of worship. The most important festivals in Peru are:
New Year / January 1st.
Feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria (Virgin of the Candles), Puno / February 2nd
Virgin of Chapi, Arequipa / May 1st
Anniversary of Cotahuasi, Arequipa / May 4th
Inti Raymi, Cusco / June 24th
Anniversary of Huaraz / July 25th
Independence Day July / 28th
Anniversary of the city of Arequipa / August 15th
Peruvian Pace Horse National Contest, Trujillo / September 29th.
Inca Trail Clothing
The golden rules for your trip to Cusco are to travel light and to pack for a variety of conditions. Expect a wide range of temperature and precipitation, be prepared to deal with inclement weather, intense heat of the high altitude, cold Andean nights and humidity during the unique jungle transition area. We recommend to dress using several layers to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection rather than one thick and heavy jumper, this way you can add or remove a layer to remain comfortable as conditions change throughout the day. At all times, carry rain-gear in your day-pack.
Basic clothing list: underwear, thermal underwear (tops and bottoms), wool socks, lightweight hiking boots, sneakers for around camp, convertible hiking pants are useful, T-shirts, long-sleeved shirt, light rain gear (waterproof jacket or rain poncho), sun hat, bathing suit, gloves and ski-type hat.
Other Gear: Well broken-in trekking boots, Day pack, sleeping bag, water bottle, flashlight, sunglasses, sunscreen, personal toiletries, medicine/first aid, insect repellent. Sealable bags are essential. They will keep your t-shirts dry from moisture and will trap odors from your stinky socks at the end of the day. Your electronics should be in a sealable bag as well.
Optional: Walking sticks with rounded and rubber end, sewing kit, pocket knife, camera and film, binoculars, snacks and/or energy bars. Sleeping pad, tents, cooking equipment, water filter and communal camping gear will be provided.
Food during the Inca Trail
You will be surprised of the excellent high-energy meals served during the Inca Trail, this does not mean you should eat voraciously. Trekking at these altitude is very tricky and can affect your body in many ways, including your digestive system. We can provide vegetarian meals or cater for special diets at no extra cost. Please detail any dietary restrictions or requirements when making the Inca Trail Reservation and review these with the operations staff during the trek orientation meeting. Strict diets that includes speciality items must be provided by you as some of these items are unavailable in South America.
A variety of freshly-prepared foods are served during the program. Breakfast will usually be a selection or all of the following: scrambled eggs, hotcakes, bread, butter, jam, coffee, hot chocolate, english-tea or a selection of herbal teas (mate de coca for sure). For lunch and dinner you will always have a bowl of soup followed by a main course (chicken, beef or fish with rice or pasta). A dessert and herbal drink will be provided.
Snacks: You will be given – a piece of fruit, a chocolate bar, biscuits, hot drinks, popcorn, bread and jam.
Inca Trail Weight Limitation
The maximum weight that a porter can carry on the Inca Trail has been limited to 25kg / 55lb, this includes 5kg / 11lb of personal items. Porters are weighed at the checkpoint when begining the inca trail. This regulation is strictly enforced by authorities. The Inca Trail itself is an amazing adventure, it does not have to mean pain. By hiring the services of a personal porter you will definitely enjoy the trek at a grater level. Usually 1 porter between 2 persons is more than enough. If you are a solo traveler, you have the option to hire ‘half a porter’, that is to carry up to 10kg / 22lb, enough for your clothes, sleeping bag and pad. When hiring an extra porter, we will provide a duffle bag for you to put your belongins. Because the porter will not walk by your side during the trek, you should bring a day-pack for essentials.
Important note: You must decide if you want to hire the services of a personal porter when making your trek reservation since we need to purchase the porter’s inca trail permit. You cannot decide to hire a personal porter at a later date or once you arrive in Cusco.
Know What You Are Buying
Our Inca Trail Permit logistics allows us to secure trek pemits almost immediately after you have made your reservation and we have procesed your deposit transaction. You don’t need to wire money or pay other fees for transactions, the price you see published is the final price you will be paying. The fact that we offer online payments and have Visa, MasterCard and American Express authorization, our affiliation to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), our INRENA and Cusco Government Tour Operator Certifications gives you the guarantee of our seriousness.
Once in Cusco and one day prior to the trek, you will receive an important orientation meeting, we’ll review trek arrangements, trail gear and packing tips, tipping and other cash needs, and trail documentation requirements. We collect any balance unpaid from you at this time in cash. Bills must be in good condition (no rips or missing corners please).
Inca Trail Reservations office in Cusco is at:
Calle Choquechaca 229 – B
If you have last minute change of plans due to airline or bus delays, you must advise us immediately. Please contact us or our Cusco office directly for alternative arrangements.
In order to qualify for a student discount, we must receive a digital version (.jpg) of your ISIC STUDENT card. In the event that we don’t receive the scanned copy of the ISIC card along with your reservation form, we will process your reservation with adult price.
In order to qualify for a child discount (15 years and younger), we must receive a digital version (.jpg) of the child’s passport. In the event that we don’t receive the scanned copy of the passport along with your reservation form, we will process your reservation with adult price.
The best way for us to receive your documentation is by email as a digital file attachment (.jpg). Regulations for discounts are subject to change by the INC with no advance notice. Additionally, passengers MUST bring their passport and student ID on the trek; failure to do so may result in the INC confiscating the student ticket and denying you the right to proceed with the trek.
Optional Extras / Add ons:
We are pleased to assist you with additional tour extensions prior to and following your tour.
Social and Environmental Responsibility
At Inca Trail Reservations we firmly believe that responsible tourism is the only way of guaranteeing the sustainable development of this activity for present and future generations. We support the efforts of the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary Authority (UGM) to protect the environment within the park by measures which include limiting the daily capacity of the route, and enforcing a policy of 100% carry in/carry out.
As a result of this belief ever since we started, we involved the local communities and worked with them as suppliers of goods and services, helping them by contributing with medicines, school materials and sanitary issues. Tied in with this, was our commitment to the environment trying to minimize footprint and respecting the traditional way of life of the peoples through whose territory we passed.
Annually, we review our quantifiable goals to reduce the maximum possible levels of solid waste generation, pollution of water courses, the risks of fire and the disturbance of wildlife caused by our activities, products and services.
* When leaving Lima you will need to pay a $30.25 airport tax for the International flight and $6.05 for the domestic flight in cash at an airport counter.
* Tipping your guide and trek support staff is optional but customary. Bring along between US$25-$40 in local currency for this purpose.
Porters appreciate receiving donations of used clothing or toys that are in good condition, including children’s clothes.
Note: We reserve the right to make changes where necessary for the safety and comfort of trek participants. Additional expenses caused by circumstances beyond the control of the operator will be the responsibility of the trek participant.
Preparation – How fit you need to be to hike the Inca Trail
To trek you do not need to be an Olympic athlete nor a mountaineer but it is important to be relatively fit and in good physical condition before you start the Inca Trail. A few weeks of training, prior to arriving in Peru, will enhance your experience.
Try to spend an hour a day on the road. Walk upstairs rather than taking the elevator, if possible, walk or cycle when you would normally drive or ride a bus, take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Better yet, go on hikes in your area. Plenty of cardiovascular training is essential.
Being able to run a few miles each day without issues is probably the best single physical activity you should consider. Spend time on the stepper; you will be glad later when you are literally climbing up and down thousands of ancient steps.
While you are training you can also be breaking in those new trekking boots that may otherwise give you blisters when hiking the Inca trail.
High altitudes affect everybody in different ways, even a marathon runner may feel debilitated. When in Cusco, go visit some ruins in the surroundings, have a little jog, you will probably notice heavy breathing. This is due to the thin air at altitude, not your lack of fitness.
After a day or two of acclimatization, you’ll learn how much food your body can handle in a day, whether coca tea helps, or if acetazolamide is appropriate. Once on the trail, take your time, catch your breath, the Inca Trail is not a race nor a competition.