Besides the exciting culinary scene, relatively cheap prices, the wonderful Machu Picchu, and the mysterious Nazca lines, Peru has yet one more noteworthy tourist attraction, namely the Inca Trail, also known as Camino Inca or Camino Inka (in Spanish).
The Inca Trail provides wandering hikers with a set of unmistakable and beautiful views, various other interesting Inca ruins, and amazing wildlife (since it’s a protected area). Consisting of three overlapping trails, Mollepata, Classic, and One Day, the Inca Trail ends at Machu Picchu, not only making the whole trip worth it, but the destination as well.
How is the weather on the Inca Trail?
The weather on the Inca Trail varies greatly during the year from very wet, cold, and windy, to sunny hot and dry. Simply put, the weather conditions you will experience will depend mostly on the time of the year that you plan on trekking to Machu Picchu.
When it’s summer almost everywhere in the southern hemisphere, the wet season starts on the Inca Trail. The overall temperature rises during the wet season, but the thing to note here is that while days can be sunny, the rain coupled with potential winds can make the temperature drop quite significantly.
Considering the remote area, the Inca Trail traverses, the altitude, and the fact that there are forests all around, hikers should be aware that once the sun sets, the temperature usually drops very quickly. Just to give you an idea, the average weather conditions on the Inca Trail are as follows:
- In the dry season (April – October), you can expect day temperatures between 20 – 25ºC (68 – 77ºF) and night temperatures between -1 – 7ºC (30 – 44ºF).
- In the wet season (November – March), the day temperature varies somewhere between 17 – 22ºC (62 – 72ºF), and night temperature between 4 – 7ºC (39 – 44ºF).
What’s the best time to hike the Inca Trail?
The rainy season is less popular with trekkers, as there are more chances of rain, which makes the trek even harder. The months to avoid are usually January and March. In February the Inca Trail is closed for the whole month to help maintain the trail and to develop more security on the trail for hikers. April, November, December offer good chances of completing a successful hike, but the possibility of rainfall remains. The best time to hike the Inca Trail is the summer to early autumn months: May, June, July, August, September, and October.
Important things to consider about the Inca Trail
According to various Peruvian regulations, the Inca Trail has a cap of 500 people (porters included) allowed to hike the trail per day. This means that passionate hikers should take the time to book the trail in advance (ideally at least three months before departure). If the trip is planned in peak season then it is recommended to book 6 months in advance.
As far as the Inca Trail clothes list goes, it’s important to note that having proper hiking attire is the way to go. You should keep in mind that showering during the four-day trek is a low probability, hence pack plenty of underwear and socks. It’s also important to have clothes that you can layer. Bring both short and long-sleeved shirts, a light jacket, and hiking (or running) pants. Don’t forget that the temperatures can drop below freezing at night, so bring a hat, gloves, and one or two scarves. We can’t stress the importance of proper footwear enough. Make sure you choose hiking boots that are waterproof. The boots should provide good ankle support, as the terrain is not always friendly. Finally, bringing a set of rain gear is not a very bad idea. Opt for a light rain jacket and bring lots of plastic bags for your wet clothes.
Other useful things to bring with you are:
– Passport (a must bring)
– A torch
– Small first aid kit
– Comfortable back pack
– Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, deodorant, sunblock, lip balm)
– Water bottle and extra water
– Snacks (we advise to bring snacks high in energy and protein e.g. granola bars, protein bars, bananas, apples, nuts with not too much salt, chocolate, sandwiches)
– Camera and lots of memory cards and batteries
– Cash (Peruvian Soles)
If you are booking your vacation to Peru through us and would like more information, just ask your travel adviser.