Preparing for the Inca Trail: Following in the Steps of the Ancient Incas

The Inca Trail provides incredible-looking views, from the titanic Andes mountains extending to the clouds, to tropical forests, to beautiful alpine clearings high in the sky where you can see miles of majesty in every direction. You’ll want to make sure you’re preparing for the Inca Trail ahead of time to make sure that you’re well-aware of the “uphill climb” that the journey entails.

How to Begin Preparing for the Inca Trail

Hiking the Inca Trail fully is “possible for all ages as long as you are fit.” The trail is nearly 30 miles long, but incredibly rewarding, especially considering the exhilarating prospect of seeing the lost city of Machu Picchu for your efforts.

Even for fit travelers, though, you have to get used to the high altitude by enjoying hikes in the Cuzco area for a couple of days before starting on the Inca Trail. This is the best way to prevent altitude sickness. When reaching the highest point of the trail, at almost 14,000 feet, travelers can expect fantastic views through the Andes, but also may experience a bit of nausea or fatigue regardless. This is nothing to be concerned about. Many travelers celebrate the end of this high-altitude portion of the trail with a “quick shot of rum and a photography session” before continuing on their way.

How can you avoid altitude fitness? Remember the following:

  • Stay hydrated! Drinking lots of water really helps to adjust to the altitude
  • Arrive to Cusco early and relax in the altitude before the exerting begins so that you can get used to it more gradually
  • Prepare at home by working out. Practice hiking for two days in a row, and undertake other intensity workouts so that you can enjoy the trip to the fullest.

It’s also helpful to plan ahead so you can get the most out of your trek. The hike takes 4 days total, and ends at the “Sun Gate” as you cross the threshold of the sacred ruins of Machu Picchu. Since this should be a magical experience for any traveler, you want to make it the best it can. If you were planning on enjoying this majestic, spiritual experience without a ton of other hikers nearby, you’ll want to get there early and avoid all the traffic!

The last thing you’ll want to be armed with before starting on the Inca Trail is knowledge. The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, while beautiful even without knowing the rich and extensive history of the Inca people, becomes so much more meaningful with this narrative. So, make sure that you take the time to study up on your history and culture before taking this incredible journey.

To plan your Peru adventure and to learn more about preparing for the Inca Trail hike, get in touch with Alpaca Expeditions. Alpaca Expeditions is a Peruvian travel operator with a main office in located in Cusco, Peru, and we are the top-rated tour operators of the Inca Trail.

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