Austin-Lehman Adventures is excited to present our special Inca Trail “Glamping” (glamorous camping) departure Sept 7-16, a sneak preview for our 2014 trip. Enjoy upgraded spacious camp accommodations, chef prepared food, wine, cocktails and even a portable hot shower -hey, this is glamping after all!! We are going all out for this high end, trekking experience on the classic Inca Trail and want our guests to be prepared. For all Inca Trail Treks (glamping or otherwise), we recommend special attention should be paid to pre-trip fitness, altitude adjustment and essential trek gear.
First off, you do not need to be a tri-athlete to trek the Inca Trail. But, yes, you need to be fit enough to enjoy four days of moderate to strenuous walking above 10,000 ft. Let’s be honest, the better aerobic shape you are in to begin with, the better your body is able to process more oxygen as you trek at high altitude, which will keep you from feeling exhausted. Our trek guides make sure to set a nice comfortable group pace that keeps us moving, but that also emphasizes the enjoyment of the experience. Along the trek we make sure there is plenty of time for photography, exploring and learning about the increasingly impressive ruins that lead to the “best preserved” Inca site in South America, Machu Picchu. So we suggest you get out and do some walking, biking, swimming, or whatever you enjoy to get your heart rate up for at least an hour a day, three times a week. If you already exercise, great! If you need the Inca Trail Trek as your motivation, here it is!
Most travelers have never been above 10,000 ft., so we all feel the effects of being at an high altitude upon arrival (mild headache, loss of appetite) and are encouraged to limit exertion and maintain well hydrated. While Lima is at sea level, and there won’t be a problem acclimatizing to its altitude, Cuzco is over 11,000 ft. above sea level. Travelers to the Cuzco and other Andean regions over 10,000 ft. need to take common sense measures in regards to altitude acclimatization. Most travelers feel better after 8-12 hrs at altitude, but everybody acclimatize differently, so taking the time to adjust the altitude upon your arrival to Cusco is the first and most essential step. At altitude (above 10,000 ft.), we recommend hydrating primarily with electrolyte beverages (Gatorade, Powerade, etc…you may purchase bottles in local shops, but we recommend bringing powdered packets from home). Local remedies like Coca tea in moderation is often noted as an aid in the acclimatization process and is widely available, often at hotels and in cafes. Individuals with heart or other health problems should consult their physician before deciding to travel to Cuzco and engage in a high altitude trek. Ask your doctor about high altitude medicine like Diamox, if you’re concerned. Don’t worry if you feel winded and a bit tired upon arrival to Cusco, most every traveler does, so go slow and let your body get used to its new environment.
You will start the Inca trail trek in the Sacred Valley at Km 82, just beyond Ollantaytambo, which drops in altitude of over 1,000 ft (as compared to Cusco), and slowly climb back to elevations above 10,000 ft over the duration of the trek before dropping down to Machu Picchu (8,000 ft approximately). The vast majority of travelers do not require the use of prescription altitude drugs on the Inca Trail, having allowed their bodies to acclimatize naturally via the slow ascent. The highest altitude you will reach on the trail will be a pass at (13,780 ft / 4200 m) and you will sleep at approximately (11,811 ft / 3600 m) for one or two nights.
Gear for the Trek
Aside from your camera, etc., the essentials for the trek should be lightweight, waterproof outerwear and clothing that can be easily layered for chilly mornings/evenings, and taken off when it warms up. Broken in, waterproof footwear will be your main contact point with the trail. Make sure they are comfortable; blisters on your trek are a distraction you can avoid by breaking in your shoes before you go. Trekking poles are a great trek aid for ascending trails, but I find them more important when descending (seriously, your knees will thank you after a couple of steep descents). Finally, find yourself a comfortable, small daypack to carry with your daily essentials (snacks, water, wet weather gear) – do a quick pre-trip gear estimate to make sure your day pack is neither too big or too small for what you intend to carry. Also invest in a waterproof cover for your day pack, they take up almost no space and add extra protection to your gear in the event of rain.
Our Inca Trail Glamping trip will be a one-of-a-kind luxury trek adventure – so come prepared, in order to enjoy all that this amazing world class trek to Machu Picchu has to offer.