There are two ways to get to Machu Picchu, sweaty or not, there are no other options. You can experience it as a reward or as an excursion. In these lines I will try to transmit 10 advices to enjoy the experience of arriving sweating the t-shirt to the maximum.
The Inca Trail (or Inka Trail) is a trail with more than 5 centuries of history. It is an ancestral path that the Incas used to communicate throughout their empire. The Inca Trail is very extensive and is not preserved in its entirety, but today it is possible to travel 42 km of this legendary road before reaching the citadel of Machu Picchu.
It is a demanding excursion that lasts 4 days, but it can be done as long as no excesses are committed, such as doing it without acclimatizing or hangover. It is a path that leaves its mark. Machu Picchu is a unique place and therefore is one of the wonders of the modern world, but reaching it with effort makes the experience absolutely round. What’s more, when you arrive after 4 days walking you feel absurdly superior to all the people who arrive clean and smelling good, you have the feeling that they don’t deserve it, but it also makes you feel a little adventurous and know that you are going to enjoy that a thousand times more than the rest.
If you want to know the complete chronicle of the trip: Inca Trail
1.- Reserve the trek in advance.
Access to the Inca Trail is limited and once the quotas marked by the government are covered it is not possible to access in any way. It is therefore essential to plan the trip in advance (especially if you go in high season) to be able to reserve places well in advance. There are many agencies that make the Inca Trail, but we recommend Mayuc 4-Days Inca Trail and 2-Days Inca Trail for its age and experience.
Do not leave the climb to Wayna Picchu for the last moment.
Access to Wayna Picchu is even more restricted than that of the Inca Trail. So if you intend to climb, which I recommend, do not leave it for the last moment as you will keep the honey on your lips. Getting to Machu Picchu, wanting to climb Wayna Picchu and not being able to because you have not been foresighted is a great task.
3.- Make a good backpack for the Inca Trail.
This advice seems obvious, but it is always the step that fails the most. You are going to spend 4 days walking and they are long and demanding days, each gram adds up. Don’t take anything more than strictly necessary. A pair of walking shoes and some crocs to relax your feet will be more than enough when it comes to footwear. Change for 4 days and a raincoat if you go in the rainy season. Wearing a good backpack is essential as the grams look like kilos as the kilometres go by and having a comfortable and ergonomic backpack will make things much easier for us. Use the chest and waist straps, they will alleviate the weight of the shoulders distributing it in a more uniform way by all the trunk.
4.- Pay attention to the footwear.
Another thing of truism, but I lived as a companion the two soles were detached in the middle of the trekking and had to end it with the same tied with ropes. There’s nothing on the Inca Trail, so if your shoes break you’ll be in a hurry. Obviously it is not advisable to wear brand new footwear either, as the only thing you will get are a few ampoule gifts. It is not necessary to wear mountain boots, with a semi-boot or trekking shoe is more than enough.
5.- Acclimatize for the Trail.
The Inca Trail passes by 4200 mts of altitude and it is probable that if your body has not become accustomed to the altitude you will have a bad time. Obviously each organism is a world and reacts in different ways, you may not even notice it. But to arrive to Cusco and the next day to begin the trekking, I sincerely believe that it is to play the Russian roulette. We planned the trip by going through the Colca Canyon to make a trek there that would serve as a contact, and then we spent a couple of days in Cusco before starting the trek. They are the most logical measures, but measures that can make us have a hard time if we decide to do without them.
6.- Protect yourself from the rain.
This advice is only if you go during the rainy season, but if it is so, even if once again it seems obvious, it is one of the tips that can help you the most to get to a good port. In our case the way we did under the almost incessant rain, were 4 drops, but the feeling of humidity is overwhelming, especially at night. The moment the humidity reaches the insulation, the sleeping bag or the spare clothes you are lost. If there is something that undermines morale more than fatigue, it is humidity. Spending several days with wet clothes is one of the worst sensations there is, and once inside the road there is no way to dry anything. Take the clothes in plastic bags inside the backpack and carry spare ponchos, you’ll thank them do not hesitate.
The road is long, don’t try to be the first. Travelling in a group is easy to come up and try to be the first or the first. You have to be very conscious of where our limits are and not throw all the meat on the grill in the first 10 kmts. It is normal that the whole group arrives at the end of the stages with hours of difference, nothing happens everyone should keep his rhythm and be aware that the next day there is more.
8.- Take a stick for the hike.
The stick is a great ally for walks. You can take it or buy it there directly as you prefer. If you carry metal sticks you will have to buy plastic protectors for the metal tips to let you use them. The stick is a common element in the people who frequent the mountain, is a great support in the climbs to help in the impulse and a great ally in the descents to avoid or at least control, slips and losses of balance.
The Inca Trail is made with a more or less numerous group of people so you can share experiences with people from other countries as well as with the people of the organization and the porters. You can approach trekking in a more individualistic way, but I sincerely believe that it is a mistake and besides being practically impossible, even if it is because of the lunches and dinners, you end up creating a small family that is what makes this experience so wonderful.
10.- Enjoy the Inca Trail.
As a final and no less important piece of advice, enjoy. Enjoy the group, the landscape, the moment. Do not think of the Inca Trail as a process before you get to enjoy Machu Picchu, the essence is in the way itself. Machu Picchu is one more stone, the last but only one more. Try to catch in your memory the sunrise from Inti Punku, do not miss the best moments for trying to take a thousand photos, do half a dozen, sit down and enjoy.