Experience the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with no worries; find here tips for a memorable Inca Trail

Inca Trail Tips.- Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the best trekking destinations in the world – and it’s fully open for business after 1960. So what do you need to know before you go?

Inca Trail Tip

The best time to visit is April through September. Sure, it’s the busy season (especially June to August), but it’s also the dry season. And trust us, you don’t want to visit during rainy season!… Note that the Classic Inca Trail is closed February.

  1. Make your Classic Inca Trail reservations several months in advance – up to a year if you’re going during peak season. You can only visit with a licensed agency, and spots book up quickly.
  2. Choose your trekking agency carefully. Shop around and ask lots of questions: what you’ll have to carry, how many people to a tent, how many porters for the group, if there are arrangements for special diets. It’s worth paying more for a reputable agency that treats its porters well and respects the environment. We’ve recommended a tour we like at the end of this article.
  3. No matter what time of year, the trail gets cold at night. Bring a warm sleeping bag and layer your clothes.
  4. Other must-brings: sturdy shoes, a flashlight (with fresh batteries), water-purification tablets, high-calorie snacks and a basic first-aid kit.
  5. Take a stash of small Peruvian currency for buying bottled water and snacks along the way, as well as for tipping the guide, cook and porters.
  6. If you can’t get an Classic Inca Trail reservation, don’t despair. There’s always Kuélap as an excellent alternative or you can check out the Lares Trek or the or Salkantay Trek. Stop by South American Explorers for an information packet.Altitude sickness is serious and can ruin your trip. The biggest mistake you can make is to fly directly to Cuzco (3326m/10,910ft) and expect to hike the next day. Give yourself a few days to adjust to the altitude first.

Suggested Classic Inca Trail Packing List:

  1. Backpack (65 liters should be quite sufficient).
  2. Comfortable walking boots with good ankle support.
  3. Sleeping bag (can be rented in our office).
  4. Adequate Clothes.
  5. 2 pairs of long trousers (lightweight).
  6. 2 T-shirts.
  7. 1 short-sleeved shirt.
  8. 1 long-sleeved shirt.
  9. 1 pair of shorts.
  10. Underwear and socks (thermal underwear is highly recommended, being light, warm and makes good nightwear on cold nights).
  11. Fleece jacket.
  12. Rain jacket or poncho.
  13. Hat or cap to protect from the sun.
  14. Toiletries: soap, toothbrush, toothpaste & toilet paper etc.
  15. Sun cream, lip salve, sun glasses.
  16. Basic first aid kit.
  17. Insect repellent.
  18. Money belt + passport + emergency money.
  19. Camera + film (film can easily be bought in Peru and is of excellent quality).
  20. Water bottle (mineral water can be bought throughout Peru).
  21. Water purification tablets (Micropur tablets can be bought in Cusco and are very efficient).

Walking sticks.

Essential Items for Classic Inca Trail

  1. Duffel bag – large enough for all climbing gear and clothing. To be carried by the porters. An extra bag to be left at the hotel with extra gear
  2. Small luggage lock – to lock zippers
  3. Day backpack – between 20 – 35 litres. Large enough to carry your water, camera, raincoat, lunch pack, snacks & warm clothing
  4. Sleeping bag
  5. Ski-pole / walking stick
  6. Water bottle / containers
  7. Inca Trail map (Can be bought at Park gate)
  8. High Altitude Gear
  9. Waterproof, breathable & windproof jacket (outer wear like Ventex, Gore-Tex or Jeantex)
  10. Waterproof, breathable & windproof pants (outer wear)
  11. Polar fleece (middle layer)
  12. Thermal underwear (under layers)
  13. Mittens or warm gloves
  14. Glove liners (if necessary)
  15. One pair thermal (polertex) socks
  16. Balaclava
  17. Gaiters
  18. Thermal water flask
  19. Hiking Gear
  20. Shorts
  21. Hiking pants
  22. Regular underwear
  23. T-shirts
  24. Raincoat or Poncho
  25. Footwear
  26. Water resistant semi-stiff hiking boots – mid weight boots work great
  27. Shoes for overnight camps – i.e. sneakers, running shoes, etc.
  28. Socks – several pairs for the climb
  29. Liner socks – to keep your feet dry and limit the risk of blisters

Medical and First Aid Supplies

  1. Headache tablets
  2. Altitude sickness-Diamox (if not allergic to sulpha)
  3. Diarrhoea – Imodium
  4. Nausea – Valoid
  5. Malaria – Prophylaxis
  6. Water purification tablets
  7. Painkillers
  8. Muscular sprains
  9. Abrasions blisters and cuts – Plaster, bandages
  10. Antiseptic cream – Betadine
  11. Flu and colds
  12. Eye drops
  13. Insect repellent

Optional Items

  1. Camera, extra lenses and film (ASA 200 film recommended)
  2. Binoculars
  3. Powdered sports drinks for the climb (ex. Game or Isotonic drinks)
  4. Pocket knife
  5. Notebook & pencil
  6. Plastic bags to keep clothing dry (masking tape)
  7. Energy snacks and sweets
  8. Video camera, tapes, battery packs and tri-pod


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