inca trail temperature and weather
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  Inca Trail
inca trail holidays

Location: The Inca trail is North West of Cusco city and ends in Machu Picchu. The path is 42 Kms (25 miles) long and the starting point can be reach by road or train.

Climate: The temperature along the Inca trail changes a lot, during the day it is very sunny and warm; but in the night it is cold. From June to September, temperature drops close or below 0°C on the first two nights; but the last night is cool. It rains from December to March, but you should expect light rains the rest of the year, specially on the 2nd and 3rd night.

Surroundings: The sceneries change a lot along the trail. The first two days, you will see snow-capped mountains, valleys, forests and rivers. The third day is more tropical with lagoons and lush vegetation. It's amazing how fast it changes. Along the path you will see llamas, hawks, lizards, and more rarely deers.

History: The Inca trail is the remains of one of the paths to Machu Picchu. This path wasn't for the transportation of products, people or animals, it was used for religious purposes as a pilgrimage done by the Inca king, the royalty and the priests. Along the path, they built many ceremonial sites to worship the snow-capped mountains as Veronica Peak. They considered the mountains as gods and protectors of the Inca people and their towns and cities as Machu Picchu.

Inca Trail (4 days / 3 nights):

Many hikers from the whole world come to Peru, not only to visit Machu Picchu, but also to hike the Inca trail, one of the most interesting treks in the world, not only because the challenge, also because the beauty of the sceneries, the ruins along the trail and the mystery at the end of the path.

There are 3 alternatives to get in Machu Picchu by the Inca Trail. They are the Long Inca trail (7 days), the Classic Inca trail (4 days) and the Short Inca trail (2 days). The most popular is the 4 days and 3 nights trek. The 7 days hike is not only very long but very high, and it connects to the 4 days trek on the 5th day, so the last 3 days are the same on both trails. On the Short Inca trail you only hike the first day and don't camp but stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes town to tour Machu Picchu on the second day.

The following is the description day by day of the 4 days and 3 nights Inca trail that is the most popular.

The 1st day:
You leave the city of Cusco early in the morning, with your backpack and full of excitement. In the bus are other hikers like you, and also porters who will help you to succeed in this challenge. After 3 hours of bus ride, you will get at Piscacucho (a.k.a. Km. 82), the beginning of the trail. There you have to register yourself at the check point, and then, the only obstacle between you and Machu Picchu is 42 kilometers of mountains, valleys, rivers and forests.

NOTE: It's mandatory to present your original passport at the check point at the beginning of the trail, so don't leave it in the hotel. If you have booked a student ticket, you have to bring also your International Student Identity Card (ISIC).

It takes 2 hours to reach the lunch site, on the way you will see the first Inca ruins on the trail, Llaqtapata ("The town above the terraces"). From the lunch spot the path goes through a smaller valley shaped by the Kusichaca river. It takes 2 more hours to reach the Wayllabamba campsite at 3,000 meters above sea level (9,840 ft.). There you will dinner and sleep in tents. My advice is to watch the stars in the night, it's amazing, you can see the milky way and different constellations, including the Southern cross.

inca trail hiking expeditions

The 2nd day: The porters will wake you up at 6 am to pack your stuffs and breakfast. Then you have the whole morning to reach the highest point of the whole trail, the Warmiwanusca pass ("Dead woman's pass"). The name is due to the shape of the mountain that looks like the face of a woman who is laid down. It takes 4 to 5 hours to reach the pass, the whole way is uphill and in some parts there are steps. You will ascend 1,200 meters (3,960 feet) that is the altitude difference between the campsite from where you start the hike this day and the pass at 4,200 meters (13,860 ft.). But it is worthwhile, the sceneries are beautiful, and once you have conquest it, you will forget about the rest, you will be proud of yourself too.

Advice: You can hire a porter to carry your backpack to the top of the pass or to the campsite, I suggest to do this if you don't feel prepare to deal with the extra weight and the altitude. Pay him well, at least 15 US dollars. You can arrange it with your tour guide but pay the porter directly to avoid misunderstandings.

At the pass you can rest for a while, usually the groups gather again there. It's usually very cold and windy, so bring some warm clothing with you if you give your backpack to a porter. After a short rest, you will continue downhill for one hour and an half more until the Pacaymayo campsite. There you will eat and rest until next day.

The 3rd day: The porters will wake you up at 6 am again. After breakfast, you will hike to the second pass, it's lower but steeper than the one the day before. On the way up you will stop at the Runkurakay site, there is an Inca ceremonial site. Then you will continue for another half hour to the top that is at 3,950 meters (13,000 ft.) above sea level. The whole climb takes one hour with a half hour stop at the Inca site. On the way up you will see two lagoons. Sometimes deers come to the lagoons to drink water, but it rarely happens.

From the Runkurakay pass (2nd pass), the path is downhill to the lunch site. On the way you will tour the Sayacmarca Inca site. After lunch the trail goes up and down, the hardest part is a long section of steps down. This part of the hike is the most beautiful though. You will tour other 3 Inca sites, Phuyupatamarca, Intipata and Winaywayna next to the final campsite. You will also pass through two tunnels done by the Incas on the rocky slopes of the mountains. Also, the path takes you through the cloud forest, there the sceneries and the forest are totally different than the days before. The views are breathtaking.

inca trail sites

Finally, you will reach the Winaywayna campsite in the late afternoon, don't get too late there because it gets dark at 5:30 pm. There are showers with warm water (never hot) and you can also buy a cold beer at the campsite, but don't celebrate too much, remember that it's still one day left and you have to wake up very early next day.

The 4th day: The porters will wake you up at 4 am, when the sky is still dark and the sun hasn't raised yet. Once pack and breakfast, you will start to walk when it is still dark, so don't forget to carry your flashlight. After 1 hour and an half, you will reach Inti Punku (Sun's gate), from there you are able to see for first time Machu Picchu, like in a dream, among clouds, like a mysterious treasure. My advice is to wait there if it's still cloudy, and wait for the sun. It will rise behind the mountains and you will see how the sunbeams light Machu Picchu up. It's only half hour more to the Inca's citadel, leave your backpack in the luggage storage and discover all the secrets of this mysterious site.

Tours to the Inca trail:
# days
Type of tour
Price US$
Inca Trail Tour
Machu Picchu Explorer
Inca Journey
Inca and the Amazon
Inca Explorer
Peru Mysteries
Amazon Adventure
Peru Discovery
Peru Panorama

Also, it is available in all our Private tours.

Current Inca Trail Regulations:
First of all, it's compulsive to take a tour or hire a professional guide to hike the Inca trail. Also, no more than 500 people per day are allowed to start the Inca Trail. This number includes all support staff (ie. porters, cooks and guides) and it applies to the Long (7 days), Classic (4 days) and Short Inca trail (2 days) all together. Once this limit of 500 people is reached, the trail is effectively closed off for the day and no further bookings can be made.

Reservations are not held on the trail and all permits to trek must be bought as far as possible in advance with complete and correct passport information, to which no modifications can be made. This passport information will be used to identify yourself as you enter the check point at the start of the trail and throughout the hike. If this information does not match the information you have submitted at time of booking, then you will be subject to delay, fine, and/or cancellation of admission to the Inca Trail.

What do you need to bring?
If you take a tour, it includes everything except sleeping bags, backpacks and personal items as clothing. But if you will do it by yourself with a guide, you will need also tents, mattress, burners, propane gas, a kitchen set, a first aid kit, and food for 3 days.

It's important to bring a raincoat or rain-jacket for the rainy season (November to March). In regard to clothing, we suggest hiking shoes or boots, long pants, t-shirts, a cap or hat, a fleece and a jacket for the cold.

Other items you should bring are flashlight, batteries, toilet paper, tooth paste, tooth brush, your personal medicines, and a medium size towel, remember you can shower at the 3rd campsite. Also, bring sun-block and insects repellent.

As regards water, you can buy bottles of water on the first two days, on the third day you have to purify water from streams. You can use purification pills or iodine.


"I liked just about everything. In general, the whole trip was perfect and exceeded my expectations." Kevin Baly (USA, Connecticut)

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