Preparing 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. Here's a day-by-day account
to help you understand what to expect, what kinds of conditions, altitude and distances are involved.
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 trek to Machu Picchu.
What to bring.
Be prepared for cold and heat, sun and rain. Dress in layers, and most importantly, wear comfortable, well broken-in
walking shoes or hiking boots. You'll need a small-sized backpack to carry snacks, a water bottle, raincoat/shell, and of course, your camera while you are hiking during the day. Arrieros, the Andean sherpas that accompany us, will carry all of our camping gear, and cooks will serve you hot meals in the evenings and picnic lunches with spectacular views on the trail. See our Inca Trail FAQ for details of what you should bring on the trek and what you should leave in Cusco
Adventure Life arranges and pays for your combined Inca Trail permit, Machu Picchu entrance fee, all transportation, a guide, porters, and basic camping equipment. 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!