Is Machu Picchu or the Inca Trail on your bucket list? Now is the time to make this dream a reality! It’s the perfect time to book a trip to Peru for April, May, June or July – especially as Inca Trail permits are limited and the season in starting to fill up. Planning your trip now will also ensure your stay at some of the world’s best hand-picked, boutique hotels that have limited availability. Read on to learn about the Inca Trail and discover what makes Knowmad’s Inca Trail philosophy different.
what is the Inca Trail?
The Inca trail is made up of thousands of miles of road built by the Incan empire all throughout South America. The famous Inca Trail trek is 26 miles of Incan trail that takes you past ancient ruins, agricultural terraces, small indigenous communities, snowcapped Andean peaks and down to lush, green cloud forest ultimately arriving at Machu Picchu. It’s known, and rightly so, as one of the best treks in the world. This is the only trek that takes you all the way into Machu Picchu. The spectacular scenery, combined with arriving to the Inti Punku sun gate, and experiencing your first view of Machu Picchu after a 4-day hike, makes this an unforgettable experience. To top it off, Knowmad coordinates that you arrive at the site in the late afternoon when the light is best and the day trip crowds from Cusco have left. This means you will get to experience some very magical moments essentially by yourself at Machu Picchu, before returning back to the site the next day for a full day exploration.
You’ll need at least two days before the trek to properly acclimatize in the Sacred Valley (not Cusco, which is situated 2,000 feet higher than the Sacred Valley). Our Inca Trail & Beyond trip perfectly pairs the trek with a trip flow that allows for proper acclimatization plus unique off the beaten path cultural experiences and much more.
Sounds great! When should I go to peru to hike the inca trail?
You can hike the Inca Trail at anytime during the year, except for the month of February when the trail is closed for maintenance. Rainy season is from November to March, so many travelers like to hike the trail outside of that window. April, September and October are some of our favorite months because the rainy season is just finishing up and you are also right outside some of the busiest travel times in Peru. If you don’t mind hiking in the rain, December through March can be a wonderful time to go as well, as there are less people and the countryside is beautiful, green and full of wildflowers.
when should I begin planning to hike the inca trail?
As soon as possible! Inca Trail permits are currently selling out six months or more in advance, and this number is only increasing. Many popular hotel choices are fully booked nine months or more in advance. The bottom line is, the sooner you can get planning your Inca Trail trip and ultimately get your trip booked, the better off you will be.
Alright, I’m convinced! But, why should I hike the Inca Trail with Knowmad?
Below are a few ways in which we operate the Inca Trail differently, making for a much more enjoyable and authentic experience.
Route Simply put, Knowmad has designed a unique route that is a four night five day approach to the Inca Trail hike with a night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes (town below Machu Picchu) included and then a return to the Citadel the following day. This means that not only are you able to see Machu Picchu both in the evening, when light is best for photos and when there aren’t crowds, but you’re also able to see in the early morning and have a well-rested full day to visit what truly is one of the world’s most stunning places. This contrasts the typical three night Inca Trail where crowds race to Inti Punko (Sun Gate) to see a sunrise that really doesn’t exist (Machu Picchu is in a cloud forest and the Citadel sits in the shadow of Huayna Picchu Mountain) and jockey to get a photo amongst throngs of hikers. This is the antithesis of what the spiritual pilgrimage on the Inca Trail is meant to be. Equally important, is that this itinerary structure allows us to avoid crowds throughout the hike.
Campsites Our outfitter team is able to use smaller, more remote campsites in most cases. They have been handpicked and have very private and stunning locations. This means big views and serene nights on the trail, two things we hold in high regard here at Knowmad.
Food All of our Inca Trail trips have a dedicated camp cook with years of trail cooking experience. Meals are most often cooked with the majority fresh ingredients that are locally sourced and organically grown. We even sun dry our own tomatoes!
Gear Expedition grade three-person tents for two people, shower tents, compostable toilet tents and full above-ground backcountry toilets, plush full-sized Thermarest pads, and both a cooking and dining room tent should the weather turn are just a few of the differences between our gear and most teams you’ll find on the Inca Trail and other Peru multi-day hikes.
Attention to Detail Waking up to hot mate and cookies along with a warm towel and a hot soapy (biodegradable) wash basin sitting outside your tent makes all the difference after a hard day’s hike. We do the little things that together make a big difference in your experience in Peru.
Compassion Our team has years of building relationships with local indigenous communities that are employed in many faculties of the operation. In addition to our team’s social projects in Peru everyone from your head guide to porters is compensated above the government standards and the average of other operations. All members of the team are treated the same; with dignity, compassion and respect. It is the expectation that travelers extend this same treatment to our staff, and if that is not your intention we kindly ask you to work with another company. Nobody does the Inca Trail like Knowmad Adventures!
Don’t JUST Take Our Word For It
Read the reviews below to get a taste of an Inca Trail trip and Machu Picchu tour with Knowmad through the eyes of a traveler.
“Our guide Wilfredo had such a passionate connection to the trails, the Incan sites, and the history that he shared with us. And, it seemed like there was no joy greater for him than to share this with us. At pinnacle locations, he pulled out a flute that he had made himself and played for us. He created such a heart-felt connection with our group. Truly, one of the most unforgettable people I have met while traveling.”
– Mary F., Custom Peru
“This trip ranks as one of my favorite trips ever! The Inca Trail was challenging but rewarding, filled with breathtaking vistas and amazing sites brought to life by Max – he was so knowledgeable and I appreciated having a local guide. We avoided most of the crowds due to your unique itinerary.”
– Lauren & Rakhee, Inca Trail & Beyond
“I wanted to let you know again how much we enjoyed our trip. We felt all the people we interacted with were great. All the connections were prompt, on-time, and courteous. We appreciate your help in setting up a great itinerary. We saw other groups on the Inca Trail and were continually happy that we were doing the itinerary that we were and were not doing the shorter trip.”
– Susan & Jeffrey, Inca Trail & Beyond
We build private and custom trip at Knowmad Adventures, if you’re interested in crafting your perfect Inca Trail trip and Machu Picchu tour talk to one of our Peru trip specialists today! You can give us a call at 612-315-2894 or email [email protected] for more information.
Hasta Pronto, Knowmad Adventurers
Knowmad Adventures works closely with independent-minded travelers creating innovative trips to South America. Our specialists in Patagonia, Chile, Machu Picchu, Peru, Argentina, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Antarctica are eager to collaborate and create a trip as unique and authentic as you are, and our experienced South American operations team guarantees you get an insider’s perspective, superior values, and a flawlessly operated trip.
Note: This post was originally posted on June 4, 2014 and was adjusted to include the most up-to-date information on September 28, 2016.