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Best Time To Hike Inca Trail


Best Time To Hike Inca Trail

Best time for the Inca Trail you must keep in mind several aspects such as whether you feel comfortable going with a group of people or prefer to go alone; The climate, the temperature is very important in addition to the resistance you have when traveling long routes. Take into account that the Inca Trail requires good physical condition, and if you are willing to venture on a new trip, we can accompany you and help you plan your trip.

On the other hand, it is also important to know the appropriate season to be able to do the famous Inca Trail, remember that if you want to do the tour you must make your reservation in advance.

The Inca Trail has managed to become not only the most popular trekking in the country of the Incas but also one of the most demanded in all of South America. With its unique mix of ancient ruins, fascinating history and beautiful Andean mountain landscape that takes you to Machu Picchu, it attracts trekking lovers from all over the world.

As Peru managed to become one of the most visited countries in South America, planning your trip in advance is very important. This also applies to the Inca Trail. Knowing the best time to do the Inca Trail is very important so that you can plan accordingly and make the most of your trip to Machu Picchu.

You’re planning to book a trip to Peru soon and are fascinated by the idea of hiking the world-famous Inca Trail. We inform you that you must reserve months in advance because tickets sell out quickly.

Best Time To Hike Inca Trail
Best Time To Hike Inca Trail


When to go to the Inca Trail

As you plan your vacation, one of the biggest questions you will ask yourself will be “when to go?” Without a doubt, time and climate will be an important piece in your final decision.

The Inca Trail is located in the Cusco region of Peru, and it can be quite difficult to get an accurate weather forecast. The weather here is a bit unpredictable and you can often experience all 4 seasons in an hour or two. That being said, there are rainy and dry seasons during the year, which most trekkers prefer to travel through.

Along the route, the weather is generally mild year-round. On the Inca Trail, you will find that the climate is very varied, from cold and high altitude sectors to warmer and jungle parts.

To help you decide the date you will visit our incredible country and explore this wonderful journey, we have prepared the definitive guide to the weather on the Inca Trail. You will not only find a month-by-month overview, but also some tips to help you get the most out of your vacation.

Best Time To Hike Inca Trail
Best Time To Hike Inca Trail

Dry Season vs. Rainy season

Inca Trail Rainy Season

Cusco’s rainy season usually begins in mid-November and continues until the end of March. In these months, the number of tourists on the trail is significantly lower than in the dry season, making it more attractive to some hikers.

In November, conditions are still more than good for doing the hike and demand is not as high. The heaviest rains usually begin in December, while January and February are by far the wettest months (especially February).

In February the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance. However, Machu Picchu remains open to visitors. The beginning of March can also be quite rainy, but the rest of the month is similar to December, meaning it can rain almost every day, but not a lot at a time.

In April there is the change from wet season to dry season and the weather gradually improves. However, light rain is still possible.

Inca Trail Dry Season

The dry season in the Andean mountains is from May to October. During these months you can expect plenty of sunshine and blue skies. May and June are usually warm and dry months that offer green landscapes, since the rainy season ended shortly before.

The demand for permits for the Inca Trail increases significantly, especially from April to August due to good weather conditions and vacations in other countries. Permits can sell out more than half a year in advance, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly.

These are the busiest months in Cusco not only because of the holidays but also because of national holidays, such as Inti Raymi (the Festival of the Sun) in June and Peru’s national holiday in July (July 28). So, apart from international travelers, many nationals visit the city of the Incas.

In general, from July to October the air is drier, the temperatures are cooler and the landscapes are not as green as in May or June.

Best Time To Hike Inca Trail
Best Time To Hike Inca Trail

Make your booking in advance

As with many other high-demand hiking routes around the world, the Inca Trail requires you to make advance reservations well in advance: six months in advance if we want to visit during off-peak dates, and six months to a year if we want to visit. We want to do it from May to early September.

Acclimatize to the altitude

If you want to complete the Inca Trail satisfactorily, it is very important to consider this point. You may have asked yourself, where is the Inca Trail? Well, you will reach 4,200 meters above sea level through the Andes Mountains until you reach Machu Picchu, so we recommend being in the city days before to better adapt to the altitude.

Some people may experience symptoms of altitude sickness: headache, dizziness, nausea, lack of oxygen, among others; If you present one of them, notify your guide and take the necessary precautions during your visit to Cusco. Don’t ignore the symptoms and don’t put pressure on yourself to continue if your health is at risk. Remember that each person reacts differently.

Prepare yourself physically for The Inca Trail

You should know that the Inca Trail involves long walks; Therefore, it is essential to be in good physical shape before embarking on the tour and enjoy it to the fullest. We suggest you take walks prior to the day of your trip and have a balanced diet to improve your physical condition. This will help you enjoy the tour to the fullest and overcome the challenges of the Inca Trail more easily.

Additionally, staying hydrated is also essential for your hike; drink enough water and avoid dehydration. Remember to listen to your body during training and rest appropriately.

Best Time To Hike Inca Trail
Best Time To Hike Inca Trail

Availability for Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail

Permits for the 2024 Inca Trail will be available in October. However, trekking companies are already making reservations. If you want to do the Inca Trail in 2020, you can reserve a date of your preference and inform your trekking company about a second option. Trekking companies will always try to get permits for your preferred date, but as there are only a limited number of permits available, it’s good to have a second option in mind. There are 500 permits available per day for the four-day Inca Trail. Because this number is divided between tourists and staff (guides, porters and cooks), there are only 200 permits available for tourists, as the other 300 are for staff.

There is a shortage of permits especially in the months of May to September. As summer approaches in the northern hemisphere, thousands of people prepare to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Are you one of them or do you prefer the short Inca Trail? For the short Inca Trail (two days), there are 250 permits available per day. They are generally available for much longer, but they also sell out quickly. In this case, we also advise you to make the reservation as soon as possible. What if none are available? Don’t be sad because there are alternatives like the Salkantay and trekking through the Inca jungle. As you will read in this blog post, the alternatives are often even better than the classic Inca Trail.

Places to visit near Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo)

Machu Picchu local museum

Located near Puente Ruinas (the bridge to Machu Picchu), you can walk to this place for 20 minutes from Aguas Calientes, or if you have completed Machu Picchu, you can ask the bus driver to take you to the bridge. There is a fee to enter the museum (7 USD).

Butterfly House

It is located on the highway from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. The Butterfly Station is just 10 minutes from town. You will be able to learn many interesting facts about local butterflies and take photographs. Entry to this place costs 10 soles.

Putucusi Mountain

In addition to Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountain, there is also a steeper mountain called Putucusi mountain. You don’t need an entrance ticket to go up Putusi, but we highly recommend going with a tour guide. You need at least 3 hours to complete the hike of this mountain and enjoy the magnificent view of Machu Picchu.

Mandor Gardens

This beautiful place is just 1 hour walk from Aguas Calientes; From below you can see birds, orchids, waterfalls and Machu Picchu. It would be best to visit Mandor, preferably accompanied by a guide.

Thermal baths

Located in the upper part of Machu Picchu Pueblo (also known as Aguas Calientes), they can be accessed by a 15-minute walk from the city; These natural hot springs are perfect to visit if you have a free day in Aguas Calientes.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Time To Hike Inca Trail


The climate of Cusco has two well-defined seasons during the year, the dry and rainy season:

The dry season between April and October, with sunny days, cold nights with frost and an average temperature of 13 °C.

The rainy season, between the months of November to March, the average temperature in this season is 12 °C. On sunny days the temperature reaches 20 °C, although the light mountain wind is usually cold


The best season for the Inca Trail is during the dry season between the months of May to September, however, July and August are the months that the Inca Trail receives the most visitors.

For reasons unknown to us, many people choose these dates to travel to the city of Cusco, in order to hike the Inca Trail. Don’t forget that before any trip you must acclimatize in Cusco and Go Treks Peru gives you some recommendations on how to acclimatize in Cusco.

It is important to make reservations in advance because although it is true there are 500 spaces designated for the Inca Trail Tour, these spaces include the porters and guide staff.


The season with the least influx of visitors on the Inca Trail occurs between the months of October and April.

NOTE: During the month of February, entry to Machu Picchu is restricted due to rainy season problems, which are used this month for the respective maintenance of the seventh wonder of the world.


Basically this decision will be made by you, determining costs and time according to your travel plan, remember to take into account your preferences regarding crowds, weather and temperature.

Doing the Inca Trail in the month of March is usually a good decision, although it is still in the rainy season, it does not rain much. This will give you cool days and pleasant temperatures; unlike the dry season, when the days can become very sweltering and somewhat difficult for walking. Do not forget that at least you must prepare physically at least 6 months before the Inca Trail Tour and book in advance to avoid disappointments and bad times.

How much does the entrance to the Inca Trail cost?

To enter the Inca Trail that leads to Machu Picchu, you will have to hire an authorized tourism agency. You can only enter with a permit processed by those agencies.

How much does it cost to go to the Inca Trail? The Inca Trail tour to Machu Picchu for 4 days costs approximately 620 Dollars and is reserved 6 or 7 months in advance. The tour may include transportation, guide, entrance fees, camping, chargers and utensils.

How long does it take to do the Inca Trail?

The classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu takes 4 days to travel its almost 40 kilometers. On this route you will visit archaeological sites such as: LLactapata, Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñaywayna and Intipunku (Puerta del Sol) which gives the entrance to Machu Picchu.

The short Inca trail takes 2 days, because it covers the last kilometers of the classic route. Like the classic route, this route can only be traveled by hiring an authorized agency.

What is the best month to go to the Inca Trail?

The most pleasant times of the year to enjoy the Inca Trail and witness the best weather are April and May or September and October. These months are calmer in terms of tourists. In addition, the environment is remarkably pleasant with little rainfall. However, many tourists like to plan their excursion based on other attractions in Cusco, and June is the best month of the year for this, because the anniversary of the imperial city is celebrated and you will always find something to do, including incredible recreation of the Inca Inti Raymi festival. Keep in mind that the city is busiest during its holidays and it is necessary to book hotels, restaurants and trips in advance.