The Inca Trail: 5 Things You Must Know Before You Travel

During the heyday of the Inca Empire, the Inca Trail was composed of a network of roads stretching 30,000 kilometers across what is today Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Peru. The roads were used to send messages throughout the empire. Today, many sections of the Inca Trail have succumbed to the passage of time, save for the 42 kilometers that make up the famous Inca Trail Trek, the route from Cusco to Machu Picchu. A three-day trek, there are a few things to think about in the days and months before setting off. Here are those things to consider:

Acclimatizing for the Trek to Machu Picchu

This trek takes you to high elevations. Therefore, it is recommended that you give yourself a couple of days at altitude to acclimatize for the trek and get your body used to the thin air. We recommend spending two days in Cusco to acclimatize before your trek to Machu Picchu.

What to Wear for the Trek to Machu Picchu

The climate of the Andes can be unpredictable and ever-changing. During the day, the sun can be stifling. If there are clouds, the temperatures can drop significantly. At night, it’s almost always cold. Wear layers and be sure to bring a warm coat to avoid hypothermia. For your feet, waterproof trekking boots with good ankle support are your best option.

Best Time to Trek the Inca Trail

Due to the unpredictable nature of the weather in the Andes, it’s difficult to recommend a perfect time to do the Inca Trail trek. That being said, the warmest temperatures tend to occur during the months of November through March. However, this period of time is also the rainy season in the Andes meaning sections of the trail may be slippery and difficult to walk. We recommend doing the Inca Trail during the months of May to November. During this time, the weather is more temperate and dry. If there’s one month you should avoid it would be February when the rainy season is at its peak and the trail is typically shut down for maintenance.

Pack Only What You Need

Remember, the Inca Trail Trek lasts four days so carrying any excess weight can make for an unpleasant experience. We recommend your pack weighs no more than 7 kilograms. Here’s what you should bring:

  • A good fitting backpack designed for multi-day trekking
  • Trekking pants that zip off into shorts
  • Long-sleeved shirts to fend off sunburn and mosquitoes
  • A thermal jacket to combat the cold
  • A hat to protect your head and face from the sun
  • Gloves
  • Sunblock
  • Insect Repellent
  • A flashlight to help you get around at night

Book Early for the Inca Trail

Remember, this route is sought after by thousands of people from all over the world and demand remains high throughout the year. To reserve your spot on an Inca Trail trek, you must make your reservation up to 6 months in advance.


The Inca Trail trek is a wonderful route for all levels of trekkers however it’s important to be prepared. Exercise regularly in the months leading up to your trek and take along only what you need. Remember that you must make your reservation far in advance. For more information about the Inca Trail Trek with Explorandes, please contact us.

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