How Old do You Have to be to Hike the Inca Trail? Age Limits and More

by | Dec 3, 2023 | Inca Trail | 0 comments

Inca Trail Age Limitation

Are you a family of adventure enthusiasts who love hiking with kids? Curious about the minimum age requirement for hiking the Inca Trail? Good news! There are no government regulations specifying a minimum or maximum age for this Inca Trail. At Tour Leader Peru Tours, we have witnessed families embarking on this journey with children as young as five years old and even older. Join us for an unforgettable hiking experience!

Are you an adventurous spirit with a thirst for cultural immersion and stunning landscapes? If so, the Inca Trail in Peru might just be the perfect escape for you. But before you lace up your hiking boots and pack your camera, there are some important factors to consider. Including age restrictions, physical activity level, health conditions, altitude, and permits. Let’s dive in!

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Recommendations of Age Limit for the Inca Trail

While there is no strict age limit to hike the Inca Trail. It’s recommended that children under 7 years old and adults over 70 should carefully consider their fitness and health before undertaking this strenuous trek.

It’s crucial to remember that the Inca trail is physically challenging, often requiring 6-9 hours of hiking each day over steep and uneven terrain.

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Inca Trail Tour Operator’s Discretion on Age Limits

Contrary to general assumptions, the Peruvian government does not dictate age limit guidelines for the Inca Trails requiring permits. The discretion lies with the tour operators, who determine their age limits based on various factors. Some operators opt for limits with the youngest at 11 years and the oldest at 67 years.

However, at Tour Leaders Peru Travel, we organize private and small group hikes catering to a broader age range. We have successfully arranged hikes for families with children as young as 6, even toddlers carried in Active Child Carrier. As well as individuals in their 70s.

Fitness does play a significant role in these adventures. And it’s in the best interest of the operator to assess groups with members younger than 15 and older than 50. Our staff, are all experienced hikers of these trails. Provide detailed descriptions, expertise, and practical advice to assist prospective hikers in making informed decisions.

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Physical Activity Level to Hike the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is not a walk in the park. It demands a moderate to high level of physical fitness. You’ll be covering an average of 10 kilometers each day, with lots of uphill and downhill stretches.

Therefore, travelers should be comfortable with prolonged walking and should ideally prepare with regular cardio exercises like running, swimming, or cycling in the months leading up to the trek.

Health Conditions

Before embarking on the Inca Trail, it’s wise to have a medical check-up. Certain health conditions such as heart disease, respiratory problems, or severe asthma could be exacerbated by the strenuous nature of the trek and the high altitude. Always consult with your doctor before planning such an adventure.

Solo hike the Inca trail
can you solo hike the Inca trail

Types of Inca Trail Hikes

There are three distinct options for hiking the Inca Trail. Each requires permits that cannot be stored or banked for later use by operators.

  1. Classic 4-Day Inca Trail: The most popular choice, this option often sells out months in advance. Hikers who opt for this trail must book their hike, send their passports, and provide a non-refundable deposit in advance.
  2. 5-Day Inca Trail: Similar to the 4-day trail, this option includes an extra day in a hotel in Aguas Calientes for dedicated exploration of Machu Picchu. The total hiking distance remains the same, though the distribution of hiking distances each day varies. Hikers are likely to camp in Phuypatamarca on Day 4, from where the hiking distance to Machu Picchu is 12 KM. Permits for this hike come from the same pool as the 4-day hike, so availability is the same.
  3. 2-Day Inca Trail: This trail begins with a train ride to KM 104, from where hikers start the 12 km hike that joins up with the 4-day trail. One overnight stay is in a hotel and the 2nd day includes a guided tour of Machu Picchu. Permits for this hike come from a separate pool and it rarely sells out.
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How much does it cost to hike the Inca trail

For Families With Kids

we recommend setting up an Inca Trail hike checklist to determine if your child is ready for the adventure. There are no options for sending a car or chopper if you decide to end the hike prematurely, so careful consideration is key. Private tours are recommended for families so kids can hike at their own pace.

For Adults, hiking the Inca Trail can be an invigorating challenge. It’s not uncommon for older individuals to push the limits of fitness and high-intensity training, but the altitude can pose a significant challenge, affecting stamina considerably. It’s essential to prepare, train adequately, and consult with health professionals before embarking on this adventure.

Inca Trail Altitude

The Inca Trail involves trekking at high altitudes, reaching over 4200 meters at its highest point. This can lead to altitude sickness, a condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness level.

Symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. To minimize the risk, it’s recommended to spend a couple of days acclimating in Cusco or another high-altitude city before starting the trek.

Inca Trail Permits

To preserve the trail and its surrounding environment, the Peruvian government limits the number of hikers on the Inca Trail each day. You need a permit to hike the trail, which should be obtained well in advance due to high demand.

There are no age restrictions for obtaining permits; however, they are non-transferable and must match your passport details exactly.

In conclusion

while there’s no official age limit for hiking the Inca Trail, it’s a demanding adventure that requires careful consideration of your physical fitness, health status, and preparedness for high altitude. Planning and securing the necessary permits will ensure that you, like Sofia, can fully immerse yourself in the stunning beauty and rich history of this unforgettable journey.

Remember, adventure awaits, but safety comes first. Happy trails!

Please note: Always refer to the latest travel advisories and consult with a healthcare professional before planning a trek like the Inca Trail.

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Cesar Conde

Cesar Conde

Position: Tour Leaders & Digital Creator

I’m Cesar Conde, owner of Tour Leaders Peru & Travel Advisor and my other side job is Nomadic Digital. I share my own amazing Tour Experiences, travel stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!

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