best time to walk inca trail

When is the best time to walk the Inca Trail

Being one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is on the bucket list of many -the team of Cusco Peru Travel included- from all over the world. In addition to holding a historical richness, Machu Picchu is in an incredible location that is characterized by a mystical and enigmatic cloud forest environment. A fairytale landscape. So magical that many travelers come to Peru to do the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. But when is the best time to walk Inca Trail? you may want to know before undertaking this epic journey.

There is no need to say that the Inca Trail ranks as one of the most epic treks in South America. Winding its way through ancient Inca ruins, incredible valley views, narrow paths, snowy Andean peaks, and beautiful tropical scenery, ending at the wondrous Machu Picchu ruins.

Without a doubt, it’s one of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in the world. With this in mind, you should choose your travel dates carefully. Seasonal weather shifts play an important role in the trail conditions and tourist traffic… The team of Cusco Peru Travel will provide you with a summary of it.

So when is the best time to walk Inca Trail?

best time to walk inca trail to machu picchu

Despite Machu Picchu is at almost 2445 meters above the sea level and its climate is temperate, the climate in the Andes varies according to altitude and season. In other words, the Andes never fail to surprise. So, there are several things you must consider including seasons, opening times, weather and crowds. They can impact your Machu Picchu hike experience and how difficult you will find hiking the Inca Trail.

A year-round destination

Peru is, without question, a year-round destination; but Cusco has two remarkable seasons. The dry season, from April to October; and the wet season, from November to March.

*The Inca Trail is closed the entire month of February for maintenance works.

Dry season

best time to walk inca trail dry season

  • Pros: There is neither rain nor fog; the days are moderately warm and sunny. Also, there are often wildflowers in bloom along the Inca Trail.
  • Cons: Due to the good weather conditions, the tourist traffic along the Inca Trail increases greatly. It also coincides with the Inti Raymi, an Inca holiday that takes place on June 24th. It draws lots of visitors to Cusco, many of them who sign up for the Inca Trail. Besides, the temperature at night drops significantly. The coldest night being close to zero degrees, or even less.

Wet season

best time to walk inca trail wet season

  • Pros: This season brings warmer temperatures and more precipitation. The landscapes are lush and green with a wide range of flora and fauna in bloom. Due to the heavy rain, the amount of tourists is moderated. So, the Inca trail tours are easier and cheaper to book.
  • Cons: Due to the intermittent downpours, the accessibility to the Inca Trail is limited. Mudslides and trail washouts can occur, making the hike more difficult and especially dangerous.

Inca Trail weather chart

Jan 13 24 138
Feb 13 25 141
Mar 13 25 151
Apr 12 25 62
May 11 25 23
Jun 9 25 17
Jul 9 25 22
Aug 10 25 24
Sep 11 26 44
Oct 12 25 75
Nov 13 26 86
Dec 13 26 121

Packing List for the Inca Trail

Regardless of when is the best time to walk Inca Trail and what time of the year you decide to do it, you must take into consideration that the weather in the Andes is unpredictable. It can change at any time. You should always be prepared for cold rain, hot sunshine and everything in between. So, ensure you will be well-equipped for this amazing trek when visiting Machu Picchu.

You should pack a few essentials such as waterproof clothing, hiking boots, thick hiking socks, fleece and warm and cool layers of clothing. Also, sunscreen and lip balm.

You need to know more details

The best time to walk Inca Trail is not the only main concern when planning an adventure trip in the Andes.

Inca Trail availability

The Peruvian Government, in order to reduce the negative impact upon the trail, established only a set number of people that are allowed to do the Inca Trail hike. This scheme allocates 500 permits a day (porters and guides are included)0. Its availability is limited, and the permits sell out months in advance. So, we recommend booking your permit early since they are like gold dust.

Understand the Andean Altitude

best time to walk inca trail andean altitude

Keep in mind that when hiking the Inca Trail, you will be at high elevations. The altitude is the most difficult thing about the Inca Trail: the higher you go, the thinner the air gets. The lack of oxygen can affect your hike experience and you don’t want this, right?

We recommend giving yourself time to adjust to the altitude. You can spend some days in Cusco or the Sacred Valley to acclimate to the high altitudes. It will help you greatly.

Captivate you beyond measure

best time to walk inca trail book a trip

Thinking about “How to plan a trip to Peru?” can be a daunting and overwhelming task, but it shouldn’t be a big concern. Cusco Peru Travel considers that planning an adventure trip like the Inca Trail hike is the perfect moment to discover all the interesting things you can experience in our highlands. Also, you won’t waste your time once you arrive here. So, don’t be worried and let’s get the adventure started!

Peru has many wonders waiting for you to be discovered. Here in Cusco Peru Travel, our speciality is to make your trip an outstanding experience, fill-in this form and let your tailor-made luxury Peru vacation begin.

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