Which is Harder Inca Trail or Kilimanjaro?

by | Nov 29, 2023 | Inca Trail | 0 comments

Hiking Kilimanjaro vs. The Inca Trai

As a travel enthusiast, you’re likely drawn to the allure of some of the world’s most thrilling treks. Two such adventures that often spark curiosity are the Inca Trail in Peru and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Each presents its unique challenges, but which is harder?

Firstly, How hard is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu? This iconic trek takes you through 26 miles of lush cloud forests, ancient Incan ruins, and stunning mountain scenery. While the trail can be challenging due to its steep ascents and descents, and the altitude can cause difficulty for some, it’s typically completed in four days. The highest point you’ll reach is 13,828 feet at Dead Woman’s Pass.

On the other hand, we have Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak standing tall at 19,341 feet. The trek to the top is not technically climbing, but the sheer altitude makes this a physically demanding adventure. Treks vary from five to nine days, depending on the route. Altitude sickness is more common here due to the higher elevation.

Machu Picchu is tough but easier

Looking to challenge yourself and have some trekking experience? Machu Picchu’s Inca Trail is a fantastic option before tackling Kilimanjaro! It’s not a walk in the park, taking around 6-7 days with a maximum altitude of 4,215 meters. But compared to Kilimanjaro, it’s a bit shorter and easier to conquer.

In fact, Machu Picchu is an excellent preparation for Kilimanjaro, providing a taste of what awaits on the Tanzanian mountain without the scorching African heat. However, keep in mind that preparation is key, and safety regulations should be followed just like in Kilimanjaro. Get ready for an incredible adventure!

Training and Acclimatization

When it comes to tackling either of these majestic mountains, it’s important to consider your readiness. While Machu Picchu offers a relatively easier climb, it’s important to note that it’s not a walk in the park, nor is it without risks. Both treks require proper preparation, and one common challenge you’ll face is altitude sickness.

Let’s talk numbers: the famous Inca Trail along Machu Picchu reaches a maximum altitude of 4,215 meters, which means you’ll be navigating some seriously high altitudes. But hold on, because climbing Kilimanjaro takes it to a whole new level, with a maximum altitude of 5,895 meters. Altitude sickness is a real concern on both trails and unfortunately, it claims lives every year.

To give yourself the best chance of success, it’s highly recommended to acclimate to Kilimanjaro by spending a week on Machu Picchu’s Inca Trail. Similarly, it’s wise to acclimate to Machu Picchu beforehand by tackling smaller climbs and treks. For example, Mount Fuji in the Japanese Alps is an excellent choice to prepare yourself for the wonders of Machu Picchu.

So, get ready to conquer these extraordinary mountains, but remember to be prepared, take it seriously, and prioritize your health and safety along the way. Happy trekking!

Consider your price range

Consider your price range when planning your trekking adventure. Both Machu Picchu and Kilimanjaro offer unique experiences, but they come with different costs.

For Machu Picchu, the overall expenses can range from $300 to $800, depending on factors like travel packages and inclusions. While it may seem pricey, remember that some packages include the trip to Machu Picchu itself.

On the other hand, Kilimanjaro presents a more challenging climb with fewer expert guides available. This makes it a bit more expensive, with total costs usually falling between $2,000 and $6,000. Remember, it’s crucial not to compromise on safety, so be wary of unusually low prices that may indicate inexperienced guides.

Prioritize safety for yourself, your family, and your friends. Investing in a reputable booking process is worth every penny. So, choose wisely and embark on an unforgettable journey while ensuring your well-being.

When planning your trip,

It’s important to consider your time frame. We understand that not everyone has the luxury of taking two or three weeks off at the same time of year due to busy work schedules. Whether you manage to secure some time off during the early, middle, or late period of the year, this factor should play a role in your decision-making process.


Pro Recommendations: Hike the 6-Day Machame Route Kilimanjaro Hiking Tours. This thrilling trek offers breathtaking landscapes and the conquest of Africa’s tallest peak. Gain expert insights and tips for an incredible journey as you discover the beauty and challenges of this iconic route.

For Kilimanjaro, the good news is that you can embark on the hike at any time of the year. However, the time you choose may affect the beauty and difficulty of the journey. We highly recommend two time periods: between January and March, and between June and October. From January to March, you’ll experience a more pleasant hike in terms of heat, with a cooler ascent.

Just be prepared for a larger amount of snow near the summit. From June to October, the weather is drier, but keep in mind that this is a popular time and you may encounter more crowds.

On the other hand, we advise against planning your Kilimanjaro hike in April and November. These are the months when the country experiences the most rain, which can lead to challenging ascents.

Machu Picchu

As for Machu Picchu, there’s a specific time of year that stands out for the trek – between May and September. This is when the mountain is at its driest, making it an ideal time to visit.

It’s worth noting that the trail is closed to the public for maintenance every February due to the high levels of rainfall, which pose a real danger.

We hope this information helps you plan your adventures with confidence!


So, if you’re looking at pure altitude and physical exertion, Mount Kilimanjaro is generally considered harder than the Inca Trail. However, both treks require a good level of fitness, acclimatization to high altitudes, and the will to press on when the going gets tough.

Remember, whether you decide to uncover the secrets of the ancient Incas or conquer the heights of Kilimanjaro, both journeys promise to be unforgettable experiences filled with breathtaking views and personal triumphs. Happy trekking!


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Cesar Conde

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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