By: Maureen Santucci
Hiking the world-famous Inca Trail soon? There are a few vital things to pack so that you can have the best journey possible. Let’s look at the basics!
Your Inca Trail Packing List
One of the most important things to remember is your passport. It’s checked on the Inca Trail at the entrance to Machu Picchu and again on your return train—plus, you can get a stamp in it from Machu Picchu!
It usually takes about four days to hike the Inca Trail. And while there are bathrooms (of a sort) along the way, there isn’t going to hot running water or even soap. Bring along toilet paper, moist towelettes, and alcohol gel so you can be as comfortable as possible for your time here.
Along the lines of bathroom comfort, bring whatever type of stomach medication works well for you. Many visitors to Peru have a tendency to have gastrointestinal issues at some point, and you don’t want that to ruin your trek! Bring a flashlight along for visiting the bathrooms in the night as well.
The sun can be quite intense during the day, as the altitude along the trail is nearly 14,000 feet (about 2.5 miles above sea level). Sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen are all vital for ensuring that you don’t get burned, because it can happen much more quickly than you think. And even in Peru’s dry season it can rain—so be sure to bring along a rain coat or poncho as well. Insect repellent is a must regardless of the season.
Speaking of rain: if you don’t have a liner to protect your clothes from getting wet, a large ziplock bag can do wonders. The last thing you want is to be left without dry socks—not to mention other clothes to change into when you reach camp!
Another handy thing to have once you get to camp are extra shoes to change into and give your feet a break from the ones you’re hiking in. It can be useful to take along trekking sandals as your spares, just in case you actually need to hike in them for some reason.
Of course you’re going to bring water bottles but it’s a good idea to bring metal ones so you can reuse them, and cut down on trash. If it’s chilly at night, you can fill them with boiled water—they’ll help keep you warm in your sleeping bag, and you’ll have fresh drinking water in the morning.
Bring along some cash for the trail, as there are no ATMs until you get into Aguas Calientes. If you’re in the Winay Wayna campsite on your last night, there will be things to buy like cookies, candy, and beer. You’ll also typically say goodbye to your porters and cook that night if you’re traveling with a group, so this is usually when you’ll want to tip them.
Last but not least, it may go without saying, but be sure you have extra batteries and memory cards for your camera and phone. Some people even like to bring along a cheap backup camera as well. For most, this is a trip of a lifetime and not to be repeated—don’t be left without photographic memories of it!
About the Author
Originally from the US, Maureen Santucci now calls the ancient Peruvian capital of Cusco home, where she has lived and worked for over 4 years. She wrote this article on behalf of Peru for Less, specialists in hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Featured image via Unsplash.