Essential Tips to Touring The Famous INCA Trail, Peru
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The world is a big beautiful place full of adventures that only those who risk travel may know the beauty. People go for vacations all-year-round to different destinations across the globe in search of leisure and relaxation. For most, a vacation without hitting the trails will not be termed complete.
There isn’t a more perfect way to fully explore the world than on foot! You get to enjoy first-hand the world’s most picturesque locations and truly appreciate the sights, smells, sounds and sensations of the trails.
One of the most popular destinations to vacation in the world is Peru, South America which is home to the Inca jungle trek. This famous trek brings you along ancient paths of the Peruvian countryside and the Andean mountains landing you straight into the Incan ruins.
The greatest end-point of these majestic trails is Machu Picchu which has been a great vacation spot for those on honey-moon. This region is believed to be the royal estate for the Inca leaders which stretches over a 5-mile distance featuring more than 3,000 stone steps linked into different levels.
Touring the Inca trail should be at the top of your bucket list. It’s an experience that evokes excitement, fear and stirs a sense of wonder in your imagination. There is a lot of preparation that goes into this plunge as the hike isn’t just one trail and some may take between 3-4 days through the gorgeous valleys and sloping mountains.
Below are 5 essential tips to help you have a seamless time along the trail:
1. Have the Right Gear
Hiking the Inca rails is an extreme sport, therefore you need proper sport equipments to aid you to maneuver the climbs and slopes. First of the gear is the right pair of hiking boots. You cannot afford to cut any costs when it comes to your footwear as you will be in them for 8 hours a day.
Waterproof pants and a good raincoat are a must as well as some thermic sweaters and t-shirts to cover you from the chilly weather. A hiking rod, sunglasses and gloves will make your trek more manageable.
2. Guides are a Must
Guides are required for any tourist taking the trail as part of the policies. You can choose to hire a lone guide or a tour company to assist in the travelling logistics. The option of a tour company is more preferred as you will benefit from a myriad of services. The company will book a permit for you, way in advance.
Many people make the mistake of assuming they can hike the trail whenever they want. Only 500 people are permitted on the trail on any given day. Tour companies offer porters to go with you along the trail to assist you with your luggage, you also get to enjoy delicious meals and large comfortable tents.
3. A Well Packed Bag is Key
A 4-day trip may take one on overdrive with some wanting to pack everything in their wardrobe. Strive to pack light and smart for different types of temperatures to enjoy your trip. The most important items will include a sleeping bag and mat, wet weather gear, warm clothing, at least 2 liters of water, snacks and personal effects.
Weigh the bag at home to make sure it doesn’t exceed 9kgs. Dress in layers as it helps the load you will have to carry. When layering, always start with a moisture-wicking base layer then add a middle and top layer. The Inca Trail has dynamic climate changes that seem to shift with the snap of the fingers.
4. Get in Shape for Trail
The trail welcomes people of all ages, sizes and fitness levels. However, preparing your body to different types of altitudes will do you good in the long run. It’s a challenge ascending the climbs and the thin air makes it harder to breathe as you go further.
Take a hike or two around your neighbourhood days before the event to strengthen your muscles for the big day. Take it easy as you begin the hike without over-exerting yourself.
Keep the pace at a slow and controlled speed. If at any point you start feeling out of breath or fatigue on the muscles, ask your guide to reduce the speed.
5. Acclimatize Before You Hike
The Inca trail stretches up to 4200m above sea level and it’s surprisingly where most of the population in this region live. To help acclimatize, one should walk in a zig-zag way when ascending the trail taking deep breaths to adjust with the altitude. This will reduce the risk of you suffering altitude illnesses such as headaches, nosebleeds and dizziness.
Cusco is a popular stopover sitting at an altitude of 3,400m above sea level. If time allows you, you can spend a day or two in Cusco to give your body maximum time to acclimatize. Additionally, while hiking, your body dehydrates quicker at an altitude, therefore, you need to stock up on the drinks.
Anywhere between 4-5 litres a day will combat any altitude sickness and keep you feeling amped for the rest of your journey.