Inca Trail FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

The 4 Day Inca trail to Machu Picchu

The 4 day Inca Trail is considered to be among the 10 best treks in the world and rated on 2nd position by Lonely Planet. What makes the Inca Trial unique is when hiking over the 500 year old Inca stone-pathways you pass through 7 ecological zones, from the Sacred Valley up to the Death Women’s pass at 13,000ft descending into cloud forest, where orchids grow abundant.
Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions about the Inca trail the we have collected from our clients over the years, we also have a section with General Information about the Inca Trail.

Frequently asked questions.

If the Inca trail is sold out, can I wait to see if someone cancels in order to get an Inca trail permit?

No, once the permits have been sold they never become available again because someone has cancelled.

Where do we start the trek?

We pick you up from your hotel in Cusco or the Sacred valley. Your guide will co-ordinate the exact details during your Pre-Trek briefing at our office.

What time do we get back to Cusco after the trek on day 4?

It depends which train you return on. The earliest you can be back in Cusco is 19.30pm when taking the 15.20pm Vistadome train.

How many people will be in my group?

In an open shared service group there will be a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 16. When there is more than 8 people in the group we provide an extra guide. Our average group-size is 8 people.

Will the Inca trail be too difficult for me?

The Inca trail is a difficult trek and if you are worried that you may struggle then you may need to prepare yourself for it. You can also make it easier by spending a few days in Cusco before you depart (3 or more days). If you are not in good shape then you should think about doing the 2 day Inca trail instead.

Do I need trekking poles?

Trekking poles make trekking long distances much easier on your legs by spreading the work throughout your body. This is why experienced trekkers use them. If you have never used poles before you may find them awkward to begin with but they will help you overall.

Do I have to have trekking boots?

It is not obligatory and you can walk the Inca trail using good quality running shoes if prefered. You will get tired during the trek which is why ankle support is recommended. During the rainy season water will enter running shoes and may be uncomfortable.

Do you cater for special diets?

We provide meals according to your requests and you can inform us on the online reservation form. Our regular meals are prepared to supply you with plenty of energy for the trek while at the same time being very tasty. 

Will I need water purification tablets?

No. Water purification tablets are needed for water taken from streams or lakes, which we advise against drinking. We provide you with plenty of boiled water at meal times. You will however need to bring 2 litres of water for the first morning of the trek.

What happens if the trek is cancelled?

It is highly inprobable that the trek will be cancelled. Sometimes there are roadblocks from local protestors and we may need to travel to the start of the trek early. This is another reason why you should give yourself a few days in Cusco before your trek departure. You should be covered by insurance for any unavoidable cancelations for circumstances out of our control.

Can children do the trek?

Children will be fine walking the Inca trail but we recommend private service, which will allow you more flexibility and a more personal service, especially with younger children.

Is the trek safe in the rain?

The Inca trail is safe in the rain. The trail is a stone path which doesn't become muddy and slippery as do the alternative treks available.

What if I can't finish the Inca trail?

It depends on where you are on the trek. If you decide you want to leave the trek on the first day or early on the second day then one of our trek team members will guide you back to the start. Past this point it will be quicker to keep on going to Machu Picchu. If you return to the start of the trek then we will help you get to Machu Picchu town to meet up with the rest of your group once they arrive. You will of course need a hotel in Ollantaytambo and to also buy a train ticket to get to Machu Picchu town, which you can buy at the station in Ollantaytambo. If things get very serious then we can bring in a helicopter to carry you out, which is another reason why you should take out good travel insurance.

What if I can't keep up with the rest of the group?

Our guides are very patient and understanding. You can walk at your own pace that suits you without the worry of being left behind. 

Backpack (Carry it or rent porter help?)

If you are hiring porter help then we will provide you with duffle bags in which you can put your clothes, sleeping bag (3kg) and sleeping matt (1.5kg) with no more than 7kg per person (see the Porters, Guides and Cooks section). You will then need a day pack to carry your personal belongings, snacks and water. If you decide to carry your own back-pack then only take what you really need (see the What to bring section). Remember that you will have to carry your back-pack around when you enter Machu Picchu for your guided tour or climb Huayna Picchu Mountain. (Note: Porter help is included in Private service groups).

Where do we store our Luggage/Suitcases?

Most hotels in Cusco offer luggage storage and will store it until your return to Cusco. If you prefer we have a lock-up at our office in Cusco.
The Sacred Valley
If you stay at a hotel in The Sacred Valley the night before your departure then you will ba able to leave your uggage at the hotel. On your return train journney you will need to disembark at Ollantaytambo and return to your hotel for your luggage. If you wish to take the train all the way to Cuscothen you can ask your hotel/hostel to send the luggage to our office in Cusco or to a hotel/hostel in Cusco.

How much money should I take on the Inca trail?

We recommend taking S/.300 to S/.400 (Nuevo Soles). Money is expensive to change or withdraw at Machu Picchu town. This takes in to account that you have sufficient emergency money to take a train if you have to return to Ollantaytambo.

What is the difference between the Vistadome and Expedition train - Peru Rail?

There is very little difference between the train services. The Vistadome train has windows in the ceiling supposedly giving you fantastic views, but some people say the views are just as good on the Expedition train. A lot of people prefer the seating on the Expedition train and so the vote is out as to which is a better service. There is one main advantage: The train journey from Machu Picchu town to Poroy (near Cusco) takes just over 3 hours and the sun goes down at 6pm all year round. If you choose the Expedition return at 16.43pm then you will not have as much daylight as with the Vistadome train that departs at 15.20pm.

Peru Rail policies regarding luggage: 1 bag or backpack must not exceed 5kg/11pounds and/or 62 inches/157cm (length + height + width).