The precipitation in Peru’s Sacred Valley during the rainy season is such a factor that, in February, hiking the Inca Trail is impossible. It actually closes completely for restoration, due to the intensity of the rain!
The rainy season on the Inca Trail typically begins in mid-November and ends in mid-March. January and February have the most precipitation, and see anywhere from 120 – 160-mm of rainfall per month.
It’s important to note however that places located at high elevations have unpredictable weather. It’s best to be prepared for any conditions, in any season, since the weather can change at any time.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an arduous 4 day, 43 kilometre undertaking, under the best of conditions. Hiking the Inca Trail in rainy season involves slippery rocks, high winds and washed out trails. Not to mention, soaking wet clothes and low visibility.
Of course, with just 500 people (including porters), allowed on the 4 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu each day, hiking dates fill up fast. The ideal weather months of May to August, fill up the fastest of all.
I’d originally planned on doing the Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu in May, but it turns out a lot of people have the same idea. When I tried to get Inca Trail permits at the beginning of the year, the entire month was already fully booked up!
TIP: You can still visit Machu Picchu in February! The Classic Inca Trail does close for the month, but Machu Picchu remains open to visitors. It’s advisable to guarantee your entrance to Machu Picchu by purchasing tickets or a day tour from Cusco in advance.
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu takes a huge investment of time, money, and effort. It’s something you’ll want to prepare for properly, not only so you can complete it as painlessly as possible, but also so you can enjoy the experience along the way. After all, this is likely a once in a lifetime event you’ll never forget!
Hiking the Inca Trail with an independently booked local company is a great way to give back to the country, and ensure that you have a great trek. Can you imagine having tents that leak and sleeping bags that are not warm enough at night? or food that is not nutritious and satisfying?
The big international travel companies sell Inca Trail hikes, but the reality is that ONLY local Peruvian companies are authorized by the government to be on the trail. So even if you book with a well-known international travel company, you’ll still end up hiking the Inca Trail with a local company. They’ll just be wearing uniforms that say otherwise, and you’ll be probably pay a bit more for the exact same service.
See some of the best direct local tour operators!
SAM Corporations has GUARANTED trek departures, no matter the number of people in the group. They also promise NEVER to combine groups with another tour company.
We employ about 90 porters from local communities. They all are farmers by trade and are native Quechua speakers. They are mainly from the villages of Huacawasi, Calca and Patacancha. We refer to our super porters as the” Orange Machine”. This is because they work hard during the treks but carrying duffel bags, camping gear, and more! It is important to us that we employ porters from local villages because we are supporting them to become self-efficient and helping communities grow their economy to better the quality of lives.
We provide the following items to our porters and cooks for free: Working insurance, Jacket, sun hat, warm hat, t-shirt, pants, hiking boots, conmfortable duffle bags, canteen, girdle for protecting their spine, sleeping bags, mattress.
Hiking the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu can be done by almost anyone successfully.
Unless you’ve got terrible knees or some kind of extreme breathing difficulty like asthma, it’s possible to finish. And if your will is strong enough, it’s possible even with those hardships.
On the Inca Trail you will see people of all shapes, sizes and ages tackling the trek, and yes, they all will made it.
Most tour companies recommend that you spend at least a two or three days for acclimatizing to the altitude.
The best thing you can do to successfully hike the Inca Trail in the rainy season, is manage your expectations.
Accept that you’ll be wet and soaked for parts of the 4 days and prepare accordingly. Recognize that you probably won’t get the classic view of Machu Picchu at the end of your trek, and don’t be disappointed if it turns out that way.
Hking the Inca Trail is stunningly beautiful, no matter the season, and hey, you’ve just successfully walked 42km in less than ideal conditions. Smile.
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most memorable things you will do… It must be on your your bucket list?