Hiking Inca Trail in December

Inca trail 4 days

Hiking the Inca Trail is an extraordinary adventure that attracts travelers from around the world. While many people opt for the classic trek during the peak season, there is something truly special about embarking on this journey in December. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of hiking the Inca Trail during this time of year, equipping you with valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

Things to Know

Before delving into the specific pros and cons, it’s essential to gather all the necessary information about hiking the Inca Trail in December. Consider the following details:

  • Permits: Just like any other time of the year, hiking the Inca Trail in December requires obtaining permits well in advance due to its popularity. Make sure to secure your permits early to ensure availability.
  • Crowds: While December is considered the off-peak season, the Inca Trail can still see a moderate influx of hikers. It’s crucial to be prepared for encounters with other trekkers along the trail.
  • Landslides: December falls within the rainy season, increasing the risk of landslides. Be aware of the potential challenges and stay informed about any trail closures or alterations due to weather conditions.

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Why Hike the Inca Trail in December (Pros)

Despite the challenges, there are several compelling reasons to consider hiking the Inca Trail in December. Here are a few advantages:

  • Less Crowded: Compared to the peak season, December offers a less crowded experience on the Inca Trail. This means you can savor the stunning vistas and ancient ruins with more tranquility.
  • Lower Prices: Some tour operators and accommodations offer discounted rates during the off-peak season. This can be an opportunity to save money while still enjoying the incredible journey.
  • Unique Atmosphere: The Inca Trail in December has a distinct ambiance. The lush green landscapes and the occasional rain showers create an enchanting atmosphere that adds a touch of magic to your trek.

Why Not Hike the Inca Trail in December (Cons)

While December has its advantages, it’s essential to be aware of the potential drawbacks. Consider these cons before making your decision:

  • Unpredictable Weather: December falls within the rainy season, which means you can expect frequent rain showers and potentially muddy or slippery trails. This may affect the overall hiking experience and make certain sections more challenging.
  • Limited Availability: As December is considered the off-peak season, some facilities and services along the trail may have limited availability. It’s advisable to book your accommodations and transportation well in advance to secure your preferred options.


One of the crucial factors to consider when hiking the Inca Trail in December is the weather. Here are some key details:

  • Temperature: December marks the beginning of the summer season in Peru, with average temperatures ranging from 55°F to 70°F (13°C to 21°C) during the day and dropping to around 45°F (7°C) at night. Be prepared for fluctuations in temperature.
  • Rainfall: December experiences higher rainfall compared to other months, with an average of 6 inches (150 mm) of precipitation. Rain showers can be frequent, so it’s important to pack appropriate rain gear and protect your belongings.


To make the most of your Inca Trail adventure in December, consider the following recommendations:

  • Pack Layers: Given the fluctuating temperatures, it’s crucial to pack clothing that can be layered for warmth and easily adjusted throughout the day.
  • Waterproof Gear: As rain showers are common, invest in quality waterproof gear, including waterproof jackets, pants, and sturdy hiking boots. Additionally, pack dry bags or waterproof covers for your belongings to protect them from the rain.
  • Trekking Poles: The trails can become slippery and muddy in December, so using trekking poles can provide extra stability and support during your hike.
  • Adequate Footwear: Ensure that you have comfortable, well-fitted hiking boots with good traction to navigate the potentially slippery terrain.
  • Proper Hydration: Despite the cooler temperatures, staying hydrated is crucial during your trek. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it at the comping site and lunch spots along the trail.
  • Sun Protection: Even though it’s the rainy season, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun. Pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from harmful UV rays.
  • Physical Fitness: The Inca Trail can be physically demanding, so it’s recommended to engage in regular exercise and prepare your body for the trek. Conditioning exercises and cardiovascular activities can help build stamina and endurance.

December Events in Cusco

While hiking the Inca Trail is undoubtedly the highlight of your trip, taking some time to explore Cusco and its surrounding areas can enhance your experience. In December, you can also enjoy a range of events and festivities in the region. Some notable events include:

  • Summer solstice: This takes place on December 22nd, witness the sun’s alienation in the Inca sites like the sacred Valley or in Machu Picchu the Incas used as a mark for the rainy season and dry season in their temples now known as the sun temples.
  • Christmas Festivities: Cusco embraces the Christmas spirit with colorful decorations, lively markets, and festive celebrations. Experience the unique blend of Andean and European traditions during this joyful time.
  • New Year’s Eve: Bid farewell to the year in Cusco and celebrate New Year’s Eve in the heart of the Andes. Enjoy fireworks, live music, and a vibrant atmosphere as you welcome the upcoming year.

Exploring these events can provide you with a deeper understanding of the local culture and add a touch of festivity to your journey.

In conclusion, hiking the Inca Trail in December offers a unique and rewarding experience despite the potential challenges. By being well-informed, prepared, and adaptable to the weather conditions, you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the trail with fewer crowds and a touch of enchantment. Embrace the adventure and make unforgettable memories as you embark on this incredible journey in the heart of the Andes.

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