Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How to Prepare for the Inca Trail - Important facts for getting ready for this awesome hike!

A street in Ollantaytambo
How to Prepare for the Inca Trail

Hiking the Inca Trail is an experience of a lifetime, and preparing is part of the adventure. This program includes three days of pre-hikes to help you acclimatize 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, 3 to 5 times a week for at least 8 to 12 weeks prior to your trip. We suggest running, walking, or biking or a StairMaster.
• 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.


• Small day pack to carry your rain gear, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, camera, water bottles or CamelBak 
• Hiking boots that are well worn in 

• Hiking poles are provided by our operator for the entire program
• 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 for the entire hike.

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 Cuzco. You will not be able to access this duffel bag until you reach the evening camp so be sure that you have all that need for the day in your day pack each morning before heading out.


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


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 adjusting to the altitude. Avoiding heavy, fatty foods and alcohol in the days before arriving to altitude can also help and is highly recommended. It’s also advisable to avoid sleep medications, as they can slow breathing and respiration, which aid in getting the blood oxygenated during sleeping.


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