How much to Tip on the Inca Trail?

Tips are not included in the overall price of Inca Trail treks, but most trekkers do tip their guides, porters, and cooks on the penultimate or final day of the hike. Tipping is not obligatory, so you should never feel forced into it, but it is a tradition on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.

How Much to Tip on the Inca Trail

To give you an idea of how much cash you should carry for tips — and how much you should give to various trail support staff — we’ll have a look at the advice given by some of our recommended Inca Trail tour operators. These recommendations are for the classic four day/three-night Inca Trail; prices are listed in Peruvian nuevos soles — in general, it’s best to tip trekking staff using low-denomination nuevo sol bills.

  • SAM Travel Peru recommends that each person in the group contributes between 100 and 150 nuevos soles (US$40 to $60) to a “pot,” which is then distributed among the cook, assistant cook, general assistant, and porters. Also, a further 15 to 20 soles ($5.80 to $7.70) from each person in the group for the assistant guide and 18 to 28 soles ($7 to $10.80) for the principal guide.
  • Spider Travel Peru recommends between 60 and 70 soles per porter from the whole group; 120 to 160 soles for each cook from the group; 200 to 250 soles from the group for the guide.
  • Orange Nation recommends that each porter should walk away with 70 soles each for a small group (1 to 5 trekkers) and 80 soles each for a larger group (6 to 16 trekkers). Also a minimum of 100 soles for the guide, 90 soles for each cook and 70 soles for each assistant cook (given collectively from the tour group).

And a couple more recommendations:

  • G Adventures: “A good rule of thumb is anywhere from $10 to $15 per day for the porters” (35 to 45 nuevos soles).
  • Machu Picchu Travel Guide (an independent website, not a tour agency) recommends taking an extra US$60 to $90 per person to cover tips, with additional personal porters tipped separately.

Always remember that tips are not mandatory. The tipping ranges above are suggestions only and assume that the service given was of a good standard. If your food was terrible, for example, you should not feel obliged to tip the cook. At the same time, resist the urge to over-tip. 

If you feel you might want to go beyond a standard tip, keep in mind that many porters would be grateful for additional donations such as clothing or school equipment for their children.