The Classic 4-Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a bucket list standard, and possibly the most famous hike in the world. Its history, abundant nature, expansive views, and ancient ruins never fail to excite the thousands of guests who tackle the trek each year in their attempt to arrive at the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu Citadel much in the same way that people did during the time of the Inca Empire.
The one question that our travel agency in Cuzco receives most frequently is whether or not you should book the Inca Trail beforehand. As most people will tell you, making the arrangements ahead of time is usually best. However, whether it is actually necessary to book in advance and how long in advance you should try to book varies depending on the month:
Although one can get to the famed Lost City of the Incas in a myriad number of ways, including by bus, train, and a variety of hikes, none has more cache than the storied Inca Trail. Its allure is an immersion not just in the legendary history of the Capac Ñan, Royal Road, but also the astounding scenery of various climactic zones as the cold gives way to the cloud forest and then the high-altitude jungle brow, along a path dotted with small sets of ruins amidst overgrown foliage. There is a romance to traversing the same path the Incas used centuries ago, with Machu Picchu coming into view as one reaches the Sun Gate. In modern movie parlance, it’s “Machu Picchu, as Machu Picchu was meant to be seen…”
The 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most famous route to Machu Picchu for good reason- it takes intrepid hikers from the Sacred Valley of the Incas up through the cloud forest and into the jungle brow, passing stunning landscapes and small, ancient archaeological sites en route to one of the most legendary sites on earth. It’s popularity does cause stress to the environment, however, and thus the trail will be closing for maintenance work from February 1st through February 29th. During this time, 50 workers, with archaeologists and biologists among them, will dedicate themselves to undertaking conservation work.
As a company with four hostels in Cusco, one hostel in Aguas Calientes, and a travel agency to boot, we field a lot of questions about how to organize a trip to Machu Picchu. The worst are the emails asking how to go directly from the Cusco airport to Machu Picchu- we can only cross our fingers and hope that the traveler in question has allotted more than half a day for the excursion. No, you can’t go directly from the airport to Machu Picchu in a taxi. The only town nearby the ruins is Aguas Calientes, officially known as Machu Picchu Pueblo. Here, we’ve compiled your options for getting to Machu Picchu in a detailed guide: