Top 5 Tips for Hiking the Inca Trail

Kylie Gilbert recently visited Peru and completed the four-day-three-night hike to the famous Inca ruins at Machu Picchu. We asked her for her top tips on completing the hike.

I love hiking and conquering the Inca Trail and exploring Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and something I’ll never forget. If you’re thinking of hiking the Inca Trail, I have a few tips to make the experience as enjoyable as possible!

Machu Picchu

1/ Pack Light!
Depending on the tour you do, your duffle bag can only weigh a maximum of 6-7kgs for the 4-day trek. They weigh the bags every morning, so there’s no sneaking extra bits and pieces in as you go. If you’re over the weight limit, you’ll have to carry it yourself. Travelling light is definitely the way to go!

2/ Take snacks
While the meals I ate on my tour were extremely hearty (and delicious), the trek can be physically exhausting, so I suggest taking some snacks to tide you over between meals. Day 3 of the trip we ate lunch a little late at 2pm so I was pretty happy to have my muesli bars to keep me going.

3/ Pack a waterproof jacket
You can hike the Inca Trail all year round (except for February when it is closed for track maintenance), but the weather can vary. They do recommend taking a poncho for the rainy days on the trail and you can buy them cheaply in Cusco and in Ollantaytambo. I wore a poncho (with my waterproof pants) and I found the poncho hard to walk in as well it was windy. Personally, I’d recommend a waterproof jacket instead of a poncho.

4/ Pack a broad-brimmed hat with a chin tie.
On the windy note, I would also recommend taking a broad-brimmed hat with a chin tie. Your hat will be of no use to you if it flies off and you lose it! I also packed a cap as back up.

5/ It’s not glamorous, but it’s a great experience.
There’s nothing remotely glamorous about the trip – but that’s all part of the fun when you do multi-day hikes. You won’t shower for four days (there was a cold shower available on the last night but this didn’t appeal much to me) and you’ll be sleeping in tents, and the toilets… I’ll leave that as a surprise… but let’s just say the toilet men are gold! But it was one of the best experiences of my life and I’d recommend it to anyone.