High Inca trail or Moonstone Trek?

Hi, we're really struggling choosing between these 2 treks. I know they are both as challenging due to the higher altitudes, and longer days. Can anyone clarify further on the last day of the High Inca trail. I know this is where it gets busy, and is most crowded, in addition to being the hardest part of the trek, due to the steps. Do all the groups camp at the same spot, and share toilet facilities? I've read a ton of reviews, and the toilet, and mess situation is terrible within this area. What time of the day do we get to Machu Picchu, and is there time to explore the citadel on our own? As for the Moonstone trek, as we don't finish at Machu Picchu, is there sufficient time to explore independently without the group, and how easy is it to get there? What are the camping facilities like on both these treks, and the best time to go, April, May or June? Any personal experience, advice, or selling points is much appreciated! Many thanks X

Hardest part of the High Inca is Inca Chiriasqa Pass and Dead Women's Pass.
The first three nights you are camping alone which is amazing
When you join the Classic Inca trail on day Day 8 you will camp with other groups but the camp sites are spread out so we never heard anyone around us
Toilets are not that bad. I have seen a lot worse
We walked through the Sun Gate at around noon but you will return to Machu Picchu the next day and will have as much time as you need.
May or June would be fine  Hope this helps Below is a link to my review of the trek



Thanks for your response! The review was very helpful and informative. Could you tell me if there is any scrambling, or is it mostly continuous steep inclines and steps? Are there any other points to make point of and remember? Many thanks.

I recently walked the High Inca Trail, and there is no scrambling involved anywhere along the route - there are some steep inclines, and lots of steps on the Inca trail, particularly on the last day as you make your way from Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu. I'd certainly recommend talking walking poles to save your knees on the steps and also for extra support on the descent off the Inca Chiriasqa Pass which is quite gravelly and can be slippery if there is snow or rain.

With The Moonstone Trek, you don't finish at Machu Picchu, but the Inca Trail trekkers do not really have any longer to explore the site than those who have completed the Moonstone. On the final day of the Inca Trail, the trekkers enter the site, and there is time for a short photo stop before they descend to Aguas Calientes (aka Machu Picchu Town). They do not explore the site any more than this until the whole group (Inca Trail and Moonstone trekkers) return the following morening for a guided tour and free time to explore the site independently.

If your choice is between the High Inca Trail and Moonstone, then it really comes down to how long you want to trek and camp - they're both of a similar difficulty level, and both have a similar number of days in remote surroundings but the total length of the High Inca Trail along with the extra 200m or so of altitude does make it slightly more challenging.


Hi there! Many thanks for your response. We've already decided on the High Inca Trail, and have already provisionally booked our place! Just researching flights for best times and prices, but no doubt will have more questions nearer our departure! Very excited...but a tad nervous!!!

That's great news - I have to say it's one of the best treks I've ever done because of that mix of quiet mountain walking at the start then the more historical walking as you join the main Inca Trail. As Michael says above, even when you do join the main trail we plan the timings so you're not starting each day with the bulk of other trekkers, so it doesn't feel too crowded. Let us know if you have any more questions as you get closer to the departure - I'm always happy to answer anything that comes my way! Thanks - Tim


We've booked on that for August.  When are you going?

I'm a little nervous too!!

We chose the Moonstone option specifically when we went in May 2011 on the Inca, Titicaca and Nazca Lines tour.   Much more remote  and certainly spectacular.  Wasn't then touristy.  There were 5 of us looked after by one guide and 4 porters.

 More flexible in terms of what can take as horses do the portering rather than people.  As with any of these do take walking poles

On last day of trek have  a relaxing lunch in Ollantaytambo and then the train to Aguas Calientes for late afternoon and then rejoin the others


Highly recommended as an active choice when you have the option

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