I was under the impression that bringing a few layers of clothing would be more than enough to trek to Machu Picchu for four days. Well… turns out I was mistaken.
I ended up wearing ever piece of clothing I had in order to stay warm. So please read this blog, and don’t make the same mistake as me.
The best time to go to Machu Picchu is from May – November to avoid the rainy season. Unfortunately, this means you are going to be in Peru during their winter months. Which at an altitude of over 3,000 meters feels quite cold.
If you are doing the Inca Trail or the Salcantay Trail you will probably have to pack slightly different items. The Inca Trail is all stairs and if you go in the dry season you will be in the sun all day. If you are doing the Salcantay Trail part of it goes through the Amazon so it is humid and there are more chance of encountering mosquitos. The climate also varies on the time of the year you go, as well as, how long a trek you are doing, as a 2 day trek and 5 day trek may have different paths.
So what should you bring?
Layers! Pack lots of layers. Bring with you tank tops, t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, a light sweater and a fleece sweater. It seems like a lot of items, but wearing layers is ideal for this type of trek. In the sun it can get quite hot, specially while you do physical activity, but out of nowhere a cloud comes, covers the sun and your body temperature starts to drop rapidly.
A light jacket. If it wasn’t for the Uniqlo jacket my cousin lent me, I would not have survived. Despite how thin and light it is, it truly is the warmest jacket ever. It just keeps all your body heat in. And best of all, you can roll it into a little bag when you are done using it.
A hat, waterproof gloves, and a scarf. Or buy one in Peru before or during your trek. Peru is known for their products made from alpaca and llama fur and you will find many people selling these items.
Wipes – both for your face and for your butt. You don’t realize how much dirt you get on your face when you are trekking. And since you are out in the wilderness most of the day, the chances of finding a bathroom are slim. You will most likely have to opt to use the Inca toilet AKA going behind a rock. Maybe pack some hand sanitizer.
Flashlight. If you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it will be easier to navigate the darkness.
Good luck! It’ll be the trip of a lifetime.