|A street in Ollantaytambo|
Hiking the Inca Trail is an experience of a lifetime, and preparing is part of the adventure. The program includes three days of pre-hikes to help acclimatize you to the altitude and terrain of the trail, and the following information will help you get ready before your departure.
*** Break in your boots well in advance of your departure. Wear your boots on the flight or pack them in your carry-on bag in case luggage is lost or delayed.***
• Incorporate some form of cardio exercise, 45 to 60 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week for at least 8 to 12 weeks prior to your trip. We suggest running, walking, or biking.
• Prepare for the extreme ups and downs of the hike by training across a variety of terrains such as hills or using a treadmill incline.
• Practice yoga or some form of core strengthening exercise.
SUGGESTED PACKING LIST
• Small day pack to carry your sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, camera, water bottle or
CamelBak, and rain gear
• Hiking boots that are well worn in
• A pair of comfortable shoes, sandals or crocs to wear around the camp
• One complete change of clothing per day including pants, t-shirts, socks, and underwear. Some have
suggested only 2 pair of zip-off hiking pants.
• Fleece and down jacket
• Gloves and a warm hat
• Warm fleece pants for evening
• Personal toiletries, including baby wipes, and medications
• Camera gear with enough charged batteries for the entire hike
• Flashlight and batteries
There is no need to bring energy bars or snacks; plenty of food and snacks will be provided.
LUGGAGE WEIGHT LIMIT
You will be limited to no more than 8 kg/17.6 lbs (minus the weight of the sleeping bag - approx. 1.6 lb) on the Inca Trail. The site coordinator in Peru will supply large duffel bags to pack your clothes and gear in for the hike. Professional porters will carry the bags during the Inca Trail hikes and the remaining luggage will be stored at the hotel in Cusco.
AVERAGE DISTANCE, WALKING TIME, AND ALTITUDE PER DAY ON THE INCA TRAIL
Day 1: Chillca - Huayllabamba Total distance: 7.8 miles Estimated walking time: 7 hours
Maximum altitude point: 9,842 feet
Day 2: Huayllabamba - Pacaymayo Total distance: 5.5 miles
Estimated walking time: 7 hours
Maximum altitude point: 13,779 feet
Day 3: Pacaymayo - Phuyupatamarka Total distance: 5 miles
Estimated walking time: 7 hours
Maximum altitude point: 12,795 feet
Day 4: Phuyupatamarka - Machu Picchu Total distance: 7 miles
Estimated walking time: 5 hours
Maximum altitude point: 11,811 feet
DEALING WITH ELEVATION
Altitude at the Inca Trail ranges from 7,790 feet to 13,780 feet.
Upon arrival at altitudes above 3,000 meters or 10,000 feet, shortness of breath and a pounding heart are normal responses to the lack of oxygen in the air. However, for some visitors, these symptoms can deteriorate into a condition known as Soroche or acute mountain sickness. Headache, extreme tiredness, nausea and loss of appetite are standard symptoms. Take it easy upon arrival and drink the coca tea provided. Oxygen is readily available for more severe reactions and is also available on the Inca Trail.
Staying hydrated and well rested is important to adjust to the altitude. Avoiding heavy, fatty foods and alcohol in the days before arriving to altitude can help. It’s also advisable to avoid sleep medications, as they can slow breathing and respiration, which aid in getting the blood oxygenated while sleeping.
WEATHER ON THE INCA TRAIL
Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. Max Temp ºF 68 70 70 72 70 70 70 70 72 72 73 72
Avg. Min Temp ºF 45 45 45 40 36 34 30 34 40 43 43 45
Wet days / month 18 13 11 8 3 2 2 2 7 8 12 16