Inca Trail - Top Tips

A little preparation can make your trip much more enjoyable. Here are a few simple things its worth knowing before you set off for Peru.

1. Organise and book your trek in advance

Inca Trail availability is limited. Several years ago a daily limit on the number of trekkers was instigated. This is to protect the inca trail and Machu Picchu from erosion and damage. Independent hikers are also no longer permitted. Access to the inca trail is only granted via approved tour operators. For this reason we strongly advise booking your inca trail trek before you go. Check the website of our featured operator, they can guarantee your inca trail booking.

2. Give yourself time to acclimatise

Combining your trip with a tour of Lake Titicaca or Arequipa is a good way to acclimatise. Some people combine their tour with a trip to the amazing Salar de Uyuni salt plains in Bolivia. These three locations are all at high altitude and don't involve much exertion. So on the Inca Trail, whilst others are gasping for oxygen, you can serenely soak up the magnificence of your surroundings.

3. Keep weight to a minimum

When you're hiking the Inca Trail carry only the essentials. Plan on storing the rest at your hotel in Cusco. It goes without saying that a strenuous trek at altitude will be more difficult if you're lugging huge weights around. Tents and supplies are usually carried by professional porters.

4. Listen for shouts of "PORTERO"

salar-de-uyuniIf you hear shouts of “PORTERO”, be ready to give way to a stout peruvian travelling at speed with upto 60kg on his back. Porters on the Trail show amazing stamina and resilience and deserve respect. They are the descendants of the civilisation responsible for constructing the paved trail that wends it way through the mountain passes, the amazing irrigated terraces and of course the magnificent Machu Picchu.

5. Buy a good sleeping bag

Night time temperatures at this altitude can drop to below freezing. Make sure you have a good quality four seasons sleeping bag. Spending your nights shivering in a sleeping bag is no fun.

6. Take a hat on your trek

Protect your head from the sun with a hat, this will prevent heatstroke. Daytime conditions on the inca trail can be hot and punishing. Thanks to the ingenious incan irrigation systems there are plenty of streams to dunk a canvas hat in – a great way to keep cool.

7. Learn about the Incas

inca-trail-bookInform yourself about the history of the incas and Machu Picchu before arriving."Explore the Inca Trail" is an excellent book and will give you an insight into the fascinating story of the Incas and allow you to better appreciate the significance of Macchu Picchu and the ruins along the ancient trail. You'll also have something to read while waiting at the airport!

8. Take extra batteries

The jaw dropping scenery requires a good camera to do it justice. Whether you go for a quality compact or an SLR is personal choice. But be sure to take enough extra batteries and memory cards. Any empty batteries should be carried with you and disposed of when you return to Cusco. Remember the adage, "Take only photos, leave only footprints".