Hiking the Inca Trail

Photo Credit: dachalan via photopin cc

Photo Credit: dachalan via photopin cc

Mystery and wonder are both ingredients in destinations that tempt people back time and time again. In the case of Peru, it has to be the Inca Trail, of course leading to the Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu.

If you’re like me, and not the most energetic person in the world, then the fact you have to walk there, nay trek, might put you off, however you can take it as steady as you like, so there’s no excuse not to experience this wonder.

The Inca Trail has been long thought of as one of the best in the world, and despite the fact it’s relatively short in terms of hiking trails – at just 26 miles, the scenery it takes you through is so breathtaking and jaw-dropping, you’ll need your camera to prove you actually saw it.

The downside? Altitude, but we’ll talk about that shortly.

The regular route is the most popular, and there are others, but we’ll stick to this one because it takes you through the most famous ruins, jungles, cloud forests and mountains. The most important thing to remember is to book your trek with a reputable company, and never just wander off on your own.

For me, these are the other aspects to remember when you’re considering trekking the Inca Trail:

A bit of pre-planning is in order

You basically need to pre-book your trek, and that needs research. Make sure it fits your needs of what you want to see, and also your level of fitness.

Which leads me onto …

Get fit!

If you’re unsure, get your doctor’s opinion on your level of fitness. Never head out if you’re unwell, and do a bit of training beforehand to make sure you can experience it all without wheezing too much. Take it easy before you go, and drink plenty of fluids en-route, avoiding heavy meals.

Pre-judge your reaction to altitude

We touched on this before, but you’re going to be heading into the clouds, so course of altitude is going to play a part. This can send you dizzy, make you feel out of breath, and also make you sick. This is all normal, but it’s a good idea to acclimatise yourself a little before you embark on your trek, and I’d recommend staying nearby for a couple of nights beforehand, to get your body ready.

Pack lightly

You don’t need a lot, but it’s important to remember the essentials. Make sure whatever you take is lightweight, as you’re obviously going to be carrying it, and remember a hat, sunglasses, sun-cream, a refillable water bottle, water purification tablets, a basic first aid box, mosquito and bug repellent, antiseptic, fleece jacket, rain jacket, and lightweight clothes. Oh, and don’t forget your sleeping bag.

Time it right

It’s generally thought the best time to go is around May to September, when there’s less rain and temperatures are pleasant. Nights can be cold, so pack accordingly.

Check the camera!

There are sights on this trek like nowhere else on earth, so capture them. Charge up your camera, take spare batteries, take a spare memory card, and make sure everything is working. The natural landscapes you pass through will blow your mind, and when you reach Machu Picchu, including the famous Temple of the Sun, Royal Tomb, Ceremonial Centre, Old City Gate, and Watchman’s Hut, to name a few, you’ll want something to remember it by, other than your memories. Despite saying that, never ever take anything from the land – leave it where it’s meant to be.

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