The causes of death among Trekkers on Inca Trail

Thousands of people flock to the historical and mysterious site of Machu Picchu every year. Whether by train or through the Inca trail, in the end, they all have something to say. Well, Most of the tourists referred to the Inka trail hike as the most rewarding experience, and once in a lifetime adventure. However, the question arises immediately as to the Deaths on Inca trail and How dangerous is the Inca trail. In the following paragraphs, it will be explained about the common risks to take into account, before venturing on the Inca trail.

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Fatalities on the Inca trail

The classic Inka trail takes a four-day hike to get to Machu Picchu, hence the risks will be divided into two separated levels:

What might cause the death on Inca Trail on Day 01 and day 02

The topography in which the Inka trail stretches here is different than in the last two days. It involves walking on a wider trail, a little flat and not necessarily stone-stepped path for the first day. As for the second-day hike, it is going to mean climbing the highest spot of the entire journey, reaching the death women´s pass at 13 700 ft / 4200 asl. While the path goes up at first through dwarf vegetation to high up where there is no more tree, the path and the surrounding areas are wider with no narrow ledges nor steep falls as you might have been thinking. In terms of elevation challenge, reaching the summit is doable. But, it could make tourists suffer mercilessly, especially to those without cold acclimatization. In any case, right after the pass, the descent begins to a lower altitude campsite.

Altitude sickness

Clearly, altitude sickness (AMS) stands out as a big risk for tourists with no right preparation and without cold acclimatization. Anyone with previous experience in a multiple-day hike should not have trouble, if yes it is very occasional. There are ways to prevent altitude sickness: the best way is to acclimatize the body in advance. Traditional medicine helps to face it, such as coca tea. Also, the Diamox tablets or any other drug your doctor has prescribed you, but can not fix the situation, what it does is speed the acclimatization.

inca trail altitude sickness


There were no deadly landslides reported in the area that caused tourist´s death nor of the locals. As it has been described the surrounding areas and the path is wider. Additionally, the terrain in this area seems to be steady.

Wild animals 

Although there might be some Puma, nobody still had a close encounter with a Puma. Pumas must be prowling afar from the villages because they see humans as a great threat. 

deaths on inca trail

What might cause the death on Inca Trail on Day 03 and day 04

Having conquered the dead woman’s pass, the mountain slopes change that now it is steeper. The walk is performed through the never-ending stone ladders on the path ahead, going up and then down until the Wiñayhuayna camp. Previously, the third-day hike applies visits to some archaeological sites built on Whimsically shaped topographies. Furthermore, the path gets narrower so it can scare people nervous about height.

The classic 4 days Inca trail and the short inca trail 2 days hike converge, at the last campsite which is Wiñayhuayna. Unfortunately, in the past years all along, there have been tourists who have suffered death. This is where most of the accidents have been reported, whether some incidents were avoidable or not, is arguable. 


Seeing the heart-melting death reports of tourists on the Inca trail, calls everyone to consider the risk that represents crossing that last stretch. Due to the water level changes in the high rainy season, soil slides are more likely. Actually, in February of each year, the trail remains closed for maintenance reasons. January and March are still to take under consideration to set off on a hike. Better not to hike in the rainy season. 

Common behaves to quit

Venture into restricted areas.- While most of the tourists follow the sign, you can not walk aside from where the path is signaled. Fortunately, there have not been fatalities related to it.

Taking photos while walking.-  Bear in mind where and how you take pictures, including selfie pictures. If you find an irresistible vista, stop and make sure the path is wide and not slippery. There has been a case where a British Millionairess went over the edge. Despite being aware of where you take pictures, is what kind of footwear you have, your shoes must have a good grip. The use of hiking sticks, if not used correctly might represent a risk when stumbling.

Everyone makes photos for memories, but think before that no picture is worth your life. 

Reptiles and wild animals

While some people seem to be wondering whether there will be snakes to see, there are others who are given goosebumps just talking about snakes. Rarely, some of these two species sunbathe on the path. And, yes they are poisonous, commonly called Jergon (Bothrops) and Coral (Micrurus).

The spectacled bear, Osito de anteojos is the other commonly feared animal by tourists.  Many think they are people attackers but that is not so. As far as you stand quiet if you happen to run into one of them, they won’t attack anyone, because they are vegetarian. You would have lucky to see them.

Important.-The hike in a small group is always a better choice as the guide or guides can keep eye on everyone easier.

Have the Inca trail hikers been robbed?

In November 2005 five, British tourists have been stolen. That was perhaps the most disgraceful incident concerning an armed robbery in the Inka trail as far as we know. Although in early 2019 haven an assault reported in the Inka trail, did not end up with severe injuries. Ever since that incident police have been stationed on some of the checkpoints to assist in any unforeseeable incidents of any kind. So it is safe to walk on the Inka trail.

 How dangerous is the Inca trail?

Hiking in the mountains is no mean feat, it comes with risk factors as anything in life. Five hundred (500) is the top to the everyday amount of hikers, including (porters, cooks, and guides), and by comparison, the accidents to the number of visitors are very low but they do happen. There are lots of stairs and such to walk up. Narrow at times but just watch your path and not jump for pictures and you will be just fine. On the other side, we are too little against the natural phenomenon.

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