1. How difficult is hiking the Inca Trail?
No, it is not permitted to hike the Inca Trail without a licensed guide that comes from the area around Cusco/Machu Picchu. For those people that prefer to hike alone, you are more than welcome to hike separately from your group and guide, but are required to be an official member of a guided trek and to camp with the group.
We get this question fairly often when Explorandes and/or other reputable companies have told travelers that the Inca Trail permits are sold out. Once permits are sold out on the offcial government website, they are sold out. The government requires exact passenger information to purchase a permit and your passport must match the passenger information registered on the permit when beginning the trek; and they are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
In spite of there being a couple places along the trail to buy bottled water, we strongly recommend travelers bring a couple reusable water bottles to limit plastic waste. Water is boiled, treated and ltered by cook sta‑ and guides and available to hikers throughout the trek.
12. What equipment do I need to pack for the Inca Trail?
Your own personal clothing, supplies, and a sleeping bag are all that you will need to bring. For a detailed packing list and clothing suggestions please see the Inca Trail packing list at the end of these FAQs. The weight limit for your personal items to bring on the Inca Trail is 8 Kilos. It’s best to bring a duffle bag you intend to bring on the trail in addition to your main bag which will be left locked in your hotel or at our Cusco offices (upon request, previous notice) while you’re trekking. If needed, a du el bag for your personal gear while on the trail will be supplied the night previous.
Inca Trail or alternative treks with camping – The weight limit for your personal items to bring on the Inca Trail is 8 Kilos. It’s best to bring a bag you intend to bring on the trail in addition to your main bag which will be left locked in our Cusco offices while you’re trekking. If needed, a du el bag for your personal gear while on the trail can be supplied the night previous. Multi-purpose, layerable, quick-dry clothing used for hiking worldwide as well as comfortable shoes is the recommendation. In addition we recommend bringing your own sleeping bag (0 to 15 degree F rated) as well as a pack towel sold at gear shops. With prior notice a sleeping bag can be rented.
Below is a more detailed Inca Trail pack list:
Personal first-aid kit – Guides carry a medical kit, but we suggest this for bruises and blisters. Knee or ankle braces are useful if you suffer from weakness or previous injury. Include any special medication your doctor might suggest for you.