So you have already decided to fulfill one of your dreams: to take this mythical trip across the Inca Trail to the citadel of Machu Picchu.
We want to participate in your plans by giving you 5 tips before you set out on the Inca Trail, taking into account that it must be a vital experience in which you will never forget all the good things you will experience. That is why we will give you these simple and practical tips so that nothing can spoil it.
So as soon as the decision is made, do not forget to do the booking of flights, accommodation and the trail. This route attracts thousands of people from all over the globe so that there is usually a lot of demand for the majority of the year.
For several days, you will be thousands of metres above sea level. It means your body needs to acclimatize slowly to avoid the annoying altitude sickness. It is advisable to stay in the city of Cusco for at least 2 days prior to the trek starts to acclimate well. You should know that the date of the Inca Trail cannot be changed and there is not a refund in case of absence so it is essential to take precautions to not miss out on the opportunity to hike it.
Acclimating to the high altitude in Cusco Peru can vary from person to person, but it is generally recommended to spend at least 1 to 2 days acclimating before engaging in strenuous activities or ascending to even higher altitudes, such as Machu Picchu. Cusco is located at an elevation of approximately 3,400 meters (11,152 feet) above sea level, which can lead to altitude sickness or other discomfort if you’re not accustomed to high altitudes.
During your acclimation period, it’s a good idea to take it easy, stay hydrated, and avoid strenuous activities. Many travelers experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath when first arriving in Cusco, but these symptoms often improve after a day or two as your body adjusts to the altitude. Some people might still feel mild effects at this elevation, but they tend to diminish over time.
If you plan to go on a trek or visit Machu Picchu, it’s even better to spend a few extra days acclimating in Cusco before embarking on such adventures. Keep in mind that individual responses to high altitude can vary, so it’s essential to listen to your body and seek medical advice if you experience severe altitude sickness symptoms.
In summary, spending 1 to 2 days acclimating in Cusco is a good starting point, but it’s recommended to give yourself more time if you plan to explore higher altitudes in the region.
The weather of the Andean zone tends to change suddenly. Although the sun can beat down, once it hides behind a cloud, the temperature drops quickly. For that reason, it is important to wear a coat/jacket at night as the cold can be harmful.
Special trekking footwear is a must for the trail. Pay attention it covers your ankles to provide you better stability. That is important since the footwear must endure 8 hours of walking per day and the terrain is often difficult and slippery.
A couple of poles will help you a lot during the whole trip. If you have no practice with them, you will soon learn how to use them. They will help you move more safely and comfortably by lightening part of the weight and giving you extra stability. You can also buy them in Ollantaytambo.
It is not quite advisable to consume the water of the springs along the Inca Trail. Bring your own thermos or a water bottle filled with mineral water. You can buy it in the towns that we are going to cross too. Make sure to bring insect repellent, flashlight, sunscreen and batteries for your personal gadgets. And for the sake of doubt, take a look at the necessary international vaccines.
There are many routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail, the most famous pedestrian route in the Americas! After flying from the capital of Peru, Lima, you arrive in Cusco to walk for four days on an ancient path that takes you through forests and thick fog, millennial stone steps while discovering the ruins of Inca fortifications and cities enjoying majestic views all the time
The best season is during the dry season, which covers the months from April to the end of September. In October, rains begin to occur, moreover, Machu Picchu is often covered by clouds. If you travel in June, we recommend you booking the Inti Raymi, which takes place on 24 June, and hiking on the Palcoyo Mountain Tour, leading to the incredible Rainbow Mountain located in the Andes.