Tips for Hiking the Inca Trail

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To help you have a successful and enjoyable hiking experience on the Inca Trail, consider these valuable tips:

  1. Arrive early: Plan to arrive in Cusco 3-5 days before your hike to acclimatize to the altitude. This will make your trek much easier.
  2. Use trekking poles: Bring your own trekking poles or rent them from your tour company. They provide stability and support, particularly on steep sections of the trail.
  3. Chew coca leaves: To combat altitude sickness, try chewing coca leaves, a local remedy commonly used by guides and porters. You can also find coca gum as an alternative.
  4. Break in your boots: Purchase and break in your hiking boots at least 1-2 months before your trip to avoid painful blisters.
  5. Bring sunscreen and bug spray: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays and mosquito bites by applying sunscreen and carrying bug spray. Both are essential for a comfortable hike.
  6. Carry first aid supplies: Expect your feet to endure some strain. Pack bandaids and blister kits to address minor injuries along the way.
  7. Pack extra snacks: While you’ll receive plenty of food on the trail, having some of your favorite snacks can boost morale during challenging sections of the hike.
  8. Go the extra mile: Consider hiking the extra hour to Huayna Picchu for breathtaking views of Machu Picchu. The path is narrow and requires some scrambling, but the reward is worth it.
  9. Train before you go: Although you don’t need to be extremely fit, training beforehand will make the hike easier. Build up your endurance and stamina to fully enjoy the experience.
  10. Don’t expect to shower: Showers are available during the trek, but the water is usually cold. Embrace your natural state and skip the showers.
  11. Have extra batteries: Ensure you have enough power for your electronic devices by bringing an external charger for your phone and extra batteries for your camera.
  12. Bring earplugs: With numerous hikers at each campsite, it can get noisy. Earplugs will help you get a restful night’s sleep.
  13. Consider the Salkantay Trek: For a less crowded alternative, think about hiking the Salkantay Trek. It offers equally stunning views and fewer tourists compared to the Inca Trail, at a lower cost.
  14. Bring money for the bathroom: Keep some cash on hand for using the bathroom. There is only one bathroom at Machu Picchu, and it requires a small fee.
  15. Get stamped: Commemorate your journey by getting a unique Machu Picchu stamp in your passport. It serves as a memorable souvenir if you have space available.
  16. Check your bag: Remember that only day packs under 20L are allowed inside Machu Picchu. If your bag exceeds this size, you’ll need to pay to check it at the entrance gate.

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