Before you travel we recommend that you check that you have adequate health insurance, travel insurance and personal insurance to cover the needs of yourself and your family in case of loss of baggage, accident, theft or death. Please note that most standard travel insurance policies do not cover trekking at altitudes above 3000m, you will need to request higher altitudes as an extra.
For all treks and tours
- Departure and arrival times are approximate
- Campsites are subject to change according to the designation of the governmental institution regulating the use of the Inca Trail, as well as to our guide criteria and the group progress
- Challenge and levels of difficulty vary from trek to trek but we recommend an acclimatization period of at least 2 days in Cusco or at elevations above 3000m/9840ft beforehand
- At 5pm on the day prior to the trek, there is an important orientation meeting with your guide. We review trek arrangements, trail gear and packing strategies, health and dietary matters, tipping and other cash needs, and trail documentation requirements. We distribute your trail duffel and sleeping pad. If you’ve rented a sleeping bag from us, we give it to you then so you can pack your duffel, ready for the departure early next morning. We also review passengers’ air reservations, so we can reconfirm your onward flights.
Inca Trail Permits:
Since 2004, the number of trek permits for the Inca Trail is limited to 500 per day (about 200 visitors and 300 trekking staff) so if you want to do this trek it is VITAL to book well in advance. For the high season (May to September) it advisable to book at least 6 months in advance to guarantee a place. Permits are sold on a first come, first served basis, and once all places have been booked, NO trekking operator can offer you a space on the Inca Trail. There is no system with a waiting list. All spaces are personal and non-transferable and even if someone would cancel, no one else could take that space. Campsites are also allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, so if you want Wiñay-wayna for your 3rd night campsite, you should be amongst the first 300 bookings, or we may not be able to offer you this campsite.
Even in the low season you should book as far in advance as possible. Please note that the Inca Trail is closed in February of each year for maintenance. Machu Picchu remains open and can be visited via one of our alternative treks or tours.
IMPORTANT – government regulations will not allow reservations to be made unless accompanied by full passport details of the client and full payment of the entrance fee to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Therefore to guarantee your place on any Inca Trail trek or tour you must provide a scanned copy of your passport and a non refundable deposit. Your reservation will only be confirmed when we have your entrance ticket in our hands. In case of passport number change this information must be relayed to us or you will lose your booking. Original passport must be carried on trail.
Expected Weather in Cusco and on the Inca Trail:
n Cusco dry season starts in April to October, the days are usually sunny and hot but temperatures drop abruptly after 4-5 pm until 7-8 am.
Weather is very changeable from November to March and heavy rains are expected, with the wettest months being December to March, although is not as cold as it is in the dry season.
*Please note this reference applies to the altitude of 3400 meters and changes depending on the altitude (higher altitude = colder). Also note that it could be wet on the 3rd and 4 day of the Inca Trail (cloud/wet forest regions).*
We recommend that you bring:
- Original passport (and International Student card* if applicable)
- Travel Insurance
- Sleeping bag (can be hired from us)
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Warm jacket
- Hat and gloves
- Comfortable trousers
- Small towel
- Sun hat
- Sun cream (factor 35 recommended)
- After-sun or hydrating cream
- Insect repellent
- Water (only for the first 4 hours of the trek) & Water Bottle
- Personal medication
- Camera and films
- Torch or Headtorch with spare batteries
- Tissues & Toilet paper
- Thermals for high altitude treks
*To qualify as a student, it is necessary to have a valid ISIC card
Optional items to bring:
- Walking stick (with rubber tip)
- Plasters and bandages
- Extra money
- Bathing suit (for hot springs)
If you are interested to know more about the Inca Trail, Cusco and Machu Picchu, Photo Tours Peru recommends the following books:
Lost City of the Incas,
The Story of Machu Picchu and its Builders
by Hiram Bingham EXPLORATION • 2001
This classic account is a gripping story of exploration, archaeology and natural history — and still an outstanding overview of the site itself. With original expedition photographs. Originally published in 1952.
The Inca Trail, Cuzco & Machu Picchu
By Richard Danbury GUIDEBOOK • 2005
A practical guide to planning and walking the Inca Trail with good maps, lots of travel information, photographs and a brief overview of Inca culture and history. Not just for those hiking the Inca Trail, it’s an excellent compact guide to Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lima and surroundings. This fully revised second edition includes the seven-to-ten day hike to Vilcabamba.
The Incas, People of the Sun
by Carmen Bernard EXPLORATION • 1994
This jewel of a book features hundreds of archival drawings and photographs, a chronology and long excerpts from the journals of early explorers. It’s a guide to the ancient monuments, daily life of the Incas, and history of exploration.
The Incas and their Ancestors, The Archaeology of Peru
By Michael Moseley ARCHAEOLOGY • 2001
An outstanding survey of the archaeology of the Inca, Moche and Nasca civilizations. With hundreds of color illustrations and line drawings, it’s an in-depth look at the ancient cultures and history of Peru, the best general introduction to the subject.
Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary,
by Peter Frost & Jim Bartle. Nuevas Imagenes, Lima, 1998. Color photos and text about Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.
by Peter Frost. Nuevas Imagenes, Lima, 1999.
A guide to the Cusco region with detailed chapters on Machu Picchu and the Inca trail.
A Field Guide to the Birds of Machu Picchu,
by Barry Walker, illustrations by Jon Fjeldså. Profonanpe, Lima 2,001.
All the birds you will see (375 species!), and everything about them, fully illustrated in color.
Machu Picchu, the Sacred Center,
by Johan Reinhard. Instituto Machu Picchu, Lima 2002.
A scholarly look at Machu Picchu by the famous high altitude archaeologist, through the lens of Inca religion and mountain worship
A Field Guide to the Birds of Peru
By James Clements • Noam Shany • Dana Gardner (Illustrator) • Eustace Barnes (Illustrator) FIELD GUIDE • 2001
A comprehensive field guide to the birds of Peru with color plates illustrating almost 1,800 species. Long-anticipated, it covers the diversity of birds and habitats from the Amazon to Andes and Pacific coast. Admirably compact, short descriptions of each species focus on identification, habitat and distribution. With a gazetteer of localities and both English and Spanish names.
You will find more information about the Inca Trail, Cusco and Machu Picchu at the following website: