Inca Trail in January: Weather, Pros, Cons and more

Inca Trail in January - Xplore Cusco

The Inca Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in the world, and for good reason. It’s a challenging but rewarding hike that takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in Peru. If you’re planning to hike the Inca Trail, you’ll need to know what to expect in January.

Here are some things to expect when hiking the Inca Trail in January:

  1. Rainy and muddy conditions on the trail.
  2. Fewer crowds on the trail compared to peak season.
  3. Cooler temperatures, with average lows of 12°C and highs of 23°C.
  4. Spectacular views of lush green landscapes and the Andes mountains.
  5. The possibility of encountering some wildlife such as llamas and birds.
  6. The chance to see historic ruins and learn about the ancient Inca civilization.
  7. The opportunity to connect with nature and experience a challenging and rewarding trek.
  8. The need to be prepared with proper gear and clothing for the wet and cool conditions.

Is Inca Trail open in January?

Yes, the Inca Trail is open in January and also Machu Picchu is. However, it is important to keep in mind that due to year-end and summer holidays in the southern hemisphere of the world, the trail can be crowded. If you plan to hike the Inca Trail in this month, you will need to book your tour well in advance.


January is the wettest month of the year in the Andes. The average temperature is 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit), but it can vary depending on the altitude. You can expect rain showers most days, and there is a chance of thunderstorms.

Crowds & Costs

January is considered low season for tourism in Peru, so you can generally expect fewer crowds on the Inca Trail compared to peak season. This means that you may have a more peaceful and intimate experience on the trail, with fewer people at popular viewpoints and archaeological sites.

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4 Day Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

Pros of hiking Inca Trail in January

Despite the downsides, there are also some advantages to hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in January. First, the weather is generally warm and sunny, even if it is raining. Second, the crowds tend to thin out after the first week of the month. Third, you’ll have a better chance of seeing wildlife, such as llamas and alpacas.

Cons of hiking Inca Trail in January

There are a few downsides to hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in this month. First, the weather can be unpredictable. It’s important to be prepared for rain, and you should also be aware of the risk of landslides. Second, the trail maybe at its most crowded during this time of year. This can make the hike less enjoyable, and it can also make it more difficult to find solitude.


  1. Book your trekking permit and tour at least 6 months in advance.
  2. Pack for both warm and cold weather, as temperatures can vary significantly.
  3. Stay hydrated and bring plenty of water or a water filtration system.
  4. Take your time and acclimate to the altitude before starting the trek.
  5. Book with a reputable local tour operator (Xplore Cusco) for a safe and informative experience.
  6. Respect the local culture and natural environment by following Leave No Trace principles.
  7. Enjoy the stunning views of the Andes Mountains and the archaeological sites along the way, and experience the trail with fewer crowds during the off-season.

Alternative treks to Inca Trail in this January

Here are some alternative treks to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu that you can consider in January:

  1. Salkantay Trek: This trek takes you through stunning mountain landscapes and remote Andean communities, eventually leading you to Machu Picchu. It’s a great option for those seeking a more challenging trek than the Inca Trail.
  2. Lares Trek: The Lares Trek is a great way to experience the culture of the Andean communities while also enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. It’s a less crowded option than the Inca Trail and offers opportunities to soak in natural hot springs along the way.
  3. Choquequirao Trek: This trek takes you to the lesser-known ruins of Choquequirao, which are often compared to Machu Picchu in terms of their beauty and significance. The trek is challenging but rewarding, offering stunning views of the Andes along the way.
  4. Ausangate Trek: This trek takes you through some of the most remote and stunning landscapes in the Andes, including glaciers, colorful mountains, and hot springs. It’s a great option for those seeking a challenging and unique trek.
  5. Inca Jungle Trek: The Inca Jungle Trek is a more adventurous option that combines hiking, biking, and even zip-lining through the jungle en route to Machu Picchu. It’s a great way to experience the diverse landscapes of the region while also enjoying some adrenaline-pumping activities.

What to do in January in Cusco

If you’re not hiking the Inca Trail, there are plenty of other things to do in Cusco in January. You can visit the city’s many museums, such as the Museo Inka and the Museo de Arte Precolombino. You can also take a day trip to the Sacred Valley, where you can visit the Pisac Market and the Ollantaytambo ruins.


Hiking the Inca Trail in January is a challenge, but it’s also a rewarding experience. If you’re prepared for the weather and the crowds, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning scenery and the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing the hike.


Is the Inca Trail open in January?

Yes, the Inca Trail an Machu Picchu are open in January. However, it’s important to note that January falls within the rainy season in Peru, which means that hiking conditions on the trail may be wet, muddy, and slippery.

What is the weather like on the Inca Trail in January?

January is during the rainy season in Peru, so expect wet and muddy conditions on the trail. Temperatures can range from 12°C to 23°C.

Will I need any special gear for hiking the Inca Trail in January?

Yes, you should bring waterproof gear, warm clothing, and a good pair of hiking boots with ankle support.

Is January a busy month for the Inca Trail?

January is considered a low season for tourism in Peru, so there may be fewer crowds on the trail.

Are there any cultural or religious events in Peru during January that may affect the Inca Trail?

January 6th is the Day of the Kings, a national holiday in Peru, which may impact transportation and services in some areas.

Looking for other months?

Check out these articles written specifically to see what each month is like at Inca Trail.

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