Inca Trail Frequently asked Questions

1. Can I trek the Inca Trail without a tour Operator?
No, all trekkers must use the services of a licensed tour operator.

2. Is ECS Travel a licensed Inca Trail Operator?
Yes, ECS travel has been selected as an Inca Trail tour Operator since 2009; the Inca trail operator license is renewed every year.

3. How can I get an Inca trail Permit?
Please fill out the contact us online form and let us know your dates and requirements, then we will e-mail you the booking form very quickly. Your Inca trail permit will be confirmed after your passport information and deposit are provided.

4. How far in advance should I book my Inca Trail experience?
Only 500 Inca Trail permits are issued per day (trek permits are also required for the porters and cooks) so it is necessary to make a trek reservation as far ahead as possible.

From December to March: 12 weeks in advance.
From April to November: 16 weeks in advance.

5. Once I have my Inca trail permit confirmed, can I change the date?
No, your Inca trail permit is for a specific date. If you need to change your date please let us know to check spaces and purchase a new permit. You must carry your original passport with you on the trail.

6. When is the best time of the year to hike the Inca Trail?
The Inca Trail is open from March to Jan (Feb is closed), and the best time to trek is during dry season (April to October), however it may rain at any time of the year. June, July and August are the busiest month, and just to let you know we provide you 4 season tents in case of much rain.

7. How fit should I be for the trek?
The Inca trail is approx 26 miles long and it is considered a moderate trek. If you are average fit which means you can hike up to 6 hours a day you will enjoy it.

During this four day trek, the highest point reaches approx 13,700 feet (The dead woman pass) but your mentality counts too. It is recommended to take some days off in Cusco or Sacred valley area before starting the trek to avoid altitude sickness. A wooden hiking stick will be helpful to ease the pressure on your knees during the trek and the coca leaves will help you breathe better!

8. How to avoid altitude sickness?
We advise you to rest upon arrival in Cusco. Spending at least 2 days in Cusco or the sacred valley area prior the trek will help.
Please find below some tips to ensure you have an enjoyable experience in Machu Picchu:

1. Sleep well the night before you arrive in Cusco, at least 8 hours (If you fly from Lima to Cusco)

2. As soon as you arrive in Cusco, you need to rest for at least 6 hours. If possible, as soon as you arrive in Cusco go down to the Sacred Valley and stay there for a better adjustment to the altitude.

3. Drink large amounts of water to stay hydrated, coca tea, Gatorade, or bottled water (Don’t drink tap water).

4. Don’t drink alcohol, caffeine and forget smoking cigarettes.

5. Have only light meals during your stay in Cusco.

6. Catch your breath, don’t push yourself and you will enjoy Machu Picchu.

9. If I travel alone who I will share the tent with?
If you travel alone we'll team you up with another group member but if you feel more comfortable having your own tent we will provide you a 1 person tent.

10. What does ECS Travel Inca trail trek price include?
Professional English speaking guide, pre-departure information meeting, four/all season tents, sleeping pad, duffel bag, first aid kit, oxygen tank, cooking equipment, nine meals during the trek, transfers, bus ticket Machu Picchu-Aguas Calientes, Expedition train ticket Aguas Calientes-Cusco, cook, porter support (who carry all tents, cooking equipment and food), Inca trail and Machu Picchu entrance fees and confirmation of Domestic and International flights.

11. Does ECS Travel offer Student Discount?
Yes, if you are under 26 years old and hold a valid International Student Identity Card (ISIC), you are eligible for a US$40.00 discount on your Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.

12. Who will carry my tent?
Our porter team will carry all tents, cooking equipment and food. They do not carry personal belongings. If you wish to hire an extra personal porter to carry your backpack, sleeping bag and sleeping pad please let us know at the time of booking, because personal porters require permits in advance as trekkers.

13. What is the group maximum size?
Our groups’ size is up to 8 trekkers plus guides and porter support.

14. Where will I be met before starting the trek?
Julio Cesar, our Cusco representative will meet you in your Cusco hotel. You will need to provide your hotel information by the time of booking your Inca Trail.

15. What do I need to pack?
Here is the list:
o Original valid Passport
o Day backpack to carry your camera, water bottle and clothing
o Sleeping bag with stuff sack (10°-20°F)
o Water bottle capacity 32 oz/1 Liter
o Mid weight wool sweater
o Winter Hat and Gloves
o Fleece pants
o Zip-off hiking pants
o Hiking shorts
o Short and Long-sleeve shirts.
o Underwear
o Hiking socks
o Swimsuit
o Personal towel
o Sun hat
o Rain jacket o Athletic, waterproof and broken-in hiking shoes
o Sandals
o Flashlight
o Pocket knife
o Watch with alarm
o Sunglasses
o Sun block and lip balm
o First-aid kit with Personal Medication
o Potable aqua water treatment tablets
o Hand sanitizer gel
o Insect repellent
o Camera, film and spare batteries
o Altimeter
o Earplugs
o Energy snacks
o Extra Money in small denominations (tips)

16. Where do I leave my extra luggage during the trek?
Your hotel has storage to keep your luggage safe till you return to Cusco. Do not leave any valuables in your hotel room, use a safety deposit box!

17. What will the meals on the trek will be like?
Your high-energy meals will be cooked just right on the spot! You will have a variety of freshly-prepared meals during your once in a life time experience.

o Breakfast includes tea, coffee, hot chocolate, mate de coca, along with scrambled eggs, bread, butter, jam.
o For lunch and dinner you will have a bowl of soup followed by a main course (stews, chicken, beef or fish with rice or pasta) and dessert. Snacks include a piece of fruit, a chocolate bar, candies, hot drinks, popcorn, bread and jam.
o Vegetarian dietary needs are available; just mention it at the time of booking and we will ensure you have them prepared during the trek.

18. What about drinking water?
Have your water bottle filled up before starting the trek and then during the trek you will find streams where you can fill up your water bottle using the water treatment tablets. Boiled water is available during meal times.

19. How much should I tip my Guide and porters?
Tipping porters and trekking crew is a tradition on the Inca Trail, however it is at your discretion do not feel obliged to do so. We advice $25 per trekker is fine for the 4 day Inca Trail.

20. Can ECS Travel book my hotel in Cusco?
Yes, we have special deals for our groups’ trekkers just email us your requirements and we will be happy to help. If you need any other info please let us know.

21. Didn’t you find what you were looking for?
Please contact us and let us know your questions.