Inca Trail

Peru

Traverse along the legendary Inca Trail on this 5-day trek, from the sacred Urubamba River to the majestic and mystical ‘Lost City of the Incas’, Machu Picchu.

Trip duration:
9 days

Challenge duration:
5 days

Challenge grade:
4/5

Departure months:
March to May, September to November

Accommodation:
Twin-share in 3-star hotels and comfortable camping

Hiking the Inca Trail

On this incredible adventure, you will discover the many wonders of Peru that have captivated locals and travellers alike for centuries. With time to acclimatise in Cusco, you will challenge yourself as you traverse along the legendary Inca Trail from the sacred Urubamba River to Machu Picchu.

Considered one of the greatest treks in the world, you will follow a well-defined path under the care of expert guides. Over five days you’ll traverse high passes and explore mist-shrouded ruins. You’ll descend into verdant valleys in the shadow of dramatic mountain ranges and camp under the stars.

Concluding at Machu Picchu, you’ll experience the majesty and mysticism of the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ and bask in its enigmatic grandeur.

600x600-peru-inca-ruins

Why you'll love this adventure

  • Trek for five days along the legendary Inca Trail, witnessing the glorious valleys and spectacular views of these mystical lands
  • Explore ancient ruins, walk the cobbled streets of Cusco, marvel at stunning valley vistas and camp in the shadow of the Andres
  • Discover Machu Picchu- ‘the lost city of the Incas’- and experience the mysticism of the Sacred Valley, the heartland of the Inca Empire
  • Make friendships to last a lifetime as you share this adventure with like-minded people

 

Trip notes

Day 1: Arrive in Cusco

On arrival at the Alejandro Velasco Astete airport, make your own way to your hotel in central Cusco (3,240m). After check-in, rest up before you’re introduced to the city with a “Locals’ guide to Cusco”. Today we will take things slowly to give you a chance to acclimatise to the altitude of the Andes. Ensure you drink plenty of liquids and take it easy. We take a short walk through central Cusco in the afternoon before dinner. This short walking tour is a great way to get your bearings and also helps you get used to the altitude. The beautiful historic centre was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 with Inca and colonial architecture evident all around. Later in the day, you will be given a full briefing of the adventure ahead. Tonight, we will enjoy our first group dinner together.

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Cusco – Sacsayhuman Hike

Today we will explore Cusco Valley and learn more about the Inca heritage of Peru. As today’s discovery tour takes us to 3,650m, it is also the perfect opportunity to further acclimatise to the high altitude. We begin with a steady hike to Sacsayhuaman. This famous Inca ruin is a walled complex on the northern outskirts of Cusco. Like many Inca constructions, the fortress, as it is often called, consists of large polished stone cut to fit together tightly without mortar. Next is the Inca water temple of Tambo Machay lying at 3,700m (12,000 feet) and the Red fort of Puca Pucara followed by a picnic lunch nearby. From here, you have the option to hike an ancient Inca trail downhill to Cusco or you can travel via vehicle, stopping at the Temple of the Moon and other historical sites along the way. In the afternoon, we return to Cusco. The evening is free at your own leisure to explore this bustling historic city.

Acclimatisation Trek: 2-3 hours

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Inca Trail

Today we begin our trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! After breakfast, we will depart the hotel by vehicle and visit Ollantaytambo. We will then transfer to the start of the Inca Trail at Piscacucho. Here we meet the porters and cooks that will support us on our journey to Machu Picchu. We enjoy a light lunch before we start trekking by following the sacred Urubamba River on an undulating trail. Along the Inca Trail, we will stay at different campgrounds from the majority of trekking groups, which makes for a more intimate experience on the trail. Tonight, we camp at Llactapata (2,788m) beside some spectacular ruins. There will be plenty of time to explore the ruins while the support crew sets up camp and the cook prepares a delicious dinner.

Trekking Distance: 7km

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Inca Trail

After breakfast, we begin trekking through the Cusichaca Valley to the small hamlet of Huallyabamba, the last inhabited place on the trail (3,000m). From here, the path follows a mountain stream to our campsite at Llulluchapampa (3,680m). As you make your way through stunning cloud forest, be sure to keep an eye out for hummingbirds. When you reach your destination, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the valley and have a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery while the support crew sets up camp and prepares dinner. Be sure to get an early night – tomorrow will be the hardest day of the trek, but also the most rewarding.

Trekking Distance: 8km

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Inca Trail

Today is the most challenging day but also the most exhilarating. It’s an early start today as we begin to climb steadily to the highest point of the trail, the impressive Abra de Warmiwanusca or Dead Woman’s Pass (4,212m). When you reach the top of the pass, you’ll feel on top of the world as you gaze out at surrounding peaks. From here, following a descent into the Pacasmayo valley, we ascend again to the Inca control post at Runkuracay Pass (3,998m), our second pass of the day. As you stop to catch your breath at the top of the pass, you’ll be treated to amazing views of the Vilcabamba range. From here, following a descent into the Pacasmayo valley, we will make our way downhill on a well-preserved Inca pathway to the mysterious Sayacmarca ruins located at the junction of two old Inca roads. After exploring this fascinating structure, we traverse along and down to the Phuyupatamarca ruins (3,650m), the “place above the clouds”, our third – and final – pass for the day. We set up camp here for the night.

Trekking Distance: 14km

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Inca Trail – finish in Aguas Calientes

This is the day you finally reach Machu Picchu! This morning we make an early start to witness the glorious spectacle of sunrise over the snow-capped mountains of Salcantay (6,200m) and Veronica (5,800m). After saying a fond farewell to our porters, it’s time to begin our final day of trekking to Machu Picchu. We begin descending on an ancient Inca staircase through beautiful cloud forest to Wiñay Wayna (2,600m), an atmospheric orchid-filled ruin where swallows fly overhead. The trail then takes us through cloud forest high above the mighty Urubamba River to Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun, where you will have your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. By the time we arrive, most people will have already left for the day, so you will feel like you have this incredible place all to yourself. We will return tomorrow for an in-depth exploration, but for now we will head into the nearby town of Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo) to enjoy a hot shower and celebratory meal.

Trekking Distance: 12km

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Machu Picchu & return to Cusco

This morning after breakfast we return to Machu Picchu. We start our day with a 20-minute bus ride up to the site. Rediscovered in 1911 by the Yale professor Hiram Bingham, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, Machu Picchu exceeds all expectations. Your guide will conduct an extensive walking tour, explaining the fascinating history of the Incas. After a late lunch in Aguas Calientes, we take the afternoon train to Ollantaytambo and then continue by bus to Cusco.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Cusco free day

Enjoy a free day in Cusco for some rest and recuperation. If you’re feeling more active, there are many things to do in Cusco – from exploring Inca ruins to visiting colonial churches, chocolate museums, bargain hunting in the local markets or whiling away the hours in a café overlooking the Plaza de Armas. If you have the energy, in the evening celebrate your accomplishment by stretching your legs on the dance floor in Cusco.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Depart Cusco

After breakfast, say farewell to the Andes and Peru as you make your own way to the Alejandro Velasco Astete airport for your return flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 1: Arrive in Cusco

On arrival at the Alejandro Velasco Astete airport, make your own way to your hotel in central Cusco (3,240m). After check-in, rest up before you’re introduced to the city with a “Locals’ guide to Cusco”. Today we will take things slowly to give you a chance to acclimatise to the altitude of the Andes. Ensure you drink plenty of liquids and take it easy. We take a short walk through central Cusco in the afternoon before dinner. This short walking tour is a great way to get your bearings and also helps you get used to the altitude. The beautiful historic centre was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 with Inca and colonial architecture evident all around. Later in the day, you will be given a full briefing of the adventure ahead. Tonight, we will enjoy our first group dinner together.

Meals: D

Day 2: Cusco – Sacsayhuman Hike

Today we will explore Cusco Valley and learn more about the Inca heritage of Peru. As today’s discovery tour takes us to 3,650m, it is also the perfect opportunity to further acclimatise to the high altitude. We begin with a steady hike to Sacsayhuaman. This famous Inca ruin is a walled complex on the northern outskirts of Cusco. Like many Inca constructions, the fortress, as it is often called, consists of large polished stone cut to fit together tightly without mortar. Next is the Inca water temple of Tambo Machay lying at 3,700m (12,000 feet) and the Red fort of Puca Pucara followed by a picnic lunch nearby. From here, you have the option to hike an ancient Inca trail downhill to Cusco or you can travel via vehicle, stopping at the Temple of the Moon and other historical sites along the way. In the afternoon, we return to Cusco. The evening is free at your own leisure to explore this bustling historic city.

Acclimatisation Trek: 2-3 hours

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Inca Trail (start)

Today we begin our trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! After breakfast, we will depart the hotel by vehicle and visit Ollantaytambo. We will then transfer to the start of the Inca Trail at Piscacucho. Here we meet the porters and cooks that will support us on our journey to Machu Picchu. We enjoy a light lunch before we start trekking by following the sacred Urubamba River on an undulating trail. Along the Inca Trail, we will stay at different campgrounds from the majority of trekking groups, which makes for a more intimate experience on the trail. Tonight, we camp at Llactapata (2,788m) beside some spectacular ruins. There will be plenty of time to explore the ruins while the support crew sets up camp and the cook prepares a delicious dinner.

Trekking Distance: 7km

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Inca Trail

After breakfast, we begin trekking through the Cusichaca Valley to the small hamlet of Huallyabamba, the last inhabited place on the trail (3,000m). From here, the path follows a mountain stream to our campsite at Llulluchapampa (3,680m). As you make your way through stunning cloud forest, be sure to keep an eye out for hummingbirds. When you reach your destination, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the valley and have a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery while the support crew sets up camp and prepares dinner. Be sure to get an early night – tomorrow will be the hardest day of the trek, but also the most rewarding.

Trekking Distance: 8km

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Inca Trail

Today is the most challenging day but also the most exhilarating. It’s an early start today as we begin to climb steadily to the highest point of the trail, the impressive Abra de Warmiwanusca or Dead Woman’s Pass (4,212m). When you reach the top of the pass, you’ll feel on top of the world as you gaze out at surrounding peaks. From here, following a descent into the Pacasmayo valley, we ascend again to the Inca control post at Runkuracay Pass (3,998m), our second pass of the day. As you stop to catch your breath at the top of the pass, you’ll be treated to amazing views of the Vilcabamba range. From here, following a descent into the Pacasmayo valley, we will make our way downhill on a well-preserved Inca pathway to the mysterious Sayacmarca ruins located at the junction of two old Inca roads. After exploring this fascinating structure, we traverse along and down to the Phuyupatamarca ruins (3,650m), the “place above the clouds”, our third – and final – pass for the day. We set up camp here for the night.

Trekking Distance: 14km

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Inca Trail – finish in Aguas Calientes

This is the day you finally reach Machu Picchu! This morning we make an early start to witness the glorious spectacle of sunrise over the snow-capped mountains of Salcantay (6,200m) and Veronica (5,800m). After saying a fond farewell to our porters, it’s time to begin our final day of trekking to Machu Picchu. We begin descending on an ancient Inca staircase through beautiful cloud forest to Wiñay Wayna (2,600m), an atmospheric orchid-filled ruin where swallows fly overhead. The trail then takes us through cloud forest high above the mighty Urubamba River to Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun, where you will have your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. By the time we arrive, most people will have already left for the day, so you will feel like you have this incredible place all to yourself. We will return tomorrow for an in-depth exploration, but for now we will head into the nearby town of Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo) to enjoy a hot shower and celebratory meal.

Trekking Distance: 12km

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Machu Picchu & return to Cusco

This morning after breakfast we return to Machu Picchu. We start our day with a 20-minute bus ride up to the site. Rediscovered in 1911 by the Yale professor Hiram Bingham, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, Machu Picchu exceeds all expectations. Your guide will conduct an extensive walking tour, explaining the fascinating history of the Incas. After a late lunch in Aguas Calientes, we take the afternoon train to Ollantaytambo and then continue by bus to Cusco.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Cusco free day

Enjoy a free day in Cusco for some rest and recuperation. If you’re feeling more active, there are many things to do in Cusco – from exploring Inca ruins to visiting colonial churches, chocolate museums, bargain hunting in the local markets or whiling away the hours in a café overlooking the Plaza de Armas. If you have the energy, in the evening celebrate your accomplishment by stretching your legs on the dance floor in Cusco.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Depart Cusco

After breakfast, say farewell to the Andes and Peru as you make your own way to the Alejandro Velasco Astete airport for your return flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Frequently asked questions

Can't find the answer to your question? Get in touch via email (info@inspiredadventure.com.au) or phone (1300 905 188). We’re always here to help!

About the adventure

How challenging is this adventure?

This adventure is ranked 4/5. While no trekking experience is required prior to registering, our adventures are specifically designed for people who are relatively fit and willing to train, and this trek is at altitude, which adds an additional challenge. The Inca Trail trek is a physical challenge, and the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the experience. The Inca Trail does not require any technical climbing skills however it is essential that you prepare for this challenge, particularly with walking and stair/hill training. 

The challenge involves trekking for consecutive days (anywhere from 10 - 18 kilometres a day) along well defined but uneven and unsealed terrain. The altitude will exceed 4,000 metres above sea level at certain points. You will be expected to carry a daypack, weighing 5–7 kilograms, containing basic items needed throughout the day.

Can I join an Inspired Adventure on my own?

Of course, most people do! Throughout your adventure journey, we will connect you with your fellow adventurers so you can get to know each other before you hit the road.

Who will I be travelling with? 

Our average group size at Inspired Adventures ranges from 10 to 20 people. You can be sure that you have all come together with the shared purpose of making a difference to others and having the adventure of a lifetime.

The group will be led by a local tour guide with expert knowledge of the region. Many groups will also be accompanied by an Inspired Adventures team leader or doctor to support and motivate the team. 

Where applicable, a charity representative may also join the team. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about your chosen charity and their work.

What is the general age range of participants?

The minimum age for this adventure is 18, however younger ages are considered on application. We have had participants aged 16–84 take part in our challenges, all united by their sense of philanthropy and adventure.

Fitness and training

How do I train for this adventure?

We will provide you with basic information on how to prepare for your adventure when you register. We recommend that you consult your GP and a personal trainer to develop a training plan that will prepare you for the challenge.

It is sensible to start training as early as possible before you go on your trek. As part of your training, we recommend making use of your weekends to complete a full day hike and if possible, two day hike. You should aim to be able to walk in hilly terrain for 6-8 hours and get up to do it again the following day comfortably. Conventional exercise routines which build strength, fitness and stamina, such as aerobics and light weight training can be beneficial, particularly if your fitness level is less than ideal.

Will I get altitude sickness? 

Cusco city sits at 3,399m above sea level, and is considered one of the highest cities in the world. You may notice symptoms of altitude sickness while you’re in Cusco, such as a headache or difficulty sleeping. We suggest you take it slow, keep well hydrated, and allow your body time to adjust. You can expect your symptoms to lessen as you acclimatise. 

The altitude on the Inca Trail will exceed 4,000 metres above sea level at certain points. Machu Picchu sits at 2,800m above sea level. Altitude sickness can affect anyone at heights over 2500 metres, regardless of fitness. Symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, loss of appetite, periods of sleeplessness and occasional shortness of breath. Most people will experience mild to moderate symptoms on some or all days on the trail but people generally find the symptoms tolerable. 

The better prepared you are, the more likely you will enjoy the experience and your body will be able to deal with the rigours of adapting to high altitudes. Staying hydrated and healthy on the trek is paramount. It is a good idea to advise your GP you are trekking at altitude. 

 

Accommodation

What is the accommodation like?

You will stay in twin-share 3-star hotels and at comfortable campsites for the duration of your adventure. The hotels in Peru are good quality and very comfortable, however they aren’t always the same standard as they are in Australia and New Zealand so it is best to prepare your expectations a little. 

On the Inca Trail, we will be in comfortable campsites in twin-share tents. All the gear will be carried for you by the porters, who will run on ahead of you so when you arrive in the late afternoon, the campsite will be set up for you already.

Will I be sharing accommodation?

Accommodation on this adventure is based on twin-share. You will be paired with a teammate of the same gender and, whenever possible, age group. Single rooms are available at an additional cost and subject to availability.

I’m travelling with a friend, can we stay together?

If you’re travelling with a friend, please make note of this and we will pair you together.

What to expect

What are the toilets like? 

Most hotels will have modern amenities with toilet paper provided. While trekking, toilets will be available at most campsites, however you will need to use the bush at times. The available toilets are likely to be squat style with no toilet paper. We recommend that you carry toilet paper and hand sanitiser in your daypack. If your toilet is non-flushing, please place used toilet paper in the bin provided. 

Are showers available? 

Showers are not available along the trek, although it may be possible to use a paid shower as we get closer to the end of the trek. Bowls of hot water will be supplied morning and night at the camp, and clean water to wash your hands will be available at all mealtimes. Wet wipes are also useful for freshening up.

What is the food like? 

A blend of Spanish, African and Asian influences, one of the highlights of your trip to Peru will be experiencing the unique and delicious cuisine. Cusco has a range of eateries, from world-class restaurants to local, curbside stalls. Be sure to try the famous Peruvian dishes, including ceviche (fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices and spices), anticuchos (marinated beef heart barbecued on skewers), and picarones (deep-fried sweet potato or squash, finished with sugar and honey syrup). 

Despite the challenges of preparing food on the trail, you’ll be amazed at what the group chefs will produce for you. A typical day will start with a hot tea served to your tent, followed by a hot breakfast. A buffet of snacks will be available to add to your day pack for the day ahead. Lunch is usually a heart warming soup and main course, such as rice or potatoes served with chicken or beef. At the end of the day, you’ll enjoy a delicious, home-cooked three-course meal showcasing the very best of Peruvian cuisine. 

I have dietary requirements, will I be catered for?

Of course, we will happily arrange for any dietary requirements you’ve noted during booking to be catered for. Please advise your local guide and Team Leader on Day 1 as well. You’re free to bring snacks such as protein balls, lollies, gluten free or vegan treats with you. You will be fed very well while you’re on the adventure, but if you have a very specific dietary requirement or severe allergies, often it’s best to pack some extra things as back-up.

Will I have mobile phone reception? 

Be prepared to disconnect for a few days on the trail! While trekking, there will be intermittent access to phone reception, however there will be extended times with no signal at all.

Will I have access to electricity?

There will be no access to power outlets while trekking, so bring battery chargers or double batteries. Ensure that you turn off your phone when not in use to conserve energy. In the hotel there will be powerpoints, so remember to bring an adaptor with you. Peru uses a standard 220V 60Hz, and a mixture of flat 2-pin or round 2-pin plugs. We recommend that you bring a universal adapter. 

What do I need to pack? 

You will be sent a comprehensive packing list after you register for the adventure with everything you need to consider.

What happens if there is a medical emergency?

Providing the safest possible environment is our highest priority and we have an outstanding safety record. All Inspired Adventures guides and Team Leaders are first aid trained. Our guides carry satellite phones to be used if further assistance is required.

How will you manage the risk of COVID-19?

See the COVID-19 section of our website for full details.

Costs and payments

What’s included in the travel cost?

Package inclusions vary from trip to trip so please refer to the specific trip notes for details. Generally, the travel cost includes: 

  • Airport transfers
  • Accommodation based on twin share in 3-star hotels and comfortable camping
  • Local English-speaking guide and crew
  • Camping equipment
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Water and snacks on trekking days
  • All park entrance and camping fees including Inca Trail permit

What’s not included in the travel cost?

Package exclusions vary from trip to trip so please refer to the specific trip notes for details. Generally, the travel cost does not include: 

  • Airfares
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Visa, if applicable
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities

Is the travel cost guaranteed?

We will do our best to keep the travel costs as quoted. However, please bear in mind they can change due to group size, currency fluctuations or factors out of our control. If absolutely necessary, Inspired Travel may have to add on an additional supplement fee should the current social distancing measures continue. This fee would be required if our operator needs to add on additional vehicles, equipment and/or staff.

Why do I need to pay a registration fee? 

Upon registration, you will be required to pay a registration fee to secure your spot on the team. From the minute you register until you return from your adventure, the team at Inspired Adventures will provide you with everything you need - from a bespoke fundraising plan, fitness advice and travel preparations. You will receive access to your online adventure portal complete with your own online fundraising page and lots of resources to help you along the way. Your registration fee goes towards our cost of managing the adventure and supporting you on your journey.

How much spending money do I need?

You won’t need money on the trek but you may wish to bring some cash along in case you want to buy something small along the way. The amount of spending money you wish to bring is a personal decision. We recommend that you allow S/ 115 (approx. AUD$45) per day to cover any meals not included in the trip costs, tips, souvenirs and gifts, bottled water and any additional activities you may wish to participate in. It is possible to travel well on a smaller budget.

 

Is it customary to tip? 

Tipping is customary, but not compulsory in Peru, and you are encouraged to tip only an amount you find appropriate. The recommended tipping amount for this adventure is PEN 200 (approx AUD$80).

When it comes to tipping at restaurants, if the service and food are good, a 10% tip is considered normal in Peruvian culture. As with any tip, this is not compulsory and is seen as a personal choice.

Travel insurance and visas

Do I need to have travel insurance?

Travel insurance is compulsory for international adventures to cover cancellation, hospital, emergency evacuation and lost luggage. We recommend purchasing your policy as soon as possible. It is up to you to ensure you have fully comprehensive travel insurance and you will need to share these details with our team before departure. For more information, please visit www.inspiredadventures.com.au/travel-insurance-information.

Do I need a visa to travel to Peru?

Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa for entry into Peru. See Smartraveller for the most current information. If you are travelling on a different passport or for further information, please contact the relevant embassy. 

About Peru

What weather can I expect?

Peru has two very distinct seasons: wet and dry. November to April is considered to be the wet season in Cusco, whereas June to October is considered to be the driest season, and for some, the most popular time to visit. While Peru’s weather is fine for travelling during any season, it can be unpredictable. Please check local weather forecasts prior to departure for more up-to-date information.

Keep in mind that while trekking, the temperature will vary greatly and will usually drop as you climb in altitude.

Can I drink the water in Peru?

Do not drink the tap water in Peru. Tap water is safe to drink only after boiled. Purified bottled water is available everywhere in major cities, and is generally quite cheap. 

About the adventure

How challenging is this adventure?

This adventure is ranked 4/5. While no trekking experience is required prior to registering, our adventures are specifically designed for people who are relatively fit and willing to train, and this trek is at altitude, which adds an additional challenge. The Inca Trail trek is a physical challenge, and the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the experience. The Inca Trail does not require any technical climbing skills however it is essential that you prepare for this challenge, particularly with walking and stair/hill training. 

The challenge involves trekking for consecutive days (anywhere from 10 - 18 kilometres a day) along well defined but uneven and unsealed terrain. The altitude will exceed 4,000 metres above sea level at certain points. You will be expected to carry a daypack, weighing 5–7 kilograms, containing basic items needed throughout the day.

Can I join an Inspired Adventure on my own?

Of course, most people do! Throughout your adventure journey, we will connect you with your fellow adventurers so you can get to know each other before you hit the road.

Who will I be travelling with? 

Our average group size at Inspired Adventures ranges from 10 to 20 people. You can be sure that you have all come together with the shared purpose of making a difference to others and having the adventure of a lifetime.

The group will be led by a local tour guide with expert knowledge of the region. Many groups will also be accompanied by an Inspired Adventures team leader or doctor to support and motivate the team. 

Where applicable, a charity representative may also join the team. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about your chosen charity and their work.

What is the general age range of participants?

The minimum age for this adventure is 18, however younger ages are considered on application. We have had participants aged 16–84 take part in our challenges, all united by their sense of philanthropy and adventure.

Fitness and Training

How do I train for this adventure?

We will provide you with basic information on how to prepare for your adventure when you register. We recommend that you consult your GP and a personal trainer to develop a training plan that will prepare you for the challenge.

It is sensible to start training as early as possible before you go on your trek. As part of your training, we recommend making use of your weekends to complete a full day hike and if possible, two day hike. You should aim to be able to walk in hilly terrain for 6-8 hours and get up to do it again the following day comfortably. Conventional exercise routines which build strength, fitness and stamina, such as aerobics and light weight training can be beneficial, particularly if your fitness level is less than ideal.

Will I get altitude sickness? 

Cusco city sits at 3,399m above sea level, and is considered one of the highest cities in the world. You may notice symptoms of altitude sickness while you’re in Cusco, such as a headache or difficulty sleeping. We suggest you take it slow, keep well hydrated, and allow your body time to adjust. You can expect your symptoms to lessen as you acclimatise. 

The altitude on the Inca Trail will exceed 4,000 metres above sea level at certain points. Machu Picchu sits at 2,800m above sea level. Altitude sickness can affect anyone at heights over 2500 metres, regardless of fitness. Symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, loss of appetite, periods of sleeplessness and occasional shortness of breath. Most people will experience mild to moderate symptoms on some or all days on the trail but people generally find the symptoms tolerable. 

The better prepared you are, the more likely you will enjoy the experience and your body will be able to deal with the rigours of adapting to high altitudes. Staying hydrated and healthy on the trek is paramount. It is a good idea to advise your GP you are trekking at altitude. 

Accommodation

What is the accommodation like?

You will stay in twin-share 3-star hotels and at comfortable campsites for the duration of your adventure. The hotels in Peru are good quality and very comfortable, however they aren’t always the same standard as they are in Australia and New Zealand so it is best to prepare your expectations a little. 

On the Inca Trail, we will be in comfortable campsites in twin-share tents. All the gear will be carried for you by the porters, who will run on ahead of you so when you arrive in the late afternoon, the campsite will be set up for you already.

Will I be sharing accommodation?

Accommodation on this adventure is based on twin-share. You will be paired with a teammate of the same gender and, whenever possible, age group. Single rooms are available at an additional cost and subject to availability.

I’m travelling with a friend, can we stay together?

If you’re travelling with a friend, please make note of this and we will pair you together.

What to expect

What are the toilets like? 

Most hotels will have modern amenities with toilet paper provided. While trekking, toilets will be available at most campsites, however you will need to use the bush at times. The available toilets are likely to be squat style with no toilet paper. We recommend that you carry toilet paper and hand sanitiser in your daypack. If your toilet is non-flushing, please place used toilet paper in the bin provided. 

Are showers available? 

Showers are not available along the trek, although it may be possible to use a paid shower as we get closer to the end of the trek. Bowls of hot water will be supplied morning and night at the camp, and clean water to wash your hands will be available at all mealtimes. Wet wipes are also useful for freshening up.

What is the food like? 

A blend of Spanish, African and Asian influences, one of the highlights of your trip to Peru will be experiencing the unique and delicious cuisine. Cusco has a range of eateries, from world-class restaurants to local, curbside stalls. Be sure to try the famous Peruvian dishes, including ceviche (fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices and spices), anticuchos (marinated beef heart barbecued on skewers), and picarones (deep-fried sweet potato or squash, finished with sugar and honey syrup). 

Despite the challenges of preparing food on the trail, you’ll be amazed at what the group chefs will produce for you. A typical day will start with a hot tea served to your tent, followed by a hot breakfast. A buffet of snacks will be available to add to your day pack for the day ahead. Lunch is usually a heart warming soup and main course, such as rice or potatoes served with chicken or beef. At the end of the day, you’ll enjoy a delicious, home-cooked three-course meal showcasing the very best of Peruvian cuisine. 

I have dietary requirements, will I be catered for?

Of course, we will happily arrange for any dietary requirements you’ve noted during booking to be catered for. Please advise your local guide and Team Leader on Day 1 as well. You’re free to bring snacks such as protein balls, lollies, gluten free or vegan treats with you. You will be fed very well while you’re on the adventure, but if you have a very specific dietary requirement or severe allergies, often it’s best to pack some extra things as back-up.

Will I have mobile phone reception? 

Be prepared to disconnect for a few days on the trail! While trekking, there will be intermittent access to phone reception, however there will be extended times with no signal at all.

Will I have access to electricity?

There will be no access to power outlets while trekking, so bring battery chargers or double batteries. Ensure that you turn off your phone when not in use to conserve energy. In the hotel there will be powerpoints, so remember to bring an adaptor with you. Peru uses a standard 220V 60Hz, and a mixture of flat 2-pin or round 2-pin plugs. We recommend that you bring a universal adapter. 

What do I need to pack? 

You will be sent a comprehensive packing list after you register for the adventure with everything you need to consider.

What happens if there is a medical emergency?

Providing the safest possible environment is our highest priority and we have an outstanding safety record. All Inspired Adventures guides and Team Leaders are first aid trained. Our guides carry satellite phones to be used if further assistance is required.

How will you manage the risk of COVID-19?

See the COVID-19 section of our website for full details.

Costs and payments

What’s included in the travel cost?

Package inclusions vary from trip to trip so please refer to the specific trip notes for details. Generally, the travel cost includes: 

  • Airport transfers
  • Accommodation based on twin share in 3-star hotels and comfortable camping
  • Local English-speaking guide and crew
  • Camping equipment
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Water and snacks on trekking days
  • All park entrance and camping fees including Inca Trail permit

What’s not included in the travel cost?

Package exclusions vary from trip to trip so please refer to the specific trip notes for details. Generally, the travel cost does not include: 

  • Airfares
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Visa, if applicable
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities

Is the travel cost guaranteed?

We will do our best to keep the travel costs as quoted. However, please bear in mind they can change due to group size, currency fluctuations or factors out of our control. If absolutely necessary, Inspired Travel may have to add on an additional supplement fee should the current social distancing measures continue. This fee would be required if our operator needs to add on additional vehicles, equipment and/or staff.

Why do I need to pay a registration fee? 

Upon registration, you will be required to pay a registration fee to secure your spot on the team. From the minute you register until you return from your adventure, the team at Inspired Adventures will provide you with everything you need - from a bespoke fundraising plan, fitness advice and travel preparations. You will receive access to your online adventure portal complete with your own online fundraising page and lots of resources to help you along the way. Your registration fee goes towards our cost of managing the adventure and supporting you on your journey.

How much spending money do I need?

You won’t need money on the trek but you may wish to bring some cash along in case you want to buy something small along the way. The amount of spending money you wish to bring is a personal decision. We recommend that you allow S/ 115 (approx. AUD$45) per day to cover any meals not included in the trip costs, tips, souvenirs and gifts, bottled water and any additional activities you may wish to participate in. It is possible to travel well on a smaller budget.

Is it customary to tip? 

Tipping is customary, but not compulsory in Peru, and you are encouraged to tip only an amount you find appropriate. The recommended tipping amount for this adventure is PEN 200 (approx AUD$80).

When it comes to tipping at restaurants, if the service and food are good, a 10% tip is considered normal in Peruvian culture. As with any tip, this is not compulsory and is seen as a personal choice.

Travel insurance and visas

Do I need to have travel insurance?

Travel insurance is compulsory for international adventures to cover cancellation, hospital, emergency evacuation and lost luggage. We recommend purchasing your policy as soon as possible. It is up to you to ensure you have fully comprehensive travel insurance and you will need to share these details with our team before departure. For more information, please visit www.inspiredadventures.com.au/travel-insurance-information.

Do I need a visa to travel to Peru?

Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa for entry into Peru. See Smartraveller for the most current information. If you are travelling on a different passport or for further information, please contact the relevant embassy.

About Peru

What weather can I expect?

Peru has two very distinct seasons: wet and dry. November to April is considered to be the wet season in Cusco, whereas June to October is considered to be the driest season, and for some, the most popular time to visit. While Peru’s weather is fine for travelling during any season, it can be unpredictable. Please check local weather forecasts prior to departure for more up-to-date information.

Keep in mind that while trekking, the temperature will vary greatly and will usually drop as you climb in altitude.

Can I drink the water in Peru?

Do not drink the tap water in Peru. Tap water is safe to drink only after boiled. Purified bottled water is available everywhere in major cities, and is generally quite cheap. 

 

All information is subject to change and will be confirmed upon your registration.

Reviews

Past adventurers rated their overall experience on the Inca Trail as 4.77 out of 5

★★★★★


“Walking the Inca Trail from beginning to end is an achievement and experience that I will always treasure.”

Cheryl Paul

Mental Health Foundation NZ: Inca Trail Challenge 2019 - Departure 1

★★★★★


“Mentally and spiritually exhilarating.”

Jacqueline Brown

Plan’s Trek for Girls Peru 2019

★ ★ ★ ★ ★


“Such a mind-blowing experience.”

Pauline Matthews

Mental Health Foundation NZ: Inca Trail Challenge 2019 - Departure 2

★ ★ ★ ★ ★


“The highlight was definitely climbing the final stairs and then stepping through the Sun Gate for the first glimpse of Machu Picchu.”

Shelley Hillman

Ovarian Cancer Australia Trek for Treatment - Machu Picchu Challenge 2018
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Responsible Travel

Caring for our adventurers, the communities we visit and the wellbeing of the planet is the heart of everything we do. This adventure is no exception.
Meaningful connections: Hear from Aranda Elders who will tell us about the history of the area.
Environment: We offset the emissions from this trip through carbon credit programs in partnership with Carbon Neutral. 
Treading lightly: Trekking is a great, low-impact way to explore.
Small group travel: Our teams consist of a maximum of 25 people. Better for you, and better for the planet.
Responsible business: We’re a certified B-Corp, committed to using business as a force for good

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Safe travel and flexible bookings

Keeping you safe: We’ve developed a stringent COVID-10 Pandemic Safety Management Plan in cooperation with government guidelines, tourism boards and the advice of medical experts to minimise the risks associated with travel as best as possible.

Flexible bookings: If COVID-19 travel bans mean your Inspired Adventure cannot go ahead as scheduled, we will endeavour to reschedule the departure to a later date or you will receive a travel credit.

To learn more about our COVID-19 policy, you can see a full list of FAQs here

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