Best Tips to Hike Machu Picchu
If you plan to hike to Machu Picchu and have been on your bucket list, you need to prepare properly not to be surprised by the sudden weather changes and different altitude zones. If you are a huge fan of hiking, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the best options; if it is sold out, you can take the Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, or any other alternative trek you will love it. You will not only enjoy the view, but the experience is unforgettable. Below are some tips to make your hiking a success.
Prevention of altitude sickness
If you are one of the lucky few, you will not feel a thing. There are those whose hearts will beat harder while others may experience breathing difficulties. You may also get nausea or headache. Don't take chances; you should prepare for that if it's your first time in this place.
The best thing to do is give yourself at least two days to acclimate before hiking the Inca Trail. Bring some medicine, drink coca tea, and sleep a lot. It would be best if you bought Diamox for use before you start hiking.
You do not need a prescription to buy Diamox in Peru; you will be able to find it at every drugstore in Cusco; you must ask for ACETAZOLAMIDA -Acetazolamide (Brand Name: Diamox), of course, is expected to feel some common side effects like dizziness, lightheadedness, tingling feeling. It is better to take it during the night before bed or early in the mornings before your activities.
If you prefer something more natural, we recommend Sorojchi Pills, Altivital, and coca tea, and drink plenty of water.
Self-preparation before the hike
Although it's a lot of fun, it is not that easy. You have to prepare yourself physically and psychologically. You need stamina and endurance, so if you could exercise to improve strength and breathing, it would be quite easy. Consider running or other cardio exercises. Other important tips are taking deep breaths, taking small steps, staying positive, and renting hiking poles.
Almost all treks in Cusco trips to Machu Picchu will include passing through high altitude places at least over 4000 meters (13123 feet) before coming to Peru, regularly taking short hikes once a week more.
Packing for your trip to Machu Picchu
This is an important aspect of all trips. Take your time to decide what you will need for hiking. The experience could be the worst if you forget essential items. Suppose you forgot to bring extra batteries for your camera. It means you won't capture memorable moments. Always have portable chargers for electronics. Other important things to carry are documents (insurance, passport, and a diary), toiletries, medicine, and enough footwear. The weather also keeps changing, so it's important to have various outfits for different weather conditions.
Best hikes From Cusco To Machu Picchu
The best hikes to Machu Picchu are:
Inca Trail 4 days: The most famous in Peru and South America, the Inca Trail is an iconic hike that will take you on 4 days of hiking and nights of camping in tents. Only 500 people are allowed daily, and you must book your permits in advance. Find out more here.
Short Inca Trail 2 days: The Inca Trail Short Version is perfect for those who don't have enough time to do the longer version; the Inca Trail Short Version takes you hiking through the final part of the Classic Inca Trail, arriving at Machu Picchu through the Sungate. Find out more here.
Salkantay Trek 5 days: After The Inca Trail tours, Salkantay Trail is the second most beautiful and challenging hike; over 5 days, you will explore different landscapes from the mountains and lakes to the green and warm Cloud Forest where Machu Picchu is located. Find more information here.
Lares Trek 4 days: Lares is the best option when you prefer a lesser crowded route with Andean lakes, mountains, llamas, and alpacas, and interact with local children in the most remote villages of Peru. This Trek includes visiting the beautiful hot springs of Lares. Find out more here.
Huchuy Qosqo Trek: Huchuy Qosqo is the only Trek that starts in Cusco City's outskirts and takes you through the Mountain into the Sacred Valley, where you board the Andean Train and arrive at Machu Picchu following the Urubamba River. Find out more here.
Are there short hikes near Aguas Calientes?
There are a couple of extra hikes in Machu Picchu Pueblo or Agua Calientes; if you are staying in the town before or after Machu Picchu, you can visit the following Places.
Machu Picchu Local Museum: Located near the Puente Ruinas (The bridge to Machu Picchu), you can access this place by a 20-minute walk from Aguas Calientes, or if you finish Machu Picchu, you can request the bus driver to drop you off by the bridge. There is a fee (7$) to enter the museum.
The Butterfly station: Located on the way to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. The butterfly station is located just 10 minutes from the town. You will be able to learn many interesting facts about local butterflies and take pictures. There is a 10 soles fee to enter this place.
The Mandor Gardens: This beautiful place is located a 1-hour hike from Aguas Calientes; you can see birds, orchids, waterfalls, and Machu Picchu from below. To visit Mandor, you need at least 3 hours, which is better with a tour guide.
Putucusi Mountain: Besides Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain, there is a third and steeper Mountain Called Putucusi. You don't need an entrance ticket to hike to Putucusi, but we highly encourage you to go with a Tour Guide. You need at least 3 hours to complete this Mountain and enjoy the amazing view of Machu Picchu from another mountain.