So, you have your flights, your hotels, basically everything you need while in Cusco, but what about for your trek? Let’s take a quick overview of what you should do and take, here are top tops for trekking to Machu Picchu. Whether you take the Inca Trail or the Salkantay, there are a few things to consider. If you are trekking with a tour group, your overnight bag may be carried for you but there is a weight limit so you will need to check with your tour operator for the current rules. Just don’t pack anything unnecessary because you won’t be carrying it.
Everyone should take a day pack. Just what is a day pack you say? Well it’s the one you will be carrying while trekking, so be sure to include a rain jacket or windbreaker, a water bottle, hat, bandana, blister pads, chap stick, sunblock, sunglasses, dry socks (in rainy season), camera, headlamp and some kind of journal or notebook to keep track of the incredible sight you’ll see along the way. These are all essentials, but what about making your trek a bit easier?
One thing to consider could be trekking poles as they can make a world of difference for some trekkers. Used correctly, they can lighten the load on your feet and are nice to rest on while going up long stretches of slopes and mountainous areas. They also help when going downhill as they absorb most of the shock from your knees, a little bit of an extra expense but well worth it in the end.
Another important tip when trekking to Machu Picchu is to be prepared for the effects of Acute Mountain Sickness. There are many remedies you can take such as coca leafs, locals chew on this plant to help with many symptoms and there are other Western drugs which can help, but have side effects. As always, ask your doctor what might help.
Depending on the season you will have to take a variety of clothing. In the dry season, consider trail shoes or a cross-training shoe. Hiking boots aren’t required unless you need the ankle support or if you expect rain (and mud…lots of mud). During the rainy season you could take a poncho, while a little goofy in appearance, they can be a life saver. If the rain doesn’t let up for a day or two, pack covers can get soaked through, leading to a soaked pack. A poncho does a better job of keeping rain off you and your pack. You can get cheap ones locally.
And last but not least, get to know the crew. Most of the porters on the trail are local farmers and other local residents. They can be a great source of info, so strike up a conversation and bring some pictures from home to share with the typically warm and inviting Peruvians carrying the bulk of the camping gear and all of your shelter and food.
These are some of the most important tips you will need while on your trek but there are other things to consider. If you want to know anything else about Cusco and Machu Picchu Travel, check out the rest of our blog posts at Peru Travel Blog and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for our special packages.