Machu Picchu trek was one of the best things I’ve ever done! It was a truly magical, spiritual and very emotional experience. It’s one of those places that photos don’t do justice. If you are still considering it, don’t think about it any longer and just do it!
If you booked your Machu Picchu hike already and now you are wondering what to take with you or just researching it, this post is for you.
In most cases you will need to carry your own day backpack with all your belongings for a 3-4 day hike. Below I present you the list that worked for me for my 4 day hike and few more things that I didn’t take but it would be useful to have.
Here it goes:
4 pairs of socks
1 sports bra (if you are a girl or wear bras 🙂
Jacket- light and compact that won’t take too much space in your backpack, I had North Face Thermoball
fleece- takes less space than a sweater or a hoodie, dries fast from sweat or rain and it’s compact.
1 thermal long sleeve – to sleep in
2 long leggings (light hiking trousers for guys)- one of them can be used to sleep in and then on a summit day you can use that clean pair to hike and look great on those Machu Picchu photos 🙂
4 tops – because it’s hot and humid in the jungle and you’ll be active all day, you will need a clean one every day!
Sports sandals and trekking boots ( broken in). Sandals were great to wear around hostels in the evenings and to wear in the hot springs as well as while taking showers in hostels.
As for trekking boots, I would recommend one of the softer, hybrid ones.
Swimming costume/ shorts. Very important for the hot springs. It was a bliss after all day hike and great for soothing those sore muscles.
Fast drying towel & personal toiletries in travel size bottles. Unfortunately, due to high humidity even a fast drying towel didn’t dry over night so we ended up fixing laundry to our backpacks to dry during the hike.
Baby wipes and dry shampoo – in case there is no shower at your hostel.
Insect repellent. This is crucial! Don’t forget it otherwise you’ll be eaten alive in the jungle! I’m serious. We applied it generously before rafting but after the experience the water washed it off and we ended up being an all you can eat buffet for mosquitoes. 😉 Also, there were some little flies that didn’t mind the repellent and kept biting us. The only protection from them were long sleeved tops and bottoms. I wouldn’t brave wearing shorts for that reason.
All day sun scream UV 30-50. Trust me you will need it! We summited Machu Picchu when there was a complete overcast. We only applied the sun cream in the morning and reapplied with the first sun-ray in the afternoon. Even so we all got burnt through the clouds anyway due to high altitude.
First aid and personal medication. Luckily we didn’t have to use ours but it’s better to be safe than sorry. However, safety pins came handy to fix a backpack that belonged to one guy from our group. Also, good plasters for blisters would be useful.
Hydration tablets, paracetamol and Sorojchi tablets. Again, we were lucky not to have any high altitude sickness symptoms because we acclimatised in Cusco for two days before our hike.
Water bladder. This was so useful during our hike. A complete must have. We would stock up on water during stops and sip it slowly throughout the day without needing to take the backpack off.
Snacks including bars, dark chocolates, nuts, dried fruits. This is very personal choice. I am, as a gluten free vegan, very limited to what I can eat. But even so, during our jungle trek there was a myriad of stops with local people selling fresh fruits. However on the summit day, you will need all the snacks you can carry. I burned over 4,000 kcal that day and my other half over 6,000! As you can imagine there is no shops when you enter the Machu Picchu site so stock up on those snacks and remember to take your wrappings with you to dispose when you’re back to your hostel.
Peru guide. We liked reading it in the evenings before bed time.
Camera, phone and power bank. No explanation needed 😉
Money. Cash was useful as cash machines were limited in Aguas Calientes and obviously non in the jungle. We spent money with local people buying fresh fruits, water, coffee, raw chocolate during our hike.
Plastic zip bag for rubbish. This is crucial to stay respectful to the nature. When you need to use open air toilet ‘Inca Baño’ place used toilet paper in a zip bag and dispose it back in the hostel.
Poncho and rain trousers. We only used them once, on the cycling day. Very important to stay dry and happy!
Dry bags. Again we didn’t use them but all clothes were packed in dry bags in case of rain.
Torch. Something that at the end we didn’t have but I wish we did. A head torch was useful to have on the summit day when we woke up at 4 am and walked from Aguas Calientes to the Machu Picchu gate.
Water purification device or tablets. This is something that we didn’t take. But it would be very handy. Locals were selling water during the hike but it was hugely over priced and I couldn’t be sure whether they dispose plastic properly. At the end we even ran out of cash but luckily one couple borrowed us their water purifier, so we were able to make our own water from the tap.
Machu Picchu hike was one of the best experiences in my life so far. I would highly recommend taking at least a 3-4 day hike over taking a train! As it’s all about building up those emotions and listening to stories told by your guide. Summiting will taste much better if you work hard for it ;). Happy hiking!