Like most of you, we’ve always dreamed of hiking Machu Picchu. Twenty years ago, it was barely on very many peoples radar, but today, it’s one of the top ten most common bucket list trips. Because of this, there is tons of information out there on the internet. We did extensive research before we went and afterwards we decided we needed to write a blog of our own. We narrowed it down into short, to the point paragraphs so that it’s easy to get all of the information quickly! Here are the 5 things you need to know before hiking Machu Picchu.
First, you have a choice of the trail that you take to get there. The Inca “highway” as it’s often referred to is the most popular trail and therefore quite busy most of the year. Our Legit Trip opts for the less touristed Salkantay Trail. We’ve set aside this time to be outside in nature, so we enjoy the extra bit of peace and quiet we get on this route. While some say the Salkantay Trail is more challenging, we think it’s worth it!
The altitude affects everyone differently, but it’s worth being prepared for. The town of Cusco is at just over 11,000 ft elevation. Much of the actual Trek is at lower elevation than Cusco, but you will reach a high point of just over 15,000 ft elevation while on the Salkantay Trail. There are local remedies available, oxygen shots, and even some medications your doctor may be able to suggest you start taking in advance of your trip. Our Legit Trips itinerary allows for 2 full days of acclimating to the altitude in the town of Cusco.
The weather on the trail is unpredictable and you may pass from the hot and humid jungle to the cold and snowy mountain summits. On our tour you are limited to 7 kilos of belongings (to be carried by horse) on the Trek. We recommend bringing one of everything so that you are prepared for all weather. IE: Tank top, long sleeve, fleece/sweater, rain coat, puffy/warm coat. You’ll be able to leave your luggage/suitcase in Cusco, so you can pack whatever you wish in that regard!
BAIL OUT OPTIONS
If you’re unsure about how the altitude might affect you, or if you’re in shape enough for the Trek, that shouldn’t stop you from experiencing this Bucket List trip! . We highly recommend training, and provide training suggestions to our trip guests, but once you’ve done all that you can do, there’s no reason to worry about what might happen on the trail. Multiple days of our Salkantay Trek, there are options to ride a horse for all or part of the day. . And on the final day before Machu Picchu you have an option to take the bus to Aguas Calientes where you’ll meet up with the rest of the group for dinner and a hotel stay. . All of the bail out options are very affordable and can be decided upon on-site, no advance reservations are required.
Not all trekking operators are created equal! Our Legit Trips itinerary offers you the best lodging available for a Machu Picchu Trek. From glass-topped Sky Domes, to Andean Huts, to Jungle Domes, our trekkers are never sleeping in tents! And all of our on-trail lodging was built with local materials in an eco-conscious way, so that the accommodations blend in with the natural landscape and do not take away from the natural beauty of this special place.