Walking the Inca Trail: FAQs


The Inca Trail has been coined in many guidebooks as the ‘best short trek in the world’. With a bit of training, almost anyone can walk the Inca Trail – but only with a permit. Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 and amazingly it appears much like it did when Hiram Bingham discovered the site over 100 years ago in 1911 due to carefully managed conservation programs.

How hard is it to walk the Inca Trail?

It’s not our most challenging trek, but you will be walking over hilly and rugged terrain with lots of stairs. Altitude is also an important factor to consider, with the highest point of the trail at 4200m. Our itinerary is very well paced to ensure you acclimatise safely. Expect to walk 6-7 hours a day, carrying only a day pack of around 5-8kg including your water, camera and clothing layers. The more training you do beforehand, the more you will enjoy your trek! We recommend 30 minutes of cardio activities 3-4 times a week in the two to three months leading up to your departure.

Can I walk the Inca Trail myself?

No, you need a permit to walk the Inca Trail. Only approved tour operators can obtain a permit.

Inca Trail Peru

Unique experiences along the Inca Trail – sharing the view with a new friend. Image: Bette Andrews

Why do I need a permit?

Machu Picchu stands much the same as it did hundreds of years ago due to its superior architecture and carefully managed conservation programs. Only 500 permits are issued each day to walk the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu. By the time permits are issued to porters, guides and other support staff, this leaves a limited amount of permits available for trekkers. Permits always sell out in high season, so it is highly recommended to book a minimum of 6-7 months in advance to secure a permit.

What if I can’t get a permit?

If you miss out on a permit, World Expeditions has developed several brilliant Inca Trail alternatives to ensure you can experience the magic of trekking through the Andes and the Sacred Valley of the Incas to behold the wondrous Machu Picchu as the finale.

How does World Expeditions do the Classic Inca Trail differently than other operators?

Travelling as a self sufficient expedition, our itinerary avoids the busy campsites, utilising our exclusive sites to relax away from the crowds. We ensure we tread lightly for minimal environmental impact using a zero litter policy, eco toilet system and an innovative scheme to reduce waste from plastic bottles.

What will I eat along the trail?

We provide a full service while on trek, including three hearty meals a day. Typically, you can expect breakfast to consist of muesli or cereal, eggs, local breads and pancakes and hot drinks. Lunch will generally be vegetables, salads, bread, cheese pasta style dishes, tinned fish and meats and are normally eaten picnic style. Dinner is always three courses and includes soup, seasonal vegetables, meat, rice or pasta and bread with some local specialities also in the mix. All evening meals are followed by desserts and hot beverages of course!  Our cooks are trained to provide excellent food for vegetarians and anyone who has a limited diet including those who are lactose or gluten intolerant.

Keen to walk the Inca Trail? There are several different itineraries to choose from – view all Inca Trail adventures >>

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