Most Asked Questions About Inca Trail The Borderless Project


1. Do you need to book ahead?

YES! It is recommended that you make a reservation for the Inca Trail and pay for your entrance fee well in advance.


Bookings should be done :

December, January, March: 3 – 5 weeks in advance (approx)

April, October, November: 6 – 8 weeks in advance (approx)

May, September: 2 – 3 months in advance (approx)

June,July ,August: 3 – 4 months in advance (approx)

 In February, the trek is closed due to rain, but you can still visit Machu Picchu.


The number of trek permits is limited to 500 per day (about 200 tourists and 300 trekking staff). This includes the 2 and 4 day treks as well as the Salkantay 7 day trek. The estimate is that there are approximately 160 trekkers per day on the 4 day trek, 25 on the 2 day trek, and 15 on the 7 day trek.

You can check availability of the Peruvian Government’s website.


2. Do you have to book through an agency?

Since June 2002, trekking independently on the Inca Trail has been prohibited. Regulations state that each trekker must be accompanied by a professionally qualified guide. The UGM (Unidad de Gestion Machu Picchu),is the regulatory body responsible for controlling access to MP and the Inca Trail. Companies must meet certain basic requirements proving that they have professional guides, good camping equipment, radio communications, and emergency first aid including oxygen.

Go to:… for a comprehensive list of licensed operators.


3. What is the cheapest way to visit Machu Picchu?

The normal backpacker train cost this year 44 USD one way , but yes it is possible to go cheaper,although its not sure,you need time and in high season there is also a waiting list. More information here: How To Get To Machu Picchu


4. Is it possible to use a ticket under someone else’s name?

No, you will only be allowed to enter with a ticket under your own name, and you will need to show your valid ID (passport) to enter. (Make sure you get the Machu Picchu stamp in your passport at the entrance!)


5. Are there alternative treks?

Yes, there are several!


Short 2 Day Inca Trail To Machu Picchu – Easy to Moderate

Inca Jungle To Machu Picchu : Easy To Moderate

Mollepata – Salkantay – Machu Picchu 7 day trek – Moderate to Difficult.

Mollepata – Salkantay – Santa Teresa – Machu Picchu 5 day trek – Moderate to Difficult

Ausangate 6 to 7 Day Trek – Moderate to Difficult

Lares Valley To Machu Picchu 4 Day Trek – Moderate

Choquequirao 4 to 5 Day Trek – Moderate

Vilcabamba 7 Day Trek – Moderate


6. Is there a limit to the number of visitors allowed to enter Machu Picchu per day?

There is technically a max capacity for the number of guests allowed to enter Machu Picchu each day, though it is not enforced (proof? the average visitors per day has often exceeded it). If you are unable to do the Inca Trail trek (or any of the alternatives), you can also just do the ruins. Stay overnight in Aquas Calientes and take the first bus up to the ruins in the morning, which will also let you in before the average 1500 visitors start arriving on trains. If you plan to take the train in or out of Aguas Calientes, make sure to book these tickets in advance.


7. What is the two-day Inca Trail like?

The shorter two-day Inca Trail is for trekkers with limited time on their hands, or who just want to take things a little bit easier. This trail starts at km 104 and ascends to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna before continuing on to Machu Picchu. Since you don’t have much time at Machu Picchu on the first day, most people spend the night at the town of Aguas Calientes and return to Machu Picchu again the following day. This trail is subject to Inca Trail regulations, and trek permits must be reserved well in advance.


8. How much does it cost, and where do I book?

Prices for the 4 day group service Inca trail trek generally range between US$300 and US$400 per person including entrance fees and return on train (you can almost double these figures if you buy the trek with a tour agency outside Peru even though the service is the same). This price includes the Peruvian sales tax known as IGV which is currently at 19%. A US$30 discount is offered to students who have valid ISIC cards, and to children under 16 years old. This is the standard service offered by most tour operators in Cusco and is the most economic way of hiking the Inca Trail as part of an organized group.

Although services can vary from operator to operator, generally speaking, the following services are included: Bus to the start of the trek, bilingual guide, assistant guide for groups of 9 or more, entrance fees (US$60 adult or US$30 student), tent, sleeping mattress, meals, porters (to carry the tents, food, and cooking equipment only) and a return ticket to Cusco on the Backpackers Train service (typically costing US$46). The following items are not usually included: Breakfast on day 1, snacks along the trail, tourist bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes (US$6), meals on the final day after breakfast.

A private trek is a more comfortable option, but will cost more as well. Additional items such as porters to carry your personal items are usually included in this service. Typical costs (per person) provided by a medium range tour operator are: 1 person: US$1000, 2 persons: US$650, 3 persons: US$550, 4 persons: US$450, 5 persons: US$400, 6-9 persons: US$350, 10-12 persons: US$325, 13-16 persons: US$300

These costs include entrance fees and return on the basic backpackers train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.

Prices can vary considerably from company to company, depending on the quality of the service and what is included, and the sky is truly the limit in terms of the range of experiences possible.


9. What is the cost of an extra porter, and how much should you tip?

As mentioned above, porters trekking with your group are there to carry larger supplies, but it’s up to you to carry your personal items. If you’re looking to get assistance with those too, an additional porter can be hired separately for between US$60 and US$80 for the entire 4 day trek.

Generally speaking, if the entire group is pleased with the service, then try to ensure that each porter takes home an extra US$6. You’ll also want to consider tipping the cook US$10, the guide US$20, and the assistant guide about US$15. A typical group of 14 persons with 12 porters (12 x 6 = $72), 1 cook ($10), 1 guide ($25) and 1 assistant $15) would receive a total of $122, which works out at a tip of about $9 per person.

Remember, the above figures are just a guideline. If the food that the cook served up was inedible, and you couldn’t understand what the guide was talking about, then don’t feel obligated to tip them. They’ll soon get the message. and hopefully improve their services. Don’t, however, take your dissatisfaction out on the porters who were probably working hard throughout the entire trek.


10. What is the weather on the trek, and how should I pack?

Make sure to give this article a read: Before You Go: Things To Know About Cusco And Machu Picchu Weather


11. Just how tough is it? How fit do you have to be?

You should be in decent shape, though what that means is hard to define. It is a common misconception that because many people do the Inca Trail then it must be easy … it depends what you consider ‘easy’. The trail is 45km (26 miles) long and involves great physical exertion to complete. On the second day, you’ll climb nearly 1200m (about 4000 ft) in the morning. Combined with high altitude (lack of oxygen) and extreme weather (you can easily burn in the high altitude sun during the day and temperatures can drop to below freezing at night) the trek can be hard work. However, all this will make the final arrival at Machu Picchu all the more enjoyable.


12. What about altitude sickness?

You definitely need to acclimate before heading out on your trek, and there are a few things that can help you to handle better the altitude. For example, chewing coca leaves and “mate de coca” tea is an easy, age-old approach to tackling altitude sickness. Another great recommendation is to rest when you just arrive in Cusco, and stick to a strict no smoking, no drinking mantra for a few hours. (This article has a few additional tips: Hacks And Tips About Machu Picchu.)


13. How many people are in the groups?

The maximum allowed group size is 16 persons. Normally, the group tours are between 12 and 16 persons.


14. What does the trail look like in the peak season?

It could get a little bit crowded, but with the regulations in place, there is enough space for everyone.


15. Are there toilets on the trail?

Toilets have improved a lot in the last couple of years and all of the larger campsites have toilet blocks with flush toilets and running water. On the whole, they are kept pretty clean. If you do need to go to the toilet between campsites, the do so well away from the trail and water supplies; dig a hole, cover anything you leave behind with a rock, and take the paper with you in a bag to deposit it in one of the several bins along the way. There are hot shower facilities are Wiñay Wayna on day 3, although they usually go may uses between cleanings.


16. Last minute question: they spelled my name incorrectly on my Machu Picchu ticket, does this matter?

Name misspelling, wrong date, these minor detail actually won’t cause you any trouble upon entering. Because Machu Picchu has no limit of visitors per day, you can visit this awesome place at any time if you have a ticket. It can be challenging for Spanish speakers to get the spelling of your name right, so they’re forgiving of issues like this, as long as the passport number is accurate. Double check this bit of data before leaving wherever you purchase your ticket from, and make sure to rectify any errors as soon as you spot them!



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