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Preparing For Your Trek

Fitness

We take people of many different fitness levels on treks. However, all of our treks are challenging. For those who do not hike a lot, it is important to prepare. While we cannot recommend a specific training program, getting plenty aerobic exercise or walking, especially up hills, will help. Talk to your guide; he will help maintain an appropriate pace.

Weather

Weather in the mountains is variable and can change rapidly. During all seasons it is important to prepare for all weather. However, in general, there are two seasons:
Dry season: From the last week of April to October, rain is unusual. Days are usually sunny, and temperatures can reach 22º C. However, the temperature is colder higher up in the mountains, can be windy, and the nights and the mornings are quite cold, frequently below freezing.
Rainy season: October through April is the rainy season, in which weather is very unpredictable. It can rain at any time. Sometimes it rains briefly and then the sun comes out, other times it can be heavy and last for a prolonged period of time.

Altitude

Different people react to high altitude differently. Some people experience symptoms of altitude sickness above 3000m which include dizziness, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, shortness of breath, and tiredness, among others. Physical exertion is also more difficult. In most cases, altitude sickness is uncomfortable, but not dangerous.

Acclimatization

It is important for trekkers to properly acclimate to high altitude prior to their trek for both their comfort and safety. It is recommended to spend at least 2 or 3 days in Cusco or at a similar elevation before departure. For those with more time or who are more sensitive to altitude, we recommend slowly ascending, for example spending time in Arequippa or the Sacred Valley prior to coming to Cusco. Prophylaxis (acetazolamide/diomox) may be taken to speed the acclimatization process, especially if you do not have much time. These drugs are controlled in many countries; talk to your doctor. During your first days, drink plenty of water or coca tea to avoid dehydration, eat light, easy foods high in carbohydrates, get plenty of rest, and avoid alcohol or exertion. Spend your first day taking it easy.

Treating Altitude Sickness

To treat symptoms of altitude sickness, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofrin and acetametaphin and pepto-bismo usually help Most symptoms of altitude sickness are temporary and go away as your body adapts. However, if your symptoms persist, talk to your guide. Altitude sickness can lead to serious conditions. If determined necessary by your guide, oxygen may be administered or he may recommend that you rest or descend.

Food and Water

We will provide safe, boiled water to fill your water bottles with. This is sufficient for most people, but you may bring water purification tablets. We can accommodate special diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, allergies, etc.), but please give us advanced notice. It is important to be specific so that we can meet your needs. In most cases, it is difficult to purchase food after the start of a trek.

What to Pack

At your trek briefing, we will hand out duffels for your use on trek. We recommend that you leave what you will not use either at your hotel or in our secure storage. A liner, such as a large plastic bag, is useful to keep your belongs dry on really wet days.
Each person should bring:

  • Sleeping bag, rated at least -5ºC/20.º Can be rented.
  • A daypack (waterproof cover is recommended)
  • Reusable water bottle or hydration pack
  • Trekking poles, if-desired. Must have rubber tips at archaeological sites
  • Sun glasses, hat, and sunscreen. At high altitude, it is possible to burn even on cloudy days
  • Headlamp or flashlight with spare batteries
  • Toiletries and personal medications; moleskin or bandages for blisters
  • Clothing in layers, preferably non-cotton. It is important to pack for all weather conditions, from hot and humid to below freezing. Long underwear for colder camps, fleeces or a down jacket, stocking hat, and gloves
  • Rain gear, including jacket and pants or poncho and gaiters
  • Durable, waterproof trekking shoes or boots; you may also want to bring sandles or a change of shoes for use in camp
  • Camera with change of batteries and additional memory cards.
  • Gifts to exchange with people in small communities, such as pencils, crayons, notebooks, toothbrushes, etc. Please do not bring candy.
  • Swimsuit and small towel for use at hot springs
  • Extra money for tips and to buy drinks or handicrafts in local villages. Most villagers cannot make change, so bring small denominations. Also, while there is an ATM in Aguas Calientes, it does not always have money
  • Passport

Passport

It is necessary to bring your passport with you. Once you have reserved your trek, Apu Andino must give your information to Machu Picchu Park. This information includes your name, passport number, nationality, gender, and date of birth. Everything listed above must be the same upon arrival. It is very important that you bring your original passport for the park to verify your information. If any of the information does not match upon arrival, you may not be able to start the trek.

In the case that your passport number changes between reserving your spot and the start of your trek, you have two options. You may send us a copy of the new passport at least ten days before the start of your trek. The change costs $12 that you must pay to Machu Picchu Park upon arrival. The other option is to bring your both you old and new passports. This option will not cost you anything.