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It’s one of the world’s most iconic treks, and one of our personal favourites. The Inca Trail winds through gorgeous cloud forests to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, and it’s totally unforgettable. Find out everything you need to know right here!
Fascinating Facts about the Inca Trail
1. Inca Trail permits are strictly limited to 500 per day; roughly 300 of these are used by cooks, porters and guides, leaving only 200 permits a day for trekkers the world over!
2. The highest point on the Inca Trail is Dead Woman’s Pass (Warmihuañusca), standing at 4,215m.
3. The Classic Inca Trail is a tangential branch of a 45,000km network of Inca roads linking the whole empire to Cuzco.
4. Inca Trail permits are currently only released for sale one year in advance; the exact date that they go on sale is only usually announced 3-7 days beforehand. Make sure you’re booked on and have supplied us with your passport details ahead of the permit release date so that we can apply for your permit on the very day that they go on sale.
5. Llamas are friendly creatures standing up to 1.8m tall when fully grown and can be found grazing at several different stages along the Inca Trail. Remember to zip your tent up in the evening, or you may get a surprise visit from one of these inquisitive fluffy creatures.
6. When Inca Trail permits went on sale for 2015 and for 2016, they sold out for every date in May on the very day they went on sale, so keep a close watch on the permit release date as early booking is essential!
7. The Classic Inca Trail starts from Km82 (82km along the railway line from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes) and is 26 miles (43km) long!
8. Over the course of the 4-day trek, the trail passes through mist-shrouded cloud forest, open meadows and verdant rainforest.
9. The crowning glory of the Inca Trail is arriving at Inti Punku, the Sun Gate and getting that first glimpse over Machu Picchu, majestically perched on a mountain spur.
10. The last campsite on the Classic Inca Trail is Phuyupatamarca Camp, translated roughly as ‘cloud-level town’ – wake before dawn and you’ll see why!
Our Top Tips for Tackling the Inca Trail
Choose the right trip for you to make the most out of your Inca Trail experience. Exodus offers a wide range of itineraries that include the classic 4 day Inca Trail trek, but did you know that Exodus also offers The Salcantay Trek (an extended tougher version), and a Premium holiday; The Inca Trail in Comfort?
We’d strongly recommend booking early (at least 6-8 months in advance), ideally before the Inca Trail permits go on sale (usually at the beginning of October, but it’s rumoured this might be brought forward – so don’t delay).
It’s also important to make sure your passport is valid for at least another 6 months beyond the end of your stay in Peru. Take a photocopy of your passport at the time of booking and keep it safe – email a copy to yourself.
Get fit before you go: follow our training guide so that you enjoy the trek rather than endure it.
Pack light: but take mosquito spray, a head torch, spare camera batteries and a travel game.
For more info check out our kit list!
Browse our Inca Trail trips below and plan your adventure.