The Inka Trail

I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to join a cou­ple of friends some months ago, and trav­el south to the land of Peru. This coun­try is rich in nat­ur­al resources I tell you. The weath­er was nice. We were blessed with most­ly par­tial­ly-cloudy to sun­ny days in our time in the Andes. I could only imag­ine how it would have been if most of the descent on the Trail were wet and slip­pery due to rain.

Mean­while, I made a quick iMovie video slideshow show­ing most of the high­lights of the trek. I was orig­i­nal­ly going to use Ani­mo­to to do it but find­ing the right music might have been the lim­it­ing fac­tor as you can only select from a select library from their end. I fig­ured I might as well use what I have and pro­ceed­ed to cre­ate the fol­low­ing.

Here’s the video. Enjoy!
YouTube Preview Image

The Breakdown

In case you are curi­ous, inter­est­ed in doing the Inka Trail, or about to do it… hope­ful­ly the fol­low­ing helps.

Inka Trail Infographic

We went with SAS Trav­el, and had Wil­fre­do (Eddie) & Hugo as our guides. Here is a pho­to of Eddie (bot­tom-left) at the Run­cu­ra­cay View­point.

Runcuracay Viewpoint

Here’s Hugo (smil­ing on the left) chop­ping it up with the sub­ject of fut­bol over­look­ing the Val­ley as the Sun goes down dur­ing day-2 of the trek.

Enjoying Day-2's Sunset

Along with them, we had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be escort­ed by 27 Chasquis (porters). These guys were amaz­ing. They ranged from 18–55 years of age, and were from the local high­lands of the Andes. From our expe­ri­ence, these guys were very orga­nized and well tak­en care of ver­sus the oth­er ones from oth­er tour com­pa­nies. They were all in SAS Travel’s blue uni­form and were dressed warm when it counts. That, and just car­ried the right amount of weight through the trek. They made the trek easy to eat, sleep, and live well on.

Our Awesome Chasquis

What to pack?

Oth­er than what is sug­gest­ed on most trav­el boards, SAS Trav­el info page, etc., here’s what I have found to be the bare-neces­si­ties. Trust me… less weight, eas­i­er to breathe and hike up 4200-meters (over 13,650-feet). Keep in mind that this was ear­ly June (dry sea­son), and luck­i­ly, we didn’t see any rain through the 4-days of the Trail. That, and we opt­ed to get a Chasqui (porter) to car­ry an addi­tion­al 9kg. We rent­ed a sleep­ing bag and pad from SAS Trav­el, which left us with about 7kg left and some space in the duf­fel bag that they have pro­vid­ed.

  • A water bot­tle, and/or Camel­bak blad­der.

    2L is more than enough. I brought my 1L Sigg which was okay as we get a refill dur­ing our lunch and dinner/night camp­sites. Didn’t have to bring water pills as they boiled water for us (in the morn­ing, at lunch, and at night). There are some legs where I found that I need­ed a bit more like on the sec­ond day. I end­ed up fill­ing anoth­er bot­tle with 0.5L.

    A plus bring­ing a Camel­bak blad­der or vari­a­tions there of would be that you won’t have to fum­ble around or stop to reach the water bot­tle, and would just have to bring the straw to sip on. I opt­ed with the water bot­tle as we were doing more than the trek itself (Cus­co, Lima, The Sacred Val­ley, etc.).

    Mean­while, on most of the breaks/stops, you’ll have a ven­dor near­by in case you need some refresh­ments (bot­tled water, Gatorade, etc.). I can’t stress enough that unless you are from the imme­di­ate vicin­i­ty of the Andes, and have a stom­ach made out of steel—drink liq­uid from a bottled/sealed source. If you opt­ed for water: “Sin Gas” is plain, old water; and “Con Gas” is like club soda. They’re about 1-Sole.

  • A head­lamp, and/or a flashlight/torch.

    You’ll def­i­nite­ly need this when it gets dark. I brought an extra flash­light to use in our tent to save our head­lamps’ bat­ter­ies. You can opt to bring some extra bat­ter­ies if you please as well. Also, I used a cara­bin­er to hang it on the ceil­ing of our tent.

  • Carabiner(s).

    These are use­ful to hold your water bot­tle, trekking poles, and like I said… to hang your light in your tent. I brought a cou­ple of Nite Ize S-bin­ers from REI. They did the job.

  • Shades, or sun­glass­es.

    Help your eyes keep their focus.

  • A sun hat, or cap. As well as beanie.

    I found the sun hat to be more use­ful as its full brim pro­tect­ed more than a base­ball cap would while trekking under the Sun high up in the moun­tains. I bought this one from Colum­bia via REI. It was well vent­ed, light­weight, and went back to its orig­i­nal form after pack­ing it.

    As for bring­ing a beanie, this would be when its cold, usu­al­ly at night. I found myself using mine in dur­ing break­fast, at din­ner, and while sleep­ing on some nights. You can either bring your own from home, or track down some ven­dors in Cus­co, Ollan­tay­tam­bo, or oth­er towns before the trek that are sell­ing the ones made from Alpaca wool. They go for about 15-Soles for the reversible ones. You can barter/haggle and get them down to 8-Soles (or low­er).

  • Bandana(s).

    Helps keep sweat out of your face. Can keep your neck warm. Blocks the Sun from the back of your neck. Helps keep dust par­ti­cles and/or insects away from your face. The util­i­ty of it goes on.

    I wish I brought anoth­er, as there was a part of the Trail where I had it on my head (absorb sweat) under my sun hat while hik­ing through a dusty part.

  • San­dals, or flip-flops.

    I found myself only using mine on Day-3 to go show­er with. Oth­er than that, I was in my boots most of the time.

  • Toot­brush, tooth­paste, and den­tal floss.

    Yes, to clean your teeth with. Use a trav­el-size tube of paste if you can. Saves you some weight and space. I brought a Steri­pod as well, which clipped to the brush and helped san­i­tize it at the same time. Def­i­nite­ly use­ful for trav­el.

    To note, be sure to use bot­tled water to rinse and brush with; as well as clean your tooth­brush with. This is a pre­cau­tion so you don’t get any nasty bugs that’ll get you sick with the runs.

  • Unscent­ed hand san­i­tiz­er.

    Sure you can bring hand soap but this is more effi­cient dur­ing the Trail in case you don’t want to waste water. Use it when­ev­er you can. Try to keep it unscent­ed, will help unat­tract insects. They seem to like the fruity-smell.

  • A roll of toi­let-paper, and dis­in­fect­ing wet wipes.

    You can prob­a­bly bring along some plas­tic bags to store your trash just in case nature calls along the Trail. “Leave no trace.”

  • Facial tis­sue.

    In case you have a runny/drippy nose. Hap­pens as the cli­mate changes quite often.

  • Sun­block lotion and lip balm.

    You’ll be under the Sun most of the time. Yes, even when its partially/cloudy, put some on. Help your skin out.

If I remem­ber any­thing else, I’ll be sure to post an update. But those are objects I remem­ber using the most and being of most util­i­ty.

I hope that helps on your trek. And with that: safe trav­els; take your time to take it all in (sight and sound); enjoy your sur­round­ings; and have fun. Cheers!

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