10 Tips to make the famous Inca Trail
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10 Tips to make the famous Inca Trail

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10 Tips to make the famous Inca Trail

There are two ways to arrive at Machu Picchu, sweating and with effort or without sweating, there are no other options. You can experience it as a reward or as an excursion. Along these lines, we will try to transmit 10 tips to enjoy the experience of reaching sweating the shirt to the fullest. The Inca Trail is a road with more than 5 centuries of history. It is an ancient road used by the Incas to communicate throughout their empire.


The Inca trail is very extensive and it is not conserved in its entirety, but today it is possible to travel 42 km of this legendary road before reaching the citadel of Machu Picchu. It is a demanding excursion that lasts 4 days It is a path that leaves its mark. Machu Picchu is a unique place and for that reason, it is one of the wonders of the modern world, but to reach it with effort makes the experience absolutely round. What's more, when you arrive after 4 days of walking you feel adventurous and know that you will enjoy that a thousand times more than the rest. Now we will present you 10 tips to make Inca Trail, enjoying fully your journey to reach the magnificent Machu Picchu. Let's start: 


1. Book the Inca Trail trek in advance.

Access to the Inca Trail is limited and once the quotas set by the government are covered, it is not possible to access it in any way. For this reason, it is essential to plan the trip with time (especially if you go in high season) to be able to reserve places well in advance. There are many tour operators that organize the trek. If you are one of those who like to arrive in the country and look for options, for the Inca Trail this will be not possible, in this case, you can stay without the possibility of entering the Inca Trail. So keep in mind this tip.


Inca Trail tips


How far in advance do I need to book the Inca Trail?

In order to protect the Inca Trail, the surrounding countryside and the ruins along the way, admissions to the Inca Trail are limited to 500 people per day. Since demand is extremely high, you should book your hike at least six months in advance. This is especially true in the high season. For the booking you need a copy of your passport. You can also reserve the train and bus tickets as well as the entrance tickets to Machu Picchu online in advance.




2. Book Huayna Picchu. Do not leave at the last moment.

Access to Huayna Picchu is even more restricted than that of the Inca Trail. So if you intend to upload, which we recommend, do not leave for the last time. Arriving at Machu Picchu, wanting to climb Huayna Picchu and not being able to because you did not have a foresight is a great disappointment.

Huayna Picchu ticket book in advance




3. Take and prepare a good backpack.

This advice seems repetitive, but it is always the step that fails the most. You will be 4 days walking and are long and demanding days, each gram sum. Do not take anything more than what is strictly necessary. A footwear for the walk and some crocs to relax the feet will be more than enough as far as footwear is concerned. Clothes for 4 days and a rain jacket if you go in the rainy season. Bring a good backpack is essential because the grams start to be seem as kilos as the kilometers advance so having a comfortable and ergonomic backpack will make things much easier. Use the straps of the chest and waist, relieve the weight of the shoulders by distributing it more evenly throughout the trunk.


Inca Trail Take and prepare a good backpack


What should I have with me on the hike?

For a day hike on the Inca Trail including an overnight stay, you will receive a so-called duffle bag, a small carrying bag for one day. This will be transported to your next accommodation in the morning before the hike and will be waiting for you in the evening. Here you pack a change of clothes, sleeping clothes, cozy socks, toothbrush, toiletry kit, charging cable etc.


In your daypack, which you carry with you during the hike, pack your passport (very important for the hike and for the bus!), enough drinking water, snacks, sunscreen and your camera. Depending on the weather, it's best to put on layers of onions. A windproof fleece jacket and a hat against the sun can't hurt. In any case, be prepared for sudden rain showers (pack a rain poncho!) and make sure you wear good hiking shoes.



4. Pay attention to footwear.

In the Inca Trail there is nothing, so if your shoes are broken you will be in a great hurry. Obviously, it is not advisable to wear shoes without premiering since the only thing you will get are some blisters. You do not need hiking boots, with a half-boot or trekking shoe is more than enough. 


5. Acclimatize

The Inca Trail goes through the 4200 meters high and it is likely that if your body has not got used to the altitude you have a bad time. Obviously each organism reacts in different ways, you may not even notice it. But to arrive to Cusco and the next day to begin the trekking, it is risky for your health. To acclimatize you can take a couple of days in Cusco and realize a city tour or a small trip of 1 day. They are preventive measures, that can avoid that we pass bad our excursion if we decided to do without them. 

6. Protect yourself from the rain.

This advice is only if you go in the rainy season, if so, although once again although it seems obvious is one of the tips that can help you to have a good trip. Take the clothes in plastic bags inside the backpack and carry spare ponchos, because the humidity can make your clothes feel wet when using it. 
Inca Trail rainy season

7. Dosage.

The road is long do not try to be the first. You have to be very aware about our limits and walk at our own pace. It is normal that the whole group arrives at the end of the stages with hours of difference, nothing happens, each one must take their rhythm and be aware that the next day there is more to walk.

8. Take a pair of the walking stick.

The stick is a great ally for walks. You can take it or buy it there directly as you prefer. If you have metal sticks you will have to buy plastic protectors for the metal tips to let you use them. The stick is a common element in the people who frequent the mountain, it is a great support in the climbs to help you in the momentum and a great ally in the descents to avoid or at least control, slips and losses of balance 

9. Mix. 

The Inca Trail is made with a more or less numerous group of people so you can share experiences with people from other countries as well as with the people of the organization and the porters. You can consider the trekking in a more individualistic way, but honestly it is a mistake and also practically impossible, even for meals and dinners, you end up creating a small family that is what makes this experience so wonderful. 

10.- Enjoy the Inca Trail.

As final advice and not least, enjoy. Enjoy the group, the landscape, the moment. Do not consider the Inca Trail as a process before you get to enjoy Machu Picchu, the essence is in the path itself. Machu Picchu will be your reward . Try to catch in your memory the sunrise from Inti Punku, do not miss the best moments for trying to take a thousand photos, sit and enjoy.
Inca Trail tips & travel


Important information about the Inca Trail & Machu Picchu

Should I expect altitude sickness on the Inca Trail?

Since many places in Peru are over 3,000 meters above sea level, you should expect altitude sickness on a Peru tour, which has symptoms similar to seasickness and can affect absolutely everyone, but does not have to. To avoid headaches, dizziness, nausea and fatigue, you should acclimatize to the altitude before starting the hike. Give your body a day or two to acclimate. You can do that wonderfully in Cusco, because the city is at 3,399 meters.


Since you overcome relatively large differences in altitude in a short time on the Inca Trail and you exert yourself physically to do so, altitude sickness can still strike during the hike. So always make sure you drink enough water, take breaks and don't overwhelm yourself. listen to your body.


When is the best time to travel the Inca Trail?

The best time to hike the Inca Trail is during the dry season, between mid-March and mid-December. During the dry season there is the absolute high season in Peru, but outside of this time you run the risk of hiking in constant rain. Incidentally, the Inca Trail is closed in February for maintenance work.


Where do I leave my luggage during the trek?

During the trek, your main luggage stays at the accommodation in Cusco. The hotels are prepared for such tours and have secure storage rooms. For one night in Aguas Calientes you will be provided with a so-called duffle bag, a small cloth bag, which will be transported to the hotel during the hike. Everything else you take with you in your daypack.


Are there alternative routes to the Inca Trail?

Since the Inca Trail is one of the most popular routes to the ruined city of Machu Picchu, it is often fully booked months in advance. Fortunately, there are some alternative routes that I haven't hiked yet, but I would like to briefly introduce them to you anyway:


Lares Trek

The Lares Trek takes you from the village of Lares to Ollantaytambo, overcoming the 4,450 meter high Ipsaycocha Pass. This trek is very little frequented and offers you fascinating insights into the life of the Peruvian rural population. The only downside: You don't arrive in Machu Picchu itself, but in Ollantaytambo and from there, like all other day visitors, you have to take the train to Aguas Calientes and from there the bus to Machu Picchu


Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek 71-kilometer starts in Mollepata and takes you over the 4,600 meter high El Paso to Aguas Calientes. Also with this hike you do not arrive on foot in Machu Picchu. The big advantage, however, is that the Salkantay Trek has no access restrictions and you don't have to apply for a permit.


The Inca Jungle Trek

The Inca Jungle Trek is the best alternative trip for all Adventurous, in this trip involves adrenaline such as biking, hiking, river rafting, and ZIP line.


The Inca Quarry

The Inca Quarry trek is similar to the Inca Trail.

Vilcabamba Trek Peru

The Vilcabamba Trek starts in the Vilcabamba Valley and takes you to Aguas Calientes within five days. On the way you cross three passes. The hike is accordingly demanding and only suitable for experienced hikers.


Where can I stay overnight after the hike?

If you arrive in Machu Picchu in the late afternoon, it is best to take the bus to Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Town. A ride will cost you 12 US dollars. In Aguas Calientes you will find many restaurants, cafes, small supermarkets and plenty of souvenir shops as well as hot springs where you can relax your tired legs.


As a place to stay, we can recommend the Hotel Wiracocha, which is just a few meters from the train station.

Is it worth visiting Machu Picchu twice?

In our opinion, it is definitely worth taking the bus up again in the morning after the hike. The reasons are several. On the one hand, after the hike, you will only arrive in Machu Picchu in the late afternoon. You don't have much time until the plant closes to take in the wonders of the world or to visit the ruins. In addition, Machu Picchu is completely overcrowded at this time of day and exudes little charm.


The next morning you should leave early in the morning (preferably before sunrise) to experience the true magic of Machu Picchu. This is the time when you have the best chance of moody light and fog.


If you stay overnight in Aguas Calientes, you can take one of the buses that go to the ruined city every 5 minutes from 5 a.m. in the morning. It is best to get in line early and calculate long waiting times. The round-trip ticket costs a total of 24 US dollars. Alternatively, you can walk to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. The trail is quite steep and takes about 1.5 hours.


If you want, there are extra activities in the Aguas Calientes town. Visit: What to do and see in the Town of Machupicchu?

Best Inca Trail travel packages from Lima

If you want to see more Inca Trail travel packages from Lima, please click on Peru Adventure Packages

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