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The opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the Incas is one anyone with a sense of adventure should experience Hiking the Inca trail and experiencing the absolute awe-inspired views of the sacred Machu Picchu is a truly unforgettable experience, or at least it would have been if someone had given me a heads up on how hard it can be. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, read up on these tips to ensure your experience is nothing but spectacular.

1) Acclimatise
If you find your schedule is tight, and even if the gym is prevalent in your life back home, what you might not realise, is just how much altitude plays a part in this journey. 4 days of constant walking, up steep inclines and over uneven terrain can take its toll, but never more than if you haven’t let your body adjust. Spend at least two days in Cusco, at approximately 3,249 meters above sea level, relaxing for a couple of day’s here will give your body the time it needs to banish the initial sickness and shortness of breath you may experience on the mountain.

2) Footwear
Invest in a decent pair of walking boots, you will literally be kissing them when you’re not the one nursing blisters the size of melons on day one. Crucially, these need to be worn in pre-trek. Get up on the moors, into the woods, heck wear them to work – your feet will thank you for it.

3) Wrap up
Unless you’re going in the rainy season (in which case invest in a poncho – they’re not nearly as silly as they look) your days on the trek will probably be quite warm and pleasant. At night time this changes dramatically, so instead of wearing your entire backpack worth of clothes to bed, stock up on lama and alpaca woollen hats, gloves and socks in Cusco.

4) Pay up
Paying for a porter is almost as essential as securing a reputable tour company. Slogging your guts out carrying all manner of clothing, water, sun block and camping gear whilst your trapping-free tour companions skip their way to the top is not fun. Having traversed these inclines all their lives, porters are more than adept at carrying the world, his wife and her pots up the mountainside without breaking a sweat.

5) Take your time
Although at times tough, the trail is incredibly beautiful and exciting, and the inclination to go faster may creep up on you, but remember, this is not a race and speed is not your friend up here. Take it slow, see more, and if you feel even the slightest bit queasy take a break, altitude sickness is a cruel mother.

6) Imodium
The final and probably most vital tip is in no way related to the food on the Inca trail trek, most tour chef’s will ensure you eat like a King, (cake party on the final day anyone?) but the toilet conditions are bleak, and because high altitudes  often result in bad cases of diarrhea, be on the safe side and pack this little essential.

Picture courtesy of Lee Coursey from Flickr

About Author | Amie is a passionate blogger and writer, she enjoys sharing her holidays to Peru stories and is inspired by sites like Audley Travel.  When she is not travelling she enjoys learning new languages.