What you need to know

The Inca Trail is rated as one of the top 5 treks in the world. 100% bucket list worthy, Contiki are proud to provide travellers with access to this awesome experience as part of our newest adventure, the 8 day Ultimate Inca trip.

So, "what happens now?", we hear you ask! We’ve put together this guide of information for travellers planning to take the trek, from what to pack, to what to expect. Read on & get ready for the adventure getting you in & amongst the great outdoors, with an awesome Contiki group dynamic like no other.

How does the ultimate Inca trip work?

The Ultimate Inca is an altogether new way to explore this incredible spot. This 8 day experience will spend 4 days on the trail, and 2 days experiencing the sights & sound of colonial Cusco and 2 days exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Space to trek the iconic Inca Trail is in high demand, with a limited number of spaces each day. In order to maximize the opportunity for our travellers to take the trek as a group, we have created a flexible itinerary, where the days that we take the trek may vary from the itinerary.

If we need to alternate the itinerary to accommodate, rest assured that all destinations as specified in the itinerary will be visited as part of the 8 day Ultimate Inca trip, but the 4 day hike may be on different days. On the occasion that spaces on the Inca Trail are sold out, one of the area’s alternative treks* will be offered at the time of booking. You will be advised of your itinerary in advance of your trip but it will be just as incredible an experience.

*Campsites on occasions are subject to change, according to the designation of the governmental institution (Ministerio De Cultura) that regulates the use of the Inca Trail.

The route, distances & altitude

This 3 night journey will overnight at the following spots, where pre-erected tents will be set up & ready for you to rest your head!

The Inca Trail is considered a moderate hike and while no special equipment or training is needed there are many Inca staircases to walk up and down, and the altitude may affect some individuals. We do recommend some physical conditioning before joining the trek. Additional equipment like wooden walking stick (no metal tips please, they are not allowed on the trail) sleeping bags and air mattresses are available for rent from our Cusco office.

Night 1 Wayllamba (3000m)  |  Night 2 Pacarriayo (3600m)  |  Night 3 Winay Wayna (2600m)

*Campsites on occasions are subject to change, according to the designation of the governmental institution (Ministerio De Cultura) that regulates the use of the Inca Trail.


Daily trek distances will vary

Weather, seasons & bookings

The Inca Trail is closed for essential maintenance during February each year. Peak season is March to October, so booking in advance is key!

The temperature can vary throughout the year, but generally year round it can reach a maximum of 22 ºC or 73 ºF with minimum temps ranging from -1 ºC or 30 ºF (July) to 7 ºC or 45 ºF (Dec – March). We advise to keep an eye on weather websites in advance of your trip. During June, July & August it’s recommended to pack a 4 season sleeping bag as nights do tend to get cold.

To ensure you get your spot, we advise to book 03-06 months in advance for travel between March to July, and 06 months in advance for travel between August and January of the following year (although it is still possible to get permits within shorter timescales based on availability).

Essential information

When you book your trip (as early in advance as possible) it’s essential that the passport information that you submit with your application is exactly the same as the passport you will use to travel to Latin America & it must have 6 months validity at time of travel. You will also need your passport to enter onto the trail. You will need to provide the following information from the passport that will be used at time of travel*:

All information listed below as appears on your passport:

Nationality   Full name   Passport Number   Date of birth   Gender   Date of Issue   Expiry Date

*The passport at time of booking will be the only document accepted at the entrance of the Inca trail, if at time of travel another passport is used the governmental agency that verifies Inca trail permits, void the ticket and entrance to the Inca Trail will be denied and no refunds will be given.

What else? The Peruvian Government closely controls the number of travellers on the trail, with only 500 permits available each day. Inca Trail permits are non-refundable & non-transferrable. (Contiki will process your application on your behalf within 3 days of booking but we cannot guarantee permit availability).

Luggage storage

For the 4 day Inca Trail Trek, it’s recommended that hikers take a small day pack, for snacks, your camera & water for the daily treks. Due to tight governmental regulations and our commitment to fair working conditions, hikers are permitted to bring 5kg of personal items for the trek. A pack will be provided for these overnight essentials (*included in this weight are your sleeping bag and sleeping pad). This bag will be carried by our porters during the 4 day trek. As this bag will be with the porters during the trek, please note you won’t have access to your items until the evening, so please pack accordingly. Please note there no showers on the trail.

Your main luggage will be stored at the hotel in Cusco during this time

What to pack

Here are some of our top tips on what to pack for your Inca Trail Trek, pack lightly but remember to bring items to cover you in all weather conditions. Who wants to find themselves up a mountain with no sunscreen for hours on end or no waterproof jacket in a tropical storm?

Passport & cash

Daypack (to carry your personal necessities during daily trekking)

Sleeping bag (also available for rent for $15.00USD per day)

Comfortable trekking shoes or boots (well broken in)

Waterproof clothing (such as a rain jacket & pants)

Layered clothing (for variable weather conditions)

Small towel & toiletries

Personal medication & basic first aid kit

Water bottle (reusable for environmental concerns)

Sunscreen, sunglasses & hat (wide brim for full coverage)

Dry shampoo

Insect repellent

Antiseptic hand sanitizer

Torch / Flashlight



T-Shirt, Long sleeve shirt, Convertible pants or zip off pants (for the trek are best), Sweater or fleece, Hydration pack (1.5 liter or more), Bandana (optional), Bathing suit (optional), Sandals (optional for camp use), Binoculars (optional), Thermal underwear, Headlamp, Ear plugs, Walking poles (optional, must be rubber-tipped)


The Inca Trail Trek is an experience of a lifetime, an amazing 4 day adventure that will be like no other. It’s not just the stunning surroundings that you’ll remember but also your group & the people who led you along the way. That’s why at Contiki, Porter welfare is important for us. The Porters are the vehicle used to carry your bags and all that’s needed on the 43km trek now that horses, mules & llamas are banned from the trail. We ensure that our porters are fairly paid and fairly treated, respected & well looked after.

Whilst on your trek you can help us on this mission by ensuring your bags are within the weight allowance set out by the government and by including the Porters as part of your group. They teach you some basic words & share fascinating stories of their traditions, land & history. Once your trip comes to a close as you reach Machu Picchu remember to thank the team who helped you along the way! And finally, if you feel you’ve received an excellent service leave them a tip to show your appreciation.

What you'll eat

For the Inca Trail Trek, breakfast, lunch and dinner are included while on the trail. Meals will be a mix of continental breakfast items, pastas, sandwiches, soups, salads, vegetable and meats. We will try to accommodate special diets such as gluten free and vegetarians.

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