Trekking Tips: How to Prepare for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

machu picchu

If you’re planning the adventure of a lifetime and preparing for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you’ve come to the right place. We understand the importance of a seamless and unforgettable trek to this historical wonder, and we’re here to guide you through every step of the journey. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with essential tips and insights to ensure your Inca Trail experience is nothing short of extraordinary.

Choosing the Right Time to Trek

Before you embark on this incredible journey, it’s crucial to consider the timing of your trek. The Inca Trail is open year-round, but the best time to trek is during the dry season, from May to September. During these months, you can enjoy clear skies, pleasant temperatures, and lush landscapes. However, if you prefer a more solitary experience, the wet season from November to March may be your preference. Be prepared for rain and muddy trails.

Booking Your Permits

Booking your permits well in advance is paramount when preparing for the Inca Trail. The Peruvian government has imposed strict regulations to protect the environment and ensure the safety of trekkers. Permits are limited, and they can sell out months in advance, so securing your spot early is essential.

Physical Fitness and Training

The Inca Trail is a challenging endeavor, and being physically prepared is crucial. We recommend a minimum of two months of regular exercise and cardiovascular training before your trek. A combination of hiking, running, and strength exercises will help you build the stamina and strength needed for the journey. Don’t forget to break in your hiking boots to avoid blisters and discomfort during the trek.

Packing Essentials

When packing for your Inca Trail adventure, remember that you’ll be carrying your own backpack. Keep it light but make sure it includes the following essentials:


  • Moisture-wicking base layers
  • Fleece jacket
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket
  • Quick-drying hiking pants
  • Hiking socks
  • Comfortable, broken-in hiking boots


  • Sleeping bag suitable for cold weather
  • Trekking poles
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Reusable water bottles and purification tablets

Personal Items

  • Passport and Inca Trail permit
  • Cash in Peruvian Soles
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • First-aid kit
  • Toiletries

Acclimatization and Altitude Sickness

The Inca Trail reaches elevations of over 13,000 feet, which can result in altitude sickness. Before trekking, acclimatize in Cusco for a few days. Avoid alcohol, as it can exacerbate altitude-related symptoms. Do not hesitate to inform your guide if you begin feeling unwell during the trek. They are trained to handle such circumstances

Booking with a Reputable Tour Company

While it’s possible to trek the Inca Trail independently, booking with a reputable tour company can greatly enhance your experience. They provide experienced guides, porters, and take care of logistics, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and history of the trail. Plus, they’ll ensure you have quality food and comfortable camping arrangements.

Respect the Environment and Culture

As you embark on this remarkable journey, remember to respect the environment and the culture of the local people. Stay on designated paths, avoid picking flowers or disturbing wildlife, and dispose of your waste properly. When visiting archaeological sites along the trail, follow your guide’s instructions to preserve these invaluable remnants of history.

The Final Push to Machu Picchu

When you reach the end of your trek, the anticipation of reaching Machu Picchu will build. Take your time exploring the ancient ruins, and savor the moment as you wake up early to catch the sunrise over this breathtaking ancient city. It’s an experience that will last a lifetime.

In conclusion, preparing for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an exciting and challenging journey that rewards you with unparalleled beauty and history. If you follow our tips and recommendations, you will be able to ensure that your trek is safe and memorable.