Preparring to Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Preparation is the key to enjoying the Inca Trail to its fullest. The 4-day trek is about 25 miles (40 km) long, and most importantly, at high altitude, so basic hiking fitness is required.
When to Go.
The rainy season is from November through March, which is best to be avoided. During the entire month of February the Inca Trail is closed for repairs. The high travel season is June through August, and you must reserve several months in advance in order to secure one of the limited spaces if you travel in this season. The months of April, May, September and October are frequently recommended as an optimal balance of good weather and smaller crowds on the Inca trail and at the ruins of Machu Picchu.
The classic Inca trail ranges in altitude from about 9,000 ft. to almost 14,000 ft. (3,000-4,800m) and the highest campsite is at 12,600 ft (3,850 m). Everyone is affected by altitude differently, so the best way to know how your body handles altitude is to hike at similar altitudes before your trip. Then, upon arriving to Cusco, spend several days acclimatizing. To acclimatize gradually, spend a few days in the Sacred Valley and then Cusco. Stay well hydrated and consider taking hikes up to ruins like Sacsayhuaman, Pisac and Ollantaytambo before starting the Inca Trail hike.
What to bring.
Be prepared for cold and heat, sun and rain. Our Inca Trail FAQ details what you should bring
and more. Here's a day-by-day account
to help you understand what to expect and how to be best prepared.
Adventure Life arranges your Inca Trail permit, all transportation, a guide, porters, and basic camping equipment. You'll need a small sized backpack to carry snacks and extra clothes during the day. Feel free to contact an Inca Trail expert
with any questions or concerns you have about best preparing for the Inca Trail. We'd love to help.