How to Hike the Inca Trail in Peru

I hiked the Inca Trail and traveled around Peru for two weeks in September 2008. I loved the experience and the country.


  • The entry rules to Machu Picchu changed in 2017. Please be aware of this when booking your travel, even if you aren’t hiking the Inca Trail.
  • Choose a responsible tour operator that treats its porters well (here’s a good resource). We went with Peru Treks and they were amazing!
  • Book your Inca Trail hike far in advance (there are limited spaces available). The trail is closed during February, which is the height of the rainy season. Avoid hiking in the rainy season, which runs from November to April.
  • The second day is tough.  You can hire an extra porter for that day to carry excess stuff if needed.
  • Bring the appropriate amount of cash to tip your trekking staff (make sure you have the right bills–there’s no change!).
  • Don’t overpack your daypack for the trail hike
  • Don’t stay four days in Arequipa unless you are hiking Colca Canyon

Must Do’s:

  • Hike the Inca Trail, don’t just take the bus from Aguas Calientes
  • Spend time in Cusco, a beautiful city

If I had more time:

  • I would have spent more time in Lima for the food and ended my trip at a beach.

Itinerary and Packing List:

Download the file here.

Recommended reading: 

  • Last Days of the Incas
  • The Other Path: The Economic Answer to Terrorism