A guide to dressing for the different conditions on the Inca Trail
Although the Inca Trail in Peru isn’t a particularly long trek (typically it takes four days to complete), you’ll experience varied conditions along the route. This means you need to be well prepared for your hike and make sure you pack appropriately.
We’re going to give you a brief rundown of the different weather you’re likely to encounter while on the Inca Trail, as well as make packing recommendations. If you’d like to know more about what you’ll see along the way, check out Walks Worldwide for detailed itineraries.
Weather on the Inca Trail
The main season for trekking the Inca Trail is from April to October, as these are the driest months. It’s still possible to hike during November and December, but these tend to be wetter and also warmer.
Even if you travel between April and October, you shouldn’t expect the rain to hold off – it is not uncommon to encounter wet weather at any time of the year in the Andes, so make sure you’ve got waterproofs in your luggage.
One of the other important things to remember is that temperatures vary widely between the day and night. Once the sun goes down the temperature can drop to below freezing, while during the day it can be warm and humid. This means you need to be prepared for a variety of conditions.
Essential items to pack
No matter where in the world you are trekking, one of the most important things to have is a pair of comfortable, well worn hiking boots. Knowing that your shoes won’t give you blisters or cause you pain when you’re walking for long hours over the course of several days is a godsend.
Of course, it never hurts to take blister plasters in your daypack just in case, but wearing shoes that fit you and that you’ve hiked in before is the most important thing. Thick, good quality walking socks are another item you’ll want to bring. It’s worth taking spare pairs with you in case your feet get wet and you need to change your socks.
Waterproofs are another essential – a poncho that you can throw on quickly if you get caught in an unexpected downpour is a good addition to your daypack, while taking a breathable waterproof coat is also a sensible idea.
In terms of clothes, the key is layers to allow you to effectively regulate your temperature. Peru has some of the most variable weather in South America. Choose garments in a moisture-wicking fabric to wear against your skin and pack thermals for the evenings. Gloves, scarves and hats are other things you should take – you’ll be glad for them when you’re crossing Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point on the trek.
Mosquito repellent, rehydration salts, hand sanitiser and wet wipes are just a few of the other things you should have with you at all times.
A word about packing
Although you need enough clothes to keep you dry and warm on your trek, remember that it only lasts for four days. You will be limited to taking 8 kg worth of luggage with you, as this prevents the porters from being overloaded.
If you have more gear than this, you can usually leave the things you don’t need at your hotel in Cusco and collect them once you’ve completed the hike. As an extra precaution from the rain, pack your clothes in plastic bags inside your main backpack to help prevent them from becoming damp.