Packing and Preparing for the Inca Trail
Read our Inca trail to Machu Picchu trip report, the trail is undeniably beautiful, you might need an extra 2 pairs of eyes to sweep in the beauty at every turn and every mountain pass.
The trek isn’t easy, if you are reasonably fit you can do it, to enjoy this beautiful trail get ready get fit before the big day and you can have an enjoyable trek, here are some facts and tips that can help you.
Inca Trail facts:
- The Inca trail is hard, so be ready, you deal with steep rocky steps, a lot of them, 90% of the trail is all steps.
- At high altitudes every step you take is going to be harder, so get acclimatised in Cusco
- Weather can be a bit unpredictable, so dry season is best (May to September).
- Get Comfortable With The Concept Of “Inca Toilets”, No luxurious toilet papers, no toilet seats, well there are no proper toilets. On the hike, the best bathroom you will find is a rickety hut with a small hole in the ground to do your biz… and that’s more hygienic than western style toilets, so get used to this concept mentally and you will be fine.
- Porters can carry your personal items up to 7 kilos, so pack light.
- Trekking poles are very handy and good for your knees too, so take them, you can also rent with your tour operator
- Maximum number of permits is 500 per day, this includes 200 for tourists and 300 for cooks, porters and guides.
- So book as much in advance to get the dates of your choice (at least 5 months in advance during the dry season).
- There are no cancellations or wait list for the permits, so once booked the permits cannot be changed.
- You can only trek the trail with a tour operator.
- So book with a reputable agency and you will be in safe hands.
- After reading through reviews and recommendations we chose Alpaca Expeditions, we like to support locals and local operators, and these guys were the perfect choice.
It’s very important to have the right gear for greatest comfort and less injury during the trek, so here are some important items we took that helped us a lot with the trek. Check the bottom of this blog post for complete packing list.
- Socks, Socks, Socks, this is more important than the shoes, get 2 to 3 pairs of good anti-blister socks, these are heaven, after 4 days of all day walking, not even a small blister or a skin peel in sight.
- I purchased them from Trekwear, get these and your feet will thank you for it.
- A good pair of shoes, any walking or trekking shoe with decent grip will do, make sure the shoe does get worn in. If you get new ones, make sure you wear it and walk for a couple of days.
- A good pair of trekking pants or walking shorts, Strictly no Jeans pant for the trek
- If you carry a DSLR, get a good backpack that has hip straps so the backpack sits on your hips instead of hanging from your shoulders, we used the F-stop camera bag without the insets to reduce weight.
- Lugging a DSLR is definitely a point to be noted, its heavy, so choose your lenses too carefully, I had the 24-104mm and was enough.
- A compact camera is very useful for all those non-DSLR moments, so make sure you have one.
- 2 to 3 Tech wool t-shirts, these are thin, lightweight and wicks away the sweat very fast, keeps you cool and dry and more importantly does not make you smell like stale meat.
- A good Head Lamp, campsites are in remote locations and to navigate around in the night you definitely need one.
Food on the Trek:
Alpaca Expeditions are known for their fantastic food, they feed you so much and a varied variety of Peruvian cuisine, you wouldn’t want to go back to your normal diet, and if you are vegetarians like us then there is absolutely no issues with it, we had a fantastic and tasty selection.
Inca trail complete packing checklist
- Waterproof over pants
- Light waterproof jacket
- T-shirts and fleece
- Thin thermal wear
- Good trekking or trail Shoes
- Waterproof over shoes
- Torch or head lamp
- Light weight Towel to use on Trek
- Toilet Tissues
- Basic medication
- Water bottle or Camel pack
- Sunglasses Sunscreen
- Mosquito repellent
- Chocolate bars
- Small first aid kit
- CAMERA and enough batteries (can’t charge for 4 days on the trail)
- You fly into Cusco where you start the Trek, all international flights fly to Lima and you get an internal flight to Cusco.
- a 5 day trek including lunch and all misc is approx 700 USD
- Flight costs from London to Cusco is around 600 GBP
- Usually dry season (May to September) is good
- Plan 2 weeks for the trip, 5 days for the trek, couple of days in Cusco and around be a good time too.
- There are plenty of restaurants and getting Vegetarian food was never a problem
- We stayed at Rumi Punku in Cusco, it’s a walking distance from the main square, very nice hotel with comfortable beds and spacious rooms.
- For Machu Picchu, we stayed at the Rupa Wasi in Aguas Calientes, they have a nice Tree house restaurant for a delicious dinner.
- Pisco Sour is a local Peruvian drink, don’t miss it.
- Here is a Video log of our trek
- We booked our Inca trail and related bookings through Alpaca Expeditions