Date: May 2016
Location: Cusco, Peru
Purpose: 4 Day Trek on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu
Touring Company: Peru Treks
Trek Leaders: Manny and Pepé
Things I Learned Hiking the Inca Trail:
1. You can never train adequately for this. The altitude alone is challenging. Then add uphill and downhill, steep climbs and narrow rocky steps. This trek will push you physically and mentally
2. Pack half of what you think you need
3. Bring rain gear and prepare for your stuff to get wet anyways.
4. Don’t overthink the not showering for 4 days. Everyone smells by the end, you’re not alone
5. Tech shirts are great! I have a lot of tech shirts from running races and they’re great for keeping your body temperature regulated. I was fine wearing my long sleeve race shirt when the sun was beating down and the temp was about 80°F AND when it was 50°F in the early morning wake ups
6. Do not skimp on socks. Buy good wool socks and bring 4. Walking around with wet feet is miserable
7. Speaking of feet: hiking boots are a necessity. When researching the Inca trail treks, I saw many people write that tennis shoes were just fine. I strongly disagree. I was going to just use a good pair of sneakers, but opted for boots and I’m so glad I did. Be sure you get something waterproof! I purchased Vasque shoes and they were a dream! Very few blisters on the trail and my feet never ached in them!
8. Water water water!
9. Peruvian people are some of the nicest and friendliest people I’ve ever met. The people selling things in markets are not pushy, everyone says hello to one another. Also – they love sugar. Watch them make coffee, tea, etc.
10. You’re going to realize how much you miss being able to wash your hands. Our trekking group offered soap and water before meals, but other than that- it was hand sanitizer. Having clean hands will be a luxury you dont realize you normally have.
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was an amazing and beautiful experience. To hike the four days on the religious path the Incan people did thousands of years ago is emotional to be honest. The hike can be grueling and there will be times you think, “I can’t make it to the end” but I promise you will. The final morning, you will arrive at the Sun Gate with Machu Picchu peaking behind the clouds in the distance and you will understand this feeling. There is an ability to just go to Machu Picchu without doing the trail. You can take a four hour train ride instead.
Given the opportunity to travel to Machu Pichu again, I would pick walking the four day Incan trail trek every. single. time.