The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is considered the best hiking route in Peru. Its roads are controlled by the Peruvian State as they have an important historical value. The route remains open throughout the year except for February, which is the rainiest month of all. Learn more about the closure of this hiking trail.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu remains open all year round except for February, the rainiest month. The reason for the closure is the constant rains that can cause accidents on the route. In addition, the Inca Trail can close in cases of emergencies such as protests, road blocks, natural disasters or pandemics.
What is the Inca Trail? Can it stay closed?
- The Inca Trail is a hiking route controlled by the Peruvian State. Travel the last 39 kilometers of the road that linked the city of Cusco with Machu Picchu in the time of the Incas.
- The Incas built an immense network of roads like these. The roads crossed the Andes Mountains and the entire Pacific coast. They called this monumental work ‘qhapac ñan’ or ‘royal road’ .
- Due to its enormous historical value, the Peruvian authorities establish limits to the entry of tourists on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
- Likewise, it is the authorities who decide to close the Inca Trail in an emergency situation.
- For example, each year the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu remains closed in February, the rainiest month.
February, the rainiest month
- February is the rainiest month of the year in all of Cusco. The rains happen almost every day with an intensity of 240 millimeters (mm) .
- The rains can cause stone falls during the route to the Inca Trail. This, in addition to damaging the roads, can cause accidents.
- Tourists who want to visit Machu Picchu in February are recommended to travel by train from Ollantaytambo station. Most people make their trip to the Inca city that way.
Why does the Inca Trail close?
- The main reason for the closure of the Inca Trail in February of each year is to safeguard the integrity of visitors with a great spirit of adventure as well as that of tour guides and other support personnel.
- Since 2002, and like every year, the Inca Trail along with 18 other archaeological sites located along the route are closed to the public in February . To take advantage of the closure, that month conservation, maintenance and cleaning activities are carried out on the roads.
- In other words, in February, treatments are carried out on deteriorated sections, repairs and repairs of terraces, maintenance of the camping areas and mowing of the thick vegetation. The goal is to get everything ready and suitable for its reopening in March.
These are some adventurous options to Machu Picchu:
- Salkantay trek – Hiking route to Machu Picchu that covers an average of 70 kilometers on foot in 5 days and 4 nights. This hike owes its name to the fact that it crosses the Nevado Salkantay pass (located at 4,650 meters of altitude) . Then it descends through the Vilcabamba mountain range until arriving at the town of Aguas Calientes through the Hydroelectric route. Tours can be purchased days or weeks in advance. It is recommended to be in good physical condition as the walk is demanding.
- Lares trek – Hiking route to Machu Picchu that covers approximately 32 kilometers in 4 days and 3 nights. The route owes its name to the fact that it begins in the town of Lares, famous for its thermal baths. It is known as the ‘cultural’ route as it passes through several villages with many traditions. Up to Machu Picchu through the town of Aguas Calientes, which is reached with the classic train trip from Ollantaytambo (after an arduous trek of 3 days and 2 nights).
- Huchuy Qosqo trek – Hiking route to Machu Picchu that runs 17 kilometers on average for 3 days and 2 nights. It is considered an easy route so it can be done as a family. It owes its name to the fact that it crosses the Inca archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo, located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. As well as the Lares trek, you reach Aguas Calientes with the train ride from Ollantaytambo. You can buy the tour days or weeks in advance without problems.
- The closure of the Inca Trail in February does not affect Machu Picchu. The Inca archaeological site remains open throughout the year .
- February, the rainiest month, coincides with the low tourist season. That is, during that month, as well as in January and March, the number of tourists visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu decreases.
- In February tours are usually offered at low prices. Likewise, tourist services such as restaurants, hotels and others; they are offered with interesting discounts. The reason? The low demand from visitors causes prices to fall.
- In any case, the Inca Trail tour must be purchased online and well in advance. The recommended time is 6 months before. Otherwise you will not find availability. It is the most famous adventure in Peru. Thousands of people seek to make this route to Machu Picchu.
By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 09-06-2021
Before embarking on the adventure through the Inca Trails, it is necessary to know certain details necessary to enjoy the trek in its fullness.