How Much Does the Inca Trail Cost?

by | Dec 2, 2023 | Inca Trail | 0 comments

inca trail cost

How Much Does Hiking the Inca Trail Cost In 2024 – 2025? The classic four-day/three-night Inca Trail trek can cost anywhere from US$650 to over $1300 per person. Generally speaking, the sweet spot for a standard group trek on a budget is somewhere between $650 and $750.

Much below that, and the level of service could suffer, especially in how porters are treated. And once you start approaching $2000, you’ll enter luxury territory with gourmet food, fancy mattresses, and personalized attention.

In our list of recommended Inca Trail tour operators, Blissful Travel Escapes you’ll find prices ranging from $650 to $3000 — the latter being a luxury trek that lasts for five days and four nights (one day more than the more standard four-day trek).

Inca Trail Elevation
Inca Trail Elevation Dead Woman Pass 13,000f

Inca Trail Prices and Discounts

Backpackers on a tight budget should aim for the $650 to $750 bracket. But if money isn’t too much of an issue, then go for a company that treats its porters fairly and maybe upgrade to a luxury tour; it might be just what you need.

The price of the Inca Trail trek typically includes the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu permit and entrance fee; bus and train transportation from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu and back again; a bilingual guide (Spanish and English); porters; tents; and three meals a day.

Can you do the Inca Trail without a guide?

Did you know that hiking the Inca Trail requires a guide? Since 2001, there’s been a regulation in place that prohibits solo hiking on this iconic trail. But fear not! You get to embark on this incredible journey with a professional, registered guide by your side. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Inca-trail-peru-travel-tour-leaders-peru
Classic Inca Trail To Machu Picchu 4 Days

How Cheap Is Too Cheap When Booking an Inca Trail Trek?

While searching for an Inca Trail trek cost, you might come across options priced under $650, sometimes as low as $550.

These can seem tempting, but it’s important to proceed with caution. If such a price drop is due to a seasonal promotion, it might be fine.

However, if it’s the standard cost for a particular tour operator, there could be reasons to be wary.

I don’t recommend these cheaper treks for two main reasons:

  1. The level of service may be compromised. The food, equipment, and guide quality will probably be average at best, especially as compared to slightly more expensive tour operators.
  2. More importantly, there’s a realistic possibility that porters within this price range are being underpaid and mistreated. This is an ongoing issue on the Inca Trail, and a trek costing less than $700 could be a red flag — particularly when the offer excludes women porters and throws in additional free perks like cooking classes, extra porters, hot showers, and other benefits. This problem has been highlighted recently in a documentary about the Inca Trail porters and in media outlets such as Lonely Planet.
Lares Trek
Short Inca Trail and Lares Trek 4 Days

Some of these low-cost treks may turn out just fine.

There are likely newly licensed companies offering extra-cheap treks to attract their first clients. However, this in itself carries a risk, as you could land with an inexperienced company, considering there are over 150 licensed Inca Trail operators.

Given all these factors, and especially considering the ongoing porter welfare issues, it’s advisable to pay $150 or $200 more for a more established and reputable company. The food is likely to be better, as well as the overall level of professionalism – an important factor for the challenging four-day trek.

Remember, an Inca Trail trek is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people. It makes sense to spend at least $690 for a reliable — and ethical — service.

Do These Prices Include Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain Tickets?

The cost of the Inca Trail includes the entrance fees for Machu Picchu. However, it’s important to note that the costs for Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountain tickets are not included. These are distinct attractions that require separate permits if you wish to hike up either of these mountains after your guided tour of Machu Picchu.

You have the option to secure these permits through your travel company. Alternatively, you can obtain these permits yourself from the official site of the Machu Picchu National Sanctuary. Remember, planning is crucial as these permits are also limited and can sell out quickly, especially during the peak season.

Inka Trail Private Tour
Inka trail Private Tour To To Machu Picchu

A Breakdown of Additional Inca Trail Hike Expenses

Your total Inca Trail cost will rise slightly when you figure in a few extras. These might include:

  • Extra Porter: An additional porter could cost anywhere between $150 and $180.
  • Tips: Consider tipping for porters, guides, and cooks. You might find this Inca Trail tipping guide useful for more.
  • Private Tent: If you prefer not to share your tent, it could add an extra $50 to $60 to your expenses.
  • Equipment Rental: If necessary, you may need to rent equipment such as walking poles, a backpack, and other trekking gear—the cost of which can vary.
  • Miscellaneous Costs: Snacks, souvenirs, and anything else you might buy along the Inca Trail or at Machu Picchu will also add to your overall expenditure.
  • Machu Picchu Mountain Tickets: If you plan to hike up Machu Picchu Mountain, remember to budget for its ticket, which costs around 55 USD.
  • Huayna Picchu Mountain Tickets: Similarly, hiking up the Huayna Picchu Mountain will require a separate ticket costing approximately 55 USD.

The Pricing of the Short Inca Trail

The shorter Inca Trail hike is an ideal option for those looking to explore the lost city of the Incas within a tighter timeframe. This two-day, one-night tour spans a distance of approximately 12km or 9 miles and can be complet within seven hours.

The most common itinerary includes an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes town. On the second day, travelers revisit Machu Picchu for a guided tour. Some companies offer the opportunity to upgrade your adventure with camping and outdoor cooking, replacing the usual hotel accommodation.

The pricing for the short Inca Trek varies between 500 and 600 USD per person for group tours (inclusive of hotel stay) and ranges from 700 to 900 USD for private tours with the camping option. These prices encompass the hiking trail, train and bus tickets, meals, and accommodation.

However, you may be wondering why the cost of this shorter tour is nearly on par with the classic Inca tour. This is due to the higher operational expenses associated with this tour, stemming from costly train and hotel services that your travel company might use.

2 Days Hike to Machu Picchu
Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Cost of Alternative Inca Hikes

If the Inca Trail tickets are sold out, or you prefer a less crowded, off-the-beaten-path experience, there are several alternative hikes to consider. The most prominent among these is the Salkantay Trek in its various forms. For example, the classic Salkantay Trek costs between $450 and $600, while the prices for the Salkantay Trek combined with the Inca Trail range from $900 to $1300.

Additionally, the Lares Treks are price is between $650 and $850, and the Inca Quarry hike falls within the $650 – $750 range. For longer alternative hikes, such as the Choquequirao Trek, you might have to shell out slightly more, with a cost range of $1200 to $1600.

It’s important to note that all of these tours include Machu Picchu tickets and other essentials provided by standard Inca Trail tours, such as camping gear, meals, a tour guide, and porters. This ensures that regardless of the hike you choose, you won’t miss out on the essential Inca Trail experience.

Machu Picchu By Train Tour Costs

For those who prefer not to hike, there are options to reach Machu Picchu by train. Local tour companies based in Cusco offer such services, which usually span one or two days. The price for these tours ranges between $400 and $600, contingent on the type of service you choose.

The cost can increase if you opt for upscale hotel accommodations or travel on some of the more luxurious trains mentioned previously. It’s a comfortable and scenic alternative to hiking, allowing you to enjoy the majestic landscapes of the Andean region with ease and comfort.

train-travel-in-peru-belmont
Machu Picchu By Train 2 Days

Inca Jungle Tour Costs

For an invigorating blend of adventure and culture, the Inca Jungle tour offers an enticing route to Machu Picchu. This multi-activity tour fuses downhill mountain biking, white water rafting in the Urubamba River, and hiking, allowing you to experience the raw beauty of the region through an alternate route.

The tour kicks off on the road that links Cusco to Quillabamba, the second-largest city in the Cusco region nestled in the Amazon basin. The thrilling white water rafting segment unfolds on the Urubamba River, ensuring a pulse-racing experience. The expedition then transitions into a couple of days of hiking on the road connecting Santa Maria with Hidrolelectrica and Machu Picchu.

A plethora of companies, both online and in Cusco, offer this adventurous tour. However, prioritize choosing a company with a flawless safety record for a smooth and enjoyable journey. The average cost of this extensive tour oscillates between 2550 and 4000 US dollars, providing a comprehensive experience that justifies its price.

The Cost of Conquering the Inca Trail: A Comprehensive Breakdown

Are you dreaming of embarking on an unforgettable journey along the historic Inca Trail? If so, it’s time to start planning – and budgeting. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect to pay for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

  1. Trekking Permit: The Peruvian government strictly regulates the Inca Trail to protect it. The number of daily permits is limited to 500, which includes guides and porters. As of my last update, the cost of a permit ranges from $200 to $300 per person.
  2. Guided Tour: Unless you’re a Peru resident, you must hire a guide to trek the Inca Trail. Depending on the length of your tour (which typically lasts between 2 to 5 days), you can expect to pay anywhere from $600 to $1200. This usually includes meals, camping equipment, and porters to carry gear.
  3. Additional Costs: Don’t forget to budget for travel to and from Cusco, the starting point for most Inca Trail treks. You’ll also need suitable trekking gear, and you may want to tip your guides and porters.
  4. Optional Extras: Want to enhance your experience? Consider budgeting for additional extras like a visit to the hot springs at Aguas Calientes, a porter to carry your items, or a luxury package with upgraded amenities.
Machu Picchu Trek
Final Day Machu Picchu After Salkantay Trek for 5 day Hike

Remember, these costs can vary based on the time of year

the company you choose to trek with, and the specific amenities included in your package. It’s always a good idea to contact several tour operators to compare prices and offerings.

The Inca Trail is more than just a hike; it’s a journey into the past, a physical challenge, and an opportunity to immerse yourself in stunning natural beauty. So, start saving and get ready for a truly priceless adventure!

Please note: Prices are approximate and subject to change. Always check with tour operators for the most current pricing information.

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Cesar Conde

I’m Cesar Conde Licensed Tour Guide in Peru, owner of Tour Leaders Peru and Travel Advisor. My other side job is a Digital Nomad. I share my amazing travel experiences, stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!

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