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Machu Picchu is one of the most breathtaking locations on earth. The awe and mystery surrounding this Incan ruin has captured the world’s imagination, and for this reason, it justifiably sits at the top of every real traveller’s bucket list.
Once you’ve made the exciting decision to book a trip to Machu Picchu, where you’ll scale up emerald mountains, bear witness to epic scenery that includes gushing silver rivers, remote indigenous villages, and exotic, colourful wildlife, your next thought must be, What on earth do I bring to Machu Picchu?
Lucky for you, Valencia Travel Cusco has developed a list of essential items to ensure that you have all bases covered for this amazing adventure!
A good quality hiking pack is essential to ensuring you have a good time! Not only will it need to be comfortable, but it will need to be big enough to hold your clothes, water bottle, and any snacks you bring along the way (such as sugar-based candy for extra energy). The straps will need to be adjusted so that it fits properly on your back and hips, which will ensure that the weight is distributed evenly in order to avoid muscle soreness and injury.
A size we recommend to accommodate all of your belongings comfortably, is a 65-litre capacity pack. You’d rather have the extra space and not need it, than need the extra space and not have it—trust us!
Just as essential as the hiking pack is of course, your hiking boots! A comfortable pair that are designed for rough terrain, are sturdy, lightweight, and water-resistant can make the difference between the time of your life and the nightmare of your life! There are several good hiking boot brands on the market, but our personal favourite is the French kingpin, Salomon.
Lightweight and slightly loose-fitting pants that are water-resistant, as well as lightweight t-shirts that aren’t too heavy in material, will be important when hiking Machu Picchu, especially as regardless of the weather, you will be working up a sweat! It’s also recommended that you bring a couple of long-sleeve shirts for the evenings, just in case the mosquitos are out, as well as a cap, sunglasses, and a puffer jacket—ensuring that no matter what the trail brings, you’re ready for it!
Sometimes forgotten or figured to be replaced by your smart phone’s light (hot tip: your phone doesn’t replace a flashlight!), this is essential if you’re wondering around in the evenings, either gazing at the stars, going on a night walk to spot wildlife, or, if you’re camping along the way, to use to find your way through the dark. Make sure you have brand-new batteries in it, and that it’s strong enough to see several metres in front of you so you have full awareness of your surroundings at all times.
Blessed are the brave who ignore this one! If you aren’t used to tropical environments, such as those found in South and Central America, Australia, and parts of the United States, then insect repellent may not be all that familiar to you—but when the bugs start biting, this is the best friend you can possibly have! When hiking Machu Picchu, there’s of course a wide array of weird and wonderful insects, but the only ones that can really ‘bug’ you (get it?), are mosquitoes.
If being itchy isn’t your idea of a good time, we recommend buying a Tropical Strength insect repellent, such as Aerogard, OFF!, or Bushman.
All that trekking up mountains, crossing of swaying bridges that remind you of Indiana Jones, and jungle-bashing will have you working up a thirst in no time! It’s a good idea to get a reasonably sized water bottle, no smaller than 500ml and no larger than 1 litre. There’ll be opportunities along the trail to Machu Picchu to replenish your water bottles at fresh river streams, but we usually keep an extra water bottle in our hiking packs just in case.
The only thing worse than not seeing Machu Picchu, is not capturing all the epic footage along the way! While most people these days rely on their phones, phones also happen to run out of battery a lot faster than digital cameras. It’s worthwhile investing in a camera and large memory card so that you can keep your phone usage down, while also taking photos a lot faster and in higher definition than what your smart phone can. Some good brands worth exploring include Canon, Sony, and Panasonic, and they each come in a range of prices.
So there you have it! When thinking about what to bring when hiking Machu Picchu, go no further than our essential list above and you’ll be more than ready for this life-changing adventure!