10 Essential Things to Know before Hiking in Peru

Peru is an incredibly diverse country that offers its visitors some of the best hiking and trekking routes worldwide. There are numerous one-day hikes around Huaraz in the North and walking trips in the Sacred Valley. Peru also has some incredibly exciting cities and magnificent coastline to show.

inca trail machu picchu

10 Essential Things to Know before Hiking in Peru

However, any trip to Peru wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous ancient Incas place – Machu Picchu. The hiking route that leads to the top of the rock with an incredible view over the stone city is one of the most commonly known hiking routes.

Many people claim that climbing to the top of Machu Picchu is one of their most outstanding traveling achievements, filled with cultural insights, meaningful interactions with the locals, and a deep understanding of ancient history.

If you are planning to climb Machu Picchu in 2021, here is everything you need to know before you go there.

machu picchu peru jonny blair

That moment!! Arrival at “Misty Peek at You” or Machu Picchu, PERU!

The Inca Trail Permit

The tip may sound obvious, but it indeed isn’t. To go up the Machu Picchu, you will need to reserve an Inca Trail Permit several months in advance. There is only a limited number of trails permitted each day.

10 Essential Things to Know before Hiking in Peru

My ticket for the Real Inca Trail in Peru

The easiest and fastest way to obtain an Inca Trail Permit is by booking a day trek with a local travel company. Most offers come with the permit included, but make sure you double-check it before deciding for a particular hike.

If you prefer to go more off the beaten path and spend some time in solitude, there are lots of fantastic alternative ways to trek to Machu Picchu. Make sure your abilities suit the difficulties of the route before you go.

Water and Food

It will probably be hot and sunny during the day, and you will climb some extreme altitudes. Make sure you are equipped with a decent amount of potable water and some high-carbs and high-protein snacks.

To keep things as lightweight as possible, don’t bring too much unnecessary food with you.

Comfortable Shoes

Comfortable shoes are crucial when it comes to hiking. Depending on the track that you choose, your abilities, and personal preferences, you can either go for high-ankle hiking boots or suitable trainers.

The first pair of shoes will provide you with stability and proper adhesion, but it will take a lot of time for them to dry due to their design. Trainers, on the other hand, are more travel-friendly as they are lightweight and easy to dry. They may not, however, protect your ankles and knees the right way.

The entrance to the Real Inca Trail in Peru

Hiking Clothes

You may want to take some pictures at the top, but remember that Machu Picchu is not a catwalk. Instead of taking clothes that are picture-friendly, take comfy gym clothes.

Ladies should wear a sports bra, cotton T-shirt, hiking pants or leggings, and a half-zip hoodie. Men can take hiking pants, comfortable long-sleeved, or short-sleeved T-shirts with a thin hoodie on top.

machu picchu

10 Essential Things to Know before Hiking in Peru

Sunscreen and Caps

The central part of the route to Machu Picchu is exposed to the sun. Don’t forget to put on the sunscreen and a cap or a Panama sun hat ( it will make you look like a local).


Don’t forget to take a proper camera. On top of the rock, the views are stunning, and you will want to take some incredible shots. Most trekking groups get to Machu Picchu by 11:00 am or at noon. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit the place after 1:00 pm or 2:00 pm.


Expect Cusco to be overrun by tourists. You will hear all of the world’s languages and meet people from the globe’s furthest parts.

Cusco also attracts many people looking for a spiritual journey. You may see the typical “hippie” wearing some peace-manifesting items around the city.

cuzco cusco peru

Cuzco, Peru

Stray Dogs

If you are sensitive or allergic to dogs, it’s better avoid Cusco. Visitors claim they have never seen so many stray dogs at once. Cusco is famous for the dog packs that cross the streets as if they also were tourists.

Rain Forecast

Depending on the season, rain may be an indispensable part of your hike to Machu Picchu. Chances are you are going to get wet at some point in your trip. To minimize the chances of encountering rain, check the weather forecast well in advance and take a raincoat and waterproof clothes no matter what.

The excellent news to cheer you up is that the mist swirling through the valley creates a stunning spectacle.

Coca Leaves

When visiting Machu Picchu, you may experience altitude sickness. In such a case, coca leaves will be your lifesaver. Chewing them or drinking them in the form of tea will calm your stomach and ease the dizziness. They are cheap and can be found almost anywhere in Peru.

bolivia coca tea

Another cup of coca tea in Peru to help with my soroche.


Following the famous Inca Trail and visiting Machu Picchu is a dream of many people. Hiking to the top of the rock is not easy, and you will experience some severe altitude. However, the magnificent views will compensate for all the effort.

It would be best to remember the essential things when visiting Machu Picchu, including previously booked entry tickets, water, hiking boots, camera, cocoa leaves, sunscreen, and waterproof sports clothes. Take all those necessities, check the weather forecast, and enjoy the unforgettable experience.

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