WHICH TREK IS FOR ME?
We know you want to have the best vacation you can in the magnificent country of Peru. We understand that you are hoping to find the perfect trek that will take you on an amazing experience to Machu Picchu. At Andean Hikers Peru, we do our very best to help you choose which route is best for you, but no matter which trek you do with us, we assure you that you will have an amazing time.
Below are descriptions for each tour and trek:
Classic Inca Trail Trek 4D/3N:
The total distance is 45 km/26 miles. The highest elevation is called Dead Women’s Pass at 4,215 m/ 13,829 ft and the lowest elevation is Aguas Calientes, at the end of the trek, at 2,000 m/ 6,562 ft.
Considerations: There is no other trail that can be compared with this one, for many reasons: historical importance, gorgeous nature, fascinating ecosystems, and this is the only trail that brings you through the Sun Gate, into Machu Picchu. This trail is 800 years old, and was built by the Incas to travel from Cusco to Machu Picchu. It is considered to be the most important trail, that only the nobility were allowed to use during the Inca period. The path is paved with stones and stairs. Many Inca sites can also be visited along the way. The different ecosystems that you will encounter are stunning.
Many people talk about how crowded the Inca Trail is, especially with 500 people trekking per day. This is not necessarily true, due to the varied locations of the campsites. Andean Hikers Peru always chooses different campsites that allow you to experience more nature than crowds. Our guides get an earlier start than everyone else to make accommodations.
Inca Trail Classic Private Service 4D/3N:
This is the same trail as the group service mentioned above. The difference is in the level of service. This service is solely for you. You will have a private guide, a private chef, and private porters to carry everything for you. Trekking the Inca Trail is the experience of a lifetime. It is a challenging hike and if you choose to experience it on your own, or with close friends, this could be your best option. The food can be catered to your needs if you have a special diet. We also include foam and air sleeping pads, pillows, private toilet tents, warm showers and some alcoholic drinks. The final lunch is also included and will be at Indio Feliz, the best restaurant in Aguas Calientes.
Inca Trail Expedition 5D/4N:
The five day Inca Trail follows the same trail as the four day Inca Trail. However, they camp at different campsites than our four day group. Taking this trail allows for walking at a slower pace, which gives more time to enjoy your surroundings. You will walk shorter distances each day, and spend more time at the Inca sites. This trek also minimizes the chance of running into crowds. The highlight of this trek is camping at Phuyupatamarca, on the third night, where you will see stunning views of the surrounding mountains, such as Salkantay, Machu Picchu peak and Pumasillo. Another highlight is that you will arrive at Machu Picchu twice. On the fourth day, at 4:30 p.m., you will have the opportunity to take pictures of these famous ruins with the sunset in the background. Again, on the fifth day, you will be able to see the sunrise in the early morning, before the mists have lifted. This trek is highly recommended for families with children.
Inca Trail with Hotel 2D/1N:
The total distance of this trek is 15 km/9.3 miles. The lowest elevation is 1,900 m/6,234 ft, which is at the trail head at Km 104. The highest point is the Sun Gate, at 2,700m/8,858 ft. This trek travels to places at elevations lower than Cusco. Altitude sickness should not be a worry because the trek is located nearer the Amazon Jungle, where there is plenty of oxygen and humidity.
In just two days, you will be able to explore the Andes and arrive at Machu Picchu twice – once for the sunset, and again for the sunrise on the second day. This tour includes an accommodation at a hotel in Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is at an elevation of 2,600 ft., lower than the Machu Picchu complex. It is in such a remote area that it may only be reached by train.
Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu 5D/4N:
This alternative option is considered to be one of the best options. The total distance is 59 km /36.6 miles. It can be dusty and slippery in the dry season, or muddy and slippery in the rainy season. Either require good, waterproof hiking shoes. The highest peak is Salkantay Pass, which is above 4,650 m/15,255 ft, and the lowest elevation is in Aguas Calientes at 2,000 m/6,562 ft.
This trail is a bit more adventurous, with a great deal of nature to see. It is bit more challenging, but it offers fascinating history. You will pass through various ecosystems, and go directly into Aguas Calientes by foot.
Considerations: On your third night, you will stay at our best camping site, which overlooks Machu Picchu. You will get there during daylight hours to enjoy the sunset over the ruins, and then have the opportunity to see the sunrise the next morning.
Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu 4D/3N:
This is the same route as described above. However, it takes only four days to cover the same trek. The main difference is that on day two you will take a van for a portion of the trail to get to our campsite for the night. The campsite at Llacatapata (campsite overlooking Machu Picchu) is not included in this trek.
Lares Trek To Machu Picchu 4D/3N:
The Lares Trek goes through some of the most amazing countryside of the Andes. It passes through indigenous villages, where we will learn about the lifestyles of the local people, who still practice the ancient Incan traditions. We will see blue lagoons, free range llamas and alpacas and a potato farm. The highest elevation is Condor Pass, at 4,700 m/15,420 ft. The total distance traveled is 35 km/21.748 m. An important consideration is that the temperature sometimes goes below zero while at the campsites.
Trekking Packing List
- Passport (must match the one you used to book with us)
- Day pack (not more than 25L, or you will need to check it for the Machu Picchu tour)
- Water Storage: Camel back or bottles (recommended two to three liters of water storage)
- Waterproof, lightweight hiking shoes/boots
- Sleeping bag (-10 degrees celsius) – can rent from us
- 3-4 quick dry t-shirts
- 1-2 long sleeve layers
- 2 hiking/yoga pants
- Fresh undergarments for each day
- Warm jacket for nights
- Comfortable shoes for the campsite
- Rain jacket and pants
- Waterproof gloves
- Toiletries: Toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, sunblock, chapstick
- Bug spray
- First Aid: band aids, mole skin, Diamox, Tylenol, any medications
- Camera with batteries.
The weather changes often in Machu Picchu. Typically, during the dry season (April-November) the early mornings are foggy, and can be chilly. In the late mornings, the clouds clear and the sun comes out, so it can get quite hot. Layers that you can peel off or add on, are best. Sun protection, insect repellent and a good hat are essentials. However, please keep in mind that sometimes there is still rain in June and sunshine in December. A rain poncho is highly recommended, no matter what season you visit. When it rains, the ancient stones can become slippery, so having shoes with a good tread is helpful, and perhaps, a rubber-tipped walking stick.
The rainy season is from mid-November to mid-April, with February being the wettest month. The Inca Trail is closed during February, although the Machu Picchu ruins are still open.
Of course, weather is unpredictable. No matter what month you are in Machu Picchu, please make sure that you have rain gear, including a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves.
The temperature does not vary much throughout the year. The days will typically be between 15-20 degrees Celsius (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit). However, when the sun goes down, so does the temperature, due to the decrease in oxygen levels at this high altitude. You will need a warm jacket for the evenings in the city because it will fall to 1-5 degrees Celsius (35 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit).
If you are heading down into the Sacred Valley directly from the airport, expect warmer temperatures on both ends (about 10 degrees warmer).
NOTE: Please don’t go by what you read on weather-predicting websites regarding rain in Cusco. Cusco is also the name of the entire municipality, including all of the Sacred Valley, which includes many micro-climates. These sites are never correct for the area. The region is too big and there are many weather changes. Be prepared for anything!
WHAT WILL I CARRY?
Everyone Must Bring Their Own Day pack
Our team of porters will carry your duffel bags from campsite to campsite. These need to be packed up each morning, and will be waiting for you at your evening campsite. You will need to carry your own day pack while hiking, so these packs should be as light as possible. You only need the essentials as outlined below.
Water Carrier: At each meal we will refill your water supply with fresh, clean water, but you need to have a camel back or water bottles to carry enough for a few hours. You should always have between two and three liters of water to drink constantly. Hydration is the key to feeling well in the mountains.
Snack: Each day we will supply a snack for you (piece of fruit, cookie or chocolate). Feel free to also bring some snacks of your own, but don’t overdo the amount because this can add unneeded weight.
Layers: Most of your hiking days will be warm enough for short sleeves, but certain portions of each trek are at higher altitudes (especially during the Lares trek), so they will be colder. A fleece is always handy to have in your bag. Hat and gloves are advised, as well.
Rain Gear: While May through September are typically dry months, rain clothes including a jacket, pants, and waterproof gloves, are always useful. Rain can happen any time.
Sun Items: Hopefully there will be more sun than rain. Be sure you have a sun hat and sunscreen. Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are almost always hot.
Bug Spray: You will want a strong insect repellent with deet.
Camera: Be sure to bring one with extra batteries. There is no place to charge electronics, in the mountains.
Music: Whether its an iPhone or walkman, having something to motivate you during the hard parts of the hike can be helpful.
Toiletries And First Aid: Hand sanitizer, band-aids and Tylenol are always advised.
Toilet Paper: While trekking you may need to use the Incan Toilets (go behind a bush). Make sure that you have a small bag to dispose of any paper used.
Wallet And Passport: It is safer to keep these items on your person.
As far as the size of your day pack – Machu Picchu does not allow bags larger than 25L inside the citadel. This will be more than enough weight to allow for everything you will need while hiking. If you prefer a bag that is larger, it will not be a problem. You will just need to check the bag at Machu Picchu, at a safe area. It will cost three or five soles, depending on which area you choose.
WILL I GET WATER ON THE INCA TRAIL?
In the morning, you will only need to carry enough water to last you until the first lunch stop. At every meal, you will be provided with new, boiled water to refresh your bottles or hydration packs.