Machu Picchu Hike Cost: The Hidden Expenses You Need To Know

Are you planning a trek along the iconic Machu Picchu circuit? Understanding the Machu Picchu hike cost is crucial for a smooth adventure.
At Skyhook, we'll break down all the expenses you'll encounter so you can focus on the journey of a lifetime.

How Much Does it Cost to Hike Machu Picchu?

The cost to hike Machu Picchu can vary based on different factors. In our experience, you can expect the following average costs:

Trek Name

Duration

Trek Cost (Per Person)

Estimated Flight Cost

Estimated Spending Money

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

8 Days

$1,120

$425 - $850

$200 - $300

Inca Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu

4 Days

$559

$425 - $850

$200 - $300

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

7 Days

$980

$425 - $850

$200 - $300

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

4 Days

$739

$425 - $850

$200 - $300

Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu

5 Days

$609

$425 - $850

$200 - $300

Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

4 Days

$569

$425 - $850

$200 - $300

Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

2 Days

$489

$425 - $850

$200 - $300

Understanding Machu Picchu Hike Costs

Let's dive into the nitty-gritty of understanding Machu Picchu hike costs so you can set your budget and start packing those hiking boots.
Hiking the Inca Trail (7 days)

The Journey to Machu Picchu

Your adventure starts long before you set foot on the Inca Trail. First up, you'll need to book flights to Peru. 
Most international flights land in Lima, and from there, you'll catch a domestic flight to Cusco. Flight costs can vary, but you're generally looking at a range of $425 to $850 for a round-trip ticket from London to Cusco via Lima.
Once you arrive in Cusco, don't rush off to the trail just yet. It's essential to spend at least a day acclimatising to the higher altitude. Trust us; Machu Picchu altitude sickness is real, and your lungs will thank you later!
inca trail sign

Choosing Your Trek

So, you've made it to Cusco, and you're raring to go. But wait, which trek should you choose? There are several routes to Machu Picchu, each with unique features and challenges.
  1. Inca Trail: The classic route that takes you directly to the Sun Gate Machu Picchu entrance. It's a 4-day trek, but there's also a shorter 2-day option. Costs range from $739 to $980 per person. This trail is famous for its archaeological sites and is the most popular, so book well in advance!

  2. Salkantay Trek: An 8-day trek costing around $1,120 per person. This route is less crowded and offers stunning views of snow-capped mountains. It's considered more challenging due to the terrain and altitude.

  3. Lares Trek: A 4-day trek costing about $569 per person. This route takes you through remote Andean villages, giving you a more cultural experience. It's less strenuous but equally rewarding.

Each trek has its own set of challenges, from the length of the journey to the difficulty of the terrain. So, create a Machu Picchu training plan, and choose wisely based on your fitness level and what you want from the experience.
See also: Salkantay vs Inca trail, Lares trek vs Inca trail, is Inca trail worth it, and Salkantay trek without guide
machu picchu porters

What's Included in the Cost

When budgeting for your Machu Picchu adventure, it's crucial to know what's included in the package price. Most trekking packages are pretty comprehensive and include the following:
  1. Guides: Experienced guides are usually part of the deal. They not only lead the way but also provide valuable insights into the history and culture of the area.

  2. Porters: These unsung heroes carry the camping gear and sometimes your personal items, making the trek more manageable.

  3. Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are generally included. Some packages even throw in snacks and tea breaks.

  4. Camping Equipment: Tents, sleeping bags, and other camping necessities are often part of the package.

  5. Permits: Permits are mandatory for trekking the Inca Trail and are included in the package cost. They range from $80 to $120 and are limited in availability.

Knowing what's included can help you plan better and avoid any surprise expenses along the way.
machu picchu camping

What's Not Included

While trekking packages are comprehensive, there are some costs you'll need to budget for separately. Here's what's usually not included:
  1. Tips: It's customary to tip guides and porters at the end of the trek. The amount can vary but plan on setting aside around $10 to $20 per day for this.

  2. Personal Hiking Gear: While some essential camping equipment is provided, you'll need to bring or rent your own personal hiking gear, like boots, trekking poles, and rain jackets.

  3. Optional Activities: Want to take a dip in some hot springs or visit additional archaeological sites? These activities usually come with an extra cost.

  4. Travel Insurance: Always a good idea, especially for adventurous trips like this. Make sure your Machu Picchu travel insurance policy covers high-altitude trekking.

  5. Spending Money: You might encounter small stores or locals selling bottled water and snacks along the trail. It's good to have some cash on hand for these.

Awareness of these additional costs will help you budget more accurately and ensure a smoother trekking experience.
machu picchu accommodation

Accommodation Options Along the Trail

When trekking to Machu Picchu, your choice of accommodation can make or break the experience. Here's what you need to know:
  1. Camping: Standard trekking packages usually include basic tents, sleeping bags, and mats. Campsites are pre-determined and come with basic facilities like toilets.

  2. Luxury Options: For those who prefer comfort, "glamping" options are available. These luxury packages can add an extra $200 to $400 to your trek cost and come with amenities like larger tents, better sleeping arrangements, and even private chefs.

  3. Hostels and Guesthouses: On some routes, like the Salkantay Trek, you can stay in hostels or guesthouses. These generally cost around $20 to $50 per night and are not included in the standard trekking package.

  4. Hotels in Cusco: Before and after the trek, you'll likely be staying in Cusco. While some packages include the first night's stay, additional nights can range from $40 to $150, depending on the hotel's quality.

By understanding your accommodation options and associated costs, you can tailor your Machu Picchu trek to fit your comfort level and budget.
salkantay trek lodge

Additional Costs to Consider

While the trekking package covers the essentials, there are other costs you'll need to factor into your budget. Let's take a look:
  1. Travel Insurance: This is a must-have, especially for an adventurous trip like this. Policies that cover high-altitude trekking can range from $50 to $150, depending on the coverage.

  2. Vaccinations: Depending on where you're coming from, you may need vaccinations before entering Peru. Yellow fever and typhoid vaccinations, for example, can cost around $60 to $100 each.

  3. Spending Money: Whether for souvenirs, snacks, or unexpected expenses, it's good to have some extra cash on hand. Plan on bringing at least $200 to $300 for spending money.

  4. Gear Rentals: If you don't have your own trekking gear, you'll need to rent items like trekking poles or specialised boots. Rental costs can add another $20 to $50 to your budget.

  5. Local Transportation: While most packages include transportation to and from the trailhead, you might want to explore other areas. Local buses and taxis are relatively inexpensive but can add up.

tourist and machu picchu guide

Why Choose an International Tour Operator Over DIY?

When trekking to Machu Picchu, you might be tempted to go the DIY route to save some money. However, there are several compelling reasons to consider an international tour operator like Skyhook:
  1. All-Inclusive Packages: Tour operators often provide all-inclusive packages that cover guides, porters, meals, permits, and even some gear. This takes the guesswork out of budgeting and ensures you don't miss any crucial details.

  2. Expertise and Safety: International operators have the experience and local knowledge to ensure a safe and enriching trek. They work with qualified guides and adhere to safety standards, especially in challenging terrains and high altitudes.

  3. Convenience: Planning a trek involves a lot of logistics, from securing Machu Picchu permits to arranging transportation. Tour operators handle all these details, allowing you to focus on the adventure itself.

  4. Local Impact: Reputable operators often engage with local communities, providing employment and contributing to local economies. This ensures a more sustainable and responsible travel experience.

  5. Flexibility: While DIY might offer some flexibility, tour operators often provide different trekking options, catering to various fitness levels and interests. This means you can still tailor the experience to your liking but with the added benefit of expert guidance.

Choosing an international tour operator can offer a more streamlined, safe, and enriching experience, making it worth the investment.
salkantay trek accommodation

Conclusion

Embarking on a trek to Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime Peru adventure. Following our travel Machu Picchu tips can help you understand the costs involved, from trek packages to additional expenses, so you plan a trip that's both exhilarating and budget-friendly.
So, lace up those hiking boots, get your Machu Picchu permit, and start planning the adventure you've always dreamed of with us and our vetted guides at Skyhook Adventure!

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