G Adventures Inca Trail Review: The Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu

If you’re an enthusiast for epic hikes, mysterious ancient cities and breath-taking scenery, then no doubt hiking the Inca Trail will appear somewhere on your travel bucket list. It certainly was near the top of mine!

Until 1911, the Lost City of the Inca remained forgotten until the explorer Hiram Bingham III discovered it. He was actually looking for a different ancient city but stumbled across the ruins of Machu Picchu. The beautifully preserved ancient site had been hidden away for centuries until its discovery. Today, the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is one of Peru’s most iconic landmarks and top attractions.

You can, of course, visit Machu Picchu as a day trip from Cusco or Aguas Calientes, however, for the more adventurous traveller, I highly recommend the Inca Trail hike.

Although most tours will offer a similar itinerary, I choose to do the G Adventures Inca Trail tour. I opted for a few days before the hike, exploring the Sacred Valley, before embarking on the 4 day Inca Trail trek.

If you’re thinking of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu but going with a different company, no problem. There will still be tons of useful information for you to take away from this G Adventures Inca Trail review article.

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Machu Picchu, Peru

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The Machu Picchu Inca Trail – How to use this guide

This Inca Trail G Adventures guide is divided into easy to digest sections. The first section is an overview of why I chose G Adventures in the first place.

The second section of this article breaks down each day in detail, so you’ll know exactly what to expect when you trek the Inca Trail.

The final section is filled with Inca Trail tips and FAQs that I’ve been asked about doing the Machu Picchu Inca Trail hike and covers things like how to combat altitude sickness, and what to take on the Inca trail plus other useful information.

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If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll have learnt about my obsession with ancient civilisations and ruins. I blame this from when I was a kid. I used to love this cartoon called ‘The Mysterious Cities of Gold‘ which followed the adventures of three children and their hunt for this ancient lost city in South America.

Since then, The Inca Trail in Peru had been on my bucket list for what felt like ever and was top of my must-see things in Peru. If you don’t have time to read the whole article right now, then you can download this packing list and information sheet straight to your inbox.

What you can expect in this article...

G Adventures Inca Trail Review

I had done quite a few trips already with G Adventures, and every time, I was very impressed with them, from the itineraries they offered, the travel style and of course the guides and staff. I’m always a bit dubious about booking on to any group tour, I’m mostly an independent traveller so being with a bunch of other people makes me quite angst about not having the freedom I would usually have with travel.

While I was researching the Inca Trail, I also knew I was only interested in doing it with one of the best Inca trail tour companies. There are awful stories of some companies not treating the staff properly in terms of not providing them with suitable equipment, or paying them a fair wage.

NOTE: This is NOT a sponsored article. G Adventures did not fund my trip in exchange for me to say nice things about them. I funded this trip myself and based my review on my personal experienes. All views and opinions are my own.

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Our group at the start of the Inca Trail

Why choose G Adventures for the Inca Trail?

I mentioned before about only being interested in joining one of the best Inca Trail tours, although I did read a ton of reviews, as well as delved into what other companies were offering, G Adventures came up tops all around.

It’s true, G Adventures were a little more expensive than some of the other tours I looked at, but when you looked into it, there were a lot of little extras that G Adventures did do and provide, that the competitors didn’t.

      • As standard, you’ll have a local and knowledgeable guide – more than that, we had 2 guides. And although they were Peruvian, their English was excellent, so communication was never an issue. Within G Adventures, they call their guides the CEO – in this case, this translates to the Chief Experience Officer.

One of the key things I was looking for, was how well the staff were treated, in particular the porters (who are absolute superheroes – you’ll find out why later). G Adventures pay their team a fair wage, as well as ensures any equipment is in top nick.

      • G Adventures have over 20 years’ worth of experience in offering top-notch tours. Don’t just take my word for it (you can check out these reviews on TourRadar. They certainly know how to provide fantastic small group tours.
      • G Adventures are market leaders in the promotion of responsible travel and tourism.
      • They also offer a ‘Book with Confidence’ guarantee as well as Lifetime Deposits, they are also transparent about their Covid Policy, which especially with recent events, will give you peace of mind when booking.
      • And this is one of my favourite things with G Adventures, they don’t have a solo traveller surcharge. This means I wasn’t penalised for not booking as a couple – so this got a big thumbs up.
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Equipped with our walking poles, and ready to go
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Wearing our cochineal red pigment

Which G Adventures Machu Picchu adventure was right for me?

G Adventures offer several different tours that incorporate trekking the Inca Trail. Originally, I was just going to do the 4-day tour, but I opted for the one called ‘The Inca Trail’, which is their 7-day tour.

I ended up choosing this tour as it included other ruins in the Sacred Valley that I wanted to see anyway, and would have been a hassle to get to on my own. The 7-day option also included my original plan of the 4 day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu.

Trekking The Inca Trail: 4D/3N

    • 4 Days
    • Starts in Cusco
    • Finishes in Cusco
    • Inca Trail & Machu Picchu
    • Max. group size: 16
    • No solo travel supplement

The Inca Trail: 7D/6N

    • 7 Days
    • Starts in Cusco
    • Finishes in Cusco
    • Tour of the Sacred Valley
    • Max. group size: 16
    • No solo travel supplement

Amazon to Andes: 12D/11N

    • 12 Days
    • Starts in Lima
    • Finishes in Lima
    • Tour of the Sacred Valley
    • Max. group size: 12
    • No solo travel supplement
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The terraces of Pisaq in the Sacred Valley

If you’re around Cusco for a few days, then why not take a day trip to see the stunning Rainbow Mountains? Find out more below.

What does a G Adventure Machu Picchu Inca Trail tour include?

Naturally, this will differ slightly depending on which tour you book. I opted for the 7 Day Inca Trail tour, however, these things will be included with the price on the 4 day Inca Trail trek part on all of the tours I suggested above;

      • A G Adventures Cusco representative
      • Accommodation in a hotel in Cusco the night before you depart.
      • Inca Trail guided hike, with guides, porters and cooks during the 4 days on the Inca Trail
      • Specialist Inca Trail CEO – Chief Experience Officer
      • A guided tour of Machu Picchu plus free time to explore on your own.
      • Private transport, in a comfortable mini-van between destinations and to/from included activities
      • All meals included – Your breakfast, lunches and dinners (while on the Inca Trail).
      • Scenic train ride back from Aguas Calientes
      • Camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, inflatable mattress etc.)
      • Inca Trail Permit and entrance ticket to Machu Picchu

Don’t forget your travel insurance.

For the Inca Trail, you will need an insurance that covers you for altitude hikes.

Two companies tailored for adventure travel and that  I recommend are True Traveller (for European citizens) or World Nomads.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – Day by Day

Day 1 – Cusco

My 7 day Inca Trail trek started in Cusco. I had already been in Cusco for a few days before starting the tour, so didn’t have to worry about altitude sickness – my body had already acclimatised as I had been at Lake Titicaca (3,810 meters above sea level) before arriving in Cusco (3,249 meters above sea level). My day in the UNESCO city was fairly relaxed, as I waited for the rest of the group to arrive.

If you’re flying straight to Cusco from a low altitude city, such as Lima, then I recommend arriving a couple of days before your Inca Trail trip starts to allow your body to acclimatise.

In the late afternoon, we all gathered in our hotel where we were introduced to the rest of our group and our guides, after the introductions, we had our briefing and were given more details on what to expect over the coming week. We also got to ask any questions as well as do our all-important equipment check.

It’s useful to know that Cusco has a lot of outdoors shops. If you forgot to pack something, don’t panic, you will have a chance on this day to pick something up.

One of the things the guides will need to see during the briefing is your travel insurance.

If you don’t have a policy that covers you for altitude hiking, you will have to purchase it now. You need to make sure your policy covers you for hiking up to 5k altitude.

Insurance Reccomendation:  True Traveller (for European citizens) or World Nomads.

Day 2 - The Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo

We had an early start and after a tasty breakfast at our hotel and our last minute packing, we were all set. Our tour of the Sacred Valley started with a visit to the Women’s Weaving Co-op and then to see locally produced pottery at Ccaccaccollo Community.

Both of these projects are supported by the G Adventures Planeterra scheme. Part of G Adventures’ mission is to put tourist money straight back into the local communities, and these women-owned initiatives were two successful outcomes of this. If you’ve been in Peru for any time, you can’t fail but notice the strikingly rich and colourful textiles. If you’re looking for an authentic textile gift from Peru, this is where you’ll find it.

We stopped for a hearty lunch at the G Adventures-supported Parwa Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosco. I’ll talk more about the food as I go on, but just as a heads up, – ALL the food I ate on this trip was phenomenal!

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Womens Weaving Co-Op supported by G Adventures Planeterra scheme

After lunch, we set off for the valley town of Ollantaytambo. You’ll have a guided tour of the ruins, before having free time to explore the site. You’ll then head back to the picturesque cobblestoned town. The town has a very relaxed feel to it, however, there are a couple of shops which are tailored towards anyone walking the Inca Trail who has forgotten something. I think most of our group bought a walking pole (they were essentially a broom handle, with a little colourful embroidered cover over the top). If you don’t have actual walking poles, I suggest getting one of these sticks.

It’s a good idea to spend the evening relaxing. But if you get the opportunity, I highly recommend visiting one of the local Chicherias and trying their locally made purple beer made from fermented corn!

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The ruins of Ollyantaytambo in the Sacred Valley

Day 3 - The Inca Trail – Setting Off

We had another early start – there’s a theme running here! – to give us time to have a decent breakfast and to pack our stuff. This is the last bit of civilisation you’ll see for the next few days. If you’re wondering what to take on Inca Trail, there is a list at the bottom of this article, you can jump straight to it by clicking here.

If you have any large pieces of luggage, or items with you, that you don’t plan to carry on the Inca Trail, then you can leave them at the hotel. Only pack your essentials, because you’ll be carrying them for the next few days.

From Ollantaytambo, it’s an 82km drive to the start of the Machu Picchu trek. When we arrived, of course, we took advantage of a great photo opportunity at the start of the trail. This is where we met the rest of our crew; the porters and the cooks along with all the camping equipment. This is now officially where The Inca Trail begins.

This first day of hiking feels more like a pleasant stroll through the countryside. You’ll ease into the adventure with a straightforward day of hiking along the meandering streams and rivers, and through stunning Andean scenery passing by ancient Incan ruins stopping regularly to take it all in.

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The gentle start to the Inca Trail

You’ll soon learn that the porters have the power of superhumans. They will carry everything (apart from your personal items), overtake you on the trail, and set up the camp for when you arrive.

The first evening at the camp was comfortable with a hearty meal washed down with coca tea. After dinner and with a full belly, everyone had that relaxed feeling. Some of us stayed up chatting for a while in the communal tent, while others slipped off to their own tents. The air is very cool at night, so certainly pack some warm layers to sleep in if you feel the cold easily.

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Looking out over the Sacred Valley

Day 4 - The Inca Trail – Dead Woman’s Pass

We were woken early by the crew with a delicious cup of warming coca tea as well as a basin of hot water so we could wash. I’ll go into more about washing on the Inca Trail in the FAQ section below, you can jump straight to that section by clicking here.

If you’re not sure what coca tea is, it’s the dried leaves of the coca plant, the same plant that cocaine comes from, steeped in boiling water. Coca tea is legal in lots of South America and it can help alleviate the effects of altitude sickness. It also has a slight numbing effect if you chew the leaves. However, don’t try to bring it back as a souvenir as it’s illegal in lots of countries.

Today is when you climb the highest part of the Inca Trail as it follows a long and steady incline to Warmiwañusca – aka Dead Woman’s Pass.

The weather on the Inca Trail can be inclement. In contrast to the fabulous weather we had had so far, today it rained! A LOT! So needless to say, this wasn’t my favourite day on the Inca Trail. If you suffer badly from altitude sickness, or you didn’t have enough time before this trip to acclimatize, you will feel it the most today.

The hike, at the highest point, reaches 4,198m. I’d consider myself a fairly fit person, however, with the altitude it’s exhausting and I needed to stop at regular intervals.

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Hiking up Dead Woman's Pass

The great thing about having two guides on the Inca Trail is that on tough parts of the trail, like today, one guide will stay at the front of the group, and one will stay at the back of the group. This meant that there was no pressure if someone needed to walk slow and take a lot of breaks.

By the time I reached the top of Dead Woman’s Pass, the rain was beginning to ease. The rain had made the route down the other side incredibly slippery. This is one of those times when the walking pole was an absolute saviour, and I was thankful for the extra support they gave as I was scrambling my way over the slippery boulders and steps.

Of course, our fabulous porters and cooks had run on ahead, up the steep incline of Dead Woman’s Pass, and down the treacherous other side, had set up camp and cooked; all by the time we arrived. Everyone in our group was constantly in awe at the stamina and strength of these guys.

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View overlooking the valley near Machu Picchu

Day 5 - The Inca Trail – Cloud Forest & Ruins

After a well-deserved rest from yesterday’s tough hike, I was glad to hear today would be a little gentler….a little, however, today’s section of The Inca Trail covered two passes. The first one is Runquraqay at 3,950m.

We got up, packed and set off (and of course our superhero porters managed to pack up camp and overtake us). Eventually, we reached the summit when our guide stopped at the top and pointed out a cloudy spot on the horizon. On a clear day, we should have been able to see a snow-capped mountain called Cordillera Vilcabamba. Unfortunately, there was too much cloud to even get a glimpse. 

The trail then started to descend and headed down into the Cloud Forest, before ascending again. I kept my fingers crossed in the hope of seeing one of the shy spectacled bears (in the UK, the adventures of Paddington Bear were a big thing during my childhood. The cute character, Paddington Bear was a spectacled bear, and according to the books, he came from deepest darkest Peru!).

The terrain starts to incline again, the highest part of this pass is 3,700m. On this section of the Inca Trail, we got to walk amongst the ruins of an ancient Incan settlement. Eventually, we reached reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca which translated to the “town above the clouds.” Quite an apt name seeing as we’re at 3,650m! Of course, we had some time here to either sit, relax and admire the view, or explore the ruins.

The trail looks down on the Urubamba Valley, which makes an amazing panoramic shot. After our break at the ruins, we continued our downhill meander before moving on to tonight’s camp at Wiñay Wayna ruins at a much more comfortable 2,650 meters.

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There are A LOT of stairs on the Inca Trail

Day 6 – The Inca Trail – Sun Gate to Machu Picchu

So, if you thought the previous few days had uncomfortably early starts, then you’ll hate today. The final day of the hike starts before the sun is even up. We were woken at 3.30 with a hot cup of coca tea to try to entice us out of our warm beds.

The reason for the unearthly wake-up time was that we wanted to be at the Sun Gate to see the sun rising, casting the first rays of light over the ancient city of Machu Picchu. After packing up and setting off by torchlight, and scrambling along the trail in the dark (note: take a decent head torch!) we eventually reached the Sun Gate.

As romantic as the idea sounded to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu, we had clouds that morning. The promised ‘Sun Gate’ was certainly more of a ‘cloud gate’ on this day. We did have fun taking photos, pointing to where the gate should have been before setting off again.

Our group made it down to Machu Picchu as the clouds began to break. Although I had seen countless images of the lost city, nothing quite prepared me for how stunning it was in real life. It’s every bit as impressive as the guidebooks state and more! I was also pleasantly surprised that it’s a lot bigger in real life than any photo makes out (unlike the portrait of the Mona Lisa in Paris, which is disappointingly small).

Thankfully, the clouds were just beginning to break as we arrived, and then the elusive sun came out to show off Machu Picchu in all her glory.

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The clouds were just beginigng to break as we arrived....
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...then the sun came out

Once you arrive at Machu Picchu, you’ll be ushered down to the ticket gate to check-in, and meet your official guide to the site. Our tour lasted a couple of hours, before being given free time to explore the ruins by ourselves. The great thing about being at the site so early was that we had the place nearly to ourselves. As the morning went on, the crowds seemed to multiply.

While you’re exploring the site, be sure to walk out to the Inca Bridge. This tiny, unassuming bridge looks like it’s just been balanced on the cliff face. This used to be one of the routes into the city. You cannot walk across it, and even if I could, I’m not sure I’d want to take my chances on this skinny piece of wood resting over the sheer drop of the valley down below.

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The tiny Inca Bridge perched over the valley

After perusing as much Machu Picchu, as possible, our group reconvened to catch the tourist bus down to the town of Aguas Calientes. The town is a bustling hive of activity, and although a bit on the shabby side, certainly had a buzz about it. It’s famed for its hot waters, hence the name.

You’ll have a bit of time in the town however, after the insanely early start, most of our group were happy to relax until our train arrived. The train has a very retro feel to it, as it trundles away along through the Sacred Valley on the route back to Ollantaytambo. The train has windows on the ceiling, so you really do get a panoramic view of the scenery.

We arrived back in Ollantaytambo, where we collected the luggage we had left there, before heading back to Cusco in the minivan.

Day 7 - Cusco

This was our final day, where we said goodbye to our guides and our tight-knit unit. I opted to stay another day in Cusco, exhilarated yet exhausted and reflecting on the outstanding Inca Trail experience I’d just had.
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So, is hiking the Inca Trail worth it? 100% yes. The whole experience exceeded my expectations, I’m so glad I chose the G Adventures Inca Trail. I can wholeheartedly say this was the best Inca Trail tour I could have hoped for.

There is nothing I would change. Ok, so perhaps the weather, but that aside, I would do the whole experience, exactly the same if I ever get the opportunity. If you’re in the early stages of planning your Inca Trail Machu Picchu tour, then certainly consider any one of the G Adventures Machu Picchu tours – you can jump here to see their most popular options.

Useful Tips for the Machu Picchu Inca Trail Trek

G Adventures Inca Trail Packing List

This is just a glance at essential items to consider when packing for Inca Trail. One thing to be mindful of is to keep your packing to a minimum because you will be carrying it for the entire 4 days. You can download a fully comprehensive packing list here, but this is a quick list of essentials that I 100% recommend you take with you.

      • Hiking Day Bag – Invest in a good quality, comfortable hiking pack. Go for one with a waist strap to take the weight off your shoulders and ideally one with loops on to attach your walking poles. It’s also useful to have one with an inbuilt rain cover.
      • Walking Poles – Although your ego might stop you from wanting to use these, I 100% advise you to brush the ego aside, and use the damn walking poles. I have a long-term issue with my knee – it dislocates at random times, but it’s fine if I manage it properly. I know I would have really struggled without my walking poles. There are a lot of stairs and elevations to go up and down and even for people without knee problems, the Inca Trail takes it out on your joints. I use a fairly technical walking pole because of my knee problem. I use a lightweight aluminium pole, with a cork handle and spring suspension. However, there are more basic models available. 
      • Hiking Boots – The main thing to consider in hiking boots for Inca Trail, is that they are comfortable. Make sure you have broken them in BEFORE you do the Inca Trail. It’s also worth making sure they are waterproof and have a decent tread on. 
      • Rain and Windproof Jacket – The weather can be changeable in the mountains, and my lasting memory of the Dead Woman’s Pass section of the trail was that it was wet and windy. Be sure to pack a water and a windproof jacket for this. It’s also worth having a plastic poncho to put over the top of both you and your bag to keep the water out.
      • Flannel, plastic bags and eco-toilet paper – These are all linked to keeping clean on the Inca Trail. There are no real bathrooms along it. You’ll get given a basin of warm water to wash in at the camps, use a flannel so you can have a full-body wash inside your tent. For the toilet, my preference was to use the bushes and eco-toilet paper. If you have any sanitary products, put these in a little plastic bag and dispose of them at the camp.
      • Power Bank – There are no power outlets on the Inca Trail. So if you have electronics that will need charging, take a high capacity power bank.
      • Head Torch – You will need this throughout the Inca Trail, and especially on day 4 when you have to trek in the dark to get to the Sun Gate. It’s best to go for a powerful head torch, to light the path clearly, and so you still have your hands free to use your walking poles.
      • Money for Tips – Although you won’t be able to buy much while on the Inca Trail, it’s a good idea to have some cash to tip the porters and chefs. The team do an outstanding job over the 4 days of the Inca Trail, and certainly deserve being tipped for it. G adventures recommend around 50 US Dollars for this.
      • Snacks for Inca Trail – Although the food is top-notch on the Inca Trail, it’s a you might want to stock up on snacks to nibble on between mealtimes. Things that always travel well and are good for energy are dried fruits and nuts, and for an instant sugar hit then sweets or biscuits. 

This is only a shortlist of the essential items that you might overlook. I have written a comprehensive list of everything you need to pack in this handy download: What to pack: Inca Trail.

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Walking Poles - A must-have for the Inca Trail

Best Time to Trek the Inca Trail

Peru has two seasons; dry season (April – November) and wet season (December – March). You can hike The Inca Trail all year round, except for February. Each year the Inca Trail shuts for a month for essential maintenance work, so it’s worth bearing this in mind before you plan your trip to Peru. The ruins of Machu Picchu itself are open all year round, and there are alternate hiking routes, such as the Lares Trek, if the official Inca Trail is shut.

The best time to trek Inca Trail are either May or October, this is because it’s slightly warmer and dryer than June, July and August, which is the peak time for tourists (which also coincide with summer vacations in the northern hemisphere).

The temperature on the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu can vary. At certain times of the year, night-time temperatures can drop to freezing. In August, daytime temperatures are around 20°C/68°F, and drop to 12°C/54°F at night (and even colder). In December temperatures are about 26˚C/79˚F during the day and approximately 16˚C/61˚F at night.

The weather on the Inca Trail, as I experienced, can vary a lot. I did the trek in January which was right in the middle of the rainy season but had a mix of gloriously sunny days followed by wind and rain the next. Ideally, you’ll most likely want to visit when the weather on Inca Trail is dryer, so aim from April onwards.

Inca Trail difficulty

If you’re a bit anxious about the Inca Trail hike difficulty, then you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s only classed as a moderate level hike, so technically most people can do it. However, parts of it are demanding. What makes it tough is that the 43 km (26 mi) route is at a high altitude with several steep inclines.

As long as you have a good level of fitness you will be fine. If you do have issues with your knees, make sure you take a pair of hiking poles, some of the downward sections are very tough on your joints.

You can prepare for your Inca Trail adventure by doing local day hikes in your home country, or if you’re not near anywhere with steep inclines, then join a gym that has treadmills and set them to incline mode.

The great thing, and what I mentioned earlier in my Inca Trail review, is that G Adventures provides two guides. One will lead from the front of the group, and the other guide stays at the back of the group and walk at the pace of the slowest person. There was no pressure at any point to have to keep up with the fastest people in the group.

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Ruins of Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is a very real thing, although it affects everyone slightly differently. Ideally, you’ll want to spend a couple of days in Cusco before starting on any of the Inca Trail hiking tours so your body can acclimatise.

I was in Lake Titicaca (3,810 meters above sea level) and Cusco (3,249 meters above sea level) for about a week before I did the Inca Trail, so my body was used to the thinner air. Initially, I had mild headaches, tingly fingers and feet and was a bit out of breath. I just took it easy, relaxed and the feeling passed in a couple of days.

As a generalisation, to feel the effects of altitude sickness, you’ll need to be above 2,500 meters. The highest part of the Inca Trail is a section called ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ which is around 4,215 meters above sea level. The ruins of Machu Picchu sit at 2,430 meters above sea level.

Travel Insurance for Inca Trail

Because of the nature of the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu, you need to make sure you have suitable travel insurance. At our pre-departure briefing, our guides checked our insurance documents to see if we were covered.

Inca trail trekking requires specific insurance, so you need to check that your policy covers you for high altitude hiking. Most general travel insurances don’t cover this as standard. Although you won’t probably find a specific Inca Trail insurance, you’ll at least be able to get a policy that covers you to an altitude of more than 5,000 meters.

A great company that will give you Inca Trail travel insurance is World Nomads. They specialise in adventure travel and will tailor a policy to cover you for the hike.

For the Inca Trail, you will need an insurance that covers you for altitude hikes. I recommend either True Traveller (for European citizens) or World Nomads.

How much money to take on a G adventures Inca trail tour

It’s no surprise that there are no ATMs along the Inca Trail, so take a bit of cash with you to buy anything along the way. You won’t find any shops along the route, but you’ll sometimes come across one of the locals selling snacks and things.

You’ll also need some cash so you can tip the crew, they do an outstanding job over the 4 days and I felt they were worthy of a generous tip. G Adventures give a suggested amount of $50USD – this gets split between all the crew.

Other G Adventures Peru Tours You Might Like

If you’re travelling through Peru, G Adventures do some other great adventure holidays that cover more than just the Inca Trail. You might be interested in these tours.

G Adventures Classic Peru - 9D/8N

G Adventures Inca Dicovery Plus- 9D/8N

Absolute Peru Tour - 21D/20N

If you’re still undecided, then check out what other travellers say you can check out G Adventures Peru Reviews and the G Adventures Machu Picchu review on TourRadar.

FAQs on doing an Inca Trail adventure tour

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How long is the Inca Trail?

The Classic Inca Trail Route is a total of 26 miles or 41 km. Typically it takes 4 days to complete. while reaching a maximum elevation of 13,828 feet (4,215 meters). The trek is challenging, but with a good fitness routine before the hike, most hikers complete the trek.

How high is the Inca Trail?

The highest point Inca Trail reaches is 4,215 meters 13,828 feet, this is on the second day when you walk the Dead Woman’s Pass section. The rest of the trail undulates, with other peaks at Runquraqay at 3,950 meters and Phuyupatamarca at 3,650 meters.

How long does it take to do the Inca Trail?

Most Inca trail trips take place over 4 days, although it is possible to do the same route but over 2 days instead. Check availablity for the 2 day Inca Trail here. Because of the altitude, incline and also having enough time to enjoy and take in the scenery, the 4 days Inca trail is the most popular choice. 

How many days in Cusco before Inca Trail do you recommend? 

This depends on how quickly you acclimatise. I was at Lake Titicaca for several days before coming to Cusco. Lake Titicaca is at a higher altitude than Cusco, so I had already acclimatised. If you’re flying straight to Cusco from Lima, then you’ll want at least a couple of days before the Inca Trail to get used to the altitude. 

How do you wash on the Inca Trail?

There are no showers on the Inca Trail. The two options of keeping clean are either using wet wipes, which on the whole aren’t good for the environment, plus, you’ll also have loads of waste to carry.

The alternative way to wash is by using a basin, which is the better option. In the morning, the porters will bring around a bowl of warm clean water to wash in. It’s useful to pack a flannel and a small travel towel so you can wash your body inside your tent.

Where do you go to the toilet on the Inca Trail?

At the camps, there are sometimes two options for toilet facilities. Either a little pop-up tent with a portable toilet inside that the porter will set up, or sometimes there is a toilet block. I found the toilet blocks REALLY dirty and smelly, so I never used these. 

The main way that people go to the toilet during the Inca Trail, is in the bushes. Generally, in our group, we went in pairs, so one could keep a watch out while the other could do their ‘business’ in privacy. Peeing and pooping in the bushes is fine, just bury or cover it after and try to use eco-friendly toilet paper.

If you have sanitary products, then put these in a little plastic bag and dispose of them when you get to the camps as they will not decompose.

Is there a limit on a G Adventure Group Size?

If you read any of the G Adventures TripAdvisor reviews, you’ll find that one of the things people love about this company, is its commitment to keeping group sizes small. 

G Adventures specialise in small group experiences. For the G Adventure Inca Trail tour, the average group size was 12 people although the maximum can be up to 16 people. When I did this tour, we had 10 people in our group.

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Our group on the Inca Trail

What is the Inca Trail food like?

During the four days of our Inca Trail and Machu Picchu tour we were fed delicious and wholesome foods. Out of our group of 10, there were 3 vegetarians, I was one of them – if you have other dietary requirements, make it known in advance, both at the time of booking the Inca Trail as well as to the representative before you set off on your tour. 

It’s worth noting that I was never hungry, and portions sizes were plentiful. Food was always freshly prepared and cooked. 

Normally, breakfast was either porridge, pancakes or toast along with coffee, black tea or coca tea you might also get given little snacks for the day, typically fresh fruit or a cereal bar. 

Lunches were typically a healthy and hearty soup, either with chicken or vegetables and nearly always served with quinoa and grains. Sometimes it would also come with a side dish of sweet potato, avocados and bread. They are quite carb-heavy to give you the energy. One person in our group had a birthday during the Inca Trail, and they even baked a cake for her!

For dinner, typically the chef will prepare things like stews, grilled meats or vegetables all served with either bread or quinoa or grains. Sometimes there is a desert if you can manage it. Again, there is coca tea to drink. 

At the camp food is served inside a large communal tent along with a long table with enough seating for everyone, so even if the weather is bad outside, you’ll have somewhere warm and sheltered to eat and socialise.

What’s the typical G Adventures age range?

For the G Adventures Machu Picchu adventure tour, I did, there was no strict age limit. However, under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. 

G Adventures attracts travellers who are wanting to experience the culture of the destination with like-minded people regardless of age. I have been on several G Adventures tours with 20-somethings right up to people who had retired! 

Although our group certainly knew how to have fun, if you are looking for a more party-style tour company, I would look at a different group hiking Inca Trail tour such as this Inca Trail Tour by Contiki as G Adventures tours aren’t really aimed at party animals.

Do I need a training plan for Inca Trail?

In theory, if you’re an active person in your regular day-to-day life, then you won’t need to do any special training before doing The Inca Trail. However, even the fittest people can feel the effects of being active at altitude.

There is no Inca Trail fitness level required, however, if you’re not very active, or have never hiked then I would suggest doing some regular full-day hikes in your home country in the lead up to your trip. This is also a good opportunity to test out your kit, check to see if your backpack is comfortable, break in your walking shoes and try out your hiking poles.

I want to know how to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu independently?

It’s not encouraged to hike the Inca Trail by yourself unless you’re a very experienced hiker and camper. You’ll also have to arrange things like transportation and permits for Inca Trail plus have a good knowledge of the route. All of this is taken care of with any of the tours you book. 

Related Post: Hikes in Peru that aren’t the Inca Trail

What are the benefits of taking a group Inca Trail tour to Machu Picchu?

I nearly always travel solo, not because I’m anti-social, but more for freedom and convenience. However, sometimes, it’s nice to share an experience with other people. Although I will always love independent travel, there are benefits to doing small group tours. 

      • Someone else deals with the organisation and planning for you.
      • You get to share the experience and connect with likeminded people
      • You get a ton of insider knowledge from your guide
      • Small group tours are great for making new friends 
      • And of course, there’s no more struggling to take photos of yourself, and you’ll have tons of photos to share to remind you of the antics from your Inca Trail adventures.
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Our reward for waking up so early, no one else was at Machu Picchu

Where can I find a map of the Inca Trail? 

If you’ve ever thought, where is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and interested in seeing exactly where you’re going to be hiking, you can take a look at the Inca Trail map below – this is the offical one from G Adventures. You can also download the map, packing list and information sheet for offline viewing.

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G Adventures Map of Inca Trail

Final thoughts on the Inca Trail

I have zero doubts about recommending this tour to anyone wanting to do The Inca Trail. If you were asking yourself at any point, is the Inca Trail worth it, then I can wholeheartedly say yes, absolutely, if you’er thinking of booking, then read other honest Inca trail to Machu Picchu reviews, take a look at TourRadar.

Although other companies are offering similar tours, if you’re on the fence about choosing a company to use, I highly suggest you take a look at the GAdventures Inca Trail. Don’t’ just take my word for it, go read the reviews.

Save it for later

I hope after reading this full G Adventures Inca Trail Review, you have a good insight into what to expect when you do the Machu Pichu Inca trail hike.

If you enjoyed this post, or know someone that will, then please like and share. If you’re planning to do the G Adventures Peru Inca Trail, why not pin it for future reference.

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Hey there! Thank you so so much for this blog. I’m planning to do the G Adventures Inca trail tour at the end of this year. Reading this has made me SOOOOOOOOO EXCITED! Just a quick question around safety in Peru – did you ever feel unsafe while you were there and do you have any safety tips?

    1. Hey, thanks for the great comment. With regards to safety, I had no issues at all during my 2 months there. However,just use common sense, such as keeping valuables out if sign and dressing modestly, not to draw attention to yourself. Also speak to the locals, and they will give you a heads up on any places to avoid. Peru is a phenomenal country and I would go back in an instant.

  2. Pingback: 19 BEST Peru Hikes and Treks That Will Leave You Breathless! - LivingOutLau

  3. This is incredibly helpful. Thank you. Did you take your smartphone? If not, what did you use for a camera?

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