Hiking the Inca Trail is probably one of the most amazing experiences that a person can possibly have in life, there is so much history and culture behind this amazing path and in particular what lies at the end of it: Machu Picchu. This guide will talk more about some important things that you should consider before attempting a hike on the Inca Trail and a Machu Picchu Tour.
What to expect
The altitude of the area is very high and the highest altitude that you will experience on the trail is around about 4200 meters above sea level. The length of the trail is just over 40 km in length with many undulations and this is to be expected in any mountain range. This can mean that the trail is particularly difficult to navigate, despite its short length.
The weather is a key consideration in terms of any hike that you undertake. The rainy season is from October to April each year, but the reality is that it can rain at almost any time in the mountains. There is also fog and as a result dew, so it is important to be prepared for this with a good sturdy pair of shoes and some waterproof clothing to keep you dry. The rain is strongest during January and February, therefore it is a great idea to hike the trail during March or April, which is just outside the peak tourist season.
It is crucial to remember that at high altitudes your body has to work much harder to obtain enough oxygen from the air, therefore it is a good idea to acclimatise your body to the mountain air. Ideally you should spend a few days to a week in a similar place (Cusco is a great place to explore and acclimatise) to really get the feeling for the air and how it will impact you.
Doing some training for the Inca Trail is extremely important. Ideally some form of altitude training would be best, but it is important to have the stamina to actually tackle to forty plus kilometres of trail, as well as the steep up and down sections that you will encounter.
Make it easier
Hiking the Inca Trail can be hard, but if you want to make it a little easier, and support the locals and the local economy, you can enlist the help of porters to help you carry your belongings. This is also a great way to engage with the locals and improve your experience.
The last (but certainly not the least) point to make is that you should remember the beauty and hardships that you might face on the trail. I can honestly say that you will never forget the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, because by the end you will have earned every beautiful sight that you will see!