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The Ultimate Inca Trail Guide

We love reading and sharing traveler stories and experiences which we believe are great sources of information. Having searched the many travel blogs on the web we came across Dutch couple, Antonette and Martijn’s blog, we12travel. What we found was a great article and advice on reaching Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail which they have kindly allowed us to share with you!

Meet Antonette & Martijn from we12travel

Meet Antonette & Martijn from we12travel / Source

Whilst planning their vacation to Peru, Antonette and Martijn quite rightly felt that they couldn’t possibly go without hiking the incredible Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. As one of South America’s most famous and desired multi-day treks they booked their trip months in advance which is wise seeing as with limited visitor numbers, it can sell out very quickly.

Each day, just 500 people are allowed on the trail which may sound like a lot, but of these, about 300 are porters and guides leaving only 200 spots available for lucky travelers that have booked ahead!

In some instances such as for the month of April, the trail permits can sell out as soon as they come available or up to 6 months in advance. It is also worth mentioning that every February the trail is closed for conservation and preservation purposes. So let’s take a look at getting prepared for the Inca Trail with we12travel!

Take your time to reach the dizzying heights of Cusco
Some sound advice by Antonette and Martijn is don’t fly from Lima to Cusco with the plan to start the trek within a day or two!

Cusco is located at 11,154ft. (3,400m) above sea level which can cause your body to think “what on earth is going on here?”

At these heights there’s less oxygen in the air which can leave make every step difficult and leave you with a pounding heart. In general, everything you do in Cusco whether it is this beautiful landmarks or simply walking will leave you breathless. Make sure to take time to adjust to being at such a high altitude and that you take time to rest a lot…after all you are on vacation! For more information, check out our coping with altitude sickness in Cusco blog!

At the start of the Inca Trail

At the start of the Inca Trail / Source

These boots are made for walking
It goes without saying that we12travel’s advice that boots can make or break your trek is certainly valuable. If you are going during Peru’s rainy season (January – March) make sure that they are waterproof as there is nothing worse than trekking for up to 6 hours with wet boots and socks.

Take time to choose your boots carefully and to get them fitted so that they are as comfortable as walking boots can be.

Don’t buy them a day or for that matter a week in advance as you should try to make sure that you have worn them in, otherwise you better prepare yourself for painful blisters! Remember, your sturdy boots will need to carry you for the whole Inca Trail and make a lot and even more than a lot of steps.

Watch your step!

Watch your step! / Source

Antonette & Martijn’s words…not ours: Go with a reliable company
“We were lucky and in a group of just 4 people plus our guide and porters. However we’ve seen groups 4 times that size on the trail. The maximum number of people in one group is 16 which would not have been our pick. It seemed like they were always in a hurry. Remember the group will have to wait for the slowest one at certain places. Having to wait for 15 people was not our idea of the way to do it, looking back on it.”

Arriving at Machu Picchu

Arriving at Machu Picchu / Source

Bring snacks but not too many
You can of course fill your day backpack with snacks and food but there is actually no need to! Along the trail you will pass vendors selling chocolate bars, energy bars, drinks, and delicious fruit from the surrounding area. Although more expensive than buying your snacks in Cusco, it means you have more space in your day bag or that you can even take a smaller day backpack with you.

You may also be thinking that if you’re walking all that way you will be hungry. Well, we’re happy to tell you that you’re wrong!

The cooks make sure that you are well fed, serving you with delicious dishes so that you may feel that you don’t really need anything else to eat during the day.

The map of the Inca Trail

The map of the Inca Trail / Source

Why does the Inca Trail take so long?
You’re right, on paper it does seem that the Inca Trail is only short as the 4-day Inca Trail is just 26 miles (43km). So you may be wondering how it is possible that for the first 3 days you will be walking between 6 to 9 hours.

Due to the steps you have to climb, the terrain and of course the altitude the trail walked at this pace is both for your safety and enjoyment.

Make sure you practice walking longer distances and for long days, if possible with a pack before you arrive in Peru. This will help you break in your new boots, get your body used to covering larger distances as well as enjoying the great outdoors near to where you live which you might not have explored beforehand.

Read Antonette & Martijn’s original article here: http://www.we12travel.nl/?cat=152

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