KE Articles

Why trek the Inca Trail with KE?

Written by  Fiona Marshall - Product Manager

  • 03 September 2015
Why trek the Inca Trail with KE?

why inca trail trek 04The Inca Trail is undeniably one of the world's classic treks. Starting in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the trail crosses high passes of the Andes, taking in ancient Inca ruins, before entering the cloud forest and arriving at magnificent Machu Picchu.

The route now known as the Inca Trail was discovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1915. He had "found" Machu Picchu during an earlier trip to Peru in 1911 and was returning to uncover the ruins. There are thousands of Inca trails in the Peruvian Andes, but there is only one Inca Trail!

The trail itself is just 42kms long and the walk usually takes 4 days. The highest point at Warmiwanusca (Dead Woman's Pass) is 4200m above sea level, and the trek involves some steep ascents and descents crossing the deep Andean valleys. Despite being well-established on the traveller's map, Machu Picchu does not disappoint, and there is nothing like your first sight of this amazing ancient city perched on the ridge above the dramatic gorge of the Urubamba River.

So why go?

why inca trail trek 03Declared a natural and cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the lost city of Machu Picchu is at the top of many travel bucket lists. We can think of no better way to get there than on foot, and it is hugely rewarding to arrive at the Sun Gate, called Inti Punku by the Incas, for your first glimpse of Machu Picchu having walked there under your own steam. The Inca Trail is a beautiful walk - very few short treks in the world offer such a variety of scenery. Snowy peaks, deep river gorges, Inca ruins, humming-birds, cloudforest and jungle are all part of the experience. Feedback from our clients tackling the trail is overwhelming positive.


why inca trail trek 05Such is the popularity of the Inca Trail the Peruvian government limits the number of trekkers to 500 each day. Of these permits, approximately 200 are allocated to tourists and 300 to porters, cooks and guides. Permits go on sale in January each year and are allocated on a first-come first-served basis. For this reason we advise booking as early as possible to guarantee your place on your chosen departure. To be certain you will get a permit, we strongly recommend booking a year in advance. For example in 2015 most permits for Inca Trail treks through the summer months had sold out by early February.

Why trek the Inca Trail with KE?
  • Long history of operating in Cusco and running Inca Trail treks - since 1997
  • Well thought out itineraries, with time for acclimatisation in Cusco and the Sacred Valley
  • Best range of treks and tours - trek just the Inca Trail or experience more
  • Superb client feedback - read what our clients have to say
  • Portable oxygen with all our groups
  • Top class guides and crews who have been working with KE groups for years
  • Five star camp service on the trail
  • Trek the Inca Trail with a walking holiday specialist
  • Small group sizes - max 12 people on departures of Inca Trail & Machu Picchu trek
We know the Inca Trail!

why inca trail trek 10Since the Sendero Luminoso activity receded in the mid 1990s, KE Adventure Travel have been taking trekkers to Cusco and the surrounding mountain ranges. We first trekked the trail in 1997, when KE director Glenn Rowley joined our inaugural group to do the Inca Trail and Beyond - a trek that includes both the Inca Trail and an extended crossing over the Ancascocha Pass. This trek has become a KE classic, and is often listed by our staff as one of their "Best Ever" treks. In fact, our Sales Manager Vanessa Douglas took this trip as her honeymoon!

The Importance of Acclimatisation

Cusco, at 3248m above sea level, is the port of entry to the Inca Trail. Most people arrive in Cusco by plane and everyone will feel the effects of the altitude on arrival. This is nothing to be concerned about as given time and rest, your body will adjust. Before embarking on the Inca Trail it is important to spend a couple of days in and around Cusco and the Sacred Valley while your body acclimatizes. All KE Inca Trail holidays include this time and our clients go on to complete their treks without issue. Beware of rushed itineraries that don't include sufficient time to acclimatize!

When is the best time to trek the Inca Trail?

why inca trail trek 08KE Adventure Travel runs Inca Trail and Machu Picchu holidays from March through to December. The Southern Hemisphere winter season in the Andes runs roughly from the end of March through to October and this is the optimum period for trekking in this part of Peru as it the time of least precipitation. From April to October you can expect the days to be warm and sunny, although you will experience a variance in temperatures depending on altitude. Daytime temperatures will range from 12 to 20 degrees C. Evenings can be chilly, particularly at higher altitudes. At campsites above 3800m it can fall to below freezing at night. The Inca Trail is closed to trekkers in February each year for maintenance, although Machu Picchu is open as usual.  

Giving Something Back

As part of our commitment to sustainable tourism practices, via KE's chosen charity The Juniper Trust we have been involved in several projects close to Cusco. Most recently the Juniper Trust donated £1000 to assist with a tree planting project in the Lares Valley where deforestation has become a problem.


Share this