Tour TypeHiking, camping, adventure, history, culture.
Tour Distance43KM/26 Miles.
DifficultyModerate, but challenging
ConsiderationsPermit required (We will obtain it after you book with us)
SeasonFrom March 1st to January 31st.
Trail ClosetFebruary for maintenance.
Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Extra Night in Aguas Calientes 5D / 4N
Equipment provided by Inti Sun Trek
We use only high quality camping equipment for our Peru treks such as Inca Trail, Salkantay trek, Lares Trek and alternative treks!! Inti Sun Trek provides for the treks in Peru, the tent, sleeping bag, dinning tent and toilet tent.Be assured that our equipment is of quality and resistant to all types of land.
We have specialists who choose carefully the tents and implements to be used during your trip to make it an unforgettable and pleasant experience.Below we will show you the characteristics and attributes of our camping equipment. Inti Sun Trek uses the best quality camp team and equipment, complying with the requirements of the specialist in outdoors ensuring in this way the comfort of our travelers according to the requirements of developing our activities in the mountains of the Andes.
Equipment you can rent from Inti Sun Trek
In addition to them, we offer rental items such as sleeping bags, small backpacks, inflatable mattresses, trekking poles, only which can be requested at the time of making your reservation.
This Inca Trail Packing List will help you to prepare for your outdoor adventure in one of the most stunning regions of South America.
Luggage for the Inca Trail Trek and Alternative trek is generally divided as follows:
- 1.- Your main suitcase or backpack, can be left in the storage of the of Cusco hotel. most of the tourist generally stay at the same hotel before and after the trek
- 2.- A small daypack that you will use to carry daily essentials such as a jacket, camera, water and sunscreen
We hope that this packing list for Machu Picchu will be useful for any trek you choose and you can do only a few small variations that can suite better for you
Summary Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Extra Night in Aguas Calientes
Please note that there will be trekkers of many different abilities in your Inca Trail group. Our guides are very experienced and will work to accommodate the needs of all of our trekkers in a safe and friendly manner. However, if you and your friends or family all have the same fitness level and you would prefer to hike in a private group, contact us today about booking a private service for your Inca Trail adventure!
- The Inca Trail campsites mentioned in our itineraries may not always be the same at the beginning of your journey, as the campsites along the Inca Trail are subject to space availability, and it is the government authorities who grant us the spaces 2 days before the start of your tour. We cannot guarantee the Wiñay Wayna campsite on the third night for all our groups. As a result, some of our groups may have to camp at Phuyupatamarca on the third night of the trek.
- The Phuyupatamarca campsite is approximately four hours from Intipunku (Sun Gate). Despite these changes, we want to assure you that our clients will still have enough time to reach Intipunku and witness the beautiful sunrise.
- The new regulations of the Peruvian government regarding the Inca Trail indicate that the guided tour in Machu Picchu after your arrival at the Inca citadel will follow circuit number 3. Therefore, we recommend that you make the most of the opportunity to take all your photographs once you begin the descent from the Sun Gate and reach the viewpoint, where they will take the classic photograph of the entire Inca citadel. See the article about the Inca Trail and its new circuit to visit Machu Picchu.
Overview Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Extra Night in Aguas Calientes
Cusco (3,300m/10,827ft) – Km82 (2550m/8269ft) – Yuncachimpa (3000m/9842ft)
The first day of the hike is fairly easy and serves as a warm up for the days to follow. Our hikers are picked up early from their hotels (5:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m.), and travel by bus through the pretty villages of Chinchero, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo
- Walking Distance: 12km / 7.45 miles
- Starting Elevation: 2720 m. / 8923 ft.
- Highest Elevation: 3000 m. / 9842 ft.
- Campsite Elevation: 3000 m. / 9842 ft.
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Weather: Warm to cold
- Inca sites to see / visit: Yuncachimpa & Llactapata
Yuncachimpa (3000m/9842ft) – Dead Woman’s Pass (4200m/13779ft) – Pacaymayu – Chaquicocha
This is the most challenging day of the trek: we will go over two high passes, walking about four hours uphill. In the morning, we will pass by Llullucha Pampa, the last place along the trail where it is possible to buy snacks and drinks.
- Walking Distance: 11km / 6.83 miles
- Starting Elevation: 3000 m. / 9842 ft.
- Highest Elevation: 4200 m. / 13779 ft.
- Campsite Elevation: 3580 m. / 11700 ft.
- Difficulty: Challenging
- Weather: cold
- Inca sites to see/visit: Runkuraccay & Sayacmarca
Chaquicocha – Wiñay Wayna or Phuyupatamarca
On this day, we will walk for only five hours, but see three Inca sites along the way. Though this is the easiest day, most hikers say it is the most unforgettable! From Chaquicocha, we will walk for about an hour and a half to get to Phuyupatamarca, the third pass, at an elevation of 3550m/11550ft.
- Walking Distance: 16km / 9.94 miles
- Starting Elevation: 3580 m. / 11700 ft.
- Highest Elevation: 4000 m. / 13123 ft.
- Campsite Elevation: 2680 m. / 8792 ft.
- Difficulty: Formidable
- Weather: cold
- Inca sites to see/visit: Phuyupatarmarca, Intipata & Wiñay Wayna
The Glory of Machu Picchu!
On our final day of trekking, we will wake up between 3:00 and 3:30 am in the morning, pack our bags, and set out for our final day of trekking to Peru´s most iconic landmark! Since our porters will leave us after Wiñay Wayna to descend by a different trail to the train station, we will take our breakfast to go
- Machupicchu elevation: 2400meters/7873ft
- Difficulty: Easy
- Weather: warm
Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo – Cusco
After breakfast, you will board the 8:53 a.m. train for Ollantaytambo, which arrives at its destination at 10:50 a.m. In Ollantaytambo, we will pick you up and transport you back to Cusco by bus.
- Machupicchu elevation: 2400meters/7873ft
- Difficulty: Easy
- Weather: warm
Day 1: Cusco (3,300m/10,827ft) – Km82 (2550m/8269ft) – Yuncachimpa (3000m/9842ft)
Highlight of the day: Explore archaeological sites and take in the stunning Andean landscapes.
The first day of the hike is fairly easy and serves as a warm up for the days to follow. Our hikers are picked up early from their hotels (5:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m.), and travel by bus through the pretty villages of Chinchero, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo. The scenic trip lasts for two and a half hours before we arrive at Kilometre 82, the start of the trail, located at 2550m/8269ft. Our buses normally stop at the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley for about an hour to give passengers the opportunity to have breakfast.
At Km 82, our hikers cross the Vilcanota River and embark on this unforgettable journey. You will be amazed by the great views of the Cordillera Oriental and the snow-capped peak of Veronica. We will start our trek not far from where Hiram Bingham began his re-discovery of the Inca Trail in 1915. From here, the trail is flat for almost two hours of hiking until we arrive at our first Inca site, Llactapata. On our way, we will pass a rest stop at Mescay, where there are bathroom facilities. The path then follows the left bank of the Cusichaca River to the small village of Wayllabamba, located at 3000m/9900ft, that serves as the porters´ checkpoint.
Continuing on, we will walk for one more hour until we reach the Tres Piedras, or Ayapata, which is going to be our first camp of the trek. Please note that with this itinerary, we may want to walk one more hour in order to walk for less time on the second day.
Day 2: Yuncachimpa (3000m/9842ft) – Dead Woman’s Pass (4200m/13779ft) – Pacaymayu – Chaquicocha
Highlight of the day: Reaching the highest point of the trek at Dead Woman’s Pass and appreciating the view all around you.
This is the most challenging day of the trek: we will go over two high passes, walking about four hours uphill. In the morning, we will pass by Llullucha Pampa, the last place along the trail where it is possible to buy snacks and drinks. We will then continue hiking uphill for two hours until we arrive at the top of Dead Woman’s Pass, located at 4200m/13779ft.
This is the highest point of the Inca Trail. Once at the top, hikers can celebrate having completed the most difficult section of the trail, while taking stunning pictures of the scenery. We will then start to walk down for one and a half hours until we reach Pacaymayo, at 3600m/11880ft, where we will have lunch and there are bathroom facilities.
After lunch, we will continue hiking uphill for two hours until we reach the Runcuracay pass, at 3900m/12900ft, which is the second highest point of the Inca Trail. On the way, we will also pass the Inca sites of Runcuracay and Sacyacmarca, which means “Inaccessible Town”. The ruins at Sacyacmarca are protected on three sides by sheer cliffs. From this point, the path descends into a magnificent cloud-forest full of orchids, hanging mosses, tree ferns, and flowers. We will walk for two hours through this striking scenery until we reach our second campsite, Chaquichocha.
Day 3: Chaquicocha – Wiñay Wayna or Phuyupatamarca
Highlight of the day: Phuyupatarmarca, Intipata & Wiñay Wayna
On this day, we will walk for only five hours, but see three Inca sites along the way. Though this is the easiest day, most hikers say it is the most unforgettable! From Chaquicocha, we will walk for about an hour and a half to get to Phuyupatamarca, the third pass, at an elevation of 3550m/11550ft. On the way, we will pass through an impressive Inca tunnel carved through sheer rock. From here, there are spectacular views of several snow-capped peaks, including Machu Picchu Mountain and the town of Aguas Calientes.
The Inca site Phuyupatamarca is located a short walk from the third pass. After visiting the site, we will continue to our final campsite, at either the nearby Phuyupatamarca campground or down a path of two thousand original Inca stone steps to Wiñay Wayna, located at 2750m/8910ft. (Campsites are assigned by the government three days before the trek and based on group size. For this reason, we cannot guarantee which camp you will stay at until your pre-trek briefing.) Wiñay Wayna is carved deep into the hillside above the Urubamba River and means “forever young” in Quechua. At whichever campsite we have the fortune to stay at, we will thank our porters for their tremendous efforts at the tipping ceremony, as in the morning they will descend downhill while we continue on to our final goal.
Day 4: The Glory of Machu Picchu!
Highlight of the day: Exploring the amazing Machu Picchu and learning all of its secrets.
On our final day of trekking, we will wake up between 3:00 and 3:30 am in the morning, pack our bags, and set out for our final day of trekking to Peru´s most iconic landmark! Since our porters will leave us after Wiñay Wayna to descend by a different trail to the train station, we will take our breakfast to go. After a ten-minute walk, we will arrive at the Inca Trail´s final checkpoint, where we will queue with all of the other trekkers to wait for the park rangers to open the last section of the trail at 5:30 am. Our early wake-up time will ensure both that we get a forward spot in the line at the checkpoint and that our porters are able to catch the 5:30 am train.
Once the trail opens, we will hike in the early morning darkness for approximately ninety minutes until we arrive at Inti Punku, the “Sun Gate” (2730m/8792ft), just as the sun´s first rays appear over the rooftops at Machu Picchu—this first dramatic view of the sunrise over Machu Picchu will make for a memory you will never forget!
After soaking in the view, we will walk down the final part of the trail and approach the ancient city, where we will be able to celebrate our accomplishment and pose for photos together before the steep peaks and mist-filled ruins of this amazing place!
We will descend to the main entrance, where we can leave our backpacks, use the restroom, and enjoy a quick coffee. After our break, we will re-enter Machu Picchu for a walking tour of the mysterious. According to the new Inca Trail regulations, we will re-enter Machu Picchu using circuit number 3
Once inside the Inca citadel, you will enjoy a guided tour of approximately two hours, exploring the most relevant sectors of this incredible ancient site. You’ll see houses, temples, terraces, and crop fields, among other features. The ingenuity of the Incas in terms of engineering work, which was far ahead of its time, remains a mystery in many aspects.
After your tour, you can choose to ascend Huayna Picchu Mountain (2,720 m / 8,924 ft) or Machu Picchu Mountain (3,000 m / 9,843 ft) These tours will take you approximately one and a half and three hours, respectively, for both ascent and descent (tickets must be booked in advance).
Ensure you return to Aguas Calientes for lunch before boarding your train to Ollantaytambo, which departs at around 18:20 (subject to availability). Our private transportation will collect you from the next station and drive you back to your hotel in Cusco at around 10 pm. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy some much-needed rest, but your heart will continue to beat to the rhythm of the Andes for many weeks, months, and years to come!
Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo – Cusco
After breakfast, you will board the 8:53 a.m. train for Ollantaytambo, which arrives at its destination at 10:50 a.m. In Ollantaytambo, we will pick you up and transport you back to Cusco by bus. If you choose to visit Machu Picchu a second time on the fifth day, we will book you the afternoon train instead, which departs at 2:55 p.m. and arrives in Ollantaytambo at approximately 4:50 p.m.
Price: US $800 per person. Includes Personal Porter (7kg/15lbs .
Student Discount with valid student ID card $20
Under 18 Discount $20
Under 7 Discount $50
Important Notice Regarding Student Discounts:
The ISIC card is no longer valid for purchasing Machu Picchu or Inca Trail tickets with a student discount.
Students can still obtain this discount with their student identification card issued by the university where they study, which is the only valid document for this end at this time. For more information, please visit the following link: http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/items/estudiantes.html
Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu and can be seen in most photos of the ruins. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. While this hike is done on your own, your guide will direct you to where this hike begins. This requires a separate entrance ticket that we can secure for you with advance notice, for an additional $80 per person.
Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu Mountain is the other mountain that stands above the Machu Picchu ruins. It offers even more stunning views than Huayna Picchu, but takes an hour and a half of steep climbing to reach the top. This also requires a separate entrance ticket that we can secure for you with advance notice, for an additional $80 per person.
Train at the end of your Inca Trail Trek: The most common departure times that we book for our tourists is the 8:53 a.m. train. The 8:53 a.m. train will arrive in Ollantaytambo train station at 10:50 a.m. where you will be picked up by your driver outside of the train station. The driver will be holding a sign with your name on it so that there is no confusion. If you do not see your driver initially, just wait for them outside of the train station. Once the driver has picked you up, you will travel for one and a half hours in a van before you arrive back at your hotel/hostel. Arrival time in Cusco will be at approximately 12:30 p.m.
However, if you are planning to reenter Machu Picchu and climb Huayna Picchu Mountain on the fifth day, we can book you the 2:55 p.m. train instead and arrange your transportation back to Cusco.
Important: We guarantee these departure times, as per the itinerary, only if you book your tours in advance. Otherwise, we may be forced to offer you a train that departs at a later time. Note: We will still pick you up at Ollantaytambo train station and bring you back to your hotel in Cusco regardless of your departure time.
The Vistadome train is an upgraded train, that offers slightly larger seats, windows, and even some entertainment! Normally, the Vistadome train is booked at 3:20 p.m. and travels to Poroy, a train station closer to Cusco (we will still include your transportation back to your hotel.) This train is $75 per person.
Storage during your Inca trek: Most of our trekkers leave their belongings that they do not want to bring on the trek in the hostel they were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can securely store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to store your belongings for you.
Included Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:
- Pre-departure briefing the night before your tour in our office
- Porters that will carry your personal belongings (up to 7kg/ 15lbs) – no extra fee
- Pick up from your hotel
- A professional tour guide who is fluent in English
- Private bus to Km 82- the beginning of our trek
- Inca Trail entrance fees
- Machu Picchu entrance fee
- Two-person tents with plenty of room for your backpacks
- Inflatable sleeping mattress
- Meals cooked by an experienced chef: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners, and snacks!
- Delicious food rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking, prepared from organic vegetables and fresh ingredients (Vegetarian, vegan, gluten, wheat free, or special diets options available)
- Water (We will provide you with boiled and filtered cold water during the trek after lunch on the first day. You will need to bring a container to carry your water in. Also, you need to ensure that you pack a sufficient amount of water for the first half-day of the trek.)
- Porters to carry camping equipment: (tourist tents, dinning and cooking tents, table, stools, cooking gear, stove, gas container, cutlery, plates, food, and fresh vegetables).
- Portable toilet and toilet tent
- Porter’s health insurance paid for by INTI SUN TREK
- First aid kit including an emergency oxygen bottle and radios
- Bus ticket from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes
- Lunch and dinner on Day 4
- A hotel room with private bathroom on Day 4
- Breakfast on Day 5
- Expediton train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on Day 5
- Bus transfer from Ollantaytambo train station to your Hotel in Cusco
- Breakfast on the first morning. Some hotels offer an early morning breakfast service. If not, we stop at the town of Ollantaytambo on the way to the start of the trek, where you’ll have the chance to buy breakfast.
- Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day
- Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (optional: 10 soles)
- Sleeping bags (These can be rented from our office for US $20 for the entire trek. Every sleeping bag is washed prior to each use).
- Tips for the guide, cook and porters.
- Entrance tickets to Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain
What you need to bring:
- Original passport
- Valid, STUDENT CARD (if you booked as a student)
- Sleeping bag
- Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)
- Good daypack ( smaller, the better)
- Water storage: we strongly recommend to bring your Camel Back and water canteen due to that government of Peru will not allow disposable plastic bottles anymore on the Inca trail and in Machu Picchu.
- Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
FOR YOUR DUFFEL:
Porters will carry up to 7 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you bring/rent one). From us these two items weigh 3.5 kg.
- 2-3 wicking t-shirts
- 2-3 hiking pants
- 4 sets of undergarments.
- 4 sets of hiking socks
- 1 Fleece
- 1 Warm, down jacket: gets very cold at night
- 1 Rain jacket and pants
- 1 sun hat
- 1 wool hat
- Headlamp: essential
- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
- Comfortable shoes for camp
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Quick-dry towel. We provide small ones, you might enjoy something a little larger.
- Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to clean – might make you feel fresh if you had a little soap.
- Battery Charger: There is no place to plug in while trekking!
- Large plastic bags: to help organize and keep clean from dirty.
- Face moisturizer
- Bug spray
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Toilet paper
- Personal medication
- First aid kit: band-aids, moleskin, etc.
INSIDE YOUR DAYPACKS:
Daypacks can be any size for hiking, but we always recommend the smaller, the better. Inside Machu Picchu, no bag larger than 25L will be allowed in. If larger, you will need to store outside citadel gates.
- Water beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or Camel Back. We recommend carrying about 2L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal
- Rain gear
- Music (iPhone)
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper and a small plastic bag for waste
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips
Before You Go
All briefings are done at our office at 6:00 PM the night before your trek. If you are unable to make this time, you need to coordinate another time with a member of the Inti Sun Trek office team. Briefings are approximately 30 -45 minutes long.
What will the personal porter carry?
This Inca Trail Trek includes the services of a personal porter for no extra cost. You can give him up to 7kg/15lbs of your belongings to carry. Your sleeping bag will weigh approximately 2kg and your air mattress approximately 1kg. This makes a combined weight of 3kg, leaving 4kg/9lbs of personal items (clothing, toiletries, etc) to add to the bag carried by the porter. However, you will still need to bring a daypack with essentials such as water, sunscreen, hat, camera, ect.
When will I receive my duffel bag to put my belongings in?
We will lend you one of our specially designed duffel bags at the briefing for the Trek the night before we depart. We use these bags to insure that they fit securely and comfortably on the porters´ backs.
Will the personal porter carry my duffle bag to Aguas Calientes?
Yes. We will store your belongings in a secure place in Aguas Calientes before you arrive there.
Renewal or change passport number?
If you plan to renew or change your name on your passport between making your trek booking and starting your trek, you can book your trek or tour with your current passport number or name, but you must send us a copy of your old passport and a copy of your new passport when you have them. We can then make the change with the government before you arrive. The extra cost to make the change is US$25 per person. (This will cover the change in number or name for your Inca Trail Permit, Machu Picchu Entrance, and train.)
If you do not advise us of the change or do not want to pay the fee, bring the original of both passports (the old and new one). You can enter Peru with your new passport but you must show the government authorities your old passport in order to enter the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu or train. If you cannot do so, you will not be allowed to start your trek by the government officials. All names and numbers must match!!
Inti Sun Trek is one of the only companies to pick you up directly from your hotel. As long as your hotel is in the center of Cusco city,we will coordinate this pickup based on a time that your guide will discuss at the briefing. Pick up times may vary 30 – 45 minutes based on traffic conditions and previous pickups.
Cusco is an old city with cobblestoned streets and very narrow passageways. Very small hotels and Air BNBs are often located on streets that cars can not pass through. They also are often located up on the hillside, with long steep climbs to the property, difficult to maneuver with luggage. We highly recommend that you do not stay at one of these places.
Hiking in the Andes
Hiking the Andes is something that everyone can do no matter what age, but it is never easy. You will need to be at a moderate fitness level to be able to complete it comfortably. Each trail involves inclines that can take your breath away if you are not in shape and downhill hiking that can be tough on knees. Walking sticks are encouraged for everyone. Please remember the group treks are open to everyone, all abilities, so be patient and help those struggling with some kind words.
Getting to Cusco
The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through customs there. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day and with the same airline carrier, you must collect your bags in Lima and then check them again before continuing to Cusco.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air: LATAM tends to be the most expensive, but has the most options and flights. Regardless of the airline you choose, expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land and any inclement weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is also always available and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if you will be coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about twentyhours to arrive.
Storage during your trek to Machu Picchu
Most of our trekkers leave their belongings that they do not want to bring on the trek in the hostel they were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can securely store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to store your belongings for you. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.
Your safety is our first concern
Trekking the Andes is not your typical vacation. Since most people who come to visit us have little to no experience of life this high up in the mountains, we understand the large responsibility we have in ensuring that you are well taken care of every step of the way.
Each year Inti Sun Trek guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February – every single guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts/scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better! It is important to be very honest with your guide as soon as you are experiencing any discomfort. If you suffer from any medical conditions, please let your guide know during the briefing so he is prepared to give you extra attention, if needed.
In case something unexpected happens and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way off the course and to a clinic. You will never be left alone, you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and reconnect with your group, traveling by train comfortably.
To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. This is a great way to protect yourself while visiting Peru.
Altitude sickness is serious and has the potential to ruin your trip. The biggest mistake you can make is to fly directly to Cuzco and expect to hike the next day. Give yourself several days to adjust to the altitude first. You will thank yourself for this during the trek.
The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water and enjoy the coca tea. If, unfortunately, anything does happen and you get sick, let your guide know right away – all guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Of course, weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant. You will notice that there is a large variation between the minimum and maximum temperatures on the trek. In general, when the sun is out it will be very hot. In this heat, you need to drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated. The early hours of the morning and night can be very cold. As a result, you need to be prepared for just about every weather condition.
What to wear for the trek
One of the most important investments for this trek is a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Your feet will thank you after the long trek if your shoes are well worn in and waterproof. The temperature varies throughout the trek, so it is best to dress in layers. Avoid cotton, as cotton does not dry quickly and wet clothing will be a problem when the temperatures drop pack for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. a t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a sweater/microfleece, and a waterproof jacket. These items will provide you with enough warmth and will allow you to “peel off” layers as it gets warmer or your body temperature increases. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm winter-weight jacket. During the rainy season, rain pants are a good idea as we will encounter a lot of mud, rivers, and rain. A plastic poncho is also great because it will keep you and your pack dry. You can also pack your belongings inside of plastic bags to ensure they stay dry.
Do I need to bring hiking boots?
Hiking boots are recommended, as they provide ankle support to reduce the risk of injury, especially when trekking in the wet season (December – March). However, it is important that your boots are comfortable and well worn-in. Many people prefer to trek in tennis shoes, but extra care should be taken. We do not recommend trekking in sandals, using new boots, or renting boots prior to the trek. Make sure the shoes are sturdy enough for the duration of the trek, waterproof and with good traction, and will not fall apart.
Can I use walking sticks on the Inca Trail?
Many people like to hike with trekking poles or walking sticks. This is fine as long as the poles will not cause damage to the stone paving along the Inca Trail. If the trekking poles have metal spikes, then these must be protected by rubber tips. We recommend bringing some spare rubber tips with you (they can be purchased in Cusco or Ollantaytambo.) Wooden walking sticks are fine, as long as you bring them with you from home.
Recently, government authorities have stopped trekkers from using wooden sticks taken from local forests to prevent deforestation of the protected Andean region.
Strikes in Peru:
A popular way for the people in Peru to communicate unhappiness with the government is to strike. This area sees quite a few strikes a year, which sometimes affects the logistics involved in our tours. Most strikes are well organized and planned in advance, so the office will have at least a few hours to make the necessary arrangements. Often, this involves leaving for your trek early, the night before. Please understand we will do everything we can to get you to and from the Trail and will give you the information you need as soon as we have it. We will always get you to and from the trail very safely.
We use biodegradable soap and transport all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up any waste from other groups, as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.
What is the extra cost if I want to reenter Machu Picchu and climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain on the fifth day?
The cost for the extra trip to Machu Picchu is US $80. This price includes the ticket to climb Huayna Picchu. You will also have to pay US $24 for your round trip bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back. An option to avoid this cost is to hike up to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. The hike is very steep and takes about 90 minutes each way.
Will our tour guide remain with us on the fifth day of the trek?
No, your tour guide will finish his job when he shows you to your accommodation in Aguas Calientes on the fourth day. However, do not worry: the hostel staff will help you with any requests you have and will be able to answer all of your questions.
What time will we take the train to Ollantaytambo on the fifth day?
After breakfast, you will board the train that departs to Ollantaytambo at 8:53 a.m. and arrives at its destination at 10:50 a.m. From Ollantaytambo, we will pick you up and transport you back to Cusco by bus. However, if you are planning to reenter Machu Picchu and climb Huayna Picchu mountain on the fifth day, we can book you the 2:55 p.m. and arrange your transportation back to Cusco.
Is it recommended to climb Huayna Picchu at 7:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. on the fifth day?
During the rainy season (November to April) fog and clouds often cover Machu Picchu early in the morning. If you are planning to visit during these months, we recommend that you choose the 10:00 a.m. climbing time. Once the sun has established itself, the fog in the mountains usually clears, giving you a great view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding landscape.
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